In preparation for this convention I had planned on acquiring a newer model camera. The original plan was to get the Nikon D7000, but I noted at the time that everyone was sold out. So I checked out what other cameras Nikon had, and I saw the Nikon D800 was up and coming…and damn nice. Far too nice, and while expensive, was semi-affordable and too good a deal to pass up, though it would require an initial outlay for some lenses; specifically this one or something equivalent. Problem is, when that thing was finally released, it was released in very small quantities and the lens I noted up there was already extremely hard to come by. In essence, you couldn't kill for this camera, and I'd been wanting it since before ACEN.
On the subject of ACEN, one thing I failed to mention in its article was that I actually took part in the Dr. Who cosplay gathering. I was The Master; the first one in fact, as portrayed by Roger Delgado. I was one of maybe…seven villains there. Let me be clear on this, seven villains in total, not seven villain characters portrayed by several cosplayers. Myself, a Dalek, an Angel, and a couple of others I didn't catch. Not to mention one of the more recent incarnations of The Master who was cosplayed by this distraught girl who was so demoralized she hugged me saying she thought she was the only one there (and didn't take part in the villain section). How about some love for the villains, huh guys? Not cool, Dr. Who fans…not cool.
Back to the cameras, by this time Fanime was coming up, and I had to make a decision. I ran the numbers, even went so far as to consider the Nikon D3100, however, it turned out the best bet for me was the Nikon D7000, and by this time it was back in stock. Best Buy wound up having to special order the body for me, since all they had were the kits on hand, which I did not need. Then there was getting another battery for it. Turns out ol' Nikon had done a recall on lots E and F of the type of battery it uses, and there are no third party versions out yet. So Best Buys and all other camera shops all over just yanked their entire inventory without even checking. Mayhem and I finally found one Best Buy that supposedly had some batteries left, and after convincing their camera department to check in the back room where they had left them after yanking them off the shelves due to the advisory, we all found out they were from lot C, and thus, safe to buy and sell. Which I did, in fact, buy at this point.
You ever wonder why fetch quests are so sadistic in RPG's? They're based on real life experience.
After arriving on day 1, and getting Gensao and Pio press passes so they could help me out, and turning over the previous year's masquerade to Milton, the Fanime press coordinator, it was off to find out if this camera was an improvement over my old D40x. Personally, I think it was, but you can see for yourself here at TFA Cosplay. I had several pics in this set I was proud of, especially once I started figuring out my camera and how it reacts differently than my D40x in various situations. Take Rider from Fate: Hollow Ataraxia here, for example; this girl is gorgeous and almost makes it seem like Rider jumped right out of the game and here into the convention, as all good cosplayers aspire to do. Here we have Charmie Sweets in her outstanding Eureka from Eureka Seven cosplay. I have no idea who this lady was cosplaying, but I was most impressed regardless. Lovely little Elven maidens are always a welcome sight. All of this in preparation for Mortal Kombat. Actually, let me take this opportunity to say that the Mortal Kombat cosplayers this year were probably the best Mortal Kombat cosplayers I'd ever seen, and were damn high up there in terms of best cosplays I'd seen. Damn good job, folks. Aside from Luna and her Royal Guard, this was about all I could get from the My Little Pony gathering. They had torn down one of the Hotels and were rebuilding it, you must understand, which caused a derth of gathering spots and even walking space. For one of this size, they had put everyone into this strange corner, and it was insanity personified. This particular Faye Valentine cosplayer is Mzre Yuen from Asian Diva Girls, a website a little like Cosplay Deviants and caters to a more…adult taste in such things. So if you want to see a lot more of this girl, head over there. Managed to snag a few pics of Yaya Han in her Chun Li cosplay, of which she was quite proud of, and with good reason. Would you believe this young lady was extremely self conscious about her Shepard cosplay? Yeah, as good as it, she had nothing she needed worry about. Heh, and this young lady should have been really carrying around a sign that says, "I know," as the first things out of everyone's mouth was, before taking her picture, "Brave's not even out yet!" Damn fine Princess Merida cosplay, regardless. Anyone wonder what those awesome photoshoots encompass at these conventions? Here's a bit of one. I have several more