Saturday, September 10, 2011

SacAnime Summer 2011 Report: Part 3 - Saturday (Day Two)

With Saturday upon us, it was time to get ready for what is usually the biggest day for any convention. I made a quick stop over at Bel Air to pick up ice and some drinks that I stuck in the cooler in the trunk, then I went over to Jim Denny's to have a hearty breakfast. I didn't attempt to eat another Hubcap, so I got one of the smaller breakfast platters.

During my breakfast I encountered another attendee, an older man in a Sailor Moon t-shirt who was staying at the local hostel down the street. We were talking about the convention when he told me a fact that I didn't realize until now: there were no anime viewing rooms. He said that they should of put a disclaimer or lowered the price if there was going to be no anime viewing rooms. I explained it in a economic sense that it was probably replaced by something else that's going to have higher traffic like a maid cafe or a second gaming room.

I obtain my decent parking spot just before 8am, and with nothing else happening until 10am I once again roam the halls to take shots of the scenery and cosplayers.

At 10am I went into the STG101: Intro to Shoot'em Up Games Panel hosted by a person that I fairly knew, mostly through our encounters at FanimeCon and on Facebook. He brought a lot of knowledge to the table about the genre, and overall had an excellent panel even if he ran it solo. I even tried a game out which got me re-excited about the genre. I would actually take this over to the game room where a bunch of games from the same genre were showcased and I even caught him there playing a few.

11am rolls around, and I'm ready for the Durarara!! Gathering. It was a short gathering, but I had lots of fun taking some beautiful photos. Props go out to them for holding the gathering and bringing me into the fold. I love the anime and I love cosplaying as Kyohei Kadota Dotachin.

Right before I hit my lunch break, I swing by Eyeshine and Johnny Young Bosch once again at the tail end of their autograph session. I loved how they "bribed" me to buy a CD so that Bosch could sign my copy of Persona 4, but as I learned later the CD was probably my best buy of the weekend and I've been enjoying the music of Eyeshine and especially that album Tone of Echoes. I also have my first encounter with James C. Burns, the voice of Sgt. Frank Woods from Call of Duty: Black Ops. The last time I talked to him was at Anaheim Comic Con, and while I didn't get another interview with him he seemed more relaxed and open then what I experienced at Anaheim Comic Con.

I do stop by the game room before said lunch break, since my car is parked outside near the game room. Out there, I listen to some of my favorite hits while eating my tuna sandwich. I then check out what Team LoveHate has on display and snap a couple of photos of that.

Back inside, I hope that the line for Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt isn't as busy as Bosch's line, but it was backed up outside. So much for getting Persona 3 and Persona 4 signed.

With the main area crowded, I escape to the courtyard and back once again into the gaming room. I also have my first glimpse of this game called "Ride That Mustang." Basically it's people in a circle running around to this chant, then at some point they stop and do this dance with someone in the circle, then that person runs and we repeat the cycle. Using my multishot feature on the Nikon D3100 DSLR, I get some very fine motion shots of this game from the perspective of inside the circle. By the 5th rotation though I was getting dizzy because...well, you're spinning in a circle.

Also in this area is Artists Alley, and yesterday I had inquired into a cosplay commission for a future cosplay: Conner Kluff from Letter Bee. Today, I saw her again and filled out a form to get this commission started, which if everything falls my way then this cosplay should be debuting in January. I also got a commission started on some Junpei x Chidori fan "portrait."

I swing back again into the main area to see that Eyeshine is still doing autographs, and even squeeze into the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Panel.

At 2pm, I head over to the Touhou Gathering and take some shots of that gathering. I also had a nice shot of my friend Ray who was changed over from the Persona 4 Protagonist from earlier this morning. But once again, my 16GB memory card decides to play tricks on me and dies on me again. This time, I came prepared and slipped in my backup 8GB memory card. (With this second failure, I shipped back the 16GB to the manufacturer and is in the process of being replaced.)

My last set of shots before my battery dies on me is from the Halo: Reach tournament. I also witnessed an epic beat down by the team that eventually won the whole tournament. With my battery on the fritz, I head back to Artists Alley and to that lady I talked to earlier about the commission. She allows me to barrow the outlet behind her to charge my battery. I thank her and take off for my next event.

I heard about Kazu and the issues he had in getting an official panel for SacAnime. The folks over at Team LoveHate gave him some space in the front of the convention where the cars were set up. I had the honor of being part of the panel alongside the VA for Samurai Senshi; Living Ichigo, an up-and-coming cosplayer with a workout plan designed for cosplayers; and Kazu himself. We shared current and future projects and talked about a number of other subjects.

I also remember that the BAC Gathering is just about to wrap up, so I take off early from the panel to go find the gathering and the mastermind behind the BAC group, Esper Kit. Unfortunately, I missed the gathering but I did get a chance to meet Esper and thank her for our partnership. This would be the only time that I would see her though as she took off early.

At this point, it's almost to the point where the evening's events would run back to back to back: Masquerade, then the Saturday Eyeshine performance, and finally the Sac Rave. I decide to head on over to Extreme Pizza for an early dinner after picking up my battery from the commission lady. I had the chance to talk to attendees outside of SacAnime while eating the Railroad Grade pizza and drinking a fine beverage. Most of the attendees shared the same praises and concerns that I had.

Back at the convention, I head on over back to the courtyard only to catch the Shuffling Club doing their routines to the hard-hitting genre known as hardstyle. I also went to the karaoke lounge and got my first glimpse of the maid cafe-turned lounge. I also saw the folks who ran the FanimeCon karaoke room and it was nice to see Tommy again, which then he urged me to attend Anime on Display (AOD).

Over in the game room, the Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition Tournament is in full swing. Feeling off the high that I got from watching coverage of EVO 2011, I stick around and nab shots of the sheer concentration and finger work on the much, that I miss the Masquerade.

Shortly after the tournament was done, I decided to film my "Convention Tour."

After taking more shots around the courtyard, I prepare myself to photograph the Eyeshine concert, but not before I get some photos of the Rave Truck that I heard about.

Attendee-wise, the Eyeshine concert was really awesome even if we couldn't hear JYB sing half the time. But as a photographer, it was a nightmare. There were these "hard lights" on each end of the stage. The only decent shots that I got was of JYB because he was in the middle. The other guitarist and the bassist were against the hard light, so it took me some flash and some tinkering to get the shots I desired. In the end, they came out beautiful, and I hope Eyeshine enjoys my work.

Now it was time for the late finale: the Sac Rave. Stormy Rayner was opening for the well-renowned night rave, and I got some excellent shots of people dancing and wanting to get up on the "featured stage." I also got to see Stormy again, the first time since FanimeCon and my interview with him.

I round out the night by partying late night with the gaming room staff and friends until the early morning. I head home in the early dawn, only to arrive back at the convention a few hours later...

-Saturday (Day Two) End-

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