Tag Archives: anime

Oni-Con 2009 Report!

Before I begin, I apologize for not posting this the day of because of the Marriott hotel did not have wifi for free… $13 per day was rather a steep rip off in my opinion. To spare your eyes, I have enclosed the photo gallery at the end and I am debating on uploading the first song Echostream performed at the concert on Friday. If you would like for me to, please comment and request it!

Pre-Registration – 10/29/09
Pre-registration seemed to be a little disorganized… 2 laptops and 2 piles of lanyards. The badges weren’t really pre-prepared as the name slot has no name filled in (i.e. My nickname on the form was “ZeroXR” and it was not on my badge). Jamie had asked the pre-registration worker if there was a schedule, unfortunately we were told “There’s no schedule until tomorrow morning.” Which in my opinion, that’s a disorganized for a convention a been around for quite some time! I am glad to have gotten my badge early before the swarms of the crowds that will be at Ground Zero at 8am tomorrow… I also managed to run into Tomo from Echostream with Jamie and that was a fun little session, especially as he was very humble. For now, I drink and toast to the fact that Jamie and I survived the watery storms from our drive to Houston… Especially from some of the typical Texas panic-at-rain type folks having “OH SHIT!!!” moments putting us and other motorists at risks!

Day 1 – 10/30/09
I sadly had slept in a little more than I wanted to and didn’t get up and hit the convention until almost 1pm. The dealer’s rooms were divided into 2 zones and pretty cramped quarters for walking. Another sad travesty was the matter that the dealers in both rooms really sold the same stuff as the booths next to them. Some of the more unique items were the hat vendors who sold some really funny and/or cute hats with a focus on game/anime creatures such as the Cactuar hat. On our run through both dealers rooms, Jamie nabbed 2 wall scrolls for her best friend. Worse off was the matter that the game arcade and artist alley rooms were not set-up… The art gallery had some unique commissioned works, but some of the not so great ones were a little over eager for money (i.e. poorly proportioned sketch in pencil demanding a $45 minimum bid and a $100 buy out).

Trying to find anything close to an itinerary was a fruitless exercise in failure as no one has much of a clue of what events are going on. The vague idea that there would be musical performances around 7pm is the most I knew of, but that was from Tomo of Echostream talking to me and Jamie last night. (CJ and Tomo would also confirm the same detail this morning as well.) Around 5pm, most of the convention was set-up and itineraries were finally posted on what was happening and when. Also 5pm was when opening ceremonies were in action. The only thing that was still not quite 100% was the game arcade, yet they had a Japanese snack vendor in that same arcade room too. As far as the spoils go, we have gotten 2 wall-scrolls for Jamie’s best friend and that’s really about it. As far as cos-play goes, there’s a whole lot of Final Fantasy (Cloud and Sephiroth mostly) and Bleach characters here. So not too many cos-players really going for unique sadly… hence lacking pictures today. Tomorrow is the cos-play contest, so maybe we’ll see all the creative talent at work and I may be able to furnish pictures. However, around 6pm, a whole lot of lolita cos-play folks came in to check in…

The concert performance was pretty fun, though Satsuki and Echostream probably provided the best show of all that performed tonight. During Satsuki’s performance, he did a solo song with an acoustic guitar and in goofy fashion… He asked the crowd in broken English “Where’s my pick?” and Tomo from Echostream hands him one. After Satsuki’s guitar and piano solo was the Satsuki & Tomo set. The best quotable was before the set when Satsuki had to ask Tomo (of Echostream) for an English phrase to get the crowd wild. When you could quietly hear “Ah… I understand” in Japanese from Satsuki, he then relayed to the crowd in shy and broken English “Go… fucking… crazy!” Other than that, I think that concludes Day 1’s adventures. I do admit that I went wandering a little after midnight out of insomnia and boredom. As far as midnight lobby lounging, it’s been quite fun! I made some friends and also later wandered to the “completed” Arcade room which was not as big as they had planned. There were some games that weren’t even set-up still… A few of the “Panel Rooms” had been converted in the late evening to “Video Rooms” showing fan-subbed animes and one showing hentai. I sadly didn’t have much strength or interest for these video rooms. With fatigue quickly setting in, I had to call it a night and sleep. Saturday was gonna be a long day…

