Bursting forth from Club 2 the Max, AM2 launched its first convention on July 1, of 2011!. It was a bold move on part of AM2, but the decision to launch with AX was to act as a statement against their former partners. Apparently there was some intense heat between several of the vendors/attendees as to how things were being run. Luckily for us, AM2 was their response. Even competing with arguably one of the top anime conventions in America, AM2 managed to break records! In their opening year, AM2 had the largest attendees for a first year convention, housing over 8,000+ attendees! Quite an accomplishment, especially considering the size of the convention! Still, for its size the convention packed quite a punch, housing some of the most talented musicians japan has to offer, the famous AniMaid cafe, and an eclectic collection of vendors. Of course there was also the hundreds of cos-players that littered the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center, in hopes of winning this years World Cosplay Summit Regionals! Some of the best cosplay outfits were present at AM2, from Tidus and Yuna, to a unique bright green Gameboy. Needless to say the convention was a blast, and can only get bigger and better, from this point on!
My first impression of AM2 was its size. Taking up only about half of the convention hall, it housed a small artist’s alley, and showcased mainly vendors. Still, the place was quite lively. After grabbing my press pass, I made a mad dash for the vendors. Let’s face it, what good Anime fan doesn’t love spending ridiculous amounts of money on Figures, Anime, Manga, and wall scrolls?Of all the booths, the Steam Punk ones caught my eye. The Hornsmythe had some truly amazing bladed gauntlets, furs, and goggles, all custom made! Not to mention trade crafted horns. Located only a few booths down was the Crimson Chain Leatherworks. This booth was just amazing. The custom leather work was some of the best pieces I’ve seen, and every bit of it had a steam punk feel. Housing goggles, pouches, flask, hats, and other steam punk apparel, I could have easily dropped $500 in this booth alone…if I wasn’t so broke.
After spending far too much money, the Yuffie figurine just cried out to me, I ran into what was the most fun group on the convention floor proper. The Sea Wolf Crew!With pirate gear and pirate themed games around, you could find yourself in a sea dog tavern, playing all kinds of card games for gold pieces! There was also dancing, which I believe was a prize offered for big winners. I, sadly, didn’t win. Right next to the Sea Wolf crew, was a wall of games. Several mini games, from catapult toss, to the shooting gallery (Kakashi’s favorite), offered tickets to winners that could be turned in for all kinds of prizes.
The big names of Am2 were no doubt the Jrock groups. Scandal, Kanon x Kanon, Sadie and last but not least Heidi. I actually had the pleasure to run into Kanon x Kanon, although, we were soon enough surrounded by fans and I had to run away for fear of my life. The concerts were filled almost instantly, and I’m sad to say I wasn’t lucky enough to attend them. However, word around the con said they were absolutely amazing!
Now onto the cosplay! I was really amazed at the attention to detail, and hard work a majority of the cosplayers put into their costumes. I was expecting to see bad cosplay, after bad cosplay, but for the most part they were all well done. There were quite a few that are worth mentioning in fact. My top have to be the Jedi I ran into! It was unfortunate, however, that I didn’t get to see their encounter with the shades wearing Sith Lord. That would have been truly amazing! Yuna and Squall (version 2) deserve some serious attention as well; a couple I thought would win the World Cosplay Summit Regionals. The winners, however, were Ali and Ashe of Fox glove! The prize for winning? A free trip to Japan! They earned it, by pulling off an amazing cosplay as Kimihiro and Yuko.
Finally I have to bring up what was the highlight of the convention for me. Animaid cafe. I was lucky to attend three of their events. The Day Zero ceremony and both AC High school events! I don’t remember the last time I had so much fun at a convention. These guys really know how to provide an amazing experience, while having a blast! For the AC High event, the room was transformed into a Japanese highschool class room, filled with all kinds of students. To name a few: Tohma, the school delinquent (who stabbed me a couple times with his (fake) pocket knife), and Arisu, the Home Ec
student. Kchan watched over her fellow students as the President, with the assistance of Venus, the Vice-President. Rika, the schools hacker, and Leon, the schools Ninja, were quiet and could fade into the distance very well. Still, when they wanted to be seen…they were. I believe I had a ninja star thrown at me at one point, and I swear my phone was acting up. The guests were seated with two of the students; I was seated with Tohma and Arisu. So. Much. Fun. Sitting me, and those I know, with the school Delinquent is just asking for trouble. In not time our table was preparing a paper ball assault on the other tables, all-out war broke out. The President, and Vice-President, however eventually convinced us to stop… Still, it was so much fun. I was later seated with Silver, the schools rock star, Sakura, the school little sister, and Kazuya the basketball captain. All I have to say, is that don’t let Sakura ever fool you. She will completely own you at any board game. Even when you try to cheat…
The convention was very enjoyable, and it can only get better. Going face to face with AX, and setting a record shows that this is one convention that is going places. I’m looking forward to next year’s convention. Rumors are already floating around that it won’t be taking place at the same time as AX, which would mean its attendance would greatly increase. If you missed out on this gem, don’t make the same mistake in 2012! To see all the photos from AM2, check out Ihogs facebook!