Anime Iowal 2008

Friday | Sat Afternoon | Sat/Sun

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Despite the smart ticketing system, which assigned everybody a number corresponding to the section they are to sit in, it was a chaotic mob fifteen minutes before the masquerade. It took a bit before staff was able to restore order. How did they accomplish this? Because you know ACen would be using armed security personnel in Battle Royale kevlar vests shouting at people.

At Anime Iowa...

...pretty balloons.

Saturday Night/Sunday
Scratching Out A Win

We found our balloon and made friends with all our line buddies, including the Naruto cosplayer wondering if he could take out the balloon with a prop kunai.

Gun pointed at Naruto... live the dream, Spencer.

In time, we got in. Now this better be good...

Okay, that takes care of the "good." Now, let's bring the sweet!

And last but not least, a potato dog-

Oh, don't act like you've never seen/eaten one before.

The skits were generally pretty good, with the lowlight being the obligatory Caramelldansen skit where the group came into cheers, wore out their welcome, continued with a skit after three minutes of monotonous dancing, and finally left to awkward silence. The highlight was an introduction promising hundreds of amazing cosplay from popular series doing every dance and trope imaginable... and ending up with some guy lip singing Rick Astley. I understand it's mostly passť now, but am I the only one who wouldn't mind if the RickRoll hung around in small doses?

Once the masquerade part was over, it was time for the awkward wait for the judges to settle on winners. So what's a good convention to do without a plotline or silly dance off? Wait for it...

That's right! Time to show the AMV winners again!

Now don't get me wrong; it's a good call. They're good videos, especially since they notably withheld their horrendous choice for Best Comedy. But in showing the winners again, they have effectively rendered the primary "AMV Contest" slot completely redundant. This, my friends, is called wasting the main programming room for an hour.

Now we can do it...

(And Theresa said I wouldn't need to use a picture of my watch this year.)

After presenting the winners (done immediately after the full field had their moment... as it should be), the gang and I snuck out of the exit meant for masquerade entries and won the race to the elevators. Theresa and Tyler were upstairs watching Lost.

At this time, Tiffany had said she wanted to go swimming. With nothing but socializing left on the schedule that night, that was a great idea. I changed, got my towel and my rubber ring and put my floaties on and...

Oh, wait, everybody's going to the consuite now. Time to Ctrl+Z my wardrobe change.

The consuite was crowded, had a funny smell, and served only foods of questionable nutrition in potentially unsanitary conditions.

But they still have a consuite. That's an automatic gold star.

Although as seen in the picture, the search for my long-lost mother continues...

By now, it was nearing midnight. And about this time, Spencer and Jasmine and I had the urge to do something crazy. This insatiable desire overcame us and had us wandering the halls until we found the place to unleash our wildest inhibitions and do something beyond the standards of any convention.

No, seriously, for some reason, all three of us just really wanted to play Clue. Everyone else in the room is playing traditional geek games like Munchkin, Lunch Money and Risk, and here we are in front of the classic whodunit.

(It was Professor Plum in the Ball Room with the Revolver.)

Having quenched that thirst, we met Tiffany and Tyler and it was dancing time.

Oh, this guy was just raving it up. Decked out in lights and coked out on cookies.

So thus began our effort to give a Greg Ayres dance a fair shake. While much of the playlist was his usual high-intensity stuff that wears people out in a hurry (Jasmine and Spencer only lasted an hour), there were lots and lots of little goodies buried within. In a nod to last night's crowd, he played a tasteful remix of Caramelldansen, thus letting everybody indulge in their hip shaking and floppy ear-flapping. Such changes of pace helped sustain the craziness better. At points, Tyler and I even ventured into the throng in the middle, stepping out only to escape the fanboy funk or protect Tiff from the many creepy boys trying to get close to her.

There's that HiISO!

It got better as the night went on and Greg's surprises continued. Jasmine's request for some 80's songs was granted with a mix of Eye of the Tiger (when told about it later, she responded with a resounding "Dammit!"), and I even got my wish when a totally undisturbed cut of the Beck opening rocked the house. And the remix of Eleanor Rigby blew everyone away. In all, it still doesn't compare to the No Brand dance in craziness and con relevance, but it was plenty enough for us to call off our dogs for a year. I stayed until three, where I crashed on the uncomfy chair and went back into Stephen Hawking mode as the others watched the final episodes of Midori Days. Despite the chair's flaws, Tyler asked if we could trade.

I declined. Better on the chair then under the desk.

Whatever rest I did get, I was going to need it: Sunday was the big exercise in multi-tasking. Can I run a fanfic panel concurrently with a fantasy football draft?

Well, big question first was can I get an internet connection at all? The hotel room wifi was apparently not the same as the conference floor wifi and I had to trudge my computer across the grounds twice in order to get the proper access codes to connect. But once I did, I promptly updated MST, logged in, and began talking smack with Richard, Felf, and all the others in the Otaku Death League. The draft started, the Devil Bats took LaDainian Tomlinson (not hard to see why), and we were rolling.

In due time, I transferred my war room into the panel room and continued focusing on the draft. People began to file in and I promptly switched gears- looking over at the laptop only when it was my turn to pick, making fast decisions best on the information jumping out at me, and spending the rest of my time focused on the panel. Thankfully, the moderator from '06 (which my panel format is heavily inspired by) was on hand to offer lots of insightful questions and suggestions. I contributed whenever possible, kept things moving along by threatening to use my index card of topics if nobody else had any, and shut people up when they got too self-absorbed talking about their own projects.

Despite my connection resetting twice, I got through the draft in decent enough condition... and with only five minutes remaining on my laptop battery. Whew.

Its job done for the day, my laptop got a nice long rest in the back of the car while I filled out a survey, thanked Greg for including Beck and the Beatles in his dance, and attempted to figure out where everybody else went.

Good costume, although his insistence on being in character was a little disturbing... especially to Tiff.

While reveling in my post-draft glory with Drazz, I found the rest of the group at the Fast Food booth. Tyler had found a stack of old Dark Horse Digimon comics mirroring the first season and seemed to think he had found the motherlode.

Returning to the Vendor's Room one more time, Tyler continued to peruse the stack of old comics. I wandered just a little too far and bumped into Kyle Hebert. Since I hadn't seen him all weekend, I said hi and talked Gurren Lagann with him. It's pretty momentous, as I don't watch Naruto or Bleach, so it's the first thing he's in that I actually watch. He was happy I liked his Kamina, as he'd been paying too much attention to internet forums who are too used to the Japanese- a common prejudice that effects us all.

With our convention moments fading, we paused for one more picture:

In spite of Tiffany's wishes, and everybody being in the right position, they weren't going to do the Haruhi dance.

Yeah, that's all you're getting. We followed this up with the requisite trip to the mall, but by then it was time to move on. I bid my farewell there and drove off into the sunset... then stopped, walked back and returned the Digimon comics Tyler had left in my car along the way.

Openings I do fine, but endings have never been my strong point.

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