Anime Central 2012

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Having just dashed from the Hyatt to the Doubletree (which, for reference, is two hotels down from the Hilton we'd stayed at last year) and back twice, I was ready for a break. Yes, it was nearing prime time at the convention as the masquerade was getting underway, but it's not like I was going to that or anything.

Turns out even breaks have their moments.

Hat Trick

First thing's first- food. Nobody was around so delivery wasn't a good option this time, but I still wanted some real food. The solution proved to be right in front of me. It had been since I started attending Acen ten years ago.

Several dancers were occupying key spots in the hotel, with photographers standing so far back that they obstructed a clear path to the stairs. It's the only time I can advocate walking in front of people taking video.

Awesome as this Tardis is, you have to wonder how they got it down from their hotel room (AJ spotted it on the seventh floor before its trip to the lobby). There is one theory...

Distractions aside, I finally got down the first floor and, for the first time ever, entered the buffet line the Hyatt has always laid out for ACen attendees. Since it had been there since forever and was obviously way overpriced, I had never given it a second look. This year I realized that it was a lot more convenient and faster than delivery and while the food quality wouldn't be as good, it would cost about the same. Besides, I'm not a poor college student anymore.

I spent the next hour or so up back up in the room enjoying a chicken sandwich, watching the Cubs game and surfing the internet. This was now starting to feel like a proper vacation.

Until the fire alarms went off.

I was planning on ignoring it, since history has shown that it would inevitably be some punk pulling the fire alarm (or, as we found out, a fire extinguisher). Unfortunately, I made the mistake of poking my head outside the room to see if everybody else was leaving the building. Everybody on the convention levels were, but there wasn't much movement on the hotel levels. That is, except for the IRT guy walking past mandating that I leave. Worse yet, he was one of Geek.Kon's security guys and someone that I've talked to frequently. So not only did I have no choice in the matter, he got a little extra enjoyment out of forcing me out of the building.

So yeah, several thousand people forced outside as a zillion emergency vehicles pile out on the street for what is certainly a false alarm. That's not at all chaotic.

Did I mention this was during the masquerade?

I found Robert somehow, but it was extremely easy to find Scott as he was wearing Beaker at the time. Beaker beacon GO!

Somehow we found Nick as well, who kept us up on all the discussions going on over the radio. They knew as little as the rest of us did.

After fifteen minutes or so, the mob started to move towards the doors, but we did not assume that that meant people were being allowed in. We waited a bit before considering a push for the doors, pondering a move towards the side entrance.

Instead, we found an easier answer- Nabeshin! I joked that he must have put the fire out. He joked back about his afro being on fire.

He and his entourage (which included military action director Yasuhiro Koshi) were also trying to figure out a way back in, so they followed our suggestion and we all snuck in through the side entrance together. Because really, in situations like this, is there anybody better to stick with than Nabeshin?

Wisely taking the farthest staircase from the front doors, I returned to my room and finished chilling.

Thankfully, I had company. Happy, meet Kyubei!

It was probably close to 11 when I finally ventured out, refreshed and ready to try this con thing again. The late night scene is chaotic in the Hyatt, doubly so when all the panel schedules were messed up due to the alarm. One of the panels on my list was an 18+ panel called "Late Night With Nabeshin." There was no description of it, so there was no telling what it was. Originally, I didn't bother, as I wasn't in any mood to linger in a line for a half-hour waiting to get into a panel that I didn't know about. However, my wandering led me downstairs, where this panel had relocated and Nick shooed me into one of the few remaining seats.

It was exactly what you'd expect from an 18+ panel called "Late Night With Nabeshin." None of it can be repeated, except the over-arching mantra was "no no no... yes yes yes."

Some of the Kitsune guys were there as well, but they ran off to do their own thing prior to the thing we all wanted to do together. I wandered for a bit, caught sight of some typical late-night ACen stuff (ambulances, drunks, crazy people... the usual). I ended up back downstairs, talking with Mike and Nick. I stuck around until the thing we all wanted to do.

This was the longest line I waited in all weekend.

Nostalgia Critic cosplay. Speaking of Anime Milwaukee guests, Little Kuriboh was at ACen and I'm not sure if anybody knew it. I talked to him briefly.

Anyway, the time came and we all got through to Hentarmageddon, which Mike and half the Kitsune staff had been talking up for months. Basically it was a complete mockery of all things hentai, swaying towards the extreme stuff that I'm not going to get into.

Nick got the awesome job of making sure we all squeezed together to free up as many chairs as possible.

The panel was hilarious at times. The Game Times were excellent, particularly "What's That Sound?" and "Trap or No Trap?" The actual panel content in the middle dragged at times, particularly the dry discussion of the intricacies of yaoi in the middle, which seemed to put a few of us to sleep. The grand finale, where volunteers from the audience had to dub selected scenes, was worth staying up for alone.

Needless to say, I crashed hard when I stumbled back in at 3:00 am.

The rest of the room was up pretty early Sunday morning and I slept about as long as they would let me. Truth is, we were all conditioned to make the checking out process as efficient as possible and even with a table to report to by ten we really didn't have to wake up at 8:30 to pack. Still, I appreciated the dedication. We were at the table by 9:15. Good thing I had brought a book.

Before the Kitsune guys arrived, Beaker threatened payback for Friday's Geekbot abuse.

After a couple hours on duty, I gave the exhibit hall another pass, failing to find a substitute keychain (the Crest of Reliability didn't live up to its name) but successfully acquiring a new copy of Persona 3 to replace the one Sarah had took with her (she got 3, I got 4: this was a discussion point when she moved out).

The only item on the docket today was a con staff meetup in the Hyatt. This was really fun as it's nice to branch out beyond the Wisconsin convention scene to chat with cons in different locations and different sizes. It was hard not to enjoy the sight of new Rockford startup Anime Apocalypse getting a slew of helpful pointers directly from the chairman of Otakon.

Even hearing how large cons cooperate with each other (and they do extensively), some of the con drama discussion makes me happy the Wisconsin scene has things figured out.

After some business card swapping, I got back to find that AJ and Scott had the table all packed up and ready to go. Deanna showed up just in the nick of time and we made our escape. There was just one last thing to take care of...

The public destruction of Beaker! Now a Sunday tradition.

See you at No Brand!

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