Con Report – AWA 2009 Day 3

On day 3 of AWA, I slept until 10 am, and was thrilled!  I still felt sick, which brought me down a bit, but I didn’t have much planned for Sunday, anyway.  But, before I could even think about getting over to the con, I had to check out of my hotel room.  Ummm….there are a few stories I could tell about this, but I think it’s safer for me if I don’t.  I’ll just say my personal check out experience had the potential to be nice and easy, but it did not turn out that way. 

So, moving on, time for the last few hours of AWA.  There were still some things I wanted to get the voice actors to sign, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle standing in the cramped lines with how I felt.  So instead, I walked around the dealer’s room again.  Even though I had promised myself I wouldn’t buy anything else, I broke down and bought a couple of plushies.  Simon and Kamina in tiny plush form…how could I say no?  I said goodbye to a few friends, saw more awesome costumes, and tried to soak in as much of the experience as I could. 

After a while, I was tired, and went back to check on my group’s progress in the lines.  Yeah…I was going to be there for a while.  So I found a nice empty area of the floor near the autograph lines, and sat down.  People came and went, while I watched all the crazy goings-on in the lines.  There are some weird people at these conventions, and I love it!  After a while, my group started to trickle in, and we all met up where I was sitting.  Finally, after all the autograph fun was over, we all left the convention, and headed to our cars, ready to say goodbye to Anime Weekend Atlanta. 

Of course, the craziness didn’t end there.  We had a nice group meal on the road home, which was a great way for us to all cool down after the high energy weekend.  And then, we came home.  To flooding.  So much fun.  Someone who will not be named drove her car through water that was up to the hood of her car.  I was unable to drive my car home, and had to come back the next day to get it.  But, when I finally got home…I actually missed all the insanity of the weekend.  It’s like this every year.  There are things that drive me crazy all weekend, but what I remember most is all the fun I had.  

So, to everyone who was at Anime Weekend Atlanta with me this year, I hope you all had an amazing time.  I hope you’ll share your stories and pictures, because the experience is different for each of us.  If you didn’t make it this year, then I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about just a bit that went on.  Maybe you’ll get to join us next year.

Con Report – AWA 2009 Day 2

Day 2 of AWA started bright and early at 6 am for me.  Why so early, you ask?  Well, that’s when I woke up sick.  Yes, sick at AWA.  I was not a happy camper.  So let’s just say I spent a good chunk of the day in my room, and move on from there. 

At 3 pm, I finally ventured my way out to the con.  To be honest, a lot of the day is kind of a blur, because I was on some medicine.  I remember grabbing some food with my friends, and spending some time hanging out in the dealer’s room again.  There was lots of walking around and wishing I had even more money to spend.  There were also lots of amazing costumes, and people I considered going up and talking to, but then deciding I would just embarrass myself in my current state.  Typical con fun, really. 

Eventually we made our way into a corner in the hallway to sit down and relax.  At this point, I brought out my secret weapon, to cuddle and make me feel a bit better.  Yes, that’s right, Usa-chan made his AWA debut hidden away in a corner.  While a certain member of my group went crazy taking pictures of a Harry Potter gathering, I curled up into a ball, laughed some, and tried to build up my strength for the night ahead. 

At 8 pm, most of my group went to line up for yet another adult panel.  Along the way, I stopped off into a bathroom to change into my sad attempt at a cosplay.  I was pajama Hunny, from Ouran Host Club!  Hey…I liked it.  Anyway, we were there an hour early, so we had a pretty good spot in line.  Except, 15 minutes before the panel was to start, we found out it was actually starting at 10 pm.  Oh, you silly schedulers with your mistakes!  So, after an unbearably long time standing in line, we finally proceeded into the room to grab really nice seats.  While the panelists were getting set up, we were treated to some fun involving a police officer and a paddle.  See, this is why I go to these panels…there’s crazy stuff happening all the time, and I end up laughing for hours. 

The panel got started, and there was plenty of yelling and high excitement.  Dirty jokes, dirty images, dirty songs, dirty games…that’s the heart and soul of this panel.  And this year, they really got going.  As the hours went by, my group started disappearing one by one.  It was getting later and later, and everyone realized they had to check out of the hotel the next day.  So finally, at 1:30 am, I left the panel, and headed back to my hotel.  Along the way, the fire alarm went off, and part of the building was evacuated.  It sounds much more exciting than it actually was. 

Back in my room, I attempted to be productive, but quickly realized I still felt like crap.  I hopped in bed, cuddled up to Usa-chan, and drifted off to sleep.

AWA Day 3 & Summary

Nothing like waking up after a long Saturday of con activities and realizing that you have to pack. More importantly, the whole hotel is trying to check out as well, and for those who know, anime congoers bring a ton of stuff. Cosplays alone can force folks to take 3 trips to make sure they have all their wigs, wig heads, weapons, props, and of course costumes. I didn’t have any so I was packed pretty quickly thankfully, although I still had to play the elevator game with folks. Thankfully even with the unintended hijinxs provided with our moving out, I was still able to do what I expressly wanted to do Sunday – head to the Dealer Room.

