Monday, June 3, 2013

Animazement Hits Downtown Raleigh

Animazement fan poses at the Raleigh Convention Center.

By Dathan Kazsuk | June 3, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

If someone asked me if I ever heard of Kyle Hebert, Sean Schemmel or Toshifumi Yoshida ... I’m afraid my answer would be “No.”

My first guess would be a couple of minor-league baseball players and some Japanese pitching phenom that the Los Angeles Dodgers will overpay for.

But I’d be wrong.

These are just three names of the many guests who will be at the Animazement festival held at the Raleigh Convention Center from May 24-26. I tried to get in to cover this event, but unfortunately, this is one of those “events” where credentials need to be sent a month in advance so they can pick-and-choose who gets to mingle with the patrons, and who sits outside the lobby snapping photos of fans getting ready to go inside.

The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pose for a photo.

Now you are probably asking yourself, ‘Dathan, I don’t know what Animazement is suppose to be.’ If you think about it for just a couple minutes, it might finally come to you. Did I give you enough time? Well, time to move on. Animazement is a all-volunteer, fan-run anime convention here in Raleigh that celebrates Japanese visual culture.

And since I’ve never been to this before, I’m not sure what I’m about to accomplish by leaving work right after our weekly meeting and heading downtown with my friend, Dave. Whatever it is, it goes on all day, and all night. Friday and Saturday hours are from 9:00 am - 2:30 am! 

It was a little shocking to see that parts of downtown Raleigh around the Marriott and the convention center were filled with costume-clad fans. But I was thinking to myself while taking photos of a handful of Marvel characters – that half of these people dressed up aren’t dressed like “Japanese” animation characters like the name of the festival suggests. 

We saw dozens of Marvel Universe characters running amok in the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Tony Stark and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There were a lot of people dresses up as comic/video characters that I had no idea who they were, but my friend Dave was like, “There is so-and-so.” and “Oh man, you should take a picture of them, they’re the blankety blank.”

It was fun, but odd seeing this many grown adults dressed up as a fictitious character, but then I thought about it – this is the only time other than halloween that adults can get dressed up and not get laughed at in public.