Not just did we saw a lot of couples but there were various families who came and come to Sakura-con. This tiny Robin would let you hug her,
but you had to hug her plushie FIRST.
Here we are on the way to the Dazzle concert and there was a family that had dressed up as characters from Princess Tututhe anime is a ballet over the top with sugar shojo anime (you know, the ones where your dance of joy draws the evil out of the bad people so that they can change can become your friends!). The little Ballet Princess sure is a cutie though.
While this family danced at the Forever Waltz Masque Ball, the mom in cat ears and the kids in animal costumes with tails, and they were having fun, whiskers drawn on their face leaping around, literally.
Here in the exhibitors hall, I met a mother and her daughter, as you can see, a difference in style for costume, but something done together. Sakura-con requires an parent/guardian present at ALL times up to teenage when a parent/guardian must be in the building. Leaving the second concert (High and Mighty Colour), we came past a room of haggered looking parents whose teenage girls were screaming over the singer in the main concert stage. Until the teens left, the parents were drinking coffee and bemoaning kids who like Japan culture. As one girl said, “Once I turned 18, my mom said, ‘That’s it, I’m free, you can go on your own now!’”
Villains and game play:
There was a whole section of the convention center for full time game play including guitar hero (accompanied by a band) and Dance Dance revolution, where the better playing would be projected onto the big screen on the wall overhead for the couple hundred viewers. MTV was there doing casting for a reality show for teens who wanted ‘live a dream’ with a one month intensive coach, plus Microsoft was beta testing a new game platform. That really wasn’t our thing, but there were plenty of cosplaying villains, heroes, game characters and troopers. Indeed there were SO many characters in police, trooper, and other badge on shoulder costumes it became unclear if police were there, I asked one person who said, “Oh, the REAL police will let us know they are police…..I think.”
Of course Darth Vader is a popular Villain and is here getting defeated by a group of warriors from a role playing game. Previously he had been killed by a group of Sailor Scouts. I am wondering what it is like to cosplay only to be attacked and die many times a day?
The question is, after a day of creating mutated monsters and cleaning up secret operations, how DOES an Umbrella Corporation operative catch a cab home? The Umbrella Corporation is the ‘Bad’ organization from the games and now movies of Resident Evil. The Umbrella Cop makes Zombies, no matter what they try to make…ends up as Zombies. Shame that.
Here we have The Dark Knight, Batman facing off against Superman ala the graphic novel, the Dark Knight. During the scripted Cosplay Chess as told to us by Jen, who shared the disabled parking stall next to us (pic of her later), the King of one side was The Dark Knight and the other King was our favorite disreputable character, Jack Sparrow! She said when one chess piece took another they would battle it out in scripted moves, like movie fighting before one conquered the other. Sounds interesting, I should try to see it, next year?
Now even our game characters need down time, but things to remember when doing a dance with Master Chief from Halo: get him to leave the frag grenades at home, also remind him that while he has an enhanced ecto-skeleton, you do not so please don’t step on/crush your foot.
Of course, once you ARE a character from a various game quest, and have to walk back to your hotel, do you stay in character or not? There were so many people in costume that the local population was having difficulty figuring out what was up. A request was forwarded to my computer from Sakura-con about how many people could not tell which were real weapons or not and how the Seattle Police Department had asked Con visitors to put away weapons when away from the Con area. So, please remember to put away your RPG, lightsaber, or other weapons while going back to the hotel for donuts.
Cheryl, Linda and I:
Well, by day two I was looking rather tired, I had not slept for more than 7 hours a day in over a week and skipped a few naps by keeping my heart going with coke (the soft drink, I tell ya, I was missing my medicinal M. down in the states!). So here I look on the morning of day 2 after bathroom duty.
I was off to get my kimono fitted at the workshop and so got a nice Hello Kitty tattoo on my neck for when I put my hair up.
At the Kimono Workshop there were professional kimono assistants to help people try on Kimono’s, of which there were many, from the ‘child’s Kimono’ with a soft obi and bow, to the harder obi but long sleeves of a young woman (march 5th is Girl’s Day in Japan – a big day for dressing up in Kimono’s). This Kimono is used for all festivals and occasions up to ‘coming of age’ day, which is the day when you get your name moved out of your family registry at 21 and the government starts your OWN name registry, meaning you are now an adult, you can adopt (have another added to your name registry), marry and do the other acts which change the history of your registry. Also there were marriage and ceremonial kimonos. The workers were very surprised that I had my own kimono from Japan and were very happy to fit me, with the obi and ties. In Japan, due to the need for the bow on the back of the obi, there are stores you can go to or stalls at festivals for having kimono’s tied for you. A recent manga has been translated about a girl who works in one of these stores (also a yaoi manga about a department store that sells kimono’s for those who like men in the men’s kimono’s). I got my Kimono tied and then Indy and I were off, to go to the sales expo (I had missed the Kendo) and another signing, then on to the two concerts of Dazzle Vision and High and Mighty Colour before the AMV contest winners show (you know, more than I do in two weeks normally).
