I am working in Coralville, Iowa and staying at the Coralville Marriott. The hotel is the designated convention center for the Anime Iowa Convention, and hotel management realizing that the crowd can be “unique and loud,” asked if I wanted to leave. I simply laughed and said, “no, I actually was very interested in attending the convention”. Here are my reflections of attending this event as a first time experience:
- A truly enjoyable event- The staff and the speakers of Anime Iowa are very focused on the well-being of the convention attendees; they had set up a free snack lounge for convention goers, they had security on site, and they stressed inclusiveness and model behavior of the audience members. From the crowds, I saw no one acting obnoxiously, I saw no open drunkenness, and I saw no roughhousing or dangerous behaviors. In fact, while maneuvering the crowds, on occasion, I bumped into someone, and I was surprised at how quick they were to apologize, even though I was at fault. And, yes I did apologize.
- A family event- For the parents who are thinking about taking their children to a convention of this nature, I would recommend Anime Iowa. Attending several of the panels, I noticed that the speakers were very adamant about “good behavior” and stressed this with the audience members. I truly respect that. It tells me the event organizers are concerned about the well-being of their convention goers. A friend of mine is a free-lance reporter who specializes in covering rock concerts and she just wrote recently about the horrible and scary behavior at a major rock concert event she was attending. I saw nothing of the sort here. I would have no problem letting my children attend this event.
- Multiple activities- This event schedule is astounding. From the time the doors open to late into the night, there was no shortage of activities. Scanning the schedule, I found fifteen panels that I was interested in attending as a first time attendee. And, that is out of a possible 125 different panels. 14 of these panels were devoted specifically to families, and included such diverse topics as “Papercrafts,” “Origami Mobiles,” and “Play Doh Wars” to name but a few.
- An active night life- The anime crowd does tend to attract a younger audience and there was no shortage of nightlife happenings. For those who wanted to be active there were karaoke, cosplay and dance parties each night. For a quieter form of entertainment there were movies, videos, table gaming and video games. All mediums were out in abundance and sequestered within their own specific areas. For those who do not want to sleep (and some do not) there was something for everyone.
For my first anime event, I truly had a wonderful time. From the staff, to the vendors, to the audience members, to the hotel staff, I do not think you will find a better convention event to attend. Any event can be fun. However, you want an event to be fun, safe, and educational.
And, that defines what Anime Iowa is.
Eric Wynn is the author of the “Chronicles of Connor: Zombie Rising,” and encourages you to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.