Two weeks ago I flew out to Denver for the Colorado Anime Fest at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Thus, I had a chance to attend and present at a convention and see Denver at the same time. The convention itself is not a large convention although they are growing with over 3,100 people attending. Despite its small size compared to some of the conventions I normally attend like Katsucon and Otakon, it had some things that were quite surprising.
I’ve never really been all that interested in the guests conventions bring in but I will say Colorado Anime Fest had more than I expected for a convention of its size. It was 10 in case you are wondering, and included the English voice actors from a number of prominent shows like Laura Landa, who is the English voice of Sailor Neptune from Sailor Moon.
Yes, you read that correctly, Colorado Anime Fest had an anime bar, which is something I have yet to see at a convention. They cordoned off a section of the hotel gallery next to the restaurant and carded people as they entered meaning everyone inside was over 21. Yes, you had to get carded again when buying drinks (which included several alcoholic options), but I’ve never seen anything like it before at a con. I know that Otakon has had the 18+ Jazz dance event in the past, on top of normal 18+ con programing, but never anything 21+. While I did not partake of the alcoholic drinks, it was a fun way to meet, greet, and mingle with the older crowd at the convention without the younger kids. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the kiddies at the convention, especially this one where everyone was very well behaved in my opinion. However, it is nice to have a space for just us adults at the convention as well.
I got the chance to chat with a wide range of people from convention staff to congoers. I even got an invitation to another Colorado anime convention in the fall, Dakucon, which I am considering if the dates line up for me. It was also my first time playing Never Have I Ever, which is a weird but surprisingly fun game. If I had one complaint, it was while playing Never Have I Ever, it was the rather inebriated individual next to me. I don’t know if he was full blown drunk, but he was clearly rather intoxicated and loud, which was slightly annoying. Secondly the music was a bit loud, but I’m more sensitive than most to that sort of thing.
I didn’t get a chance to attend a large number of panels at Colorado Anime Fest since I arrived on Friday night, and I was giving 7 panels of my own over 2 days. That being said I did manage to see a few that were interesting.
Sister Cities- There were 2 separate panels about Denver and its sister city Takayama. This was interesting for me because while I have been to Takayama, I was curious about the idea of sister cities and how that works. It was quite interesting and there are some unique opportunities for those living in Denver to explore Japan through the sister cities program.
Crazy, Rich Culture: Japan and Asia in US pop culture- I tried to sit through this one, as I was curious about what the panel had to offer, and how much of it I might have seen while teaching in Asia. Sadly, it was rambling and off topic, so I left early.
Japanese Myth and Media- This panel was a surprise, because while it was similar to Charles Dunbar’s panels on the topic, it covered several myths that I have yet to learn about like the Ixion, and Baku.
AMV wakeup- I’m always a sucker for good AMV’s and there were a number of them at the panel. If I had to say which one was the best, I would say the one about The Ancient Magus’s Bride set to dialogue and song from Beauty and the Beast.
It was a whirlwind of panels this time, Anime Biology 101, Anime Chemistry 101, Anime Physics 101, Head Injuries in Anime- why shounen protagonists all have brain damage, The Terrible Chefs of Anime, Teaching with Anime, and Off the Beaten Track in Japan. I was really surprised by the turnout given the small size of the con, but Anime Physics 101 was a full house.
Everyone was great and not once did I get anyone trying to play stump the panelist, which normally happens at least once during Colorado Anime Fest. You guys were a great crowd.
Cosplay isn’t really my thing, but I can certainly appreciate good cosplay when I see it and there were several at the Colorado Anime Fest.
Fate Apocrypha- Frankenstein
Cells at Work- Red and White Blood Cell
If you do take a few days to travel to Denver for the convention, I highly recommend you take some time to see the city. Denver has a very vibrant and tasty food scene, with a number of food tours. I did one and I would recommend it to anyone, as you can see the city and have good food at the same time.