Anime Detour 2008
Anime Boston 2008
Sogen Con 2007
Anime North 2007
Anime Boston 2007
Anime Detour 2007
Anime North 2006
Anime Detour 2006
At which I made a few steps further into fandom.
Friday, August 10
Cosplay is so more trouble than it's worth. Following a night of frantic work, I slept for a whole two hours before dragging myself out of bed to get ready for the con. I packed up just about all the supplies I had, which was a heck of a lot of stuff - I needed materials for the dress and the staff and the wig, since all three were incomplete, plus the items themselves. I've never brought so much stuff to a con. After I finally finished loading up the car I got on the road around eleven.
It's a five-hour drive to Iowa City, and wow is it ever boring. It's amazing I managed to do it without dozing off and crashing, after only two hours of sleep. I got here around 4:30 yesterday afternoon and checked into the hotel. I got a one-bed room instead of the standard kind, but since I ended up being all by myself it's no big deal. I'm next to what's essentially the volunteer consuite, but since it's mainly staff people in there, again, no big deal. The hotel is brand-new, built all by itself at the end of a street that's bound to end up in the middle of assorted commerce-y stuff in a few years. Everything about it is very nice. The rooms have fancy flat-screen TVs that easily connect up to any kind of external system, but it's convinced me I never want a widescreen TV. It stretches everything out to widescreen (even movies already being shown in widescreen!) so the image quality drops like a rock and everything's kind of distorted. Plus the sound is really uneven.
Anyway. It took three trips to get all my stuff up to the room. I saw Craig (Oklahoma) in the parking ramp, but he was a bit preoccupied with a dropped-PC crisis, so I didn't butt in. I did run into rhythmellon later at the elevators. After "moving in" I picked up my registration stuff. At that point the bulk of the line was for non-prereged people, so I was in and out of there in only a few minutes. Then I screwed my staff prop together and went down to the Bridge to have it and the anti-ego sword tagged. And then I was all set.
The con itself... is kinda bla. Fortunately for me, in a way, there wasn't really anything of interest going on, so I had no problem sticking to my room for the evening and working like crazy on my cosplay. I sewed the bun of my wig to the wig cap and then got to work on the dress. I'd totally messed up the upper edge, so I had to rip some of that seam out and then sew the shoulder straps back in by hand. Plus I had to attach the decorative bits, which I'll probably replace later since I had to make cheap ones at the last minute out of sub-quality material. And the top of the staff had come loose in the car, so I had to reglue it.
I meant to go to Opening Ceremonies, but I was making good progress on the costume so I skipped it. I did take a break to see the beginning of Lucky Star, though. I'd heard a lot about it and wanted to check it out. It was amusing, but didn't really grab me, so I left after the first two episodes. I also saw an episode of Lovely Complex, which was playing before Lucky Star started, the video rooms were already running well behind schedule last night and it seemed to be all automated so there was no catching up. :|
Then I went out and grabbed some food at McDonalds, and stayed up until my costume was finished enough to be useable. The last 10% of the costume is really half-assed, I'll need to redo some things before I wear it again. I probably should've let it go until Sogen... but I'd told so many people I was going to do this, I didn't want to let everyone down. Especially my dad, to be honest. ^^; He's really the main reason I stuck with it. ^^;; Particularly after I tried on the wig and saw how silly it looked. I really don't have a good face for Pluto. -_-;;
So that was Friday. Pretty much the same as my other cosplay madness days, just in another state. -_-
Saturday, August 11
After another sadly brief night of sleep, I got up early Saturday morning to get dressed, since I'd never done cosplay before and had no idea how long it would take, and I didn't want to miss the AMV contest at 10:30. Again, way more trouble than it's worth. Had to tie up my hair, wrestle a wig cap on, stick on the Pluto sign, put on makeup, get the dress etc on and finally the wig, which still tangles like whoa, I don't want to imagine the state it would be in if I hadn't used that Motions spray on it. What a pain.
