Got up about 8 am on saturday and did some laundry since i was running low on clothes. I decided to just do jeans and my Kingdom Hearts t-shirt, but went with my docs rather thank birks since i figured i'd spend a lot of time on my feet. I headed out about 10:30 but stopped by the del taco on Garey near the 10 to get breakfast.
I'm not sure exactly when i got to the convenction center. I head realized till i got there that it was the same place that work held their user conference, though that conference only used a couple rooms in the Anaheim Hilton, while Anime Expo had the entire convention center and rooms in three of the hotels.
The first thing i did of course was get in line for registration. A very long line. That was okay though, cause there was lots of cute girls in the line too :) I ended up spending somewhere between an hour and two hours in the line. Partway through the line i got to the point where they had signs posted saying it was cash only, which worried me a bit. I had $45 in my wallet and i wasn't sure if that would be enough. I figured it would cost somewhere between $30 and $60, and i didn't want to have to get out of line to go to the ATMs and start over again. This is the point where being there with other people would have been incredibly useful (as opposed to just being fun.) I finally decided to risk it and worry about it when i got to the actual registration area if it turned out i was short.
The line was of the serpentine kind, going back and forth type so i got a continually shifting view of people. A cute but very young girl about a half a row back from me complimented me on my Kingdom Hearts shirt, which was amusing, given how undressed up i was given to all the cosplayers about. This was also the point where i started noticing that there were a lot of people (comparitively speaking) dressed in generic goth outfits, including of course lots of cute girls.
As the line progressed i realized there wasn't actually a registration desk up front. When you got to the front of the line they sent you up some escalaters to the next floor up in groups of about 20. When i got up there i found that we then walked across the room upstairs and got into another line =P There were three sections for the line, the left one labeled as pre-registration, the middle as normal registration, and the right as something else, so everyone got into the middle line. Then one of the herder people came over to our line about three or four people in front of me and told us that everyone behind that point should get over into the left line since they were both the same. I thought about pointing out that it wasn't labeled as being the same, but decided to just shut up and take advantage of the situation :) So i got to skip past a huge chunk of people. About five or ten minutes later i got up to where the forms were and found that it was $25 for one day, $40 for two days, and $50 for all four days, so i was $5 short of doing all four days. I decided to register for saturday and sunday and figured if i wanted to come back on monday i could pay more then.
So the first thing i did after registering was head next door into the exhibition hall. So now i was walking around instead of standing, and i got to look at people and things instead of just people :) The first thing i saw when coming into the hall via the side entrance was the (rather small) Square Enix booth, which was demoing Dragon Quest 8. They also had kawaiiii plushy/beanbag slimes! I _so_ would have bought one if they had any for sale, but they didn't :( Other than that i saw lots of cool stuff but decided i didn't really feel like buying anything at the moment, especially since i would have had to go find a ATM to get more money.
After a couple hours of that i went outside and found a large group of people listening to a guy going by the name "Man-Thing" or something like that protesting about how they wouldn't let him into the con. Theoretically this was because he was dressed up in something similar to Faye Valentine's costume. If he were more fem it might have worked, but wasn't particularly fem and was particularly furry. Despite that though i can't imagine that they would have refused him entrance since although not particularly attractive he certainly wasn't indecent. However someone claimed that he's been protesting like this for years, so there's probably more to the story than i've heard. He certainly had quite a crowd of supporters cheering for him. At one point a group of them marched off to the registration area to demand that he be given a badge, but i suspect that nothing came of it in the end.
After awhile i wandered off to the hotel where they were doing the video showings and video games. Looked in the video game rooms but those were way too crowded to bother with so i spent several hours watching anime. It was right at six that i headed back to the convention hall and found that it had just closed. However that meant that everyone was streaming out so i stood around for awhile watching that. They were arranging group photographs nearby and there was a parade of Naruto cosplayers out of the convention hall over to that area. There were also quite a few Full Metal Alchemist cosplayers. Apparently all the really popular stuff at the moment is stuff that i haven't seen at all =P
There was some kind of costume ball going on in one of the hotels, not the actual Masquerade though, but i decided to go watch some more anime in the video rooms instead. here was a guy and a girl sitting in the row behind me for awhile who had apparently just met. They were talking about various anime (of course) and then the girl was asking the guy what he was doing after the videos were done and if he wanted to hang out. I really wonder what it is i keep doing wrong =P I headed home about 11, after a couple hours of anime.
