Monday, June 6, 2011

Fanime 2011 Gatherings & Robbie's Report (Days 3-4)

Saturday, Day 3, started off with the Bleach gathering. I had something special to debut for that: the version of Aizen with several wings from his final battle with Ichigo. The wig that I purchased for it proved to be not made for styling, so I had to make due with my regular hair. In spite of that, though, the costume went over quite well. Yukari, the organizer, had run these gatherings quite often before, so she was experienced at making it go smoothly in spite of the large amount of cosplayers there. Once again, the gathering ended rather quickly, although several attendees continued on in the nearby park.

After spending some time wandering and chatting with friends, I changed into Kyon for the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya gathering hosted by CCB's own Ryan. Sadly, very few cosplayers showed up, so it was a rather small gathering. Still a good one, just needed more attendees. We made do with the cosplayers that we had, and got some good photos. As there were more Kyon cosplayers than Itsuki cosplayers, I quickly tightened my tie, changed my hair around, and switched my cosplay to Itsuki. After some pictures and dancing Hare Hare Yukai, I moved on to the next event.

I have a role on the webseries "Samurai Senshi," made by my friend Will Fox. He hosted a panel about the series, and as part of the cast, I joined the panel to help. I had to leave early due to a schedule conflict, but I heard that the panel went very well once I left, and the reception seemed good while I was there.

The reason I had to leave early was to host the second Cosplay Battle. Like the day before, it was hard to find everyone, since the location is a little hidden, but once people started showing up, it went very well. Some notable fights were Snow being beaten by Little Red Riding Hood and Vegeta vs Wolverine in Mandalorian armor. There were some epic battles, and it seemed everyone had a good time. I later encountered two people in very cool Metal Gear Solid and Assassin's Creed costumes who wanted to participate and missed it, so that was a shame, but there's always next year.

Another friend of mine was hosting a panel about the history and popularity of the Pokemon Magikarp. Having seen it before at AOD, I knew what to expect, although the incredibly long line took my by surprise. It was so long, in fact, that they moved it to the larger room, and even then it was so filled up that I and several others couldn't get a seat and had to wait for someone to leave. Apparently the only panel that could compete with it in terms of attendance was the Gaia Online panel; people do love Magikarp.

Speaking of lines, the lines for the Masquerade and Black and White Ball were also incredibly long. Since the two events were scheduled for the same day, many guests had to choose between one or the other, but no matter what one picked, it would have a very long line. I opted for the ball, and found that (after much waiting), a long line would lead to a very crowded room. What's worse, Fanime had reserved a smaller room than previous years, since the larger ballroom was taken by a wedding reception. With the large crowd uncomfortable and difficult to navigate to, my date and I left early, somewhat disappointed.

Transitioning from Day 3 to 4, my last stop of the night was at Foxberry's panel on photography and digital photo manipulation. She certainly knew what she was talking about, and her experience with photoshop is evident; I only wish Fanime had given her a better time slot, since she also wound up with a small crowd due to scheduling. My only complaint is that someone in the hotel decided to pull the fire alarm, interrupting the panel and freaking some people out. Not a very funny joke to pull at midnight.

When I woke up on the final day, I found that I had caught the con plague. My throat was sore and my voice next to gone, leaving me woozy and weary as I packed my car. Still, I had one more gathering to end the convention with: the one I was hosting.

I hosted the Negima and Love Hina gathering on Monday, as I had done the previous year. At first, once I checked in for the gathering, I was worried. No one had shown up yet, and three of the people who had said they would be at the gathering were unable to make it for various reasons. Still, some unexpected attendees did show up, and once people actually arrived, the gathering went quite well. We did individual shots while waiting for more people, so each cosplayer had a chance to shine, and there were some very amusing pictures taken. Among my favorites are myself as Nagi Springfield blasting Ryan as Keitaro Urashima with a spell, and Kaede posing for Haruna to draw, but everyone had some great suggestions. While the other gatherings seemed to have gone by too quickly, this one didn't feel rushed or cut off early, although perhaps the amount of time we had to wait for the other attendees had to do with that.

So, how was Fanime? Well, it did have its flaws; I've heard some horror stories about the rovers, there were no schedules (due to a printer error, apparently), and as I mentioned, it seemed to be lacking a certain energy or essence that previous Fanimes have had, not to mention the lines. Still, there were plenty of good aspects to it as well. The gatherings were all very fun, and I lament having to miss some of them. My friends had rather successful panels, even though I felt mine could have been better, and there were some very awesome costumes there.

Next year, I'm going to pace myself a bit more. I felt too rushed this year, trying to fit in all those costumes, so I'll limit myself to 2-3 costumes a day at the most next time. It was a long con, so I'm sure this article is equally long, but in spite of the flu and sore feet, it was well worth it.

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