Did I not do a post about 2013? My bad!
So Dark_Sage did not like this convention two years ago, and I did. How was it this year?
I got up to the hotel at 11am, after a horrible drive through a blizzard that had descended overnight. This wasn’t made any better by the fact that I had minor in-office surgery on Thursday morning and was still in pain on Friday. Anyway, I didn’t manage to get a room in the same hotel as the con, but I did have the room all to myself this year, which was a first! I quickly dressed up and took a selfie with my iPhone, which seemed to have turned into a potato, before rushing down to catch the shuttle.
The hotel I was running in was supposed to be running shuttles every half hour to the convention hotel, but for some reason, this wasn’t really happening, and I waited from 11:46am to close to 1pm before I was able to catch a shuttle over. As such, I missed the first set of panels, which began at 12:30pm. I browsed the artist alley, where I bought a helix fossil and a bunch of buttons before moving on to the next set of panels.
2pm – Nobody Watches this Anime
A friend of mine was running this, and he can be a pretentious twat. The first two anime he brought up were gdgd fairies and Redline (both of which I had seen), and both of the clips he showed were over 5 minutes long, so I just left to browse the dealer’s room, where I bought some stuff.
3:30pm – Gundam: A Social Commentary
There was literally nothing else at this timeslot. I’ve only seen the first half of Gundam Seed, since that’s all sage subbed of the remaster, so I was really hoping for some great philosophical discussion to inspire me to watch more. Instead, we got plot summaries and character quirks of every little side story, which got super old really fast. I spent the entire time reading the liner notes inside of the CDs that I bought.
5pm – Sie Sind das Essen und wir sind die Panel
Oh, my god. This was fucking hilarious. The entire cast was represented by cosplayers, pretty much, and they answered questions from the audience in-universe. Apparently, Connie and Sasha are going to run away and have lots of babies to run a bakery where Sasha can eat potatoes all day. Who knew? Also, they played “Pin the shape on the Titan” where blindfolded cast and audience members tried to pin a random visual effect (like a starburst or something) on a titan’s weak spot. Eren, in a fit of Eren-ness, actually pulled the whole poster down on his turn. Oh, and there was a zombie-Marco in the audience who went all emo. And they talked about how you could never play Marco Polo with Marco because he was too stupid.
(From L to R, top row: Mikasa, Eren, Armin, Annie, don’t know x 4, Sasha, Connie, don’t know. Bottom row: Don’t know x 2, Jeann, Hanji, Levi)
I then had some time to kill since although the next set of panels began at 6:30pm, I wanted to go to something at 7pm. I attended the “Swap Your Fandom Loot” flea market-like thing and met up with a few friends. When I mentioned that the CDs I bought in the dealer’s room seemed to look like bootlegs (they were apparently made in the USA, not Japan, and had typos everywhere), they helped me do some research to figure out that they were indeed legit.
7pm – Q&A with Sato Dai
So this is the first year they had a guest of honor I actually cared about. Usually, it’s all been American voice actors, but this time, they brought a scriptwriter from Japan. His first anime script was Cowboy Bebop, his most famous is Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and his most recent is Space Dandy. He had a translator with him, so we didn’t get to ask him very many questions, but what we did hear from him was awesome. People kept asking about Ghost in the Shell, of course, so one of the things he mentioned was how he used JD Salinger’s novels as inspiration; he wanted to try and bring a more modern setting to the classic works. When someone asked him about working with Kanno Yoko, he said, “She’s cute, but she can be really scary!”
8pm – Yuri Club
I literally ran from the ballroom to the other side of the hotel, where I was co-hosting this year’s yuri panel with a few others (for the fourth straight year). We talked a lot about Sakura Trick, of course, but we were also asked to talk a bit about a few other titles: Strawberry Panic, Simoun, Morinaga Milk’s manga Girlfriends, Kill la Kill, Kiniro Mosaic, and Yuru Yuri. There might have been others, but I can’t remember. Overall, a lot of fun.
