Anime Detour 2008
Anime Boston 2008
Sogen Con 2007
Anime North 2007
Anime Boston 2007
Anime Detour 2007
Anime North 2006
Anime Detour 2006
Anime Boston 2007
At which I learned big cons can be fun.
Thursday, April 19
I do have internet access here at the con, but I haven't had time to get to this until now (I don't even have time now really, I'm in the back of the room at the fanfic C&C workshop, I'm being bad :3).
So Thursday afternoon I flew out here to Boston. aarana picked me up at the airport and then we headed over to the con hotel. After checking into our room and picking up my badge and stuff, we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (yum ^^). The hotel here is connected to the convention center, and also a mall (I pity those poor innocent shoppers), so everything's really conveniently close together and I don't mind so much that it's not a hotel con. After that we went back to the hotel room to burn DVDs of a certain "project" involving Sailormoon (it's not mine, so I won't name it, please don't be mad at me creator people >.>). I brought my PS2 but the TVs here have no AV hookups at all, so we watched anime on my laptop instead. I found out aarana had never seen Azumanga Daioh (gasp!) so we watched a few episodes of that until tmchiba and his GF arrived. Then... we watched one of the Sailormoon musicals. xD Ah, the heckling. There was much heckling. Late-night heckling, even. Good times. >3
Friday, April 20
Then, Friday! I was going to go to Opening Ceremonies but it was in the morning and I was just too tired (we were up until 4 AM @_@). When I finally met up with aarana we went to the Artists' Alley. I've decided I don't spend nearly enough money in places like that, so this time I made myself buy fun stuff. :D
The guy who did the FMA fanart has a webcomic I flipped through at his table that was really hilarious. Be warned, though, it's adult comedy. Sticky Floors
I picked up some small gifts for a certain trio... :3
After that it was time for tmchiba's first panel, "Cosplay Court Case." It was PACKED. There wasn't even a description for it in the program guide, since it was a last-minute addition that was almost turned down, and it was still full to the doors. tmchiba got a bunch of volunteers to be the accused, the judge, the baliffs and the lawyers on both sides. For the first case, the defendant was Sakura from Naruto. She was accused of murder (although that was pretty much forgotten, I don't even remember who the victim was supposed to be ^^;;), having hair that didn't make any sense and a headband that was bought at Hot Topic. xD
The first case went really well. Everyone was really energetic and into it. Lots of fun argument went on between the two sides, and people were in character and using their brains, always a plus. ;)
Lawyers for the defense:
Sakura had an adorable L plushie. I want one. ;_;
The judge (Hiei) and the prosecutors:
There were a couple executioners on hand to take care of the guilty parties. xD
Some guy insulted Hiei partway through and was put to death without a trial o.o
In the second case, Gaara was the accused:
A ton of people wanted to prosecute this guy. xD
Only L got up to defend him.
Unfortunately this case was pretty brief and uneventful, since most of the people got involved in the first one. ^^;; Overall, though, it was a fun event, and most of the people stayed for the whole thing. Big success. ^^
After the Cosplay Court Case panel, we hit the dealers' room. Good stuff was obtained. I haven't had a chance to take a picture of my whole haul yet, so I'll add that to a later post.
My panel, the Writer's Block, was at 5:30 PM. All my panelists showed up, which was one up on Chiba, he had to run his alone. ^^;; But the crowd was really small. We only got a couple dozen at most. Fortunately, those who did attend were really into it. We got plenty of questions, and I never had to resort to my prepared list. A good number of the topics I had in mind were brought up by audience members, too (original characters, crossovers, etc). We had a good variety of opinions on the panel, so despite the small audience I think it went really well. Everything went smoothly and I'm happy with it. :)
After that I hurried back to the hotel to get my laptop, and then it was back to the convention center for the Sailormoon panel at 7 PM. There were five of us on the panel - tmchiba, aarana, myself and two people I didn't know who I think were on the panel last year. We were in a huge room with a tech setup similar to Main Programming at Detour minus the lights, for those of you who go to AD, and it was nearly filled. It's really amazing how much staying power the Sailormoon fandom has. There were plenty of questions from the audience. One of the girls on the panel was really vocal and answered most of the questions (and in fact it seemed to me she got a bit irritated when I jumped in to answer some >.>) so I mainly just handled tech for our presentation, which was cool with me given the AD situation. Plus, it was my laptop we were using. :3 There was some iffyness while I reminded myself how to get stuff to show up on the projectors, but I got it sorted out before too long. So first we showed some of one of the musicals, and then some of the aforementioned Project that will remain unnamed, and then I ran some soundless video compilations aarana had put together while we did Q&A. At the end we distributed some goodies to the crowd, including the DVDs I had burned of the Project (which were really popular, and I plugged the YouTube uploads as well, so don't hate me unknown creator people >.>). It was a great panel. :D The Princess Kakyuu photo I posted in my first batch of pictures was taken at that panel.
