Monday, April 09, 2012

Sakura-con 2012: steampunk, furry, goth, cosplay & crossplay

Here is a small taste of Sakura-con 2012. The themes this year included several ‘teas’, both for the lolita’s (goth loli’s and sweet loli’s) as well as ones for those into steampunk (one Friday and Saturday). The anime series promoted was Fate/Zero and they had they editor and design team there to talk about it. Mana from Mois du Moi (which used to be Malice Mizer) had a huge following as did the three designers which came from Japan, including h.NAOTO, who made the featherwing bag I use for my wheelchair (also the Hello kitty goth loli camera bag).

They redesigned much of Sakura-con and some of that worked and some did not. The Exhibitors Art, which you could buy, bid on with a handwritten bid or buy at the Sunday Auction at 1-3 was moved from across from the Exhibitors hall to a side room, off a side hall, at the end of the street long hall, on a floor where no events occurred. We went on Sunday to be told ‘closed’ – but of what I saw, I think the artists took a huge ‘bath’ (lost money) as there was no access.

The ‘Artist Alley’ instead of being on another floor was in the expanded Exhibition Hall which had a numbering system for aisles just like Comic-con, and went from 000 to 1000 then four to five more aisles of artist’s alley of self published books and art. Main floor space was $750 a booth. The announcer was talk happy and often warned people a) not to photographer each other, b) not to photograph vendors and c) not to stop. It seemed that Sakura-con had gone corporate and lost the fan fun. But it turns out that the previous week, at Emerald-Con, in the same space, the fire marshal had CLOSED the hall, as people were not moving.

I was exhausted and took much longer to recover than expected so I missed much of the Con, but on Sunday most people came in a costume of SOME kind, and while the planning was horrid (for example, the major fashion Lolita show DURING the Grand Ball, which also overlapped showing two of the movies), most people were enjoying themselves.

Here is the youngest cosplayer I saw, Vash from Trigun at under 1 year of age (his father was Vash as well).

The steampunk ranged from this man who was a traveler of the wastelands, with his leather coat and his self mechanized earth-striders (I have a video of him jumping around at least 10+ feet tall, very impressive) to a ‘Dapper Man’ with his waistcoat and mechanized arm.
Of course, with sky brigands no steampunk or Ghibli film would be complete, and straight from the skies of Laputa, here are two female pirates, including one with a hefty ring of keys (no doubt for cells in her sky ship to kidnap and ransom aristos). The keys made me wonder where my grandfather’s keys had all gotten to from his old house.

I met Lily from previous Sakura-con’s, who has EDS and spinal degeneration, but makes the disability meet the design, as it were. She got her bag signed by h.NAOTO who made a curve motion and the translator said that she was just the right image (h.NAOTO did a goth loli fashion show which I will post up later).

While Friday was somewhat devoid of crossplay, there was a long crossplay panel on Saturday and by Sunday there were many couples and individuals crossplaying. While his jacket might look hot on her, his corset is a fab colour. The amount of female crossplayers is always large as male protagonists rule anime and all media. While finding good male crossplayers who a) shave the face (so few did), and b) wear something adapted to the body – which is what the panel was to help – is rare. But with a goth and loli theme there were lots of frilly dress, wig and hairpiece; maids and other crossplayers. Female crossplayers tend to take it seriously and thus look seriously hot. It seems guys who want to look seriously hot are fewer in this culture, alas.

A Bride’s Tale, the new series by the writer of Emma, who started the Maid craze in Japan and here, is about a bride from Mongolia joining a new family and learning how to do things in a new way. It is up to vol 3, all in hardcover and inspired several different cosplayers, as it is a look that works whether you are young or old.
Sunday also had more ‘family’ attendance with friends or sisters dressed in these skull goth dresses and cat ears.The Yaoi stall was checking all ID’s, even mine. Though the guys selling Ecchi computer games seemed to not be as vigilant. Cheryl and I got some doujinshi games that were translated into English, one a ‘slice of life’ game where the protagonist learns to be a voice actor along with 7 females, and can end up dating them (with no X-rated endings, thank you). While another was likened to Mass Effect, where the person starts as a female new recruit in the galaxy, but is about connection and interaction building more than battles. I also bought doujinshi from a group representing the top Japanese artists from Range Matura to Dutura. I got a pop-up doujinshi book with pictures from Capura L. to Dutura, including poster, bag, CD and more.

Of course, what would Sakura-con be without some Anthro/furry representation. Indeed, several people including a couple vendors I talked to thought that Sakura-con had so many into Anthro that maybe Sofawolf would have come (a furry/anthro publisher). Alas, they came the week before at Emerald-con.

Time for me to pack and sleep!


JaneB said...

I'm glad that you got to see at least a little of the con, despite the travel exhaustion. Hope you make it home safe and not too exhausted!

Anonymous said...

More pics please, with you in them? Glad you made it to there OK - looks seriously awesome! Hope it hasn't all been too tiring.
Love &peace

Kate J said...

Oops, that 'anonymous' wasn't really anonymous at all, but me, Kate J.
Love & peace

Raccoon said...

My first thought about the steam punk pirates was that it was you and Linda!

And I have a couple of friends who looks sort of like the Mongolian bride…

I'm going to have to remember to post pictures of Fanime Con for you. That's not until Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, though.

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

In spite of some of the disappointing changes, it sounds like overall the Con was a success... your photos sure look like it. And like you saw/experienced/bought some excellent things.

So glad you were able to go... looking forward to hearing more.


Lorna, Bob and Liam

Baba Yaga said...

You must be exhausted - and still you post for us. Thank you: it's always fun to see the costumes. Some of them are truly remarkable, aren't they?

Safe journey home - and I hope you can get some decent rest in (with some new manga?) once you get there.

Neil said...

Okay, lovely photos, but where are you and Linda and Cheryl?!?

I would love to ee the video of the fellow jumping.

Thank you for going to the trouble of taking us with you on your travels. It's taxing your strenght, but your efforts ARE appreciated!

Love and zen hugs,

Elizabeth McClung said...

Jane: I did enjoy the con, though it was less wheelchair friendly and generally less organized this year, with more 'extra pay' events - but getting bigger and thus attracting more keyname vendors like Dark Horse, Yen Press, The Japanese Consular General and the Japanese Artist Collective.

Kate J: Will totally put up more pictures!

Raccoon: I got you something! And I wish I was there as a pirate, I did have a good elaborate costume, though on Friday, Linda had to rescue me from having my breasts bounce free and clear out of my corset - which the guy who drew 'Girl Genuis', who I was talking to at the time didn't seem to mind. Oh, and I used INDY the WHOLE TIME.

Lorna, Liam and Bob: Devestated to have problems at what really does seem to be the last Sakura-con. But glad I was there to see what I saw.

Baba Yaga: I really think it is important to try to be there, or include my friends in the better parts of my life, and this is how I can do it - but yeah, blogging till 3 am is kinda a toil. I am amazed at the talent of those who make the costumes.

Neil: The next blog shows pictures of me and Linda and Cheryl, I think. And I want to youtube the steampunk guy jumping. Thanks