So here you are, Shounen Anime Protagonist. You, with your gravity-defying hair and your slightly-grating-but-also endearing personality. It’s time to take a break from training to beat your rival, searching for a magical item, attacking titans, and just waiting for Senpai to notice you. It’s time for the light-hearted, fun filler arc. It’s time for Animazement 2015.
You’re ready for this. You spent two and a half hours on Thursday night waiting in line for your pass. You’ve gained new allies during the wait because you’ve all bonded over one common thought: why the heck is this line so long?!
So Friday you arrive again at the Raleigh Convention Center and you’re ready to go. You consider making a plan for the weekend, but then reconsider. Who really needs a proper schedule anyway? You, Protagonist, have always gotten through by winging it. No need to change now. Plan A never works. You’ve got places to go and people to take pictures of. The crowd of cosplayers already encompasses the scope of the convention center.
There are so many choices for you to pick from. Do you go to some fan panel to discuss your favorite characters or the finer points of cosplay? (You do, actually, have experience in dressing up since you somehow always end up in a dress at least one episode per season. For the laughs.) Do you attend some cultural demonstrations to learn how to wear hakama or learn what a tea ceremony is like? Or do you go to the guest panels to hear all the famous voice actors, directors, producers, and animators speak? So many choices.
Friday flies by in a whirlwind. You try to do a little bit of everything. You chat with cosplayers, amazed by their meticulously styled wigs and handcrafted armor and the large props they carry around all day long. You try to eat cheap food so you can save up to buy souvenirs later. You experience traditional Japanese music on shamisen and taiko. Get blown away by how talented the musicians are. Seriously, you could listen to them forever if not for the fact that the panel is only an hour long and there’s still more to see and do.
You also see the double-dutch group, J-TRAP, perform and are even more amazed by their impressive skills. I mean, sure, you can run faster than the speed of light, but you can’t jump rope while standing on someone else’s shoulders.
You wrap up Friday by rocking out at the ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D concert. The music is upbeat and fun and you easily get swept up in the crowd’s energy. You think some of these songs might be great as an opening theme for the adventures of you and your friends. You’re having so much fun you even sort of sing along with the band’s drummer as he starts to randomly sing Let it Go acapella. (But you don’t sing loudly because you don’t want to admit that you totally know all the words)
You turn in early Friday night because you know Saturday is gonna be a big day, and you’ll need all the extra time you can get to power up for Saturday night’s dance.
Despite your best efforts, you still oversleep a little on Saturday, causing you to frantically sprint out of the hotel with a leftover piece of cold toast in your mouth. You spend the morning much like Friday, going to check out panels and meeting fellow convention-goers. (You even get to see the Watanabe Shinichiro, legendary director, and you have to admit: he looks pretty dandy in those dark sunglasses. Of course, you can rock dark sunglasses too, but only if there’s epic music playing in the background at the same time.)
But Saturday afternoon poses the biggest challenge so far: Artist Alley and the Dealer’s Room. Both rooms are large and jam-packed with everything imaginable. You enter the vast labyrinth of booths, not knowing whether you’ll come back alive. But still, you’re excited. Look at the merchandise! Look at the art! You never get a chance to just appreciate these things when you’re out battling demons or monsters or your school’s evil student council president.
Of course, once you emerge from the chaos of the Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley, laden down with bags containing your purchases, you realize you have made a grave mistake. You have miscalculated your funds.
You wonder if you can live off of food from the hotdog stand for the rest of the weekend.
After watching people dance outside (Kirby is surprisingly skilled at the Casper Slide), you go watch people dance inside. With swords. You have to admit that The Jacabal’s are much more elegant with a sword than you are most of the time. And later, at the big “Masquerade” costume contest, you watch a lot more dancing. It seems to be some sort of theme here. And, of course, you yourself finally get to dance at the late night event everyone calls the “rave.” It is certainly something you’ll rave to all your friends about later.
On Sunday you wake up and you’re still completely exhausted. You may or may not have dozed off in the shower briefly, but you’ll admit to nothing if questioned! Sunday at the convention center is a little less crowded but still full of exciting things to experience. You overcome your exhaustion with sheer determination and the power of friendship.
One event you enjoyed on Sunday was Cosplay Chess. All those different characters interacting and battling it out was fun to watch. Nice to see other people fighting for a change instead of you, Protagonist. Also, you thought the idea of a Bob Ross cosplayer was hysterical.
As things wind down, you make one last round around the convention center, checking out a few more panels, a few more cosplays, and some more art before you bid Animazement farewell for the year. As you fly back home to pre-Post-Apocalyptic Neo Tokyo, you think again about all the cool stuff you got to see and the people you got to meet. A photo montage begins set to a nostalgic power ballad (maybe something sung by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D just for thematic consistency) as you remember and look back on everything.
Your visit to Animazement 2015 was a nice break from the shenanigans of your usual daily life. But this arc is drawing to a close and when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll be back to fighting your enemies and avenging your family and all that other stuff you usually do. But don’t worry, Shounen Anime Protagonist. You can visit Animazement again next season.