Sakuracon 2010 April 8, 2010Posted by aggrogahu| in Conventions.
So as you may or may not know, I went to my first anime convention this past Easter weekend, Sakuracon 2010 in Seattle, WA. Before I forget just how crazy that past weekend was, I’ll document it here (“those whose memories fade seek to carve them in their hearts”). There’s no way in hell that I cover all the things that I want to in this post without it looking like a giant wall of text so I’ll just make it easy for everyone now and divide the topics into neat little sections without worrying about writing transitions.
I wasn’t preregistered so I was prepared to wait for hours while playing Pokemon. Fortunately, I did Will-Call, which is some new system they were trying out where people who missed prereg and wanted to buy a full weekend pass could fill in their information online and then print out a bar code to scan at the registration hall. To my surprise, the Will-Call booth had no line whatsoever, while regular registration and even preregistration still had huge lines that took hours. However, not having to wait for my con badge was cancelled out while waiting for the concert, which I didn’t mind too much (even though the most I had to eat that day was a croissant with cheese and cookies that Waitress Yoko was giving away) ’cause I got up front and took some pretty awesome pictures.
Cosplay and Me
I’ll start by saying that my friends are pretty awesome. Every time a random person would ask to take a picture of one of the people from the group I was with for the weekend, I felt proud for them. They put in so much time and resources towards finishing their costumes so I was glad to see them get recognition. With that said, I was sofa king jealous >_>. I did take part in two cosplays myself: on Friday I was L from Death Note and on Saturday I was Ishida Uryuu from Bleach (school uniform). However, if you know these costumes, they don’t require too much effort to put together (hardest thing I had to do for any of them was styling my hair). I mean, I think I pull each cosplay off damn well, but even if you get those costumes down to a T, it’s not going to stand out in a con setting. In turn, I resolve to cosplay a character that takes a lot more effort to put together. I’m aiming for Kanon (Umineko) for the next con. Enough about me though:
Cosplay and Others
From what I saw, the popular cosplays this year were Vocaloid, FFXIII, Pokemon, and Hetalia. I think I saw a Miku every 15 minutes or so, and I saw a Len and Rin combo even more frequent than that. There were a handful of Lightnings and Snows. As for Pokemon and Hetalia, there weren’t any specific costumes that were popular, but you just saw them everywhere. The big three Shonen Jump series were still prevalent, but that’s a given. Speaking of which, from my experience, I compiled a list of absolute no-no’s for cosplay:
- L & Light – Way too simple, too common
- Mario & Luigi – Too common, too simple, too old school
- Cloud – Too common, too old school
- Any character that’s not related to anime/Japanese culture – it’s an anime/Japanese convention, gtfo; Waldo, we’re tired of trying to find you; Captain Jack Sparrow, technically you were in Kingdom Hearts, but I’m really tired of seeing your face, you don’t belong
There might be exceptions, but only under rare circumstances, like if you were with a large group or if you pulled off something awesome. By awesome…
…almost counts. You get the idea though.
The best cosplay I saw? Can’t really say. Some of my favorites include the Princess Tutu cosplays I saw, an Irabu-sensei (not the bear-suit or the little kid version, the one in the middle), Talim (SC4), and a guy cosplaying Chun-Li (the epicness of his thighs rivaled those of the actual character). Not the most elaborate costumes (except for Talim), but they were from series I loved and/or they were pulled off well.
I actually did some short research into the aspect of convention cosplay photography for my Digital Imaging class, so I had some idea of what it was going to be like, but actually being there was quite an experience. Courtesy is above all. You have to ask before taking someone’s picture. If someone is already getting their picture taken, it’s usually fine to join in without asking as long as you’re not stepping in front of other photographers. Don’t block the pathways for others. Don’t bother someone while they’re eating. Going around and taking pictures of random people while keeping these rules in mind was actually quite fun.
On another note, there were a couple times where I would recognize a cosplay from a favorite series of mine from across the hall, and, in excitement, go over to ask for their picture without realizing how awful their cosplay actually was until I got closer and they turned around. Out of love for the series and I felt obligated to take a picture as a way to identify myself with that series, but more often than not, this act turned into an in-justice. I won’t call-out any of the not-so-pretty people I took pictures of, but I just want to say that Umineko no Naku Koro Ni and Rosario+Vampire were poorly represented.
My amateur pics can be found on my Facebook.
I can somewhat identify with the concerns that navycherub expressed in Merch Rooms, so you should check out that post if you haven’t already.
I had his same mentality of looking for good souvenirs that you couldn’t really get back at home. I ended up buying 3 volumes of Yostuba! for $30, and figures for Suzumiya Haruhi, Nagato Yuki, Fujibuyashi Kyou, and Furukawa Nagisa, $20 for each. Believe it or not, the prices for the figures were bargained down since I bought Haruhi/Yuki and Kyou/Nagisa together.
I was tempted to buy a Clannad ~After Story~ artbook; if it wasn’t $40, I’d have bought it right away. It was damn amazing, so maybe when I get a job and am not throwing my money into college I’ll start throwing money into anime. Considering how many fansubs I’ve downloaded, it wouldn’t big such a big deal.
Dealer’s room afterthoughts: dealer’s room had a corsets booth, which made me think of navycherub. There was also a yaoi doujinshi booth that had a giant rainbow flag that they would wave around every now and then.
meh… noobs need to stop playing SF4 and play SC4. I did get some games in with random dudes, but I was just sandbagging. It was kinda fun nailing someone with Hilde’s C4B and seeing the guy’s reaction irl. RB2 was meh too; lines were pretty long. I was tempted to ask if I could transfer one of the anime rbas on my laptop to the game to play on stage.
