Convention Reports

Welcome to the First Agent Convention Reports! A collection of caustic, exaggerated, self-serving, cosplay-negligent recaps that somehow are still beloved treasures of internet forums everywhere. Rest assured that all stories are at least based on true events, but after that nothing is guaranteed. Now that I'm hitting half a dozen conventions a year, the simple list is getting a little bit unwieldy, so here's a nice table to instantly go to your favorites:
  Milwaukee /
No Brand Con Anime
Geek.Kon Daisho
'12 AMKE / Kitsune NBC '12 ACen '12   Geek.Kon.12 Daisho '12 CONvergence
'11 AMKE / Kitsune NBC '11 ACen '11 AI '11 Geek.Kon.11 Daisho '11 Detour / CONvergence
'10 AMKE '10 NBC '10 ACen '10 AI '10 Geek.Kon.10 Daisho '10  
'09 AMKE '09 NBC '09   AI '09 Geek.Kon.09 Daisho '09 Anime Detour
'08 AMKE '08 NBC '08 ACen '08 AI '08 Geek.Kon.08 Daisho '08 Ohayocon
'07   NBC '07 ACen '07 AI '07 Geek.Kon    
'06   NBC '06 ACen '06 AI '06      
'05   NBC '05 ACen '05        
'04             Otakon
'03   NBC '03 ACen '03       Otakon
'02     ACen '02        
  Anime Central 2007 (Star's Recap)   Field Guide to Convention Cosplayers

Cons with an Asuka icon involve freak Tiffany Grant run-ins.


The last one! My girlfriend joins me for a return trip to Wisconsin Dells. This time, we're actually going to try that waterpark thing. We're also going to give the table a miss and hang out with new and old friends, play some games and take some different volunteer shifts.

  • Does it count as a fanboy moment if I forgot someone was in a role?
  • Watching Nick Izumi watch Lucky Star with the sound off. What could better?
  • Announcing the tenth anniversary commemorative Lain binge.

After last year's insanity, Convergence was a welcome respite from all the other madness in my life. Somehow, that's sincere as things are toned down to the point where driving there and back was actually quite enjoyable.

  • The Harry Potter party continues, this time with a fury caused by rather indifferent badgers.
  • How searching for dinner Friday night turned into a million disasters at once.
  • Let's play cricket with a Doctor Who writer!

In part two of an insane tripleheader, Anime Central offers up everything at once. It doesn't injure me as much as last year, but that doesn't mean there aren't just as many adventures. Anything that involves Nabeshin certainly will.

  • A Thursday night slumber party, far away from the convention... and Walmart.
  • The guaranteed way to make a delivery guy show up faster than expected.
  • A powerful alliance conquers the masses during a fire drill.

It's not that I didn't hang out with guests all weekend, it's my therapist says I should try to block time with guests at this convention from my memory. But don't worry, because I've got plenty of time with friends, video games and old treasures from the 90's to keep me occupied.

  • Random overnight speed runs are the best kinds of speed runs.
  • Two panels run, two audiences broken with just the right YouTube clips.
  • A spontaneous April Fool's Day joke that ended with me shilling the wrong convention.

In need for some off days to spend off, Milwaukee becomes the first of several "2.5 day" conventions this year. There's just as much action, but less space to cram it all in. Muppets, fire alarms and tacos away!

  • If you've got extra badges for your group... may as well use them.
  • Finally getting to meet those Doug Walker and Little Kuriboh people that are apparently here.
  • Three hours badging a spot ravaged by fire alarms, rave music and bad karaoke.

After a couple recap-free cons, I'm back for another season, now at a sexy new location for Daisho! Is Wisconsin Dells ready for Daisho Con? The hotel security sure as hell wasn't ready for our room parties.

  • When there's no place to put posters, sometimes you just have to make one.
  • A routine badge shift turns into simultaneous cosplayer wrangling and band leading.
  • Green Apple cards do not reflect the personality of their owners. Their owner's cosplay, however...

Flying solo this time and focused less on con promotion and more on helping out with a crazy Harry Potter room party. It's a classic convention experience in a convention unlike any I've ever attended. With cameo appearance by Paul and Storm.

