Another Anime Convention is a growing anime and gaming convention held annually in southern New Hampshire. It features the standard con fare: panels, concerts, gaming, cosplay contests and performances, a combined artist alley/dealer's room, dance, formal ball, and several 18+ events.
For its sophomore year Another Anime Con moved to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Nashua, having already outgrown its original location in Manchester. Although AAC is small and young, the convention managed to pull off a polished “look.” Their program guide and artwork were on par with larger conventions and AAC’s events, including their formal ball, AMV contest, masquerade, and rave, were all esthetically and technically well put together. A unique and popular feature of 2007’s event was that many panels and events featured free food, from a Japanese snack table to DIY gingerbread man decorating. That said, however, the convention was not without issues. Communication between staff and attendees was poor, and there was a lot of confusion in regards to locations, event times, and how to sign up for certain functions. It was also difficult to identify staff and security team members, as many were in costume and did not wear identifying sashes or tags. The layout did not facilitate attendee traffic and noise from the halls or other events routinely spilled over into panels and video rooms. Finally, the inclusion of somewhat insulting commentary typed on-screen during the masquerade displayed questionable judgment by staff members and took away from the performances. These difficulties, however, are easily solvable, and if overcome the con will remain a welcome addition to the New England circuit.
I had heard good things about Another Anime Con’s premiere last year and was excited to check it out for myself. I drove down to Nashua late Friday and changed into my blood red Arwen gown for the Ouran Host Club Ball. An elegant tent had been set up in the courtyard and decorated with paper lanterns and twinkling lights. The hosts checked us in and escorted each of us to the tent. The music was well-chosen and soft enough that we could chat with our dance partners. They even served sparkling cider in wine glasses and handed out soap bubble favors. The only drawback was the lack of communication about how to sign up combined with a low attendance cap caused too few people to show up.
That evening I had two videos competing at the AMVs: the remake of my “Tonight: A Tribute to Rinoa” video from Final Fantasy VIII in Romance, and “Spira’s Angels,” a spoof of Final Fantasy X-2 for Fun/Upbeat. I was afraid I was late, but the show had encountered technical difficulties which were fixed as I walked in. I was impressed with the quality of the entries for a small convention; highlights included “Senshi No Moondance,” a Sailor Moon action video, and “Hypnerotomachia,” a surrealistic video bordering on avant-garde theatre. After the contest I hit up a Japanese snack panel, stocking up on Pocky and green tea-flavored ice cream for the night.
Saturday morning many cosplayers were late for masquerade rehearsal and delayed the entire process. Though I appreciated being able to ask questions, check the volume on our sound, and go over cues with the tech staff, I don’t know why they didn’t just rehearse skits in the order that groups arrived. Afterwards we were sent to a small room for craftsmanship judging, and all of the judges went over every inch of our costumes asking lots of thoughtful questions. That afternoon I hung out with Sketch and PatD in Artist’s Alley until the band performing in main events spilled so loudly into the hall that it was impossible to chat. Annoyed, we headed instead to Crazy Flower’s makeup panel, where she did an excellent job covering a wide range of topics from simple enhancement makeup to complex patterns and prosthesis.
That evening was the masquerade, which opened with text commentary typed on the video screens by staff members, A lot of it was funny to warm up the crowd, but became a big problem when it continued through the show and skits. The young performers were unnerved by the public commentary during their performance, as it was impossible to tell if the audience’s reactions were to the skit or the screen. Each screen had different text, and the show was often hijacked as the two screens competed for attention. It also prevented the screen from serving its main purpose as a visual aid, as the text blocked the video feed. The skits themselves were hit or miss, and would have benefited greatly from pre-recorded dialog – something even the staff neglected to do and as a result, I couldn’t hear the entire opening bit even though I was up front. I did enjoy the runway show by the “Iron Cosplay” contestants, who had a set time to make very creative costumes from garbage. Our skit went well, and I was glad the audience got that we were spoofing an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. Crazy Flower ended up winning Best Craftsmanship for her moogle and we both won Best Advanced Performance. As for AMV winners, both my videos won their respective categories! Thank you to everyone who voted for them! That night we hit up the rave; the music was awesome and there was plenty of room. There wasn’t a lot of ventilation and it got hot fast, but luckily there was a steady supply of ice water to hydrate.
Sunday I got into Amano Rinoa and hit up the Dating Game to watch Gale and Lindsay perform as bachelorettes. That afternoon we checked out Anime Unscripted, and then headed to the gingerbread cookie-making panel where we designed a cute pair of heavily-frosted characters. They were quickly devoured before heading home. Great weekend, and I hope to return!