Hey guys, the inverseman here, reporting also from Otakon (two weeks ago…). And I’ll be coming straight from the convention floor. While Laevatein did a fantastic job covering the various films and events, I’ll be covering some of the other odds and ends you’ll notice at a convention and a few of the celebrity guests.
On the official side, it so happens that Johnny Yong Bosch and the band he is in, Eyeshine, were at Otakon this year. Now for those not in the know about voice actors, Korean-American Bosch got his start as the second black Power Ranger and then wove his way into our hearts back in the day with LOVE AND PEACE by voicing Vash the Stampede in “Trigun”. Johnny then went on to voice in many, many roles in anime and video games. To add to his repertoire of acting and martial arts, Bosch also has his own unsigned band, Eyeshine.
As an aspiring voice actor, I was a giddy schoolgirl getting my chance to meet Johnny and hearing his band live for the first time simply sealed the deal. I had to be there, but I needed a plan. So let’s get some Survival Protips for meeting any guest at a major convention infamous for its lines.
- Plan ahead: This extends to the convention in general! Blocking off what panels you’re seeing and when you’re shopping at the dealers’ room/artists’ alley will get you very far. And for the raving fangirl, which um… “conquests” you’re going to meet this year from the director and actor guests.
- Be early, very early: Be at the lineup at least one hour before the signing. If you get to the autograph session right when it starts, you’re already too late. Either the line will be sealed off or worse, you’ll wait on line and get cut off. So if someone is signing at noon, get ready to line up at 11am. And if the guest is very famous, Nobuo Uematsu was at the convention too, be ready for the line to become exponentially greater.
- Prepare: Got something to sign? Make sure you have it. Bring snacks! The line will be long, may as well eat something while there. Have entertainment at hand, a book, your DS, your PSP. And chat with the guys in the line. Look ahead and look behind, those people will be your best friends for the next two hours
That said, I went in to meet Johnny Yong Bosch and scored some of his band’s CDs and tons of photos. I even got my copy of “Sengoku Basara 3” (“Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes” here in the States) signed. The table had a fair amount of band merchandising. Seems conventions are good venues too. Later in the weekend, I even saw Eyeshine perform and it’s here that I really felt like the band as a whole, not just Bosch, got to shine. They have this real casualness to themselves where instead of flying from one song in the set-list to the next, they’ll poll questions from the audience and goof off onstage. Yes, Johnny did improvise a song out of “It’s Morphin’ Time!”.
So official events and panels out of the way, now we get to a typical convention for the inverseman; loitering, shopping, spying for cosplay, and hitting photoshoots.
Hey there, budding convention-goer, first time at a con? Looks like it’s time for more survival tips and tricks:
- Freebies, hoard them. Seriously, Aniplex and Bandai have gotten into the habit of having lots of games and scavenger hunts to win free goodies. Just look around, there will be plenty of chances to join the fun. Funimation even gave out hilarious paper Super Saiyan hair hats like they were Burger King or something.
- Budget yourself: While I may sound like Your Mother. I can assure you Your Mother does have a point. You will see cool thing x but after you’re done dumping cash into it, you’ll then go see cool thing y which happens to be a must-buy but now you’re broke. One tip is to scour the dealers’ room and/or artists’ alley, make a mental hit-list of what you must get and then revist the places to score ‘em.
- Do your homework: Shopping for figures? Headphones? Anything? Make sure you know when it’s real. Otherwise you may have just paid 15 bucks for something Chinatown has for 5 dollah. So if you don’t already know what the real thing looks like, get on your little smartphone for a quick Googling or consult a friend who knows her stuff to check it out for you.
- You’ll inevitably miss something. Maybe it’s that cool cosplayer? Or perhaps that flash sale on Sunday where everything was 30% off? Regardless, Otakon is a big con, so I suppose one of the reasons why I don’t hit that many panels or time-sinking events is because I wanna see it all, but still, I did miss some nice cosplay.
Let’s finish things off with my personal favorite part, this year’s cosplay trends.
Okay, so barring the cliche eternal trends of cosplaying from “Naruto”, “Bleach”, and any Square Enix game, this year was a good showing for some other things. Overall, some decent variety. I actually had some cosplays myself. Like my cosplay of Keima Katsuragi from “The World God Only Knows” and my cosplay of ZUN, creator of “Touhou Project”. That said, here’s some of the shots I took that I think you readers would enjoy.