Last day for the uninitiated, or the unobservant, is a day for deals. Why? The Dealer’s brought tons of stuff and frankly they’d rather not return with it. Plus by this point it’s kind of expected. That said I surprisingly enough wasn’t hunting for deals. I figured what I wanted, 1 art book, would probably be just as pricey as they were when they came in. I was right but I still had to get the thing. Thankfully enough my co-host Casey (aka The Cay) was nice enough to get me a belated Christmas gift, and per that I had enough for the art book I had in mind, featuring Shakugan no Shana.  This is a bit of nostalgia for me since it was one of the first shows I was introduced to through my college anime club so I’ve had a thing for the show ever since. Lo and behold an art book is now there to support my habit. I was happy with the find.

Following that I got to partake in that most difficult of activities waiting for autographs. Upon my arrival I feared I would get no autographs at all since Vic’s line had already filled 1 hour before his signing time. Due to my lingering nature, and the kindness of the staff to extend the line, I was in the right place at the right time and became the new end of the line. This actually happened for other folks later so I became more of a back middle, but still I was excited to see that I could get Vic’s autograph. Indeed I did but of course after a couple hours of waiting, for which I didn’t mind. I made some line buddies with an Ed cosplayer, a Simon cosplayer, and a girl (who may or may not have been cosplaying?). They certainly helped pass the time, plus I was excited because, with due hassle on a staff member apparently, I was able to send my goodies to friends in Caitlin’s line to get her to sign them. All in all it worked out.  After that I was threw. Day’s over. Con’s over. Time to head home and, with a Cracker Barrel stop en route, we did.

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Con Summary

All in all this year’s AWA was perhaps not only my favorite AWA but maybe even my favorite con experience and that’s saying a lot. Sure a large part of that is the interviews, and trust me I realize I am in a uniquely lucky and cool position to do those, but really there was more to it then that. I had more friends at the con. I knew my way around. Most importantly I did nearly everything I wanted to do. Sure some items get tossed to the side, and certainly all Thursday night I was thinking there’s too many good things at once. I realized there always will be and moved on and that helped me a lot. I did miss my experience of the past two years, because my brother, who’s now in college, was sort of my con partner but I think I made up as best I could.

Regrets? Perhaps not being in the con hotel. Sure the elevators would be bad but the Sheraton’s this year’s were broken too (at least the outside ones which everyone has to take). Additionally, I wish I’d gone to more of the concert. I didn’t get to see Omodaka at all. Sad. Hopefully next year I’ll have a better run at that.

Highlights? Other then what I’ve mentioned not much but as always I emphasize friends. New, old, unexpected, patiently waiting, friends of all kinds were in attendance at AWA and I was glad.  Hopefully if I met you between now and then I’ll get to see you there too. Guess we’ll just have to see when I return in 2010 for a hopefully equally awesome AWA.

AWA Day 2

Day 2 of a con is always the busiest and for me this was no exception. While I was bowled over with interviews the day before, and only had 1 today, in terms of photo shoots, panels, and just general activities Saturday certainly took the cake.

Therefore, a 10am event for me was required, and specifically that event was the Bleach photo shoot 2nd of 3 scheduled at the time. Rain had started to intrude on our con activities so instead of the Fountains, where the Bleach-ers were on Friday, everyone setup by the Main Ballroom. The photos I believe turned out rather well and really the only main problem I could see is that in the location traffic was diminished, which became more of a problem as entrants for the costume contest started arriving (and squeezing through our bloated setup). All in all though we crunched in, I and others got our pictures, and then we dispersed. I thought about hitting the dealer’s room but alone (for probably the first time in sometime) and wandering the con I rested casually by the front of the dealer’s room and then slipped in for part of the Funimation Industry panel.

The Funimation Panel was brief, since I left after about 20 minutes, but enlightening.  First of all, I got the feeling that Funimation is on top of the industry and knows it (in a good way). I judge that by both the number of releases and the casual nature of the panel. Basically the Funimation Rep. was really funny, had a great sense of humor, and wasn’t afraid to make comments one wouldn’t traditionally expect in an Industry Panel. Otherwise, it was just business as usual, with the Rep.showing off new shows, which I really want to see now, and introducing Funimation’s new in-development Social Networking site. Perhaps most importantly for me this panel reinforced my interest in Shodojo.com, future home for Funi’s Social Network. Well perhaps more importantly this panel actually made me want to watch Sgt. Frog just to see what it’s about. Sgt. Frog was Funimation’s big release for the weekend so they were selling it early at AWA too, but I decided to pass on that opportunity.
Instead, I slipped out of the panel, and made my way to my 4th and final voice actor interview for the con.

