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Anime Weekend Atlanta 14

By James D. Deaux IV
01 October 2008 In a world where thousands of people dress up as flamboyant Japanese cartoon characters...

In a world where you have to avoid being bludgeoned by numerous replica Zanpakutos...

In a world where you are left to wonder if you have, in fact, lost the game...

One man stands alone with pen, paper and camera(phone) in hand...

Ready to chronicle the misadventures of the world of American anime fandom...

And to brave dozens of terrible anime from the 1970s and 80s.

One man. One mission. One convention center. This fall, Earth-2.net's James Deaux stars in...

Anime Weekend Atlanta XIV: The Review!

Awesome, I always wanted my own dramatic entrance. (RIP Don LaFontaine.) Before I begin another tale of AWA festivities, I feel obligated to apologize for not writing reviews of AWA 12 and 13 especially last year's. Truthfully, this year's convention was nowhere near as good as last year's, but that doesn't mean I didn't get to have some fun and see some amazing costumes. I could have done without the hour-plus wait to get my badge on Thursday night (which is supposed to be the quick option), but c'est la vie.

It... is... alive!

The first event I attended this year was entitled "Anime's Craziest Deaths." If you can't tell what this event was about, then you might want to consider prescription glasses. To the surprise of no one, this panel was all about showcasing the most insane, violent or otherwise bizarre deaths in anime. Truly, it was every bit as hilarious and stupefying as the title would indicate. Classic titles included Fist of the North Star, Akira and Captain Harlock. You just can't go wrong watching Kenshiro poke someone in the forehead and waiting over half a minute for the unfortunate victim's head to fall off, melt and / or explode. Keeping with the wacky theme, the last death scene shown was a magical girl getting run over by a semi. Yes, you read that right.

The parasols begin their assault.

After this, I entered the Soul Calibur IV competition and got my ass handed to me like always. I honestly don't know why I bother with fighting games anymore. Next year, I'm sticking with Rock Band 2.

You might say this picture is in continuity with my column.

As with last year, I entered the Anime Music Video Expo competition, and like last year, I didn't win anything. I blame my lack of a decent video editing program, but that's neither here nor there. The Expo winners this year all seemed to be much more technically vibrant than in years past. I was actually taken aback at how much detail some of the videos had. Returning from last year was something called the "Short Attention Span Competition" where people send in videos no more than 30 seconds in length. They are all played back-to-back for the audience, who then votes for the winner. It's amazing what you can fit into a 30-second movie clip with a few creative voiceovers. There were some truly funny videos here, and the winner won by only a single vote.

Words fail me.

One event that seems to have a magnetic pull on me every year is "Totally Lame Anime," which, like "Anime's Craziest Deaths," is an event that isn't big on metaphors. The host of this event shows the captive crowd clips from over a dozen epically bad animes and cartoons from the 1970s and onward, and we have a good dozen laughs at each. I suppose my penchant for watching awful movies and TV shows draws me to this thing each year. As a matter of fact, if I can get my hands on copies of some of these things, you can expect me to review them somewhere down the road. Some of these shows and movies were just brutally bad, and I absolutely have to mention them here:

It seems that there was an animated film based on the Marvel comic book series Tomb of Dracula, and it was released under the title Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned. All I have to say about this movie is Dracula ultimately meets his demise by way of an exploding wheelchair.

Another film made by Toei, the company that licensed the Dracula film, was Frankenstein: Legend of Terror (also based on a Marvel series). The highlight of this monstrosity (no pun intended), like Dracula, was the ending. This little girl realizes Frankenstein's monster isn't a bad person and befriends him, which warms the monster's heart so much that he decides to leap off a cliff to his doom a minute later. Then the little girl's father, who was trying to kill the monster up to this point, decides that the best way to come to terms with this turn of events is to take his gun and commit suicide by blasting himself in the chest. Methinks that little girl is going to be confined to a mental institution.

We were also treated to Dog Soldier, wherein a guy, supposedly a hero, says at least seven times that the villain of the film is a "death merchant." Played on a loop, these moments are hysterical. But nothing can top the end of the movie where the hero shoves a knife into the villain's forehead and the guy still has the strength to give an introspective monologue before he dies several minutes later. I literally shed tears in laughter watching this one.

The last one I have to mention was an Italian cartoon called Titanic: The Animation. When I think about events in history that shouldn't have a cartoon movie made about them, the sinking of the Titanic is pretty damn far up the list. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my opinion. All you need to know about this atrociously animated pile of garbage is that it has a dog that dons a basketball jersey and breaks into a rap. In 1912. On the Titanic. The best part? This film was made only seven years ago. Quite the leap we've made in animation over the last century, eh?

I could go on and on with this, but then it would tread dangerously close to becoming a Tranquil Tirades, and I don't want that. Of course, what would a year at AWA be without me spending hundreds of dollars on stuff I really have no business buying?

Epic in size it was!

I, indeed, did spend entirely too much money in the dealer's room this year, but it's a once-a-year thing and I have the right to splurge at least one time. Here is a detailed list of almost everything I bought:

- Volumes three through six of Pani Poni Dash!. (This is a Christmas / birthday presents for one of my favorite cousins) - $96
- Eight packs of Darkstalkers Universal Fighting System trading cards. - $16
- The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, volume five. - $11
- Various buttons to add to my mailbag. ("Internet celebrity" being my favorite.) - $9
- A badge with "Heartless Bastard" and the Kingdom Hearts II Heartless emblem on it. - $5
- Monty Python & the Holy Grail "It's a simple matter of weight ratios" T-shirt. - $22
- Batman artwork. - $5
- And some Pocky in a pear tree. - $2.50

More pictures from the dealer's room:

The arsenal.

I can now safely say I am a Jenova's Witness. Simply astonishing work on this costume.

The attack of the parasols continues.

This year's dealer's room was easily the biggest one AWA has ever seen. It was jam-packed with tables. I hope it's this big or bigger next year because there were several things I wanted to get and wasn't able to. It should be noted that while I was parading around the dealer's room I even saw someone dressed as Jigsaw from the Saw movies.

One last thing I feel compelled to mention was the shoplifter who got tackled right behind.

The white shoes sticking out of that pile belong to the tackled gentleman.

As the years go by, I try to spend more money in Artists' Alley, where artists are given the opportunity to sell commissioned artwork to con-goers. I try to support these people because after factoring in travel expenses and supplies, many of them wind up losing money just to be there. Here's a piece of art I purchased:

Sadistic Batman with Superman and Joker voodoo dolls.

And now what you've no doubt been anticipating: the award for James' favorite costume this year goes to:

These young ladies were simply gorgeous in their Eternal Sonata costumes of Falsetto and Polka. They were probably the friendliest fellow con-goers I came across all weekend, too. (Note Polka's parasol!) Bravo, ladies!

I, for one, welcome our new parasol-wielding overlords.

That will wrap this thing up. I had planned on attending the ballroom dance, but unfortunately, one can't go to such an event alone. (Let's just say that not having your phone calls returned kind of puts the kibosh on any such plans.) Until next convention, I beseech everyone to remember to slap on a heavy layer of deodorant when attending a convention. Some of the body odors I encountered this weekend simply should not be smelled by a human nose. Public service announcements and article over.

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