HQ photos of the con: https://www.flickr.com/photos/baka-in-motion-photography/sets/72157677979922991
An annual winter convention in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This is a mini con to their main summer one, Animethon, in August.
Finally getting around to writing my con report on FrostCon 4!
There wasn't a whole lot that I did as an attendee as I was staff for FrostCon. I was in charge of the programming - the two panel rooms and the main events room. Running from the two panel rooms upstairs to the main events room downstairs was tiring since my assistant was unable to attend.\
I did cosplay though, I debuted my Articuno from Pokemon. I'd made this before in 2009, but this was a whole new version that I had wanted to do for a long time. It's much nicer. I got some photos after the con was over with my Blanche.
For the most part the convention ran smoothly. A few hiccups but that's pretty normal really.
I got to do a photoshoot with Malindachan and Ex-Shadow at the convention! It was pretty awesome getting to work with them. And they have been supportive of the photos I've posted of them so far on Facebook.
I also wore my Tyki Mikk (D.Gray-Man Hallow) wig on the Sunday with more human like makeup and my staff shirt and kigurumi. I wore this partly because my friend KassyPlay did Allen Walker.
My new Aritcuno cosplay is posted in my costumes section <3
There was sad news that FrostCon 4 is the final one, announced at the Closing Ceremonies. It MIGHT come back.... but.... for now... FC4 was the final. It's kind of sad since I've been a part of it since the beginning and now it's over. I've got some amazing memories from it.
I eagerly awaited the next Anglicon, so much that I bought cheaper advanced tickets not too long after the initial "regeneration" of the first Anglicon. I had hoped to have a new costume be made for the occasion, but lack of money meant I relied on the usual: my popular 2nd Doctor costume. In additon I had enough clothes gathered for an 11th Doctor costume, which I wore on Sunday. As for my son, he had his Jamie McCrimmon outfit that still fit, and would turn out to be a favorite at the convention. More on that later. This year's Anglicon was scheduled at a conflicting time in the summer. Anime Revolution, held in Vancouver, Canada was the same weekend, so we had to decide which to attend. In the end we went with Anglicon, since we didn't have to spend what little money we had on a hotel since it was a local con.
We arrived a little late on Friday, but that's all right as things don't really take off at the con until late in the afternoon anyway on the first day as I experienced last year. It took place once again at the Doubletree Hotel by the Airport, a comfortable place where convention folks can hang out with the people waiting for their plane to depart, including airline stewardesses from other countries. The layout for the convention was pretty much the same with a few changes. Last year the main stage was split with the autograph/photo room, which was also the Dalek room, that is where fanmade full-size Daleks could get a tune up and wander around for photo ops or improv comedy. This year the the photo room was moved to a panel room on the other side of the convention area where you pass the courtyard on the left. Here in one area was the autograph and photo line, and in the other area was actually a Dalek lab/display area, where up to 3 working Daleks used as their bass and also stationary parts of a Dalek were on display as well. Some of the creators were on hand to show you how things work such as the metallic Dalek voice microphone and modulator, and laser sound effects. You could even do your best Dalek voice through the special microphone and fire the laser as well for fun. My son was in tow along with the wife and he took an instant liking to the Daleks, who took a liking to him. Even after we left the Dalek room he kept wanting to go back there.
What the guest lineup lacked in any Doctors made up for with other memorable talents from the series as well as non DW shows. Probably the most noticable from the Whoniverse was Dan Starkey aka Strax the Sontaran who always talks about the "puny humans!" Even without all the makeup and prosthetics, you can see Strax just from his considerable and distinguished grin. Dan wasted no time to play up to the fans doing his Strax persona. Annette Badland was also a familiar face to Who fans as one the head Slitheen in the "Aliens of London" episode but also from favorite British series such as East Enders and Coronation Street. Terry Molloy is a "classic" DW guest as he played Davros during the 5th, 6th and 7th Doctor serials. He was seen wandering around con wearing a kilt. And aside from Doctor Who there was also a guest from the famed series Red Dwarf. Norman Lovett played the much loved computer interface Holly in the first 2 series as well as the 7th and 8th.
