Getting There | Friday | Saturday/Cosplay | Sunday
For those of you who read about Thursday, you'll know the kind of trials we went through. For those who skipped straight to this page, you will forever be misled into thinking anybody wanting to go to Otakon can just will themselves there.
After everything, we arrived at a decent time, in decent health, and with a decent parking spot in the Camden Yards lot. Speaking of which, there's a reason the O's are always on the road during Otakon. That's right- worst starting pitching in the league. Izumi Himuro would walk all over them.
Although this isn't the cosplay page, a few of our group did go in costume. There was the one that required a great deal of effort, with planning and sewing skills galore:
Um... Kyoko from Fruits Basket is what I've heard. Whatever... it's good!
However, Scott in his hastily thrown together costume of Ignigokt the Mooninite from Aqua Teen Hunger Force won out over all contenders. Don't deny it.
The historic warehouse, an icon to all baseball fans. On one side is a trend-setting baseball stadium. On the other- anime!!
In a moment of rare intelligence we decided to stick together as much as possible before separating. Remember- only two walkie-talkies and two usable cell phones. Again, the contact was Nick, who was in with the fansubbers wed be sharing the suite with. Naturally, Nick goes off on his own immediately, as he is an Associate and gets in with no hassle. Sara, Chrissy, Dave and I pre-registered, and thus only had a half-hour line. No biggie.
The pre-registration line. As I said- no biggie.
Scott and Jesse, on the other hand had problems. This line stretched around the convention center (and probably rounded the bases of Camden) before going inside and meeting a clone of the above pre-registration line. And it was only 10:00. The picture on the right is actually a crop of the original 3 MB photo that came on the CD. On the plus side, when I met up with Scott and Jesse after getting my badge, IgnigScott was already getting ridiculous amounts of photo requests.
Let's take a time out from the pictures to talk about anime music videos. Why? Because that was the first thing I did after harassing Scott and Jesse (and from the skywalk above, a Soopy-kun and a Bonta-kun were doing a very good job taunting the suckers in line). The matinee screening of the AMV contest was Friday afternoon, and since there wasn't much else, I figured I'd get a key item off my checklist. So here it is:
It's not that I don't believe in the democratic process, it's just that I've realized that anime fans have no sense of what makes a good music video. I'm not bitter that none of my favorites won, I'm bitter that none of my top two choices in any of the five categories won. Later, at an AMV panel, one of the big-wigs said the voting was about as accurate as a Florida election. I wouldn't go that far- AMV Hell isn't as bad as GOP Hell.
Why they always lead with the least popular category is
beyond me. Saving the best for last is one thing, but you
have to give us something to get excited about early!
Best Video- "Love in Digital," a Video Girl Ai video, was the first one shown and easily the best in the category. For once a romance video wasn't afraid of mixing in some harrowing action in there, particularly necessary considering the series (let's just say Youta had a lot more trouble with the glass staircase than Jessie & Ayla did).1
Honorable Mention- Toss-up between "Memory" and "Fighting For Your Love." "Memory" was a very cute video splicing footage from the animated and live action versions of Sailor Moon. "Fighting For Your Love" was heavily marred by poor video quality, but was still a fun Lina/Gourry video. Yes, Lina and Gourry are shipped a lot, even though I didn't do much with it in AR2. Kinda like Takuya & Zoe in the first season.
Actual Winner- "Waiting For You," a typically sappy Ah, My Goddess video. But he used a jigsaw puzzle transition using AfterEffects so he won.
Looking for good things here, as last year the fans
actually voted for the best one. This time? Not even
Best Video- "A Different Side of Me" was a dramatic GoldenBoy video. Pulling *that* off should be enough right there, but the song selection (Matchbox 20's "Unwell") and very appropriate use of digital effects sent this one off the charts.
Honorable Mention- "Versailles Paradise" was one of the two Rose of Versailles videos in the contest, and this one did a fantastic job of drawing me in, even though I had never seen the series. Using Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," it captured everything the song is about, and hopefully touched on a few elements of the series.
Actual Winner- "Faithless." Two years ago at ACen, a video began by listing the number of Eva videos exiting online, followed by the number of Linkin Park videos, then concluding with "Beating a Dead Horse- Priceless." Two years later, so-so Eva videos to Linkin Park songs are still stealing trophies.
Action- I say this is the one to lead with.
Come for the Action, stay for the Comedy, suffer through the sap! Anyway...
Best Video- "Dark Journey" was an awesome Shamanic Princess video that made good use of subtitles and natural sound to actually tell a story, which should be what any action video shoots for.