9:30 – Otaku Speed Dating: Gay/Lesbian
Because I’m sick of being single, I headed to this panel after having not managed to go to it the prior three years. It was a total clusterfuck. We had about 30 women, but things got messed up and I only managed to talk to about 2/3 of them, even though we had an hour total to spend one minute talking to each person. The results were available an hour later, and I had five total mutual “yes” votes.
I had planned on going to Anime You Should See Before You Die at 11pm and Most Ridiculous Anime Deaths at 12:30am, but I figured that I had probably seen all of the ones they would talk about in the first panel, and I probably didn’t want to see the ones in the second panel, so I skipped them and had a drink in a 21+ party before making it back to the hotel by 11:30 to crash.
Friday’s cosplay haul:
Tidus from FFX
Pre-Jaded Homura and Prince Kyubey
One of many Morrigans I saw.
Whats-her-face from Kyoukai no Kanata
Shinku from Rozen Maiden
Kiryuiin Satsuki, Matoi Ryuuko, and Makunshoku Mako or whatever her name is from Kill la Kill
So I let myself sleep in a bit Saturday morning. I figured by the time I get my cosplay on and catch the shuttle over to the con, I’d have wasted a lot of time, anyway, so why not try to get the most out of it by sleeping in? So I did. Here was Saturday’s outfit.
10:30am – Classical Music in Anime
I was actually running a music panel later in the day, so I was nervous that I’d be stepping on some toes. I soon found out that we were going to be approaching the concept in completely different ways. The two professors who ran this panel told us about the composers that originally wrote the music centuries ago that appeared in various anime as background music. It was perfect to sit and drink coffee to!
I didn’t have anything at the 12pm slot, so I took an elevator to the gaming floor, which was at the very top, floor 22. There, I met up with Aetheron, who helps those of us working on the FFF-Underwater joint for Saki: Zenkoku-hen. I played mahjong for awhile with his tiles before I had to run my first panel of the day.
1:30pm – Deja Vu: Haven’t I Seen this Anime Before?
OMEX YOU FUCKING ABANDONED ME I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU. But for soloing this, I think it went pretty well. The room was full, so I’m guessing like 200 or so in the audience? Usually my panels only get like 30-50; even the yuri panel didn’t get over 100. Anyway, I talked about cliches for awhile and then led a fun game. Someone filmed the whole thing, but I don’t see it on Youtube or anything, so I don’t know if you guys will be able to see the fun game I led. Oh, everyone loved the game! I’ll definitely have to do it again next year. Thanks to the guys in #evetaku for helping me think of anime to put in the game!
After that, I went to play more mahjong, but found that we had enough people for two tables. So instead of playing for the whole time, I taught some newcomers at one table while Aetheron taught other newcomers at another table. It ate up three more hours, so it must have been fun, right?
6pm – The Universal Language of Music
I ran this panel, too. I must have talked really fast, though, because I swear my Powerpoint was like barely under an hour and I finished 15 minutes early. Anyway, I discussed music in three capacities: as soundtracks, as OPs and EDs, and as plot devices, and in the end, I gave this gigantically long list of anime that is about music broken down into categories like “bands”, “idols”, “instruments”, etc.
7:30pm – You’ve Been SHAFTed 2014
I think this is going to be my last year running this one, since it’s my third time. I pretty much talked about everything that aired in the past year that SHAFT produced and showed some clips and had people discuss them if they saw them. It was okay, I guess.
I then went to play more mahjong until they kicked us out of the gaming room at midnight. Afterwards, I really wanted to go get a drink, but I had the worst time trying to find one. The room party that my friends from anime club were hosting closed at midnight, and the room party next door ran out of alcohol before I made it over. Luckily, another room party was secretly serving alcohol in the back, so when they offered me water and I said, “I was hoping for something a little more happy,” they carded me and gave me some weird fizzy cherry thing that was kind of nasty. But I got to see a guy cosplayed as a dakimakura, so that was pretty entertaining. He asked me, “Have you hugged your imouto-chan yet today?” to which I replied, “I haven’t,” and gave him a hug. I tried to catch the 12:40am shuttle back to my hotel, but it never came, and the 1:10am shuttle filled up before I managed to get in. I tracked down Aetheron, since he was staying at the same hotel as I was, and he gave me a ride back. Fansubbers stick together, yo!