We only spent a few hours at con on Friday, but the usual low key first day of con meant we could take breaks, wander around, take photos and maybe pop in a panel for a short time anyway. The panel schedule seemed to have expanded from last year as there were a lot more interesting things that I would like see and do. Want to learn about David Tennant, James Bond music, play TV game shows or learn about the history of the Cybermen. It was all there at Anglicon! They even had a Karaoke room on Friday night, though sadly I had to leave before it started, because I had a previous engagement with the TV at home: The Olympic opening ceremony was on at the same time, which I never miss, so that was a priority. At the same time, I originally had planned a Olympic party that night before I learned of the Anglicon dates. But I came up with the idea of going to Anglicon up until 6pm, and then head to my mom's house to watch the ceremonies, so I got the best of both worlds.
Saturday I set out on my own, as the wife had a different event to attend and took the son with her. This gave me an opportunity to get more cosplay photos and take a good look at everything. I saw a few panels featuring the guests, which included annette badland, whose interview was conducted similar to the Actors Studio standard questions, like "what turns you on?" and Ms. Badland would reply "Al Pacino!" Mr. Strax himself Dan Starkey talked about having to put on that big Sontaran headpiece each time for DW. He shared a panel with Terry Malloy who also talked about the difficulties in performing in extensive makeup and costumes, that being Davros, and how difficult it was to see and react to the other actors. "I'm a prop" said Starkey as he also had trouble seeing, had a fan built inside of his fake head and had to be poked when it was time to speak a line! But the most interesting guest panel was with a guest that wasn't there. Confused? What I mean is Robert Lewellyn. He was originally to be a guest this year but had to back out due to conflicts with his schedule. Fortunately Anglicon worked it out so he could still hold a panel via Skype, and we could see him on screen and speak with him. I've seen problems trying to do this before with Skype, but this was pretty successful, but I think Robert was a bit too close to the camera so we could only see the top part of his head on screen for most of the interview. Norman Lovett helped host the interview, and fans were able to go up to the pc camera to say hi to Robert and ask a question. Basically Robert said he really had fun playing Kryten and other characters in Red Dwarf. I'm me and the fans got to see him in some way, shape or form.
Before my wife arrived with the son, I hung out at the Monty Python sing-along panel. This was set up so you watch a music video or a MP movie or tv clip of a famous song with on-screen lyrics, and sing with it. This was a family friendly convention so the more racier songs were left out. But you still got to sing some of your favorites like "the money song," "Every sperm is sacred," "Spam," "Camelot," "Universe song," and of course "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." This was a lot of fun to be with other Monty Python fans and laugh at your favorite clips and sing all the songs together. As it concluded my family arrived and so we wandered around a bit. I should mention the refreshment room provided by Anglicon, where you can free snacks and tea and just sit down and take a break from the con. It's also in a quiet area of the hotel so there's no noise. I unfortunately didn't get to the Tea Luncheon like I did last year, but I managed to get a free tote from KBTC so that was a consolidation. We had a another major event to attend.
We signed up our son to be in the kids portion of the cosplay contest. I'm always amazed and happy to see many kids come out and cosplay from Doctor Who (mainly). It's so great because their parents loved to watch DW and get their kids into it, or perhaps they have friends that have shown them the series. In any case it's wonderful and welcome sight. Our first objective was to get James signed up. Then we showed up to the stage and be told what to do, where to go and how to act onstage. Once we do that we line up or take a seat in a designated area. Actually that was the beginning of a confusing time, because people were lining up and we weren't told to do so. Eventually the kids were all lined up backstage to get ready. Then there was a long delay, first because the coordinator was thinking they were missing a contestant, but it was actually someone who dropped out, so they delayed the show for no apparent reason. And so we waited and waited longer, and if you know a thing or two about 1/1/2 year olds, they want to be doing something and not standing around in the same place. My son began to get very bored and frustrated, and got tired of eating snacks. Fortunately the other kids smothered him with affection and shared their toy Sonic Screwdriver with him which he got very attached too. In fact when I tried to give the toys back he got upset. Also, him catching a cold didn't help things much either. The kids playing with him were the saving grace, and to reward them I gave them Jelly Babies to eat which I had on hand. Finally the contest started, and it was soon our turn to go onstage after they announced Jamie's name and character. Unfortunately for whatever reason they had incorrect information--someone elses entry info. So we just told the announcer at the time, then everything went well. James was a hit and he was given an award for Cutest cosplay--his first cosplay ribbon ever! He and the other winners also received a bag of Jelly Babies as well. The other kids also had some great costumes: 11th Doctor, 4th Doctor, Amelia Pond as a little girl "who waited," and many others. I just wish the contest was better organized, so that's something they were going to have to work on for next time. Kids can't wait that long!
