Monday, September 10, 2012

Ray Reports: Sac-Anime Summer 2012

Date: 2012, August 31 ~ September 2
Location: Woodlake Hotel - Sacramento, CA
Previous attendances: S'11 onwards

Let's be honest: My first impression of Sac-Anime, in S'11, was a bad one. I didn't like the crowds, and I didn't like the weather (as much as I like clear weather, not a huge fan of heat waves). However, I've slowly warmed up to this con, and I've actually grown to develop an appreciation of it.

Like with the past many Sac-Animes, SA S'12 takes place at the Woodlake Hotel (formerly the Radisson). Convenient hotel rooms that put you right at the con, beautiful lake, and conveniently located next to a strip mall with a number of fast food places. Service, on the other hand, can be questionable; food inside the lobby is not allowed, and I'm rather reluctant to entrust my credit card credentials to this hotel after the random $150 charge Robbie was hit with last year.

Cosplay-wise, it seems like a new dominant fandom is on the horizon. I saw a lot of Adventure Time cosplayers, Robbie included, especially on Friday when the gathering took place. Homestuck is there, to almost nobody's surprise, although I've come to warm up to HS and its fans since last year. Persona was somewhat well-represented here; I encountered three Akihikos and, strangely, three Mitsurus, which puzzles me a bit as neither of their respective VAs were there although I'm not complaining. Touhou was out and about, in fairly respectable numbers.

I especially didn't like the Dealer's Hall this time around. Horridly crowded even by con standards, and nothing caught my interest.

Artist's Alley was business as usual. A lot of Western fandoms were there, and DoujinPress was back with their mostly-Madoka and -Touhou booth.

Finally, the gaming rooms. TBAGR was there to provide their robust selection of games--from the usual fighting game suspects to "classic" games of generations before , with a side of motion dance games. I even participated in a tournament myself; more on that furtherdown.


Picked up my carpool crew and headed out towards Sacramento around 12:30 PM
To avoid toll booths, I took 580, 205, and 5; it's boring compared to 680 and 80 but at least they're much faster routes. I was going to stop by an In-N-Out in Tracy on 205 so my carpool could use the bathroom, but I missed my exit. Ended up at a KFC/A&W on 5 instead, where I got to try A&W's infamous root beer mugs. Mugs were cool, but the root beer itself tasted just like any other root beer. Meh.

Arrival time: About 2:45-2:55 PM.

Day 1:

I tried to check in, but the room wasn't ready yet, so I had 30 minutes to kill.

My first order of business was to get my press badge ASAP so I would not forget it later, but due to some mishaps I couldn't get one by myself since the staff thought CCB was only a 1-member groupo for this con so I had to have Robbie tag along so he could clear things up. Since he was also rooming with me, we then went over to the front desk to check in and pay up, but due to my debit card not having enough funds to pay the whole thing, I had to call up all of my 2-night roommates so I could pay partially in cash and the rest by card. Other than these problems, registration and checking in went by fairly smoothly; our room, also shared by Nate and An, was over by the lake, with both front and back doors.

Unfortunately, I hit a snag soon enough when I tried to take photos of some cosplayers: I realized that I had left my camera's SD card at home! Thankfully, my phone takes good photos by modern smartphone standards, so I ended up using that to take con photos instead.

So Friday was basically the "nothing happens" day, just like at last Sac. I did meet up with fellow Touhou fans.

Around 6 I went to Costco to get pizza and frozen yogurt for cheap; I soon regretted the yogurt because not only was it a lot, but I ended up with what was either "stomach freeze" or a stomachache for the next several hours.

Since I was very exhausted, I found myself crashing around 10 PM, and took a nap so I could check out the nightlife.

Gaming room, notably, had a DJMAX Technika 3 and Pop'n Music 20 fantasia setup. The table the Pop'n was on was a bit low, but managable.

Unfortunately I missed the swap meet, and I didn't really care much for the rave. The crowd was notably less amicable at night with the rave going on, so I left for my hotel room and went to bed shortly thereafter.

