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Sakura-con 2013 Impression

The last time I went to Sakura-con was actually in 2009. Not sure why, but I wasn’t inclined to go anymore. Not this time, because I had to pay tribute to the creator of my addiction.

In any case, it’s Sakura-con, cosplay extravaganza. For some reason I felt things to be more lively years back when I went, but maybe because I was younger. The opening ceremony was a meh. I mean seriously, if the person that was supposed to start off the whole convention had to stumble on his script on his iPad, that means either he didn’t take it seriously, or they were not prepared. And no, you don’t bring an iPad on stage to read your script. It felt so awkward and embarrassing. The flashy LEDs didn’t make up for it. Vic tried to help, but I wasn’t impressed. At least there was the appearance of Eir Aoi, Luna Haruna, and Reki Kawahara, which to me made up for it.

Now, Sakura-con is not just about cosplay. There are other things too like video games, merchandise sales, activities, panels, etc. It’s impossible to experience everything and still enjoy the cosplayers. Many people were just chillin outside thanks to the nice weather. As for the costumes, the usual suspects were there. Characters from the popular franchises like Bleach, Naruto, Pokemon, and old classics like Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy, were all there. I also noticed newer franchises like Fairy Tale, and of course, the biggy, Sword Art Online. Seriously, there were countless Kiritos and Asunas. Just observing a line, you would find multiple Kiritos. Klein was also well represented, although not as much as Kirito. Silica and Yui were not as common. Most are doing the characters from SAO arc, and I hardly saw anybody doing the later arcs (maybe Kirito and Asuna ALO version during the autograph session, but not in the wild). Video game characters are also aplenty, seeing how many people dressed up as Team Fortress 2 characters. However, I only saw few Street Fighter cosplayers, and hardly anybody from King of Fighters, other than the awesome K’ cosplayer. There were few western super heroes, although quite a bunch of Deadpools. Alas, there were not that many tokusatsu cosplayers. I saw a Dragon Ranger (Green Ranger), Deka Break, and Gokai Red. I didn’t see any Kamen Riders, but I found two guys dressing up as Eiji (OOO) and Gentaro (Fourze) in their human forms, so that was quite neat.

You know what’s missing? Accel World characters. I saw a girl dressed up as Kuroyukihime, but that’s it. Considering Reki Kawahara was there, it was quite disappointing. SAO took over. 😦 It was as if there was a conspiracy, considering Aniplex was a big sponsor here, and they were the one that brought Reki to the convention, not Sunrise/Viz Anime.

Yes, Aniplex. They have the license for Sword Art Online anime, but not Accel World. Accel World was done by Sunrise, and licensed to Viz Anime in the US. So despite having an author that did both franchises, obviously Aniplex wanted to focus on SAO. I don’t think even Reki said anything/much about Accel World. Like I mentioned during the autograph session, I think I was one of the few that actually had Accel World related goods. It was SAO everywhere. Of course, the hilarious side was Viz Anime streamed Accel World pretty much at the same time as it was aired in Japan, while Aniplex was lagging behind SAO. So yeah, no news about Accel World season 2. They premiered SAO dub, but I didn’t watch it (you can tell which franchise I was more a fan of).

As for merchants, it was expected. Merchants selling anime related goods, manga, video games, costumes, swords, and even independent artists selling their creations. I even saw a guy selling his self-written manga. Of course, there were the doujin sellers too, and the yaoi doujin seller was at it again. “Beautiful men kissing each other!” LOL. Kinokuniya was also there, fleshing out the goods that you don’t really see in their regular store, including Megami magazine (which was still at least 1 issue behind). They also had all SAO and Accel World light novels, minus the latest one. The big booths were for major sponsors, including Aniplex and Crunchy Roll. Aniplex was also big on Vividred Operation (of course, it just ended).

I don’t see big gaming companies anymore, probably because they have bigger conventions.

Alas, I didn’t make it for Eir Aoi and Luna Haruna’s concert. 😦

Fast forward, closing ceremony was a meh (again, having a speech while reading an iPad was not great). The performances were good, especially the Taiko one.

Well, that’s about it. My main goal was to meet Reki Kawahara, and it was fulfilled, despite not having any more information about Accel World. Lastly, here’s a slideshow of some pictures I took during the convention. Enjoy. 🙂

Youtube version

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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in anime, convention, impression

 

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Sakura-con 2013 Loot

My loot from Sakura-con 2013 so far, are basically Reki Kawahara’s signature. Yes, I finally paid tribute to the creator of my addiction. 😀

One on my Dengeki Bunko magazine vol. 26.

One on my Accel World Official 4 koma Anthology.

And lastly, on my Accel World Vol.08 blu-ray.

