Monday, February 18, 2013

Animation On Display 2013: Robbie's Review

I have to say, I was really looking forward to this year's Animation On Display. I had been facing two weeks of nonstop bad luck, from failures as a writer to a car crash, so I needed the escape, and I wanted to make this con the best possible. Unfortunately, the universe continued to conspire against me.

I arrived at the con far later than usual, due to my lack of a car requiring me to get a ride from a friend. On the bright side, by the time I got there, the registration line was pretty short. So I went to get a press pass… only to find we were denied.

According to the people working there, a member of our blog broke the dress code last year, and as such, we were banned from press for this year. However, they wouldn't tell us who broke the dress code or what they did, and honestly, I don't think anyone in our crew wore anything that would break the dress code. They didn't even inform us about that until we got there, so none of us expected it or knew to pre-register. So that's 35 dollars I didn't know I'd have to spend gone.

Well, once I got my badge, I started wandering around the con. I was cosplaying as Giovanni, but it was an original design based off of Pokemon Conquest. I was using this con as a test run for it, so I could figure out what needs fixing. (Hint: a lot.) The costume seemed to go over well, though; most people recognized that I was representing Team Rocket (the big red R on my flag and armor might have been a hint), although not all realized that I was Giovanni.

Throughout the day, the costume needed some repairs, usually due to the straps breaking through the craft foam. I need to coat it in resin when I repair it, but I always knew that was an issue. My flagpole also fell apart, but it lasted through the most of the day.

I spent most of the day hanging out with friends, catching up, chatting, and wandering around. The dealer's hall didn't have anything that really stood out as worth purchasing to me, although the mall at Japan Town had plenty of shops to get stuff from. (I splurged a little on card game stuff, and got a giant Jigglypuff plushie pillow. No regrets.)

At 3:00, I checked into the hotel. Given last year's fiasco, where the hotel said we were reserved for the previous weekend, and taking my current streak of luck into consideration, I was prepared for the worst… but we checked in just fine. One of my roommates thought we were supposed to be upgraded to a suite after what happened last year, which we weren't, but I didn't care, I was just glad to have a room.

After getting settled in, I went to continue hanging out with friends. There was a "Harlem Shake" cosplay video being filmed, but honestly, I'm not a fan of that meme, so I decided to pass. Afterwards, I was going to have a photoshoot for my Giovanni cosplay, but it was delayed for a while, so I spent more time hanging out and wandering.

While outside, I also noticed that the entire pagoda was populated by a massive Homestuck gathering. It's always pretty crazy just how big the crowds get for those, but hey, if it's a series people like, then more power to them. While I have had complaints about the behavior of some parts of that fandom in the past, I didn't notice anyone causing a nuisance this time, so it's all good.

Around 5, I went to the photoshoot in the hotel's garden. It's the most popular spot for pictures at the con, so it's always pretty crowded, but we managed to get in some nice pictures nonetheless. There were other attendees who didn't always listen to the staff members saying "get off the rocks," but most people didn't cause any trouble; just take the pics and move on for the next people.

Following that was dinner, and following dinner, I went to the "Magikarp: A History" panel. As always, it had a nicely-sized crowd, and the panel was well-made, well-researched, and presented expertly. They had new video content as well, and provided information about Magikarp's appearances in more Pokemon media, including the card game and spinoffs. Always a fun panel to visit.

 When that was over, I switched out of my armor, since it kept falling apart and was growing uncomfortable. I decided to stop by the karaoke room, where I signed up to sing "Yakko's World." I was told that the wait would be about an hour and a half, so after signing up, I continued to wander around the con.

I stopped by the game room, although there weren't too many games playing that really caught my interest. I did join in for a song on "Just Dance," but after that, it was more wandering.

When I returned to the karaoke room, I found that I had been pushed back in line, as had many others. There was this group of rather obnoxious guys in the karaoke room, who continued to shout through everyone's songs, usually shouting some variation of "Swag" and cursing constantly. It turns out that they were the reason everyone else had been pushed back, as the karaoke room staff let them cut ahead of everyone in line.

The guy at the karaoke room said that they were some sort of VIP (they kept calling themselves "Team White Guys," or something along those lines, but I'd never heard of them, and after the way they were behaving, I hope I never will again), so they let them cut ahead of everyone to get their songs out of the way. This is incredibly unfair to those who had to wait, and I found myself growing tired of having to listen to them constantly shout through everyone else's songs, so I left, disappointed and irritated.

Well, once that was over, there wasn't much else to do, so I went back to my room to prepare for the following day.

Legend of Korra cosplayers: Korra, Asami, and Jinora
The Holy Grail War is on at AOD
Mutants and proud
The next day, I cosplayed as Kariya Matou from Fate/Zero. I had spoken to several friends before the con about getting a group together, although for various reasons, I was the only member of that group who was there and cosplaying from a Fate/series.

Still, I made the best of the con, stopping by the guest table to get an autograph from Kyle Hebert and hanging out with friends. I encountered a few other Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero cosplayers, including another Kariya, although most of them were busy at first as well.

After that, it was more hanging out with friends, which is all I can really say I was expecting. It was good to unwind and spend time with people I only get to see at cons, so no complaints there.

As I was leaving, I was told that there was an impromptu Fate/series photoshoot going on in the lobby, so I managed to jump in for a few pictures. That was plenty of fun, although I wish I could have stuck around for more. It was time to leave, so I got my stuff and hit the road.

So, how was this AOD? A little disappointing, actually. My biggest complaints are the press pass issue (the only members on our staff last year were myself and Ray, how did one of us break the dress code?) and the karaoke problem, which put a damper on the first day. Still, I got to spend time hanging and chatting with friends, there was plenty to see, good food options, and some nice cosplay to see.

While this wasn't the escape from bad luck that I wanted, it still had plenty of good things going for it. I can't help but feel upset about those issues, but I won't let those ruin the good times I had catching up and spending time with my fellow geeks. All in all, it was a decent convention, that's all that can really be said for it.

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