We arrived Thursday evening and got our badges. The plan was for Mason and I to pick up the badges for myself and Maggie and Stephanie, but it turned out that each person had to be physically present to receive their badge. Now, you also had to present an ID. Maggie is 13, so she doesn't have one. Steph is 16, but her situation is kinda odd, and she doesn't have one either. I asked the guy I got my badge from how that would work out, and he said as long as there was a parent or guardian with them, he could give them badges. It was rather amusing as Mason was scheming ways to claim to be related to Steph, and Liz actually suggested "if they give you problems, try to cry", but ultimately I went back by myself with the girls, and simply said "I'm her brother and acting as her guardian for this" and that was that.
Friday we attended various panels. There was "the Chibi Project" which was a couple people running "tests" on this little plastic model of Chibi Moon (aka Rini). They had footage of the tests on DVD, and the resultant figurine was there with them. Then they debuted a couple new tests. Someone had donated to them a Shinji model, and they placed it on a train track. The body survived uninjured, but the head was sort of all blown out and smushed up. Then there was something involving a Beyblade arena and power tools, but it really wasn't as amusing as that introductory statement might make it sound. Lastly, they took one of those power rotary saws and cut a Pikachu plushie in half, live at the panel. It was kinda funny how afterwards there was a rush of people to get some of the stuffing from the doll.
After that there was a Plushie workshop where you could make your own. However, it was poorly organized. Various people showed up for the workshop before that, which was this guy sorta standing at the front of the room stiffly, talking about how to make molded pieces for a costume. He had one unfinished ring which was going to be an ear on a Megaman costume, and a four-bladed knife thing, also unfinished, for a Naruto style weapon, and then he had his presentation, which you might have guessed, was itself unfinished. Anyways, we sat through that, then a Con guy came in and cleared out the room of people "because they had to have us come through the door and collect money" (the Plushie workshop had a 5$ fee. The previous one was free, of course.) The only trouble was that there was a line of 100+ people formed outside the room to get in to the Plushie workshop. Eventually they had someone go out in to the line and call back all the people that had been waiting in the previous event, but the attendance limit for this workshop was 20 people, and I happened to be person number 21. Mason, Maggie, and Stephanie got in, and of course Mason was all ready to argue with whoever for getting me in, but I was cool with just watching. Then, when the thing started, the woman running it "had enough material for 20 people" but had like, 10 scissors, 40 needles, 7 sheets of this stuff, 11 sheets of that.. it was sorta funny. "Well it's 20 people, and you only need 40% of this, 13% of that, 200% of needles, I guess, etc etc." Eventually after watching that for an hour (it was a 2 hour workshop) Mason suggested if there was something else I wanted to take in, they'd meet me somewhere (perhaps the dealer's room). I said sure, since I was hungry, but as I was passing the panel for "The Dubs that Time Forgot" I stepped in there and ended up staying for the hour (it was a 2 hour panel, so I only got the first half).
Mason was waiting outside of the dealer's room, Maggie and Steph had gone in. I went in and checked it out a bit, ended up getting a few DVDs (Infinite Ryvius 4, Witch Hunter Robin 4, I'm Gonna Be an Angel! 2). But I sorta hung outside with Mason as well, so I didn't get to scope the place out as much as I would have liked. There would be other visits, though.
Then we went to the main panel where there was a voice acting thing going on. It was pretty cool. Crispin Freeman was hosting it, he had a laptop with various anime clips and printed out lines to go along with them, and he had audience members step up to the mic and read lines. It takes a long time to get the audio for even a small scene. When we walked in, we took seats sort of in front of Lex Lang, but by the time the panel had ended he was gone. Then, they had that panel room clear out so they could set up for "Who's Line Is It Anime?". Once again, we came out and were faced with a long line. This time, a couple of Stephanie's friends were pretty close to the head of the line. Mason and the girls sort of glommed on there, but they were taking up a big part of the hallway, it looked sort of like a cancerous outgrowth, and since the panel wasn't going to start for half an hour, I went down to the video game room and watched people play games for a bit. Then after some time had passed I went back up and found a seat at the back of the panel and saw the whole show, which was pretty good. I'd still have to say that the first one I saw at NDK was the best, but this is probably in no small part due to Scott McNeil being there at the time. He was supposed to be part of the one at Anime Boston 2003 but he ended up not showing in time for it, and we were subjected to some kinda lame replacement guy instead. The one this year had some of the voice actors that were there (Monica Rial, Lauren Goodnight, Lex Lang, Crispin Freeman, and uh.. some other guy).
