Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fanime 2013 Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I feel so under-updated, but I made this post previously for a private journal. I wanted to share my experiences at Fanime 2013! Overally besides some issues, I had a great time since it was a new experience for me and my friends.

The Good Parts:

- I met some old friends I haven't seen in ages. We all saw Charizard, and it was great, though admittedly he was expecting the meet up to be very different than what it resulted into. I saw my old schoolmate from fashion college! She was so happy to see me, and she took a quick shot of us before we had to head out to masquerade stuff. It was really welcomed. She's a huge League of Legends cosplayer, and one of my favorite cosplayers since having since met her personally, she's justone of the sweest and most genuine people you'll ever meet.

- Met/bonded with new friends! We got the chance to spend with a new friend named Emi! She is absolutely sweet and was very shy at first, though she turned out to bond with the rest of the group and had a lot of fun. We had only recently met her once before inviting her to spend the weekend with us, and it turned out quite successful. Shii and I also bonded with a Tsubasa group who were absolutely friendly and wonderful!

- Nostalgia!! This was the first convention in ages where anime was really dominating like it used to. The Dealer's Hall was filled with lovely, nostalgia goodies. I got some really cute figures of Yuu and Miki from Marmalade Boy. I felt like I was a kid again. ;_; I also bought a cute Tuxedo Mask plushie and then a Cecilia Alcott keychain since she's such a rare character to find! I suffer from the lack of Jojo items, but I'll survive.

- The cosplay scene absolutely rocked. It was much better than before, and with better cosplays and less of the whole casual cosplay thing. I don't mind it when people do casual stuff as long as it isn't the dominating scene. =/ I enjoyed the range of cosplays, and seeing not one, but two Utena skits in masquerade was great!

- Got some awesome photoshoots! I am honestly terrible at scheduling shoots, but last minute a cosplay friend invited me to join his Infinite Stratos photoshoot. It was amazingly fun and hilarious, and later on also got a shoot with Shii wearing out masquerade Yuuko and Watanuki.

- The car ride was absolutely hilarious. We all bonded in the crazy manner, and it was pretty nice and smooth for it being a six-hour car ride. I regret the lack of a custom CD but nonetheless, the car we went on was actually a bamf rental that we had to get last minute because Shii's car couldn't make the trip. We could charge phones on it and watch DVDs, and the GPS was a nice touch too.

- This gets lopped in through all of the bad and ugly, but words cannot express how grateful I am for being able to walk without much pain. I got to enjoy my last two days of the con and the ride home with less discomfort than I had predicted after severely hurting my back. After this, I have to tend to it and then hope that I will be good for getting started on new things.

- So many new cosplay ideas! I want to get Utena done, and fix up some I brought with me this time but couldn't wear. It's a good season, after all!

- We just chilled out and even got to enjoy the Great Bay Mall. We ended up spending more there than the con itself, which was pretty hilarious.

- Yuuko actually came out pretty nicely! The whole design is tied well together and many people really enjoyed our cosplay. I definitely am wearing her to other conventions and eerily enough, the boning no longer bothers me.

- San Jose had enough better air quality than back home. Breathing was way easier!

The Bad:

- I didn't get to wear all my cosplays because I was just so pressed for time and stressed about Yuuko. =/ I didn't wear Homura or Ririchiyo! I will plan on editing the skirt for Ririchiyo, since I needed to tailor it better. I am redoing her staff too, and then probably seeing what I can do about the wig.

- Spending money on a whole new Yuuko wig the day before masquerade. Gaaaaaah. It was kind of terrible but I actually had a decent wig for her that was just too thin and you couldn't clearly see the Hime Cut. We opted instead for a thicker, lovelier wig. It crunched my wallet a bit though because it was a lovely wig but still quite expensive. Worth it? Yes, it quite was.

- The skit for masquerade. I can't say it was ugly and sincerely, there were several elements as to why I didn't feel that it worked out too well. I honestly hold some serious remorse over it despite the achievement of simply being able to perform and walk in the first place. One of the big letdowns was that when the skit happened, the table

- Masquerade staff lost my table!! We were there to pick up our items and our props and table went missing. It had my name on it, and I thought it was enough for them to know that it was someone's property. Apparently not, and the staff was incredibly misleading about letting us check the room to see if it was still there. It was kind of rude and instead I felt like just giving up. I'm more upset that it was my mother's table and not mine.

