Sixteen degree weather and light snow didn’t stop fans from attending Animeland Wasabi the first weekend of March. Located in the Crowne Plaza near Denver International Airport, Animeland Wasabi brought an assortment of panels, live music, a very large gaming room, dealers room and of course an artist alley. Events included the Cosplay Contest, Maid Café, Candy Kingdom and a unique experience, the Adventure Time Experience Pass that provided an opportunity to meet John DiMaggio and Jessica DiCicco. Other guests including Billy West, Johnny Yong Bosch (along with his band Eyeshine), Cassandra Lee Morris, along with many others.
The dealer’s hall sold many items you’d find at any convention; wigs, plushies, trading cards, etc. but one interesting exhibitor was Colorado Movie Cars, a local replica car club that brought in three vehicles, two cars from Initial D and Haruko’s vespa from FLCL. That’s not something you see at many anime conventions. The artist alley room was jammed packed with artists selling their wares. It was pretty crowded in there all weekend. The gaming room had an assortment of video games, board games, as well as Rock Band, and Dance Central. It was nice seeing the availability of games on Xbox One and PS4 already at conventions.
As with any convention, cosplay was a big part of Animeland Wasabi. I sure was amazed to find people cosplaying Yoko in this freezing weather and was not as surprised to see a multitude of people cosplaying from Frozen. Cosplay guests included Destiny Nickelsen, Electric Lady, and Nicole Marie Jean who also helped judge the cosplay contest and hosted a panel regarding cosplay. Being a smaller convention, it was pretty exciting to see a high level of craftsmanship at the contest. The Grand Prize Winner did an excellent Skull Kid with Majora’s Mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
Overall, the convention did pretty well. Smiles were on everyone’s face, the dealer’s hall and artist alley had an abundance of people, and panels pleased the crowds. The cold weather made getting around a little difficult but that’s not exactly under Animeland Wasabi’s control. A huge plus was the amount of staff/volunteers that were on hand for help, easily identifiable in their green shirts, however, they need a little more instruction from the convention, I was met with “I don’t know” a little too often when asking for room locations and information. Overall, it was a more relaxed convention where attendees could interact with one another rather than spend a ton of time in lines/crowds.
You can see more photos in our Animeland Wasabi gallery on Facebook.