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 North 2007
At which I finally got my foot in several doors.
Thursday, May 24
I actually got going on time on Thursday, yays. :D Michigan is a lot like Minnesota. Driving through there reminds me a lot of my trips north at home. Ry was off doing last-minute preparation errands when I got to her house, so I had to wait a bit, but not too long. When she arrived I moved my stuff to her car and we were off.
We made good time, since Ry is a serious speed demon (;P). But the border crossing into Canada was the single most unpleasant such experience of my life, even over last year's return to the U.S. (which previously held that title). I've never seen or heard of a Canadian border guard questioning anyone so intensely. Weird questions, too. Seriously, what kind of question is "What are you bringing into Canada?" Um, clothes? And then she didn't even check our paperwork. Weirdness.
Canada is forever, too. For such a seemingly short distance from the border to Toronto it sure takes ages to cross it. There were a few traffic slow spots but we got to the hotel earlier than I made it last year, checked in (free warm cookies yum) and proved what huge geeks we are by immediately taking advantage of the wireless internet when we got to our room. ^^;; Then it was off to the pre-reg line downstairs. kats_kradle came and found us in line, but I refused her offer of line-jumping (:P), so we waited there a while. mechaboydos wandered over at some point and I was able to give him the 4chan button I'd bought for him at Anime Boston.
Once we picked up our prereg stuff, I stopped by the weapons master to get licensed to carry the Project of Doom... which I suppose I might as well show you all now...
The story is, last year before I met Chaos for the first time he was warning me about his rampaging ego, so I wanted to create these to defend myself. xD Unfortunately I couldn't get the blank sword and shield until the Ren Fest the following fall. So I made them for this year instead, and they'll be part of my standard con gear from now on.
After all that we went to dinner with some of the Fanboys crew. Ry is awesome. :D She's such a friendly and cool person, and way better at getting along with strangers than me. ^^;; It was great to see her having a good time. And great to see Kats and Dos again too, and some of the other folks I remembered from last year.
I was with Ry, so after dinner we had to go to a late/early showing of Pirates 3. xD When we got back to the hotel it was around 3 AM, so it was bedtime. And that was the end of the pre-con excitement.
Friday, May 25
Thursday night we'd gone to the movie at midnight, and the con didn't start until 5 PM Friday, so we slept in really late, until noon or so. That was really nice, I'd been living on 5-6 hours of sleep per night over the previous week so it was refreshing to be able to sleep well for once. As I recall we lazed around on the internet etc before taking showers and heading over to Perkins for a late breakfast. I left the anti-ego gear in the hotel room on Friday, I hadn't figured out yet how exactly I was going to carry it and decided to wait for Saturday when I knew I'd be seeing Chaos.
At 5 PM the con started and we went to the Sailormoon panel. It turned out Chaos was on that panel, whoops, I didn't have my gear, but no biggie.
After the organized awesomeness of Anime Boston's Sailormoon panel, I have to admit I was disappointed in Anime North's, but I'm pretty biased for obvious reasons. ^^;; And I'd forgotten how disorganized AN panels in general tend to be. On the positive side, discussion was freer this year, without the panel organizer butting in every few minutes to force the panelists on to another one of her scripted questions. On the negative side, misinformation was still being dispensed in abundance. It really amazes me how many people still have no idea what's going on in Sailormoon-land. Sailormoon is OLD, people. It's not one of those fandoms that's still alive and changing. There's really no excuse not to know what the facts are.
There were a few cosplayers there, so I used one of my precious 17 pictures...
After the panel we met up with Chaos and Mel in the hallway, and none of us were really interested in the Writer's Block panel (although now I'm hearing that was a good panel, oh well), so we all headed over to the dealer's room together. Chaos and I both remembered our freebie fans from last year. :D We split up when we got there, and Ry and I wandered around for... a couple of hours, I believe. I can't remember what all I bought when, so I'll go over all my loot in one go at the end.
When we were done there it was nearly 9:00. Ry and I split up for a while at that point, I wanted to go to the AMVs and she wanted to check out the flea market thing that was happening in the other hotel. So I got in line for the AMV contest. A concert was going on in the room, so the line was stuck outside until after the start time, which was rather obnoxious, but I had pictochat to keep me company. :D This was my first con with a DS. A pretty active line-waiting pictochat was going on, but once the doors opened and they let everyone into the AMVs room, everyone logged off. -_- Only one guy hung around. So I chatted with him through most of the contest until my battery died. He was an AMV creator (although he hadn't entered this year's contest) so it was fun critiquing the various entries. He gave me his MSN address when I had to log off.