Thennnn... umm... *resorts to program guide* oh yeah! The AMV contest was next. xD haha, it's already been a while... ^^;;
Went to see the AMVs. On the way we saw a ton of people in line for the Cherry Blossom Ball, a number of whom did not fit the advertised dress code. I wonder if they stuck to their guns on that.
There were several good AMVs in the contest, I'll go over those more when I talk about the winners in Saturday's report. The comedy section was really weak, though. I totally could've gotten in with my Azumanga video if I'd had it done in time. I've always thought I wouldn't have a prayer of getting into the big con contests, but maybe I'll try submitting something next time after all.
We were rather tired after that, so we pretty much went to bed right away.
Cosplay photos! :D
And the obligatory "Wrong con!" guy... but man, there are some AWESOME Jack Sparrow cosplayers here:
Saturday, April 21
Okay, on to The Big One. Saturday of the con. We got lots of sleep Friday night, which was nice. :)
The first event of the day was the Anime Dating Game, which I would've passed on had aarana not talked me into it. I'm glad she did, since it was great fun. Extremely popular, too. We barely got in; they cut off the line a couple dozen people after us.
The Anime Dating Game was similar to the Cosplay Court Case, with cosplayers playing the roles of their characters, but it was a scripted performance by a set cast. It was being run by several members of the Ouran High School Host Club. The first round had Sora from Kingdom Hearts as the bachelor. The girls were Hyatt, Lara Croft and Haruhi Suzumiya. You'll have to forgive the quality of these pictures, I was sitting at the back of the room and had to brighten them up with Photoshop. x_x
Everyone was in character as far as I could tell, and the acting was pretty good (although the portrayal of Haruhi was rather weak, unless she's a really flat character). Sora had plenty of in-character comments and questions, such as "If your heart got lost and had to hide somewhere, where would it go? Trust me, it's relevant." xDD In the end he ended up with Haruhi.
Who quickly summoned the rest of her club to capture him.
At the last minute Riku showed up and chewed Sora out for giving up on Kairi. xD
The bachelor in the second round was L, who had Light handcuffed to him.
I can't remember who the girls were, because I didn't know any of the characters. ^^;; Sakura from Naruto I believe... and some dark warrior woman from one of the FF games... and a pop idol from one of the Gundam series...? L ended up with the dark chick, but something came up and they couldn't be together, I can't remember what it was now.
Throughout this the Host Club had supposedly been planning to auction off some items after the game, but by the end the goods had mysteriously disappeared. It turned out the stuff had been stolen by a ninja, and was returned broken. So the ninjas had to promise to pay the damages during the Masquerade.
(Throughout the con there was a pirates vs. ninjas theme going on, FYI.)
When that was over we went to the Fanfiction C&C Workshop. (On the way there we passed the growing line for the Masquerade, people had started lining up around NOON. O_O) The guy running the workshop had wanted to be on my fanfic panel, but he had another panel during that time. So we went to check out his, and met up with tmchiba there. The guy did a very formal presentation (turns out he's a teacher) with some good tips on giving and receiving criticism. Speaking of criticism, though, when some people were disappointed to hear they had missed the regular fanfic panel the day before, he commented that if it had been called just plain "Fanfic Panel" instead of "The Writer's Block" more people would've known about it. Well, excuse me for trying to be a little creative. I'll be boring next time. :P (Personally, I think that's no excuse. When I go to a con I check for any events that might be fanfic-related. With "writer" right in the title... c'mon, people, use your brains.) Anyway, it was a workshop, and none of us really need help when it comes to giving concrit, so we left when he got to the group critiquing exercise part.
There was a bit of spare time then, so we went back to the hotel room for a bit, and then headed to the Masquerade. As panelists, we got to skip the line and go right in to a reserved area in the middle, four rows from the front. :3 It was AWESOME. We were right up front and we didn't have to wait in line all afternoon! :DDD With privileges like that, sitting through a long Masquerade is a treat! haha! Plus, we ended up sitting right in the middle of a bunch of the AMV editors whose work had been in the contest. I was reading the DS picto-chat over one guy's shoulder and watching them upload their videos to the org. xD
Okay, honesty time. In terms of costumes:
Boston > Detour
That's to be expected though, since Anime Boston is so much bigger. You're automatically going to get better cosplay there. Detour had some really awesome cosplayers, but Boston had more of them. It's a size ratio thing. (But to be fair, there were a few absolutely amazing costumes at Detour these past two years that nothing I saw at Boston came close to.)
