Sakura Con 2004 Report


Friday, April 23, 2004: Friday


April is always a strange month. The weather can't tell the difference between being cold and can't decide if it is going to rain or if the sun decides to randomly appear. In amidst of all this is chaos is Sakura Con, a nice local convention to go to. I was all set up to go and wouldn't you know of all things, the Lord of Fate frowns on me and out of a so called "random" process, I not only get "randomly" served with serving Jury Duty, I got "randomly" selected too! Out of 120 people! They had to pick me out of 12. sheesh... Well, if this wasn't bad enough, the case was scheduled for Monday to Friday. What!?! Friday?!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

So this was pretty bad. Now I can't say too much about the actual trial details, but the charge was aggrivated assault with a baseball bat and breaking and entering. Now the light begins to shine and lady luck shows her smile, when the case was going to take a little bit longer than ancipated. It was going to carry over to Monday. This is great since my biggest worry was to get sequestered on Friday and end up having to stay together as a group all weekeend. AND THIS would SUCK!!!!

This year, I was well arranged. I had reserved the hotel room last year when I was checking out. I had also purchased the convention ticket for next year early too, This year, Paul Tien and Kris Droho will head down early on Friday since I was stuck in court. Hieu and Kevin will head down with me late Friday night/Saturday morning.

We got on our way with good timing around 10pm or 11pm. The US/Canada border was interesting. We stopped to present ID to the customs officer. He asked us "Where are you going?"


"Why are you going there?"

"We are going to an Anime Convention?"

"Are you bringing down anything to sell?"


"Pop open the trunk, Turn off the car, and Give me you keys"

Oh great, a random inspection, Not that I was scared or anything since I knew we won't have much going down. He looked quickly in the back and then came back again. "Go ahead. Have a nice evening."

We slowly drove off and accelerated to attack speed!! Yea! It was a good 2 hours to Seattle.


Saturday 24th, 2004

The hotel was not too hard to find, although parking was a really a pain in the ass. Oh well, what do you expect for being late? I knew nothing was happening or still occuring at the convention; so, I decided to check into the hotel first and then rendezvous with Kevin and Hieu who I left in the events hall. Of course, in retrospect, that was a bad idea since we didn't have convention badges and we were wandering around the convention centre. So anyway, we managed to get a hotel room and get our stuff dropped off.

Paul and Kris were already in the hotel room kinda both half awake watching anime on TV and halfway to passing out. I dropped my stuff off in the room and went to the video games room. There it was pretty much the same as last year with a few extra arcade boxes. There was Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, Para Para Paradise 1.1, Police 911, Pop N Music 5, some driving game and the console version of Dance Dance Revolution. I spent most of my time with the DDR and Para Para machines. Kevin went back to the room for some sleep. I didn't return to the room until 4:00am. Hieu didn't return at all.

I slept on the floor. There was an annoying cold draft along the floor because there is an air vent right under the window which I didn't deal with it. Oh well... I woke up at around 7:30am in the morning. I figured I would wake up Kevin and go for breakfast. I guess I should get something to eat first before standing in line. Hieu comes back to the room at almost the same time as we were leaving to tell us that people were already getting in line for the registration. Sheesh, registration wasn't suppose to start until 9:00am and the lines were already starting now. Oh boy...

When I got there, there was only one person ahead of me to pick up their convention badges. Hieu and Kevin needed to wait for theirs. I told them to meet me in the video games room when they were ready. I wandered again over to the games room. There was already a huge line up for the Hiro concert. Wow! I decided to walk around and go to the games room.

When Hieu and Kevin came in, they got Hiro tickets in their hand. They told me that the line up was already gone, and yes it was. You just go there and you get a ticket. Now THAT was easy!

We walked out to the street and headed over to the Denny's. It was about three blocks away and Hieu was complaining. I can see that if Harvey was with us, he would have probably complained too, But with the way parking was, I doubt he would have wanted to take the car out of its parking spot. Anyway, we sat down there at the restaurant, it was pretty busy. I ordered a basic scrambled eggs platter and a lemonade. Unfortunately, the lemonade was out of syrup. I thought it looked kinda funny not being yellow but all clear... Blah!!!! Carbonated water is pretty disgusting... I got that replaced with Raspberry iced tea that almost tasted like the one Snapple makes but it sure lacked the sweetness iced teas I am used too. The food was rather expensive since my total was $4.99 USD for the breakfast and $1.85 USD for the drink. So around $9.00 USD for that, which is $12.15 cdn. Heck, I would have only have to pay $9.00 Cdn for that same meal man... That is so sad...

