Anime Iowa 2009

Friday | Fri/Sat | Saturday | Cosplay | Sat./Sun.

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Back in March, Anime Iowa's new hotel policy meant an immediate deposit to make sure anyone who reserved a room for the con actually meant it. With no money in the bank, Jasmine asked me to reserve a room for the usual gang.

Back in May, Sarah moved in with me. She will be accompanying us on our little con excursions from now on.

Three weeks before the con began, after being out of touch for a few weeks, Jasmine said she still had no money and was thus unable to make it this year. As Jasmine provided transportation for Theresa, Tyler, Spencer and all your favorites, none of them would be able to make it.

Half an hour later, Geek.Kon cohorts Natalie and Evan had canceled their Motel 6 reservations and were signed on as replacements.

One week before the convention, Geek.Kon was officially hosting a room party at Anime Iowa. This in spite of the fact that the con needed all room party submissions to be sent weeks earlier.

Three days before the convention, Sarah, Natalie and Evan concocted an insidious skit for the masquerade. They would all be cosplaying anthropomorphic nations.

So much for Iowa being my laid-back con.

Friday Afternoon
Italian Renaissance

As you all know by now, my car has a psychic connection with the internet that allows me to arrive at any major destination exactly when Google Maps predicts, despite rest stops and my tendency to drive ten miles over the speed limit. This year, that connection was destroyed as I had to make extra stops to pick up Evan and Natalie... and attempt to fit all of our gear, cosplay outfits and room party goodies in my trunk. We arrived a half-hour early.

Too early for the hotel, in fact, because our room (specially chosen for party accessibility) wasn't ready yet. So we get our badges and I give my wide-eyed comrades the grand tour of the Coralville Marriott, right?

Nope, we're off to paper the place. Party fliers for every gridwall!

...and a repeat of the 'tape the flier to Adam's back' stunt from No Brand. At least Trae wasn't around to put me to work hauling chairs this time.

This bought the housekeepers enough time to prepare our room to perfection. And we mean perfection: the lady in charge of our room not only gave us the all-clear when the room was ready, but provided us with extra towels, cups and those little chocolates. She was destined for an extra tip Sunday... especially considering what we would be doing to the place. Best of all, running a room party entitled us to the second floor, which meant we could avoid elevators for almost all of the convention.

While the other three settled in and got into their cosplay outfits, I was once again tasked with hunting down John before the dealer's room opened. Once again, Name That Anime Opening had the ridiculously awesome time and location- Main Programming an hour before the dealer's room opened. Last year was no problem. This year... no John. Fast Food Anime was set up and rarin' to go, but there was no John. Iowa staffer Jeff was waiting for him too, and all efforts to hunt him down via assorted convention channels failed. Despite that, I did arrange things with the tech staff ahead of time to make sure we would start on time this year. If, that is, we ever found John.

The tech guys let us in a half-hour early and let us get everything squared away, a process that took about ten minutes. Our stage was immaculate and we had three mics instead of one. I put some music on, opened the doors and left Sarah in charge as I went to hunt down John again. After only a five minute wait, I was able to secure the prizes... with a whole eight minutes to spare.

Evan (with his sweet homemade ears and orange hair) as Kyo and Natalie as Finland from Axis Powers Hetalia. Just a taste of the international flair in Iowa this year.

We are off! Once again, we have close to a packed house, which Evan wisely captured with my camera.

Duplicate on the other half and you get the idea.

This year, a couple of the defending champion Mighty Eggplants banded together with some fallen comrades last year to form Celestial Being, who totally cleaned house and took the first four rounds. They were so impressive, and helped a little by Winamp skewing a little more old school this year, that the crowd practically turned against them. At one point, I had them retire as champions to get some new blood up there. Then they helped the audience take a round... although later a couple of those guys and I privately lamented that Nadesico needed the audience's help.

Still, they earned the yellow duct tape as the most dominant team in NTAO history.

While everybody and their shinigami headed to the dealer's room after the panel, we grabbed our gear and marched triumphantly back to our hotel room. At this point we noticed something about Sarah's cosplay accessory...

Along with Natalie's Finland, Sarah is cosplaying as Seychelles from Hetalia. Don't ask why the Republic of Seychelles is represented in a World War II allegory. So is the kinda-sorta-not really nation of Sealand and he's adorable. The object of contention here is the fish plushie. Being an island nation, Seychelles is a bit of a fish fanatic and is often seen with one. So Sarah sewed Tuna-chan together, glued on some eyes and drew some fins and a mouth. Evan and I quickly realized one thing...

From certain angles, that fish is creepy as all hell. You have not known fear until you stare into the cold, dead eyes of Tuna-chan. That thing would haunt us all weekend.

In the meantime, Evan was busy continuing the room party promotion.

Can you tell he's our head of PR?

In need of food and with little going on (and no desire to hit the dealer's room immediately), we headed to Perkins. Natalie didn't want to be in full military garb and changed pants, looking disturbingly casual.

The outfit also passes for Tamaki uncomfortably well.

While we were taking unusual impromptu Finland pics, I caught sight of a Finland flag along the way. Natalie fangirled.

They were all on top of a nearby hotel. Don't know why, because they wouldn't use flags of Britain and Scotland to advertise a continental breakfast.

Yes, that yellow one's an alternate Scotland flag. We've also got Sweden, Denmark and for some reason the former country of Serbia & Montenegro. Or an upside-down Netherlands. Either way it's odd.

Still, we had to work in a good Finland picture in front of the flag.

The reward is a nom-licious meal as we ponder that Serbia & Montenegro flag. We're thinking Tuna-chan is somehow responsible.

To Be Continued!