Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nate Reports: SacAnime Summer 2014 (Friday only)

With last weekend at Japan Expo in San Mateo happening, it was a tough decision for me to attend summer Sacanime since JX did take a toll in my expenses. But with the amazing lineup of guests they have for the con (Johnny Yong Bosch and Eyeshine, Christine Cabanos, Christina Vee, Yuri Lowenthal, etc,), I was eager to attend; for only a day unfortunately. There was already plans I've already arranged before attending Sacanime and to my luck, they were during that same weekend. But I was able to grab Friday of that con off and to everyone who's seeing this report, it will only be about Sacanime Friday unfortunately. So even if I don't inform you guys much about this season's Sacanime, just note I only attended a day so yeah you won't see much. But anyways, let's get on this report!

On the morning of SacAnime Friday, I quickly grabbed my friends who also planned to attend the con with me for that day only and we would quickly take the I-5 up to the city of Sacramento. But we were quickly hit hard with the traffic. Right when we hit Fairfield, the traffic began to build up. We were caught in patches of traffic for about a good hour which delayed our arrival into the Sacramento Convention Center. We left around 11 am, we arrived at 1 pm. Then again it was Labor Day weekend so I would expect traffic, but not like this. Next time I'll be more prepared.

Curse this traffic!!!!

We arrived at Downtown Sacramento and found a parking plaza conveniently 2 blocks away from the convention center at a low price of $7 until 6 pm where I have to move it into another location by then. A couple of people in the car including me changed into our cosplays, I planned at the last minute to cosplay Yosuke Hanamura from Persona 4 but in his summer outfit because knowing how Sacramento gets with it's weather, it's best to wear that instead of his school uniform. When I arrived at the con, I would head to the press room and grab my badge. I would then meet up with Matt where he would already be signed up for Cosplay Chess. To be honest I haven't even played cosplay chess before so with nothing for me to do based on the schedule, I decided to join in with him. When I signed up, there was some time left for me to grab lunch. Conveniently, a 7-11 was right across the street so I grabbed a quick lunch before heading back to the Variety room where Cosplay chess was held. When the time came, we all were assigned a certain position on a board in the middle of the room. I would be positioned as a bishop so I was placed right next to Matt who was the king. And he was cosplaying Junpei from Persona 3. Him a King??? This may not end well......

King Stupei? Uh oh.......

To those who don't know what cosplay chess is, it's a bunch of cosplayers that are positioned on a checkered mat based on the pieces they signed up. Two people will play in a real chess match in a board on the table. Based on how the pieces are positioned in the board will be reflected in the cosplayers version in the room. When a person takes down a piece, they can do whatever they want to do to kill the piece (without physical contact). Whoever gets the king wins the game. The event was pretty fun as I would be commanded by the person to move in certain places to take down the other team. But I wouldn't really move much, I was taken out early in the game :( While the game was still going on, I would wander around the new floor of the convention center seeing all the new things that have appeared since I last visited Sacanime back in winter 2013. The new floor I must say brought in new space for the con and new rooms as well for more panels and events to occur. I was pretty impressed with it. When I came back to the variety room, I found out from our king Junpei we lost and the team was dominated by mostly people who cosplay homestuck..... Although we lost, it was still a fun time.

Now it was around 4pm that cosplay chess was over and it was about 2 hours until dealer's hall and artist alley closed. So I decided to check out that to notice that it felt a whole lot bigger than the last time I was there. Then again, it was a year and a half since I went back to Sacanime so I really don't remember much, but I can see it's a pretty big hallway. I would manage to grab some stuff from the dealer's and artists including a cool artwork of Death the Kid from Soul Eater and a really neat looking artwork of the guys from the swimming anime, Free! (Don't judge!), I would also grab a couple of Weiss Schwarz trading cards from a dealer that was selling them, 2 boosters of Love Live! and the trial deck of Kill la Kill. And for only $28 for all of them, it's better than what my local gaming store was selling them for (ahem, $40+. Total ripoff!!!!).

During my time at the dealer's/Artists room, I would get an email from Sacanime themselves about a press conference for 3 of the guests of honor: Christine Cabanos, Christina Vee, and Danielle McRae, all of which voice characters in animes and video games, especially from the Downloadable fighting game, Skullgirls, available for Steam, PS3 and Xbox 360. Me, Matt, and Ray would be down to join in on the press conference. So I would quickly head back to my car to repark (since it was almost 6pm and the parking rules needed us to move at 6pm) and then headed to the Press room in the Sheraton hotel for the press conference. I would meet up with Matt and Ray and it turns out we were the only ones at the conference. It would end up being an interview with the 3 of them! You can see the video of our interview below:

Oh and that selfie we took! It's right below!

The press conference would be over from there and we would head out to grab dinner at a local diner a couple of blocks away from the con called Squeeze Inn. You may have heard of it from the Food network show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The restaurant, famous for their cheese skirts, is where we were eating and when I got my burger, I was shocked to see the burger in real life. Fried cheese appearing out of the burger and laid on top of the burger. It was one of the most filling burgers ever. 

After dinner, I would chill around in my friend's room until Swap Meet opened up. When it was 11pm, the room was completely full of vendors. When we saw that, we just decided to just opt out and on that note, we left for home. Sucks I couldn't be there for the whole weekend but hopefully I'll make it for the full weekend in the upcoming Winter SacAnime next year!

Bravest Warriors Cosplay

The Last of Us' Joel and Ellie 

Jak and Daxter's Jak

Since I attended only a day, I'll just keep it short to the other reviews I've done. Expanding the Sacanime convention center to use the 2nd floor for Sacanime was a really good idea. There were more options for convention goers to attend to like Cosplay Chess for me. There were rooms upstairs that were big enough to fit a mass amount of people in a panel or an event, which is great considering all the cluster that they had to face when I first attended Sacanime at the Woodlake Hotel. The expansion for Sacanime to use almost all of the convention center (half of the first floor was taken due to the Greek Food festival) looked to help ease the attendees from overcrowding. Although I didn't see the concert that night, I believe it was really packed. 

Although with the low attendance rate on the first day of Sacanime Summer (mostly due to attendees starting school or working), I see the changes in this convention and I see it to be an improving factor for the convention. This summer, the theater behind the Sheraton hotel is now usable for Sacanime and I see the convention staff using it to their advantage making Sacanime Summer more convenient for the attendees. All I can see is great improvement for this con and more attendees as well so I believe Sacanime is going to be a successful con for this part of Northern California. And next Winter looks to be better with the guest list they have provided already. 

Well I've had fun at this convention, too bad I only went for a day. If I had the weekend off, I would for sure have a lot of fun. But the convention run doesn't end there. I'll be attending Yaoi-Con in Burlingame coming up and this con may be the last con for the year until Anime Los Angeles 2015 (still haven't decided if I should go to SacAnime Winter). But until then, it's Sayonara from the California capital and off to SF I go! 

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