When most people think of conventions, they picture huge events with all sorts of people in strange anime costumes running around. Or maybe they think of VidCon or ComicCon, way over in California. While those ideas are all good summaries of cons, very few think of a somewhat smaller convention many call "Anime Weekend Atlanta," or AWA for short. (On a side note: "AWA" kind of looks like a strange anime emoticon.)
I was a lucky attender, since my best friend Katy invited me to go this year with her magical four-day passes. Katy was dressed as Sapphire from "Steven Universe," having spent over six months making her own dress. I, on the other hand, simply threw on an old color guard costume and called myself Turquoise, a character that did not technically exist on the show. Finally, we were ready to go!
While we couldn't attend on that Thursday and Friday – being good students and all – we both got up at 4:30 a.m. to make the drive the next day and be the first ones in line. Even though we had to wait a few hours, this strategy worked well because we ended up sixteenth in the line. Many people have the misconception that this convention is strictly about anime, but there are all kinds of fandoms there – from "Harry Potter" to "Gravity Falls," shows and movies of all types were everywhere.
After wandering and making a few friends (including a rather amazing Omega Flowey cosplayer from "Undertale"), we were finally able to get into the trading room. The trading room was a fancy name for the place where people sold different items. Because this was most of the vendors' one chance to sell, everything was expensive. This was bad news for me since I only had $22. Katy, the responsible mom friend, had $67 plus her debit card. At least she took pity on me and got me a lovely watercolor painting of Lapis Lazuli from "Steven Universe".
We even became friends with a vendor! She was selling some beaded jewelry and pixel art, and after a discussion on "Undertale," she offered to sell me Napstablook for a cut price. I had two dollars, so even this kind offer was out of my cheap price range. But in the end, it was still nice to meet her.
Lunch was an adventure; because there weren't many restaurants at the galleria where we were, we went across the street to the mall to find food. This was rather brave for two introverts since we were in full cosplay, and this mall wasn't affiliated with AWA. We got quite a few stares, and one guy even asked if we could go on his Snapchat.
Overall, we didn't go to many panels, but the ones we did go to were quite interesting. The one on creative writer was led by two Japanese manga and anime creators. Through a translator, they informed us that creating something is like running naked into a room of 100 people and screaming. Most people will hate it, but five will think it's amazing. They then apply those five people to the world.
Our last major activity was going to Nerd Church. Both of us are Christians, and though we're not particularly extremely religious, we went to see what it was. Imagine our shock when it was an actual sermon comparing "The Walking Dead" to our spiritual life, and it was led by (drumroll please) Andy Field. To put this in perspective, he's not only a psychology professor, but he's also a famous voice actor who did the voice of HandUnit, the guide in "Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location." Katy is a big fan of the "Five Nights At Freddy's" franchise, so she was excited to get a picture and talk to him.
We blew the rest of our money on Pocky, Japanese soft serve ice cream, bean cakes and other Japanese sweets, and we settled down to watch a horror animation and some Bill Wurtz videos. To Katy's delight, Andy Field came up to us, chatted with us a bit, thanked us for coming and then asked where we got our food, so I guess we're basically best friends with him now.
While many talk down about conventions, I love them. I don't like being around people much with it being rather stressful, but being surrounded by people who not only love the same things as you but will also discuss them with you is really therapeutic. I got to spend a weekend with my best friend, dress up and act half my age and best of all, made new friends. I really want to thank everyone I met along the way. I had the time of my life.