Anime Central 2003

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

If you are new to my convention recaps, you probably started out with this one, because it was first on the list, and first chronologically. You fool. As these recaps were originally intended for my friends and fanfic mailing list, they often have obscure references to inside jokes I share with friends or fanfics either written by me or popular on my mailing list. To keep you in on the joke, I have provided footnotes to explain anything where I'm the only one on the planet that finds it funny.1

It is also important to note that I did not type up a recap for the first convention I attended, Anime Central '02. All I remember from that is receiving an non-consensual autograph from Tiffany Grant and watching all 13 episodes of Serial Experiments Lain from 1:00-6:30 am. The rest is kinda fuzzy.

Anyway, enough introduction. Let's do this!!

Hangin' With Chiyo's Father

My Side of the Story: The Director's Cut

Here we are again- another round of ACen pics. And they're actually meaningful ones this time! I ended up going through two 27-pic one-time-use cameras (I need to get me a permanent one sometime). Up above is a picture of me with Chiyo's father from Azumanga Daioh. Despite his newfound celebrity status, he's still willing to pose for pictures... and this isn't the only shot he's in, as you'll see when we get to page three. That's right- there's three pages. And we start with...

Don't Die on Me Hatchan!

That's right- the star of our journey, the lovely Princess Hyatt, or Hatchan for short.. We never actually got this close to it from the car, since we parked a block away at the train station to save over $25 on parking. In the beginning, we had our group of five. There was Nick (our trusty leader), Scott (the troubled best friend), Nina (the obligatory girl), Adam (the smart guy), and Andy the dwarf. As any RPG gamer knows, there's advantages and disadvantages to having a dwarf in the party. The disadvantage is that he slows the party down- he walks a lot slower than the rest of us. Unfortunately, the advantage was negated when he forgot to bring his handicapped parking sticker. I wonder if that ever happens to Gimli...

Anyway, as we move on to the low-res pictures, our party split up into two groups. The first group, consisting of Andy, Nina and I, would go directly to the con in my Pontiac Sunbird. A perilous journey, since I had never driven to Chicago before. But we made it, waited in line for a relatively short time, and got in. The second group, Nick and Scott, had to make a Detour (a choice between two tasks...) in Waukesha. They had to finish moving Nick out of the dorms, hauling a big screen TV back to his home via Nick's dad's truck (I'm guessing the other Detour option forced them to sit through a Brewers game). However, in Waukesha, they hit a Road Block (a task that only one team member may perform...)- Nick's car had been placed somewhere in downtown Milwaukee. After retrieving it, they drove straight to Chicago... and then turned back around and went to Rosemont, the suburb where the con was actually held. Needless to say, they were the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop.

Two damn hours!

While they were busy with this, this is what we were stuck looking at for two hours. Nick, as our trusty leader, had the room reservations, so we couldn't move in until he got to the con. While Nick & Scott were busy moving slower than Aeka & Sasami, we were stuck here watching our bags. We met up with our sixth member, Mike, and split the task of watching. So while Mike and Nina watched the bags, Andy and I took in three episodes of Big O (as ardent Konaka fans, a Big O screening is like going to church for us).2 I left after that, but Andy stayed through the whole series. I returned to let Nina and Mike hit the dealer's room.

Meanwhile, a subplot was emerging. Illinois law states that a person must be over 21 in order to check into a hotel room. This was a problem for a couple of my friends in a different group. We had arranged it so that they could call me so I could sign them into their rooms when they arrived. They called... right when Nick showed up. To recap- my group had to check into a hotel room and move our bags, the second group had to check into a room in a different hotel with my assistance, and the second group and Scott had to get in line for the con (Nick had an easier time, since he was a panelist with his fan-subbing pal).

If We Would Have Pre-Registered, We Wouldn't Have This Problem

The line started indoors... way indoors. It was probably a quarter-mile long at this point. To make matters worse, Mike and Nina were still MIA. We gave up on them, and somehow managed to check into two hotel rooms, and make a run to my car to pick up the rest of our crap. The second group and Scott got into line together to keep each other company and fight for survival...

According to Scott, Someone *Did* Recognize Him as a Macross CosplayerAfter Surviving the Line, Heather Looks at All the Stuff She Missed
Sara, Scott, and Jesse are Still Kickin' After the Line O' Doom

Some hours later, they finally made it. On the upper left is Scott posing while Sara does her business at the end of the line. On the upper right is Heather and one of her friends having a good sit after surviving the line. And below is Sara flashing her badge, Scott flashing his peace sign, and Jesse flashing everybody (Look ma! No pants!).

With that escapade over, it was on to the dealer's room. However, the powers that be decided to move the land of merchandise and magic to a larger convention hall across the street from the hotel. However... across the street doesn't mean anything when talking about massive convention centers.

The Last Otaku to Arrive Will Be Eliminated

Route Info: Find your way to the overhead walkway connecting the hotel to the convention center across the street. Follow the walkway (as marked with the red line) to the dealer's room and find the route marker at the bottom of the escalator.  

The Dealer's Room- Yaoi Revelers and South Park Dubbed in Japanese

But hey... it was worth it. I now have all of Nadesico on DVD.3 This was also the location of my second run-in with Tiffany Grant of the day. She was at the "how to explain Evangelion in thirty minutes or less" panel. After that was Nick and his fansubbing panel. Naturally, they crossed paths. It was very interesting seeing Nick, who makes fun of Tiffany Grant more than anybody I know, chatting with her while he set up. Anyway, the second run-in was indeed in the dealer's room. She was at the ADV booth trying to help someone find Gun Smith Cats ("no pizza... and no Chinese!") when she bumped into me as I was making a purchase. She recognized me from No Brand Con and asked what I bought. She immediately complimented me on my purchase of GoldenBoy, as she was the voice of Madame President. I was just trying to make sure she didn't get a hold of my program again (as she did last year), but I did realize something...

I may be the only person in history to have a woman commend me for purchasing GoldenBoy.

She is Why I Forced Sana On You People!

As day turned to night, I bumped into one of my old friends. This is Heather Cerka, chilling out with guest Bob DeJesus and glomping (yes... glomping) guest Bruce Lewis. This is the girl who introduced me to Kodomo no Omocha. We shared some of our inside jokes with Bob and Bruce ("it was sooo good!").

Chiyo-no-chichi can send you to the next page...

My first sighting of Chiyo's father from Azumanga Daioh, making sure all the boys and girls were eating their tomatoes. It would not be the last... click on the mighty Chiyo-no-chichi to go to page two!!

Footnotes:

  1. Made ya look!

  2. Andy and I are big fans of Chiaki Konaka, head writer for Lain, Big O and Digimon Tamers. Keep that in mind when you read the ACen '05 report.

  3. I had won volumes 4-6 in a DDR contest at that year's No Brand Con. The dealer thought I was nuts for buying 1-3 when the Perfect Collection was available.