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I set the alarm for nine, but honestly I was getting up whenever I darn well felt like. That ended up being around 9:30. The only one who got up earlier was Tyler, but as he's quite the fan of old school anime (not necessarily good old school anime, more like the dollar bin stuff at discount stores), and AI had a whole room devoted to the discussion and screening of the classics.
For me, Saturday was about one thing- karaoke contest. After blowing away crowds, either solo or alongside British limeys, it's time to quantify my skills. That was at 2:00- I had plenty of time to kill.
In Which Digimon Defeats Sailor Moon
Saturday started the same way Friday did- Otaku No Yen. Not only did Roku and Drazz have an early panel on Friday when everybody was in line, they had the first panel on Saturday when everybody was asleep. This one was a panel dedicated to writer/artist tandems. It's one of the few ONY panels that has little to do with my effort to conquer whatever webnovel world exists (we will have art eventually... but enslaving an artist is Matt's job), but it's so darn entertaining. Besides, I had to lay claim to their first book and I couldn't remember if I pre-ordered one or not.
So I followed them back to the Dealer's Room and secured a copy. And they autographed it.
Ahem... that's right, the dreaded "A" word.
My history with autographs isn't pleasant. It all dates back to Tiffany Grant violating my program book at ACen '02. I'll also confess that Spike Spencer signed the CD when I bought his audiobook this year. It's one of those "comes with the purchase" deals, just as it was with the ONY book. In fact, people have asked for my autograph on more than one occasion in the past (I won't explain the scenarios- it cheapens the effect). I just don't think a mere signature is any match for a hardy conversation, handshake or, in Drazz's case, a fantasy football league rivalry. Sure, Drazz did rib me for being a Packer fan in his autograph (and this after I informed him about last night's Cub victory), but it's not the same as him doing it in person. At conventions like these where guests are so accessible, take a second and talk to them as long as they aren't insanely occupied. If you must have a momento, get a picture:
Seriously, Drazz, your Generals will fall to the mighty Nagas. (Insert Naga laugh. Cringe.)
After a quick pit stop at the consuite with Joe (who introduced a bizarre combination of rice and Ruffles potato chips that somehow tasted great), I showered and headed off to the hotel terrace for the karaoke auditions.
We were not alone- the Final Fantasy meetup was scheduled for the same time, same place. Good thing it was a big terrace.
About 18 people showed up and, as it turned out, all of us could sing. As it also turned out, the little afternoon a cappella audition was slightly more than the formality they made it sound like when advertised. Of us 18, only the top three would actually get to perform that night with musical accompaniment. So there was a teensy bit of pressure there. And just to make things a little more intense- the humidity was downright intolerable and quite possibly driving a triple digit heat index. We corralled some umbrellas to huddle around but DAMN! It was hot.
Thankfully, so were our performances. I buzzed through the first verse of my selected song- the first opening to Digimon Savers. Once every would-be karaoke champ finished, we waited inside. Out of the heat yes, but as a service to those in super-sweltering cosplay garb, the hallways weren't so much air conditioned as they were refrigerated. Thankfully I live in Wisconsin and am used to such abrupt climate change.
After a conference between the esteemed judges (Rock Lee et al.), we were dragged back into the heat to see which three advanced to the lightning round.
I was in. Stage one complete. (Insert
EarthBound victory music- diddle la da da daaa!)
I rejoined my roommates, boasted of my qualification and hinted that maybe they should check me out in the contest (especially fellow Digimon fanatic Tyler). But then it was time to find something else to do. Earlier in the day, John from Fast Food Anime asked if I was willing to help work his booth, citing fears of a staff shortage. I said I would be available to help right about here, but when right about here came he was adequately covered. So I was still looking for something else to do. Perhaps a well-timed panel?
Both the panel's name and description were simply "Cake." This had Jasmine, Joe, and apparently a standing-room-only crowd sold on whatever it offered. I didn't want to put up with the crowd, so I quietly returned to the dealer's room. Perhaps some dinner, a little pachinko, a couple panels before karaoke... yeah, that's the ticket.