  • Cosplaying Draco Malfoy means you don't have to be nice to the room party patrons.
  • At one of the more family-friendly parties, Harry and Draco swap wives. Ginny gets around.
  • Constant mechanical breakdowns lead me on an unplanned trip to the Mall of America.

With an enhanced table, half their video game room and a ticket to the inter-con mixer at our disposal, we've never been as integrated into Anime Central. That doesn't mean that the con still isn't capable of chewing you up and leaving you battered.

  • A late night food run turns into an epic quest, with nasty plot twists. White Castle is not involved.
  • Japanese guest run-ins, including Flow and the director/producer of Hetalia.
  • Despite our wounds, we still find time for a side quest to say hello to Eric Vale.

No Brand returns to the Plaza after six years to find a new paint job on both the hotel and the convention itself. I'm too busy running a table, a panel and a room party to notice any of this, especially over the sound of my awesome new hat.

  • Digimon love as soon as we walk in the door, and more at Saturday's panel.
  • The No Brand Bowl sets a new mark for manly.
  • Apples To Apples gives way to Munchkin, resulting in much death and destruction.

A return trip to the Twin Cities, and this time we mean business! With a room party, a badging station and all sorts of networking to do, it's amazing how I'm still determined to check out everything Detour has to offer. But can we get everything home?

  • Adventures in coordinating volunteer hours even after making a schedule for them.
  • Epic room party! With a video game room, tabletop and guest Kyle Hebert!
  • Attempting to pack Sunday morning turns into chaos of ACen proportions.

With two recaps in consecutive weeks, we roll out a rare double recap! First, we come to Anime Milwaukee to serve and are assigned remarkably little volunteer work... only to go above and beyond Saturday night. At the first-ever Kitsune Kon, there's plenty to be done wining, dining and driving around voice actors.

One more romp for the year and it's the free-and-easy, yet spirited Daisho Con! This time, the recap blends the new with the old, as we get the same old Geek.Kon pimping you've come to expect, only with lots more classic bits about Nick F. and a totally retro video game room.

  • Time to blow both Clue and Harry Potter completely out of the atmosphere.
  • For all the time spent running Name That Opening, how well can I actually play it?
  • One day, Apples To Apples will be stale. Sadly, it hasn't happened yet.

It was bound to happen one year: I forgot my camera. Luckily for you (and unluckily for me), KORfan stepped in to take pictures to go with my stories of staffing Geek.Kon.2010. Unfortunately, all of the pictures were of me. There's a good con in here somewhere, I assure you.

  • It's not supposed to be a big deal, but an entire page dedicated to Opening Ceremonies!
  • I do find time to cosplay Estonia. I did not find time to crossplay as Lynn from UnCONventional.
  • Yet another voice actor gives me an non-consensual autograph without my permission. On purpose.

No NTAO and no pre-reg may have been our fault, but everything else is on them. A typically solid con has a bit of an off year in some surprising ways... but at least Chief from No Brand/Geek.Kon will fix one of their usual flaws in dramatic fashion.

  • For once, the Hetalia panel is good, but can't save us from sweltering heat during the shoot.
  • Death Note finally proves itself useful in lending itself well to a themed Mafia game.
  • Homer vs. Orchid, Evan vs. Dyslexia and Denmark vs. Rainbow Brite!

Back at the Hyatt with a pair of fresh meat for the ACen gods, running Name That Anime Opening and cosplaying Estonia becomes educational for me as well. Plus Geek.Kon is pushing hard this year, with a program book ad, table and room party. There's no time to rest at the biggest party in the Midwest.

  • Two giant Hetalia photoshoots and I'm still the only Estonia. Knowing Russia, is that a good thing?
  • English Anime Lyrics love! Discussing the dubbing process with Vic Mignogna.
  • Hunting for the elusive No-Face, as portrayed perfectly by Chairman Bob.

Back to No Brand for another run, with a new country to cosplay and few plans or expectations. Things tend to just build up on their own, especially with so many friends, nations and fellow staffers to hang out with. Same old, same old has never been as much fun.

  • Geek.Kon isn't hosting a room party, but Richard and I are. I think. Sort of.
  • MST co-creator Matt returns to No Brand! And he goes Greek by the second day.
  • How to get good seats for the masquerade... the hard way.

