Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ALA 2012 Review by Rukazu

So I am back from another great ALA, a little tired and sore, but other than that, it was another amazing convention. I was busy during the week up to ALA and didn't really do as much preparation as I would have liked. For example, I didn't really prepare my cosplays nor coordination with the other members on the blog about what events to cover or what pictures to take. However, I did meet up with Aubrey and Zanney briefly during the AMV contest and discussed a little bit about what we each would be doing. As usual, my activities during the con primarily consisted of gatherings, taking pictures, socializing and hanging out with my friends. I also made sure to attend the two major events and a few panels.


Day 1
I got up that morning and wanted to finish some last minute touch ups to my cosplays before heading out around 11:30 and getting to con around noon. I then met up with my friends and got ready for the FMA gathering at 1:00. It was a small gathering barely 15 people, but was still enjoyable nonetheless. I met up with the person who was going to run it, only to find out that she (cosplaying as Ed) was late because her brother wouldn't come out of the gaming room. So as usual I took up the mantel and ran the gathering. It was still really enjoyable as it was only the second FMA gathering I've been to. The rest of the day consisted of attending a few panels like the history of Lupin III ran by our associate Jared, which was really interesting to see this anime that's been going on for three decades. I also decided to watch cosplay chess, ran again by Maguma, and they had some pretty interesting battles. My only concern was that it was a bit short as not all the pieces really got to move and have a battle. The main thing of course was the AMV contest which was pretty fun as they had a new category called 'Dance'. Midway through, I started getting a bad headache so I wasn't able to enjoy the last few AMVs unfortunately. My friends and I had dinner at Carl's Jr. and I had to crash for an hour because I was so tired and I forgot to eat and drink water, two things which I kept reminding others and forgot to do myself. I missed out on the rum party again, but was able to enjoy a rave party at the end at least. When we got back to our rooms at around 1:30 in the morning, we drank a little and socialized for another 2 hours before finally crashing for the night. The one thing I didn't really like that day was the fact that the hotel overbooked the rooms and my friend who reserved the rooms was really stressed out about that. Bascially we were supposed to check in at 3:00pm, but was not actually able to until like 8:00pm. On top of that there was some drama over the fact that there were two girls' rooms and two boys' rooms, but the girls would have gotten double beds, meaning they all would have gotten a bed and we wouldn't. That would have been the case had my bedmate put his foot down and said that we'd each be getting one of each kind of room to be fair. Other than that, it was a really eventful day.

Day 2
Today was pretty fun for me as I got to debut my Sniper cosplay from Team Fortress 2. Originally I was asked by Zanney to help her run the Persona 4 gathering, but Ryan had borrowed my wig and I never got it back and therefore I couldn't run the gathering with her. That was fine though because the Persona gathering was at 1:00 while the Valve gathering was at noon. So I would be too rushed anyways to do it. Valve was so much fun as we got to do this big group shot with the other TF2 guys and had a lot of fun making fun of ourselves and the games. So I found a small group of TF2 guys and we started taking several pictures and I was so sad that I didn't get into Valve earlier! The shots we did and the interactions between the various TF2 guys were hilarious! I also saw a lot of really good Left 4 Dead cosplayers and a few really good GlaDOs (human form) cosplayers as well. After TF2 I decided to swap out for Lyrica Prismriver for the Touhou gathering that took place at 4:00. I had to come back after a while to take a break before the gathering, only to find out that our hotel keys were not working. Apparently there was some kind of glitch the day before which rendered all the keys useless. No matter, after we got our keys working again, I headed back out on to the pool deck. It was really chaotic and crazy as we had several gatherings going on all at once and we even had one guy on a balcony blasting music and had a giant dance party on the pool deck. The Touhou gathering was pretty small, more or less like last year, about 20 people at best but it was still really enjoyable. Afterwards I just walked around a bit and started to line up for the Masquerade. Once again, Tadao was the Toastmaster, and he was very entertaining and funny as always. I've noticed that the skits for ALA and Fanime tend to me more enjoyable overall while the AX ones tend to be more about showing off the cosplays. To be honest, for Masquerade, I like a little of both, but prefer to be entertained. And for this year, I was very entertained by the skits. After Masq, I headed back to get changed for the dance and I bumped into Grant Imahara of Mythbusters while walking around the halls. We had dinner at Denny's and went to another rave party until about 3 0'clock in the morning. It was definitely the most fun I've had at ALA so far.

Day 3
So for my last day, I didn't really do all that much. I was asked again to help run the Hetalia gathering and once again it was hands down the largest gathering at the con. It was more or less the same like last year, except that it was an hour later. I also didn't have the megaphone with me so it was a little harder to yell over the crowds. Luckily Shokora and a few others also helped organized it and for a group that was at least a hundred cosplayers. After that it was pretty much winding down and looking at a few other panels and taking more pictures. After watching the closing ceremonies (sad face), my sister and I headed back home and she was asleep ten minutes into the ride. This was probably my favorite ALA considering everything went more or less smoothly and was better than last year. Also, last year I felt was more hectic as I thought I tried doing too much.

So now to other little details like the staff and the configuration of the rooms. I had noticed they moved things around from last year. For instance, they switched the Dealer's Hall and Main events hall around which made the main hall seem much larger, they moved the Artist's Alley to the second floor where the Karaoke used to be making that much larger as well. The staff was amazing this year, as they were very helpful and friendly and a lot of good panels and really good variety of cosplays. I've seen a lot of old stuff like Speed Racer, Ah My Goddess, Ruroni Kenshin, and Sailor Moon, and a ton of new stuff like Madoka, Stein's Gate, Kuragahime, Penguindrum and so on. But I'm also impressed at the other cosplays that are not anime related. For instance, there were a few Doctor Who cosplays, a really good Lara Croft cosplay, Marvel and so forth. So to conclude, this has been my favorite ALA so far, and I definitely would recommend this con for people who have yet to go to a con around the LA area. This is Rukazu signing out!

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