It’s been over a week since I got back from attending Anime Weekend Atlanta for the 16th year in a row, and if I had to be honest with myself, this really was the best one ever. It had nothing to do with the convention’s content but rather had to do with getting to hang out with two friends I’ve not seen in over a decade, one of whom has become a lot closer as of late.

In the weeks leading up to the con, I had been planning my outfits for the weekend and settled on pseudo cosplay of a specific character each day with proper cosplay of that character on Saturday. It worked significantly better for me personally than I thought! Plus, I stepped so far out of my comfort zone that it was, well, a bit euphoric. More on that later.

The weekend started early Thursday morning, October 31, when I departed my home around 8:30 to pick the first person up at the airport as his flight was landing at 9ish. I was already in pseudo cosplay as mentioned, so I was quite self-conscious on the ride down, but once I met up with my friend all that disappeared. I probably shouldn’t have been, as it was Halloween, but whatever. We headed up to the Galleria area for brunch, and I phoned up the hotel to see if we could go ahead and get checked in: they said we could, and we got the first-floor room another friend wanted. We brought our stuff in, I set Internet in a Box up, and we were online.

We killed about an hour or so then headed back to the airport to grab the next two arrivals, who were within minutes of each other. We stopped by the Publix on Powers Ferry by 285 for supplies then headed to the room, where they unpacked their stuff and we started settling in.

I headed back out around 3:45 to get the last one as she had to change flights, and by that time the temperature had dropped significantly. I stepped out of the room and was immediately faced with what seemed like an arctic blast: I immediately had second thoughts on my choice of clothing but decided to just grin and bear it since the car has heat. I got to the airport and was greeted by a bear hug from my friend: things were definitely going to be great this year.
We headed to my car and started heading back to the hotel; however, at some point a text came across on the group text I put together for the weekend telling us to hit Micro Center for plug strips, so we had a slight detour before heading back to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel around 5:30 or so, and finally we could start the weekend in earnest.

After everyone had their stuff unpacked sufficiently we stepped next door to Cinco for dinner, making a stop at Total Wine for additional supplies: sadly that particular Total Wine only had wine and beer, so we planned to hit the package store near the Publix we went to, and Publix itself again, the next day. We finally wandered over to the Waverly at this point for people to pick up badges and for 3 of us to hit the MOGRA Halloween Party, which we stayed at until just before midnight when things started to get stupid.

The next morning, Friday, November 1, we all woke up in time for breakfast which typically doesn’t happen, but I guess we’re older and more responsible now? After breakfast we headed back to the room and got ready for the day. My choice of clothing this day actually worked: temperatures weren’t too cold so I was fine. Once everyone was ready we headed out to hit Publix and the package store then headed to the mall for lunch and a Costco run. We grabbed lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings before hitting up Costco: I remember getting dinner there on a cold, wet night 3 years ago during the con… Oh well. Once all this admin stuff had been taken care of we finally ventured over to the con and made a pass through the dealers room then wandered around before heading over to the mall around 8:30 to get dinner there. After that we headed back to the room,and chilled for a while before crashing.

Saturday morning rolled around and after breakfast we headed back to the room to get ready: I was actually fully cosplaying today, which made for a really fun day actually! Nobody wanted to take my picture, which I’m 100% okay with. Anyway, we made another pass through the dealer’s room, which was actually really packed so it was quite warm, so we escaped pretty rapidly and grabbed lunch from Subway and continued to wander before heading back to the hotel room to make dinner plans, which we settled on Maggiano’s at the mall for. I made a reservation on OpenTable at 6:30, so we left out around 6 and arrived at 6:20 or so. I was still in costume which lead to some hilarity: some randoms that were at the restaurant were staring at me trying to figure me out. I successfully confused normies: weekend made. After dinner we headed back to the con to wander a bit then headed back to the hotel for the night, but I couldn’t personally get in yet: there was a notice on my car that it would be towed. After I changed shirts I moved it over to the Galleria parking deck for the evening.

We were all a bit tired Sunday morning but were able to get breakfast again, and after we all got ready we headed over to the con to get my car and make one more run through the dealer’s room, then back to the hotel for a little while. I headed back over with one of my friends to do one final true pass through the dealer’s room, and we stopped by one of the food trucks that were posted outside the Waverly for a hot dog around 3 so we would last until dinner later that evening. After this we headed back to the room and killed time until dinner. Three of us went to the hotel bar to get drinks before dinner then were prompted around 7 if we were going for dinner. I replied “give us a sec” then we headed back to the room and over to the mall. We were planning on hitting Ted’s as is our tradition, but the wait was too long, so we headed over to Stoney River, where there was no wait. Good food and good drinks later we headed back to the room to prepack as we were checking out the next day.

I’m awoken around 4a Monday morning as the last arrival was the first to depart: her outbound flight was at 6a, so she grabbed an Uber to the airport. I rolled over and went back to bed. I woke up around 7 and proceeded to get ready. The others awoke not long after and we began the arduous process of cleanup after everyone was packed. After this we grabbed one of the luggage carts and took our stuff out to the car: one person’s luggage would not fit, and thankfully their flight was much later in the day. He dropped it at the front desk and we headed to the airport. We dropped the two first flights off and headed back to the hotel to fetch the last one’s luggage before heading to the Mall of Georgia for lunch. We got lunch at Smokey Bones then proceeded to walk around the mall and poke our head in a couple of stores: Character World and ThinkGeek. We didn’t see anything we couldn’t live without, so we left around 3 to head to the airport. I dropped my friend off, hit the head on the way out, then headed home, arriving around 6. Funny, a day off and I arrive home around the same time as I do on a work day. I emptied my suitcase and moved items back to my work backpack that I had taken with me then settled back into my chair and ate a light dinner. The weekend was over…

Something interesting happened on Monday: as I said before the weekend was euphoric as I’d stepped well outside of my comfort zone. I was on a big high all weekend and having to go back to “street clothes” brought me from way high to, well, really low. So low that when I made the pit stop at the airport I nearly broke down in tears. I managed to compose myself and headed back to the car to head home. I was a bit down the rest of that week and here, nearly two weeks later, I’m still a little down but getting better. Things will be just fine, and before I know it next year’s con season will be upon us…