Daisho Con 2008

Right Now | Tricky | Nyo is War  | Skittles | Odorikuruu

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Ahh... the dance. Offering requested favorites, "hand-selected J-Pop and J-Rock," but with more of an ear towards rhythm and tempo than the chaos of No Brand (awesome chaos, but chaos nonetheless). Best of all, although I didn't have the 202 crew around for our usual circle dancing of traditional '80s hits, Sarah and some of the UW-Marathon County girls were eager to have me in their group. This is going to be the greatest dance ever!

Or not.

We'll Dance and Party All Night
Disclaimer: The Following Recap May Cause Motion Sickness, Disorientation or Epileptic Seizures

There was something foreboding about the way it began. Crazy-ass wild techno thumping. Lights, lasers and strobes flying everywhere at full intensity. Colors and bodies and glow sticks scattered about. It was pretty intense, as unsettling as it was awesome. You know those cell phone commercials where the roadies run the airport efficiently, adding insane levels of metal as they go? Picture those guys running a military air raid on some sorry foreign city and it was kinda like that. Sweet, but it also gave me a bit of a headache.

No matter, I figured it was just the overture- a shock and awe technique before settling down and sending in the foot soldiers. Sure enough, things died down a little, the DJ welcomed us to the Daisho Dance, and he started playing actual, coherent songs. Granted, one of them was MC Hammer, but surely the kitschy throwbacks would give way to honest J-Rock (or at the very least, Mini Moni) soon enough.

Pictured: some coordinated dance not featuring Sana, Haruhi or Konata.

What happened instead was that the crazy lights kept popping on (and off, and on again, and off again), at an incredible intensity, especially positioned on all four corners of the room and reflecting off the mirrors and crystals. Add "refracting off glasses" to that list and Sarah was clearly having problems. That or the lasers were less of the "hardcore mood lighting" ilk as they were of the "equip on sharks to kill James Bond" kind.

In other words- the lens flares! They are growing in number! They are getting stronger! The goggles do nothing! Run!

Sarah actually had to leave the room. I tried to muddle through, but the lights weren't exactly pleasing me either and it's hard to just ignore a cute girl that runs away from you in pain. I headed outside to check up on her and discovered that she wasn't the only one. There were actually several victims in light's Death Note and concerned staffers had taken notice. Like Cheesus, for example, convention veteran and on staff despite living in the Duluth area. She went in, told them to cut out the offending lights, which is usually where the story ends. One of the rules for running Midwest conventions: don't piss off Cheesus. It's called Sogen's Law, after a promising Sioux Falls convention that quickly became irrelevant after breaking it in '07.

After a break and a lot of water, Sarah seemed ready to go again, so we headed out to the dance floor, found a nice quiet corner away from the stage and resumed dancing. Still waiting for that J-Rock, but they played Safety Dance and appeased Jasmine whether she was present or not.

Then the weapons of mass destruction flared up again. Sarah almost fainted on the spot. Escorting her out once again, now they were running up against another important convention rule: don't piss me off. Now I went in and had a word with them. Oh you betcha they cut the lights again. Sarah recovers, we go back to our spot, we resume dancing. All is happy and wonderful... except for that nagging lack of anything Japanese.

In time, some idiots started complaining about there not being enough lights. You know, because concern for a fellow human's well-being tends to ruin one's buzz. In an even more idiotic gesture, the DJs put it to a vote. You know, because all safety issues should be regulated through public referendum. The mob won out, of course, the lights came on and Sarah fell ill again. We marched out of the room to find a staffer capable of controlling their own convention.

We find Zach, who was utterly useless. That's right, the con director was completely helpless in controlling a major safety issue at his own convention.

I'd use that "epic fail" watch shot from AI, but that would set a bad precedent. I mean, if I used that pic every time a convention had a massive logistical collapse, next ACen I won't even need my camera.

Instead, we got around a table and started playing Apples to Apples with a few of the other disenfranchised folk. This way, we'd at least have something fun to do, but I could continue listening in to the dance, just in case they ever got around to playing some of that advertised Japanese music. They played "Turning Japanese." Not quite what I had in mind.

That didn't work out either as the game room closed at midnight. Now if the staffer running it put it to a democratic vote, we could have kept playing while she trotted off to bed and left the room unsupervised, but in this case the obvious security concern won out. It wasn't hard to accept, really.

In this case, it meant I could start up my room party at midnight again. I put out an alert to everybody that a shindig was opening up, one that actually would have Japanese music. Yes, the geek dance at an anime convention did not play a single anime or J-Rock song. And if they did, maybe should have done it before brazenly driving a major con scribe away.