During our breakfast, Dan, Paul and Colin arrive. They had just arrived into town and they were ready to go and stand in line for the registration. At this time, the line went out the door and out to the street. We decided to meet up with them later and we can try to do a run into downtown Seattle. I headed out to the dealers room. Unfortunately, that had a big line up too... Oh well, I guess I can't win them all... hahaha... I guess I was waiting for 30 minutes before I got in. It was an impressive dealer's room, or shall I say dealer's ROOMS. They needed to put the dealer's into three of the ballrooms of the hotel. Now, that is impressive! So here is my bootie for this year!! Please feel free to click on the picture for a blowup of the images.

This year has been the year of buying CD singles. I am still working on the Japanese Karaoke server, so I needed popular Japanese songs with an instrumental/Karaoke track on the CD. So at the old "Laser Perceptions" table, I picked up quite a few singles including the Final Fantasy X2 and Orphen.

Here are some more CD Singles with some popular anime songs. Some include the .hack//sign, Vandread, Ai Yori Aoshi and even Gundan Seed,

I picked up a few odd end DVDs. Here are two series that are next to impossible to get in Canada because the company is very small scale.

I picked these ones mainly because I haven't got a good Slayers SMUT or any Vampire Princess Miyu. The Saigato one I grabbed since I did like all the Yuri and Friends stuff. The Utena one had a nice cover. This was the first Gundam Seed one that I saw that was drawn nicely. And lastly, Ryo Ramia, I have always loved her stuff.

The Magic Users Club dojin really caught my eye. As did the doujinshi for Evangelion, even though I already had too many of them. Dead or Alive one was well drawn although the inside comic was really rough pencil sketched. The Final Fantasy 8 I took on the recommendation from the "red hot yaoi" seller. He said that it had some good lesbian action, and yea I would agree. Outlet was a new circle that I never really heard about but again it was recommended to me, and yea, I found it quite nice. The Magical Knights Rayearth one had a nice cover even though they hardly put any MKR inside it.

Athena and Friends and Mai Special; well, of course, more sequels of the Yuri and Friends. I recongized this Cha Cha smut from a Tenchi Dojin of that artist. I already have too many Evangelions but I still got this nice Rei Ayanami one, A non-yaoi Saint Sieya one is kinda rare so I picked up this one. And again, Dead or Alive from the Uroboros Circle (ie. Hiroyuki Utatane the artist of "Countdown" and "Seraphic Feather").

These are some of the Famous artist dojinshis. A Bastard dojin has a very nice cover, but the inside was very rough pencil sketched. An Oultlanders dojin drawn by Manabe himself. And lastly, a Sailor Mercury SMUT done by Breast Man's Assistant, Koh Kawarajima.

Here is a random selection of mangas I picked up. There were not too many of these to be found in the dealer's room. There probably was more on sale but I guess I might have got there too late to grab them...


Cosplay Overview

Usually every year there is one dominant 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 theme that seemed pretty obvious. THINK BIG, and not just larger but, BIG ASS BIG.

I have built costumes that require accessories. I made a Five Stars Stories Mirage Knight outfit that used a sword. However, it was really annoying carrying that stupid thing around. Sure it was light but it got in the way when I was using the elevator. It was a hassle when was looking through the booths in the dealer'ss room. I kept putting it down when I rest and when I sit down and when I was sitting in a line up. Now, why would you want to amplify your problems by making it bigger? And just a little bit bigger, BUT much much bigger! I thank for these pictures, since I was too lazy to take pictures of some of the cosplayers. But here are the ones I remember seeing.

Talking about guys with BIG ASS weapons, here is Gus from Berserk and his huge two handed sword. Oh correction, this isn't a guy...

Squall of Final Fantasy with a BIG ASS sword gun.

Faust from Guilty Gear X with a BIG ASS exacto knife.

Now here is a really really over exaggerated BIG ASS Inu Yasha sword, Tetsusayaga.

If you thought Inu Yasha had problems carrying his big sword, I think this Sango would probably have just as much problem with her BIG ASS boomerang!

Here is a magic user (.hack//sign) with his BIG ASS staff.

The real definition of a BIG ASS anchor weapon with a little girl, May, from Guilty Gear X.

The last of the BIG ASS weapons, is this Yuffie of Final Fantasy.


Now on the same topic of BIG ASS....

Holy shit, if I found a BIG ASS persacom THIS size in the garbage, I don't think I would be able lift or drag her home, nor would I want too....

Man, If I was an owner of an anime store (and I am), and a BIG ASS alien named Digi-ko like this came to my door, I certianly won't be asking her to stay in the room upstairs (which I do also have),

Ok, I was never a big fan of Final Fantasy X, but certainly I would have enough common sense NOT to cosplay as Lulu when I have the figure of a Barrett! This BIG ASS cosplay is something I did NOT need to see.

This person is a little too BIG ASS to wear this (Kikyo/Kagome) outfit... Well, unless of course she wasn't cosplaying Kikyo and was dressing as that fat old woman, Kaede... Then that is a different story...

