Anime USA 2007 Recap

40,000 exhuberant anime fans flooded the halls and rooms at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, VA these past 3 days. By the end of it all, wallets were emptied as fans' gluttony and lust for possession of that one or two or twenty special goodies and rarities are fulfilled; about 3 dozen video game consoles and equipment are burnt out from 3 days of continuous gameplay; the stocked up mangas in the manga cafe find their ways back home; the DVDs played over a span of 4 video rooms over a period of about 60 hours equaling to about 240 hours worth of anime in 3 days are put back in their respective cases; the main stages are cleared; the artist alley is packed up; and cosplayers, guests, and fans head back home . All in all, Anime USA provided a nice slew of entertainment, in all respects.

There was a nice selection of artists and a fair number of high quality work present. The Manga Cafe was a nice new addition to the convention. It's nice to see the frequency of manga cafes increasing in the U.S. Since they've been more or less restricted on the west coast, it's about time they started showing up more often in conventions all over the U.S. The panels covered a wide array of topics and the wide selection resulted in a great "something for everyone" mantra. I spent a good chunk of my time in the video game room, so right way you can tell my experience was good. Most every console was represented and DDR makes its usual appearance. And you guessed it..."Guitar Hero III" and "Rock Band" were the highlight of the game room. After so many conventions, the frequency of outstandingly amazing cosplay shrinks significantly. But nevertheless, there were a few memorable costumes among the regulars. You will never go to a convention without seeing of course characters from the following titles/series: Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Inu Yasha and Naruto. Almost giving Naruto a run for its money, Death Note's L, Misa, and Kira make multiple appearances.

If a list is made consisting of the biggest and most important parts of anime conventions, the dealer room should undoubtedly always sit up at the top section of the list. It brings together anime vendors from all over under one roof and in some cases, is the only source of the hard-to-find imported goods only available in Japan. The dealer room ambiance was no different than other similar conventions. I was glad that the Sasuga Japanese Bookstore was able to make it - they never disappoint. But speaking of disappointments, my only critique would be the sad selection of mangas available. Hoping to save on some shipping costs and several trips to the store, I sought to purchase a number of mangas in one sitting. But to my dismay, no manga on my list was available! Even the number of different manga series available was laughably small. Minus Sasuga books, which deals with original, imported non-translated mangas, as far as I could see light novels made no appearance. Seeking the newest volume of the "Vampire Hunter D" novel just very recently released, I was let down one vendor after another. The titles available seemed consistent across all vendors with nothing new to present. Setting aside the lack of real mangas, the dealer room was more than sufficient.

I'll leave discussion of the 2 awesome musical guests, BACK-ON and Kristine Sa for another post, so let's move on to the main event. After all, this is what brought us all here in the first place -- the anime! I'll have to applaud Anime USA for whipping out a bunch of premieres and very new stuff, some in high-def even!! An applause is about all I can do because as it turns out I've seen them all already. The Blu-ray anime titles featured include: Jin-Roh, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, Paprika, SOS! Tokyo Metro, and Tekkon Kinkreet...all great quality. In addition to live-action movies including "Prince of Tennis," the anime shown showed, again, a wide variety of titles and genres, from very classic to very new and everything in between. Among the many series, I was able to catch Baccano, Clannad, Claymore, Denno Coil, Genshiken 2, Hidamari Sketch, Kekkaishi, Rozen Maiden, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Shakugan no Shana.

With that all said, next year promises great potential.

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