- Other staff members were terrible. I hate admitting this, since I know how many people are volunteers with little benefits for their hard work, but some of these outliers really make it difficult to not call those out about it. One of the Lost an Found ladies acted really rudely to Shii after she asked to pick up her makeup bag and my wings from the L&F. The lady kept snapping at her while Shii pointed out the items and correctly identified them. Another staff member was a very rude gathering coordinator who kept stalking my friend around. They had some personal history and issues, though he clearly madeit obvious that he did not like us hanging around her. He kept glaring at us throughout the convention and he also tried to sound official against my friend for telling him to please leave our group alone.

- Masquerade organization was admittedly terrible, although the coordinator was personally nice to our group. We were pretty understanding of the whole situation, but it didn't necessarily ease our stresses when it came to making sure that everything was okay. Rehearsal and meeting times were constantly changed. The coordinator was quite nice though to us, and we tried to keep things simple because the poor stage ninjas also seemed very frightened of the way some contestants were very stressed and defensive backstage.

- The band that performed before masquerade would have been better during the half time show if anything. Nearly the entire audience left the masquerade during the half time show before awards, so the awards basically revolved around contestants each applauding for each other.

- Organization and the convention panels were kind of meh to be honest. We really didn't participate in anything, and it seemed like it was a bit lackluster and poorly executed. Rumor is that Fanime is saving everything for their 20th anniversary next year, so here's hoping.

- Sewing and the lack of sleep. Good gosh, sewing. Thank goodness I only had one costume, but it got a bit annoying to finish everything else first. And I was pretyt tied until I got nine hours the night before leaving back.

The Ugly:

- Sweet Moholy Nagy, that badge pickup line. I think it ruined the convention experience, considering we weren't even at the at-con line where poor Emi had to endure the six-hour line. She was wearing a ball gown too. We ended up going home immediately after the pick up because i was such a mess and people were cutting in line constantly too. I can't even. I dread that line now.

- My back!!! Good grief, how it all happened...I knew I was exhausting myself but my back seemed fine. I sewed and worked a lot but then it all went kablam when I went to go get a shot of a cool cosplay and turned out, already sending that my back was kind of weak. I started to walk a bit more carefully when someone completely slammed into me and their fist or something ran right into the lower back where my nerves went, "OH NO!" and I just froze in pain. I couldn't move and I wanted to scream. My friends didn't (and probably still don't get) the level of pain that I was in. Eventually I just forced myself to laugh through it, because I didn't see it worth trying too reason about. The pain was so terrible but I forced myself to walk. No one understood the pain when I asked for medication until Charizard's mother gave me some awesome Chinese oil that nearly repaired me within an hour. I could walk and rehearse, and even at the point when I thought we were done for, I did it. It was just a painful nightmare. I got the pain back somewhat however when I slept on the floor. The house lacked any good surfaces so I was in a great deal of pain.

- The masquerade dramu was really cringeworthy. We were standing backstage when one of the skit groups left somewhat towards the end of the skit to scream at the head for ruining their skit, which they had worked on for a year. The Kyoko of the skit group was screaming very loudly at the head while the Kyubey was sobbing inside her suit. It was so dramatic that I even asked if it was part of a reality show. Another group that was evidently used to the old way of masquerade was very offended by not allotted rehearsal time, though apparently they had already had some time beforehand. They complained to us about it, and we could understand their approach, though at the same time, it gave us reason to try to be open minded about the whole ordeal. Eventually we felt a bit disappointed to learn that their skit was a cleverly (yet unfairly done) two-parter, which turned out to be a system that they wanted to request.

So now as I look back at all this, I do feel pretty bummed out about having wasted the masquerade with a sub-par skit. I really poured a lot of hard work into the skit and while the costume came out lovely, I felt so awkward in having to deal with a bad back and then trying to pull it together as calmly as I could to not alarm other people. I feel that while the convention was a great place to spend time with friends, I also felt very disconnected from them throughout some vital parts.

But even this time, the more unfortunate part was that when they set up the table with our fans, they accidentally were left caught under the table. Half the skit became about pulling the fans back up, and I immediately just wanted to bawl because of that dreadful mistake. I had a hard time watching through my skit, but it's pretty bearable.

Final Thoughts:

However, looking aside from those elements, the good outweighed the bad in many ways. Being able to enjoy cosplaying and spending time with friends is priceless, considering we put a lot of time, money, and effort to make it happen. We do intend on coming back to Fanime next year, and we have a better plan of what to do and what not to do, but in the mean time, we are focusing on taking what we know and trying it in conventions down here in Southern California first.

We're happy that Fanime is about the fan and the great age of anime! That's the big reason why there is a good ending to this story, because way back when I got started in cosplay, this was one of the conventions everyone talked about besides Anime Expo. It was and wasn't worth it at the same time, but I truly enjoyed what it gave me.

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