Friday (One) | Friday (Two) | Saturday | Cosplay | The Rest

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Here's the dance-off between Greenboy and the Gardening Ninja summarized in one picture:

The judge, Duct Tape Boy, declared himself the winner. Nobody argued.

Saturday Night / Sunday 
Hosting, Hirano, and a Little Hell

At conventions, things happen spontaneously. Between the cosplay and the dance, there was a random group performance of the Macarena.

This, however, is rare: a limbo contest suddenly descended on the masses with no rhyme or reason and disappeared just as quickly.

The real dance was just getting started. The guys and I got there a little early, and Events Manager (and Gardening Ninja by night) Trae was goofing off on the mic, enjoying the last few hours of still having a voice. I asked if the dance had started yet. He said no (over the mic). I asked him why not. Trae, bless his heart, turned to me and asked the question on the minds of... well, exactly one person- "Why haven't you finished that fanfic?"

The ensuing rant (again, over the mic), was direct, appropriate, and awesome. I was too doubled over in laughter to repeat it here (although a general summary is available upon request), but I will tell Trae now that the reason this guy doesn't post on my site is because my site has him officially identified as a spambot.

In any event- this is why we love No Brand Con.

That was the last distraction, for then we danced. Poorly, I might add. Funny that it took a slow song, and a slow dance, to get us all more into the groove, although it took a song that I actually knew (Rip Slyme's "Galaxy") to make me feel marginally competent.

Even the guests came down to boogie, as Spike and Lisa cut a rug.

Thankfully, here I was able to relay the Sex Offender story to Spike. He seemed impressed enough, and said that with enough complimentary stories it had a shot of getting in the book. Even if it doesn't, it's always up here!

Fun as the dance was, I ducked out about midway to catch AMV Hell 3 in the No Mercy Room... or at least the second half of it as it started early. As mentioned last year, it's one of those things that are better enjoyed in a group, although I wasn't the only one singing the Oscar Meyer wiener song (welcome to Wisconsin- where that snippet from Twin Spica got one of the biggest reactions).

I ended up staying for the whole thing, but came back to find the dance just as lively as when I had left it. By now the Green Bay group had arrived and were playing catch with a ball assembled from glow sticks.

They eventually danced too. Here's Cassie (front) with Dani and some other girl in a self-proclaimed Yuri Pile. Thank you, and good night.

Actually, the dance ended as Vinnk turned a group hug into a manmade katamari ball, shouting instructions to move the mob without falling (to limited success), eventually shouting "give up!" as the assemblage reached the outside doors (but not before my cry of "hold your breath!" proved ineffective).

After the dance, Richard, Chris, Scott and I paraded around the convention floor trying to drag unsuspecting victims to the 1:00 AM screening of Eyeshield 21 in Anime Room 1 (and lasting until 8:00, but I had no intention of re-enacting my Lain marathon). We slowly rustled up one or two people, but it's a bad sign when we were even falling asleep inside. After episode two, we headed back to the room, officially opened up the Devil Bat Clubhouse and restarted my computer.

We had penciled in a Saturday night AMV screening, mostly because, as a designated party room, we felt obligated to do something on Saturday night. The party became even more obligatory after the AMV contest, since the many entries effectively prevented Reanna from showing the exhibition videos, including her two new creations. Since they were on my computer anyway, I had announced that I'd show the remainder at my room party.

We got Haruhi in here, and that's all that mattered. As it turns out, she's also an Eyeshield fan, after her and an online friend exchanged fandoms. We had a good chat involving the Haruhi/Hiruma comparison and the weird Aya Hirano connection. In fact, she saw my Devil Bats cap and thought her friend would get a huge kick out of a picture of her wearing it.

My thought was "to hell with your friend, I'm going to get a huge kick out of her wearing it."

Let's go over this now... with apologies to Taru and Crabmoon...

Hot.

Very hot.

But this is the undisputed hottest cosplay picture in the history of the world, and all doubters can take it up with Aya Hirano:

Somewhere in Britain, Chromus is staring at the screen, mouth agape and slowly nodding in agreement.

Anyway, the AMV exhibitions were very fun (including one setting "Dance to the Music" to clips from Robot Chicken), but what really made it crazy was the "world premiere" of Reanna's new video- Azumanga Daioh to "The Pussy Song." Easy to picture, hard to execute right. She did. Ri also had a video synching the Japanese opening to Pokémon: Battle Frontier almost perfectly to "Let's Fighting Love" from South Park.

With our room party obligation met, we all agreed that sleep was even more fun, especially since I had Name That Anime Opening Sunday morning.

As stated before, the deceptively-simple game was back after its rousing success in Room 202 last year. Better yet, it was the first event in the Main Programming room Sunday morning, the lead-in to Lisa Furukawa's second concert. I was a bit nervous at the thought of relying on people (particularly myself) to be awake Sunday morning, but I watered down any traces of laryngitis and set up.

This year, Tyler and I managed to scrounge up a grand total of 107 openings, and thankfully a healthy crowd (larger than the con-sponsored Anime Trivia game in fact) showed up to play.

