Animazement 2014: Sharing Memories And Pictures Of The Biggest Year Yet
Once again, Animazement (AZ) graced anime nerds from North Carolina and beyond at the Raleigh Convention Center over Memorial Day weekend. It’s a magical time, when anything can happen. Wild Pikachu flood Lenoir Street. Ninja attack the Sheraton elevators. Protestors preach the evil of anime and cosplay. And everyone at the downtown Raleigh McDonald’s gets a surprise visit from swarms of anime characters.
For local annual con-goers like myself, Animazement is like Christmas in May, and this was the biggest year yet for the anime and Japanese culture convention. With a grand total of 11,287 people attending the event, it was another record breaking year.
Several members of Studio Trigger were guests of honor this year, as their studio has become well known for the extremely popular Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia. Other Japanese guests (too many to list here) included Toru Furuya, Shuicjhi Ikeda, Ai Nonaka, along with a performance by Kotoko. English guests included Lauren Landa, Christine Cabanos, Jason Charles Miller, Trish Ledoux, as well as many other distinguished guests.
Another major attraction to Animazement is the Artist Alley and Dealer’s Room. The Artist Alley is where many local artists sell personally made crafts and artwork. This year the alley had a new location in one of the underground chambers inside the convention. This allowed for much more room and even more artists than in previous years, making this the largest Artist Alley yet.
The Dealer’s Room was moved to the neighboring chamber and, much like everything at AZ 2014, was even bigger than in previous years. There were lots of vendors offering everything from anime DVDs, manga, figurines, wall scrolls, food, and much more. I was happy to see that many of the figurine tables were actually selling them at pretty good prices–which may have led made me to splurge a bit more than I usually do. Along with buying things, there were plenty of guest and fan panels, video rooms, gaming rooms, the Cosplay Contest, AMV Contest, Anime Hell, and the formal and informal dances every evening that lasted late into the night.
I am happy to see how big this convention has become, though a little sad that the larger sea of people makes it harder to bump into random friends like back when the con was smaller. Nostalgia. But change comes with growth. Now all of us nerds must wait another year for our most awesome party in downtown Raleigh. However, don’t let the post-con blues get you down too bad. Now’s the time to celebrate, sharing our favorite memories from the convention, and partake in the ritual wild internet search for COSPLAY PICTURES!
Look forward to seeing everyone next year!