› What: Anime Blast Chattanooga
› Where: Chattanooga Choo-Choo, 1400 Market St.
› When: Friday-Sunday, Nov. 10-12
› Admission: $25 Friday, $30 Saturday, $20 Sunday, $45 three-day pass
› For more information: animeblastchattanooga.com
Sports and politics may dominate many social scenes, but the seventh annual Anime Blast Convention lets geeks and cosplay fans know they're not alone, says Anime Blast co-director Michael Miller.
Nearly 2,000 people are expected at the convention in the Chattanooga Choo Choo on Friday-Sunday, Nov. 10 - 12. Many attendees live in the surrounding region, but some are traveling from as far away as California and even Canada, says Miller.
"This is a chance to meet like-minded people," says the 33-year-old anime fan and event organizer.
Miller says he saw a need for the convention while growing up in the 1990s, when people didn't have internet in their homes and it was hard to connect with other youth who appreciated Japanese culture and cartoons.
"What I love about anime conventions is you can go to them and you may not know anything about the other person but you know that you already have a similar interest," he says.
This convention has the theme Lucky 7 and includes a cosplay costume contest, vendors, Night Sabers "nerd pop band," and an artist alley, where artists may display their work.
At the request of past attendees, the convention will hold its first Anime Blast Diamond Ball on Friday evening. There's also a less formal dance on Saturday night.
Celebrity guests attending include Los Angeles-based voice actor Robbie Daymond. He's the voice of Peter Parker on Disney XD's "Spider-Man."
For the first time, organizers will feature an animator who resides in Atlanta: Allyssa Lewis, who did animation on more than 75 episodes and promos of FX's Emmy-winning series "Archer." She also produced content for NBC's "30 Rock" and Animation Domination.
"This is kind of a treat for us because a lot of times we talk about animation but don't get to talk with the people who actually do animation," says Miller.
The event also includes voice actor Chris Patton, whose credits include Shizumu in "Wizard Barristers" and Rentaro in "Black Bullet." And it has Greg Wicker, known as Greggo, who produces and hosts anime-themed versions of several classic game shows across the country.
Admission for the three-day event is $45. A one-day pass is $25 for Friday, $30 for Saturday and $20 on Sunday. Having a pass allows the holder to attend all panel discussions, dances and activities for that day. There is a $10 additional charge for people who want to eat at Maid and Butler Cafe.
For more information: animeblastchattanooga.com.