Anime Central 2006

Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Apparently check out was at 11:00, instead of the noon that it seemed to be at all the other hotels I've stayed at.

We woke up at 10:00 and the room was a complete disaster. Worse yet, since hotel employee Theresa was using some sort of chain discount, any problems in the room could potentially end up on her employee record.

So we knew right away that it was going to be a lovely sunshiny day.

Sunday
Run For The Hills!

Thankfully, we had people that were actually capable of waking up, the scarily efficient Tony on our side, and a hotel employee who knew exactly where to hide the debris. Somehow, we managed to check out on time. With all our stuff loaded into one of three cars, we took two of the cars back to the convention center, silently praying that there would be something to do along the way.

In other words, yes, it is time for random cosplay pictures.

Her Dad was here too. No pics of him- it's not ACen.

I'm sure it's been done before. I don't care; it's too damn cute (especially when she picked the whole costume up to move around).

I hope this is a different Rakka than the one I took before.

Wasn't sure whether I wanted to take the picture or not, but at the time I was light on pics and hell, Haibane Renmei's a good series.

Makes you just want to run out and have a ball.

The picture doesn't do justice to the costume, which had working lights on his head and an appropriately-exaggerated bulge.

Just don't start singing...

I stopped watching Zatch Bell months ago, but couldn't help but get excited for some rare cosplay for it. Shame I missed the giant Vulcan 300 box wandering the halls.

Man... I was light on pics. That's all, folks.

Anyway, the Anime Improv event at noon caught our attention, especially since it was in main programming and didn't require elevator use. We had some spare time before then, so we went to the dealer's room for the most popular Sunday activity- the "don't want to haul this crap back to the van" sales.

For as many times as I mention the "don't want to haul this crap back to the van" sales, I've only actually taken advantage of them three or four times, and once was for Ai Yori Aoshi, which meant I got ripped off no matter what day it was. Hell, one year I didn't spend any money in the dealer's room... and still mentioned the sales.

There was a pretty good selection this year, and I spent some time at the Fast Food Anime booth laboring over whether to buy the thinpak box of Excel Saga for $45 or the complete collection of The World of Narue for $30. The former I have seen in its entirety and is slotted at #16 on my Top 20 anime list. The latter I didn't know a thing about. John said Narue was decent enough to be worth $30, and I followed his advice and purchased it. Hell, I blew $40 on Ai Yori Aoshi once and the $15 difference meant I could, you know, eat lunch the next week.

The only problem is that Narue automatically joins a different list, one far less majestic than my Top 20 anime list:

Series Adam Has Sitting In His Room,
Waiting For Him To Watch

Series (* = In Progress) Acquired
Chrno Crusade* February, 2006
Full Metal Alchemist* October, 2005
Slayers Try April, 2005
Mai Hime August, 2005
Elfen Lied February, 2006
NeiA Under Seven April, 2006
Super GALS June, 2006
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya July, 2006
Eureka 7 April, 2005
The World of Narue August, 2006

Not only that, but there's still the still-unopened first volumes of Kannazuki no Miko and Koi Kaze from ACen. They're not on the list because everything up there is a complete season/series. When I've got enough shows on my "To Watch" list to make another Anime-zing Race, you know I'm in trouble.

The only major event Sunday (except for the afternoon con feedback session, which was sure to be entertaining given the tower layout), was Anime Improv. Jasmine and I were hoping to see semi-professional improv actors in anime-inspired scenes, similar to the performance at ACen. Instead, the brilliant minds hosting the event decided that it would be more entertaining to sit back and let the inexperienced audience members attempt to be funny. This did lead to some unintentional comedy based on who they picked:

Link actually ended up playing Shuichi from Gravitation.

Welcome to Whose Line Is It Anyway, starring... giant 8-bit Link??

Granted, with enough swings they were bound to get a hit eventually, and they did towards the end with a couple rounds of Dating Game- highlighted by great portrayals of Gendo Ikari, Tohru Honda, and Sakura Haruno. Sakura was the big winner: besides her frequent use of "Inner Sakura" (like saying "God, what an idiot" when the bachelor thought she was Sakura initially but changed his mind), when asked about future ambitions her answer was "have a bunch of little black-haired children who write emo poetry." Shame she and Gendo weren't matched up.

It was a strong ending to what was otherwise a slow hour. I mean, when faced with a situation like this:

Uh... line?

You really think somebody would say or do something funny here.

After that, we had about an hour before the feedback session. That was when we hit the wall and decided that another hour in this place just wasn't worth it to hear people gripe about the elevators. Theresa, who out of boredom actually volunteered to be elevator operator at one point Saturday, got some breakfast from the gofer hovel and brought back some bacon for Jasmine and I. It didn't help- we were ready to go.

Our exit strategy had three bullet points. One was to stop at the first gas station outside of Cedar Rapids to refuel. Two was to find a place to eat dinner after reaching the sanctuary of Wisconsin. Three was to give Jasmine and Theresa a rest stop at my house before their final three-hour final sprint up north.

For some reason, despite the decent gas prices, gas stations are incredibly rare in Iowa. After leaving the city, there wasn't a single gas station for twelve miles. Maybe they're afraid of disrupting the beautiful and unique scenery. Apparently if someone runs out of gas in the countryside, they just liquefy some corn in a blender and pour the contents into the tank.

The second stop, well within our domestic borders at a Pizza Hut in Dodgeville, went without incident, although we did plan future get-togethers.

The final stop was at my place, where Jasmine and Theresa met the family dog, the lovable Quincy:

What do you mean dogs aren't allowed on the couch?

...and my attention-craved pest of a cat, Cinnamon:

This is how he looks 90% of the time.

We call him "Cin" for short. Guess who wouldn't leave us alone.

And so, now that I've become so desperate for pictures that I'm showing my pets, we end another successful recap. I learned many things about Iowa, so much in fact that if I ever go again it will be too soon (although if my friends are going, I'll probably still be there next year). I learned that karaoke is easy for those who know they can sing (and can remember and spout lyrics in Japanese), that the democratic process can work in an AMV contest, that Eyeshield 21 is all around us whether you know it or not, that a fanfic panel can actually be interesting, that improv can actually be boring, that I don't watch enough anime, and thanks to Jasmine's curiosity the most puzzling of all:

My home in Wyocena, Wisconsin, more than thirty miles from any discernable civilization, is somehow in a wifi hotspot.

Then again, so was Iowa, and that's sixty miles from anything.