Anime Banzai 2014
Day 2, Saturday, 18 October 2014
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Wash, rinse, repeat. Day two of Anime Banzai 2014 was full of all that anime goodness that we love. Once again there was a wide variety of nerdy activities to take a part of. The arcade was in full swing. This arcade was at Anime Banzai last year and has been a hit with the convention attendees. It includes three distinct sections: modern games (console), retro games (arcade), and physical activity games (Dance Dance Revolution). All of the games are free to play, so you could spend all day in the arcade and not spend more than the price of admission to the convention.
There were LARP fighters out at Anime Banzai on Saturday. They were of the Belegarth faction. They were battling all day long, with victories and defeats a plenty. They were also teaching LARP newbies how to battle.
I started off day two with the Banzai Brawl, which was on the main stage. This is some sort of one vs one interactive die game where players do some sort of rolling and their counterpart acts out the result of the die roll. This is where the battle aspect come in. The counterparts are on stage doing the fighting. It has been at Banzai for several years and is always entertaining to watch.
Next up was the Anime Banzai favorite, the Anime Music Video (AMV) Contest. This fills the main ballroom every year. The crowd is given ballots and votes for their favorites in each genre and best of show. These ballots help select the crowd favorites for the AMV awards. The AMVs were well done and enjoyable to watch. There was a wide variety of genres; drama, action, comedy, local, and even category X. If you have not heard of AMVs, go and check them out on the internet.
I would like to thank Undead Soup for having me guest on their podcast. They were recording an Anime Banzai live podcast and invited Breanne Evans, Lindsay Starke, and myself to sit in. They also had Big Shiny Robot on the podcast. I cannot say enough about how wonderful/nice/amazing/knowledgeable/sexy the Big Shiny Robots are. There was a lot of chatter about how manga sales are declining at a rapid rate and also about a kickstarter for a complete guide to “Santa Company”, a crowd-sourced anime movie. I highly recommend that everybody check out http://undeadsoup.com/undead2/ and give the Undead Soup podcast a listen. Additionally, check out http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/ for nerd news and reviews. I hope you enjoy the action shots of the podcast!
The Cosplay Contest was on day two. It was a fun cosplay contest. There were some quality cosplays and some that could use some work. It appeared that everybody was having a good time, so I suppose that translates to a successful event. This was one event that showed how the convention is still a small convention and has room to grow into a larger and more mature convention. However, that being said, the cosplay contest was different in many ways that I was not expecting. In addition to simply presenting a cosplay, there were several “skits” as a cosplay presentation. There was a skit by the cosplayers of “Free!” that was humorous and had the crowd roaring with laughter. My last comment about the cosplay contest is that there were Link cosplays in full force. I think there were three in a row at one point.
To finish up day two we had my fellow SLC Anime members Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke, and myself presented our What’s New In Anime panel. I will post the full details of every anime we covered as soon as I am able. The panel was a success. We had a full room and had to turn people away. I truly wish that we could have had everybody come into the panel, but the panel organizers and the fire marshal frown on that for some reason. A huge thanks from my fellow panelists to everybody that attended the panel. Check out SLC Anime on facebook and join our group to chat about anime all year long and get ideas/suggestions for new anime to watch.
Overall, day two was an enjoyable experience at Anime Banzai. There was a very high percentage of cosplay, as has always been the case at the convention. The convention is organized well. There are always several activities to take part of, and there is even a bar in the convention center if that is what you are looking to take a part of.
The minor problems that I have are related to the convention center itself being too small for how much Banzai has grown and not related to Anime Banzai itself. It would be refreshing to have the convention move back to Salt Lake City and see it grow larger.
Photos courtesy of Breanne Evans. Feel free to share but please give some credit to Fragglepuss.com