Friday | Saturday | Sunday
While visions of zombies danced in my head, I got about 4 hours of sleep. That's not bad. After a hearty breakfast of Pop Tarts, I refilled the supply of 8 oz. Dr. Pepper cans in my con bag and headed out to conquer...
202 Loves You! Everybody Glomp It!
But I forgot my cell phone. Mission... failed. Since things hadn't really picked up yet and I didn't have anywhere to be until the AMV contest, I turned around and headed back to the apartment. Fortunately, Julie was still there, still tackling her killer reading assignment. We ended up straying into a very interesting conversation about the nature of conventions, the appeal of smaller conventions, and the concept of non-linear conventions. You know, instead of taking over a bunch of hotels, why not something different, like a campground? Picture it- 500 otaku taking over an entire campsite, making for one huge block party. And you can imagine the LARPing possibilities. Get one close to a convention center and you get the best of both worlds.
Anyway, back to your regularly-scheduled convention. The highlight of Saturday morning, besides praying that my VCR successfully taped Mew Mew Power, was the Wolf's Rain fan-dog.
The dog would give a wolf-like howl on the command "What does Kiba say?" It was too cute for words. Well... you could scream "WOLF'S RAIN!!" at the top of your lungs, but you'll have to wait until Sunday to understand that one. Anyway, I had a few tricks too... which were demonstrated during the first ever No Brand Con Anime Music Video contest.
Unfortunately, I accidentally turned the flash on... which is not the best way to capture something being projected in a dark room. After lowering the brightness about a million times, you can almost make out Pazu and Sheeta (or as I've come to call them- the twerps) in the lower-left corner of the screen. Yes, this is "Muska the Dreamer" in its big screen debut (the picture I took of one of Muska's moments didn't turn out at all). After the competing videos were screened, including a really neat Ranma video using the manga (yes that's right... an AMV using only manga), a million awesome videos were screened while ours were being judged. They threw us the Azumanga Daioh video from DDR Project 2, "Right Now Someone Is Reading This Title," and the judge even treated us to her own "Slayers Cabaret" and "Yubaba the Bitch," another South Park/Miyazaki hybrid. They go so well together! How long before someone synthesizes Nausicaa and "Blame Canada"?
Anyway, the vote was tallied, the decision was final and "Muska the Dreamer" came out on top!
I went for the No Brand Con t-shirt, the No Brand Comic (normally reserved for early bird pre-registrees) and an authentic Is My Roommate Dead stick- 2005 edition (easily recognized because the 2004 is crossed off)! Second and third place winners Greg and Brian (I think Greg's on the left and Brian's on the right, but don't quote me on that) join me in flashing our goods.
With one win under my belt, it was time to go for a second. From AMV to DDR! Off to the Bemani room!
By now the Bemani room had really picked up, and Beatmania, Pop 'n Music, Donkey Konga, and Mini Moni Tambourine were getting extensive play. Since I sucked at three out of four of those, I stuck with DDR and went straight for the upper division tournament. After all, I finished third in the upper division two years ago, and considering how much I improved I was a shoo-in to dominate the tournament.
This was championship round. I took the picture. Need I say more?
I will anyway- I drew Nate, the guy on the right, in the first round. He picked Afronova. To my credit, I was beating him for the first half of the song. Then the heavy stream came and my feet just got tangled up in that hard pad. I picked Mikeneko Rock as the second song, which is basically conceding that I wasn't going to win (I'm no better at Mikeneko Rock than any other song, but it's my favorite to perform in public! Love that drum solo!). To give you an idea how good Nate (who ended up winning) is, he got a full combo on My Summer Love... and I took this picture just as the really hard part started.
With that humiliation out of the way, I headed to the vendor's room for something to drink (I had already depleted the Dr. Pepper). I went in thinking ramune, but hesitated out of fear of massive spillage right before the cosplay.1 I noticed that they were also selling Pocari Sweat. So did Greg Ayres, and he wanted to know what the hell it was. So did I. After a few trial sips, we both got us some sweat.
I mentioned that Pocari Sweat was spoofed in an episode of Kodocha... which was about the fiftieth time I made a specific comment about an episode of Kodocha in front of a guest that weekend (naw, I don't watch illegal fansubs!). He found it amusing and said he'd look for it. I was still reeling from yesterday's revelation that Mike McFarland was not only writing Sana's raps, he was attempting to make them rhyme. I didn't gush around the guests, I didn't compliment them on their work, I didn't ask for their autographs... I wished them luck.
Okay, I complimented Monica on her portrayal of Izumi, but that was just to make up for ignoring her at Otakon.
Cosplay time! I was running low on pictures, so I didn't take many from on stage. In the dealer's room I got this one of a great Final Fantasy Tactics group, that would have won if not for a cute Street Fighter skit. Oy, Tactics never gets any props. Sure, priests suck in the game (both in gameplay and in the plot), but they had a ninja! And a mediator! You can't dis the mediator; he kills people with both guns and dictionaries! It's like Kirika and Yomiko combined!
Anyway, while the judges were busy disrespecting Tactics, it was time for more from Duct Tape Boy!
Borrowing a prop from Momo and Bwah's cosplay, the jumbo Is My Roommate Dead staff, it was time for a demonstration! This is where No Brand Con shines- when the staff just has a good time playing off each other and abusing Duct Tape Boy by sticking Is My Roommate Dead staffs where they don't belong. At one point, Duct Tape Boy's badge accidentally fell off (he was cosplaying as Earl, a normal attendee) and the bouncer outside ran onstage to try to kick him out of the room. Classic comedy.
Later that night I was in Momo and Bwah's room watching Ranma and noticed the staff nearby. Whenever someone entered I threatened them with it, saying "You know where this has been!" I also managed to catch some I My Me Stawberry Eggs in 202 before the dance, but I assure you it was not intentional.
The dance was another beast in itself, as the glowsticks were out in full force. Taking a hint from someone using his Nintendo DS as a glowstick, I started waving around my cell phone (glad I went back to get it!). The cell phone also served as part of a "campfire" we set up when we got tired. Even the main man Vinnk joined us (after his $53 dance, of course) and swapped horror stories of life in Japan. After a great limbo contest to the strains of the Jungle Guu theme song, we closed out the dance the only way we knew how... glomping everybody and everything in sight! Vinnk shouted out the commands to glomp somebody else, glomp him, glomp that guy over there (poor Tyler), glomp the floor, glomp the ceiling, one big group glomp... and then leave because the dance was over.
But I wasn't done dancing! Room 202 hooked up Stepmania and we had ourselves a blast, despite someone's thumb trying to squish our heads. I did Mikeneko Rock again (like I said- love doing it for a crowd), but turned down requests for Afronova. This went on until about 1:30. I wrapped up with a rousing rendition of the Lupin the 3rd remix and checked out for the night. A few other stragglers at the apartment didn't stop us from getting to bed early (you know- 4-ish) and that closed the book on Saturday.
Click on my new Utamaru keychain (succeeding Washu, Kitsune, and the short-lived Yomi)2 to fly to Sunday.
My ramune incompetence almost ruined a vendor's table in Milwaukee once.
Despite Kitsune and Yomi falling apart quickly, Utamaru still stands. And nobody gives Da Capo any credit.