I think I was one of the few that actually have Accel World related goods (saw one or two people with Accel World light novels). Everybody else had SAO related goods (mostly posters, some light novels, etc). Too bad they restricted to only 1 item per person, although that’s understandable considering how many people were lining up for the signature.

The signature booth setup is pretty neat too, having some cos-players at the back standing (all are SAO cos-players though). Silica is cute! On the second day, she had a Pina plushie on her head! 😀 The focus seems to be on Sword Art Online. Heck, I only saw 1 girl cos-playing as Kuroyukihime throughout the convention, while there are countless of Kiritos and Asunas.

Anyway, seeing Reki Kawahara in person is worth the trip. 🙂 I wonder how surprised he is seeing how many people are into SAO.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in anime, convention

 

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Penny Arcade @ Sakuracon 2008

Here’s an audio recording of the Q&A session with Penny Arcade at Sakuracon 2008

Edit: imeem doesn’t seem to allow streaming the full content, even though it’s original content. It assumes everything is copyrighted material. That sux. Anybody have any idea for a free audio streaming service, drop a comment. Youtube only allow 10 minutes max (this Q&A is an hour + long). I tried google video, but for some reason it failed.

2nd edit: imeem now apparently allows the full length to be streamed. Enjoy. 🙂

 

My Sakura-con 2008 Youtube videos

 

Sakura-con 2008 impression

*sigh Youtube is still logging me out. Oh well, I’ll start my impression of Sakura-con 2008.

This is my first time attending a convention like this. Overall, it was awesome! It’s amazing how many people came. What’s even more amazing is the dedication of the otakus in the US, and the amazing cosplay costumes.

1st day: I pre-registered, so going to pick up my badge on the first day was pretty quick and the line wasn’t bad at all. Opening ceremony was okay, but it was running late, thus delaying other panels/events too. Ali Project Panel was so so. The questions were not great, but it’s fun seeing the drag queens. They’re hilarious. Next to Penny Arcade Q&A session. I love their comics, but never see them in person. It’s great to finally see them. The questions were so so, but it’s great to hear their favorite things (mostly video games). Alas, I was expecting more info on their upcoming game, other than “It’s done.” Lastly Scandal autograph session. No raffle tickets, contrary to the poster posted outside. Line was long, and it went over the specified time, but I got my autographs and picture. =)

2nd day: Missed the Scandal panel. =( Went to a workshop about making a website. Disappointed. Knowing that many anime fans are students where money is not in abundance, I was hoping the workshop will show tools that are freeware and/or open-source. First thing I saw when I walked in was Dreamweaver on the screen. Sure enough, the next recommendation is Photoshop, another expensive program, overkill for simply resizing pictures. Adobe’s programs are the industry’s standard, but Dreamweaver is like $400. When asked about alternative programs, the answer was notepad. Well, at least he mentioned a hosting/blogging service called theotaku.com. Nothing is mentioned about Apple’s iWeb, free website builder softwares, free picture editors (picasa, paint.net, GIMP), various free hosting services by yahoo and google, blogger.com, etc. I dunno, it seems that the workshop opportunity was wasted. Next was ketchup mania/Ali Project concert. Very long line, and it was running very late. The concert itself was great! Next was the cosplay contest. As shown in my video, the line was even longer! The skits were okay. Some were funny, but others were only so so. There were quite a few audio glitches. I liked the Hanakimi skit with Bambino reference, though I had a feeling not many people were familiar with those doramas. Had to leave early due to snow. Oh, dubbed shin-chan sux.

3rd day: I came on the 3rd day only to attend the second Slants/Scandal concert. The line was much shorter. The room was not even half-filled. The concert was great, and the floor was really shaking!

Rants:
-This is an anime convention. Although I don’t mind the crossover with comics (Penny Arcade) and games (Microsoft research was there having their own room!), I don’t see the point of vendors selling Chinese movies. Nothing against Chinese movies, but I don’t see the correlation between that and anime, other than Hong Kong making a lot of anime bootleg DVDs.
-The staff need to at least learn to pronounce Japanese properly, especially if they’re the announcer (“How do you say Clannad?” Oh please).
-Another reminder to myself that US dubbing sux. (shin-chan, xxxholic).

Things to do for next year:
-Buy a digicam with at least 10x optical zoom and support for SDHC for taking pictures in concerts, and taking videos. My Canon SD700IS with 4x optical zoom without SDHC support (max SD card I could use is 2GB) just didn’t cut it.
-Pay more attention to the schedule. I didn’t realize there was a para para panel until a couple minutes ago! =(
-Maybe do a cosplay too! =D

Funny stuff: The guy selling yaoi doujins was hilarious! He’s shouting “Boys on boys action” and “It’s orgasmic!” Good thing Jack Thompson wasn’t here. LOL

 
 

Sakuracon 2008