“Phat Lewtz” of the Day
2 Bleach Wall Scrolls

Day 2 – 10/31/09
The start of this day was one that was both interesting in a good way and bad. We’ll begin with the bad part… I woke up with a great deal of muscle spasms and I quickly lost muscle control at an alarming pace. This was scary, because from all the partying and lounging I did last night… I didn’t realize I dehydrated myself. Jamie and I ran down so I could get a bottle of Gatorade to re-up my electrolytes in hopes of keeping me from passing out. The good part of things was after that scare, Jamie and I would sort of cos-play for a bit to fit-in with the convention goers. I’d be dressed like a slacker Shinra Turk field operative (from the Final Fantasy VII realm) and she would be dressed up as Misa of Death Note.

After that, we set out to wander the vendor rooms as well as the Artist Alley. The cos-players came out to play, especially around 12pm was the cos-play contest. The line for people coming to watch the contest also was in the same vicinity of the line for “Dealer’s Room 1”. Result, you had one “CF” of a line just to get inside the first dealer’s room… Lucky for us, we got in before that stretched outside of the hotel. Vendors were now at the midway point of battling out the selling of their wares. I managed to pick up a Cactuar hat from Grapevine Fires and Jamie got a Macross trading figure. We’d wander around the Artist Alley and run into R. K. Millholland from Something*Positive who was a great going guy! Jamie would get a free sketch from him and also picked up a neutered cat-girl public service announcement comic poster from him too. After that, we would wander into “Dealer’s Room 2” to peruse and gawk around… Jamie would then find a cute set of cat ears and picked up those for a good price. After exiting the dealer’s room, Cure magazine, Satsuki, and Echostream had apparently gotten their booth in Artist Alley set-up. We’d pick up an Echostream poster and got it signed by the entire band in the same stroke for my sister. Funny enough, Echostream was also selling “Tomo guitar picks” with sketches by Tomo on the pick in light of last nights concert. Jamie would get quite the deal at Satsuki’s booth… She initially picked up the “Crystal” CD by Satsuki, but she came back a little later when Satsuki’s booth wasn’t swarmed. Satsuki’s agent and/or interpreter (I assume) had told Jamie that she just had 1 remaining signed idol photo of Satsuki left. So she picked that up as well as a Satsuki phone strap which netted her a free poster!

After that… We both finally had a shopping vibe and decided to give “Dealer’s Room 1” another run through. Jamie’s idea was to pick up what seemed like a good deal as well scour around things to consider sniping again on Sunday. We had to wait in the line to get in, because it seemed the dealer’s room had become swarmed with people. Once we were in, we scoured around for deals, items we just wanted, or potential things to snipe for on Sunday. I picked up a Japanese Disney Princess bento box set for my sister cause she loves hard to find Disney items. We’d wander around for a good while and finally vendors were pulling their big guns in inventory… Things like fresher inventory of new items, rare goods, and even some price discounts. The deals were typically stuff like “20% off of currently in-print domestic versions of anime DVD’s & American market printed manga (import and out of print items not valid for deal)”, “buy item 1 at $XX.xx and get item 2 at half-price (or free)”, and etc… We finally made our move on this round as we got quite a bit… An X/1999 plastic poster, a blind-packed Bleach lanyard, Cactus Pup blind-pack figure, a large-pack “Grab Bag” from Anime Pop, a Lucky Star festival series trading figure, a second Macross trading figure. The Grab Bag was actually quite good! The contents were 4 capsule toys, (2 Ultraman, 1 Trigun mini-bust, 1 End of Evangelion mini-figure), a Zeruel-XX figure from Neon Genesis Evangelion, a Linebarrels of Iron trading figure from the “One Coin Figure Series” collection, some random figures with no boxes, Final Fantasy XII trading pin, an Ishida Bleach trading figure.