I recall Goury was complaining in episode one, that Lina's breasts were too small. HA!! I guess this person interepted that as Goury having a BIG ASS fetish....

Here is a clear case of Jesse wearing the wrong costume. Obviously, she should have been in the BIG ASS Meow-Two costume instead, as THAT would have fit her much better....

Ok, I save the best (or worst) for last. Here was the clincher that made me think of the theme "BIG ASS". This rabbit girl (Rabin Rose or Card Captor thing or Wedding Peach thing, I can't tell) was sitting down in the dealer's room area and man, it was NOT a pretty sight. Oh, I feel sorry for the chair...

These pictures are my opinions and my freedom of speech which I am entitled to. I am not intentionally out to make fun of cosplayers. Instead, I want to make my observations and criticisms honestly based on what I see. And what I see is NOT pretty, and thus neither are my comments....


I am NOT here to critize people who are making costumes. I have tried to make costumes too and I know how complex and how expensive it can be. But there is a really big part of cosplay which involves choosing and FITTING into the role of the character you make the costume of. I am sorry if you are 300+ pounds but the image of Utena's Anthy was not made for a size 50+, thank you.

As for the other people carrying the huge weapons, it is a free country, and you can do what you want. But seriously... There is a fine line between functionality and practicality that was crossed somewhere a long time ago. But it isn't me who has to lug a huge sword around all afternoon. If that is your thing, maybe you should go and apply for the Scottish Telephone Pole Throwing Team.....

On a more happier note, my tenant and friend did something very bold during the cosplay. James Mangan proposed to Melissa Bernoudy for her hand in marriage on stage live in front of the cosplay audience. Although, there was an error in the names in the Sakura Con newsletter, but I got it straighten out for the record here. Congratulations!


Now, due to the number of questions I have been getting, on my report for this year, I have added this one section. "Was there ANY cosplay you liked?" And yes, of course, there were many good and very accurate cosplayers. My favourite were the two girls that dressed as the black Chi and white Chi.


Hiro Concert

It is unusual to go to a J-pop concert, and Sakura Con was lucky enough to have one this year. I guess it was kinda of different. I am used to watching Japanese shows like Music Station and Hey Hey Music Champ, where Hiro would since and dance on stage with no back up band. So I was interested to see what would be done here and what the crowds reaction would be. Lip syncing was on my mind but in a few sets of songs, it became clear that she was unable to hit some of the notes that she might have normally if she was fresh on every song. A nice surprise was her rendition of "Fly Me To The Moon", which I picked up right away from the opening monologue. I am sure Rob and the other Karaoke veterans would have picked up on that immediately. The concert was quite enjoyable even though I was not very familiar with her songs aside from the couple of performances that I saw on Hey Hey Hey Music Champ.

The striking thing that caught my attention was how round Hiro's cheeks were and how pointed her nose was. Did anyone else catch that?

Here is a side profile picture from her album cover.

When I think of Hiro of Speed, this is the image I had in my mind. But I guess that is what the difference of seeing someone in real life does as opposed to photographs...

Now, is it my imagination or does she have a really pointy nose? Doesn't her cheeks look fattened up?

Directly after the concert, I was called along with the other Anime Evolution Staff together to a Canadian Bounty Party. It was a gathering of the various staff heads into a get together to talk about convention issues. It ended up a night of wine and cheese and bread. A few of the members from the Alberta group "The 404's" who are known for doing the Anime Improv at Anime Evolution 2003.


Sunday April 25, 2004

Today is always an uneventful day. Everyone is running around doing last minute things. I woke up at 7:30am and decided to walk out to get some breakfast. Of course, I didn't want to do Denny's again, so I decided to venture out further. I used the hotel buses to go to the sister hotel, the Doubletree, and go to the Jack In The Box across the street.

I also decided to experiment an I took the tranist bus in an almost random direction to see if I would hit a mall somewhere along the way. I rode from 188th up to 210th, before I hit a mall with a Safeway. I was able to buy a few things there that I needd. I suppose it was just as well, since I forgot my wallet back at the hotel room. Oh well, it was interesting, I guess next time, I will go the other way, since I hear now, that South Centre Mall was the other direction...

Back at the hotel, it was almost time to check out. We cleared our stuff out to the car. We soon found out we parked it in the wrong parking lot, so I had to go get that fixed. Paul had to go back into the dealer's room to get a Fred Gallagher thing done, and Chris needed to get his Hiro DVD signed. I told them I would meet them in the games room. Of course, for some reason, the games room was closing up for business at 1:00pm, now that was stupid! Fortunately, I was able to find everyone else in the dealer's room.

We left the convention, well stocked with goodies this year. It was a great con! Already booked the hotel and paid for next year already!