Anime, Manga, Etc

A Girlfriend Would Be Nice

It’s been a melancholy Monday, but I’ve been having fun reading the yuri romance manga, Girlfriends, on JManga. The story really tugs on the heart strings with all its might, but I’m a sucker for unrequited/forbidden love stories.

I think I’ve been feeling a little down because this will be the first year that my wife is not joining us for Anime Central. Just got our badges in the mail today minus one for her and one for our oldest daughter. My wife has never really been into anime or manga and definitely not cosplay. Sometimes I wish I had a girlfriend that I could share these things with along with a love for sometimes sappy love stories. It’d be great to have someone to sing Japanese anime songs with badly and dance to dub step music that I either love or hate all in the same mix. And someone I could hang out with whether cosplaying Roger Smith in  a double breasted suit, or a Japanese schoolgirl in a miniskirt two inches too short.

But with all of that, I’m not really interested in having an affair with anyone. I actually have a friend who likes a lot of these things too. Sadly, she’s kind of gone off the deep end lately, so I doubt she’ll be coming out to ACen again anytime soon. Of course it’d be fun to hang out with dudes too, but honestly, I’ve always preferred hanging out with women. They’re just so much more interesting and more fun to look at!

Anime, Manga, Etc cosplay

ACen Aftershocks: Extended Edition End

Friday had turned out to be a good start for the con. Saturday would prove to be the greatest challenge on an almost existential level. I’ve been coming to Anime Central with my family since 2004, so this was our 8th ACen. It always managed to be a fun time, even with the occasional drama that can happen sometimes when you stuff your family into a hotel room half filled with costumes and plushies.

But sadly, my wife wasn’t having as much fun as the rest of us. So I decided to make a concerted effort to find some things to do that she would enjoy. I should have known that this was simply doomed to failure because at the end of the day my wife is not a nerd. An intellectual, yes. Indeed, she is a scholar in the best of ancient Chinese tradition. But she is not a nerd or a geek. Moe and mecha mean nothing to her. And, well, cosplay goes right up to the line. Crossplay crosses over that line and crashes hard into the bottom of a deep deep chasm of the unmentionable.

As has become our custom, the family arrived at the worst time on Saturday morning, right in the middle of the AMV contest, and later we played some unintentional hide and seek in the dealers room. We finally got together in time to go the Khaotic Kouture fashion shows with Sixh and h.NAOTO after a candid little interview with the Cosplay in America guy! I thought the fashion show was pretty cool, the wife, not so much. She just wasn’t into it. Afterwards we went on a little photo run and then had some late lunch together.


In the end, we decided that this would be her last ACen. She and our oldest daughter just aren’t very interested in anything at the con. So next year it’ll just be me and the 3 youngest. My sons and younger daughter are all hardcore gamers and anime fans. They had a great time playing in the video game tournaments and cosplaying. So I cannot wait until next year!


Last year I didn’t get in line early enough for the masquerade, so this year I took no chances. Still I ended up all the way behind the Hyatt standing on a muddy lattice of bricks that was pure hell in heels.  But it was all good. The masquerade was pretty good this year. I liked the MCs and I liked starting with the walk-ons rather than the skits. When the skits go first, there’s usually a rush for the door once they end which I think is unfair to the walk-on cosplayers. Cosplayers often put a lot of work into their costumes and we all want people to see it! Having the half time show hosted by the popular Zak and Voltz was another good move. In the end I think this was one of the best ACen masquerades in some time. No awful yaoi skits, and I actually found the occasional explosion of T and A in some of the walk-ons quite enjoyable.

While my Stocking cosplay did not feature any T and A, it must have been convincing enough to some.  While going to the bathroom and fixing my makeup, in the men’s room of course, I encountered a hotel security officer. I looked at him, he looked at me. No words were exchanged and I left. He came out a short time later, looked at me some more. Still no words were exchanged. I guess someone thought I was in the wrong bathroom and called security. I guess I’ll take that as a compliment, LOL.

I decided to skip Karaoke Madness in favor of the Soap Bubble dance because I’d gone on Friday night and was a little disappointed that so few anime themed songs were done. I know some people were complaining about this on the ACen forums, but I can understand the desire to open up the fun to more people. Still it is kind of funny to see the tension between the more extreme Asia-philes (aka weeaboos) and more mainstream con-goers. I think over the years ACen has moved in a more mainstream direction. I’ve seen this in the music at the dances too. Sadly, imho, one rarely hears anime themed music mixes there anymore.

