My Favorite part of the year!

It is early November so that means it is time for me and a couple of hundred of people I consider my Convention family to get together at the Best Western Merry Manor in South Portland Maine for our annual get together of AniMaine.

This year is the 8th time we’ve come together for the convention and for us who have been there in the past there is a lot of anticipation, and those who have never come to AniMaine or even an Anime Convention, not only do they have a lot to experience for the first time, but we welcome them just as much and hope they too have the times of their lives.

This year’s journey is just that. The theme this year was “Shounen Adventure” and “We’re going on a Journey.” AniMaine is always an adventure so that is right up our alley.

Friday, November 9, started early as me and my best friend set out and hit up all the stores around our area before heading the hour or so trip to the hotel. We were registered to the con before we even got checked in to the hotel, but BOTH were not a hassle and easy to get through. It was about 2 PM on a Friday so we were all bright eyed and bushy tailed. We tried to make that energy last all weekend, and usually, a lot of sugar and caffeine is involved.

Luckily the hotel’s “convention area” is mostly contained in a single hallway and staff keep it as clear as they can. It may sound like a hassle for congoers, but they handle things so well with keeping the hallway clean it rarely ever comes up.

Going down the hall from the Main Hall were the con registration was our first panel with Voice Actor Wendy Powell. She is a first time guest to this convention but she took to it well and spent her time not only talking about her work as a voice actor and the business of Voice acting but spent time about herself and her “real life” teaching job as well. She is a fun person to listen too and this convention is great in that format of letting the guest relax but still be informative.

Next up was the same room. The temporary panel was removed so it was time for the Conventions Opening Ceremonies. This is the official kick-off to the convention and was hosted by Convention Chair Chris Perry. Mr. Perry is one of the founders of the convention and has been there since the beginning, so while he is newer to this position (usually held by fellow Con Founder Colin Harvie) he is not a new face to the convention and knows what he is doing. He once again opened things up with introducing all the invited Guests and planned activities for the weekend and welcomed us all with open arms and gave us all a great point to start from.

Mr. Perry didn’t have to move much as in the early evening the room played host to “Coffee with the Chair” which was an informal sit down with Chris taking in some coffee with some of the other staff and answering questions we may have. AniMaine is hardly formal about anything but panels like this not only answer a few questions early on but help get to know some of the people running things. I was popping some Coffee Hard Candy so I did not have any of the brew but I’ve heard it was decent.

After things broke up I journeyed around the con for a bit and saw what was going on. The Artist Alley was set up in the main room which gave a LOT more space for the Artists and vendors,  and gave the con goers space to experience the artists. Staff set up a small table as well, that was “The Noodle Shop” where not only could you buy the shirt, but had snack stuff to buy like Pocky, Drinks, and Snacks we could all purchase. Nothing fancy or even expensive! It was a new idea for them this year and I think it worked out well!

As the early evening dawned We gathered around to watch and vote on Anime Music Videos! Despite AniMaine being held every year, an AMV contest is a newer idea for the Convention. It hasn’t been done for a while but we were given a ballot and a pencil and got the watch fan-made Music videos for a while. I’ve seen some of these contests before turn into train wrecks, but the video makers did well this year and made for a fun contest. The “funny” video category gets the most response, but all of them were of good merit and enjoyed watching them.

The nightfall was then time for an AniMaine original game show we enjoy. “I’m Not Gonna Lie” were staff and guests were divided into two teams where each person tell a story of something that happened to them and the other team (And the audience unofficially) try to figure out if they are telling the truth or not. Things get bizarre during this panel with some of the things that are described, but often times what ends up being true is the stuff that gets a wince from people. Some of the topics covered this year were cracking your head open on a microwave, Drinking at the United Nations, and a shanking key. We all loved it.

Frequent guest (and good friend of mine) Scott Meltzer capped off the night with a viewing of a few episodes of Team Fourstar’s “Hellsing Abridged” Fan parody dub of Hellsing Abridged before we retired to the Staff Green Room upstairs and played cards for a few hours.  We played a number of rounds of The Mind and was joined in by Staffer, Former Con Chair, and awesome guy Colin Harvie and had a great finish to an awesome day.

While I was able to do a lot and meet some awesome cosplayers and staff during that time, there was a lot more to do that I didn’t get to experience. It is not a stuffed to the brim kind of convention, but they are not boring and keep you active. Even if you just find some friends and disappear for a few hours, this is a place for that. As I have said before, This is just as much about making friends and being part of the family than the actual events. Great time.

I’ve got the rest of the weekend to cover and stay reading for more as I cover Days 2 and 3 of Animaine for Damn Write!

Now, before I go I want to point anyone reading this towards a special little pup who is part of the family of a friend of mine. I have not had the chance to meet her personally, but Bailey isn’t feeling too good and she needs some help. Poor Bailey could use the kindness of strangers so if you are reading this, I ask you to give her a little love and help her and Jen out. She has had a rough one so far so she could use the help. You can donate to her and her human Jen HERE.

Read Cityscape Tokyo to find out how the two teens and their guardian have to survive and watch out for each other when the company’s dark past comes back to haunt the kids and their guardian once again and make for an incredible adventure in Cityscape Tokyo! Now available on the Bull Moose website!

You can also find my other work HERE

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