Anime Weekend Atlanta has come and gone, and as always it was the best con I attended all year. No other con has attendees who sing aloud the opening to Great Mazinger when it plays in the video rooms. For that matter, no other con plays Great Mazinger in the video rooms. Even after six years, it was a con of firsts: the first con without my car, the first con I got stranded at due to not having my car, and the first con for which I had panels every day.
My first time being part of Dave and Neil's Totally Lame Anime went great. I wasn't sure whether my selections would fit the vibe at first--after all, my clips tend to be heavy with violence, profanity, nudity, and other R-rated things--but when I looked over at Neil partway through my set to find him rendered speechless by Angel Cop as the crowd laughed on, I knew I'd hit the mark. One attendee later came up to me and noted how immediately following my panel, he went straight to the dealer's room and bought himself a copy of Apocalypse Zero. That is not the first time that has happened. Despite being held in the middle of the day on Friday--traditionally a time where most would-be attendees are still at work or in class--the room was at capacity, with many standing in the back.
Saturday night was the real test: the Panel OF DOOM. Considering it’s a panel that’s essentially a clone of Anime Hell being held at the home of Anime Hell, while running what was for the most part the same set of footage I had run at AFO last month and being scheduled opposite the costume contest, I wasn't sure what sort of crowd I'd draw if any. I still ended up packing the room to the point where people opted to sit on the floor. I started things off with an excerpt from "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips," which reminds me that GoofyRobo—whose infant daughter luckily did not beat me senseless over the weekend—noted to me how Dave could never get away with running that stuff at Hell. I ended up running stuff like that for three hours, which is no small task considering that the individual clips I’d show tend to be VERY short.
The only sort of snafu I encountered was when what I presume to be a mother and daughter came straight up to me around 10:15 PM or so wondering why karaoke wasn’t going on in the room even though it was printed in the schedule. I told them the truth: that I was told I could run as long as I wanted, and that even if I did tell the still-packed room full of people to get out so that less than ten people could use the room for karaoke, there wasn’t anyone on staff present to watch the room anyway. Shortly afterwards, there was a group of people just outside the panel room that burst into a very loud, VERY off-key rendition of “Sobakasu,” the first OP to Rurouni Kenshin. Whether these two incidents are connected I can’t say, but I simply had the doors closed so that we could no longer hear them quite as much. Boy, those karaoke folks sure showed me!
By the time I ended, the room was still at about 50-75% capacity. A friend informed me that a mother in the crowd quickly left along with her two children during the point where I was showing the clip from “It’s Wonderful Being a Girl.” That is not the first time that has happened, proving once again that 1968 Johnson & Johnson educational films that prominently feature their own products are far more offensive than BIG JIM SLADE. I did a good enough job that one fan came up to me afterwards and noted that she liked my panel so much that she opted to delay going to the yaoi room until I was done. Now THAT’S the mark of quality.
With any luck, I’ll be able to assemble enough new footage for Totally Lame Anime (which isn’t THAT hard) and the Panel OF DOOM (this IS pretty tough) for next year. First things first: rebuild the computer. The $1000 I spent better be worth it…