Day 2

Day 2 is the "big day" of Sac-Anime--this is when many of the major gatherings, panels, and other events take place.

For me, it was also my big day, as it gave me a chance to use my other "signature" cosplay: Reimu.

Still pretty terrible at eyeliner and mascara, though I've picked up a few new tricks since last time.

Before I could do anything else, however, Matt needed in on our hotel room, so I got him a key card from the front desk and he lent his cooler to our room for the night.

I had a pass for complimentary breakfast, so I thought why not, living on fast food at a con is fairly expensive, guess I'll score myself some free grub. Met with a few old friends there, who were quite amazed by my Reimu cosplay. :)

Afterwards, I made for the autograph line for Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey. However, by the time I got to the line it was so hideously long that their autograph session kicked into "express mode", with them going down the line to sign only one item each so that JYB, Michelle Ruff, and Jennifer Hale could do their autograph session, which put a snag in my plans as I had intended to get at least the box for my copy of Catherine and a World of Warcraft book (which my friend, who chose not to attend Sac, asked me to have signed) signed. Fortunately, someone next to me wasn't going to get anything signed, so he offered to hold the WoW book. After getting autographs from Travis and Laura, I stayed in the line to get Michelle Ruff's autograph. The entire deal took me about 2-3 hours.

Went out to lunch at Extreme Pizza, where my friend, cosplaying Meiling, happened to be present. I got myself a hearty mini-pizza, and I was gonna go get Starbucks but didn't have time.

The Touhou gathering was at 3. Attendance was fairly modest, though we did have an awkward location for our shoot--because all the cosplayers at the gathering were facing against the crowds, it made for some fairly poor shots. My friend who was also cosplaying Reimu was nice enough to lend me her ofuda for some shots.

Afterwards, I went to the gaming room to chill out.

I signed up for the Pac-Man Championship Edition DX tournament; it seemed like the one tournament being offered that I could present some degree of competence at. Some people were practicing, and I did see at least one player who was actually pretty good, which worried my chances of victory a little.However, there was also a Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament, and it was so crowded (80+ entries!) that non-entrants were forced to leave the room to make way for entrants. I left and decided to kill time in the courtyard, as well as go to Starbucks.

Nameventures. Spoiler: The barista asked to spell it out, so it doesn't count.

Around this time, the Madoka gathering took place, and I stopped to take photos of that.

The tournament was at 6, and had about 8 entries. Naturally, this meant the tournament would end pretty quickly. For the first round, everyone had two shots at Highway 5-minute Score Attack, and I saw some pretty respectable scores.

However, I did note that some players were not taking advantage of tricks that I normally use, which gave me a bit of an advantage. Ended up placing first after all, sadly not with 2nd place watching.

Round 2 was one shot of Dungeon 10-minute Score Attack amongst the top three, and this is where things get interesting. I had a good run going up until the last minute or so, when I somehow managed to botch my run by skipping a "jackpot" wave of ghosts. Fortunately, I set myself on getting to the next jackpot as quickly as possible, and redeemed myself, pushing myself past 1st place and securing victory!

It felt good not only to win a game tournament, but to do so while in cosplay, when most people who do con game tournaments do not cosplay at all. It was great to do two of my "core" hobbies at once: cosplaying and playing "score attack" games.

As a prize for winning, I got $10 credit at Armageddon Games, the store that was pimping their wares in the other gaming room. I used it to buy a copy of Blast Corps.

Matt happened to show up around the tail end of the tournament, and was shouting and cheering like he was watching a boxing match, heh. We went out to get food, and he was cool enough to pay for mine's as his way of saying congrats.

My phone was running low and I was tired, so I retreated back to the hotel room to recharge and recuperate. Afterwards, I went back out, since the gaming room was open for about another hour.
Mostly I just hung around T3, and I happened to make friends with a rather friendly player there. Playing T3 without PlatCrew access is suffering, but at least it has the KARA Original Version sets available to play.

