Anaheim, CA, USA. July 1 – July 3, 2011.
Photographer(s): Official AM2 2012 Photographers
We arrived at the first AM² event ever with high hopes and even higher expectations. Heading toward the Anaheim Convention Center brought back a flood of memories. The first anime convention/event that I ever attended was here, and now that original event was elsewhere. But I was back and this time it was a new beginning.
Opening Ceremonies has always been one of my “go to” events at every convention, and this time was no different. After getting the runaround in the morning of where we were supposed to be and where to pick up our badges (which took about 30 minutes because they only had one computer capable of looking up badge information at the time) we headed out toward opening ceremonies. Generally, Opening Ceremonies always goes the same: the announcer makes a few jokes, an official higher up says a few words, the guests of honor come out, and an opening tradition happens (in this case, ribbon cutting). But this time the ceremonies kicked off with a boom when this dance crew of about a dozen people came out and did a number. It was something I had never seen before when it came to kicking off a convention. After that, though, the ceremonies went through the normal motions. After Opening Ceremonies, we checked out the rest of the convention. Most of the stuff was located in Hall B so we decided that’s where we needed to be. Now, when I say that most of the convention events took place in Hall B, I kind of mean that the con was in Hall B. From the Exhibit Hall to Summer Festival, it was the meat and potatoes of the con. First thing we checked out was the Exhibit Hall, which had about 20 vendors. While it was a smaller selection than a certain other convention it was also a larger selection then most of the small cons that I have been to. Spending money is always a must at a con but I found myself very pleased with how little I spent for some great plushies.
Next up was the Summer Festival for some fun and relaxation. The Festival had a great mix of carnival games, from the standard ring toss andtoss and bean bag throw, to other specialties such as catapult launching and fan painting. Attached to the Summer Festival was the Pirate Rum Party, which was something that I thought was only a couple-hours-long event like it is at other cons. I spent a few hours over the course of the weekend winning and losing coins that cost no money and was all for large amounts of fun. The coins that were won could be used at the Pirate Wench
Auction on Day 2. After amassing what I felt was a good sum of gold, it was time for the fashion shows and heidi. concert. We got seated for the fashion shows and settled in quickly. We waited an hour for the show to start, which passed by very slowly but in the end was worth it. Fashion isn’t exactly my cup of tea but I went because my photographer wanted shots and I wanted to see heidiHeidi. So after the fashion show, heidiHeidi. came on stage and began to perform. The concert was awesome and had a great sound attached to it. After all the music, though, there wasn’t much to do until the AMV contest. Speaking of not much to do, it’s not that there wasn’t a number of options for us to take, it’s just that there wasn’t anything that interested me. The panel list was a bit bare and I tried to stay out of viewing rooms for fear of wasting time being stuck in there. So really we kind of just planned accordingly, but when it came to choosing between the Sadie concert and Anime Music Videos (AMVs), I wanted AMVs. The convention allowed seating an hour before the AMVs began but we decided to continue walking around the con and socialize. Finally, at about 15 minutes before the event, we headed inside. The announcement was made that there were only 8 videos competing and that they were not categorized. We ended up as not only judges but event coordinators. After the 8 very underwhelming videos I didn’t even bother to vote. So we ended up calling it a day and headed back to our hotel.
We kicked off Day 2 with the Maruyama & Katabuchi Panel and had a blast hearing about the upcoming Black Lagoon news. Then it was off to the heidi., Gashicon, and Sixh panel. Three magnificent designers at the height of their careers were great to watch and interact with. Nothing was really announced but it was still fun interacting with them. Without much else to do that we were interested in, we headed over to the Kanon Wakeshima concert to wait in line. Kanon Wakeshima began with one of her slower songs (apologies in advance I have no idea what the song titles are), and then kicked it into high gear with her second song. We were asked to leave after 6 songs because that’s all they were allowing us to record. But for those six songs it was a blast. Kanon is a great performer and the imagery she portrays on stage is breathtaking and I suggest if you ever get a chance to see her live do it. Other than that, Day 2 was just a hang-out session, as was Day 3. Either way, we had massive amounts of fun and AM² ended up being a large con with a small con feel. Hopefully next year the panels will fill out a little more so there is wider selection of things to see. As far as I’m concerned, though, I will be back at AM² next year, even if we have to make a choice between 2 cons again.