I went to three panels: drawing anime, Mayumi Tanaka (seiyuu for Luffy of One Piece), and voice acting in video games. The drawing anime one wasn’t worth mentioning. Tanaka-san’s Q&A was pretty entertaining despite the fact I’m not all that familiar with One Piece. People asked her to sing a lot which was fun to witness. The last panel’s notable voice actors included Vic, VA for Ed (Full Metal Alchemist), Richard, VA for Batou (Ghost In The Shell), and Ryo, seiyuu for Vegeta (DBZ). Batou’s VA was the only one I was really familiar with. I would close my eyes and match Richard’s voice to Batou’s face, which was pretty fun. It was nice to get some insight on the people behind these characters.
…was not there. Instead, we were graced by the awesomeness of two bands with awesome female vocalist: Dazzle Vision and High and Mighty Color.
Maiko is the vocalist for the Dazzle Vision. She wears a nice loli-esque dress with chucks, and, besides having a nice singing voice, has a nice “death voice”. I only knew one of their songs going into the concert but I was still able to get into their performance. I really liked how she was able to switch back and forth between styles of vocals; I’ll even say that her screaming is better than the guy vocalist of HaMC (that’s not actually saying much, but I really do like Maiko’s vocals a lot).
I initially thought that High and Mighty Color was a mediocre band. I kinda still do, but I really enjoyed their set, which may have been the result of many factors. First off, their female vocalist, HALCA, is super pretty, and in combination with her outfit (choker necklaces, black hoodie, floral spaghetti-strap dress with a belt, black stockings) *me dies*. Secondly, I familiarized myself with more of their songs before hand, which is business as usual for concerts, but strangely, I reacted with a lot more enthusiasm when I recognized a song they started playing; more so than most other concerts I’ve been to. I attribute this to the fact that I associated the music to anime. This kind of culture is always something I’m not terribly open with (by no means do I hide it, but I don’t flaunt my power level in conversation). Being able to openly rock out to a anime/Japanese song that I wouldn’t normally openly rock out to in a concert setting felt really good. That sounds really geeky, but it gets worse (more on that shortly). Lastly, I kinda knew from listening to their songs before, but the guys on guitar are pretty damn talented; both of the guitarists had blazing solos and the bassist went pretty crazy on his solo as well.
Funny story at the end of their set: their last song was “Ichirin no Hana”, which is their most popular song because it’s an opening theme to one of the (numerous) seasons of Bleach. The crowd was singing along (I would if I knew the lyrics); I was rocking out; good times. After they were done there was an ovation where we were chanting “En- core! En- core!”, and me being a super geek started chanting “Mou ikkai! Mou ikkai!” That one didn’t catch on though. Anyways, the band came out to play their unplanned-for encore. The male vocalist says, “Honto ni, rast song…one more Ichirin no Hana!” I got a good laugh out of that. I mean, I’m sure it’s better than playing a song they didn’t practice for, but still, the same song twice in a row is lol. It was still awesome though. Another thing that was pretty funny was how one of the guitarist put down his guitar in the middle of the song and started thrashing around. Props to him.
So in my curiosity, I wanted to check out one of the dances. I ended up going to a rave. This was my first rave at an anime convetion…first rave ever actually. A few people that know me know that I like dancing quite a bit (more than you think I would), but I didn’t really know how it’d be at a rave. The setting was crazy intense; the music was blasting, colored lights and glow sticks flashing everywhere, lazer lights shooting above the crowd and across the hall; no wonder people on X trip out so easily at these things; I liked it. The music was basically non-stop high tempo songs with a driving bass drum. The only time you could really take a breather was during a breakdown/buildup in the middle some of the songs (if you’ve heard sandstorm, then you have an idea of what I’m talking about). Even after that, it’s back to nonstop dancing to 200 bpm techno tracks with even more intensity. This being an anime convention, it wasn’t just any generic 200 bpm techno music; oftentimes it’d be remixes of popular weeaboo music. Never had I had so much fun dancing than when the DJ was blasting a Motteke Sailor Fuku remix…told you it’d get worse. It was the feeling I had at the concert of being able to openly enjoy anime culture, but to the power of 9001.
Some weeaboos can’t dance for shit. I can’t really think of anything else to say related to that, but it needed to be said. Maybe this will be a nice transition to the next section.
The Cons of Sakuracon
I hope this won’t detract from the rest of that amazing weekend, but I felt I needed to share these too.
- “I lost the game” – Why were there so many people walking around with a sign like this? It’s not funny. Nobody alive is still playing the game. If you want to whore attention, cosplay or something.
- Kyle’s GPS – especially on the streets of Seattle in Seattle traffic. The thing lagged a lot so we missed quite a few turns and highway exits we were supposed to take.
- People working the karaoke room – it literally took 10 minutes between each song ’cause the people at the computer were still googling the song the next person wanted to sing.
- Convention food – mostly for the super-inflated prices. Even Subway’s $5 foot-longs were $7. That’s unacceptable. Also, screw that burrito place for listing a misleading price for a bare-bones burrito and charging extra for adding things like cheese.
I’ll say once again that the group I went with was awesome: you guys were definitely part of the experience. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of what I wanted to say, but I’ll end it here. I look forward to going to another con (possibly with my fellow wideface blog posters), ’cause after Sakuracon 2010 I was already thinking about what 2011 would be like.