Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A.O.Y. Special: Animazement 2011 Report

Oh.... my gawd, what a con that was.

Well, I've decided to take some time and share my Animazement 2011 review and some of my moments I (happen to) remember while I just got done sorting out my stuff I purchased there and around town and sitting down to a Root Beer and Rum while I tell my tale of the con abyss I gladly go to once a year. So for a 3 (well really 4 day con if you count the pre-con on tursday night) day con, I was only present for the last two days for that Saturday and Sunday. Now granted, I wasn't there the full 3 days like I've been doing for the past 2 years, so this years con seemed kinda short for me. But, I had some memorable moments to post and really, I did a lot more there then the past cons wither it be shenanigans to setting up for the panel I worked on. So I'll try and do my best to input my moments of the con.

So, seeing how my brother's graduation/19th birthday was on friday, I wasn't able to be there that friday for the con, but my brother and I promptly woke up saturday morning and left our side of Suck Carolina at about 4am and made our journey to Animazement capital of the world (aka, my old home town) of Raleigh NC.

So, upon arriving at the con and paying for parking at the deck (which was my old job with McLaurin Parking Co. when I last lived in Raleigh almost 3 years ago, and gotta say kinda surprised to see the same people working that I once worked with) I grab my laptop and head off, sorta leaving my brother and his friend on their own, My first agenda at the con, meet my contact for the panel who was none other than Sean Ryan of the Method To Madness podcast and let him know I was there.

After chatting for a bit I went to see my good friend Josh who was selling his ADV VHS lot that he aquired back in December of 2010 along with some video games he sells as his other business (other than doing his game hes been working on for the past 8 months). Of course, the dealers room is my one weakness of impulse buying and browsing, which my goal of finding my friend in under 10 minutes, <sigh>... turned into almost 45 minutes of looking around and quickly snatching up anything that might interest me before anyone else might have got it. After fighting my way through (attractive at most) underage female cosplayers and almost chewing off my hand to stop myself to stay on course, I finally made it to Josh and got to catch up for a bit, which lead to me buying VHS tapes from him which was some Sorcerer Hunters OVA that I couldn't careless about. While I was there a girl showed up by the name of Sarah (yea, that was it) and we had a brief convo about Golden Boy and Golgo 13 which lead me to tell her about the panel I was doing on sunday. Not sure if she showed up but I was doing my part to get some people there at that gruesome 9am showing, which I'll get to that in a bit.

Pretty much  after that I roamed for a bit in the dealers room and got most of what I wanted including some magazines, a Riding Bean cell, a SPT Layzner poster, DVDs and some more stuff. After I was done spending my hard earned money, I called another buddy of mine I know from the forums by the name of Kevin (aka ModManExtreme) and told me of a pub off Blount St since him and some other people from the forums were there. So me being hungry for anything other than McDonalds, I decided to walked a few blocks there and got to meet the gang and had some bawlin nachos and just shot the craphole for a bit before parting ways back to the con with Modman.

Actually, before I meet Modman, I had to got through the trials and initiation of using the Animazement staff as a helpful resource, which is lead like any corporation where its "oh, go talk to this guy here to do this" even though what I need was 5 feet from the starting point. Long story short, I had to test my laptop for the panel, so I go to the con HQ and meet with the head honcho Bob who told me I had to go downstairs where the panels are to test out the projector/laptop. I meet up with and attendee there and points me to the person in charge of the panels, which tells me it was supposed to be where I was at but kinda rolled her eyes for the sake off "never mind then, Ill tell you where to go." Which lead me to a panel that didn't start in 15 minutes so I could "quickly" use the projector to get this bad boy running. Now, I don't know the average time for a laptop to start, but mine takes about and average of 5 minutes, but in this case it seemed MUUUUUUUUUUUCH longer. So while I'm trying to test out the video on the screen, I'm coming across two obstacles where as 1) my laptop screen kept blacking out when I was trying to play a video and 2) the guy running the panel is telling me to hurry up, because my 15 minutes turned into 4 very quickly. So I did the good ol' "screw this" and just forced shutdown my computer and stuck it in my bag and left. I then proceeded back to the AZHQ and told them my predicament the past 15 minutes, which lead me to physically point at the projector just SITTING THERE and saying "can I use that?" It seemed to cause them to think about my option for a few seconds before given a "...well, you wanna use that projector...oh, ok." Like, really? Isn't that what it was supposed to be used for in the first place, to test this stuff out than given the run around? Well, I tested it out and got it working, so I was happy. I was met with the guy who did the J-Rock panel, and told him about my panel the next morning which his girlfriend (I guess) stated about making him get up at that time to go to it. So, out of the little adventure I had, I seemed to get a few more people involved in the panel that would soon be.