Linda that morning had dressed up as a Cat Girl in her corset and leather pants from Torrid, they were a BIG HIT for me. She also had cat ears and Cheryl and I both complained that she just didn’t seem the same without her cat ears when she took them off that night. The previous day you will remember she was wearing her knee high boots, her pirate queen outfit and looking seductively from the elevator. The white rabbit plushie was the official plushie of Sakura-Con that year and had sold out by the end of the second day. I don’t know the total number but the count was huge, over the 16,000 of last year, and probably far over 20,000 people as most vendors were sold out, the concerts held thousands, the AMV showings held hundreds.
Cheryl had arrived as Porco Rosso from the Ghibli Film of the same name and was recognized immediately and had many, many people ask to take her picture. She chose not just a character she liked but one which suited her. For example, a lot of her body movements and gestures like the hands on the hips, are also ones of Porco Rosso from the film.
And here is the proof, that Cheryl did a Waltz out on the dance floor. Here I am, coming out of a spin with an arm high extension before we continue our dancing. It would be a waste of a good tuxedo not to dance.
Dazzle Vision is not only the number 1 pre-sale in the HMV charts but also number 2 on the Tower Records and a BIG hit band. The main singer is listed as singing lolita style melodies combined with Death Metal. That just doesn’t seem to be possible as she starts out with her very nice, “Thank you very, very much to be here, I would like to know all of you and thank you.” And then starts, in her pink lolita dress to sing, only to suddenly switch over to a screaming death voice which rips the vocal cords apart, and then switches back again. Here is an 8 second video which you can hear her doing it, and changing stances too.
It is like watching a split personality as in her Lolita singing she literally ‘skips’ in large skipping around the stage in ultra-femme, the goes into thrasher style death metal screaming, with hair flinging as shown here. I called her ‘The screaming girl’ the rest of the time and everyone knew who I meant, but it was like watching someone catch on fire and then have it go out again: mesmerizing and I don’t know HOW she goes from death metal to high melodic singing and back again dozens and dozens of times.
After the concert, we bailed on High and Mighty Colour, met up with someone from the internet who had come to meet us and went to see the ‘best of’ for the last 10 years of AMV’s for Sakura-con. Here they are, with me still in Indy (thankfully since the bass during Dazzle about knocked me out) watching AMV’s.
We started out with a Dark Knight trailer which had been remixed from Death Note, there is only a beta version on youtube, but watching it was amazing,particularly as the rating was ‘Otaku rated’ and then ‘What one man can do with unlimited hours in his basement’. Good stuff.
It started at the year 2000 and I was hoping for more…well, shojo or girls manga, but it was clear that the judges were all 40 year old guys when a Transformers AMV won EVERY other year! Plus lots of Samurai X and other older classics. There was an early one on Porco Rosso which had been done with two VCR’s in 1999.
Every couple there would be a really good one and it is quite different being in an audience of hundreds, watching on the big screen anime music videos which make fun of classic shows. There was an ‘Audition’ which had the evil God from Death Note singing Mahnama-na from the Muppet show, (“Cut! What’s Next!”) Next was Sailor Moon doing an Aria from Carmen. Like the Gong Show, she lasted only a few seconds before the next act was hustled in. AHHH, another Transformers! Only I burst out laughing when they started sing Y.M.C.A. with transformers combined to make the characters.
Here is another AMV, which is a favorite of Linda, Cheryl and I, it has not only the longest song title ever in AMV history,my favorite part (laugh out loud is ‘Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.’ – you will have to watch to figure out what I mean).
The trailers were the best parts for me, including The Chronicles of Ghibli (ala Narnia) and this one, which is a retake of Gladiators I NEVER would have thought of, ever,and a tribute for all those parents out there with 6-10 year old boys.
On the first day, Linda took this picture of me, while I was shopping, which seems to have been a deliberate attempt to go for a panty shot. Who would have known Linda was one of THOSE, let’s make sure she doesn’t have any cell phones on her while going up the escalators! Actually we did go later to Victoria Secret and get night shirts and scanty panties (woo hoo more confusion to the care workers!).
Yaoi, Yuri, Girls in Uniform and Cross-Play:
There were dozens to hundreds of cross dressed guys, many doing it very well, as well as cross dressed girls, or better yet, girls in uniforms! Also Yaoi couples (sometimes played by two girls) of two guys, and Yuri couples. For example here we have a Yuri/girl-girl couple only the girl in the pink dress is cosplaying Sebastian, a boy who is cross dressed in a yaoi/boy love themed series. Ah yes, welcome to Cosplay!
Day one, I hit the Media Blaster table looking for Maka Maka (sold out!) a lesbian manga, and talked to the translator who recognized me from last year and gave me a really good deal on some of the new books! Good things I went the first day as on day three, the manga was down to a few books and large sections of the table were empty.
The Yummy of the Ball was the Yaoi two male couple where one was dressed as a gothic lolita girl with skirt and underskirt, high socks with lace and long pony tail. Not only that, they were great dancers, and somehow, we kept seeming to be near them while dancing. Odd that.
