This 4th of July weekend there were two anime conventions in town - the grandaddy of them of all: Anime Expo, and AM2
: in it's debut year. Basically, the southland was filled with cosplayers.
The choice to go to AM2
was pretty easy since the entire thing was free. Free entry? Unheard of for cons.AM2
stands for Anime, Music, Manga. All three were well represented. It was held in Orange County at the Anaheim Convention center, right across the street from Disneyland. There was relaxed parking, relaxed entry, the whole thing was...easy! While it was crowded, there was still plenty of room to walk around and a lot to look at.
The main floor consisted of a small vendor area filled with a good variety of items, from plush to cosplay clothes. Copic Markers
had a nice booth for artists, filled with beautiful, drool-worthy pens.
Also on the first floor: a small stage where J-pop bands were scheduled all day, gaming areas, autograph areas, card gaming areas and in the very back, I'm talking long
haul, no really...
there were food trucks parked throughout the day. It was BLAZING hot outside so it was nice that the long path was perfectly air conditioned.
There was also a carnival type area with games that were similar to what you'd find at a Japanese Obon, simple, yet tricky - the games paid off in tickets where you could buy prizes. That's all my kids needed to hear.
They had a blast shooting cans and getting bean bags through hoops - all for the payoff of the big prize table
While *I* eyed the Manga Studio software, it was the kid's choice so we took home some Gundam models and Bleach trading cards.
I love the Anaheim Convention Center because it's so roomy. Upstairs were rooms for individual panels and even an arcade area. The kids were in awe of the Dance Dance Revolution game, an old skool staple.
That's the Baby going nuts on a Dance2 machine with no money
it in, btw. I thought it was hilarious that even without quarters, he could still be entertained.
In addition to the downstairs food trucks there were also the standard convention food vendors but the Con went a step further to incorporate the theme and they set up a maid cafe! An ani-maid
cafe. A smart choice considering the heavy cosplay crowd. I didn't go in, but it looked like a Royal/T
type pop up.
On the third floor was the big hall where they held concerts. Since the second 'M' stands for music, there were a lot of acts booked with performers that flew in from Japan. I'm not too familiar with these groups but the fans sure were. They packed the hall and enjoyed the shows.
It was heavy cosplay Con, with lots of people dressed as familiar (and not so familiar) anime characters. Steampunk was represented as well as LOTS of Lolitas. Petticoats and hair bows galore, Lolitas are where the $ are at.
AM2 was a small but comfortable Con, and for the price of FREE you couldn't go wrong. The Con staff - as well as the attendees - were polite and accessible. A nice change from the giant almost corporate Cons that are the norm now. I think they did pretty well for a first run and I have to say I can't wait to see how they step it up next year.
The AM2 Con runs through today, July 3rd until 7pm.Am2 Con
Anaheim Convention Center
July 1 - 3
Labels: anaheim, anime