The rules were fairly simple: two teams of four playing first-to-five. Winner keeps playing, loser sits. The team who wins the most rounds gets four gift certificates to the Fast Food Anime booth in the Vendor's Room. The red number indicates the audience's score: they got a chance to answer if neither team could get it. If the audience got to five, both teams had to sit. To buzz in...

Grab that duct tape!

With D.J. Val spinning the tunes (on shuffle, naturally), things went great. As you'd expect, some were easy, some were impossible (including, interestingly enough, the Tenchi Muyo opening), and the audience reveled whenever someone on-stage got something like Saiyuki or the quiet kid sitting in the back stepped up and identified something like Flame of Recca on behalf of the audience.

The only time I got really nervous was in the second round when the challenging team consisted of Scott, Theresa, some random Hayate cosplayer, and game show guru KORfan. Throw in the giant plushie of Chiyo's Dad from ACen and it would have been the convention recap all-stars (although I honestly don't know if the three, all friends of mine, had ever met each other). It was one thing to be accused of favoritism... it was another problem entirely when any series shown at the Whitewater anime club in the last five years was on the list and Scott, a dues-paying member, was up there. Sure enough, he picked out the Blue Seed theme in a heartbeat. Yet somehow, The Blues (named primarily for their first opponent The Reds) were faster on the trigger and managed to vanquish my friends.

I did my best to keep things entertaining on-stage, lip-singing any song that only I knew, dancing behind the dais when appropriate, and getting in as many snappy comebacks as I could muster. The best came in a round featuring when a team of all guys took on the all-female Blues. After a bizarre moment where one of the guys hesitantly identified the opening to Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar, my response was "hey, Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar is the manliest series ever!"

Those guys did take down The Blues and took a second round later. With time dwindling, The Blues were invited back up to settle things once and for all and the two teams had a great series, with the score 4-4. The next song was played, and one of those girls jumped in and correctly cried out "Tsubasa" for the win.

It was awesome, and No Brand has another convention staple.

Everybody seemed impressed with it all. Con Director Neil poked his head in a few times and was amazed at the draw, and as we chatted between events, Lisa Furukawa was glad it went well. Afterwards, the chaperone and driver for the winning team chatted with me for a long time about the event, how we did it, how much fun it was, how great a job I did... and eventually turned into a discussion on the history of the con (just as Trae was walking by to assist, thankfully), how it differs from other cons, and how to start an anime club at your local library. I'm not quite sure how that came up. But yeah- compliments are fun.

The variety show was up next, and actually had some good acts this year, particularly a Kenshin vs. Kenobi skit and a Powerpoint presentation detailing why Keitaro Urashima was a total idiot for choosing Naru. Even the guests showed off their various talents; Spike Spencer juggled and did some beat-boxing (that's right... Shinji beat-boxing- what happens at the convention...). Unfortunately, I was having a bit of a camera crisis at this time as it appeared that everything from the weekend had magically vanished. I recovered it eventually, but even the melodious power chords of 1337band couldn't pull me from the immense anxiety of losing that hawt pic of Haruhi with the Devil Bat cap (I didn't care about any of the others).

For those who must know, 1337band's DVD target this year was Negima. Negi means onion in Japanese and Vinnk just flew with that.

Once I found Devil Bat Haruhi, I calmed down, scoped out the vendor's room one last time, and said my goodbyes to departing friends. Kellin invited me for another Moosejaw run and I absent-mindedly accepted. Jas and Tyler invited me to a Pizza Hut trip in an hour, which I absent-mindedly declined. Then I realized that it would be about two hours until Kellin was done packing his stuff from his vendor booth, the convention was grinding to a halt and I was bored and reaching a dangerous state of narcolepsy. So I canceled Moosejaw and accepted the Pizza Hut offer. Then I saw Af Mas in the hotel lobby and realized that I couldn't do that either, since I was planning on meeting Matt Finch after the convention for a long-overdue MST planning session. So I re-declined the Pizza Hut offer and called Matt. Turns out he was out of the house for a couple hours and asked if I could kill some time. So I re-accepted the Pizza Hut trip and isolated myself in the car before I could make or break any more dinner dates.

Even though I had finished off the last two Devil Brats after NTAO, I still ate my share of pizza, while catching up on all the latest gossip among my friends. Most of the conversations are not repeatable, but perhaps you can ask the guy in the corner giving us angry glares as we laughed our heads off.

That killed enough time for me to head back downtown to Matt's place, where we had a brainstorming session to end all brainstorming sessions (until the next one at least). For anyone who has taken an interest in my upcoming webnovel Magical Security Taskforce (and if you haven't, you're about to), you'll be pleased to know that we've finally decided how it's going to end. It only took us two-and-a-half hours.

I ended up driving home in the dark for the first con trip since Otakon, stopping briefly at my parent's place at 10:00 PM to pick up the USB cable for the camera (and, in a last second revelation, wish my mother a happy birthday). I didn't get home until about 11:00, and all I could do then was load the pictures onto my computer and plot out this recap.

Only one other thing was on my mind that Sunday night (and for that matter, the whole week, making work really seem dull), and that was the awesome MST planning session. The two go hand-in-hand, as its prose style is heavily lifted from the style of these recaps, which must be keeping you entertained since it's been forever since I've posted a picture. In honor of this, here is a sneak preview, just for you guys- MST: Chapter Two, Session Two

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