However. In terms of the overall production:
Detour 2007 > Boston
Hands down. :D Not that the Boston Masq was bad, not at all, but it had some issues reminiscent of Detour '06, while Detour's Masq was incredibly smooth this year.
During seating they ran some amusing videos on the side screens on either side of the main stage. There was a guy in a banana suit interviewing congoers, and a bunch of "Dear Anime Boston" (fake most likely) Q&A tiles that were patterned after Adult Swim's bumps, plus the dos and don'ts of fandom, bad otaku pickup lines, etc. Very funny.
Then things got started... I'll try not to pick on individuals too much, but the Masquerade coordinator (?) practically radiated ego. She was cosplaying Riza Hawkeye (very well I might add), so I hope that had something to do with it. And then there was the emcee, who I have to admit was rather obnoxious. I know she probably had to stall for time on occasion, but it gave the impression that she was just babbling for fun. There was quite a bit of whining about her shoes, for example. Plus her dress was, uhm, very unflattering. >.>
Moving on, there were quite a number of tech issues. Microphones didn't work when they were supposed to and they kept switching them around, even when a judge was speaking (and the judges were never introduced to us), the wrong music was started during certain skits, and there were sound balance problems on several occasions. The head of tech was making announcements and things over the sound system from an unseen location, so the emcee was referring to him as the voice of God, which was fun and amusing until they revealed that the guy was standing just offstage. It ruined the whole effect. -_- He even came onstage at one point.
Anyway, on to the entries. Again please forgive these photos, I was able to take pictures okay without a flash but they're pretty washed out, and I totally forgot to use the "action" setting on my camera because I'm an idiot. -___-
This was a funny little skit of a FMA version of "Tool Time," with Alphonse in flannel and Winry giving Ed's auto-mail more power (he was later choked into unconsciousness by his own arm).
The obligatory dance skit from the Melancholy of You-Know-Who.
An Ouran High School Host Club skit involving love rivals and a cute prop.
Shinji being emo because he didn't get what he wanted for his birthday(?). It became a musical number about shoes, which unfortunately led into more shoe angst from the emcee. (You picked out your own clothes, lady. Grow up. -_-)
When Colonel Mustang was told he was getting some new, highly experienced soldiers, this wasn't what he had in mind. However, they are wearing miniskirts...
In this skit, a couple of brothers were having a duel involving summoning fighters (like Yugioh/Pokemon/etc), I didn't catch what series they were from. One chose Sora and the other chose Utena (whose costume was very nice, unfortunately you can't see it well here).
Utena's player thought her small sword wouldn't be a fair match for two keyblades, so he gave her something better...
I noticed there was a tendency for skits to have random background characters who didn't seem to do anything. They just stood off to the side until it was over. It happened in several skits, like people just added their friends on at the last minute or something. o_O
There was also a skit where two people fell backwards off the back of the stage. O_O There was sort of a dual fight-dance scene going on, and the back pair got too close to the back of the stage and fell through the curtain. The other half of the skit kept going to the end, but the whole audience was too shocked and worried to notice much of it. That stage was tall. That floor was concrete. After a while the emcee told us they were okay, but when they got an award later for grace under fire, they had all left to take care of their injured members... so who knows what the situation was there. Scary.
Of course, the best skit was the Tetris Ninjas, who weren't eligible for any awards since some of them were on staff. I took some pictures but it's much better to watch the video (try searching on YouTube).
During the judging break, there was supposed to be an official peace forged between the pirates and the ninjas. Throughout the con a ninja-pirate peace treaty was being signed by various ninjas and pirates. They brought it up on stage to have it finally signed by the head of the pirate side, Captain Jack Sparrow.
Once he had signed it, the ninjas unrolled it to reveal it was, in fact, a ninja recruitment scroll, and all the pirates had now signed up to be ninjas. xD
Something happened then involving the alchemists or someone owing a ton of money... I can't remember what the story was, but the Ouran High School Host Club showed up and resolved it by donating the money they were owed by the ninjas. Riza Hawkeye came on the scene then, and said the fighting between ninjas and pirates needed to end, and instead declared it open season on alchemists.