The adult contest actually ran must faster, and again there were some great costumes on display. There was a great River Song in an Astronaut suit, an awesome Cyberman, some Dalek and TARDIS dresses, Captain Jack Harkness, a 12th doctor, Susan Foreman who was done up in Black and white clothes and makeup and a whole flock of TARDISes dancing around on stage. My favorite was an 11th Doctor and Clara who were the cutest couple, one that appeared last year at the dance and doing very well. Despite the tedious delay, it was another good contest. We quickly rushed the boy home to grandma's as he soon fell asleep during the Olympic ceremonies...
Sunday as it usually is at 3 day con, is a relax day. I put together a 11th Doctor outfit, and me and the family just wandered around the con taking photos, getting our photos taken, with my son stealing the show. We popped into another Dan Starkey panel and he talked about working with Matt Smith and meeting Tom Baker, doing a decent impression of his voice. He also of course did his Strax voice for the fans, improvising some humorous lines. We met up with some of the same kids that kept my son's spirits up at the contest, thanking them again. I hope they didn't ever catch his cold, since he played with their sonic screwdrivers. Before we knew it we were at the closing ceremonies saying goodbye to everyone and the special guests. They announced some winners of the contests, and had people who attended a plushie making workshop show off their final results onstage-this included adults and kids. At the end they brought out the guests--exiting the onstage TARDIS prop featured throughout the convention--one more time to say goodbye, or rather "Huzzah!" Strax added a "Sontaran huzzah!" at the end. The staff mentioned the guests are always welcome to come to Anglicon anytime, though not necessarily pay for their airfare. The guests had a "well..." expression on their face. Staff made a final announcement about a new date for next year's Anglicon, which will be in early December!
So that was Anglicon in 2016, and I'll say I had a good time at my second one. It's amazing they get some cool guest for a rather small con. I still say it's a little pricey for a con this size, but if you get your tickets in advance, the discount price might be worth it. I've had some difficult financial times now and again, so this is one of the factor for me being "cheap" if you will. I'm a little tired of anime conventions, and look forward to more multi fandom ones, or a particular group of fandoms such as Anglicon. I feel I get more out of them nowadays, pleasure, satisfaction, my money's worth, and of course fun. The con is what you make it though, but it helps if you have a nice place that isn't overcrowded and people welcome you and think your costume is cool even though there isn't much to it. That's how I feel at Anglicon, it's a nice feeling. So I think I'll keep going.
Article by Sam of FanGirl Nation Magazine
Animazement is my home con, and I've been going since I was a wee 12-year-old baby in 2010. It has, at times, frustrated me with its panel programming (AZ doesn't usually take panels based on Western media) and logistics (price, parking, etc.), but in the end, it's one of my favorite conventions and I see myself returning annually for a long time.
I was excited in the coming months leading up to ECCC. This was my first convention of the year, after a previous year of less cons, less money and disappointment. That was partially due to being busy with my 1 year old son, and having to adjust to his needs, plus just lack of planning and not getting out to the convention until late. This really irritates me since I'm paying good money for conventions--I want to get my money's worth of seeing exhibits, panels and take plenty of cosplay photos.
We planned better this year, actually getting a hotel room for ECCC for the first time. Since the downtown hotels are way expensive even at convention rates, plus the fact that we're not sharing a room with friends (not that they'd want to share with a couple with a baby), I picked a hotel near the Seattle Center and we would just take the monorail to the convention center each day. The hotel itself was old but decent, had all we needed plus complimentary breakfast. I was wondering a little about how ECCC was going to be different this year, as I heard they sold to a major company (Reed Pop), which is I guess who owns the comic con in New York, where they are more strict with cosplay rules. I waited to see what unfolded that weekend before I made any conclusions.
We headed out on Thursday which was the first day of ECCC as they changed from 3 to a 4 day con. I hoped to check out the exhibit hall, cosplayers and other things. We got there late unfortunately, and we had to meet family for dinner, so we just had a quick run through that night, ate dinner then headed back to the hotel. One thing that was bothersome was trying to unfold the playpen the hotel provided for my son to sleep in. They weren't locking in place, and we had to get a hotel worker to assist us.
