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VenuePhoenix Marriott Mesa and Convention Center
Location(s)Mesa, Arizona
CountryUnited States
Most recent2009
Attendance1,200 in 2006
ActivityCosplay, AMV contest

AniZona was an annual anime convention based in Arizona that took place annually on Easter weekend (from Thursday to Sunday), hosted by AniZona Inc., a non-profit volunteer organization. The convention is no longer being run. The inaugural convention, also the first full-scale anime convention to be held in the state, occurred between March 25 and 27, 2005 at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix.[1]


Popular events included a Cosplay Contest, a Karaoke Contest, and an Anime Music Video Contest. AniZona featured numerous programming items involving voice actors in the anime industry, generally from North America, as well as webcomic artists, though the main Guest of Honor for the first convention was Yoshitaka Amano,[2][3] and at least one Japanese guest, manga artist Haruka Miyabi, has been confirmed by the convention for the third AniZona.[4] Sponsors have included distributors in the North American anime industry as well as local businesses in the Phoenix metropolitan area.[5]


The convention was founded by Anthony Grutta (who served as convention chair for the first year), David Hungerford, and Jason Bustard.[3] AniZona was the first convention dedicated to anime in the state. Although numerous small-scale anime and anime-related festivals had been held, there had not been any anime-specific conventions in Arizona.

After two years at the Embassy Suites Phoenix North, the third AniZona was held at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa and Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona, April 5–8, 2007. There is an attendance cap for the convention.[6] Pre-registration for AniZona 1 was capped at 800–850 attendees, although actual attendance was estimated at higher due to a limited number of at-the-door registrations sold.[7][8]

Event history[edit]

Dates Location Atten. Guests
March 25–27, 2005 Embassy Suites Phoenix North
Phoenix, Arizona
850Yoshitaka Amano, Katie Bair, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Aaron Dismuke, Nicole B. Gibson, Yaya Han, hide-san, Charles Dee Rice, and Travis Willingham.[2]
April 14–16, 2006 Embassy Suites Phoenix North
Phoenix, Arizona
1,200Katie Bair, David Beaty, Jodon Bellofatto, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Michael McConnohie, Melodee M. Spevack, Sonny Strait, and Greg Weisman.[9]
April 5–8, 2007 Mesa Convention Center
Mesa, Arizona
Raymond Abril III, Greg Ayres, Katie Bair, David Beaty, Jodon Bellofatto, Michael McConnohie, Haruka Miyabi, Kenyth Mogan, Yoko Molotov, Melodee M. Spevack, and Amanda Tomasch.[10]
March 21–23, 2008 Wigwam Resort
Litchfield Park, Arizona
CANCELLEDRichard Epcar, Chris Hazelton, Trish Ledoux, Natz, Ellyn Stern, Amanda Tomasch, Toybox, David Vincent, Toshifumi Yoshida[11]
April 9–12, 2009 Embassy Suites Phoenix - Scottsdale
Phoenix, Arizona


  1. ^ ""Anime Fans to Gather" Arizona Republic, March 31, 2005". Jacoby, Lars. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
  2. ^ a b "AniZona 2005 Information". Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  3. ^ a b "March 25–27: AniZona 2005". Senft, Michael (The Arizona Republic). Retrieved 2007-02-07.
  4. ^ "AniZona 3 Guest List". AniZona. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  5. ^ "AniZona 3 Sponsors". AniZona. Retrieved 2007-02-06.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Registration". AniZona. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  7. ^ "AniZona (ACML Yahoo Archive - Second Instance)". Hokanson, John. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
  8. ^ "AniZona (ACML Yahoo Archive)". Hokanson, John. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
  9. ^ "AniZona 2006 Information". Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  10. ^ "AniZona 2007 Information". Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  11. ^ "AniZona 2008 Information". Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  12. ^ "AniZona 2009 Information". Retrieved 2008-06-18.