There is also a great collection of photos at fansview.com, in addition to an informative narrative on the weekend.
OK, here’s the overview I promised. Now, it’s kind of cold in this room, so my fingers are a little stiff; plus, I didn’t take notes during the weekend like I’d planned. So, I don’t promise literary greatness here. But, hopefully, between my photos and my narrative, you’ll get the general idea.
In years past, we’d headed down to Columbus on Saturday morning, and driven back Saturday evening/night. This year, we decided to make a weekend of it. Aaron had booked us a room for Friday and Saturday nights, and we preregistered for all three days of the con, effectively saving ourselves both time and money in the miles-long registration line Saturday morning.
So, we packed up on Friday morning (I’d taken the day off) and followed our Mapquest directions to the Hyatt Regency Columbus. The cell phone was in effect, as we were planning to hook up with some of Aaron’s UPS co-workers when we arrived, and he’d told them we’d have our phone on. Unfortunately, when we stopped for lunch in Upper Sandusky, we discovered that our phone doesn’t work terribly well in BFE. *shrug*
We arrived around 3pm or thereabouts, and checked into our room on the sixteenth floor. “A great view of High Street,” our clerk Bill had said. What he didn’t say was how long of a wait there would be for the elevator all weekend.
Once we got settled in, we consulted our con schedule and discovered that there wasn’t really anything we wanted to do until 6pm (since we’d missed Cosplay 101 at 3:00). So, we ended up making a round of the Dealer Room, which is where all the crazy anime fans go to buy DVDs and t-shirts and other anime memorabilia. This would be only the first of several trips to the Dealer Room during the weekend, as we would have a fair amount of time to kill between events.
After this first round (where we met The Prince of All Cosmos from the PS2 game Katamari Damacy), we dropped off our booty upstairs and had some dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the food court. (Yes, the hotel / convention center has a food court.) The sugar and MSG in the General Tso’s chicken made Aaron extremely high, and the noodles in my Phad Thai shrimp made me extremely full.
At 6pm, we headed off to check out the Anime Music Video contest. For those who don’t know, Anime Music Videos (or AMVs) consist of video clips from one or more anime over a music bed. We’d watched some online, and had been disappointed in years past that we’d had to miss the AMV contest (it’s always on Friday night), so we were excited to finally get to see it. Unfortunately, in the hour we managed to stay (of the three scheduled hours), we saw maybe half a dozen that we thought were “good.” The other dozen were slow or otherwise poorly paced for their genre. By the time we left, we both had some ideas of AMVs we’d like to put together ourselves, and wagered that we could do them better than some that we’d seen.
After an hour of AMVs, we decided to bail and check out the Go tutorial. We’d been curious about how this game was played; so we were understandably disappointed when we arrived 15 minutes late, and the basics of the game had already been explained, and the instructor had already begun to teach strategy. We tried so hard to figure out the basic rules from the strategies he was teaching, but it was so complex that we finally gave up after a while and just left.
By this point, we figured that Greg and Aaron’s other co-workers had to have arrived, so Aaron whipped out the cell and gave Greg a ring. Long story short, Greg hadn’t realized his reservation was at the Hyatt, and thought it was for the hotel next door instead—so, to fix their “mix-up,” the Drury Inn & Suites had given him a suite for the regular con price. So, we met up with Greg and helped him and his cousin get their Hyatt reservation cancelled, then helped them bring their multiple cases of booze in from the truck. OMG, so cold outside without a coat. I was not pleased.
We ducked out of the pimp-ass suite with the excuse of going to a Cell Painting workshop… but, once we were back at the Hyatt, we opted to just go upstairs to our room and chill. I don’t think we did anything else that evening, apart from, well, doing what married people do when they get a hotel room together. 😀 Of course, I ended up crashing out before Aaron was tired, so he went back out to the con and went to check out some of the more adult late-night fare.
Saturday Morning: We’d consulted our schedule the night before, and determined that there was no reason to set the alarm clock, as the first panel we wanted to attend was at 2pm. So, we rolled out of bed around noonish and got some lunch in the food court before—you guessed it—hitting the Dealer Room again. I believe we took our booty up to our room and chilled out for a while before heading down to the 2:00 Religion, Myths, and Magickalness panel.
We arrived at the panel on time, maybe even a few minutes early, and awaited the arrival of the panelists.
While we waited, Jeremy (Aaron’s other co-worker) and his fiancee and her brother joined us in the panel room, so we had some other people to chit-chat with.