Friday was looking to be better. I opted to wear one of my classic crossplay costumes for the day as I hadn't crossplayed in like 2 years. I dusted off my Chun Li costume, adjusted it and got help with makeup from my wife. I looked pretty good, though I think my age is starting to show in my face. I went ahead with my son to the convention while the wife got ready. I started to take photos of some great cosplayers including some friends, and got a good reaction from my costume. I had to take a break to change my son's diaper and give him some food, so I took him to the family room, a nice service that ECCC provides for it's con-goers. Last year we used the newborn room, where new families could nurse their babies and relax quietly away from the con. The family room is for older kids and families who need a break from all the people stimulation of the con, and say hello to other families who are also fan geeks and are turning their kids into them (just like us!). Diapers and stuff for cleaning were provided, along with kiddy snacks. I thought it might be a weird sight for a guy dressed as Chun Li changing his toddler son in the room, but nobody complained. I let the little tyke run around the room and eat graham crackers. He's pretty friendly with everyone anyway.
Then back to the convention floor for more photos and checking out the dealers room and artist alley exhibits. There are so many it's difficult to remember where everything is if you wanted to come back and look and buy something. They have a key in the program and the ECCC phone app, but still you can get turned around easy in the showfloor. You can pretty much find something for every fandome imaginable, from comics, movies, tv series, video games or sci/fi and fantasy novels. I met up with the wife later on, then I actually headed back to the hotel room to fetch something, then come back. I made a decision early on to either concentrate on panels and guests, or cosplay photos seeing friends. I chose the latter because I hadn't interacted with many friends in the past few conventions and wanted to at least say hi to them. Also I had very few photos from last year and I wanted to change that. At least with family with me, one can watch the child AND get a quick photo, and not be stuck in a panel which you may have to leave early if the child gets unruly. At the end of the day I met up with an old buddy of mine, and we all headed back to the hotel room, ordered Italian food and watch You Tube videos as my son fell asleep.
Saturday is usually the biggest day of ECCC, attendance wise. Sure enough when I arrived there I was amazed with the attendance, but I never felt it was like too many people. You do have to navigate carefully through crowds to get to your destination, making sure you don't bump into people. This is harder when you're pushing a small stroller. I went ahead again with my son, both of us in costume. I was excited as I was wearing a new costume for once: Rick Deckard from the film Blade Runner, my favorite Sci-fi film. I didn't expect many people to recognize it, but probably a half dozen people did, including a exhibitor who was selling a BR piece of art, which I gleefully bought. I did more of what I did on Friday, which was take cosplay photos, visit the showroom and artist alley areas, plus catch a few of my friends wandering around the halls. As for shopping I was mostly looking for artwork. Last year I found some awesome art of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy films such as superman, star trek, highlander and others. I was hoping to find some artwork of some other genres of films, and I lucked out. A fan artist had some great artwork for Bruce Lee and Quentin Tarantino films, so I got a couple. There was also a drinking glass I saw last year, and hoping it was still available. I found it: a Bugs bunny glass where he says "What a Maroon!" on it, and I got one for my sister too. My wife found me a Beatles art work as well, from this small seller who created his own comic book based on his career in a rock band in the 70's. I hope to find that comic. I would have liked to go to the cosplay contest, but we had the little tyke to put to bed so we have to knock around 7 or so. I also have hoped to partake of the beer garden at ECCC, but at 8$ a pint, I'm more happy than to go to the drug store and buy a 6 pack of PBR, which I did. We stopped at the store to get more snacks and stuff and and then we hung out again at the hotel with my friend Hector. We also hoped to soak in the hot tub there, but it was being repaired. Oh well.
