February 29, 2024

This past weekend in Tempe was the debut of a brand new anime convention here in Arizona.

I want to start this off by expressing a deep feeling of pride in the anime fan and convention community here in Arizona. Every time a new anime event comes to town it makes me smile but this show hit on a number of levels for me personally and I hope to take you on that journey with me.

I have spent quite while in the anime and convention scene here in AZ doing many kinds of media coverage for the vast majority of local conventions all the way from Tucson to Flagstaff. In that time I have met literally hundreds of anime fans, performers, artists, cosplayer’s etc. As well as many  show runners.

This, however,  was the first time that I saw people I knew from the fan community and convention media community actually become a convention founder and creator. I wont name drop, but I have to express how proud I am to see my Arizona anime convention community grow and shine like that.

Now lets explore a breakdown of the convention.

Guests

It was a truly impressive lineup, often times when cons start up their guest lists can be a little sparse while they are establishing their convention and building their presence. In the Case of Arizona ANi-con they hit the ground running with guests that were off the charts, including Va’s from My Hero Academia, Chainsaw man, Fire force, Black Clove, and DBZ to name a few.

It was an anime convention so you know cosplay is a must and they surely did not disappoint. There was some fantastic cosplay we say walking around the event in addition to a few well known cosplayers there as guests. Mastiff, Heartless Aquarius, and Kantasea were all in the building as well, if you aren’t familiar I encourage you to check them all out on instagram, amazing cosplay.

But wait… there’s more.

There were a lot of great artists, comedians, maid cafe performers, collectibles celebrity VA’s and honestly there was even more going on that I can possibly cover here.  

Vendors.

If your are like me a vendor hall can (in many ways) make or break a con experience. Sure, it’s a lot of fun to come and see fun panels and great cosplay and artwork but in between all those things… we gotta shop!!!

We had absolutely no trouble at all finding a perfect mixture of the standard fair we know and love as well as some exciting new things we had never seen before. One such vendor in artist alley AZ Anime Co made amazing anime themed costume air freshers. We were able to choose an character and a scent to infuse it with, We chose Toge Inumaki from Jujutsu Kaisen infused with Strawberry cent. This was something we had never seen before.

Of course there were great dealers with rare and unique anime figures, funko pops, t shirts and custom items. All in all the vendors and artists were a big success.

Panels

The panels are the backbone of a good con and in that regard Arizona Ani-con really shined bright. They packed quit a bit of variety in to the two-day event. They covered all the bases we, as anime con goers, expect. They had the requisite Masquerade, Maid cafe, and dace party along with VA Q&A, musical performances, and comedy.

From wall to wall the event was packed with loads of great things to do and see. To be honest with as much as we have said here we could never fully encompass a convention experience in writing, it is truly a feast for the senses and as an anime lover and convention enthusiast my recommendations to come on out to this up and coming event next year. It started with a bang just like a rocket, and like a rocket there’s no place to go but up.