Sakura Con 2003 Report


Friday, April 4, 2003.


April is always a month were things pick up from the winter drab. It is the first of spring and that is when Sakura Con rolls around.

This year, I am finally NOT going as staff nor am I part of some group that has to show up for parties and what not. This year, I can and go and relax more so than anything else.

I start this morning gathering the usual changes of clothes for a few nights. I packed up even my laptop incase I needed to off load pictures off the digital camera. I also brought some Japanese Music Videos DVDs in case there is a room party that needs entertainment. I would also take the time to give credit and thank for some of the pictures, since he was able to get some of the people whom I didn't get a good shot of.

This year, I am going down with Paul and Chris, bright and early. We set out for the border around 9:00am. We finally got past it around 12:00 noon. Funny enough, the car in front of us was also going to Seattle for the same convention.

First pit stop was for some coffee. Of course, Chris our driver needed a Starbucks, and like most things, can't find one. We ended up stopping at a gas station with a conveince store in it. I picked up some various bags of chips and pop to snack on the trip down. I was conciously thinking of the prices of things but there were a few sales on things which made it much more in line. For example, the two bottles of pop I had were the 1.0L size ones and they were on sale at 2 bottles for $2.00US reasonable, the bags of chips were $1.49US for the 200g bags which was reasonable.

We arrived in Seattle without much event, at around 3:30pm. We checked into our room and got down stairs for registration and pre-registration. The line was not really long in comparison to how long I had seen it before. The lobby of the hotel had a piano in it, so Paul pulled out his Final Fantasy sheet music book and started playing. The people in the lobby were treated the ambient backgrounds of FF as many did recognize what was playing. Though.... other than "Eyes On Me". I suppose other anime vocal themes would probably have been better. Heck even "Fly Me To The Moon", I think might have quirked a few ears.



Here is Paul doing his performance to the crowd. You can see the Zelda guy in line behind us.

One of first good costumes today.

The Spirited Away guy also wandering around the registration area.




Like last year, the dealer's room was chaotic to get into so, I am finally here before it opens so I promptly got in line for it. Good thing, the line got longer and longer. The line when down the hall, out the door and down the stair case outside the convention centre.

But once inside OH YEA!!!

First booth I stopped at was the guys from last year who had all the cool boards and posters. This year I grabbed one from Breast Man's Assistant, Slayers and Mahoromatic. Nice pictures that I can print out posters if I wanted to.

They also had this cool, plastic cell poster of Onegai Teacher.

There was a comic book dealer selling a mess load of the Red Light Manga series of smut comics. These were really good. I quite enjoyed the Sheila's Diary story.

Lots of anthology collections dojinshis were on sale so I picked them up.

More of the video game girls and anime dojin anthologies.

I missed "Anime Jungle" this year as usually have a good collection of Laser Discs, old music CDs and posters. Oh well, maybe in San Deigo.

I was hunting for some pretty obscure DVDs by Canadian standards. FLCL has a rather limited distribution up in Canada so I had to pick volume 2 up here. Also the two volumes of the Live Action La Blue Girl. You can kinda guess why we have problems getting this in Canada.

Ah, yes, the Laser Perception guys. I love it when they bring all their really really old music CDs.

This year I chose to buy Betterman 1+2 OST, I My Me Strawberry Egg OST and the Patlabor Mini Pato Soundtrack.

Although I had more money to spend, this is was about as much as I could find that was worth my effort in buying.

The next major event for me was the "Anime Music Guessing Contest" Since I had a rather large CD collection, I figure I might have a chance.

Well, after wandering around for a while, I managed to be lead to the games room where the contest was being held.

This room was awesome. They had a section full of networked computers which were running counterstrike till you puke.

The other parts of the room had Tekken 4, Guitar Freaks, Dance Dance Revolution and of course my favourite Para Para Paradise.