Sunday, the final day of ECCC, started just like any other convention does, with us packing up the car and vacating the hotel room as quickly as we could, and putting our costume as well. As our stuff filled our car, I had the wife and child take the monrail to the con, and would drive the car there into a garage. Even on a Sunday, some of the main parking garages were full, but I managed to find one nearby--albeit a rather expensive one. I proceeded to the con and meet up with my family, where we would take care of the baby's needs, walk around the sites and take photos. I rushed around to find an exclusive Bruce Lee comic in the showroom before the con closed. We saw more of our friends on that final day doing the same thing we were. A lot of them hang out at an area opposite the escalators called the "Brotography corner," a place where several photographers shoot cosplayers as there's enough space and backgrounds to shoot. It's a pretty cool spot, and we'll stop there to see friends or maybe hope to get a picture too. Continuing on our final run, we hung around the artist alley area since my wife wanted to meet this artist who created an academy award nominated short animated film in 2014, and was doing another one. So we basically stayed there (though I went outside to another area to look at T-shirts), until the announcement was made that ECCC had concluded (after which everyone applauded). We stopped at the bro corner again and found several friends saying their good-byes as ECCC did end, and chatted a little until we decided to leave as well.
So that was it. It was great fun, though I felt maybe I should have attended some panels or something. After all we spent a bit of money on these tickets and I hoped to get my money's worth out of them. However I was a little disappointed in the guest they had, no offence to Sean Astin who would have been cool to see. I know that Jenna Coleman was to appear, but she cancelled...AGAIN. She did the same thing the previous year which erked many fans including myself, but we all understand that's how it is when you're in show biz (but still...!). Melissa Benoist, Supergirl herself, was also to appear but ALSO cancelled which was another disappointment. So the 2 main guest I wanted to see were out, so no point in waiting in line or fighting for a chair in the main panel room. And like I said before I wanted to take a lot of cosplay photos this year, but I guess I succeeded. I didn't really see any noticeable problems at the con in regards to staffing and organization. I remember I was in the family room and a young teen came in out of breath, like a panic attack. A staff member came in and asked for the one in charge of the room, but no staff member was ever in the room in charge in the times I was in there. I guess the family room doesn't need to be staffed? The only other problem that caused some controversy at the convention was the weapons policy. From what I understood, you cannot take a weapon that's too large and heavy into the showroom, and you would have to leave it with staff at a table or station. This bothered a lot people who's character brandished large weapons, or were made with heavier material and that all their work had to be left behind for a spell. Plus it made for some odd photos if the character poses without their signature weapon, don't you think? People speculate it had to do Reed Pop's acquisition of the con, and that the con itself is changing for the worse, getting too big, and so on. I don't see any real problem yet with the con growing, but I will keep an eye on it as I continue to attend it. And there's always an issue of creepazoids out there who follow cosplayers around for pics and such, or just socially awkward people who start talking to you about weird stuff. One guy was bothering my wife who was in her Lum costume (furry tiger striped bikini) and took her pic, but then followed her around with his camera phone and saying weird things. I didn't think of it as anything until later, but the wife didn't like it, so we'll have to be more wary of folks like that at conventions and stop them in their tracks.
Overall ECCC was a lot of fun. There's stuff to see and do for the whole family. This convention has been eclipsing the other con of the season, Sakura Con. In fact we skipped SC this year as the 2 cons were only a week apart, and we couldn't possibly afford attending both, along with the fact that I have been disappointed with SC for a long time. Not that ECCC is perfect. My main gripe with this years comic con was guests I wanted to see cancelling, which was one of my mains draws to the con. I've seen many a celebrity from filims and TV series at past comic cons, so I hope they can rectify the situation of people mainly coming to see a certain guest that doesn't show up. I look forward to seeing what great guests and events they will have at next year's ECCC with great eagerness.
Despite the craziness that ensued, KatsuCon was a fantastic con that I'm glad I made it out to! Coco was a smashing success & so much fun to wear. I met & got pictures with J. Michael Tatum, & Matt Stagmer & Ilya Alekseyev from Man At Arms: Reforged, & made some awesome new friends along the way at everything from RWBY gatherings (two adorable Ruby Roses that hung out with me off to the side during the Saturday gathering, including one who gave me the most precious Valentine that I'm keeping forever, an awesome & adorable vlogger Velvet, & very friendly Cocos that all go to RTX & make me want to go) to fire evacuations with Shinywoopwoop Cosplay, who kindly let me hang out with her in her car so we didn't freeze in the 21 degree weather, & a sweet Lolita friend of one of my close friends & her husband who crashed on our hotel room floor the last night as we had great laughs & Million Dollars, But.../TableTop/Man-At-Arms: Reforged marathons. If I never make it back out to KatsuCon, I can honestly say that this one was wonderful & the memories will hold a special place in my heart. Thank you all for making my first out of state con so fun! Next stop: Fanime!