I was really surprised that i wasn't hungrier by that point. I'd had the stuff from Del Taco about 10:30 and nothing else the rest of the day. I was somewhat hungry when i got home but not starving so i had a snack, checked the net and went to bed.
Sunday was all about the cute girls and the stuff to buy :)
I got up a little later sunday morning and thought about not going in until about one, but i wanted to catch episodes 3 and 4 of FLCL which were at noon, so i managed to motivate myself to get going at a reasonable time. Since i'd seen so many goth people the previous day i decided that i could kill two birds with one stone and just wear my clubbing clothes so i wouldn't have to worry about changing for Maledicion afterwards. Then i got the bright (if you want to call it that) idea that i could put on kitty ears and be goth kittyboy and actually fit in :) Of course for every kittyboy there are two or three kittygirls. And surprisingly even they were outnumbered, for every one one of them there seemed to be two or three people with Naruto headbands. Some people had full Naruto outfits, some had the headband and a hood and one or two other bits, and a lot of people just went with the headband. There were swarms of them. The guy who does Something Positive is going to have to come up with a new comic/poster/t-shirt :)
Unfortunately when i started looking i couldn't find the damn kitty ears. I _know_ i had a pair, but i have no idea where they went to :( I decided to stick with the rest of the outfit (clubbing gear but with thundercats shirt rather than plain black shirt) and see if i could get cat ears there. I also decided that as long as i was wearing the fatigues i'd make use of the pockets and bring my digital camera and DS along. Unfortunately i hadn't thought to charge up any AAAs the night before so i stuck some in the charger for about ten or fifteen minutes and went with that.
I stopped by Del Taco for breakfast again and arrived at the con just in time for FLCL. Once that was done i went and checked out the exhibition hall. I did a brief survey of all the booths and only saw one that obviously had kitty ears for sale, though i saw a couple selling Naruto headbands =P Unfortunatly it wasn't the kind of ears i like, but two seperate ears on a loop of stretchy plastic "string." However since those were the only option i went ahead and got them. Then i went to the back of the hall where people were hanging out and sat down and put them on.
While i was doing so a couple people sat down across the "aisle" form me. Since there were only a couple booth set up back there that meant they were actually about twenty feet away. Theoretically you're supposed to put but the loop for the cat ears behind your ears and then comb your hair over the string. I spent a couple minutes trying to get that right and heard the people sitting across from me talking while i was doing so. I thought i heard one of them say "mrow" in my direction but i wasn't sure if i was imagining it or not, and if i wasn't imagining it i wasn't sure if they were teasing me or trying to get my attention, so i ignored it.
When i was done i got up and started walking back towards the booths and as i went past them one of them said something to me, something about hair i thought. I blinked and turned towards them and said "what?" The one who'd spoken turned to her friend and said something like "oh my god he's coming over!" and then turned back to me and said that they were just saying that they liked my hair. Again i wasn't sure if i was being teased or not, but i decided to take it at face value and smiled and said thank you, paused a second or two but couldn't think of anything else to say, and continued on.