Saturday’s Cosplay Haul:
Madoka was still so popular.
Couldn’t manage to get Zelda’s attention, so I snapped this as she walked out of the consuite.
Lightning and Serah from FFXIII-2
Another Madoka and pre-Jaded Homura. BTW, this Madoka wore the same dress all three days of the con.
OMG LOOK AT HOW CUTE THEY ARE!!!!!
This is a guy friend of mine cosplaying as Yomiko Readmen from Read or Die. The sword is made out of $1 bills.
Everyone’s favourite mind-fucker from Danganronpa. I couldn’t make either of the Danganronpa panels, but if you want to watch them, they’re here: here and here. Both of them are “panelists dress up as the cast and answer questions”, so they’re hilarious if you like that sort of thing, like I do.
Lenne from FFX-2. She said she had a Yuna, but I was too busy running to and from panels to find them later for a picture of the two of them.
The most kawaii Haruhi you will ever see.
…Yeah I was too busy playing mahjong to get pictures.
I did not cosplay on Sunday, so I checked out of the hotel at 10am and drove myself over to the con hotel. Not waiting for the shuttle was so very nice.
10:30am – Gender Inclusive Game Design
…oh, boy. So this guy who has worked for an indie company for like 8 years led this panel. The moral was “there are always going to be big-breasted, scantily-clad women in video games, so ignore it and get into the industry to change things”. So many women got pissed off and left, but I stuck around just to see if he amended his statement. He didn’t.
I wanted to play some mahjong, but Aetheron was busy leading other games (he had led a 29-person game of Wereworlf, which is like Mafia on IRC, the night before while we were playing mahjong). I walked around the dealer’s room for awhile to see if I could buy anything else, but the Madoka wall clock I was kind of on the fence about had sold out. A few of us went down to the lobby and played Channel A (not A-Channel), which is an amazing party game for otaku. I think it’d be hilarious to play over IRC, but I doubt anyone’s made a web version.
3pm – The Mikage Seminar
I go to this panel every year, but this is the last year they’re running it. We just talked about Utena a lot.
4:30pm – How to be a Real Life Magical Girl
This was a great closing panel. The two panelists, Madoka and Homura, gave out candy to everyone who had any input whatsoever. At first, they compared magical girls to modern-day celebrities and talked about the whole “transforming into a different person” and “making people happy” aspect before asking us to make our own comparisons. A lot of people through out characters from Western television before someone piped up, “My mom is a magical girl to me,” to which we all awww’d, and then I added, “Teachers are magical girls, too,” and we all awww’d again. It was so fluffy and cuddly. We then had a smackdown where two people from the audience picked non-magical girl characters from anime and television and tried to argue their case. We had epic rounds like Vash the Stampede vs. Phoenix Wright and Naruto vs. Joe Joestar.
And then I went home and ate half price sushi at a local restaurant here in town. The drive back home was perfect, all 70 minutes of it. I always take my iPad in to play mahjong at the sushi place, so they all recognized me when I came in, and I talked with one of the younger waitresses about the difference between Chinese rules (which she knows) and Japanese rules (which I know) before my food came:
Sunday’s Cosplay Haul:
One of many versions I saw of Kirito and Asuna from SAO.
Lelouch and CC from Code Geass
Sayaka, Kyouko, Homura, and Kyubey from Madoka
The first witch in Madoka
Utena at the Utena panel. I saw a Miki wandering around and figured I’d get his picture at the panel. He didn’t attend.
Matoi Ryuuko and I don’t even fucking know from Kill la Kill
The only Tomoe Mami I saw that bothered to do the hair right
BONUS CONTENT JUST FOR CRYMORE!