Anime Milwaukee levels up to a full recap, although most of it is spent volunteering and spreading Geek.Kon love. Even so, it's an entertaining and educational convention for all of us, with lessons on how to survive four straight reg hours, three Mikes in your hotel room and too many cute girls for sale.

  • The best opening ceremonies ever, even if the con is a third over when it happens.
  • Another testament in how not to organize a masquerade.
  • We time travel to the future and discover rowdy wedding guests.

Finally! I'm relaxing at a convention no matter what! No work, no room parties and no worries. There is a panel to run on Sunday morning, chess and dodgeball and Arena Eyeshield to play, and a spider god to kill. But that shouldn't be too distracting to my effort to unwind, right?

  • America returns for another romp... two days even. Now with diplomatic relations to Hungary.
  • Strange how you see a new twist on stuff you weren't great at in high school and want in.
  • Driving voice actors around? Nah, let's injure and humiliate them!

This year for Geek.Kon, we experience a convention from a staff perspective. With a multitude of duties, several shifts on the floor and another impromptu voice actor road trip, it seems like it'll be work from sun-up to sundown. But it's all so worth it when more than a thousand people attend something you helped create.

  • At long last, Sarah finally finds gets me into cosplay. So why is Petsmart involved?
  • Run a DDR tournament, MC a Masquerade, judge an AMV contest... all in a weekend's work.
  • You gotta fight for your right to screen awesome fan parodies at a convention.

When Jasmine and company retreat due to financial reasons, Evan and Natalie from Geek.Kon join me and Sarah at Anime Iowa. Thanks to them, the most relaxing con of the year requires a ton of work, preparation and running around on-site and off. Then there's this fish that keeps staring at us...

  • Rooming with three cosplayers, who have a photoshoot that needs a photographer.
  • A dominating performance in Name That Anime Opening creates animosity.
  • A conflict between room party needs and our own nutrition demands a Hero.

In one of the more surreal con experiences to date, we celebrate a milestone with Tiffany Grant, Vinnk makes his glorious return to No Brand, Geek.Kon throws a party and we investigate a murder with the crew of the HMS Badger. Oh, and there's a cat.

  • How to get a load of goodies from the dealers room... without buying anything.
  • Tiffany Grant convention #10 proves to be more than I had bargained for.
  • How no moderator at the forum meetup leads to me volunteering... and forming a band.

In lieu of ACen, we head to a much-heralded and much-maligned con. Good? Bad? Ugly? In this episode of Mythbusters, we take a stab at Yell Con. Instead, we get a madcap adventure where minions, Nadesico and Guilmon are but subplots.

  • Is it really a long line if you're sprinting to keep up with it?
  • NTAO gets attacked from both sides by Greg Ayres and Kyle Hebert.
  • An AMV Contest and a Dance that actually do well? But I like my angry rants!

Bigger than last year, more exciting than last year, and a great convention to warm up with. Not that I wasn't completely inactive- I actually took pictures this time. But most of the time was spent catching up with people and getting back in the groove before bigger cons later this year.

  • What's this about a secret expedition and why does it involve the men's room?
  • Let's hang out with Reanna, Scott, and Mike! No, the other one. Okay, fine- both of them.
  • A goofy panel for all of the singles in convention land... where was this last year?

A little clone of No Brand for the fall means the same No Brand fun at half the cost! They have an equivalent of No Brand Bucks for me to both win and give away, a mascot, a storyline and even an equivalent of Hanzo that I never go to. And now, it has a First Agent Room Party!

  • Apparently, the hotel management isn't aware of how awesome I am.
  • Tiffany Grant finds me so fast, she has to stop and let me sign my badge.
  • Sometimes not dancing gets you closer to the girl.

More of the same from the free convention in downtown Madison! The vendors room is now in four tiny classrooms, the gaming room is across the street and the fanfic panel is twice that size. When my usual group bolts for State Street once again, there's more than enough friends to pick up the slack.

  • Tyler and Jasmine are formally introduced to Portal and Dragon. It is a triumph.
  • No Brand inspirations all around, including a cosplay of a beloved No Brand-verse character.
  • Time to see what Whitewater Nick has been up to and get him in with the Eau Claire crowd.

