Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Day Two, July 5, 2002 - Be Gentle, It's My First Time...Cosplaying!

Lisa and I woke early to get in line for the music video contest tickets. Freddy and Jesse headed to the Watsuki panel as the line for that was probably going to be long as well. Lisa and I also had a surprise for our friends. We had decided to cosplay as characters from Love Hina. Lisa had put together a Mutsumi outfit and I had put together a Keitaro outfit. Both were fairly simple but hers required a lot more effort. She had to style her hair to get Mutsumi’s “antenna” and she also turned a Beanie Baby turtle into Tama-chan by sewing on yellow fins and painting the head yellow. I’ll admit that Lisa put a lot more effort into her costume, right down to the shoes! She even painted her boots to match Mutsumi’s! This was her first time to a convention and cosplaying, yet she was showing such attention to detail. Keitaro’s outfit didn’t require much effort, although it was difficult finding a dark blue long sleeve crew neck shirt. I couldn’t do anything about my hairstyle and my glasses were not very similar to his. However, I knew anyone dressed as Keitaro was going to blend in and be almost unrecognizable.

As we got to the AMV contest line, Lisa was immediately recognized as Mutsumi. After closer inspection, people finally recognized me as Keitaro. Throughout the rest of the convention, Lisa and I got a lot of attention and lots of photos were taken. A lot of guys were also very enthusiastic to see her dressed as Mutsumi. Even more attendees were excited to see Tama-chan perched atop either mine or Lisa’s heads. I think Tama-chan got most of the attention, a lot more than us! As I predicted, I was not recognized as Keitaro unless Tama-chan was on my head or Mutsumi was by my side. Even when we were together, many times people only recognized who Lisa was dressed as. We got a lot of people who would come up saying, “Mutsumi! Can I take your picture?” Lisa would say yes and then ask, “He’s dressed as Keitaro, do want him in the picture?” The photographer would respond with something like, “Oh, he’s Keitaro? I guess so.” At the other end of the spectrum, we had some people approach us with, “Mutsumi! Keitaro! Can we get your photo?” We also had some folks compliment us with, “This is the way Love Hina should’ve been!” or “You two look so cute together!” Either way, it was great experience cosplaying and a lot of fun overall. It was really great with the way people responded when they recognized us. However, there seemed to be few Love Hina cosplayers around. I was surprised that there were so few and so were many other people. Although Lisa and I were both glad we did not run into any Naru’s running around. Hopefully I’ll have the pictures of us up on this website soon.

While in the AMV contest line, I ran into my old classmate from UCLA, Sze-May Tang. I was really surprised to meet anyone at AX as I planned the trip so quickly I notified hardly anyone that I was going, so I didn’t think I’d meet many old friends. I found out May is still volunteering at AX and now engaged to her longtime boyfriend. We were stuck in line for awhile so it gave the chance to catch up with current events in our lives. Lisa and I got our tickets and some for Freddy and Jesse and we headed to the Watsuki panel. That line was just as impressive and I burned off a lot of film on other cosplayers. Watsuki’s panel was pretty fun and he had a good sense of humor toward it. He even posed with Ruruoni Kenshin cosplayers after then panel! He answered a lot of the standard panel questions and then came the ones that really got a reaction. Come on folks, isn’t this what it’s all about? If you can’t get them to drop their faces into their hands in embarrassment and laugh then you know you haven’t hit the good ones yet. And at least the guests of honor won’t get bored. The really good ones are where the crowd is laughing and even the translator is laughing too hard to translate the question. For a few seconds the guest of honor is in the dark. All he/she knows is that something good was just asked and he/she just sits there with an “Uh oh…” or “Oh boy…” expression. In Watsuki-sensei’s case, it was a question of how much doujinshi (Fan manga) he had read. This is including all the yaoi stuff out there. He replied that (After lifting his face back up and finishing laughing) he was honored that folks put so much work and talent in drawing off inspiration from his work. He went on to say that he wasn’t so sure about the yaoi stuff. I agree, I’m not a fan of Sano/Kenshin, Saitoh/Kenshin, Saitoh/Sano, etc pairings. Watsuki was also asked what he thought of the Kenshin TV series after it diverged from the manga after the Shishio arc. I believe he said he had very little control over the OAVs and gradually less over the later episodes of the TV series. This accounted for how much darker the OAVs are than the TV series. Watsuki was also asked if he would consider doing a side manga on Kenshin’s son Kenji or on Soujiro’s 10 year wandering tour. I forgot what he said about Kenji but he mentioned that wouldn’t Soujiro’s story be too depressing? He would rather write about what happens after Soujiro finishes finding himself. My friend Freddy wanted to ask him if Sano and Megumi would ever get together. Alas, we ran out time in the panel and Freddy did not get a chance to ask the question. Bummer, I would’ve really liked to hear the answer, I thought they’d be a good couple.

