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 had more fun outside the con than at it.
Thursday, August 3
[Pre-con romping about Philadelphia omitted.]
[Thursday] we waited for a while to meet up with another guy who was driving Nigoki and some of the luggage to the con, and then it was off to Baltimore. With faulty air conditioning and some directional mishaps, the trip was long and baking, but we eventually got there. BTW, from now on a roll of paper towels will be a necessary item among my con supplies.
We arrived in the evening, parked near the hotel, and walked down to the convention center to pick up our pre-reg stuff. The hotel was ages away, and up a hill. Not a fun walk after a day of wandering around the con. x_x Oh well. By this point in the evening the prereg line was all inside the BCC, so we just walked over and inside and waited a little while to pick up our stuff. Today I heard from an Otakon gofer that so many idiots lined up all day long again that the con went through their entire supply of water and Gatorade on Thursday alone helping emergency cases. I'm glad we spent our day doing more interesting things. Anyone who might be considering going to Otakon, take note of the uselessness of lining up early Thursday. It's pointless. We went down to the art show so Kelleh could drop off her entries, feeling like some sort of elite entourage (woo!) and then headed out.
Back at the hotel we moved all the luggage inside and collapsed. Dos and I soon discovered there was no wireless in that hotel, just a router that didn't work properly. He called the front desk for help, but it was a no-go. Thus, I was absent from the net all week, and that's why I'm stuck writing up this huge thing in one big entry right now. GRR. By contrast, taking a cold shower that evening was one of the happiest moments of my life. Whew! xD By the time I got out, the couple who owned the hotel reservation were there. Nice people, but...man, the woman of the pair, who's about my age, was hyper like you wouldn't believe. This was a bit of a problem since she was used to partying at cons and the bunch of us were so exhausted we just wanted to sleep. I had to crank my iPod up pretty loud to drown out the chatter so I could get some rest. :\
Friday, August 4
Friday we walked down to the con with Tom, the other driver, who had somehow lost his badge overnight and hoped to get a replacement by going through prereg again. When we got there, however, the prereg pickup line was wrapped around the building, while regular registration was in and out. O_O That was the craziest darn thing I had ever seen. Fortunately a staffer was nice enough to let us go right in to the information desk and Tom was able to get a replacement badge there. After that I went to an anime showing that was listed as Kaleido Star on the schedule, but it turned out to be the sequel. Boo. I got a good impression of what the series is like but I'd really wanted to see the beginning and not the follow-up series. Oh well.
After that was over I got something to eat before joining the group for the end of the Gundam panel since I had nothing else to do, and then split off from them again to watch the first four episodes of My-HIME before the ASMR meetup. Man, that anime ROCKS! It's awesome! I want more! *_*
The ASMR meetup was a total bust. Beside the people I was already hanging out with, only the Chaos Effect showed up. He hung out with us for the rest of the evening, but still, that was a disappointment. I doubt there'll even be a meetup at all next year period.
Full Moon wo Sagashite was on after that, but someone's sending that to me, so I went to Anime Parliament with the group instead. In that event the panelists are like the judges of a court, and people can bring up cases against anime characters and the panelists pass judgement on them. Unfortunately I can't give a good example because I wasn't familiar with most of the shows being discussed. ^^;; There was a bit where they debated if women in anime use excessive violence against men and what should be done about them. Then there was an unusual one from the realm of non-anime - Waldo accused Carmen Sandiego of making him disappear for 15 years. xD
In general the panel was amusing, but all I could think of was ways it could have been done better. ^^;; I'm weird like that. If I had a bunch of friends to do it with, I'd design a similar event with the ideas I have, but with things as they are that will probably never happen except possibly at AD (and that's still extremely unlikely).
After Anime Parliament we went to the Fan Parodies. This involved waiting in an enormous line, since this year Otakon switched to a system of having people line up and clearing the rooms between events instead of allowing people to trickle in whenever for some reason. This was kind of a mysterious pain in the ass, since letting people squat in the previous event seemed to work okay last year and really isn't all that unfair, and all they had to organize the lines was tape on the floor. Plus this was in the fountain area which is usually a big realm of chaos. But we finally got in. Before too long, though, it became clear it was not at all worth it.