At this point... well, I really wish I remembered to take pictures of Saturday night's room party because it was bigger and better than Friday's. I turned on my party mix, led it off with Sakura Kiss from Ouran and away we went. Harley brought in Goldeneye on N64 and more Faygo 3-liters than we would ever drink (I drank more of it writing this recap from home than I did at the party). Even Cheesus graced the room with an appearance and us two vets got to trade war stories and decide who wanted to start the inevitable dance-related flame war on the forums the next day. People came in and out, we didn't get any angry knocks from John or the night manager, and much anime was discussed. We lasted until about 3:30, when it was dwindled down to me, Nick and Sarah. I escorted Sarah back to her room and Saturday ended as a rousing success, dance be damned. And judging by the dance-related flame war on the forums the next day, it will be.

I did not take an "after" picture of the room Sunday morning because it honestly wasn't that bad. It didn't take me very long to pack my belongings to the car and once I did, the room was actually quite presentable. The only real mess was the remnants of Dr. Pepper that exploded upon opening, despite being stationary for a day. I put my tip to the housekeeper by the stains on the table.

Once the formalities were taken care of and even my photogenic convention bag was in my car, it was time for the variety show. Um, yeah...

In his recap, Trae makes a good point- if you're gonna copy a convention's formula, No Brand's a pretty good one to steal. I'm just reminded of what Patrick Rothfuss said at his panel- that being inspired by only one genre tends to limit potential. Would be nice to see a broader exposure of other conventions at work here. Maybe they can incorporate Iowa's pretty balloons somewhere.

Speaking of pretty, Sarah is first to the mic with a song from her Chipmunks character. Granted, she went down an octave or two.

Some of the staffers do a dramatic re-enactment of some Peter Chimaera fanfiction. Never heard of the guy and I'm sure as hell not linking to his work (as opposed to one performer's YouTube series) but it's hilariously awful. He got his own "fan" panel earlier in the day.

Len from the No Brand party comes up to do Danjo Danjo, which is harder than it looks. The opening comments mentioned some sort of veiled jealousy towards the spotlight of Hatsune Miku, thought I doubt most of the audience knew who she was. I only did because of this incredible video Whitewater Nick sent me a couple weeks ago.

After a nice performance of 1000 Words and Nick reprising the stunning FMA song he sang at No Brand (as you could imagine, he was a little hoarse by now), Patrick Rothfuss entertained us with an old essay of his- a hilarious diatribe on the false advertising behind Taco Bell's "Ultimate" Chalupa.

Then it was off to the Vendor's Room one last time for some parting words with Tiffany Grant and any "Don't Want to Haul..." sales. I didn't find anything of note, so I used my half-hour of service time to get a discount on the latest Ouran for Sarah.

Now it was time to bust out the Apples to Apples. My loudest contributions were winning Perfect with Communists and selling out my gender by answering Dysfunctional with Men. After two rounds, I was ready for more wandering and Sarah was ready for a nap, so we ducked into a viewing room. It was Evangelion, but thankfully one of the quieter episodes and far better than the alternative- Elfen Lied.

When we returned, everyone else had moved on to a macabre version of Candyland that we weren't really up for joining. I got a game of Fluxx in with one willing participant until Sarah out-simplified us all by playing Pass the Pigs. The Marathon County prez won a word game in random draw, but we only got a round in before the place was closing up for the con.

With little else to do, I tagged along to their club's post-con meeting. When they asked why, I said I was already a member of every other club in Wisconsin and might as well join this one. The real answer was that they were going for pizza and I was starving. Hey, I paid my share!

My new surrogate club is good people. After filling up on pizza, we returned to the con, thanked any staff members remaining and left. Not in the same car, of course, but you get the idea.

So the inaugural Daisho Con, with one enormous exception, was a tremendous success. I pulled off my big event, pulled off my room party, saved the day and got the girl. Okay... maybe I didn't save the day, but the last convention of the year ended up being the most satisfying.

Although the new date for Ohayocon leaves it pretty much off the table for 2009, I'm getting good offers to hit Anime Detour in the Twin Cities. ACen's up in the air again, but I'd definitely go if they want to bring in NTAO, which now appears to be a possibility. So whether it starts in February, March or April, I'll be back in '09 for more mooching, more VA run-ins and hopefully more competent dances.

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For everyone who got a few of the header/subheader AMV references and pulling their hair out for the rest...

Page 1 Header & Subheader: Right Now Someone is Reading This Title
Page 2 Header: It's Tricky To Make a Music Video
Page 2 Subheader: Failed Experiments In Video Editing
Page 3 Header: Nyo Is War
Page 3 Subheader: Football!!
Page 4 Header: Skittles
Page 4 Subheader: Slayers Cabaret
Page 5 Header: Odorikuruu
Page 5 Subheader: Rhythm Generation