Rather than relaxing for a weekend, I bring NTAO to Anime Iowa and revive their fanfic panel. In response, bad luck with the schedule gives me more than I bargained for. But it also gives me plenty of free time Saturday to relax, enjoy the convention, and rant against the con's only real flaw.

  • Registration? Fixed. Dance? More than tolerable. AMV Contest? Er, um...
  • No Branders get their first taste of the Field Guide to Convention Cosplayers.
  • Oh hell, let's do the masquerade again. Now with balloon-oriented line management!

When the Cubs are in town and I can spend some time with my beloved grandparents, the actual convention after that becomes a bit of a drag. Especially when I'm hording a terrible cold and a headache that all the RickRolls in the world can't cure. But oh that cosplay...

  • Behind the scenes of Fast Food Anime and the much-maligned ACen fanfic panel.
  • Why working for registration should require a basic grasp of the alphabet.
  • For once, let's actually go to the masquerade. That's the main draw of this place anyway.

A band, a VA I haven't met eight times already, and an attendance over 1000. Surely No Brand Con isn't heading into the mainstream? Not quite, but it's another step towards respectability. They even put Duct Tape Boy in a tuxedo this year.

  • In the absence the real thing, we present... Inflata-Vinnk!
  • Not only do we play rooftop football, but we do it in the rain. Take that, Clerks!
  • Scott returns, this year as the subject of a tribute song.... Cthulhu Fhtagn.

An hour's drive for a one day quickie. No hotel room, no advanced preparation, and only $15 at the door. The quiet con that nobody in the area had heard of (and which according to organizers was actually in its second year) turned out to be a nice little respite from the norm.

  • It may be small, but I still blew $75 in the vendor's room. Because they're ninjas!
  • Warming up for Name That Opening by watching a game... participating when necessary.
  • Oh my... hentai!

The need to get away from the cold, snowy weather in Wisconsin leads me to join the Green Bay group across the Midwest to Ohio for the year's inaugural con. All the best and worst aspects of ACen and Iowa merge to form an experience that just might have been worth the drive.

  • Nope, Indiana is still no more fun to drive through... especially in oncoming traffic.
  • If you thought the Tiffany Grant run-ins have been stale lately... we got you covered.
  • Is it possible to have too much Digimon at a convention?

Good timing, good planning and good local support gave an upstart UW-Madison convention incredible momentum. Would Geek.kon take off and fly into lore or crash and drown in its rookie mistakes? Surprisingly, this was all the drama we needed.

  • Commuting from an hour away and still rooming with friends. 209! 209!
  • Back to the basics- DDR contests, fanfic panels and not dancing.
  • It's a Dalek! A bloody Dalek!

Now present for the full weekend, we set the corn jokes aside to spend some quality time at a quality hotel at what could possibly pass for a quality convention. Naturally, something's going to go wrong, but at least we got it over with early so we could leave on a high note.

  • Hey look, Iowa's got a disgustingly long registration line too! How cute!
  • Digimon trumps all takers in its most favorable arena- a karaoke contest.
  • Short Bus Cosplay? Old hat already. I give to you- Fusion Cosplay!

Sporting a YouTube account and a camera that actually could handle video (seriously, I tried at No Brand; it's what led to Sunday's camera crisis), Star Otaku offers up her own recap of the events at this year's Anime Central. New events! New pictures! Same old bitching about the management.

  • Star and 4chan's /b/tards invade cosplay photo shoots and scare little children.
  • The only question you ever really need to ask at a dating sim panel.
  • Hey! This one's got cosplay pictures! What a concept!

The annual bull in a china shop (or Asian marketplace, as the case may be) is back again. This time, Chromus finally pops across the pond (or makes the month-long swim if you trust Google Maps) to partake in LineCon. But it's more than just that... thank God or we'd never have anything fun to say about it.

  • I'll see your weird Tiffany Grant run-in and raise you Kari Wahlgren and Chris Patton!
  • At long last, the English Anime Lyrics Archive gets a field test before a live audience.
  • Ghetto Cosplay? Let Natsuhiko Taki introduce you to Short Bus Cosplay. A-ha-ha!

A new year brings a new convention season and there's no better way to enjoy the year than by helping produce the fun instead of simply drowning in it. Back in the Ramada for a second-straight year, No Brand Con again topped its record attendance, while still easily maintaining its small-town charm.

