Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anime Weekend Atlanta 20 - Sept 25-28, 2014

September 25-28, Anime Weekend Atlanta celebrated its 20th year, and it was the best year ever. Much to our delight, the guest list was packed with more musical acts than we’ve ever seen in our 11 consecutive years of attendance. Also, we were thrilled to know that Anime Weekend Atlanta would be having its second Lolita tea party event, after a very successful first the year prior.


Thursday, generally a day for early birds to pick up the badges and even sport their cosplays. But over the past years, Thursday has become a more active part of Anime Weekend Atlanta. Not only has the Super Happy Fun Sale been running for years, this time there were more activities than ever.  A modest but much appreciated selection of panels ranging from cosplay tips, anime history, and a “name that opening” competition complete with prizes. You could even work your vocal cords with a little Thursday Karaoke.


Opening ceremonies began at noon, the main events now taking place in a new and much larger room, which was very nice. Many of the events we attended that weekend took place in this spacious room, including fashion shows, concerts, and of course the ever lively rave.

Music was non-stop at Anime Weekend Atlanta, even the opening ceremonies included a surprise performance by anime song artist MiQ, who owned the stage with her powerful voice.

In the late afternoon, The Konjos took to the stage, four Japanese anime fans joined by an American expat, together they skillfully sang classic retro anime themes from the 70s to the 90s, a show that old school anime lovers wouldn’t want to miss. Following The Konjos was S*H*S, a trio of men making their US debut with their powerful anime song performances and cool super hero action poses.


The first event for us were the Lolita fashion show. First, Affrilliation's fashion show featuring the works of talents Lolita designers from the US, followed by Baby, the Stars Shine Bright featured incredible coordinates appropriate for the season’s cooling weather. Absolutely enchanting, with lovely models, the audiences eyes were glued to the stage, taking in the intricate details and letting themselves be swept away by the sweet ambiance.

Having had a taste of what to expect from Friday's opening ceremony, we were all the more excited to see MiQ, and she definitely did not disappoint. She was brilliant from beginning to end, her strong and pleasant vocals getting all the more powerful with each song. Opening for MiQ was VLOMiQ, a bright anisong group made of 11 members that got the hands and glowsticks of the audience members waving. The pop tunes and anime themes favorites were far from over though, the next act in the main events hall was Loverin Tamburin, a five-piece group fronted by the lovely female vocalist Aya. Fun and interactive, the crowd was taken by their spirited performance.

At 6:30pm it was time for HOME MADE KAZOKU’s concert. Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year we were all too glad that they could celebrate at AWA’s 20th. Their performance was nothing short of incredible. Dressed in matching vibrant red sequined ensembles, HMKU took to the stage exuding an infectious energy from start to finish. Cool aura, smooth voices and sharp dance moves. The audience’s cheers were deafening and their voices loud and in unison as they sang along to popular and familiar tracks.

As the concert came to an end, they welcomed the contest winner to the stage. Tony, who submitted the winning video, came to the stage dressed in cosplay, brimming with excitement. It was s concert you truly didn’t want to come to an end, the pumped and joyful atmosphere turned complete strangers to family and everyone had a good time together. As many of our readers know, we saw HOME MADE KAZOKU at Otakon in 2013, and even that couldn't prepare us for what we experienced at Anime Weekend Atlanta. Their show was so outstanding that it was like seeing them for the first time all over again.

The party wasn’t about to end any time soon though. The dance started, a number of DJs playing; including HachiojiP and ZANIO. While we didn’t stay the entire night (our feet danced ‘til they could dance no more!) it was certainly exciting, and fantastic in the new setting.


The final day was by no means uneventful. Loverin Tamburin took to the stage again on Sunday, the crowd every bit as energetic as they were on Saturday. Next to the stage was SHONEN KNIFE, performing at Anime Weekend Atlanta as part of their world tour. Must to our surprise, AWA was only the second convention that they had performed at. They tore up the stage performing their signature upbeat tracks, anime tunes and Ramones covers, all to the delight of a very exuberant audience.

After a thrilling concert it was time to unwind, and what better way than with our last event of the weekend; Baby the Stars Shine Bright’s Lolita tea party. we all enjoyed a pleasant tea party where Midori and Rin delighted the Atlanta Lolitas. After tea and delicious courses of light finger food and sweets served by friendly waitresses in maid attire, Masumi and Rin mingled with Atlanta’s well-dress Lolitas. There were raffle giveaways as well as a prize for best coordinate, and finally, a wonderful photo session with Masumi and Rin. Rin, Baby’s store manager, showed a keen eye, kindly readying each person for their photo, adjusting ruffles and straightening bows so that each is camera ready.


Anime Weekend Atlanta’s 20th anniversary was spectacular, bigger and better than ever. A round of applause to the staff and volunteers for all of their hard work; all of them were amiable, helpful and really did their best to make this year the best one yet; we really appreciate their hard work and effort. As always, we eagerly await next year's event!


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Article written by Alicia R. Thomas, co-written and edited by CMT. Thank you so much to Anime Weekened Atlanta, for a fantastic 20th anniversary event filled with incredible guests!


Anime Weekend Atlanta

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