Luckily I did not have to wait in line for the Soap Bubble for very long. I liked the music for the most part until the dubstep stuff started. Sorry, just couldn’t get into it. So I decided to get some water, sit, and people watch for a while. There was the cutest couple dancing close to each other off in their own world. The guy was a tall chubby Asian guy, almost the epitome of the stereotypical image of an anime fan boy. And the girl, also tall and wearing a sailor fuku, the spitting image of the cute anime nerd girl. I’ll never forget how cute they were together!

I had thought about going to the Panty and Stocking photoshoot, but decided against it because I’m still a little shy about photoshoots. It’s silly, but maybe I’ll be ready in time for Otakon. After the dance, I reluctantly went to bed. The biggest day of the con was over. T_T

Sunday is always somber. It’s nice not having the work of getting into costume, but that also means not having the fun of getting into costume and just being me. I don’t cosplay because I don’t like being myself. Cosplay is just more self to be!

Breakfast with the family was nice and we got checked out without too much delay since most people were still sleeping. Wife and kids went back to Chicago and I made my final rounds. I was happy to get to the Robotech panel with Steve Yun. Robotech was one of the series that reignited my interest in anime.

I’m already planning for next year’s ACen. The dynamic is going to be a lot different and I plan to try some new things or do things differently, including going to photoshoots! Sometimes I wonder if cons are more fun with the spice of drama mixed in. I wonder…


Anime, Manga, Etc cosplay

ACen 2011 Aftershocks: Extended Edition

LOL, late with this as always. So here it goes! After about a month of commuting about 100 miles roundtrip everyday for work, I was really looking forward to this year’s installment of Anime Central. And, to make things sweeter, my AMV, Shinji Listen!!, was in the Drama Category finals for the AMV contest!


Since my commute requires that I leave by 6 am anyway, I decided it would be a good idea to leave as usual on Friday morning in order to beat the traffic. Luckily, I’d finished my work on my daughter’s Hitsugaya cosplay and wouldn’t have to stay up late working on that. I really enjoyed making that for her because I knew that it was going to bring her a lot of joy to wear it at the con. My youngest daughter is a super high pressure over-achiever, just like mom. She needs to have as much fun as possible to blow off steam. It felt really good to be able to help her have a good time away from the pressures of school.

Leaving early paid off and I was able to get a good space in the Hyatt parking lot. And check-in was no problem. The super small room though, presented the first  challenge. But the hotel quickly sent up a roll-away bed at my request. It would be a tight fit for 6 people, but we would only be sleeping there on Saturday night. Friday night it was just me, so not really a problem.

I had plenty of time ahead of me, so I unpacked and set about ironing my costumes. Friday was to be split between my Mahoro and Tohya cosplays. Saturday would be all Stocking all day. I had decided to skip the opening ceremonies because the AMV contest was scheduled to begin at the same time in the Hilton. After rushing over there, not easy in a maid costume, I discovered that in true ACen fashion, the contest had been moved to another hotel and the early showing canceled. It looked like there was some kind of professional conference going on in the Hilton that day. The place was filled with middle-aged white guys in suits who were probably wondering what the hell this maid was wandering around for.

Anime Central has never been the best organized of the cons I attend and this year things seemed a bit more disorganized than most. Apparently a good number of panel scheduling did not meet the program printing deadline. So it was pretty dicey being sure that anything was happening where or when you thought it would. And given that the con was spread across 4 hotels and the convention center, it was quite a hike getting from one event to another.


With the AMV contest a no go, I headed to opening ceremonies. After that I headed over to the Dealers Room and Artist Alley in the convention center to take pictures, my first pass shopping, and to say hi to some friends working there. For me the main Friday events were to be the FLOW concert, Karaoke Madness, and the Hardcore Synergy dance.

Before the concert I changed into my Miho Tohya costume. Nothing like motorcycle boots and a short leather skirt for a concert ya know! FLOW did not disappoint, they were awesome! They played all of their best anime themes and some other kick-ass songs I didn’t know. This was easily the best concert at ACen since the Pillows played a few years back. Ooh I wish I could get some of their music for Rock Band!

