ANIME MID-ATLANTIC 2005
I've never been disappointed with AMA. Okay, there was that one year they hosted the con in the Escher Memorial Hotel, and main programming was outdoors in a giant tent shaped like a meat bun. But other than that, I've never been disappointed with AMA.
Now, here you'd expect me to say 'Until this year' or the like. No, I was just setting up to talk about the fact that it was great this year, too.
I only attended a few panels, seeing as I got in fairly late Friday night and spent a lot of time trying to catch up with people. But the few panels I did attend were very good. I did take a little issue with the setup of the website (which placed any major events on the video schedule rather than the events schedule - why?), but luckily when the mini-program was printed out, things were fairly well clarified.
I can't decide how I feel about the Artists' Alley setup. On the one hand, it was divided in half again this year, which I'm personally not a fan of. On the other, both halves were positioned outside the areas with the most traffic: main events and the dealer's room. I suppose space was an issue, and since I'm rather enamored of this particular hotel, I think I'd rather they have the split than see them change locations any time soon.
The cosplay ... was ... amazing. It's been a long time since I've just seriously fully enjoyed myself at a cosplay. (And I was judging this time, too.) The skits were all fun, but there were some really stand-out ones this year. I'm amazed at the calibre of cosplayers coming through the cons lately, but even more amazed that these same groups don't show up at bigger conventions where - whether they believe it or not - they could sweep the competition. The Kabuki Duck Hunt group was my personal favourite; not only were they incredibly original (the skit is just what it says: a kabuki staging of the game Duck Hunt), but contrary to what I had heard, they made their own costumes. The other skits were no less impressive, and it was great to see cosplayers showing their multiple talents.
Didn't do the dance because I was watching the last episode of Doctor Who. I can tell you for a fact that it was awesome, though, because it always has been.
The art show was also impressive this year. There seemed to be a pretty clear divide in the talent (so I'm glad I didn't enter anything). I helped with the art auction, and there were some pieces that went for $100-$200 apiece. I can tell you, the artists must've been pretty damn happy.
I think AMA will continue to be my favourite anime con for quite awhile. It's small but not dead; it's busy but not (too terribly) stressful; and you get to see a lot of great talent that tends to hide from the bigger cons. (Go to the bigger cons! GO TO THE BIGGER CONS!!!) I think they'll be growing quite a bit in the next two or three years, and I'm hoping they'll be able to make the transition to Medium-Large con with a minimum of labour pains.