Goofy, fun, the thumbs up is his trademark, tons of enthusiasm are all words that describe Sam Coleman, a 25-year-old FV student, and KCFV radio DJ. Currently a communications major at Saint Louis Community College Florissant Valley campus, he’s pursing a career in voice acting. His on-air name is JazzHandss. It’s his call-sign right before he does an interview here at Anime Saint Louis. Coleman is dashing behind the booths set up for comic artists with all of the guest stars of Anime Saint Louis (ASL). “This is awesome,” Coleman said excitedly. Anime Saint Louis (ASL) is an everything anime/Japanese influenced cultural convention held every year in the Saint Louis region.
Coleman was one of hundreds of attendees at the 2016 ASL expo that took place recently at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Embassy Suites Convention Center in Saint Charles, Mo. It barely contains all the fandom, cosplayers’ faces are lighting up bright when seeing some of their favorite characters others wore. Many of them jumped around, squeal as they enjoy each other’s company. Contact information was exchanged between many cosplayers. Groups of friends are showing up dressed as the entire cast of anime shows. Sports animes have a big showing such as Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket. Other genres make appearances such as Marvel Comics characters, video game characters, movie characters, etc.…
Even the hotel restaurants and cafes convert to the anime-themed festivities. The convention center has a small café offered a special meal deal for attendees of the event. Sweet and sour chicken and a vegetable rice bowl. Hot paninis, sandwiches, salads, chips and healthy sides are also available. Lunch time for all the attendees is a mass of anime characters eating and chatting. Some are resting in the Cosplatality Lounge, which is a media free, picture free, relax zone for attendees. Attendees also use the room to fix their gear and cosplay outfits.
The dealer room holds rows and rows of collectibles, t-shirts, anime DVDs, manga, Zoids model kits, cosplay outfits, and for some reason a Build-A-Bear booth. There were a couple of booths for one-on-one interactions with the guest stars Chuck Huber, Jake Paque, Elizabeth Maxwell, and Kara Eberle, all of whom voice act for different anime cartoons throughout the year. Most well known among them is Chuck Huber, one of the pioneers of American voice acting for animes. Huber’s work dates back to the 80’s with Dragonball, Dragonball Z, and Yu Yu Hakusho, when Funimation barely had money. Any panel the voice actors attend has the crowd roaring, especially when they can hear and talk to the character the voice actor portrays.
In the hotel itself the buffet area was turned into the Honey Tea Maid Café. This is the place where customers become masters and servers are maids. It’s an entirely different world taken from Japanese culture and animes. Teas of different varieties named after very popular anime characters and served on beautiful white china. With tea, guests receive beautifully arranged fresh fruits and desserts. Maids play board games with patrons between sips of tea. Then they have a segment every 30 minutes where the maids do a small concert and dance. Patrons cheer on their personal maid, howl and clap for their performance.
Finally, ASL has two giant rooms for games. The biggest room is for the attendees that want to face each other in board games and card games like Pokémon, Yugi-oh, Magic and Star Wars X-Wing. They even had a couple of booths set up to purchase more cards and the actual board games. The second room was for video gaming, where attendees enjoyed games such as DDR Stage, Street Fighter Five, Left 4 Dead 1-2, Rock Band 4, the new Pokémon fighting game, and tons of other old and new classics.
For more info, go to http://www.animestl.net.