Of course its not like my adventure ended there, oh no, not by a long shot. So I had really nothing better to do and my brother for the time being was with his friends and enjoying himself, so me and Mod decided to try and hit up the 18+ panels. Of course for AZ, you have to get "carded" to get into a 18+ panel. Only at an anime con, I would get carded for something other than to buy booze. So I had this older black (excuse me, African American) dude who literally STARED at my card for about 10 seconds. I wasn't sure if he had a hard time seeing it in my wallet, or just the fact he had to process years in his mind about 20 times to make sure that I was born in 1986 and that this is the grand future year of 2011 and that the time difference between the two is a mere quarter of a century.

So after passing the age inspection outta something in some dystopian Logans Run scenario, I got my yellow paper ribbon around my wrist to show the world that I am greater or equal to the age of 18 and started to head out with Mod, only to find out the panel we wanted to go to (I think Eric Vale or something, I can't remember) was in some kinda "were over packed, too bad kid" situation. So to kill time, me and Mod decided to go behind the con to get to the game room, because screw going through the crowed of some 5000 some attendees there when we can go behind the con and use my Metal Gear tactics to get to shump games and Marvel vs Capcom area (which quick note: I did this at the Sheraton where I convinced people to let me on the elevator to Mod apartment because the Sheraton requires you have a key card to use their elevators after level 4. That was about a 30 minute ordeal because it was somehow hard for me to listen to his directions, but I got there after like 3 attempts so its all good).

 So, Me and Mod decided to get in the back, when we were stopped by DUNDUNDUUUUUUN, more AZ staff. And without a second thought, our excuses was of course "Oh man, were so lost, could you help us?" We were then "gladly" helped back to the jungle of the con that it was and passing Bob again, so we took the top floor to get to the game room, only to get the convienence of being halted by an escalator only going up. What were we supposed to do? Well, I was way to lazy to do anymore unnecessary walking, so we said eff' it and decided to go down the wrong way on the escalator. As fun as it was, we quickly got down before being caught and getting some kinda "a talkin to" about it. So making our way down the escalator, we hit up the game room, which I don't remember what we did there, or even if we ever made it. All I remember after that was heading back to the panel rooms and looking at a couple of boxes of VHS tapes that included japanese tv dramas and some Slayers. We did find a clear VHS tape which I found out that it was used for broadcasting, which I never knew broadcast tapes were crystal clear to begin with, I mean literally. They were cool looking.

So we watch some anime which I saw the first episode (or part maybe) of 5 Centimeters per Second. I gotta say, its Evangelion without the robots and Misato fanservice. It got boring and I think Mod was causing a ruckus when we were cracking up at it and I was trying to be quiet, so we ditched that scene and hit up some Dirty Pair TV screening. I wasn't there 5 minutes before I got a text from my bro that he wasn't feeling good and I left Mod to check up on him which he went about 36 some hours without sleep and it started to affect him. So, I had him take a nap before the rave and let his friend know.  By then, Mod was done with Dirty Pair and I think he did something else so we parted ways for a bit. Which once one moment ends, another is soon to begin. Also to note, I found it amusing that 2 (pretty sure there in high school) cosplay girls decided to sing some song to me for the heck of it. And for the heck of it, I don't know what it was, but I thanked them and told them they sung nice and we went on our ways.

Now I enter the video game tourney arc of the story where it began with me sitting on the floor chilling out for a bit since the Fila Skeletoes were starting to take a toll on my feet. So, here I am sitting on the floor and this kid with a Freakazoid shirt starts walking by me. This was someone I saw a few times earlier that day and wanted to make a comment of how cool his shirt was. So, as he's walking by, I tell him "hey man, nice shirt." Then then gives me one of those "Piss off im an angry white boy" looks and keeps walking, Of course my reaction (to myself) was "Ok, piss off too then buddy," but this was the set up to the most funny moment for me at the con. Within the next 5 minutes, I literally see this kid failing his arms about and going around in a circle acting completely pissed off about something. He did this to the extent that he got his wooden bokken out and, not joking, started to fighting and swinging the bokken in the air like if some 5 year old was playing with a lightsaber and fighting for his life against Darth Vader. Only I and a handful of people on the opposite end of me stood and watched in awe of how ridiculously stupid this kid looked. It...was...priceless.