scattered throughout the entire set, so check them out. This girl's costume was just insanely impressive; I wish I knew what series she was from. Speaking of impressive, this costume was notable in that she actually wired fibre optic light pipes though her wig which were then lit with blue light. I did get pics of the Lolita gathering, which start on this page and continue on to the next. I had actually despaired of ever getting to it, but I managed, for which I was most relieved. And then we have Kyubee here, showing us how she recruits magical boys…and confusing the Hell out of me, heheh. For those that are wondering about just how tall Yaya Han is, here is a comparison shot of me and her, though granted I probably out mass her by about three times, heh. We wound up spending quite awhile talking with this Gwendolyn cosplayer (whose actual name escapes me at the moment) and enjoying taking pictures of her fine cosplay of Gwendolyn in her formal dress. Even the final day had some pretty good sets, like the Rosario + Vampire girls from the Masquerade the previous night walking around and who I had a lot of fun photographing starting on this page and continuing on to the next. And seriously, goddamn we're getting' old, heheheh. If I didn't mention you here, don't worry, it's not because I think any less of your costume, there were several impressive costumes I didn’t mention in this section, and all were most enjoyable, so check them all out at your leisure. Also, we have Mayhem's pics from Fanime up this year as well, including his back stage Masquerade pics which start at the bottom of this page, and continue on to this page. Also, continuing right after the Masquerade pics are pics from the Black and White Ball; if you attended you may see yourself in them, so don't be afraid to check them out. Theoretically, I'll even have Gensao's and possibly Pio's pics up sooner or later. Finally, here's the masquerade itself, at its current home, though if Youtube doesn't quite being a dick, we're going to have to find some other place for it.
As far as the Masquerade goes, this was the only one of two main events I really attended this year, though Mayhem managed to snag some time at the Black and White Ball after being released from Fanime's backstage, and I'll let him talk about that. Truthfully, I doubt I'd have made it this through this Masquerade if it hadn't been for Pio and Gensao. There's much to be said about being able to get up and get something to drink or go to the bathroom during a four hour long recording session. The Fanime Masquerade Manager retired this year, and I just hope that next year the person in charge will be as awesome as she has always been. Though I am thinking they're going to need to find a new venue soon, because the theatre union is getting more and more dickish and the size of the convention keeps growing. Even so, I had a blast at this year's Masquerade; the skits were all of high quality and most of them were highly entertaining running the gamut from comedy, to drama, to just plain fantastic talent (I'm looking at the Princess Tutu ballerina for this one, heh), to say nothing of the costumes they put on show which were just as excellent.
The second main event I attended was the AMV's and holy shit were they fantastic this year. I can't think of a single category that didn't shine out. I'll go ahead and post the list and the winners of this year as well as any links I can find.
Welcome to the Pirate Age
Hands up! Judge’s Winner, Action, 3rd Place; Audience Winner, Action, 1st Place
Avenencia Audience Winner, Action, 3rd Place
ENKA. M. V Audience Winner, Action, 3rd Place
Little Cream Soda Judge’s Winner, Action, 2nd Place
The Perfect Deviant Blade
Skillex MEP (High School of the Dead) Judge’s Winner, Action, 1st Place; Audience Winner, Action, 2nd Place
You Bring the Color
The Great Escape
V Izluchine Dona: In the bend of the Do Makam Audience Winner, Drama, 3rd Place
The Red Letter Audience Winner, Drama, 2nd Place
Fate Matrix Judge’s Winner, Drama, 2nd Place; Judge’s Winner, Best in Show; Audience Winner, Drama, 1st Place
Say Goodbye to Yesterday
Who Need Enemies?
Truncating Littlewood’s Law Judge’s Winner, Drama, 3rd Place
Here We are
Everything’s All Right
No Soul, No Light
Simple Little Melody Judge’s Winner, Drama, 1st Place
A Brainless Video Judge’s Winner, Comedy, 2nd Place; Audience Winner, Comedy, 3rd Place
She Turned my Dad on
Safety Dance Judge’s Winner, Comedy, 3rd Place; Audience Winner, Comedy, 2nd Place
FULLMETAL’S BACK Judge’s Winner, Comedy, 1st Place
Ballad of the Nice Guy Audience Winner, Comedy, 1st Place; Audience Winner, Best in Show
Tenshi Has Been Modified Judge’s Winner, Experimental, 3rd Place; Audience Winner, Experimental, 2nd Place
Evil Island Judge’s Winner, Experimental, 1st Place; Audience Winner, Experimental, 1st Place
Chosen Audience Winner, Experimental, 3rd Place
Its Di Gi Dupstep Nyo! Judge’s Winner, Experimental, 2nd Place
H/T Otaku no Podcast for the list.