My fourth interview was with Vic Mignona, voice actor most known for his role as Ed on Fullmetal Alchemist, Tamaki on Ouran High School Host Club, and a talented singer of both his own original pieces, and his own fan work relating to show’s he has worked on (specifically the ones just mentioned). To no surprise of my own, his schedule was quite busy, so he was a bit late but that was certainly no problem at all. We had a great chat for about 30 minutes with Vic, and I believe The Cay (my Tokyo Tower co-host) and I were able to ask most of the questions we had, and certainly we learned a lot about the man behind the voice. As with my other interviews this one will be available in the future for folks to either hear or read.

When the interview was finished Nate and I took some photos of an Air Gear photo shoot in the hotel lobby (which was awesome because I love Air Gear), and then I joined Erica and checked out the AMV awards.  For those who haven’t been to Anime Weekend Atlanta, or maybe just aren’t aware, AWA is THE place for AMV’s. If you want to watch the finest AMV’s around? You go to AWA. If you want to compete on a level unknown to even most major cons? You go to AWA. For this reason, I’ve known people to fly from all across the country to present their AMV’s to us con-goers. For this reason, plus the contest’s popularity, the full AMV contest runs about 3 hours, not withstanding delays due to technical issues. I myself only stayed an hour, and sadly a large part of that was dealing with technical issues, so I only got to see the Expo. competition, what we’ll call the “beginner’s” round. Believe me though that this most basic level is higher than most AMV competitions top rung. I was knocked out by the effort, time, technical know-how, and patience especially that went into each of these AMV’s.  There were so many great ones, including a Macross AMV that brought quite an emotional reaction from myself and the crowd which lead to a gradual, yet quite stupendous, “lighter waving” of sorts.  Too bad the creator wasn’t there to see that! Anyways what I did see of the AMV’s was amazing and I do wish I could have stayed but I had elsewhere to go!

In this case, I went back to my room for a breather and some much needed phone/camera charging. As you may know cons can really do a number on you, especially as much as people walk, so not just the cosplayers get pain after time. Anyways it was a wonderful break, I got to meet up with Nick who started feeling much better, and together we returned shortly thereafter to join up with Erica and Nate for some munching in the dealer’s room Moe’s style.  I had been wanting to go back to the Dealer Room so this was a great opportunity, albeit also an opportunity to buy things. Thankfully for my brother and his friend, who could not come to AWA, I took this time to pick them up a wall-scroll each, one of Ouran High School Host Club for my brother and one featuring Lelouch from Code Geass for his friend. I stumbled across some awesome art books and picked up one for “Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto” an anime I liked that is fairly new (’06-’07) but definitely lesser known, so I was quite excited to buy something truly unique. All in all my return visit proved successful.

After dinner and dealing, and running into a rather impressive seemingly impromptu Harry Potter photo shoot, we split again and Nate and I went to hit up the Resident Evil photo shoot. I am not a major Resident Evil fan, having seen only the first 2 films, so aside from zombies I didn’t really know what to look for. Lucky for us we were standing chatting with a Boogie BAM Anime Jam club member when the group began to gather behind us. This bit of serendipity gave us perfect timing for the photo shoot. Too bad the weather didn’t think to cooperate equally, because when we went to the Fountains the rain brought the photo shoot to an early end, for us anyways. That said both Nate and I got a number of pictures so all in all photo shoot success! Seeing as how the con was waring on us, and that Nate had 2 photo shoots to attend to, we both retired to the hotel for a bit to charge up our batteries once more.

Upon our return to the con I briefly stepped into the concert, to see Peelander-Z wailing out their now oh-so-familiar tunes, took a couple pictures, and moved on for more photo shoot fun.  First up was the Hellsing photo shoot. I was particularly looking forward to this one because Hellsing is awesome and I’d seen a number of cool cosplayers doing Hellsing but I hadn’t been able to stop them and get their picture.  Thanks to our early arrival for the shoot, and likely Nate’s familiar yet professional nature, he was able to be the primary photographer for the shoot.  Of course, like all good photo shoots, we had a number of photographers casual and professional step-in, and by numbers alone, and the fun that was being had, this was a great shoot!  The Persona one we had following was also quite entertaining, and knowing many of the people cosplaying as Persona, indeed it was all quite fun too. Sadly though, due to the numbers of participants and the weather, we moved around a fair amount so while I got shots in different locales, I became worn out again and Nate and I quite quickly wrapped up our con activities for the day and returned to our respective rooms.

All in all, I had a great and extremely busy 2nd day, with my only disappointment being that I missed out on O
modaka performing. I know I could have probably tried harder to go, but I also had the times when Peelander-Z and Omodaka were supposed to play mixed-up, so I did see some concert, but alas none of the seemingly quirky, yet fun, Omodaka show. Anyways it was a long day and rest was desperately needed before the morning packing.