Category Archives: Convention Bedtime Stories

My Very Very Late NDK Post

Because I was in the middle of a production (more on that later), I only went to NDK for one day this year. I kind of sort of put Subaru together enough so that he could be worn, on Thursday night I packed him, and then I drove up after midnight on Friday and woke up my friends and crashed in their hotel room, and then woke them all up again the next morning because I’m just that good of a friend.

My Kamui and I left, and ten minutes later, we got super angry texts because we forgot to eat breakfast, which we ignored until after the cosplay/J-Rock makeup panel. We went to Wendy’s, because nothing says classy like Wendy’s. Note: this goes against everything I say about how cosplayers should eat during conventions.

I spent half of Saturday falling asleep on people (mostly Kamui.) It started off as a joke from Tokyo Revelations, since Subaru spends the whole time in Sleeping Beauty land, but I was so exhausted from my week that I couldn’t help myself.

We met up with another Tsubasa-cosplaying friend, a Fai, that my Kamui had met during college orientation, for the photoshoot. Apparently three minutes makes the difference between making and missing a scheduled Tsubasa photoshoot at NDK, because the same thing happened to me two years ago when I was Fai. But we had photoshoot part two against a super-attractive red wall.

I might or might not have actually woken up and completely taken control of the photoshoot because the girl who I thought was running the photoshoot seemed really meek (or NDK was just really loud.) Turns out none of us have any idea who that was, but thankfully Fai-cosplaying friend also took photos.

Then we went back and I did some first cosplay prejudging and contest coaching because… it was my Kamui’s first cosplay contest! After she changed into her Sandplay Luka we went out into the hall, confused the cleaning ladies, and practiced presentation and we went through a mock pre-judging interview, told her what to focus on,  told her what to bring up in case the judges got distracted by shinies, and off we went.

Long cosplay contest line and even longer cosplay contest later, she got bumped up into Intermediate and won Best Craftsmanship!

And that’s about it. I did not get crept on by any Seishirou cosplayers (do those even exist?) and I totally failed at meeting up with everyone that I usually only see at conventions. Pics soon!


Nan Desu Kan Report

Let me start off by saying that if I did not already pre-reg and did not have a hotel room with other people, I would not have gone. I’m still dealing with Afest’s con plague today.

All I did at NDK was hang out and sleep. I went to the AMV contest, cosplayed, and shopped in there too, but I mostly slept.

Friday was a quick change cosplay day for one of the girls in my room. She went from Sango from Inuyasha to Kaito to J-rock with another cosplay I didn’t even see in there somewhere! I eventually put on Albireo once it was cooler and I’m sure I confused a Will Spears cosplayer when I asked if he would be Will again on Saturday, did not even explain that I would be wearing Grell, and then wandered off. I’m sorry! I’m blaming it on my con plague medicine. But it’s just as well, since I only had the strength to wear Grell for about half an hour, most of it sitting down.

I think this year’s NDK is the last Colorado convention I attend the whole time. Afest is a sure thing next year and I’m getting much more involved with various cosplay projects in Texas. And with NDK’s cap making more casual planning for this con difficult in the future, I’ll probably be dropping in on Saturdays for Animeland Wasabi if anything. This decision wasn’t made lightly, and I have really enjoyed my time at Colorado conventions!

Much love,
greyrondo


Anime Overload Con Report

Surprise last-minute convention before I go to Colorado!! I’m not kidding. I woke up on Thursday with a text from Dugfinn asking if I was going to Anime Overload in Austin. I waffled around and I didn’t decide to go until 2 PM and we were leaving that evening. So I picked up the first two costumes that were 1) in as few different places as possible and 2) NOT Grell, so Trance Kuja and Albireo got a surprise road trip before the big one back up to college at the end of this week.

Still in one piece, which is more than can be said for some of my badges.

Anime Overload is now officially the smallest convention I have ever attended. But if anyone knows how to rock with what they’ve got, it has to be this con. It was in a single converted warehouse to barebones event center space. And I don’t know why the Swedish Fish people were there, but I have such a weakness for Swedish Fish I’m pretty sure I ate the equivalent of a Halloween bag’s worth of the fishies.