The game started with a lot of new anime themes I didn't recognize. Soon I realized that every song was a new song from a new show. How new? So new that you would have had to bought an original Japanese DVD (yea right), bought the Hong Kong bootleg DVD (very possible), or downloaded the now illegal fansub of it (most likely). When asked the MC why they picked such new songs, his reply was "Because it would be the only music most people would know". BULLSHIT, It ended up that 4 people each answered 10+ of the some 60 songs.

I am sure that the commerical representatives would have been pleased to know that the "con" condones the illegal downloading of fansubs.

Anyway, I excused myself from this farce of a contest, and proceed to the real fun. The games room!!

I stayed in this room pretty much all night and all morning impressing the audience of players. It was a figured, most people have never seen such a game since most arcades won't have it. Thus, most people are trying it for the first time or have only played it rather briefly. I also expected there should be a handful of people who can play it at the complex levels, and I was right. Of the people I saw played in a variety of ways. One player was still using a jabbing and poking boxing style which I guess he carried over from the beginning of the game and has never refined to a dance style. There was a three others who were basically using the two arm flap (ie. fling the arms back and forth and hope to hit everything). I didn't however, seen anyone dance with anything that resembled para in Expert. Nobody played hi-speed and nobody played random. I only ever saw one girl in a Digi-charat costume perform some 6 star songs in Expert. It wasn't till the very last day on Sunday before I saw anyone else that tried hard and the guy was actually pretty good.

Staff closed the room for one hour at 7:00am for quote "Room Maintenance", which is a load of crap. It was the really the "Kick out all the otaku losers, so the STAFF can play the games hour". Oh well, I guess a bit of sleep didn't hurt. The room got to be a bit messy with everyone leaving cups and plates and glasses everywhere. I guess they really needed more garbage cans and beverage tables.


Saturday April 5th, 2003

I get a wakeup call around 10:00am in the morning from room cleaning service. That only gives me about two hours of sleep but that is enough for now. I got ready and headed down to the dealer's room since there will be most likely a line up as always. Today, there were almost no line up but the room was pretty busy. Didn't matter too much, I bought the things I had already wanted, the rest was crap.

I wandered out to do my next thing a the con and that was to find a drug store. I wanted to see if I could get something a little stronger from my athlete's foot. Anyway, I asked around and it seems that there was a mall about 15 minutes by buss away. So, what the hell, lets see how far I could walk.

I started down the highway and passed a number of interesting shops. Most importantly, I found that the sister hotel, the Double Tree, was beside a Taco Bell and a Jack In the Box. Ahh.. Tacos for dinner tonight!! Anyway, about a hour passed and I found a Safeway and a Drug Store on the same corner. I also bought a cheap $5 phone card too so that I could call up George to say hi and pick up a few Ebay winnings that wouldn't ship to Canada. He lives in Seattle. The other thing I bought was shelled peanuts because normally, I would eat these outside because they are so messy, thus I would never eat these at home. BUT since I am not cleaning the room..... heh! Oh, yea, sunflower seeds did come to mind as well as popcorn.

I walked back to the Taco Bell and had dinner there, I noticed there were a lot of Game Workshop gamers in the restaurant. Well, at the Doubletree there was a game's workshop tournement there. Great. I also found there was a free shuttlee from the Double Tree back to the Hilton. So I waited for that and hopped on back the hotel.

After a brief rest on the bed, I headed back downstairs for a night of gaming. I really sharpened my guitar skills which was lacking.

Since tonight was masquerade night, lots of people came into the games room afterwards. One of the most notable is this chick with the big pencil. She was actually not too bad at basic para para.


Sunday April 6th, 2003

We woke up this morning all ready to pack. I popped out early to Taco Bell for breakfast. I went to Taco Bell because I still had the cup from yesterday and it is like the burger King in Richmond, with self serve refills. I came back to finish the packing. Check out time was noon, so it was a lot of cleaning. I tidyed up and went downstairs to wait in line to pay. We moved our junk into the car but I ended up having to wait for Paul to do something or buy something. We got ready to leave, but Paul decided he wanted restaurant food. Ok, what ever, he ate instant noodles all weekend, why not.

