Colorful Chaos at Anime USA

Games/Anime Crossover Is The Word

Could there be a better local for the colorful chaos of an anime convention than a place called Crystal City? The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City just outside Washington, DC in Arlington, Virginia played host last weekend to Anime USA. If you’ve been to cons before but not to an anime convention you can expect the amount of costumed participants to double from a regular con. Anime USA is no exception.

Anime USA is a twenty-four hour con, with events starting at 1:00pm on Friday and going uninterrupted until Sunday at 5:00pm. There is a big room just for playing video games that range from old school titles like Dr. Mario to newer titles like Halo Reach and Battlefield 3. There were stand up arcade machines for Sega’s Shinobi and Dance Dance Revolution Mega Mix. Fighting games were popular with players duking it out in Tekken 6 and Street Fighter IV.

There were also video game panels for Video Game Philosophy and Video Games and Anime. Unfortunately they were scheduled for the same time slot. I popped in to Video Game Philosophy to hear a lively discussion on symbolism in anime and what it means. From there I went to the Video Games and Anime. Matt Palmateer ran that panel and he took the audience through an impressive array of games that had been turned into anime and an equally impressive list of anime that had been turned into video games.

Matt had strong opinions that Sakura Wars was a perfect translation from video game to anime and that Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 was a perfect translation from anime to video game. He also felt that One Piece: Kaizoku Musou was trying to create the best video game ever by using all of the One Piece characters. Whether you agree with Matt or not, he had video clips from many of the shows and video games and was open to discussion.

MECHA Software brought their booth babes this year to cosplay video game characters and take pictures with con participants, which just added to the festive air of the whole event. The Hyatt Regency had all four of the lower levels available to the con. While the con was busy and crowded, it didn’t have quite the crush of bodies that larger cons like New York Comic Con have, which is nice and makes moving around and seeing everything a lot easier.

The dealer room was huge and right off the main level. But there were also dealers in the main atrium. If you are looking for geekware for any fandom, it’s hard to beat the dealers at a good con. The dealers at Anime USA are on top of their game with T-shirts, hats, stuffed animals, figures and even etched glassware for every conceivable fandom.

If you’ve always wanted the weapons you see in anime and video games, then there were dealers at Anime USA for you too. They had an impressive array of swords of all sizes along with daggers, throwing stars and fantasy knives. Like all cons, Anime USA has strict rules about what can and cannot be carried in the con to keep everyone safe.

If you’re a fan of anime or anime-based games, Anime USA is a great weekend getaway. Crystal City has a lot of great restaurants and is minutes from all the great tourists sites in Washington, DC. The craziness, the chaos and the costumes make it all an event not to be missed.

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