I really enjoyed being able to see so much of the handiwork of the Anime Overload cosplayers when I judged. And I think I talked a little more at the panel than at previous conventions, so maybe I’m getting used to being in front of people like that. I spent most of the convention doing cosplay stuff, so apart from walking around the convention to stretch my legs, I spent most of my free time talking to the awesome people I came to the convention with, the artists in the artist alley booths around us, and when we went to get food. Oh my goodness. The food.

I ate better at Anime Overload than the rest of my conventions put together. There was a miniature Chinatown sort of shopping center a block down from the event center, so… most of what I ate, I had for the first time. We had all of those yummy sweet breads, Aloe drink, milk teas, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t even remember. Speaking of not remembering, I saw a box of mixed-berry Pocky for sale and I forgot to pick it up for Amara. I’m sorry!! I also got food from a taco truck for the first time and had the most delicious tortas (also for the first time!) and we found this amazing Chinese restaurant that had real food instead of the typical fifteen different kinds of sweet and sour chicken-y things. I wrote down the name of the restaurant and as many directions as I could so I can find it again. Seriously, it was that delicious.

Much love,

greyrondo


San Japan Con Report

I am in love with San Japan’s new location at the Rivercenter Marriott in San Antonio. The staff was very courteous and friendly and the convention was well-distributed over the space provided. San Japan is one of the better-organized conventions I have attended, even taking into account that attendance skyrocketed this year.

We would have the standard pic of the dealer's room right here, but we didn't take any real photos. I think I'm pointing at the pattern of the carpet.

We had a great time hosting the Anime Murder Mystery on Saturday. We were pretty surprised when we had the sign-up sheets fill up so quickly, and kept on getting more and more surprised at interest in the event from there to the point that when I saw the length of the line outside the door, I mildly freaked out. If you attended, we would love to hear any comments or suggestions, and look forward to bringing even more to the table  next year!

Cosplay represents a huge part of San Japan’s panel lineup and the contest reflects that. I’m glad for San Japan’s insistence on dividing the cosplay contest into classes and their emphasis on craftsmanship as well as presentation. The fashion show was a great way to include more cosplayers, too. All in all, while it was a little hot and stuffy in the salon in which we were placed, we spoke to plenty of cosplayers who were amazing both in their costumes and as people. It was a tough competition and we were fortunate enough to win best in show with Madam Red and Grell Sutcliff! Though I still have no clue when or where he wears that dress… and I’m slightly embarrassed that I knew Lacrimosa well enough to know exactly when our thirty seconds were up, but still had no idea whatsoever that someone was pointing his camera right into every single cosplayer’s face as he or she walked onstage. I’m just going to call it being in character. Not totally oblivious, not. At. All.

One last thing: this is the first convention that I brought a bit of a bug, and then got better by Saturday. Not sure how that works. San Japan continues to be an enjoyable convention, and I’m already excited for next year.

Much love,

greyrondo


Convention Bedtime Story #2: My First Cosplay Contest

I have bad taste in male characters when it comes to cosplay. If they aren’t bloodthirsty murderers with very distinct ideas about fashion, they’re either cursed with tragic pasts and even more tragic presents, or a combination of the two.

My second terrible choice (after Kadaj, my first) was a lovely young man named Albel Nox from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, also known in the game canon as ‘Albel the Wicked’ because, well, look at him.

from rpgamer.com

Now, imagine him cowering in fear because of a girl in a character hat and a yellow t-shirt reading ‘Emergency Food Supply’. That’s right, Menchi from Excel Saga held me at gunpoint and forced me to sign up for my first cosplay contest ever.

Okay, it wasn’t nearly that bad, even though I had to be forced into it. And to mamaesme’s credit, I did win a Judge’s Award. But I freaked out. The people running the contest mixed up the numbers so I was called out a good ten or twelve people ahead of time. I did one pose and the only time the judges saw the back of my costume was when I bolted off ‘stage’, which was really just a cleared-off portion of the carpet in front (even though this was the George R. Brown convention center in Houston).

 Least in-character Albel Nox ever.  To this day, I still want to cosplay Albel again. Even if he didn’t help me get over stage fright, he made it so that at least I was only scared of being onstage, not signing up for it.

