Animazement '07: First Impressions

As we got off the interstate, I was happy to find the convention center so easily, and had no trouble finding parking either. Somehow I had expected to get lost along the way, and be circling around to find parking for a while. Luckily that part went very smoothly, so kudos to the Animazement people.

With camera and Nalgene in hand, we made our way towards the front entrance, skirting past all manner of cosplayers. The registration procedure was quite painless, with the exception of the $30 admission for each of us. Yet once we got those little passes around our necks, we promptly forgot all about how much money we had just dropped.

Since we had planned on meeting a couple of friends there, we headed straight for the video game room. Nick had told us to look for him there, and as we entered we began scanning the crowd for him. Sure enough, there he was playing what else but Street Fighter. I gently let him know we had arrived, between rounds, and waited as he finished getting his ass handed to him by his opponent. Apparently the guy he was going up against was a tournament player.

After our brief reunion, Nick took us on a little tour of Animazement. Since this was our first time at the convention, we figured that we'd let the veteran show us around. Apparently our arrival was just about a half hour before the close of the dealer's room, so we hurried on through to get a glimpse of it's last operating moment that day. I briefly glanced at the tables in the artist's alley as we hurried on through and got into that large hall filled with all manner of anime, manga, and game paraphernalia.

We spent a little time going around to get an idea of the dealer's offerings, though I found nothing I couldn't live without. Most things were also quite overpriced, and soon the room was ready to close. We went back out, without disappointment at having had only limited time to browse. My interest was more focused on the artwork, and we spend additional time looking at each table in the artist's alley.

The majority of work there was done by fans and amateurs, but a few more seasoned artists were present as well. We decided that it was time to see the rest of the convention, and headed back towards the game room to see the art show on the way. The art room was right next to the game room, and it mirrored our experience in the artist's alley. Once again much of the work was decent, though admittedly not of professional quality, while a select few works stood out as being particularly well done.

Now that we had seen a good deal of everything, I was ready to head back into the game room. We split up and checked out the various games, representing just about all game systems, and eventually even played a little. Of course we too were easily defeated, but that was to be expected.

Eventually we just began wandering around, almost aimlessly, snapping pictures of cosplayers here and there. We watched a little of the JET! dramatic performance, though it was constantly interspersed with shouts of obscenities from the crowd. We peeked into the video rooms, but saw little more than mech battles on screen. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience, though certainly not a flawless one.

I think that for the high price of admission, we did not get our moneys worth. That is certainly one more lesson learned. We should have come on Sunday, with admission costing $15 a person, and we would have had the opportunity to partake in more interesting events. So I think our timing was partly to blame. Better luck next year.

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