This seemed rather strange to me, because prior to the incident at the Long Beach AIDS walk, no one other than an SO has complimented me about my hair in... years probably. In fact i think prizmdonna might have been the last one, back when i was first getting to know her fiveish years ago. So this was twice in just over a week that two total strangers had said something nice about my hair (although only one of them said it directly to me of course)
I wandered around taking a longer look at the booths this time. I saw someone wearing the same Kingdom Hearts t-shirt as i have, which was amusing because the previous day i'd seen someone wearing the same thundercats shirt i was wearing that day. I saw several other people with the older thundercats shirt but no one with the same shirt as me on the day i was wearing it :)
I stopped by the NIS booth and ended up getting a copy of Atelier Iris which just recently came out. They were also advertising for something called Makai(?) Kingdom which somes out later this month i think and a Something of Chaos game for the PSP that comes out who knows when. The Chaos game looks cool and is in fact the first thing i've seen for PSP that i would actually be interested in. Still not enough of a reason for me to get one yet though. One of the booths was selling DVDs for $10 each. They swore it was overstock stuff and not taiwan copies. I'm hoping that the people running the con would keep anyone from selling pirated stuff, and given the truely random selection of stuff they had i was inclined to believe them anyways. I picked up several DVDs there after spending longer than was strictly necessary picking them out because one of the people running the booth was a cute girl dressed up in goth gear and black angel wings :)
Then when going past another booth selling DVDs (a much larger selection though not as cheaply) i saw a group of cute girls all wearing very little with various designs they'd painted on themselves. One of them was really cute, and had a rather expansive pair of wings painted on her back, which was completly bare with a kind of heart-shapes breastplace affair of leather or pleather taped to her front covering her chest and upper stomach. After stopping to think about it for a minute i decided that since everyone keeps telling me i should be more agressive with girls asking if i could take a picture of her wings would be a fairly innocuous way to practice. I told myself that it wasn't the same as actually trying to start a conversation with her or hit on her, and people wouldn't dress up for the con if they didn't want attention.
I went over and said hi and i asked if she minded if i took a picture of her wings, and she said not at all and then asked if i wanted one of just her or of all of them. I stumbled for a second and then said how about one of each, and she said okay.
So i took a picture of her (two actually, one with flash and one without) and then several of the group of them, because one of them had wandered off a few paces and was talking to someone but when she saw i was taking a picture she wanted me to take another one with her in it. Unfortunately since i'd asked about taking a picture of her wings she had he back to me in every shot, but you can't have everything :)
So after i was done taking the pictures they showed absolutly no interest in talking to me anymore and wandered off so i continued going about the booths. I wandered outside a couple times at scattered points during the day just to get some sun and see who all was outside. At some point i went by the TokyoPop booth and they were doing a "buy four get one free" deal so i started looking for some manga to get. While doing so i found that they had a small DVD selection. There were a couple boxed sets that had been marked down a lot. One or two of them had already sold out but they had a couple boxes of Marmelade Boy season 1, and since my sister likes it and i thought the first episode or two had looked interesting i decided to get it for $40.
About this point i started noticing the people with signs. There was a big line around the Viz booth for people waiting to get the cloth bags they were passing out. They only handed them out at certain times, every hour or two i think, so there was usually a long line of people standing there waiting for the next hand-out. As i walked past the line i saw cute girl holding a sign saying "hug me for free" with "i'm single" added on below it. Then when i got to the Tokyopop booth there was another girl with a sign saying "hug me for 25 cents" with two or three other girls trying to drum up buisness. When i finished getting stuff at the Tokyopop booth i went back past the viz booth and around the... ADV booth i think and there was a girl with a sign saying "grope me for $1." I thought this was all too amusing, so i went around and got pictures of all of them. And no, i didn't take advantage of any of the offers, though i was slightly tempted with the "hugs for free i'm single one." I was kind of hoping that when i asked if i could take her picture she'd say only if i gave her a hug, but no such luck.
Then a little bit later i found a group of people in front of all the booths, with two guys holding a sign saying "will yaoi for yen," two girls holding a sign saying "will yuri for yen," a fifth person holding a sign saying "we're serious" and one or two other people telling passersby that they _were_ serious and really needed the money. I didn't know whether to feel sorry for them or be amused, but i took a picture regardless.
I stopped by the Bandai booth to see what they were playing (i'd grabed a free demo DVD and some flyers from them on an earlier pass) when all of the sudden i hear someone behind me say something about "the guy with pretty hair!" and i turned around and there were the same two girls who had commented about it before. I looked rather surprised and than smiled at them and they giggled and kept on going.