Much love,

greyrondo


Convention Report: Animeland Wasabi 2010

I love small conventions. I’m not joking. Sometimes, weird stuff happens, and sometimes there’s a little too much downtime, but otherwise, I actually have more fun at small conventions than I do at large ones, because people are more willing to put a hold on their tenth run through the dealer’s room and chat.

Animeland Wasabi got a new hotel this year, one that was much harder to find: at one point, mamaesme received a text saying something along the lines of: ‘I couldn’t call myself a true Grell cosplayer if I didn’t manage to get lost at least twice before finding the hotel.’ Overall, I think the hotel looked nicer, but there was a lack of outside photography space and to ensure that I got a parking spot every day of the convention, I left my home at 8:30 AM on Saturday and Sunday (don’t worry, I’m a morning person).

One thing I particularly like about Animeland Wasabi is the staff. I’ve been to more than 20 conventions now and as far as I can tell, they get the same amount of stuff, if not more, done than the average convention, and all without the freaking out and causing an unnecessary fuss (I’m looking at you, A-kon elevator volunteers…) that seems to be a pre-req for getting hired at most other conventions. The only thing I don’t like about Animeland Wasabi is that their badges are very delicate and pretty much ask to be either lost and/or mangled beyond recognition.

Apart from escaping into the viewing room during the afternoons and the occasional panel, I spent most of my time in the artist’s alley, where I had become friends with an amazing group of artists who were incredibly nice despite having just met me on Friday (they let me park my chainsaw under their table !) and I hope we can hang out again at NDK. The table was next to Doug Smith’s, and every time I spoke with him he was an unbelievably cordial and friendly person. I also had the chance to work with Eurobeat King for a few photoshoots, and spoke several times with him as well. He is, put plainly, pretty awesome.

This was Grell’s first convention, and it was a pretty good one. I had some people kind of push the envelope as soon as they figured out I would hold a conversation with them in character, but that thankfully stopped before I decided to break character and tell them to back off and find another outlet to fuel their Grell bashing (there was really only one person who went to that extreme). Everyone else was very nice, and I really am interested in knowing who proposed to me from the audience during the contest (sorry, I don’t have peripheral vision in this wig!) Grell did win Best in Show, and I’m glad that I got a chance to look at all of the other gorgeous cosplayers who entered in the contest.

Also, I got to see mostly everyone from the DCCS who I had met at last year’s Animeland Wasabi, and who had played such a huge role in giving me enough confidence to truly step into the Colorado cosplay scene in the first place. I will definitely be attending Wasabi next year, someone please just tell Mapquest to start making sense.

Much love,

greyrondo

P.S.: During the convention, I seemed to be the Contact-Lens-Bad-Luck Fairy. I ended up coaching three or four different cosplayers on how to put in their theatrical contacts on Saturday, and a Dante cosplayer who I had spoken to about props ran into the cosplay contest green room late because, if I heard him correctly, he had trouble putting in his contacts. I am so sorry, everybody!


Convention Bedtime Story #1

Once upon a time, I was an idiot. I was an incredibly nervous and shy cosplayer until after I took a class in acting at my university (nothing will break you of stage fright like a drag performance lip-synching to T.M. Revolution’s AQUALOVERS—for a grade). You know those cosplayers they talk about who don’t eat, don’t drink, and pass out backstage before the masquerade? I was almost that cosplayer every single time because I was too nervous to eat and the thought of convention food, as unappetizing as it already is, made me really queasy.

 But then, there was cantaloupe.

 Cantaloupe broke the spell. It was at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston for Oni-Con 2007, and I was dressed as Endrance from .hack//G.U. and doing my usual half passing-out thing around mid-afternoon, and both my sister and mamaesme weren’t having any of it.

 Or, as mamaesme put it, “You eat or your mom will kill me, and thus no more giggle time.” (You’d have to ask her as to what that exactly means.)

 After that, I somehow didn’t get struck by lightning, so I got used eating while in costume. But if you find convention food either entirely gross, a little too pricey, or you have dietary restrictions, consider either getting groceries beforehand or bringing along a cooler and going grocery shopping once you’re in the city. I’m a vegetarian, so I’m speaking from experience. No matter how, please eat.

 (Since then, I’ve gotten way too comfortable with being in costume. I’ve slept in hotel beds, sheets and all, in both of my Dissidia Kuja costumes. But that’s another story.)

Much love,

greyrondo