I met up with Dos and Kats and Deso for the AMVs, which were in a big room divided into four sections, each with its own screen. There was a stage in the middle of the room, so they couldn't have a central screen. It had two screens up front on either side of the stage, which was pretty normal, but also two more in the middle of the room hanging from the ceiling. We sat behind one of those, and I was glad we did, because they had to turn the sound up extremely loud and I would've been deaf if I'd stayed up front where I was originally sitting. >.O Even so... the sound quality was pretty bad. I don't know if it was the room, or the speaker setup or what, but a lot of the videos depended on the song lyrics and I couldn't understand most of them. My pictochat buddy was up front and he was in pain from the noise.
The videos themselves were also rather disappointing. Anime North is big on comedy videos involving a lot of lip-sync, and I'm just not crazy about that sort of humor. Usually there are a few I really like though... last year I downloaded a couple after the contest, but this year nothing really stuck out to me as something I wanted. Some were better than others, but that's about as far as it went for me. It didn't help that the challenge theme was old anime, so there was a lot of 80s music and grainy footage being used. :\
After the contest I picked up dinner at Subway and discovered the most obnoxious thing that would plague me all weekend - my cell phone refused to connect to anyone! >( Ry had tried to call me twice and got no answer, so she'd gone back to the hotel. All I could do was send text messages. Ry and Dos both tried to call me during the weekend and my phone never rang. If I called anyone it went straight to voicemail. So frustrating! At least I had text messages... I was able to connect with Ry that way and pick up a sandwich for her too before heading back to the room. :)
And that was the end of Friday.
Saturday, May 26
Before I get to Saturday, there's an important bit of Friday I forgot to add. On our way over to the dealer's room with Chaos and Mel, we ran into some of the Fanboys crowd in the parking lot. csi_tokyo3 was there, and he had the Sailormoon S DVD boxset he'd picked up for me ZOMGYAY. I handed over the cash and he handed over the discs and now I finally have a season S set that (hopefully) will play all the way through!
Hysteria (Ysabet, nominated for three UFO Awards on .moon), was also there and did a double take when she saw the name on my con badge. xD Not only had she been getting several emails from me recently regarding the UFOs, she also uses the "Chaos on PuD" icon I made on her journal. Yay recognition! :D
Now for Saturday...
Got up relatively early on Saturday to go to the fanfiction awards. I'd bought some rope at a convenience store (why do we not have those in the states?? So handy), so I used that to tie the anti-ego sword to my hip and brought it and the shield along. I got some semi-cosplay-type attention at a con for the first time with those. It was a pretty weird experience after being just another face in the crowd for half a dozen cons but... I think I could get used to it. :3
Ry came with me to the awards, and after making an idiot of myself by speeding down to the far end of the hotel before checking the map and finding out the event was way back at the other end, we got there partway through Steve Savage's opening speech. Pretty soon he started announcing the winners and handing out the award certificates. And I won something. ^^; He'd notified me in advance that I was a winner, but the category was a surprise. And it was... Best Use of Setting. o_O I'd submitted "Full Circle." Setting? Oooookay. Both Ry and I were pretty floored by that. Savage (wtf do I call him anyway? That? Steve?) said it was a tough category to choose a winner for, and there is sort of a setting contrast in the story between the soldiers' retreat and Crystal Tokyo, but yeah. Pretty odd. I finally win something and it's a weird category like this. ^^;; He did say I came close to winning for Characterization, though. There was one winner who'd only been writing for six months and hadn't used a beta. I hope the contest entries actually make it onto the con website this year, I'd like to read hers.
After the awards were handed out he invited the winners to form an impromptu panel on stage, which I joined, because, well, why not. There was some Q&A but I don't really remember any of the discussion from that part of the event. Afterwards the remaining people in the room formed a roundtable and we had more of a general casual discussion about fanfic, and trends and practices in fanfic. Very nice. We talked about the decline in fic writers wanting to become published fiction writers, and the crackdown on original characters, and I won some brownie points by suggesting interest in moving on to original work may be waning since any attempt to practice by creating non-canon elements gets stomped on.
While we were talking about original works, one of the people there mentioned his original story, and when Savage asked where it was hosted he said it was on .moon. Squee! A member! I was so surprised and excited by that I just about jumped out of my chair. xD It was Dustinus, author of "Subject 13." *makes another mental note to make time to read that story* (omg, I just went to .moon to verify the title of the story and I totally forgot he's also the author of "Sailor Canoehead," who I mentioned meeting last year. Wow, I'm a forgetful idiot. -_-;;) For an additional squee, Savage actually knew of the site! .moon is getting some recognition! YAYS! Of course even after all that I was too chicken to properly pimp the site to the other people there. -_-
jelynne and csi_tokyo3 were there, so we all had a chance to chat after the roundtable was finished, and then Ry and I went to lunch I believe. At 1:00 there was a PGSM panel, which was okay, but it largely turned into a regular Sailormoon panel. It was a bit disappointing being that this was the first time I'd seen a con host both a BSSM panel AND a PGSM panel. But oh well. I guess it's kind of hard to discuss just the live-action without getting into the general fandom, and from there the anime and manga.