Finally, one of our fellow attendees announced to us that he’d been to the Infodesk (the hub of all things Ohayocon) and had told them that we were without panelists. Shortly thereafter, three Ohayocon staffers filed in and took the seats behind the panelists’ table. Then one of them announced that the real panelists were MIA, and that the three of them had volunteered to lead the discussion, even though they didn’t really know much about the subject, although one of them was a Religious Studies major.
Now, by this point, about 25% of this formerly-packed room had already left while we were waiting for the panelists to arrive. Once the knowledge level of our new panelists was revealed, another handful left. We were waffling ourselves.
Then, when the panelists asked for a topic for discussion, one of the audience members threw out, “How about Christianity in anime?” Oh, God… no pun intended. The whole row of us stood up and filed out, along with probably a third of the people left in the room. One of the panelists called after us, asking if a discussion of Shintoism would get us to stay—but we were already out the door and pissed.
Since the Steve Conte concert was in a half hour, and the organizers had suggested that people arrive and line up an hour beforehand, we decided just to head down to the Conference Center and get in line for the concert. We ended up waiting in line for over a half hour, and waiting in our seats for another 20 minutes or so.
Now, so you know, Steve Conte has done songs for such anime as Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, and others. I had the feeling I might not know any of his songs, but I was OK with that. What I didn’t know was that Steve Conte has a righteous 80’s vibe about him: big hair, tight pants, etc. The concert wasn’t bad—the songs were well-written and well-performed—but we’d had enough Steve Conte after about a half hour.
I don’t recall exactly what we did for the next hour or so, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Aaron and I hit the Dealer Room yet again before going to the Mobile Suit Gundam panel at 6pm. Now, I’ve never watched any Gundam series myself, but Aaron’s into a couple of them (they’re a whole franchise; basically, the Star Trek of Japan). Greg and his cousin ended up joining us at the panel, which was plagued with A/V technical difficulties. I could tell it would have been a totally intriguing panel, had I known what the hell anyone was talking about. 🙂
At one point, Greg leaned over to Aaron and complained that they were doing so much talking—weren’t we going to get to watch anything? Aaron had to explain to him that, well, this is a *panel*. People talk in panels. Greg seemed confused about this concept; I think he’d thought it would be more of a video sampler thing than a discussion.
After the two-hour Gundam panel, I was a little more versed in the ways of Gundam, although I’d still never seen it, and my ass was asleep. Aaron and I headed off to Max & Erma’s for some grub, and left Greg and his cousin to fend for themselves until we met up again at 10pm for Anime Hell.
Oh—there’s one other important thing to mention about Saturday. During our round of the Dealer Room on Friday, Aaron had purchased a Mr. Sparkle t-shirt, which he decided to wear on Saturday. Good God—he got so many comments, you’d think he was in costume or something. Everywhere he went, he got some sort of “Hey, Mr. Sparkle!” or, “Love your shirt!” or something like that. (Which was sometimes confusing, as I was getting compliments on my Totoro shirt, too, and we couldn’t always tell whose t-shirt was getting the props.)
Anyway, when we went across the street to Max & Erma’s for dinner, Aaron got *more* comments on his shirt. He just couldn’t escape it. By this point, it had gotten really passe, and he just wanted to tell people to go to the Dealer Room and buy one for themselves. 🙂
After dinner, we chilled in our room for a while (again), attempted to watch some TV (nothing on except the damn dog show), and finally went downstairs for some ice cream. (Oh, those poor, overworked people at the ice cream stand. We felt so bad for them.) Aaron ended up having a double scoop of Cookies and Cream, and I had a Chocolate Malt. And, oh yes, we got high. Everyone should go off of sugar and caffeine, just so you can get the full effect of it when you have it again. We are such cheap dates now. Heh.
So, we headed down to Main Programming again for Anime Hell—and, of course, the Cosplay Masquerade was running over. There were lots of folks milling about in the large space outside the room, including some costumed folks. And, of course, Greg ended up seeing the hot bunny girls and wanted their picture… then decided he wanted Aaron to take his picture with the bunny girls… then tried to decide whether he should ask them to come up to his room later, because he would wager that they’d agree… then decided that they were really young, maybe even jailbait, and he’d end up getting in trouble with the law, and it wasn’t worth it. (Um… can you say sour grapes?)
We all ended up sitting down along one wall and waiting for the cosplay to be over. Across the way, the bunny girls were flirting with everyone and having pictures taken. During one of these photo shoots, Aaron and I (who were, of course, sitting on the floor) got more of a view than we’d bargained for when one of the bunnies stood just so… Yeesh. I guess bunny girls and Scotsmen have something in common: mainly, what they don’t wear beneath their… yeah.