Honorable Mention- "And That's That" didn't have a story at all, but the use of digital effects made FLCL look like a comic book and gave life to everything. Not usually what I go for, but it really worked here.
Actual Winner- "End of All Hope." There was nothing memorable in this video. My ballot says it's an X video. That's probably the only thing anybody needed to know. Damn you CLAMP.
Usually where the insanely awesome dance videos are. No
"Odorikuruu" or "Stop the Rock" this
year, but still a very strong category.
Best Video- "Build Me Up Buttercup" used the insanely fast Goops version instead of the original, and was all Yukino Miyazawa all the time. Fast-paced and wild, just like the series.
Honorable Mention- "Chrono Crusade" gets the nod, although Chromus will kill me for not mentioning a very good Princess Nine video.2 Although Chrono Crusade has no connection to the video games, this clever video used the opening song from Chrono Cross to make it look like it did. As a fan of the video game series, I loved this.
Actual Winner- "Believe." Kevin Caldwell returns from Ian Robert's basement! While that goes over everybody's head, I'll admit that this Kanon video (which was not made by the righteous Kevin Caldwell) was the winner I can most tolerate. This one was pretty damn good.
Rant shields on...
Best Video- "Hale's Mom" has got it going on! The Jungle Guu totally owned, and was a fitting winner considering its recent licensure. It had Guu, it had Hare's shexshii mom Weda, it had chest hair, it had the cast jamming along with instruments- it had everything but the thousand-legged cat! In hindsight, maybe that's why it didn't win...
Honorable Mention- "German 101," using Rammstein's "Feuer Frei" to brilliantly capture the humor of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu. To recap: Sousuke rules. Kaname rules more. Oh yes- Bang! Bang!
Actual Winner- "AMV Hell" makes this the second year in a row that a video designed to be intentionally bad wins a category (ref: last year's "It's Tricky to Make a Music Video" upsetting "Stop the Rock"). It's not a real video, but rather a series of clips of videos that are just totally, totally wrong. Examples- "I Believe I Can Fly" dedicated to Keitaro, Eminem parody "The Real Suga Bay Bee" to Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar, and of course- Vanilla Ice's "Ninja Rap" for Naruto. Definitely wrong, but a lot of fun and a guaranteed laugh. But there is no way that a series of bad videos should win out over a real video that was humorous because it was funny. Besides the previous two, there was also the alternate Evangelion opening mimicking the Cowboy Bebop opening that was extremely talented satire. Why does stupidity always have to beat actual talent?3
Sorry, had to get that out of my system. Let's see... another thing on my checklist was to see the voice actors. They all were lumped together in one panel, which was incredibly dumb since the place was packed and a lot of people were stuck outside. Fortunately, I wasn't one of them...
...unforunately I wasn't close enough to get a good picture. Basically, from left to right: Richard Epcar (uh... Etemon... next please), Chris Patton (Sousuke, Ohjiro, Mr. Kimura), Luci Christian (Sasshi, Yukari, Yotsuba), Monica Rial (Izumi, Minamo, Kirika), and Vegeta from DBZ (who cares what his name is- he gets paid to scream a lot).
I had to duck out of this one early since Sara and Chrissy finally hunted down Nick and forced him to tell us where the hotel room was. Given the choice between asking Luci if Kuno's killer is sitting next to her and having a place to spend the night, I had to go for sleep over spoiler. Besides, Chromus and I already shared the endings of our respective series anyway.4 As for AR2, if you really want to see Satoshi's voice actress:
True, it's not Luci Christian, but it is Rica Matsumoto, voice of Pokémon's Satoshi. I snapped it last year and figured it was worth putting up.
The rest of the night was pretty much spend in the hotel room playing Japanese DDR and Karaoke Revolution, but let's get an update on IgnigScott.
After a day of research, construction paper isn't the best fabric for a cosplay outfit. Oh well- click on the now-retired Mooninite and his magic finger will send you to the land of Saturday.
Animezing Race 2, episode 9, hour 1. If you haven't noticed by now, I frequently make several shameless references to my fanfics.
Fellow author Chromus- huge P9 fan. Huge Ai Yori Aoshi fan too, but I don't hold that against him... often.
I stand by the statement as far as award competitions go. However, AMV Hell 3, which expands the concept to include many authors and runs at over an hour long, is a hilarious piece of cinematic wonder. Everybody go download it now!
I make several shameless references to other fanfics as well. The whole paragraph was rife with references to Chromus's Murder Game 2- where Christian-voiced Yotsuba (from Sister Princess) hosted, and characters voiced by Patton and Rial were among the final suspects in the mystery. To explain the next sentence, AR2 was co-hosted by Satoshi from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, another Christian-voiced character.