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I managed a quick dealer's room run, picking up the first two Madoka volumes along the way. While I had put a moratorium on buying new DVDs until I finish some of the unwatched ones in my collection, it's Madoka and I'm now at the point where I'm ashamed admitting I haven't seen it.
The timing was designed to catch the first panel of the day I knew was a must-attend- an EarthBound panel called "Word To Your Mother."
It was a pretty basic informational/reminiscence panel where basic info on the three games is peppered with thoughts and feelings about each of them. I've only played the second one (dying to get to Mother 3 sometime), but I was so happy to see so many that had experienced all three games. The offer I made back after ACen '06 still stands: get me a group with at least Ness and Paula and some advance notice and I will cosplay Jeff.
By now, AJ and Scott had arrived and I had to let them into the rooms. Also by now, breakfast had worn off and we were all starving. After scrounging around to find a decent delivery place (if there was a benevolent hawker handing out brochures for local joints, I never got outside to see him), we placed the order and sat back for the usual hour wait. While the Hyatt now had free wi-fi in its rooms and that occupied me nicely, I figured I'd do something productive and get my shower in while we waited.
It's the first time an ACen delivery guy has ever been ten minutes ahead of schedule. Thankfully AJ took care of the exchange... likely forging my signature for the credit card payment in the process. That is the vice-chair's primary responsibility.
After an excellent and well-seasoned Italian beef and putting the best of DimensionThree's photos on my TouchPad for table use, Scott and I headed out for some late-night wondering.
Or in his case, some late night "stop and pose for millions of pictures."
We saw Nick F. in the middle of a shift from hell. As one of the Panel Programming lieutenants on ACen staff, he was apparently no longer permitted to sleep.
The roaming continued until we entered a small room that housed a trove of board games supplied by Gen Con. While it was too crowded to get a table, we did find Kevin and Aryn, who ran the Digimon panel at Anime Milwaukee. We ended up talking shop for a good hour, covering blog stuff (like the dodgiest scene ever) as well as the slideshow for my Digimon panels.
And a day after my first exposure to Future Diary, we get Future Diary cosplayers.
And Freakazoid (free kazoo). I heard reports of a Candle Jack roaming the grounds too.
Back at the room, Deanna was screening Fairy Tail. Also entertaining, and also poised to take off. Still, I was practically asleep by the end of the disc.
Saturday was much more leisurely. I took the first couple shifts at the table, but AJ and/or Scott was there to keep company or back me up.
And scare children.
With them present, I could wander more. And I did.
Since my DVD moratorium had been broken, I also bought Noien and two Galaxy Express 999 movies. Those movies were my official gateway anime, so it's nice to add them to the collection.
Along the way, I attended a panel on publishing eBooks, likely to be the future of MST once it's completed. It had some useful information, but the first half covered basic writing elements and was a little too preachy for its own good.
After that, I used the remaining time to ready the ol' scoreboard for Name That Anime Opening.
One of these days they'll get me into the Hyatt. This year I was in the Doubletree. Clearly, nobody had trouble finding me, but the room was smaller than ever. The last two years drew more than 100 people to the panel and I got a room that fit about 80, less when I cleared space for the actual play area. This year the room hit capacity and they were turning people away.
With Deanna filling in quite admirably as scoreboard operator, the game quickly was notable for two reasons. One was the crazy playlist pairings, with anime with clear patterns such as similar stories (Video Girl Ai/Chobits, Azumanga Daioh/Pani Poni Dash) or same creators (Rave Master/Fairy Tail) playing back to back. The second was that two teams had key members of the 2010 and 2011 champions. When it was clear that these were the superior teams and about even, we periodically staged matches between them, making for a best-of-three scenario. Other teams participated in between in order to let everybody play who wanted to.
Team Anti-Gravity managed to get into the room just before it filled in order to defend their title. After winning the first supercontest, they lost the second and the rubber match to...
Team Mean Street Posse, captained by the MVP for 2010. She led off naming the first five songs with an incredible variety including Beck, Gunbuster and Weiss Kreuz. She carried that pace until she named Dennou Coil to cap off the contest.
There wasn't much time to celebrate, as I had just a half hour before the next panel I wanted to catch. It, too, was in the Doubletree. Unfortunately, I had to run my laptop and scoreboard all the way back to the Hyatt first. Good thing my feet were in prime condition this year.
This was the line for the Persona panel. It was a little less organized than most ACen lines, the bulk of which split into two directions with several pockets of congoers orbiting the door. Maybe the line is everyone's minds!
That whole "Persona cosplay not on auto-picture list" does not apply to FeMC.
Lest anyone think otherwise, this was the pretty much the exact same panel from Iowa '10, with additional acknowledgments to the anime, new P4 tie-in games and even the incredible Hiimdaisy P4 comic. It was also the first time I've attended the panel since finishing P4. So it was well worth it.
I had to duck out early as Scott and AJ had packed up the table, but neither had a room key and I'd rather they not be standing outside the room helplessly with our cash box. We'll finish up on the final page!