Since is it April, I thought a good start to the A to Z challenge would be Anime Detour (AD). It is the little Anime convention that could. In 2004, attendance came in at just over 1,200 people at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott. This was after two years of planning by the parent organization, Anime Twin Cities. The general attendance expectation of the staff was to see 400-600 attendees for their first year, ha! The following years have had a cap on the attendance to help keep the growth in check, so the convention can continue to meet high expectations and be one of the premiere anime conventions in the Midwest.
They just keep coming back
Anime Detour has two Guests of Honor who return each and every since the beginning.
Carrie Savage‘s body of work spans almost two decades and covers a wide swath of TV series, video games, and movies. She not only is a voice actor, but has the talents of directing and writing in her arsenal.
Kyle Herbert has an even longer anime resume as a voice actor starting in 1986 with Dragonball Z. Kyle started as a radio DJ in high school working his way up to Radio Disney, but he wanted more opportunities. So, he picked up and left Dallas for Los Angeles.
He won an SPJA award at Anime Expo in 2009 for the best English Voice Actor with his role as Kamina in Gurren Lagann. Not to be tied to just voice acting in anime, movies, and video games, Kyle has a weekly podcast. The BigBaldBroadcast airs weekly where Kyle is the co-founder and host with Otherworld Steve. (Image from an interview at http://www.rightstuf.com.)
Other guests who have become mainstays at Anime Detour are: Chris & Greg Ayres, Clarine Harp, Robert & Shannon Townsend (Studio O.N.Y.), Kris “Phade” McCormic, and Tadao Tomomatsu. The variety of guests cover more than just voice acting. Chris Ayres brings mock combat to cosplay around the US., while his brother, Greg, brings his mad DJ skills to dances everywhere. Clarine produces DVDs, Robert & Shannon illustrates comics, Kris collects A.M.V.s, and Tadao, is well Tadao.
So, this convention, it happens this month?
Why yes, in fact it does. It starts Friday, April 19th and goes until Sunday, April 21st. Anime Detour has the usual anime convention fare – video rooms, cosplay, artist alley, panels, dances, dealer’s room,and photoshoots.
One thing that sets AD apart from some of the other anime conventions out there is the sense of community. Just weeks before the 2011 Anime Detour, Japan was ravaged by one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history. In three days, a convention with the average age of just over 18 years old raised $36,243.84 between charity auctions and collection boxes placed around the convention. Their reason for doing this? If it wasn’t for Japan, there would not be a convention called Anime Detour.
I will be there this year serving rice overnight. I hope to see you there, it is a fun time. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, there is an attendance cap. If you are not already registered, find someone who cannot go and switch the membership to yourself. Otherwise, make sure you register early for next year.