The first few parodies were all right. In particular there was one about the DDR club at Cornell that was extremely well-made and totally hilarious. Unfortunately it was followed by the Eternal Parody from Hell. I had a bad feeling about that one from the beginning, because it opened with a looooong extremely fancy opening credits thing. The creator had pulled out all the stops with fancy effects and shiny graphics for credits that went on and on and on. Then, what it turned out to be was a chronicle of some group's Otakon 2005 experience. That in itself was not a bad idea; there were some funny bits, but the problem was it was slow as hell. The funny bits were few and far between, padded with lengthy periods of nothing special. These guys included the night before Otakon, as well as their trip TO Otakon. Also not that bad of an idea but it went on and on and on and on. Just like this con report. :P Lots of babbling about nothing and shots of the road going by and graphics of the car moving along a map. Plus these guys had a long drive and hadn't left until 10 AM Friday, which in itself was pretty "WTF?" As they were going along I thought, "The only thing that can redeem this boring mess is if something bad happens and they don't actually make it to the con." Surprise surprise, they actually did have car trouble! :D Unfortunately they just got another car and continued to the con, arriving there late Friday night. They spent a total of a day and a half at the con. Also "WTF?" Why did they even go?
Anyway, moving on...this parody (yes I'm still talking about it! This is what this thing was like! Whenever you thought things were finally moving on, it CONTINUED!) also included some lengthy interludes of some guy giving a lecture on the definition of certain aspects of fandom, and daily summaries of how many glomps and pictures and items everyone in the group amassed. Fun, huh? By the time "Sunday" appeared on the screen, people were groaning and yelling "Enough already!" It was the Film That Doesn't End. I mentioned this to the Chaos Effect and he started singing the song. xD It had probably been running for 45 minutes at this point. People who had waited in line an hour to get into the parodies were walking out. The room was leaking like a sieve. Soon the whole place was chanting "Turn it off!" at the top of their voices. Finally the staff fast-forwarded through the rest of the video, and even then it felt too long. It included the trip BACK from Otakon. AND a follow-up thingy of everyone's impressions afterward! I have never seen such a mess in my life. Again, the concept itself wasn't bad, but it needed editing like WHOA. The thing was an HOUR LONG. It should have been fifteen minutes. It cleared the room. Those guys must have had immense egos to submit that thing and actually believe it was good. They are now the enemies of every congoer in that room. The pain of it cannot be described. Plus it decimated the audience, an incredibly unfair blow to the parodies that followed it.
On a happy note, there was an awesome sequel to the DDR club's video not long afterward, which saved the evening. ^^
Now that I've finished that ranting... xD
We wanted to go to the "Your Favorite Anime Sucks" panel following the parodies, but the line was HUGE. Everyone was going to that panel. So we gave up and headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately the fanfic panel was scheduled for that evening... AT ONE-THIRTY AM. I was not staying that late. Plus it was 18+, probably so they could talk about nothing but slash. So alas, I did not get to distribute the rest of the cards for .moon. I left some of them on tables where there were flyers and things, but that was it. I was tired and worn out and wasn't going to hang around three hours for the fanfic panel. :(
So that was the end of Friday.
Saturday, August 5
The Sailormoon panel was first thing Saturday morning, so I didn't go to that either, I was too tired. We got to the con in time for the second run of the AMV contest, so I actually got to see and vote in the contest this time. Looking at the winner list that was posted on the Otakon forums today, all but one of the videos I voted for won, and the one I voted for in the remaining category got second place. Good stuff. Fun times.
Afterwards we gathered upstairs to wait for the panel of Kouta Hirano, creator of Hellsing. It was another of those clear-the-room deals, so we waited outside in a growing crowd. Understandably, there was Hellsing cosplay like whoa.
The whole lining-up fiasco was pretty silly, since after everyone got inside the room wasn't more than two-thirds full. Lines for things at Otakon in general were pretty silly; most of them were insane unnecessary messes of chaos.