Lots of things about cosplay are a pain, really. It's hard to carry stuff around. It's hard to take pictures with gloves on. Wigs tangle and slip and hurt. Props are awkward. I'm glad I'm only doing this one day. Notes to self... the gloves I bought are crap. I need new ones that are nicer and longer. The strapless bra's gotta go. It has underwire and it HURTS LIKE WHOA after sitting for an hour. I need more hairpins.
Cosplay sure makes you stand out, which definitely takes some getting used to. No matter what kind of costume you're wearing, there's no blending in. For the most part I just tried not to think about it. It's good as well as bad... I can see how you'd make friends at cons much easier doing cosplay. People are a lot more eager to chat with you. ^^
My staff is made of awesome. :D Rough as it is, I still got tons of compliments on it, which is as it should be. The costume was just an excuse to make the staff anyway. :3 I got some positive comments on the wig and dress, too. And a couple of dozen photo requests, something else I'll try to avoid thinking too much about. God, I hate pictures. x_x It's still flattering to be asked, though. :)
It didn't take as long as I feared to get dressed, but I did miss the first couple of AMVs in the contest, as well as the handout of the ballots. So I sat over on the side without any clue how many videos there were or if mine was even in there. I was getting pretty worried toward the end. There were a ton of serious videos. A TON. By about halfway through, I have to admit I was getting pretty darn bored. The videos were pretty good but you can only take so much drama and action. When I resorted to texting my sister ^^; my video finally ran. And it got a lot of laughs, and the image quality was much nicer thanks to the AMV.org tutorial I tried, so I was very happy with how it went. Unfortunately the PPG-Z showing I'd been hoping to check out was during the contest, so I missed it. :\
After that was a brief AMV editors meetup, and I briefly ran into rhythmellon again. Then I got something to eat... and that was about it for a loooong time. Nothing interesting was going on, again. I'm one of the few people who go to cons for the programming, and sadly there's very little on the menu here that interests me. :\ And they don't allow large props in the dealer's room, so I have yet to go there or to the AA or the art show. I didn't want the hassle of going there in my costume anyway. And I couldn't really volunteer, either, with the costume obnoxiousness. So I bummed around for a while taking pictures of people and getting pictures taken of me, and then I finally went back to my room and took a nap for a couple of hours.
By the time I got up and put my wig etc back on, I was too late for the beginning of the Great Debate (essentially the alternative to the Masq, which I was not going to sit through in my obnoxious costume). I'd told Pyrolord I'd go to his AMV showing thing, but as it turned out I couldn't find it, so I ended up at the Great Debate anyway. Good stuff. It was kind of like improv, but in a pseudo-debate format. Questions were drawn from a bucket (I think the audience submitted them) and the people up front had to debate the question while following a silly rule, also drawn at random. "Switch" cards were also traveling around the audience, giving spectators the power to take the place of one of the debators for the next question. It was very amusing.
When that ended, I wandered over toward Main Programming where they apparently let everyone out of the Masq during the judging. They were calling everyone back in to announce the winners, so I slipped in to see the awards. When I saw the winners I was really glad I hadn't entered. There was a lot of first-class work up there, even among the beginners.
When I got out of there, Pyrolord found me and asked who the AMV contest winners were. Apparently they were announced during the Masq, but since I only slipped in at the end, I didn't hear them. One of the contest organizers found us there and told us, however. And, um. I won. Best Comedy - and Best in Show. Ehee. ^^; So, um, I suppose I'd better get this thing uploaded, ne? ^^;;
OMG I WON! SQUEE! I've never won anything for an AMV before! How cool! ^_____^ And there were categories this year, so I don't have to feel guilty that I only won because mine was a comedy, as tends to happen with general-pool contests. I suppose I shouldn't enter it at Boston now, though... ^^;;
And that was that. The video rooms are all hopelessly behind schedule so trying to watch anything specific was out of the question. So after chatting with Oklahoma a bit I went back to my room, got out of my costume, ordered pizza and watched Paprika via the in-room movies. I'd been wanting to see it but I had work the weekend it was in town. Crazy stuff, man. Good, but crazy. (omg marching refrigerators!) I gave the rest of the pizza to the staffers next door. :)
Sunday, August 12
On Sunday I mostly wandered around the dealers room and Artist's Alley. After packing up my car and checking out of my room I left my staff prop at the bag check (Wonderflex can soften if left in a hot car) and headed into the Money Trap of Doom. It was one big room with dealers at the front and back and the Alley running through the middle.
