AWA came and went. I was in the middle of another “eventing sprint” so to speak, this time things felt rather last-minute. In August I did 2 weekends back to back: Anirevo in Vancouver, then Otakon, and after one more gap weekend I went to Anisama (didn’t want to make Animefest to become a 4-in-a-row). In September I attended a nerd wedding (which I guess isn’t so bad other than for sleep) and related stuff, AWA, and Hotch Potch Festival in Japan the week after. In other words, I was dying. So dead, I wasn’t able to finish this post until well after Hotch Potch.
Main interests at AWA this year was Luna Haruna, Bless4, and Ueda Kana. Bonus was Daoko and being to catch some miscellaneous guests like Takahashi Taku, Hanafugetsu, the Strike Witches guys, and the veteran Naruto seiyuu folks. I whiffed completely on the last group, but I already saw two of them before at other cons. Also, it’s always nice to hang out with other folks and see some new people.
This post is gonna be brief, because I forgot a lot of the finer details to bemuse on.
AWA has the feeling of a larger con than since I last visited in 2015. Maybe the year-over-year changes are a lot less obvious if you didn’t miss one. I think it’s a bit more well run as well since last I visited, but as usual there’s room for improvement, as the saying goes. Another notable change is that now it’s a proper 4-day con. Thursday night had some guest activities even, some kind of cozy 2-hour chat panel with the two guys who came here from Aoni? By the way God bless the Aoni person who’s arranging these trips for their old timers. Anime’s impact in the world is not really visible until you go around and visit the kids and adults who has been affected by them, and I think for the veterans of the Japanese industry it can be sort of eye opening to see for the first time. I also wonder how they pitched the material or panels for the guests…
Luna was good. I attended all her things, including the preview of Urahara episode one. I’m not sure what to say about it besides I gave the CR person at the end of the panel some feedback. I think it’s pretty okay, very different, and a tad hard to watch. Conceptually it’s interesting and kind of my jam, but it’s also about a very foreign subject matter. My run-in with Harajuku basically consists of getting out from the JR station and running to and from the venue, and shopping only once.
I think I tried to rep Sekai Project…or was it DenpaSoft…by going to one of their panels? But I also walked out because it was getting boring and I was quite tired. I attended the live drawing by one of the illustrator guest they brought over–Miyasaka Miyu–and it was nice. They have a lovely moe style that is in my zone, although perhaps not up the zone so much. Along with that one, all the other panels I attended were for guests, and not even really all those anisong guest panels. Didn’t get to go Bless4’s. Didn’t go to opening ceremony. Just generally didn’t panel much.
I swung by the IDOLM@STER cosplay gathering and took some pics. That’s a bit unusual, but I wore some Producer apparels on Friday, which was when the gathering was. Saturday I wore Luna things, and Sunday I guess I had a WUG bib on.
I think the rest of the time I was just kind of hanging out a bit, hitting dealers a bit (for autographs and what not), and eating? Eating. There were these concerts too.
Maybe what’s notable is Daoko. I saw her live and it was great, but if a little unpolished. I also kind of like unpolished. She worked better with Teddyloid during the rave, and it was great to see her new chart topper. In person she seems what you’d expect I guess. Too cool. Musically I would dig it if it was more dance-y I think, but honestly it’s too small of a sample size to make a call.
Loot-wise, I got a few autographs, some worthless loot, a few photos (cheki with Luna!) and I also got a selfie with Ueda Kana, which is probably my favorite thing that I got at the con. By the way, her panels were good but AWA kinda screwed up the coordination so it started late on Saturday. Question-wise, all I can say is Americans are gentlemanly and it’s nowhere near as insane as Vancouver.
So, another AWA done and gone. I think the con is in a decent state and worth a stop on my annual rotation, as it’s relatively inexpensive for an out-of-town con. The main pain point is just getting around, as Uber/Lyft around suburbia Georgia will add up over the weekend. If you drive you kind of need to worry about parking, too. It’s really hard to say what would work better transportation-wise.
PS. I sure ate. I landed at midnight and had Waffle House at 2am Friday. I had the usual bison at Ted’s Montana Grill. Also got a late lunch at Steak and Shake. This is more than what I expected, but it’s about what I’d ask for? LOL. I bailed early on Sunday so I missed out on all the fun stuff but the day job beckons. Or really I just wanted to go home and unpack so I can repack for Hotch Potch…
I brought a couple meads that I got during EventerWedding to the Otabrew, and since it overlapped with Luna’s concert I missed out on a lot of booze. Feels like a sane Otabrew compared to Otakon at least.