…was a lot of fun. Arrived at the Hyatt Regency Columbus at noon, got registered (after standing in line for a half hour), and ate lunch at the Subway in the hotel’s food court. (FYI, the Atkins-friendly Chicken Bacon Ranch wraps are yummy, and the actual wheat/soy wrap itself is really quite good, but the portion size leaves a little to be desired.)
After lunch, we hit the Dealer Room to spend our respective wads of cash. Two circuits around the Dealer Room yielded:
- a Chibi Totoro plushie (the white one)
- a Chu Totoro keychain (the blue one)
- a deck of giant Totoro playing cards
- Warcry: a book of Berserk postcards / art
- a Berserk Dreamcast poster
- a Gamera toy
- an Aruru capsule toy (with Puyos—from the Puyo Puyo video game)
…and left us enough money for dinner later.
When we left the Dealer Room, there was a line down the hall to get in. Lucky for us, we’d gotten in before the rush. The next thing we really wanted to do wasn’t until 3:00, so we had a little time to kill. We watched some amazing, amazing people play Dance Dance Revolution for a while, then we wandered around the Artists’ Alley and looked at sketches and drawings for sale. By then, it was almost time for the ADV Films Voice Actors Roundtable, so we popped in for the end of the Inu-yasha Cast Voice Actors Roundtable to pass the time. Yeesh… talk about a rabid fan base.
Anyway, we stayed for an hour of the two-hour ADV Films Roundtable, which featured three voice actors and the producer of ADV Films. The only anime they mentioned that I really knew was Evangelion, which was the first anime Aaron got me sucked into; the voice actress who performed Asuka was in the panel. Overall, it was fun listening to them discuss the details of voice-acting, even though I didn’t really know who most of them were.
We ducked out on the roundtable to go check out the JRock Visual Kei panel. It took them a while to get their computer and projection system set up, so they didn’t actually get started until 4:15 or so. They gave us an overview of Visual Kei, which began in the mid-80′s. Basically, from Aaron’s and my perspective, VK is like taking Marilyn Manson and David Bowie and Kabuki theater and throwing them all in a blender. Anyway, once they finally got their A/V equipment going, the panel was on its way to being a discussion (and I use the term loosely) where we wouldn’t really learn anything and wouldn’t get anything out of it. It was basically a bunch of VK fans talking about all the bands they liked, and the panelists showing clips of videos. We gave up and left after another five minutes of this, and of the high school girls behind us talking incessantly about how their parents made them take down certain VK band posters in their rooms.
At this point, we were at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. We could either blow an hour and a half before the Giant Robot Anime panel, or go eat dinner and come back for the panel at 6:00. So, we ended up spending ten minutes in the Artshow room (after we finally found it), then heading across the street to Max & Erma’s for dinner.
Did you know that Max & Erma’s has a new low-carb entree now? (It’s so new, Aaron’s menu didn’t have it, but mine did. It’s also not listed on their website yet.) The Low Carb Burger Stack is two 6-ounce hamburgers with two cheeses and bacon, served with steamed broccoli. No bun, of course. It was actually very good, and was more food than our standard trick of ordering one of their ten-ounce burgers without the bun.
After dinner, we headed back to the ‘con, and people-watched for ten minutes before attempting to locate the Giant Robot Anime panel. Panel Room #2 bore a sign reading "Japanese Culture in Anime," but our schedule said that’s where the Giant Robots were supposed to be. We were interested in Japanese culture, anyway, though, so we went in and sat down. Turns out that the rooms got moved somehow, and no one knew where the Giant Robots were supposed to be. It was amusing watching people wander in, say "Giant Robots…?" and, upon being told "Japanese Culture" instead, turn around and leave in confusion.
The panel was interesting, consisting of two first-year Japanese Studies students and one second-year student, all from OSU. (Go figure.) Discussion ranged from Japanese theater to nosebleeds to Colonel Sanders to Kanji. We easily took up the entire hour, despite the panel’s initial doubts that they’d be able to talk that much.
With that over, Aaron and I were now faced with a real dilemma: Should we stick around for over two and a half hours to see the Blood concert (a Visual Kei band), or just bail and head home? We contemplated this as we walked around the Artists’ Alley one last time, watched a few rounds of normal-people DDR, then headed downstairs to bum around on the comfy foyer chairs. By the time 8:00 rolled around—only two hours until the concert!—we decided to forego the concert and just head home.
All in all, this was a very fun day, a very fun weekend, and has finally inspired me to make a costume of my own for next year’s con. You’ll see…