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This past Memorial Day weekend, anime fans from all over came to the International Palms Resort & Conference Center in Orlando, Florida to attend the second annual Florida Anime Experience.
For a convention in its second year, there were many things to do and see. The convention on its second day passed last year’s total attendance and proves that though it’s a small convention its popularity is growing steadfast. Toonari Post had the opportunity to attend the convention on Friday and Saturday.
As is usual for a convention, the first and last day are slow. Needless to say, there were many convention goers on Friday of all colors, ethnicities, and ages. Some were dressed in their cosplay outfits, others wore wigs of varying colors, while some fans wore geek t-shirts.
The convention had four mainstay rooms that fans could enjoy. For video game enthusiasts, there was the Japanese Game Room where attendees could play old games that were only released in Japan and not released in the U.S. such as Transformers, Sailor Moon and Card Captors.
The convention also featured the Magna Library and Tea Room where fans could sit and read magna or play board games while sitting down on mats Japanese style at a small table as they waited for their order of tea and snacks to be delivered to them. The artist alley room featured local and out-of-town artists who showcased their work for fans to purchase.
The Anime viewing room hosted by the Anime Addict Anonymous Podcast showed anime shows and movies all three days of the convention. Finally, the Vendor room hosted anime merchants and their wares for attendees to buy.
There were many panels for attendees to choose from. We attended the AMV Hour of Power!, which was hosted by fandom guest Daric “Jingoro” Jackson. This panel showcased AMV (Anime Music Videos) created by anime fans. Next up was the Anime Retro: Sailor Moon. From the magna to the anime, to the video games and live action show in Japan, this panel discussed everything Sailor Moon. The Girl’s Guide to Con-Going panel hosted by the women of the A.A.A.
Podcast put their collective 20+ con experiences together in an informative and amusing way to tell con stories from the girl’s perspective. The room was almost full for this panel and there were men in attendance as well. Another interesting event was the Otaku Speed Dating. This was fun, enjoyable and a bit socially awkward for some.
Saturday is usually the busiest day for a three day convention and indeed that was the case for Florida Anime. The first panel of the day was the “Traveling to Japan” which was hosted by Chiaki of the Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast. This panel was funny as well as informative. Chiaki gave out great information to would-be travelers to the land of the rising sun. She had a Power Point presentation with important information which is available on the Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast site for fans to download.
Later in the day, the convention hosted the Robotech panel with special guests Dan Woren (the voice of Roy Fokker from Robotech ) and Fuzzy. They showed video from the series as well as interviews with the voice actors of the series.
After that, we attended the Voice Actor’s Panel which featured Dan Worren (the voice of Roy Fokker from Robotech), Terri Hawkes (the voice of Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon) and Darrel Guilbeau (the voice of Mikado from Durarara). Panelists answered questions from the audience that were about their experience in the voice acting industry, how to get into voice acting, as well as taking character voice requests from the audience.
Another great panel was the Wasabi Anime Goes to Japan which was a humorous photo slideshow of their visit to Japan and finally, the Crossplay Contest opened. Crossplay is where ladies cosplay as male anime characters and men cosplay as female characters.
Other panels of interest included the Adult Swim Anime Retrospective that was about fans favorite anime shows that aired on the cartoon block; Animusical Idol 2012, Gundam Panel Year 2, The Great Cosplay Dating Game and Otaku Insomnia Dance.
The Florida Anime Experience is a great convention to attend especially if you’re new to the convention scene. The staff is friendly and ready and able to help you and the attendee goers are pretty cool as well. We definitely will attend next year and I hope you will too.
Image Courtesy of The Florida Anime Experience