Instead, I stepped into a random battle.
Tonberry Cassie was back, and I'm sure that burlap was fun to walk outside in. We attempted a conversation, interrupted often by picture requests.
Which meant on with the head, and the gloves, and the knife, and the lantern.
(And I see my attention whore of a bag snuck into this shot)
The conversation quickly turned to more low-maintenance cosplay and her Kino in 2006. Which led to talk of the light novel. She had not read the light novel. I had seen it in the dealer's room. We now had a quest.
But first she needed to hit the ATM down the hall. Which...
Naturally, she couldn't see well through the Tonberry head, so it came off between pics.
Some hours later, she reached the ATM and got her money (another amusing picture for several passers-by). Cash in pocket, we returned to the dealer's room. As bags were not allowed inside, I checked my bag and she her head (to be retrieved later with the simple request "A bag and a head, please"). Alas, the search proved futile as the stand that had our beloved Kino sold its last copy. We departed, but not empty-handed. Cassie purchased a $20 mystery grab bag, sure to be filled with random goodness.
Oh. Joy. A Naruto headband. Tony called her a traitor to humanity and threatened to sell it on the spot.
The only item she was happy with was a Mokona vibrator. Or maybe it was a vibrating Mokona (then again, CLAMP will put their characters on anything).
So yeah, that didn't turn out so well. I fled from the scene and stopped into the Great Debate- apparently the primary alternate cosplay programming. Hey, it's better than a fantasy football draft.
The concept was quite fun, actually- eight people would come up to the stage and engage in a rapid-fire debate on various anime topics. The catch was that each subject was also laced with a random challenge- such as debating in a funny accent or with marshmallows in your mouth. You'd be amazed how long a debate on gothic lolita fashion can last when words like "dress," "cute," "shoes," and "black" were all forbidden.
This guy won the Paranoia Agent vs. Utena debate with "A kid with a crooked bat or tons of yuri. What's to discuss?" As the winner, his challenge was to go out to the lobby and shout this argument to the populace- no context whatsoever. It's probably on YouTube by now.
That was it for the distractions. It was karaoke time.
But first we had an hour to listen to the mortals sing (okay, mortal except for Xelloss).
Contestant number one did a song from Sailor Moon. Fun, talented, rocked the crowd.
My turn- thankfully Tyler, Jasmine and Joe showed up to take pictures!
Didn't show them fill flash and night mode on the camera... but you get the idea. Note the Eric Stuart Band t-shirt- and somebody did give me props for it (not the Slayers group, which conspicuously lacked a Gourry).
So with the t-shirt of a Pokémon voice actor's rock band, I sang the Digimon Savers opening, getting a surprising amount of cheers when I announced my song. It still lives!
Eschewing the karaoke, our third entry belted the theme from Final Fantasy VIII. A second song in English, but damn it was good.
By measure of applause, she was the hands-down favorite. I did somewhat better than the Sailor Moon singer, but that was moot as both runners-up got the same prize: a gift certificate for Fast Food Anime (sound familiar?) and a fancy ribbon.
I don't care if I look like a dork in this picture- I can sing!
While Jasmine, Joe and Tyler planned to head to the dance/hotel/wherever, my next item was ONY: Live Action. Then one of the audience members called me over. A fellow Digimon fan as it were. Not only that, but a fellow Digimon fanfic writer. Not only that, but one with the same tolerance and devotion to royal mind-jobs of fanfic.
We spent the next two hours amusing each other with our various scenarios, old debates and crazy plot twists. Naturally, a fair portion of that was spent bitching about the season two ending... and confirming that I wasn't alone when I read the synopsis of the last Harry Potter book and started having flashbacks.
He asked me to join one of the other boards to give the "old guard" a little more fighting power against the newbies. I'm sure they'll love it when my first post on a forum is "STFU N00B!!1I!" I keep trying to leave fanfic and it keeps drawing me back in.
Sure it was 12:30, but the fun was just beginning. It was time for the nightcap!