After the panel, Lisa and I braved the line for the dealer’s room. It was a daunting queue but it moved along rather briskly. The fire marshal had arrived the previous day and shut the room down because there were just too many people in there at once. So the staff were forced to limit the amount of people in there. The place was packed as usual but that was no surprise. The Macross figures of the VF-11B and VF-21 were still being sold at high prices. I figured since they retailed for about 3000 yen in Japan, then 40-50 dollars here would be reasonable. They were still going for 70 dollars and upwards. Jesse informed later that day that the licensing dispute would be resolved and an American company was also going to produce them under license here as well. No word on the quality yet though. Oh well, maybe I can find one for a good price in the Far East. Lisa and I also dropped by the art auction and the artists’ section of the convention as well. As a budding artist, Lisa was quite impressed with a lot of the works there. To both of us, we noticed that a lot of the artists there were more skilled and lot were far below her level as well. I think it was a good experience for her since she hadn’t had too much contact with other aspiring anime/manga artists. She’s now thinking about setting up her own table in the artists’ section next year.

We also went to the Matsubara/Goda autograph session as we had tickets for it. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the raffle for sketches but we figured we’d have Matsubara sign You’re Under Arrest posters we had gotten. I know, Matsubara only worked as an animator for that series but it was all we could find on short notice. We waited in line for almost two hours. Both Matsubara and Goda are very meticulous with their sketches so they took awhile. The line finally started moving after the sketches were completed. Alas, when we almost got up there, a guy came late for his sketch and that killed the rest of the time. We were told tough luck. Two hours down the drain. We should’ve gone to the Yoko Ishida concert.

We met up with Freddy and Jesse for dinner at Wasabi. It’s a decent place and sort of pricey but a good restaurant to take a date. We rushed from the restaurant back to the convention center to catch the music video contest. Only to find they weren’t seating people yet due to delays. Big surprise. Some folks were showing music videos they had downloaded on laptops. They stood on planters near the fountains and held their laptops up to allow others to view. When we finally got into the theatre there was the standard search for your seat and watching people from the upper decks throw paper airplanes from the upper deck. We also had several rounds of “The Wave”. I don’t think that will ever die. During the flight of the paper airplanes, the technical director came out pretty irritated. Apparently, an airplane had pierced the viewing screen, which was valued at $15,000. After about two hours of delay, the director of the music video contest came out with some bad news. Something had gone wrong with the way they encoded the files for viewing and the test playbacks were not working. The files were all being re-encoded and the contest would be moved to the next morning. There were a lot of really angry people in the audience, especially from those who wanted to get in line for Masquerade tickets the next morning and those who only had one day passes. Despite several attempts by the director of operations and the technical director to come up with a satisfactory solution, the crowd was getting more and more upset. There were a few computer gurus who tried to offer up solutions but they just didn’t know enough about the situation and it was a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. I really thought a riot would breakout. I was convinced bloodshed was inevitable. Where were those emergency exits again? Maybe sitting in the center was not such a good idea… Thankfully, no one did anything really stupid. The staff decided that the contest and judging would be held the next morning. A re-showing of the videos would take place the following morning as well. In the meantime, they would show the movie “Metropolis”. I honestly believe that the AX staff really put a lot of effort into finding a solution and that this was the best option they could come up with. I don’t think anyone could have done better under the circumstances. I can understand why a lot of people were upset but harassing the staff and whining were not going to fix it.

Lisa and I were going to stay for “Metropolis” but since the music video contest was going to be early the next morning, we decided to head back for some sleep.