After dividing up the spoils of the Grab Bag, we would head on down to the Autograph Room for the session with Satsuki. Thankfully, Satsuki’s staff was offering free posters and I nabbed one for Satsuki to sign on for my sister. Jamie got her “Crystal” CD signed as well. On meeting Satsuki, he was very humble and kind in addition to being very thankful for any fans grateful for his time. After that was the wait for the dance party which was a little crazy, but I did try to stay for a bit… I didn’t last too long and eventually had to step out for a bit… I would end up having an interesting conversation with a guy by the name of Miles about the hentai video room last night on Day 1… The best part of that discussion is quoted below:

Miles:Goko hentai is like… 2 girls, 1 cup just animated…

So you can imagine how funny that must have been for someone who was expecting “normal” straight hentai to run into some of the “goko” stuff… Hilarious irony at its finest! After that discussion, I remembered turning in for the night in preparation for Sunday’s final battle with the vendors… Sadly, I didn’t see anything I wanted to snipe for, but I was planning on doing a final scan anyhow.

“Spoils of War”
Disney Princess bento box set
Cactuar hat
Sketch and “Catgirl PSA” from R. K. Millholland
Cat ears
Autographed Echostream poster
Satsuki’s “Crystal” album (also signed)
Satsuki signed idol photo
Satsuki phone strap lanyard
X/1999 TV Series plastic poster featuring Dragons of Heaven characters
2 Macross trading figures
Bleach blind-pack lanyard/phone charm
Cactus Pup blind-pack figure
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Kagami (aka “Kagamin”)
Linebarrels of Iron trading figure: Hayase, Kouichi
Trigun capsule toy mini-bust: Nicholas D Wolfwood, transparent
End of Evangelion capsule toy figure: EVA-05/MASS
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chromosome-XX figure by Wave: Zeruel-XX
2x Random unidentifiable figures from grab bag
Final Fantasy XII trading pin
2x Ultraman capsule toys
Bleach trading figure: Ishida, Uryu
Signed Satsuki poster

Day 3 – 11/01/09
I had slept rather well and didn’t party too hard at the “rave” hosted by the Oni-Con staff… Being well rested, I had to keep open eyes for any last shots in the dealer’s rooms. Probably by far the shortest day… Jamie had prior engagements and would send me on a solo mission as far as shopping went. I would avoid “Dealer’s Room 2” because after running there 5-6 times total this weekend, there wasn’t really anything too good there. I would be waiting in the vast line unfortunately to get into “Dealer’s Room 1”. At one point, the line was quickly speeding through! Reason: Some people thought they could be clever enough to get in without a convention pass… When they got to the door and the Oni-Con security staff didn’t see a badge or bracelet, they would tell the person to purchase a con pass and take them out of the line. Once I was in, there were some Oni-Con volunteers and security staff shouting to make sure people who were loafing on the floor of “Dealer’s Room 1” would not be tolerated due to potential fire code violations and asked those just not interested in buying to leave as well. I would scour to the best of my abilities… Most of the interesting vendors I had intentions on sniping stuff for cheap had sadly left last night. I just settled with a small grab bag and a second Lucky Star figure. After that, I’d rendezvous with Jamie and try to kill some time before the Echostream “How we make music” panel would start. Once the time burned off, I’d sit in for the 1 hour panel session and just watch Tony talk about their method of creating some aspects of their music with just Tomo on guitar and Ryoko on vocals. Jen and CJ couldn’t be fitted into this panel due to size constraints of the panel room and technical details (drum sets and recording gear wouldn’t fit). After the panel, the dealer’s rooms were slowly beginning to empty out as well as the Artist Alley and Arcade rooms. With that… The hotel was also beginning to quickly empty out with kids having to check out of their hotels by 12pm noon and even some to wait for their rides home. Overall… I had a great time and lots of fun. Definitely a very short event, but well worth the time spent.

“Treasure Items”
Bleach trading figure: Kuchiki, Rukia
Sentimental Graffiti trading figure (“Part – I” collection)
Random unidentified figure from grab bag
Mamotte Syugogetten post card
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Tsukasa
Dragon Ball Z – Real Works figure: Super Sayajin Son Goku

Final Loot Distribution for Myself
Disney Princess bento box set – Sister has dibs on it
Autographed Echostream poster – Sister requested
Signed Satsuki poster – Surprise item for my sister
Cactuar hat
X/1999 TV Series plastic poster featuring Dragons of Heaven characters
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Kagami (aka “Kagamin”)
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Tsukasa
Linebarrels of Iron trading figure: Hayase, Kouichi
Trigun capsule toy mini-bust: Nicholas D Wolfwood, transparent
End of Evangelion capsule toy figure: EVA-05/MASS
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chromosome-XX figure by Wave: Zeruel-XX
Dragon Ball Z – Real Works figure: Super Sayajin Son Goku

Final Thoughts
I would like to extend a very humble thanks to Jamie for inviting me to journey with her to the convention as it was fun! Without her, I’d have never been able to go at all!