I'm not going to lie, for action I just picked at random. I just could not decide on one, heh. Now for Drama, I had to go with EVOL myself, but it does not appear to have won anything. I think this is perhaps because I had recently finished Ef and the whole idea of it was fresh in my mind. For Comedy, yeah, Ballad of the Nice Guy. I hope I can find a link to that, heh. Tenshi has been modified was the one I chose in experimental, and mostly because I'm an Angel Beats and Portal fan.
Yes, of course, I'm biased. When have I ever claimed I wasn't?
Oh right, H night. Managed to get into the first night of that. Small problem there is, for the life of me, I can't remember what the Hell it is we watched. I know for a fact we made fun of it until they started the next one, which was the first episode of La Blue Girl, and I'd seen enough of THAT one to last a lifetime. Or at least until I need to give someone else some mental scarring. Oh wait, now I remember, it was some sort of sentai like show; some girl was possessed to go around saving girls from being molested by zoanoids or something. There was a hot Suigintou looking girl who wound up being not all girl. Helluva lot of Yuri overtones; can't remember the name though. For the next night, it was Hentai AMV's. Haven't gotten into to see hentai AMVs since the first year, and I'm not even sure how one would go about getting a list of videos for that, how one would watch them, or a list of winners. The third night, Mayhem and I wound up watching AMV Hell for most of it, and then walked in and caught the last bit of Sex Warrior Pudding (must be 18 or older to view that page). This was funny enough for us to go look it up. Of course, once we did, we realized it was just fucking nuts...okay, maybe a bad choice of words there.
About the only really bad thing that happened this year, happened on day zero. One of the transformers behind the convention center exploded; it was more than meets the eye. Killed power for over an hour and delayed registration and everything else considerably. They didn't recover from that until later the following day. This is probably why it was a good thing we didn't go to day zero. They should feel grateful; they got off lightly for their 15th...ACEN got it a whole lot worse than they did. I know that Mayhem is still pretty angry about last year, and there is certainly merit to what he says. At any point in time, they can just change their policy, without any prior notice or right in the middle of the convention, for any reason what-so-ever. There is absolutely no security for...well, anything there. This effectively makes the contract between Fanime and the attendees one way. Granted it'd be suiicide for the convention to do more than they did a year ago, but at the same time, that's a bit of a Damocles sword hanging over everyone's head...not really good for anyone.
As a self criticism, I need to start attending some of the industry panels. The panels I did go to well.... We went to the comedy show panel which was mildly amusing. I know one of those comics had pretty much offended everyone in the world with his skit, and while funny, he probably got an ass kicking in the parking lot later, heh. Went in to a panel about really bad unknown movies, I forget what they called it. Heh, those were some bad movies, let met tell you. Finally we went to the Loli panel.
Look dudes, I know I'm going to Hell, but for fuck's sake, I don't need to see the faces of the guys I'm going to be sharing the floor space with. I don't even have plausible deniability anymore! There was perhaps one girl in the entire panel, and the deer in the headlights look quickly gave way to pure unmitigated horror when she realized where her boyfriend had dragged her into. I violated rule twenty like a champ, and it was awesome. Actually, it wasn't nearly that bad, though the tongue-in-cheek jokes about the whole sordid affair were flying all over as we delved into the history of the genre, what counts as loli and what doesn't. Never let it be said that we won't pick something apart to stare at its squishy assorted guts, no matter how out there it may be.
Overall, it was a decent, but odd time. Dodged bullets, did all sorts of corny things, took some decent photos and video, and met some rather fun people. What more could you want? I'm thinking I should get wasted at these conventions more often. Seriously, I would like to point out that anime cons are about ten times better when you're blitzed off your ass. Just sayin'.