There’s never a shortage of anime/gaming conventions in Southern California, though typically when you hear something along the lines of “first year” you think “ok, this will be a nice small convention”. I, myself, have been to multiple “first year” cons and although there’s something magical about being able to experience it, you’re often left with that unsatisfactory feeling inside that there’s just so much there could have been. But yeah whatever. I’m not talking about those conventions, for the topic of this article is Anime California.
Anime California was a fun, exciting, and new experience for all those who attended. And let me just start right there and say how many attendees there were considering how new the convention is. I’ve never attended a first con with the same size or excitement level of Anime California. And it brought me so much excitement that we, the nerds, could enjoy the grandeur alongside those Disney-bound travelers from across the globe. And we felt as though we belonged. Nay. We DID belong.
While it wasn’t the biggest con I’ve ever been to, it definitely wasn’t the smallest. For a hotel convention, especially one as busy and tourist-y as the Hyatt, the convention was both big, yet welcoming at the same time. And the amount of panels and activities were amazing all things considered.
I attended quite a few panels, the console gaming room, the hospitality room, and even just the main lobby and I have to say after all of those, the gaming room definitely stole my heart.
The Console Gaming Room had every system you could ever want to play (no one wants to play the Virtual Boy; don’t bring it up) and had every genre to keep every lonesome con gamer satisfied. Though I have to say the giant television with the Super Smash Bros. Brawl playing 24/7 had my eye. And not only that, but it stole my heart. Though, the Brawl being played wasn’t the one I was used to. It had with it the modded version of Smash Bros. Brawl known as “Project M” which I’d never heard of before Day 1 of the convention. But let me tell you, it was amazing beyond belief.
“What is Project M exactly?”
On their official website, Project M is described as
“a community-made mod of Brawl inspired by Super Smash Bros. Melee’s gameplay designed to add rich, technical gameplay to a balanced cast of characters while additionally enhancing the speed of play. Project M employs new codes which seamlessly add in new, universal features to the entire cast to add technical variety to all characters.”
So, a faster version of Brawl, right? Ah hahaha. WRONG. Project M is, yes, a more fast-paced version of Brawl, though it’s also so much more. Project M brings back many of the characters we all remember so fondly (such as Roy and Mewtwo) in addition to different skins to choose from for each character, such as Princess Peach’s devastatingly beautiful new outfit that is reminiscent of The Shadow Queen from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. Many of the moves, such as Ness’s B attack “PK Flash” were altered to better accommodate the character and give it more of a use in competitive battle.
And it’s AMAZING. After playing a round with others it’s easy to tell the difference between Brawl and I vastly prefer this version over anything else I’ve ever played. You could not RIP the players from the game. There were rounds where only the person who managed to get first place could hold on to their controller. I WANTED TO BE THAT PERSON! THAT MOD BECAME EVERYTHING I WANTED IN LIFE. But alas, even the mightiest of Princess Peaches fall to the hands of Roy from time to time.
If you have the chance, definitely research Project M and see if it’s something that will piqué your interest. Although I was wary over playing modded versions of games (for what can be more beautiful than playing a pure game as it was meant to be played?), Project M has definitely proved to me that love isn’t just true in fairy tales. Now I’m a believer.
Other than the Console Gaming Room, there was also an option for PC and Tabletop Gaming, a hospitality room filled with lovely otaku folk handing out free ramen and drinks, a concert put on by Lolita Dark, cosplay chess, gatherings, panels ranging from “How to Style Wigs” to “Fairy Tail Fan”, and even a fashion show. Anime California was definitely diverse enough to get even the most wary otaku something fun to keep them busy throughout the entire weekend.
Next year if you’re not already planning a trip to go backpacking through Europe, definitely come enjoy the fun and don’t forget to bring your Disney pass and your own controller. Seriously, like fifty sweaty guys AT LEAST touched the controller I was using and as much as I enjoy other people’s presence (hint: I don’t), I DO NOT WANT THEIR SWEATY MAN-HANDS HANDLING THE SAME CONTROLLER I DO!