We drove to international district and of all places we ended going to Pho Hat, a stupid Vietnamese Noodle house... Sheesh, talk about noodle on the brain. Ok, what ever, I got my usual lamelass not enough meatballs noodles, with lots and lots of pepper to give the noodles some sting. After the lame lunch, we hit the road.

I was to meet up with George at the Walmart near his house. This gave me a chance to browse the DVD part of the store and I found the Panasonic S35 DVD player, which was the new model which takes DVD-RAMs and the price was great too, $99. So I picked one of those things up.

After that, we headed up to the border. We sailed through the truck crossing without incident. A very productive trip.



Usually every year there is one big theme that a lot of the costumes of the cosplayers fell into. In previous years, it has been Ranma or Sailor Moon or Rurouni Kenshin or Trigun or Hellsing. Well, this year there was a good nice mix. However, there was one disturbing theme I noticed, the number of LAME costumes out there.

I can understand that making costumes can be quite hard, since I have made a Patlabor SV2 uniform and a FFS Mirage Knight one, I know how hard and how easy one can be. But I am not refering to that. I am refering to how little work actually how little imagination it took to think of the most boring anime characters to cosplay. These are people who are basically wearing normal clothing or people who put on one piece of premade accessory and they would be in costume. A bunch of sorry ass excuses to be cosplayers. In the past, this is why characters like Ryo Saeba from City Hunter, or Lupin IIIrd or Shinji from Evangelion because unless they told you, you wouldn't have known that they were in costume.

Here is sort of what I remember from the con. Some of them I added in afterwards once I had a look at the, and was disgused that he considered it a costume and would explain why I missed them. After all, could you tell these guys are in costume?

Ok, probably THE lamest costume. Maybe he should have written, "I'm A RETARD" and then he might have gotten away with parking in the handicapped spots.

This lame costume is probably the result of some drunk passerby pointing out to this poor sap, "Hey man, you look like Tenchi's Dad." Yea what ever, get off the cosplay stage!

Ok, this is I filed under lame because it is a common outfit for gay guys in Yayoi comics. But this falls into the "LAME IDEA" category as for the random gay guy.

Alright, I know she is from Noir, but come on people. Her costume is a black skirt and red wool top. Any hooker on Kingsway could match that description. Of course the only give away sign is the gun. Oh yea. Now she is the undercover female cop dressed to bust the clients of the hookers on Kingsway.

Ok, this is like the Noir example. I know the guy is from Excel Saga but again, it is a pretty plain dress costume with a single prop, the wig, as the give away. Why not go all the way and finish your costume Ronald McDonald? You clown...

This one is a slick one. Nicer attaire for this kind of convention so I knew it had to be Robert from Art of Fighting. The giveaway prop was the driving gloves. I threw this one into the lame category because this is an unchallenging costume.

I have no idea why this picture was on

Maybe it was the test shot on the guy's camera to make sure it was working...

If it wasn't, this is pretty lame costume...

What? Don't you know who I am? What can't you tell with by my black pants and my black suit?

Let me guess... A Man in Black? oh this is a Japanese Animation convention not a SciFi one,,, umm. Lead singer of Siam Shade? (Rurouni Kenshin ED). Sharon Q (Orphen OP)? Knives from Trigun? Billy Idol? David Bowie?

This gets filed with the random gay guy entry above under the "TOO GENERIC" category.

I was later informed that this guy was suppose to be GTO. Hell, he was so generic, he could have been Murai too...

Well, now you can see if I accidently missed you in costume you can understand why. I am not here to make fun of LAME ass costumes but I think part of a good cosplay presentation is picking a good character that stands out to play. Otherwise, you become part of the mob of 3000+ anime fans gathered for the convention.

The words "Who Cares" comes to your mind. Exactly, people will be thinking "Who cares about you", so why bother? Oh, you don't care what people think of you? I am sure they don't. Do you want them to noticr you? Maybe... Well, stop picking such lame costumes. After all, what is the point of wearing a costume to stand out of the crowd when you are obviously wearing one that doesn't?