GGC is in my mind, the reliable con. A convention, unique in its mission, small, yet dedicated to and by its staff and followers. It's been a convention I always feel welcome at, and always have fun. So I look forward to it every year.
The previous year was a little tricky for me and my wife to attend, as she ran a booth in the exhibition hall and about 8 months pregnant, and chock full of emotions. I did have a good time despite these hurdles. This year our son was with us, and his first GGC in what I hope to be several to come. This was also my first GGC without press credentials, so mostly I was there to enjoy the con this time, and try to take some cosplay photos. We made a loose system, where I would take care of my son, take him where I go and my wife would mainly run the booth. The booth would be a rest area for us two, if the baby needed a break, or food, or sleeping. If I needed to a photo run, I would leave him at the booth for a spell. But mostly I would take him with me, even taking him to panels and sit in the back. That way if he started fussing I can pick him up and walk him around in the back of the panel room, so I don't disturb people much and still get to see the panel. In addition we brought a little food so we wouldn't have to buy much at the convention. We also parked the car at the Hertz garage where the fee is way cheaper. With this plan and leaving on time to the convention from our house, this was the first time we went to and enjoyed a convention without incident!
I was in charge of the son right away the first day of con as Kirsten went ahead to set up her booth. When I arrived, we settled in a little before I took off and explored the entire convention. The setup was pretty much the same as previous years, gaming on the lower floor, registration and industry on the 1st floor, then panel floor and artist alley, and the upper floor is main panel rooms and the exhibitor's hall. The main hall continues to have all sort of fun things to see and buy, either official merchandise or original merchandise of different genres. The floor below had the artist alley, and previous years it had been disappointing as nothing really appealed to me. This year a lot of cool artwork stood out, and was very tempting to buy, and I probably would have bought a lot if not for not having much dough and wall space for it. Since last year I've seen more new animation shows, not just anime, but American Cartoons. This is one of the reasons I recognized more stuff in the alley, such as Adventure Time and Steven Universe. There were also anime favorites I spotted: little badges of characters from anime such as Ranma 1/2, Slayers and Dragonball.
I was able to get to a panel, taking my son with me and see how he does. This was an X Files appreciation panel, a series celebrating its 20th anniversary and so the panelists wanted to take a look back and bring all the fans together. What was interesting was that they talked about how times have changed. When the show was first on, internet was in its infancy, and you had to have actual physical get togethers with fans to talk about the show rather than internet chat rooms. And you had to record shows or watch them live with actual folks, rather than find it online. They showed fan art, and classic magazine covers of Mulder and Scully. They talked about the Mulder x Scully coupling and why it never came to it on the series. And finally they had a preview trailer for the new X Files show with the same cast which will debut next year. Me and my son both had fun at the panel.
I closed out Saturday with the costume contest. In the past they usually just had a system where you show up to the contest and you can get in, and I planned on entering my son with his Jamie McCrimmon outfit. But things changed, and they actually had a signup early on at the GGC website, and by the time the con rolled around signup was closed. A little disappointing, but not a big deal. I decided to just go watch the show by myself without my son, so I could concentrate on getting a lot of good photos. The reason why they changed formats with entering was probably because the popularity of the contest has gotten much larger, judging by the amount of entries this year. The stage was set up differently, with more a runway type of stage where contestants walk to the end of the runway with the audience all around it. I was lucky to find a seat directly in front of the end of the runway, usually a prime spot to take photos. The entries were divided into 2 categories: kids and non-kids (adults mostly). I got a big kick at seeing so many kids cosplaying at this convention, whether it's anime, live action, american cartoons, or comic book characters. It's all fun for both them and the audience. There was great duo from the classic 80's movie Labrynth. The highlight was a little girl dressed up as Thor that stole everyone's hearts (including the judges!). As for the non-kid costumes they were also fun, and some did a little spin on the traditional costume, such as two ladies in female versions of Thor and Loki. It was also cool to see costumes from the new Mad Max movie, Sailor Moon and even Miss Frizzle from Magic School Bus (who also got an award). I actually had to find out who that was, as I've never had the pleasure to watch that series. While the addition of the runway was good, some cosplayers didn't utilize it fully, or didn't know they were supposed to head all the way down to the end. As such some costume pic opportunities were missed. I do have to say that this was best costume contest at GGC so far.