After that we went to the Gender in Anime/Manga panel, expecting it to be about gender roles and how men and women are portrayed, but it turned out to be mainly about yaoi and yuri. Like a lot of things, really. The Anime North crowd really loves its slash. Which is fine in itself, but that's not what we were there for, so we left before too long. I can't remember exactly what we did for the next hour after that... maybe that's when we hit the Artist's Alley for the first time? And then at 4:00 there was the general fanfiction panel, with Chaos and Steve Savage and some girl who sounded really familiar but I couldn't place why, and a couple of Ouran cosplayers who came in late. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what was said at that panel either. ^^;; Some serious discussion, and some goofy talk about crazy crossovers of doom.
5:00 was the writer's meetup I had organized. It was pretty small and Fanboy-heavy, but not bad for a first try; hopefully next time around we can get some more diversity in there. (Dustinus perhaps, for example, now that I'll be sure not to forget him.) We had Ry and Chaos and csi_tokyo3 and jelynne and me. We went down to what I guess was the consuite, a bunch of tables in a side area that was being used off and on for various events. We picked up some additional random Fanboys, too, since that tends to happen when you're with any of them. ^^;; Sadly I can't remember now exactly who they were.
We chatted for a while about the various things we're working on and the kind of stuff we like to write. It's nice to be able to do that in person once in a while. The anti-ego sword was put to use, although not by me.
When it seemed like things were wrapping up... I just couldn't help myself. I saw all these writer people sitting in front of me and I just had to ask for a little input on an original novel idea I've been keeping to myself for a long time. A novel about fandom. So I asked everyone what they thought, hoping for just a bit of input, a yay/nay on some ideas that had been lurking in the back of my head. And I got some, people seemed interested enough. And then Steve Savage walked by. And since it's a novel about fandom, and he's nuts about fandom, they called him over. And Chaos had to go and Savage took his place, and then it turned into THE MOST AWESOMELY AMAZING BRAINSTORMING SESSION I'VE EVER BEEN IN THE PRESENCE OF. Ideas were flying all over the place. I wish I'd started taking notes earlier. Savage wasn't too crazy about my plot idea at first, but once we'd all worked on it a bit he warmed up to it, and by the time we wrapped it up he was so interested that he gave me his email address so I can keep him posted on how it goes. ^^! Wow, man. Now I really gotta wrap up AAO etc so I can get started on this thing. xD
After that... Ry and I probably went to dinner and then... I can't remember if we went to the Fanthropology panel or not. I remember we were interested in going, but I can't remember if we actually went. My memory's mixing it up with the plot panel on Sunday. I think we did go, and that was the panel where they were passing around books about fandom, including the one misscheeveeuss had used in one of her classes with the "Fierce Flesh" chapter about Sailormoon that still makes me really angry. ^^;;
As I recall we packed it in pretty early that night since there wasn't much of anything going on, and went back to the hotel room and watched the first volume of Mai-HiME, which I had brought with me. Yay, Mai-HiME! I got Ry hooked. :D
I did manage to get a couple of pictures Saturday night.
Sunday, May 27
Ahh, the pleasures of not having to check out of the hotel on Sunday. It was so nice being able to sleep in and relax while the rest of the con was packing up and figuring out what to do with their stuff. Reservations that last through Monday are win. I'm pretty sure the first thing we did was go to the "Women in the Anime Industry" panel at 1 PM, which I was pretty set on attending. Tiffany Grant and Corinne Orr were the panelists, and it started late since they were coming from autograph sessions. Normally I'm not too nuts about guest panels, but there wasn't much else going on, and I figured it might be an interesting topic since anime seems to be a male-dominated realm (although you wouldn't know it anymore to look at the fandom).
It turned out to be a pretty general panel about voice acting, which was still nice since I'd never been to one of those before. It was interesting to hear what it's like to work in the business. There was a good balance between the panelists, too - Corinne was a bit of the eccentric dramatic type, which was a bit off-putting (^^;;), but she's been in the business a long time and was able to offer a view of the changes in voice acting over the years, and Tiffany was a really down-to-earth casual person, newer to the business but more experienced in anime. And there's no sexism in voice acting, apparently. :)
As a bonus for the panel attendees, they did autographs and photos afterwards. I decided what I'm going to do with the blank space I have left on the anti-ego sword and shield - I'm going to fill it with autographs. I don't do Linecon, so it'll take a while, but I figure then I can smite fandom ego with the actual deserved ego of real professionals in the industry. ^_~ So I got their signatures on the sword, and a photo of them.