I spent way too much in there, because in contrast to Anime North, there were tons of original comics in the Alley. Many of them were professionally bound $10 volumes, so picking up all of those ran me through about half of my cash. I did get a good amount of assorted fun stuff, though. More about that at the bottom of this post.
Something very cool and entirely unexpected did happen in the dealers room. I was walking past a booth when I noticed the banner on its side - Hammergirl Anime. Hardly daring to believe it, I turned back and asked a couple of the folks working there if they really were the store from New York started by the batch of friends including one of my favorite webcomic artists. They were. They directed me to the artist, who was running the cash register. So he got to be weirded out by a complete stranger handing him some Mai-HiME figures to buy and asking "So... are you Luke?" xD
He was! The artist of one of my two favorite webcomics, Dub This! I even have a pin he sent me with a sketch when the comic was running. And when I reminded him of the dozen DT! wallpapers I'd made a while back, he knew who I was from his old forum! ^_____^ That was so amazing. He would've drawn me something new but the store was super busy raking in the cash (w00t for them). I'd always planned on stopping by the store if I ever got out to New York state, but I never expected to find them out here in Iowa. It's good to see the store's doing well enough that they're able to go out to cons and things.
After all that I sort of bummed around for a while, and then decided to join the line for the last autograph session to get some more signatures on the anti-ego sword. I got in line right before the session started, but those things move slow, so I was waiting a looooong time. Several times I almost decided to give up, but I stuck it out... only to have the line cut off by staff half a dozen people in front of me. Someone gave us all numbers and told us the session would continue after closing ceremonies, but as soon as the con closed everyone scattered, so that was a total waste. Oh well, there's always Detour.
Closing ceremonies was a lot of rambling and thanking that I couldn't hear because the sound in main programming was terrible. I did catch that the con finally broke 2000 attendees, but other than that all I got were the guests' final remarks, since voice actors don't need microphones. All the guests were given ears of corn as parting gifts. xD The Ayres brothers had way too much fun with theirs, unsurprisingly. xDD Unfortunately my camera was already in the car.
After closing, Chris Ayres was showing a preview of the first episode of the Xenosaga anime, so I decided to stick around. There were endless technical difficulties getting it going and keeping it going, so by the time I finally drove out of there it was 7:00. I didn't get home until after midnight, but fortunately I'm working nights again this week, so no problem. :)
And that was the end of AnimeIowa. I'm on the fence about going again.
Random pics! For some reason I didn't take any pictures of people I actually know, I don't really know why.
Tentacle monster! xD
Forgive the funky lighting here, it's the only way I could get the coat to show up properly. A lot of the lighting in the hotel was horrible.
I didn't see the Masq, so I don't know what's up with the Bert and Ernie here, but the costumes were fabulous.
Try as I might I couldn't get this pic balanced out so you could see the costume and her face at the same time. So here's the costume first, the best I could make it, it was night at this point and the lighting was even worse at night. The orb at the top of her staff actually lit up.
And here's one with extreme brightness so you can see the girl's face.
SUPER BONUS! The awesome Kohaku River group from Anime Detour was there, so I was able to get a good picture! This thing looks absolutely amazing on stage. I can't remember if I wrote about it anywhere, but the head's on wheels so the group's Chihiro can sit on it, and the rest of the body is carried by people underneath like a Chinese dragon with the soot ball creatures attached to their legs.
More bad lighting. :|
And now the goodies :3
Lots of comics by the AA artists. I also got a couple of Noir DVDs, and I'm really getting into figurines lately. My sister and I had a lot of fun opening and assembling them when I got home, I'll take a picture of those once I've got them set up in a good area. I got Mikoto, Midori, Natsuki, Mustang, Alphonse, and four Kirbys (two to a box). The Porco Rosso plush is for my sister.