Anyway, after a trip up to the Infodesk to make sure we were still in the right place, and a grand total of an hour wait, Anime Hell finally began. Now, since we’d never been to a full weekend of the con before, we had to consult our program to find that Anime Hell is actually a two-hour block of really bad anime and other cartoons and Japanese TV shows and other weirdness. That was quite possibly the funniest shit I have *ever* seen. I so wish I could get a copy of the DVDs they were playing—they had been authored especially for Ohayocon. The best, though, was the German “training video” about proper operation of a forklift. OMG, I about busted a gut. Poor Klaus ends up dropping someone from a palette, slicing someone in half, skewering a couple people, and eventually getting beheaded himself, all due to his hairbrained forklift shenanigans. OMFG.
The way that the Anime Hell was run this year was a Choose Your Fate system: the clips were numbered from one through 116, and they would call on an audience member to pick a number. And, of course, some people were dorks and called out shit like “negative one!” And, of course, Greg (who is an Engineering major) had to pipe up to us and mention that, you know, negative one isn’t a real number. At which point I pause, and recall all that bullshit I had to learn in every goddamn year of high school math and college math after that, about Imaginary Numbers versus Real Numbers, and the subsets of Rational and Irrational, and Integers, and Whole Numbers, and all that. So, I tell Greg that yes, negative one *is* a real number. To which he tells me, “No, it’s not. I’ve taken four calculus courses. I know.”
Now, those of you who know me know that there are very few ways to really piss me off. One is to call me a liar. A corollary of this is to tell me that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, when I, in fact, do. So, I proceeded to tell him that negative one *is* a Real Number, since it doesn’t include the number i, which is the square root of negative one—which, since the square root of a negative number doesn’t exist in our number system, would make the number imaginary. And Greg just looks at me with this “you ignorant slut” sort of face and asks me what the hell I’m talking about. My thought is, if he’s had four classes of Calc, shouldn’t he know about all this shit I learned in goddamn high school Algebra II? Luckily, a new clip started by this point in the argument, and we had to break it off—but, goddamn, that really pissed me off. Maybe it shouldn’t have, but it did. Fucking agree to disagree, but don’t tell me I’m wrong without actual proof beyond “I’ve taken Calculus. I know.”
Rant over. *deep breath*
After Anime Hell, the videos went into Midnight Madness, which was a similar thing with video clips and funny shit. We were really just too tired to appreciate it after 1:00am or so, though, so Aaron and I went up to bed, and Greg went up to his own room.
Sunday Morning: We had to get up around 9:30am to have sufficient time to shower, pack up, take stuff to the car, and check out of the hotel before the 11am Cosplay Craftsmanship panel. Turned out that we actually got done with time to spare, so we took a spin around the Artists’ Alley one more time, as we just couldn’t stomach another trip into the Dealer Room. 🙂 Aaron ended up buying the very last moogle hat the nice hat girl had to offer, which was cool—and it fit, which was even cooler, as Aaron has a particularly large head. (Really! He can’t wear baseball caps at all, and knit hats have to stretch to fit his head.)
So, we went to the Cosplay Craftsmanship panel, which had one “real” panelist and one impromptu panelist—who, luckily, actually did have experience with cosplay fabrication. We learned about all sorts of materials from which to make a costume, and ways to make pieces move and light up and look like metal and mold to a given shape and all sorts of groovy stuff. I’m still planning to make my Totoro fursuit for next year, although I have some other ideas, too…
After Cosplay Craftsmanship, we got some brunch from the food court (yummy omelets from Chicken and Eggs) and headed off. During our weekend stay, we’d managed to accumulate:
- a Mr. Sparkle t-shirt
- a blue Chu Totoro plushie
- a Lain in bear pajamas plushie
- a Totoro pocket calendar (in Japanese)
- two books of Paradigm Shift, a comic by Dirk Tiede
- two dragon t-shirts from Neon Dragon
- a Haibane Renmei t-shirt
- a moogle hat
Postscript: Aaron won’t be too keen on me mentioning this, but… barely two blocks from home, after our pleasantly uneventful two-and-a-half hour drive home, we managed to skid on a turn in our snow-covered neighborhood and bulldoze someone’s mailbox. The family that lives there didn’t seem too pissed, thankfully. We were perfectly OK, and the car only suffered a minor crack and some scratches on the bumper, and our insurance will take care of the guy’s mailbox post. Still, though, Aaron was completely livid. All’s well that ends well, though, as they say.