I do have to record a little gripe. This panel was in Main Programming, and the audience was pretty small, so the room was really big and empty. The tech crew was on hand hanging out in their tech area on one of the side walls... and through about half the panel they were merrily chatting away amongst themselves. At one point they got so loud and so distracting that the guests actually had to ask them to stop. And then, although they quieted down, they didn't offer any apology, they just laughed it off. Really unprofessional. In hindsight I could've taken that as an omen of things to come... but more about that in due time.
After that we had a final trip across the street to the dealer's room and the artist alley. I went on my what is hopefully going to become customary quest for original comics by the artists in the Alley. There were surprisingly few compared to Anime Boston. I think the AN artists know which side their bread is buttered on. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but there was supposed to be a writer's section of the Alley this year, and I didn't find it. Maybe there were a couple of booths in there somewhere and they released the others to artists, I don't know. So that was unfortunate. But even so, if they have the Writer's Way again next year, I'd like to put together a fanzine of stories by .moon writers. kats_kradle and I have hit on a plan to distribute artwork as part of the fanzine as well. :3
I suppose now is as good of a time as any to go over... THE LOOT! (the warrant! the... yeah. ^^;;)
Items! What original comics there were on the left, plus a little L keychain from the Alley. And I found one of those adorable L plushies like the one I saw at tmchiba's cosplay court case event at Anime Boston! :D (my sister keeps stealing him... grrr...) And a pig pillow thingy from the Alley that I got for my sister since again I couldn't find any Cubees, and a Death Note artbook I spent way too much on when I could've gotten it for half as much across the room. Sigh. -_- Plus a Sailor Moon button kats_kradle got for me in the Alley, and then... the most prized item.
He's SO CUTE! *is ded from teh cuteness* I almost rolled on the floor with him, he's so adorable xD And really expensive, which sucked, since he's an actual UFO catcher prize from Japan and a rather high-quality one at that. I almost passed him by due to the price, but I had to have him. And I was really glad I caved in. omgtehcuteness
(I thought it would be Maya my sister would want to steal, but no. She's obsessed with L. What is it with her and plushies of characters she's totally unfamiliar with? First Alphonse and now L...)
Moving on, we went to a plot development panel next, which I'm afraid I don't remember anything about, and we left early to get to the Fanboys reading on time. The reading was at 4:00, at the very end of the con, so the crowd was sadly small, but they got a room with a stage so they were able to make it more of a production than a reading, which went VERY well. There were props and a soundtrack involved, and the fic was hilarious of course, and even when something went wrong they made it funny. Very nicely done. And I saved a good chunk of my camera's memory for it. :3
Essentially the story was, Chaos finally tried to get it through to Hysteria that she's an obnoxious fangirl and not cute, and Hysteria responded by throwing her own con stuffed with an abundance of cuteness and aided by the power of a Death Note.
Some of the Fanboys (they had awesome NERV-parody shirts this year):
Some of them on stage during the reading:
KAWAII CON OF DOOM OHNOES
The other half of the Fanboys... and a dead Narrator who offended the Death Note-toting Hysteria:
(The Fanboys later revived the late Narrator (Sean Gaffney) with a large 1UP mushroom.)
Unfortunately for the second year in a row I didn't get to hear how the story ended, because doom happened. Ranting time part II.
The Fanboys were scheduled for the end of the con because they'd requested two hours and the prog staff didn't want to give out two-hour time slots. They were told if they were at the end of the con they could run as long as they wanted to since nobody would be after them. But around 5:20, a staff member poked her head in the door and pointed impatiently at her watch. (Now that I think about it, she'd probably been waiting outside a while expecting them to wrap up at any time.) The Fanboys kept going, and a couple of other staffers came in and quietly went around to talk to Chaos and Mel who were off to the side and not on stage at the moment, nothing wrong with that. But after a few more minutes the watch-pointing lady came back in and started loudly complaining to some of her fellow staffers that the panel was supposed to be over and they had things to do bla bla bla. She obviously couldn't have cared less about how disruptive she was being, and proceeded to loudly start stacking up chairs in the back of the room while continuing to gripe about the Fanboys running over their scheduled time.
I had never been so disgusted in my life. Clearly there was a scheduling mixup, and if the Fanboys needed to stop, fine, but there was NO CALL for that sort of behavior from a member of staff. There was no excuse for that level of rudeness. As a con staffer myself, I understand these things happen, but you don't bust into a panel with that kind of passive-aggressive BS and treat panelists that way. Especially the Fanboys, who have been supporting Anime North in many ways for years and years. I was absolutely appalled, and as soon as I've finished my con reports I'm sending a formal complaint to Anime North. That was inexcusable.
So that, and the con, ended on a rather sour note, unfortunately. But overall it was a great time. And now some more pictures.