I went back outside for one of my brief breaks and when i came back in i checked to see if the cute girl with the sign was still in line at the Viz booth and found that no she wasn't, because the line had started moving. In fact it was moving fairly fast. I wandered around and found the rear of the line wasn't that far back by that point and decided to hop in line. A cute girl got in line behind me and somehow we ended up in one of those "in line" conversations about how we better get through the line before it stops again and with our luck they'd probbably stop right as we got to the front, etc. Then she said that she was getting the bag for a friend who was back at the booth she was helping at and i asked which booth and she said it was one of the ones in the "Artist Alley" and that i should come by and see what they had. So we did get to the front of the line and i got a bag and they were nice and gave her two when she asked, one for her and one for her friend. So she told me i should come by their booth again and wandered off.
I spent a little more time looking about and then followed the rather simple directions i'd been given to get to the artist alley. (Go outside, go down the escalator =) I got on the escalator, and the realized coincidentally that the same person had ended up right behind me. She asked if i was going to see the booth and i said yes, and when we got off the escalator she showed me where it was, not that it would have been that hard to find since there were only about 20-40 booths there. They had prints, which were pretty but i'm not sure what i would do with one, wallets, not as pretty and even less of an idea what i'd do with, buttons, the same, and dog tags. Which were the least practical of all the things they had but also the coolest. Also one of the most unique items out of all the booths there. Their booth was called Studio Dog Tags incidentally. I decided that those were just so cool that i wanted to have one even though i have no idea what to do with it other than wear it at conventions. They had a very wide selection... if you liked Naruto =P They had a number from other series too, including about a dozen from Final Fantasy but they were all from the newer games. She said they would do commisions and mail them to you for $2 extra. However i couldn't decide who i'd want on mine, though Terra immediatly popped to mind. I ended up deciding to get a Vincent one and worry about what i might want on a commisioned one later.
I went around the rest of the Artist Alley booths and saw lots of cool prints and pictures, a few of which i was tempted to get but again had no idea what i'd do with them. I found one booth with postcards with cute little goth characters on them being sold by a cute girl. I talked with the artist a bit and ended up buying four of the cards.
I went back to the exhibition hall after that but it was getting pretty close to 6, so after a bit i went back outside and sat down out there. I figured i could relax a bit and see if there were any more people in cool costumes to take pictures of. A few minutes after i sat down i suddenly heard "pretty hair guy!" or something similar and turned and there were the same two girls who had apparently just come outside. They sat down a couple benches away and after a few mintues i went over and asked if i could take their picture so when i told people that i'd run into the same people who said i had nice hair three times at the con that i'd at least have some evidence. They said yes so i took a picture. Then they said that they liked my hair because it reminded them of a friend of theirs and then we randomly talked about Fruits Baskets a bit and then they left.
I sat around some more and took pictures of various people in various costume. A little later someone started doing a chiense dragon (or was it a lion? i can never tell =P) dance thing, and i got one or two pictures of that before the batteries in my camera died =P So i didn't get any pictures of the two cute and very sweaty girls when they took a break to get out of the dragon. Then they did another dance which ended in a mock combat with someone dressed up as a FFX summoner :)
Finally about 7 i decided to go watch some more anime. I had considered going to the Masquerade, but i decided that i'd need to cut out early for clubbing and i wasn't sure i wanted to sit there for that long by myself watching people on stage anyways.
After several hours of anime it was about 10:30 and i figured it was time to head off to Malediction. I walked back out and past the convention center and there were still a few scattered people hanging around outside. As i was going through the path between the conference hall and the hotel a cute girl walked up to me and showed a sign to me. It said something along the lines of "My family was killed by ninjas. (something in kanji) I need hugs." Since this was more of a request than an offer unlike the other girl and she'd actually aproached me i said "you need a hug?" and she said yes, so i gave her a hug, and she smiled and wandered off, presumably to look for another "victim." So that was a rather good note to end the convention on.
In fact, that's a good enough note to end on such that i think i shall talk about Malediction in some other post.