  • An Eyeshield 21-themed room party, including a Friday afternoon tailgater.
  • The hottest cosplay picture in the history of the world. Period.
  • Teasers galore, including a sneak-peek at Magical Security Taskforce.


What started as an excuse to hang with friends and avoid trekking to Otakon turned into... an excuse to hang with friends and avoid trekking to Otakon. Anyone have a problem with that? Didn't think so, because while the con itself had a few structural flaws, any excuse to indulge for a weekend is a good one.

  • More corn than you can shake a yaoi paddle at.
  • Finally, I steps up to the microphone for some karaoke. Yeah, I can do Japanese lyrics too.
  • It may be Iowa, but there's no escaping the grasp of Eyeshield 21. YA HA!!

After last year's mediocre ACen entry, this year was highlighted by three online pals coming in from as far away as Edmonton. Not only that, but I'm rooming with both my No Brand friends *and* my Whitewater friends who still don't quite see the appeal of small conventions. In Chicago, worlds collide.

  • Anime Improv, Anime Hell, AMV Hell, and the world is finally saved by S.T.E.A.M.
  • Some serious No Brand Pimping at Otaku no Yen Live Action: Kouga + Nurse Joy OTP!
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly of Anime Music Videos- lens flare nipples fits all three.

Armed with a day off work and some fancy equipment, I head up to Eau Claire with the full intention of partying hard with all my No Brand forum buddies. In a new location downtown, the successes were many, the failures were hilarious, and with an increasingly respectable size, we got a little of everything.

  • A new car, a new job, and eight missions, including the impossible task of avoiding Tiff.
  • Dear God, can I actually get to round 2 of a competitive DDR tournament?
  • Hunting for Digimon fans on Sunday morning... and getting a blast of Taito in response.

Despite no job, no money, and no real reason to go (what with anticipated guest Chiaki Konaka calling in sick three days prior), I went anyway to help my Green Bay friends with their first convention. Determined to avoid as many lines as possible in a convention known for them, this was quite a ride.

  • A midnight escape from Wisconsin, only to spend two hours hunting for a hiding hotel.
  • Eau Claire friends, Whitewater friends, voice actor friends not named Tiffany- we got it all! 
  • Who needs a convention? Ace is the place for your crazy cosplay needs.

By now, little No Brand Con in Eau Claire had grown to a respectable 400. Not big by any means, but with a cozy size, a forum full of friends, and an official convention storyline, the best con is in Wiscon... sin.

  • No lines! No lines! No lines! Well... maybe one.
  • The first public screening of my music video, and karaoke performances of EALA music.
  • Men in kilts, boys in duct tape, and ninjas in the garden.

After missing No Brand due to work and ACen due to graduation, Otakon seemed like a great way to celebrate the start of my new job, and with six of my friends and a detour through New York, it would be even better! Famous last words before a crazy return trip to the Atlantic.

  • A bunch of Wisconsin hicks driving aimlessly around New York... including Harlem.
  • Harassing, injuring, and messing with the heads of anyone with a "Hug Me" sign.
  • Tiffany Grant's not there? Guess we have to settle for Luci Christian and a bunch of fanfic references.

We leave the comfort of the Midwest and head to the east coast in a stick-shift. It's one of the largest conventions in the country, yet I'm still stuck on how close it is to Camden Yards.

  • Crusher Joe... and our ability to recite fan parodies word-for-word.
  • Rica Matsumoto and her a cappella Pokémon tunes. GET da ze!
  • Yep, Tiffany Grant again. And this time, she wasn't even on the guest list!!

The return trip to ACen happened two days after finals, with several friends, and in nearby Chicago. Needless to say, it was a blast. ACen '03 also spawned the first official recap. Inside:

  • If you need to take separate cars, do not under any circumstances take separate routes!!
  • Chiyonochichi sightings all over the place. Before it was licensed!
  • Meeting up with a friend from the mailing list... and Tiff... again.

My very first convention, and my very first convention report. Not very good and not very informative, and therefore not very listed here. Not that I didn't live it up. Among the highlights-

  • The first of several bizarre run-ins with voice actress Tiffany Grant. 
  • Meeting Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina.
  • An all-night binge of Serial Experiments Lain- 13 eps from 1:00 to 6:30. Subbed.

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