I personally regret I didn’t find any great cos-play folks to take pictures of… Due to the lack of interesting cos-play I didn’t have much desire to snap pictures on Saturday.

However, I was surprised to see some Team Fortress 2 cos-play going on! I saw a total of 3 RED scouts, 2 BLU scouts, 2 RED medics, 1 RED demo man, 2 RED spies, 1 RED female sniper (with a Jarate jar), 1 BLU soldier, and a guy/girlfriend couple dressed up as RED engineers. (For casual readers who are not gamers, the “RED” and “BLU” are acronyms for the factions in Team Fortress 2)

My only pet peeve of the convention is people mispronouncing Satsuki’s name as “sat-sue-key” when the technically correct pronunciation is “sats-key”. A minor detail but from studying a little conversational Japanese as well as having a fluently speaking sister, it’s one I have learned to be more critical to that small detail. Sometimes the “u” syllable is to be omitted in pronunciation of some names and words.

I would like to personally extend a “Thank You” to Echostream for being very sincere and modest! In particular, I would like to thank Tomo and CJ as I got to personally speak to them on a person-to-person basis. I want to really give them recognition for being kind enough to sign my sister’s poster early rather than have me wait in line to get the poster signed during the chaotic autograph session on Saturday night.

I also want to thank Satsuki for being very kind for signing my sister’s poster. He’s a paragon of what a good and popular music star should be about: talented, yet modest and polite.

I would also like to thank Iris, Elaine, Alyssa, and Amanda for trading names and conversation. Some of those discussions helped to pass the time very well!

Lastly, this weekend also has reminded me my roots in anime and games… Particularly, my fandom to anime. I personally love Neon Genesis Evangelion, X/1999, and Lucky Star with lucking out to have gotten items from those respective series! However, I also now own reminders of mainstream animes I did watch in my past, such as Dragon Ball Z and Trigun. The Cactuar hat is a tribute of how much I have loved the Final Fantasy series from its roots as well as the Cactuar creature himself.

Oni-Con 2009 Report Coming Soon

I am still “jet lagged” from the convention insanity of Oni-Con… I confess that getting into an academic mood is one Hell of a feat when you had one smashing time of a weekend! Be ready for some sarcasm and snarky remarks as well as an enthusiastic look from a casual “animu” fan. Any laughs and comments that stem from the post will be well loved, as a lot of heart and soul went into my report. I regret the Marriott Westchase didn’t have any free wifi of sorts and $13/day for 512/512 speeds is bunk! I add in lamentation that lacking a digital SLR was a bit depressing as I would have killed for high resolution pictures, but maybe one day… Once images and report clean up is complete, expect an update here soon!

For you loyal readers, you may be in for a treat!

For my new readers, I extend a warm welcome to my haven!

Zero’s going to Oni-Con?! God save the queen…

This past summer I began to smelt my personality in an attempt to reforge myself with infusions of me circa 2002… The anime watching, game loving boy, remixed with a man who’s become stylish, a driving fanatic, and much more. There were things that basically were like proverbial surgery to my mind that resulted in some things taking a long back seat or being completely gutted. Well with some changes since this summer and I have been able to piece together some parts of my old self… Hell, some things even got remixed! Jamie is taking me to Oni-Con 2009…

I know… “Sound the alarm! Call the Scotland Guard! He’s gone mad!”

I haven’t been to a convention since 2003 with my buddy Noirsword! So for me, this may be a bit of a shock for me.

I may even do a “coverage” blog for my stay there… For those curious to finding me, I’ll be going on Friday as a generic slacking Shinra Turk operative. For those that need a visual, think Rufus with black spiked hair and glasses. Expect more from me around then!