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!

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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.

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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.