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.

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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!

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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…

Mima