Wednesday, September 2, 2015
The second annual Anime Getaway Jackson may be a celebration of entertainment and culture coming to Mississippi by way of Japan, but the convention itself originated in Memphis, Tenn. George Min, owner of Japanese pop-culture store Animax, created Anime Getaway about five years ago. Memphis native Amanda Morley has been with the organization since the beginning. While shopping at Animax shortly after turning 18, she overheard Min discussing his vision for the event, and she wanted in.
"From then on, I helped with advertising, answering emails and stuff like that, and I just kind of stayed with them," she says. "Then, a little over a year ago, we decided to branch out and take anime conventions to areas that don't necessarily have many to choose from. We thought Jackson was an area that could benefit from an anime convention."
Now, Morley serves as the chairperson for Anime Getaway Jackson, which saw more than 600 visitors in 2014. This year, she says they're expecting close to 1,000 attendees, thanks in part to the variety of artists, craftsmen, vendors and featured guests. Fans may recognize voice-actress Caitlin Glass for her work on hit anime shows such as "Fullmetal Alchemist" and "Attack on Titan." The guest list also includes Tupelo-based YouTube stars Cinnamon Toast Ken, whose video-game channel has more than two million subscribers, and Super Mary Face, an Australian-born model and cosplayer with more than 263,000 subscribers.
Panels and live-action roleplaying battles are a plus, of course, but Morley says the real benefit of events like Anime Getaway is more personal.
"I love comic conventions, I need to say, but it's all in one room—the dealers, the panels, all of it. It's open," she says. "But with anime cons, you get to know the people. You really get to sit down and connect."
Anime Getaway Jackson is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Regency Hotel and Conference Center (400 Greymont St., 601-969-2141). Admission is $10. For more information, visit animegetaway.com.