Every November now for nearly a decade there is a gathering of Japanese Animation fans and geeks that get together for a weekend of fun at a small hotel in South Portland, Maine. It doesn’t get a lot of the press that bigger gatherings get. They aren’t any big press and news companies covering what is going on. It is AniMaine.
And they are missing out.
The eighth annual Animaine convention was held at the Best Western Merry Manor Inn in South Portland Maine on the weekend of November 9th, 10th, and 11th, and while it didn’t get the thousands in attendance that some of those bigger event s get, it was a lot more fun. It always is.
Put on by Animaine Inc. who is a nonprofit organization, the goal of AniMaine is to educate people on illegal bootlegs of merchandise and the damage to the industry it causes.
It does this with a lot of fun for all that attend and a variety of things for those people to do, There were panels with guests and speakers like Voice actors Wendy Powell and Caitlynn French, Beer expert and comic artist Em Sauter, Darby Pop Comics publisher Jeff Cline, and fan parody master Scott Melzer, along with the staff members such as Con Chair Chris Perry, Animaine cofounders Colin Harvie and Arthur Babinsky, and many others on staff to keep things running smoothly. These were not boring events and everyone was interacting and laughing, Just having a lot of fun.
The biggest draw of the weekend is the event known as Bootleg Bomber. Host by Colin Harvie, this event starts with a panel on what to look for in fake merchandise and what to look out for so you do not get scammed. Then it turns to more action as bootleg merchandise that was donated is destroyed. This year, fake metal items were heated using metal carbon rods and melted into puddles of goo. The event fills the biggest room and has most of the attendees there. It makes for the highlight of a Saturday night.
Besides the Bomber Event, other events are held and fill the schedule for the three days. Many times the guest hold talks in front of a crowd to go over what they do, help others with tidbits on what they do and how they got there. These are far from boring and are interactive with questions and comments. It makes a great time for all involved.
Since it is an anime convention there are plenty of viewings as well. Besides anime shows being aired in a few video rooms, there was also an anime music video contest. Fan made videos of anime set to music. The videos are not only watched by the attendees, but we got to vote on the best ones. The watchers were the judge and made for a good time and a fun contest.
And AniMaine not only has things for people to do, but it makes for a great platform to be seen. Cosplayers and costumers are encouraged at the event. While it may not be the size of the bigger conventions in bigger cities, it still has plenty of people dressed up and enjoying themselves. There is a costume and props contest that people take part in, but for me, I just looking at the things people make is just as amazing.
But even more so than that, more than the events, the panels, the goofiness, and the anime, it is a gathering of friends and a family. It’s not the family you are born into but no matter, it is a family that is accepting. You do not need to prove yourself or show that you are “worthy” to be part of the AniMaine family, You just have fun and you will be part of the group.
It may not be the biggest gathering going on, but it sure is the most fun.
Glad to be a part of it.