Next up, Karaoke Madness. As expected, there were a ton of people there. But for the most part things went smoothly. Unlike many anime cons, you can sing whatever you want at Karaoke Madness rather than just anime or Japanese video game music. I have mixed feelings about this. I think it’s great that it opens it up to a lot more people. But I really missed the chance to hear people sing some of my favorite themes while waiting for my turn to sing. And through an oversight, my turn to sing was skipped over. But it was okay, I got my chance to sing and I guess maybe I added a little bit more emotion to my rendition of Lion, from Macross Frontier, than I might have otherwise. I wish I hadn’t missed the Saturday night session as I heard they had more people singing anime songs that night. In any case, I still had fun and cannot wait to do it again next year!

After singing, I rushed off to shake it at Hardcore Synergy. I must say though I was kinda disappointed. I just couldn’t get into the beats they were pumping out. I got there during the last couple of DJs and just found the music undanceable. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but modulated noise just was not working for me at all. Other people were enjoying it, so it’s just my taste I guess… Next year I going to devote all of Friday late night to karaoke.

So my first day ended. I could hardly wait for the next day to begin. Saturday the rest of my family would join me, which is always fraught with challenge. One of my goals this year was to find some way for my wife to enjoy the con. Sadly, I would mostly fail in that challenge.

Anime, Manga, Etc

ACen Aftershocks Video Attack!

I’ll get around to writing a full report on last weekend’s Anime Central soon. With over 23000 attendees, it definitely felt more crowded than last year! But first I’d like to post my AMV entry to this year’s ACen AMV Contest. This one made the finals in the Drama category. Ultimately, it did not win, but I’m still thrilled to have finally made the finals. I put off doing my taxes to the last minute just to finish this video in time! LOL

And for good measure, here is my entry from last year. It’s a parody of the K-On! opening done Princess Princess style!

Anime, Manga, Etc cosplay

ACen, Blue Cards, and Poopcakes

Almost on cue, I had a weird pre-con dream last night. All I can remember now was needing to get some item for my dad. The item turned out to be some blue metal data card that was noticeably heavy. It was also somewhat worn. I got the card from a dealer in the dealers room. The card was very important. So much so that I remember choking and threatening more bodily harm to someone who had tried to trick it out of me. I told him, “A joke is a joke, but sometimes it goes too far! If you don’t give it back, I’m really going to hurt you!” The dialogue in my dreams could use some work.

The same dealer, I think, also had these pastries that I knew were not of Earthly origin. They were made by these creatures that poop out cake. Yeah, poopcakes. Apparently, some people couldn’t get over this fact and derided me a bit as I ate the cake. The cake itself was just so so. It could have been sweeter and the chocolate was a little flat.

Near the end of the dream, I remember looking down and seeing that I was in my Stocking cosplay. I wanted to be sure to strike a good pose for someone taking a picture.

Anime, Manga, Etc cosplay

Anime Central 2011 Crunch Time!

ACen is just around the corner now! I’m really excited for this one for a couple of reasons. First, my job commute has been grinding me into dust, so I really need a break from that! And second, my anime music video entry made it into the ACen AMV Contest finals this year!

I was so excited when I learned that my video had made it into the main competition! I put a lot of crazy insane work into that one, even putting off filing my taxes to that last minute. Yeah, I actually had to drive down to the main post office in Chicago to get them in on time! But it was worth it! I started making AMVs 4 years ago and this is the first one to make the ACen finals. It’s also, I think, the best one I’ve made. So I’m very happy.

On the cosplay front, my costumes are more or less ready. But I’m helping my daughter with her Hitsugaya Toushiro cosplay, so it is now officially ACen Crunch Time! She’s styling the wig and working on props while I sew together the rest. It’s actually a pretty simple costume, so we should get good results. A few weeks ago, I made the tunic for her Latin Olympics Artemis costume, so I guess the pump is primed.

Hitsugaya Toushiro

This year, it looks like the older kids have some friends at ACen too. So my Friday night might be a little more complicated than I had originally planned. But that’s okay. I want them to take hold of their own lives. One of the great things about ACen, is there’s something there for pretty much everyone. This will be our 8th Anime Central, so they already know their way around quite well.

Well, I’d better get crackin, lots to do today!

Anime, Manga, Etc

One Hand Clapping

After a pretty intense 48 hours, I’ve finished and uploaded my AMV contest entry for this year’s Anime Central. I didn’t realize just how stressed out I’d become until I finished the darn thing! Then when I went done stairs to celebrate and share my triumph, I was quickly drafted into pumping air into bicycle tires!

No one cared, no one to share my joy with… *sigh*