In kind of an odd move, they didn't clear the auditorium after that for the AMV presentation, but some people left anyways and I got a seat near the front with my crew. The videos in the Beginners and Journeymen categories were better, imo, than the few in the Masters category. There was a really cool one called "Western Rhapsody" which was Bohemian Rhapsody set to Trigun. The "put a gun against his head" line was accompanied with the scene with Vash and Legato, and there was symbolism with the Wolfwood scene in the church for later lines. That one didn't win, though, which was too bad, because I would have liked it to. The winners were this collage video set to Weird Al's song about a Horoscope, a song about roses with Utena visuals, a weird mix of Under Pressure and Ice Ice Baby with FLCL and NGE respectively, and the Masters video which was some kind of tribal sounding song set to scenes from Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Cowboy Bebop movie). The song for that one was called "M.U.L.E." but I don't remember the artist. I guess it was decent, though they had the video throbbing with the music, which I think they could have used less of and still made the point. The throbbing effect, that is. The Gainax video (Under Pressure etc) is a decent concept, but it was executed poorly. The problem was that, while the author(s) had put subtitles showing which vocal track they made the images fit to, the Vanilla Ice vocal track was always the loud track with the Bowie/Mercury lyrics always in the background. Now, if they had shifted the focus of the MUSIC as well as the visuals, I'd have no problem, but it auditorially was just a sort of mash of two songs together, rather than two songs working in harmony.
Saturday was the day of video watching. We saw, let's see.. Utena (Apocalypse Saga) eps 1-4(or was it 5), I'm Gonna Be an Angel! eps 5-7, Azumanga Daioh eps 1-5, ROD TV ep 1, and then we hit the dealers room again. However, this time we got there about 15 minutes before it was going to close for the day, so once again I didn't get to properly check out the place for loot. Between Utena and Tenshi there was a gap of time, so they played a couple episodes of Marmalade Boy. Mason and the girls thought it was interesting. I thought it was a *lot* like Kare Kano.
After that, the girls went to the video game room and Mason and I attended a panel called "Through a Distorted Lens". It was about how we perceive Japanese culture through anime and manga. Or, something like that. It was three speakers with four presentations (one spoke at the beginning and then at the end). The first topic was women and shoujo. Next was about the military. Then one about the male role in shoujo. The final topic dealt with the school system. I dunno if it was just that I already pretty much knew about the subject matter or whatever, but the panel didn't really impress me much. There was an annoying bitch a couple rows in front of me that seemed to want to do her own presentation rather than ask questions at the Q&A portions. Mason, of course, found her "picking apart" of the subject matter to be good, or something, but I found her to be long winded and with little to say of substance. In fact, I sort of had to laugh inwardly when she ended her tirade with "and I think this is something your paper should perhaps consider". Meh, I could bitch for a while about that, but hell with it, this is already long enough.
We finished off the day by hanging out in the video game room for a bit, and then went home.
Which is yesterday, but sort of today, maybe. I had a nap for 5-6 hours, which might mean it wasn't really a nap, so I dunno if I'd really call this a continuation of yesterday or not. I suppose I could consider it the new day. Anyways.
There wasn't a whole lot on the schedule for Sunday. We woke up late and stayed in the apartment for a while. We eventually got up and got to the dealer's room by 1:30pm (it closed at 3pm so there was plenty of time). By about 2pm and about 300$ later (one shop took credit cards) we were out of there. I picked up Utena (woops! the last collection of discs, not very useful heh. For some reason I simply assumed that only one collection was out and it was the first one, so I didn't even bother looking at the back of the case. I'll have to order the first box today, I guess), You're Under Arrest box 1, Marmalade Boy box 1 (mostly by demand from Mason and the girls.. well.. not "demand" as in "you must get this" so much as just that, since they liked it, I figured what the hell), and a limited edition box of Texhnolyze with the first disc. Texhnolyze was playing Friday night (as well as GiTS: Stand Alone Complex) but the former was at like 11pm-1pm and the latter overlapped with something else, so while I wanted to see those, we missed them. We also got a six pack of original flavor Ramune, and I picked up a satchel that has a Lain in her teddy bear jammies on it. Lastly, I picked up a CD with the vocal soundtrack for Azumanga Daioh (ie, the full versions of the OP, ED, and a bunch of other random songs too).
I guess at some point this week Mason wants to see Hellboy. Bill wanted to see it the week it came out, and I sorta wanted to go as well, but he wanted to see it like on a Monday, which I often sleep through, and I don't think I saw him on Tuesday, and by Wednesday (earlier I think, even) he had seen it with his sister. At the con, when you bought a t-shirt (Mason was the only one that got a Con T) you also got this small Hellboy comic. Apparently he hadn't realized the movie was based on a comic, and after reading the mini-comic he wants to see it now. I'm cool with that. He wanted to see it perhaps even yesterday, but at the moment we're thinking perhaps Tuesday. I dunno if Jim would like to see it, but it might be a fun movie like Blade was. It might suck, too, but the few things I've read about it seemed to show it'll be a good time.
So, that's this weekend in review. For the previous week, items of note include:
I brought my laptop in to Best Buy on Thursday, today I'll call and see what the diag/prognosis is. For those unaware (hi Mike *waves*) my power cord isn't really providing power to the system very well. The plug sits very loosely in it's hole. You have to kinda angle it the right way to get power, and then you have to kind of hold it in place most of the time to continue to get power. The battery works fine, of course, but it's only good for an hour, and I have to imagine that the having power/not having power at irregular intervals probably would wear down it's life faster than normal.
Also, I placed an order for plane tickets for my September vacation. I still need to print out and fill out the NDK form and call the hotel. I intend to do that this week. Hopefully I'll get my laptop back soon and can do it on that, but if not then there are plenty of other PCs in the house.
And with that, I think I'll come to a close. Peace out, yo.