Sunday was more of the same with cosplay photos and wandering around the convention halls with my son. There was a short time when I dropped my son off at the booth and hunted down some great costume photos, and I was pretty much successful. I did get to another panel this day, taking my son along this time in my arms rather than putting him in the stroller.
The panel was a history of and about Shojo manga and anime series, and it's influence on today's series. The panelist talked about the origins of shojo in very early works that predate the main manga period. The main title that we all know now to be the foundation of shojo was Princess Knight, by Osamu Tezuka the "father of Manga." The innovation was that the lady who is a princess is disguised as a prince, and that it dealt with gender roles. This was the inspiration for other titles such as the very famous Rose of Versailles, which was a French period piece setting with the main character a woman raised as a man to be the heir to her father's throne. Other ideas that became notable was a character being adrogynous and also the subject of yuri, or woman-woman love. From there shojo titles began to flourish and culminated in Sailor Moon, the most famous shojo series in manga and anime. From then on many series were influenced by all that came before. Revolutionary Girl Utena was greatly inspired by Rose of Versailles, and also inspired other series abroad. More recent titles use shojo style and themes in the their series with different story twists. Ouran High School Host Club had a female main character having to work in an all male Host Club disguised as a boy. Even American series have Shojo elements in the them--Steven Universe's creators were inspired by Utena, and Adventure Time has a unique quality that appeals in both shonen and shojo titles (with the characters Marceline and Princess Bubblegum in particular). It was a well presented panel, using several references and slides of manga and anime titles that were sure to give fans ideas on what to read and watch shojo-wise.
After more photos I took a short break to change my son's diaper, which lead to an interesting experience. The nearest restroom was a "gender neutral" bathroom, which means anyone can use the bathroom. I changed my son then used a stall myself. I heard ladies come in, so I wondered if they were going to react to me when I come out even though it's clearly a gender free room. I came out and washed my hands, and the only thing I heard from them were compliments on my Ranma costume and my cute son. It was a weird unique experience: I never shared a restroom with ladies, but I'm glad how open people are today. It was a good very idea to have this gender free room---Geek Girl Con are aware of the issues.
After brief goodbyes at the closing celebrations, I took my son back to the booth, packed up with my wife and left GGC. I'm so glad this con experience went so smoothly and the con itself seems to have been run smootly as well. They had some interesting panels this year and a great costume contest, plus nifty stuff to see and buy. The cosplayers are increasing in numbers and a churning some great costumes of popular series, movies and anything else, some of the costumes original spins on characters. My only qualm is the lack of a major guest at GGC. They have some comic artists, and voice actors, but I've been waiting for another big name to grace their presence at this con, such as Denise Crosby and Karen Prell who attended a couple of years ago. I think the con would have a greater number with another guest like that, but at the same time the con has been selling out of its 2 day passes by the time it rolls around (although there were still some single days left, however friends said that they ran out of 1 day badges and were sold 2 day badges at the door!). I still think the big name cons can learn a lot from smaller cons like GGC, maybe not with big media guests but rather having the con itself, the people and things to see, be the experience. In that sense GGC is a unique experience.
This the 16th consecutive Sakura Con I've attended, and it sure has grown since that first one in 2000 (the 1st time it was called Sakura Con, not Baka Con). It went through growing pains and endured and then when it got even bigger it moved to downtown seattle and has stayed there since. And it was a lot of fun, for a while.
Nowadays, or rather the last few Sakura Cons have been less than stellar, with guests that just don't to appeal to me as much these days, same with musical acts and organization. For 10 of those years I covered SC and wrote reports and was critical of its flaws. This year I am just an attendee, which frees me from obligations I had before, and so I just sit back and take a look at what I liked and didn't.
