It's that time of year again, when my already slow blogging pace slows down to a crawl and everybody starts wondering what happened. Well, what happened is what happens every year around this time, it's AWA, the anime con we started 20 years ago in a cut-rate hotel in an iffy part of town. The hotel got demolished, the neighborhood is gentrifying, and what was a 300 person weekend is now roughly 20,000 people filling a hotel and a convention center and another hotel and a few more hotels down the way. Because, let's face it, people like Japanese cartoons.
This year's convention is jam packed with guests and excitement, and I am not just tossing hyperbole around here; guests like anime theme song legend MIQ, the voice talents behind Gundam's Amuro Ray, Sailor Saturn, and Space Dandy, and indy rock legends Shonen Knife. Main Events is moving into one of the convention center's giant halls, freeing up space for new events. Thursday night is a full-fledged convention day with panels, karaoke, and registration opening at 2pm. And... the food trucks are back.
What am I up to at AWA? Well, Thursday night there's the Super Happy Fun Sell.
This freewheeling yard-sale event has expanded and will be a three-hour whirlwind of bargains and treasures. And yes, all the tables are sold.
Later that night it's time for the Old School Classroom!
I'll be doing a live version of the popular column I did last year about the least necessary original anime videos of the 80s. I expect to annoy the Persona fans and endure the lightning-fast "you forgot about..." comments from the audience! It'll be great.
Friday I will be on a panel about 70s anime and TV, and then at 10pm it is time for Hell.
Anime Hell, that is! This crazy clip show is a mainstay of audience bewildering fun at AWA and I promise to confuse and amuse or triple your money back. And that is me there in the Astro Boy shirt.
Saturday at 6 the surviving members of Atlanta's first anime club are going to re-unite and catch up with what all we've been up to since 1988. Yes, it's a C/FO Atlanta reunion!
Saturday night it's time for the grownups to socialize, and that means the AWA Mixer. This is a new event that's going to let the 21+ crowd have somewhere to relax and enjoy a drink or two from the cash bar, away from the milling throngs of noisy kids.
Sunday morning Neil Nadelman and I will be nursing our hangovers as we discuss the suffering of a famous shoujo heroine and her many trials and tribulations.
Yes, it's Candy Candy, idol of millions, whose anime existence hangs in legal limbo, as discussed on this very same anime blog.
Will YOU be at this landmark 20th AWA? Will you be one of the survivors barely hanging on as the last event wraps up Sunday night? See you there!