Anime Central 2010

Thu/Fri | Fri/Sat | Hetalia | Saturday | Sat/Sun

Between the Hetalia photoshoot and Name That Anime Opening, we had exactly two hours. That's not a lot of time when you consider that I have to change out of cosplay, shower, set up my laptop and maybe, just maybe, find something for lunch.

Saturday Afternoon
Successful Mission

First off, we took care of lunch- a pretzel and a bagel from concessions. I ate on the trip back, drank a room party soda to wash out the salt and jumped in the shower. Our panel was in the convention center next to the exhibit hall, which wasn't that bad: we could store our stuff at the Geek.Kon table if we got back early. We totally did, and even snuck a quick artist alley run in the interim.

Definitely Mitsuru and still Aigis.

And hey! Henry even has his Persona Terriermon with him.

I also sat down to set up the song list on my laptop, creating a little drama when I dropped the duct tape (yes, I'm still using duct tape) on the keyboard, but the laptop didn't go all smashy-smashy. It was tense for a moment while it reset and checked all the files. But everything was there and we were go!

There was a line when we got there. That was encouraging. While waiting for the prior panel to finish, Evan and I took the initiative and gave First Team rights to the first folks in line. Seemed fair, right?

Packed house is packed. Only problem was that these rooms apparently don't do well partitioned like this. It was a sauna.

Apparently there was a critical flaw with our two teams (one of which couldn't decide whether they were Team Mecha or Team Yaoi so I dubbed them Team Gay Robots): they weren't particularly skilled. Not that the songs that came up were easy (mid-range stuff like GTO, Nana and Ah My Goddess), but it was a wide enough range that they should have gotten something. The audience swept them. It was sad.

Ah, but then the Fugis (pictured, left) came up! With a wide range and cat-like reflexes, they won the next three rounds- 5-1, 5-4 and 5-0. The middle one was rough as the other team had to forfeit a point after the guy who grabbed the tape got help from his teammates (a rules violation), which was a shame, as it was Angel Beats, one of the "shows that debuted a month ago that are here because I hate you." Nick F. and I actually met on Skype earlier in the week to figure out what new stuff to add.

Oh yes, Nick! Perhaps by design (he is on panel staff, after all), he was the staffer in charge of making sure things go smoothly. They didn't, as the speakers in the room were sub-par and often cut out on us, but it wasn't his fault! He also made jabs when I couldn't come up with something clever, like making sure to throw in the obligatory Hideyoshi joke when Baka to Test came up.

Scott put the fire there jokingly when somebody was afraid that the Fugis could see my laptop. They couldn't, but I liked the company.

The Fugis finally got a run for their money when the Terriermon-led Anti-Gravity stepped up to the plate and took three rounds of their own, setting up the climactic rematch.

With the Fugis up 4-3 and match point, both teams grabbed the duct tape simultaneously (Evan did a great job mediating the tape BTW), but only the Fugis answered Haibane Renmei for the win!

Win! Win! Win!

And your victory pose!

Once this was done, the scurrying continued. We rushed back to the room, a far more difficult challenge since the elevators were now clogged, dropped off the laptop and scoreboard and got back to join the line for the masquerade, which had already dragged outside. The ticketing system they tried in the past apparently failed to deter people from camping out early, so they gave up and just encouraged people to camp out even earlier. Makes perfect sense.

Anyway, we go from the sauna to Finland as it was breezy outside. As we waited for nearly two hours, it became nearly unbearable. Thankfully, we had cosplayers walking around.

Boy and girl Ranma.

And TK hits a growth spurt. I would like someone to explain why we're seeing more Digimon cosplay these days. They're still coming out with new stuff, so it's not like it's gone retro yet.

Anyway, about a half-hour after the scheduled "begin seating" time, they began seating. One nice touch ACen congoers have added is the seating celebration. Inside, when the line starts snaking around, congoers high-five (or fist bump) an adjacent row as they pass each other to cheer their successful survival of the line. I approve, and can't wait for the hip bumping and touchdown dances in future years.

Now that we're seated, it's time for another Good Idea/Bad Idea.

Good Idea: playing music during seating to keep people engaged. Bad Idea: playing happy techno music that makes people dance in the aisles and delays the start of the show. Worse Idea: allowing skit participants to join them in a conga line.

Gendo conducts the traditional level test. For sound-check purposes, everybody gets really quiet, then everybody screams their hearts out. The crowd gets to cheer, the sound guys get their levels and Gendo gets to boss people around. Everybody wins!

The first two to take the MC table are the masquerade coordinator and a random Nekozawa, who spikes the water and kills the masquerade coordinator in order to introduce the actual hosts. Apparently Geek.Kon and Anime Milwaukee now stand as the only regional conventions where the masquerade hosts don't die on a regular basis. Let's not change that.

They had a couple new hosts this year: instead of two women I don't know, instead they had Stripper Vash and a man I don't know. They were a little crude, they occasionally interrupted the acts (not as bad as No Brand, but not always to the show's benefit), and they had a devil of a time figuring out whether an entry was coming from stage left or stage right. It wasn't always the same. This wasn't helped by the fact that there was often a long delay between a name being called and their appearance. In all, the whole thing was visibly disorganized. Though keep in mind that the masquerade coordinator was dead.

My zoom lens got a workout here. The show was marked by lots and lots of epic Final Fantasy cosplay. As I recall, Final Fantasy 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13 were all represented. Now figure out how 11 gets included and 9 doesn't.

It was hard to spot, but there was anime in this Anime Central masquerade as well.

To be fair, it was a sweet Ghostbusters group.

Shiny Alphonse.

It's time for another Good Idea/Bad Idea.

Good Idea: opening the masquerade to all entries from novice to master (assuming that they all go through all the pre-registration and pre-judging hoops). Bad Idea: running a string of excellent Master entries out first, making the inevitable L cosplayer midway through look that much more sad.

After that crop came the intermission and stuff that I may or may not be allowed to talk about. If you want to know, ask.

Or you can just go to page four.