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. 🙂