If there’s one thing that I’ve enjoyed this past year, it’s learning about anime conventions that occur in non-major cities. Throughout my years I assumed that anime wasn’t as popular as Western superheroes or Sci-fi series to have so many conventions everywhere. I was even more shocked to learn that little old Manchester, New Hampshire has an anime convention (no disrespect to residents of Manchester) that seemed to be as well spoken of as if it was a top convention in the country. It was my colleague’s (Jim Nelson’s) idea to go to this convention and considering that I’ve never been before and love accompanying him, the stage was set. So what is it like going to Another Anime Convention (AAC)? It was a fun experience and one that people should be interested in going to in the future if a large convention just isn’t for them.

Small is the first word that comes to mind when talking about AAC. Few rooms (from what I am used to)were needed to have all of the events happen. That didn’t make any of the events less enjoyable as there was ample space for everything that I happened to watch. But it made things easier to locate compared to the large conventions that I am used to and nearly impossible to get lost. Plus the lines were short (for events), which made getting a good seat easier. It helps keep a very friendly environment knowing that everyone would be able to make it to any event they wanted to at any time. And even though it was a small convention, you could go to an event to cover every hour of the day to keep yourself busy if you like to stay active.

To me, it felt like AAC liked having game show events which I was not expecting at all. Seeing how some of those events didn’t pan out so well at conventions, I was skeptical on how well these game shows would turn out. Every single game you can think of was performed one way or another at this convention, with Super Millionaire stealing the spotlight out of all the game shows. It was fun to watch, and the entire event was produced wonderfully (mixing in some great sound and lights). But other games were just as enjoyable to watch and glad I was able to check out like a Whose Line is it Anyway and Press Your Luck game, as there were many to visit and watch.

I think the size of the convention being so small is why fans decide to go to AAC. You get to have more one on one time with the guests who put on shows as well as the guests of honor who are there. From what I’ve been told, AAC is a convention that J. Michael Tatum goes to every year as it is one of his favorites to visit. I found it fascinating at the amount of people on the staff as well as guests of the convention who knew Tatum and Brandon McInnis personally that don’t work in Texas. AAC seems to have allow people to build all kinds of relationships with others that you wouldn’t think possible. That’s the appeal with AAC and believe that many fans see it more catered to their needs instead of a large scale of fans.

The energy and liveliness from fans and guest alike were certainly contagious with all of the events that occurred. My favorite being an 18+ panel with J. Michael Tatum as the host where fans have the chance to ask him questions or he could be ask you a question depending on a coin flip. It was hilarious and I recommend people to go to that event if he’s a guest at your local convention if you enjoy humor that comes from an 18+ panel.

However, the biggest draw at this convention was Matthew Mercer’s autograph line. It held him up nearly and hour after he was supposed to leave for the Guest of Honor Q&A event he was scheduled for that night. I could not believe the line that formed up to have him sign stuff as it was huge. Staff members can do all they can when it comes to lines, but it certainly made things difficult moving around where the autographs were happening. It must have at least felt good to be that popular, but I’m sure he was exhausted after his packed schedule with autographs and panels.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the hotel, especially with how you had to show your key card to get back into the elevators to go to your room. I chalk that up to the perception of how rowdy fans are at conventions. Thankfully I didn’t hear of any issues that weekend which is positive. To be fair, I did enjoy J.D’s Tavern that was connected to the hotel as it made it easier to get food which can always be a challenge when attending a convention.

It was also wonderful having the chance to meet and interview both J. Michael Tatum and Leah Clark, which we hope to have edited and ready to publish soon. They both offered some unique and exciting takes on anime, Toonami, different projects, and a variety of other topics. They were both super friendly, and I certainly hope that Jim and I will have another chance to meet and talk to them as they were a pleasure to talk to.

I have to say I was impressed with how AAC operated. The staff did a tremendous job making sure things were settled for Toonami Faithful, and the atmosphere was friendly and engaging. It is a drastic change in size when comparing to Anime Boston, but that’s what made it enjoyable. You didn’t have to run to another event and worry about a long line to make it for an event; there were hardly any long lines. The events were fun and different for someone like me who is still new to all the different conventions. It seems to have a good reputation considering the guests that continue to show up and would recommend it to those who are not fans of large crowds. They have all kinds of events that would appeal to anime fans and should be checked out in the future.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for He enjoys going to conventions and finding out more of them happening in New England makes him very happy. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter to talk all things anime and Toonami @SeaJayMaffris