Anyway, the panel. Before Hirano arrived we got to see a preview of the new Hellsing anime, the remake that's being created properly following the manga. It's not even out in Japan yet, we were the first audience in the world to see it. :D! It looks awesome. It was raw Japanese, of course, since it's unreleased, but no matter. It rocked. I'm excited to see it. After that was a Q&A session with Hirano and some other guys who worked on the manga and the new anime. The creator looks a lot like the little cariacatures of himself that he draws in the back of the manga volumes. xD NOS lined up to ask questions about mecha, of all things, since Hirano's a big mecha fan... -_-
After the panel finished we went to dinner at a Japanese place in the Inner Harbor. I had miso soup for the first time, which was pretty good, and chicken tempura, which was lightly breaded chicken with dipping sauce. I was glad for my experience with chopsticks. ;) They had properly sticky white rice, too, so I was actually able to eat rice with chopsticks for a change. ^^
When we got back to the con we tried to go to the premiere of Hellsing Ultimate, but there was a HUGE line and the staff chose this point to STOP clearing the rooms between events. And the previous event in this case was the FMA movie. -_- So yeah. Not many people were getting in there. They cut off the line at a certain point and we decided to forget it. We headed down to the room where the Saturday night fan parodies were going to be showing, and since they had stopped doing the lineup-and-clear-the-room thing, we went in and saw the end of a set of fansubbed Japanese music videos. The highlight of those was definitely "Jetto Ninjin" (Jet Carrots). You would have to see this thing to realize how awesome it really is. There were people getting shot by carrots. There were carrots rocketing through the air. There were bombs made of carrots. It was so delightfully random and to a really catchy song. I've tried my best to find the video online, but I've had no luck. :(
The fan parodies that night featured Evangelion Redeath and Nescaflowne, both well-done pieces of humorous mastery. And of course, where you have Redeath, you have dancing Gendos, two of them shown here before the film began.
That was about it for Saturday.
Sunday, August 6
Sunday was mainly packing up the car, wandering around the dealer's room, and attending the art auction where one of Kelleh's entries sold for a nice chunk of cash. Kelleh ROCKS! :D I didn't buy too much; off the top of my head I think it was only an Otakon pin, a plush Kirby (so cute! *_*) and a musical square cow for my sister to go with the pig and dog I bought her last year. In a happy chance, the people handing out the awesome free fans that had been at Anime North were there, so I got a replacement for the one I lost! Wooo! Another future necessity in my con supplies. xD After the art auction we collected Dos after yet another autograph line and then we were out of there. That was the end of Otakon.
Overall, I had a pretty good time. It was fun hanging out with everyone. There was some drama, but for once I didn't start it and wasn't directly involved, thank God. There was a bit of angst on the flight home due to something that came up on the way to the airport, but it was no big deal, and in general I felt good about the trip and was happy I went. This time around it was the con itself that was the low point.
I'm 90% sure I'm done with Otakon. The general trend was, either nothing interesting was going on, or there was one interesting event so overfilled that we couldn't get in, or the interesting stuff was at insane times when I couldn't go for need of sleep. I didn't get to go to the fanfic panel or the Sailormoon panel. I didn't get to see Hellsing Ultimate or get Hirano's autograph. Again I was reminded that Otakon is just an average con on a large scale. It's huge, but doesn't have hugely interesting things to match. There's a possibility I might go to Otakon next year, so I'll probably get a hotel reservation again just in case, but it's a slim possibility. Especially being that I get the feeling this was the last year for big room-sharing groups. Even if it weren't, I'm slow as hell even if I weren't having heart trouble, and even moreso now since I can't breathe properly, and I felt really bad lagging behind everyone who was walking faster than me and slowing them up. :\ (On the plus side, I haven't had so much exercise in a LONG time, and that was definately good for me even if it was hot and miserable at the time. xD) I'm hoping to go to Anime Boston next year, and that will most likely be my only East Coast con. Otakon just doesn't deliver for the distance and expense and crowding hassles. We'll see how things go, though.