Ahh, now I remember. Roy Mustang used the Host Club's money to hire bodyguards for the alchemists. He finished by ordering everyone not to tell Ed there were bodyguards available. :3
After that, the AMV contest winners were announced and shown. Only some of the ones I voted for won, but for the most part I understood the differences. The drama video, for example, an Advent Children one, I appreciated a lot more the second time I saw it. Plus it was nice to see it without all the other ones using the same clips getting in the way of my brain. ^^;; There was a seemingly random roll of thunder in there, though, which I'm still not sure if it was left in on purpose or not. I think that's why I didn't vote for that one.
My action choice, a Naruto video, didn't win its category either, but it did get an award for best editing. I was glad it got something since even though I don't watch Naruto I could still appreciate the awesomeness of how it was cut together. One of the editors sitting near us called the creator on his cell so she could come get her award. xD
The comedy winner was one I was totally expecting. The guy was sitting next to us. I downloaded it as soon as it appeared on the org. The guy's other video, an entry in the fun/other category, didn't win its category... but that was okay since it won Best in Show. :DD I cheered and clapped so much my hands hurt. xD The romance winner was very nice too.
As a further stall tactic, they showed a fan video made from Halo footage (at least I think it was Halo, there were also signs it may have been original CGI). Very impressive editing and design, but it was totally some gamer's wet dream. >.>
Finally, the Masquerade awards were given. First they showed a video of the hall cosplay contestants before announcing those awards. While the video was showing a bunch of ninjas got up on stage and started dancing around. Funny, but pretty distracting and therefore rude. Fortunately the voice of God ordered them to get off.
The awards took FOREVER. There were endless pauses while they waited for people to get to the stage. By the end, most of the crowd had wandered out. You know, I'll never understand the Saturday Masq congoers. They show up just for Saturday, they wait in line for half the day, and then they leave as soon as the skits are done. WTF is up with that??
A couple more costume pictures I took during the awards.
Boston had a creepy Silent Hill nurses dance skit too.
At the end when everyone was leaving, the banana suit guy got up on stage and started rocking out to Peanut Butter Jelly Time, with the dancing banana graphic playing on both screens. xD
There wasn't much going on after the Masq, so we went back to the room, watched some AMVs and some more Azumanga Daioh, and then went to sleep.
Miscellaneous cosplay pics from Saturday:
Sunday, April 22
Sundays at cons are always the slow days. Everything's winding down, people are leaving, there's not much going on... but for some reason I didn't get that depressed empty feeling I usually get at the end of cons. Maybe because I didn't feel like there was anything missing, maybe because Detour was last month and Anime North is next month so I won't have to wait long for another con... xD
Sunday morning did come way too soon after being up until 4 AM again watching Azumanga. x_x After checking out of the hotel and dropping off our stuff at the bag check (yay bag check!) we had another wander around the dealer's room. I picked up a few odd volumes of things I'd been missing, so now I can finally read and watch those unfinished series I'd had lying around. :D
After that we headed into the Artists' Alley again. I had about $20 left, so I decided to buy all the original comics I could afford. I figure, that's what these people are really hoping to sell, and that's what they have the hardest time selling. And who knows, it might be really good. Plus the artists get so happy when you buy their original work, it's fun to be nice to them. ^____^ I haven't read any of the comics yet, since I've been rereading FMA, but I'm looking forward to it.
Let's see, what else did we do... We watched a bit of the cosplay chess, but there was a lot of extra skit stuff going on, including Part 3 of the whole pirates/ninjas/alchemists/shinigami thing (an Ed came running in at one point pursued by half a dozen ninjas), and it was over half an hour past the start time and the game STILL hadn't started. We weren't really into it so we left.
We were going to wander around the city a little bit but I wasn't feeling well (sorry aarana ;_;) so we stuck near the con. I did actually step outside for a while, though. Outside air! A rare con experience! ;D I think if I go to AB again, I'll schedule a couple extra days to actually check out Boston a bit.
We also wandered up to GameStop because we both decided we had to be in on the pictochat next time. xD And man. When we got there, the guys told us they'd started the weekend with 30 DSs in each of the four colors, and they were down to about five pink ones. That was all they had left. The con practically cleaned them out. o.o;;
Not much else to say about Sunday. I can't remember if we peeked into any other events, but as far as I remember there wasn't much of interest going on.
aarana was kind enough to drop me off at the airport (screw Boston public transit, man, if go to AB again and don't have a ride I'm springing for the hotel shuttle), and on the flight home I got my first good look at the ocean. Back in Minnesota we had to land through clouds and I got my first taste of serious turbulence. Whee. But, obviously, it was all okay in the end. :)
A couple of lousy cosplay chess pics:
The ONLY Mooninite cosplayer I saw all weekend. I was so disappointed. I thought they'd be everywhere.
And one last cosplay group.