I gave a small report in a tired haze Friday evening. Hopefully this should be a little more coherent.
We slept in and ate breakfast in our room. I have discovered over time that bringing your own food saves money, time, and you can eat healthier. Do it. It is a good idea.
If you are a light sleeper, this con may be hard for you. All the rooms go around the perimeter of a large open space that goes up from the second floor to the eighteenth floor and it echos. You can expect to hear people having fun until about 4:30 in the morning both nights. For us, it was not a problem.
My son put on his Kululu cosplay and we wandered out for the day.
We first hit The Maid Cafe at the top of the hotel that is put on by Hoshi No Yume Maid Cafe group in Milwaukee. It is an okay event. I think it is best if you go during one of their designated dance times for more entertainment. Otherwise it is just good service for some coffee or tea and some desert items.
On our way back, we ran into a staff member in the elevator with a badge that said “manager”. I remarked to him that it must be a really busy job. He said it was and that he was working on 4 hours of sleep. He then asked if my son was entered in the cosplay competition. I told him we hadn’t even considered it. He said if we were interested to go and sign up on the second floor. So I asked my son if he wanted to. He was unsure, but decided to try it. We signed him up and he was pre-judged and entered into the “chibi” category. We were told to make our way to ballroom D by 4:30 for instructions for the competition. So we wandered off to find things to do for the rest of the day.
We went to the dealers room to see our favorite Joker again.
After that we went to see voice actress Leah Clark’s panel: “Leah Clark Calls Your Friends”. Leah Clark known for her roles as Blair in Soul Eater, Fuyuki in Sgt. Frog, and Jiji in Princess Jellyfish, just to name a few. This is a panel where Leah prank calls the audience’s friends. I had some fun and had her prank call my older son who couldn’t come to the convention, in the voice of Fuyuki. He didn’t pick up so Leah left a pretty funny message on his voice-mail. He was both thrilled and annoyed with me, but if you can’t have some fun at your child’s expense what fun is parenting?
We then headed over to watch “Cosplay Combat Chess”. Where cosplayers have volunteered to be live chess pieces in a narrated chess match. Once a piece is taken, the cosplayers take the stage and perform a mock battle. The whole thing is pretty entertaining.
After that we ran into a few more characters before going to the competition.
Kill La Kill
The Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat
Big Hero Six
My Little Pony
The Pre-show prep began at 4:30 pm for the cosplay competition. This consisted mostly of where to walk, how long to stay on stage, and where to sit. And then it was time to wait, and wait, and wait some more. The upside is we were able to talk with a bunch of the cosplayers and see some amazing costumes (sadly I didn’t take pictures then). My son got a lot of great feedback and encouragement from the other entrants (who were all older than him).
The doors opened for seating around 6 pm and the event finally began around 7 pm. My son was the first to take the stage. He was the only entrant in the “chibi” category. He took the stage and the audience “awwwed” and cheered loudly. The event featured beginning and advanced walk-ons, beginning and advanced group walk-ons, and skits. The whole show ended by 9 pm. My son, being the only entrant, won his category. He was pretty happy and had a lot of fun.
The first picture was him accepting his award and the second was right before the visiting cosplay judge, Mandy Moore (aka AmazonMandy), gave him a hug.
It was a long day. It was a good day. We left, got dinner, and went to bed.
Sunday was a short and quiet day. We got up late, packed up the car, and checked out of the hotel. After that, we went to see the Taiko drummers perform.
We checked out a panel on Key Animation and Clannad for a little bit. Hit the Merch room one last time and headed home.
A few final thoughts. This experience of a convention was very different this time from previous conventions. I cosplayed as well as “Kensei Ma” from “Kenichi- The Mightiest Disciple” (I never got a picture of myself, for myself oddly enough). Along with this and my son dressed as Kululu we became part of the spectacle that is a convention. One of my favorite moments was my son’s first picture that was taken of him on Friday night. A woman in a black, full body suit, saw him and freaked out. She was going: “Oh my god, Oh my god! Kululu is my favorite all time character! Can I have your picture? Can I have a hug? No? Just a handshake. I don’t want to freak you out. This is too awesome!” My son was stunned and a little amused. People loved his costume and he got a lot of pictures taken (I got a few as well). He loved it. It made him part of a larger, weird community. Everyone was pretty cool with him and I think that is one of the great things about these conventions: acceptance. People love that you are a fan of something that they might be a fan of and that don’t care too much about how you’re expressing it, just that you are expressing it. Sure, there might be some negative people there as well, but it was overall very positive.
Next stop: Anime Central in Chicago, in May.