Anime Weekend Atlanta was even more fun than expected. One of its unique draws is that it’s a legitimate 4-day convention with smaller crowds. It still draws attendees by the thousands but it’s not your shoulder-to-shoulder, “sorry for stepping on your feet” numbers of Dragon Con or MomoCon.
Better known as AWA, this anime-focused convention takes place annually at the Cobb Galleria and the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in the Cumberland/Vinings area in North Atlanta. This year the festival ran from September 28 to October 1 (Thursday to Sunday).
On an annual basis, attendees gather from all around to celebrate Japanese culture. That culture includes anime (cartoons), manga (comics), books, film, food, paraphernalia, artwork, and cosplay (costume) accessories.
When attending AWA, you can look forward to gaming rooms (both table and video), cosplay photoshoots, movie rooms, parties, raves, fan panels, autograph sessions, fashion shows, a cosplay contest, and even a manga library! (And that was quite an impressive library).
Our own TBZ cosplayed this year as Perfect Cell from Dragon Ball Z. As you can see above in our cover photo, he took part in a Dragon Ball Z photoshoot, one of many themed shoots that took place at AWA this year. From the looks of things, TBZ stood in ‘perfect’ confidence against four Androids.
AWA had a plethora of panels to attend this year and we made it to two. On Saturday, we peeked our heads in the Anime Music Video Awards and watched the Costume Contest hosted by notable cosplayers Yaya Han and Kaybear Cosplay. The panels were dispersed between the Galleria and the Renaissance Waverly Hotel. There wasn’t a lot of signage but if you grab a pamphlet by the registration area or download the AWA mobile app you should find the rooms just fine.
Atlanta is fortunate to have 3 major conventions here that you could call the “Big 3.” Those three are Dragon Con, MomoCon, and AWA. All three are amazing conventions and each offer something special that the other does not, but since AWA is the smallest attendance wise I’d like to point out two major strengths of theirs. First, it is by far the most diversely attended of the Big 3. I didn’t see anywhere near the same number of Black/Hispanic cosplayers at the other two conventions. Second, AWA was an all ages environment but actually felt like it. Now some aspects were 18+ but where most would complain of too many ‘kids’ being around, it was a nice change to see so many future cosplayers and first-timers enjoying themselves. Let’s be serious, we were all there at one point, we’ve all been teenagers. Who wouldn’t want to be able to attend an anime convention without their parents?
Speaking of cosplayers, here’s a glimpse of some of the cool ones we saw this year at AWA:
You can see the rest of our photos in our Facebook album
We can’t wait to see what guests and panels await us in 2018. Check their site for deals on membership for next year’s Anime Weekend Atlanta!
-Jon J. & TBZ
Photo: Jon J.
Photo Editing: Yoh Phillips