Gaming room closed at midnight. Someone was quite fond of my cosplay so she took a few photos of me. She told me where to find them, but sadly, said photos have yet to surface.

I left to donk-donk around the area. Met up with the Persona crew, then split to walk around with a couple friends who were roaming the area.

At this point there was nothing left for me to do, so I went to the lobby. Meh, I was exhausted and out of it, though I met a few familiar faces. As much as I didn't want to, I went back to the room and changed out of my Reimu cosplay.

Honestly, cosplaying Reimu gives me some rather interesting feels; having people find me attractive in it certainly helps. =) I always find it sad when I have to change out of it into normal clothes or bed clothes. I really like crossplaying; it gives me a chance to bust out my feminine side, and I hope to acquire a few more crossplays while I still look good and young enough to do it.

Day 3

Or "pack up and get out while the sun is still up" day.

Thankfully, I had pulled my car up next to my hotel room on Friday, so packing was a lot faster for me. Threw on my Minato cosplay and checked out of my room.

I thought about lining up for the "last chance autographs" line, but decided no, getting more of the Investigation Team VAs to sign my Persona 4 box is not worth flushing away half the convention day, so fuck that shit.

Dealer's Hall. Meh.


Artist's Alley. Sup, DoujinPress. Bought myself a Reimu/Yukari doujin and a set of Touhou buttons. Gotta love being able to legitimately purchase doujins, in a language I'm competent at, no less.

Gaming room, again. I got sleepy at some point, but I did notice Kenchan in a kigurumi cosplay beasting Pop'n, to the point of scaring away onlookers. I took to playing a more low-key round myself, which woke me up.The room closed at 4, which marked the end of the con for me.

I went out to the outdoor stage to chill out, where I encountered noveau-riche cosplaying as Kyouko Sakura. Chatted for some several minutes, then while she went off to do other things, I found myself playing some card games with the Marisa cosplayer who was at the gaming room. I also summoned #CarpoolCrew here, and we all left, roughly around 5-5:30 PM.


Before we could leave Sacramento, some of the carpool crew needed to use the bathroom, so we stopped at Starbucks; I wanted to use my Treat Receipt anyway.

Further down the road, we stopped at In-N-Out in Pinole for food--the same In-N-Out we stopped at last time, no less. I wasn't going to put my wig back on, but did so anyway since quite frankly, I much prefer to spend time with cosplayers in cosplay; I don't feel right in regular clothes next to someone in cosplay.

Trying to keep myself awake, I drove the crew home, arriving at my place just before 10 PM.


This is probably the best Sac-Anime I've been to yet, in terms of personal experience. There were a few moments where I was feeling down, but it happened mostly in the late hours when there wasn't much to do. Having a great gaming room helped to pass the time; I'm looking forward to seeing it again next Sac, should I decide to attend.

To me, everything good that happened can be summed up in day 2: free breakfast, Reimu, crossplay, 2hu, winning a tournament, meeting cute people, people who find my cosplay cute, and megucas.
If there's anything that detracted from my experience, it's mostly that I didn't really have a lot of friends that I enjoyed sticking around with for long periods of time, unlike Kin-Yoobi Con. Then again, this IS a con of 6,000-7,000, can't exactly expect community when a con is this big.

I did manage to make one new friend from this convention; something that happens very rarely these days due to my attitudes on befriending people.

I may go to ALA next year, but the unfamliarity, coupled with at least one good friend wanting me to come to Sac again along with Sac's new future location, may make me attend Sac Winter instead.
  • Venue: 4/6
  • Hotel experience: 4/6
  • Community/Friends: 3/6
  • Food availability: 4/6
  • Cosplay quality: 4/6
  • Cosplay diversity: 4/6
  • Dealer’s Room: 2/6
  • Artist's Alley: 3/6
  • Gaming Room: 5/6
  • Events: 4/6
  • OVERALL: 4/6
See you all at future conventions and cosplay events!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.