On the other side of the dance was another two guy yaoi couple where one was in suit and the other was wearing a kimono, the long sleeves indicate a girl before the coming of age day. The only disappointment was that the kimono wearer had a mask with a very long nose, which is one way to keep your distance in dancing, to be sure, but where are the intimate cuddles!
The big hit from last year in shojo was K-On!, loosely based on the hit movie, Linda Linda Linda (which I blogged about before). It is about 4 girls who practice after school for a band, which plays songs written by a band member. Oddly, the member is obsessed with stationary so the songs are ‘You are the stapler in my A4 binder’ and other love songs. The best cosplayed K-On! Member was this guy. K-On! was so popular it created a whole comiket section of artists creating art from the show, much like the Tohou project (also, the best dressed cosplay members from Tohou were a group of Japanese males).
There were several buses of Japanese Con visitors who had come from Japan, the chance to see Dazzle, Ito and Trigun: the Movie early must have been a draw. The person behind me in line had their body pillow of Ito’s art to sign (the body pillows start about $100).
In the Sellers area, this woman who I THINK is the sexy heroine from the Yuri Anime, Strawberry Panic, walked by. But then again, a woman in a riding uniform with a whip, do you NEED to know what the series is, not me, I can just enjoy!
Here are three females in uniform from the slice of life, shojo anime hit that just finished in Japan, So.Ra.No.Wo.To. In the anime five girls in uniform, hold military post as the tower maidens on the edge of no man’s land, after a long forgotten war. They live in a building which has a classroom, but for these 12 and 14 year olds, along with an 16 and 19 year old, the idea of having children sit around, or that many children to just learn is hard to imagine. It is a fun, exploring type of show and here are three great cosplayers from it.
Lolita Cat Girls, Lolita Girls and Goth girls
Well, is any day complete without a Lolita cat girl? Not for me! Thankfully I found one and got her picture in the sellers hall.
Technically I think this might be a fox girl and I am sure they are from some show, but since they spoke Japanese I didn’t find out what it was. Alas. But then, there are lots and lots of people wearing costumes from games, or shows that you may not have heard of or remembered. I ran into a group of eight or nine girls who had dressed as the Villains of Sailor Moon. Okay, nothing obscure there!
This goth baroque vampire girl makes me understand the sexual attraction of vampires FAR more than a shiny one from Twilight. And she was the one who clued me in on the caps for teeth. They were too cute, even while talking, though hard to explain if you show up on Monday/Tuesday as a manager with fangs, literally!
Upstairs we ran into Jen, who had just paid $50 to get her fangs done.They take a while as they are done with real dental tools and shaped for your teeth but should last up to five years – a good investment for those who want an immediate lisp. Jen had a clot in her heart, which by the time the hospital opened her up to operate on her heart (you can see the scar on her chest), the clots had gone into three pieces, one to each of her legs and one to her brain paralyzing her left side. She is back to walking now, with braces on her legs. We noticed that the US uses a lot of braces for legs and backs, as Nene Thomas’ sister had a back problem of fused vertebrae, and used a brace. Why Canada doesn’t use orthotics as much as the USA which seems to have a policy of getting people mobile. There was a wheelchair user who worked at the convention center and had a pelivic shift crush her nerve bundle, she also had leg braces in order to be able to use the back of her chair as a walker (which it was set up to do). We also ran into two people who had fold up, or break down scooters, including a three piece scooter, no piece over 20 pounds, that goes 16 miles on a battery charge and is from Isreal. Wow, that makes Indy seem like a huge power drain.
But it was Lily who definitely wins the ‘incorporating your disability into ‘cool’’ award for her goth presentation. Lily has a $350 corset to help support her back and the two canes, these are her ‘goth’ ones along with the white hair (it is usually pink and the canes have flames) as she had hip dislocation and EDS III or EDS VII (she is being re-tested now). Her hip sockets are too shallow for her hips to slide into so she needs to canes and braces to ambulate. But she makes it look cool, really goth cool. We talked about how corsets are so helpful for wheelchair as well as back issue uses, as they help a person to sit up as well as stop things sliding. Lily had blinged up her eyepatch with a vampire bat as well as some steampunk baroque additions. I am in awe.
Here are two visiting Goth lolita with slight punk aspects. Ahh, the lovely variations within lolita. Another goth lolita with cat ears and I talked outfits and we had a lot of the same suppliers, as this year Tripp NYC from hot topic did not just corsets, but whole dresses as well, for those who have the height and body to fit them. Plushies as an add-on to the goth look is always a plus, even with the sweet lolita yaoi boy who was a furry, wearing long furry shorts and a long tail, running around in hit white furry halter top and four plushies (literally running around, that is why I don’t have a picture).
There is also this cosplay in cape and gloves from the anime Ergo Proxy (good, cyber punk). The outfit would have worked for Carnival in Venice too (New Orleans as well, I am thinking). And, for outfits which make it REALLY hard to take a cab, here is this cosplay character with wings (???? Sorry, don’t know it).
I would like to say that was all, but since I took almost 1,000 pictures, this is actually the best of the best. I hope that gives you a taste of Sakura-con, thanks for all the help and support and for meeting all the great people at the Con. Please feel free to comment and I will add what info I have.