Things are also different on the homefront as may have heard before. This was the first Sakura Con for my baby son, and the challenge to bring a baby to con continued from ECCC. We had planned to get to SC on Friday by noon, but my wonderful wife decided to make costumes at the very last minute--Dragon Ball Z. Finally finished Friday afternoon we took off. Unfortunately not only did we hit traffic, but we had to make a stop for a bathroom break, then my son started crying. At last, around 5pm we made it to the convention center, changed into our new DBZ costumes and hung out in the convention center. We didn't get much chance to walk around and check out the dealers hall, so we hung around a lounging area on the 4th floor, which is nicknamed "Brotography Corner." This is prime area where cosplayers and photographers hang out, meet up and take photos. We saw a few of our friends there, chatted, showed off the baby and took photos. I ran into Al aka Eurobeat Kasumi after not seeing him for a few years, and he took some of our Vegeta, Bulma and baby Trunks, and other photogs got into us as well. My hope for shooting a lot of photos fell quite short, but I snapped a few. After a couple of hours we decided to call it a night, so we all could settle in at the hotel and eat as well. I parked to car at a nearby garage rather than at the hotel as it was much cheaper. A rather quiet Friday for a first day of con for us.
Saturday would be similar to Friday unfortunately. I got up early to used the exercise room in the hotel, and to check on the car in the other garage. Due to various circumstances we did not get to the convention until after 3pm, missing the morning and part of the afternoon. We wore our Urusei Yatsura costumes and headed to the brotography corner once again for photo ops. We only stayed for a short while as my wife was having "malfunctions" with her Lum bikini. We headed back briefly to our hotel room to change back into our DBZ costumes then headed back. The 3 of us got a lot of attention, maybe because of my son's baby Trunks outfit being so cute, or perhaps Vegeta's pink "Badman" shirt may have hillarious to them. In any case we got a lot of photos taken of us all over the convention area. We checked out the dealer hall and artist alley, though we didn't have much time until it closed since it was already getting late. We headed back to the photo corner to meet up with my buddy Hector. We just hung out there for a little bit, then headed back to the hotel room to eat some food. We ate and drank, then decided we wanted to go back to the convention and play some music--something we've always done at convention--me guitar, Hector sax. I put on my Gakuen Naruto costume and we took off. We played on the first floor, and played all of our standard anime theme songs we learned throughout the years. Lots of folks stopped to listen and enjoy the music, even leaving some tips. Our baby was falling asleep and so we called it a night while Hector went home.
Sunday proved to be more active for us. We actually checked out of the hotel on time and got to the covention early afternoon. We were our Ranma 1/2 cosplay today. We planned to get Sumi Shimamoto's autograph though we were there a little late. I was taking care of the car while Kirsten stood in line, and by the time I got there the line was cut off behind my wife. I was angered because I hoped to have my DVD of Maison Ikkoku autographed. I stormed out of there and checked out the dealers room and took cosplay photos while my wife got her figure signed.
We bummed around the dealers room and artist alley for a little while afterwards, then lined up for a panel. Yes we finally were going to see something! We went to the Sumi Matsumoto panel, which would be the first and last event we would see at this Sakura Con. I have no obligation to go to the Opening or closing ceremonies, so I ceremoniously skipped those.
As we waited in line, I witnessed the only staff infraction I had time for. It seems to me staff members know how to do their job, just not politely. I saw a lady shouting commands to attendees to not congest the area around the panel waiting lines. It just seems common courtesy to politely remind attendees what they can do and what they can't, not act like stern schoolteachers or army commanders. It just ruins the experience for the con-goer, I think.
Anyway the panel itself was very good. She discussed her experiences with being a seiyuu back in there heyday. She even sang an excerpt that her character Nausicaa sung at one point in the Ghibli film. She also demonstrated Kyoko's voice from one of favorite series, Maison Ikkoku. She answered many questions from the audience, and we even got a photo with her after the panel ended.
The rest of time we were at the convention we just hung out in the photography area. Then we just decided to call it a night and head home. Another Sakura Con done.
More or less this year's Sakura Con was anticlimatic in my opinion. This mostly due to lack of time, or running out of time to see anything basically. Such is the life as we already had experienced at ECCC, of being new parents. Other factors ate up time, but as I've stated before we think now we have a better idea of what to expect when we take our kid to a convention, and know how to better plan accordingly. We did see some friends, got some photos and showed off our child who charmed everyone. We also hung out with a friend we been meaning to see for a while-this was most important. But also important, having have to pay for a convention now means I want to get my money's worth otherwise I'd rather stay home than waste money. Of course I also want the convention I'm attending to have cool stuff to see and do--something interesting. Sakura Con falters on that topic lately, but I'm still hoping they will surprise me with a great guest or event in the future. In the meantime I look forward to other superior conventions in the area, attending with the wife and child. And I hope the experiences are superior as well.