Within about 30 seconds of this happening, I got asked by a random guy to participate in the Marvel vs Capcom 3 tourney due to his buddy not being able to make it. Outta a 64 man tourney, I happen to be number 40, but the way it was ran, I got up there in about 40 minutes or so. My straight answer to this guy was "well, why the hell not," and I got my bag and grabbed the ticket and headed to the game room. I was greeted by your typical guys who play fighting games, the all talk and mostly, all show kinda of guys. One guy intriuged me who looked like someone who body builds alot and had one of those WWE championship belts on his shoulders and talked the talk. He was one of those guys who did ran his mouth, but he had charisma about hims which he seemed like a cool guy. And I seriously thought for the next 40 minutes I was gonna fight him, along with how bad my feet hurt in the Filas I had on. Well in short, I found someone else, and I lost. I didnt get massacured too bad, but I was able to land some combos and hits on the guy I was with. I'm sure with a bit more time and training, I would have held my own.

So to end Saturday off, I waiting for my brother for a few minutes at the rave and took him and his friend home where our next adventure would start at 9am that morning for the Panel and my time in the dealers room.

Also to add, I got my Cyber City Oedo DVD signed by Masao Moruyama and my Gunbuster DVD collection signed by Hidenori Matsubara. I mentioned something to Mouryama about if Kawajiri was working on something, he said to me (through his translator of course) about how theres some sort of Ninja Scroll series I guess in the works that hes working on. So if anything comes out with Kawajiri, you heard it here first folks.

And... were at sunday... how time flies.

So other than my brother friend not able to leave the time I needed to, me and my brother get gas and food on the way to the con. I showed up 30 minutes before the panel started but I wanted to get there 15 minutes earlier to set up, but seeing how they gave us a 15 delay, I still had time to get prepared. Sean Ryan some how with this Grey Ghost powers got himself and his girlfriend in the convention center which I called him to help a brother out. We then were getting set up in the panel and got everything working. Then it hit me "oh wow, there are more people coming in than we thought, and now... im not that hungry for this biscuit." But, low and behold, we (Sean, Kevin and I) were summoned by the gods of panels to make the most awesome panel ever, or it kinda hit me like when Goku went super sayian. From then on, everything went fantastic I have to say. Sean did have his girlfriend (her name Ashley BTW, in case she ever reads this and thinks "oh, so im just Sean girlfriend then, like I dont have a name or something." I try and act nice and proper) tape the panel so when the Method To Madness podcast does their AZ review in the next few weeks, you guys get to see it then. We did get one guy who pretty much laughed at our anime by saying "OH MAN, IT'S THAT ANIME HAHAHAHAHA", but he seemed in good spirits and hey, at least he seemed stoaked about it which just made it all the better. So after the panel ended, we got our thank you's and more thank you's from fans which I told them thanks for stopping by and get more Method to Madness buttons. We then got our stuff and said our goodbyes from there (I later met them in the dealers room so the try goodbys for now was there).

Pretty much from there, I hit up the dealers room again for a few more things and meet up with Josh. With Josh in dire need of some help moving the VHS tapes he wasn't able to sell, I gladly offered him our vehicle to help move what tapes were left. So my and my bro pretty much hung out at the game room and played some shumps for about 45 minutes or so, got lunch at this ZPizza place (which I happened to screw up the ice machine there, because I cant read "OUT OF ORDER" signs too good, especially if the ice machine kinda worked to begin with) and had some conversations with some more people and let them know about the Method to Madness podcast and our love for anime.

So I head back to the dealer room and had Josh got me and my bro some dealer sticker (which is just a post it with the word "Dealer" on it, thats it) and stayed after the room closed and  helped Josh pack. So I now get into another soap opera episode of "As the Con Turns" as I am given some fantastic help about what to do to get my vehicle in the loading dock to help my friend move his crap out. Which that is another 15 minute ordeal there jumping from one person to the next with different info from the guy driving around on a golf cart and points at like every freaking thing he sees to direct us (I've done your job before dude, I'm NOT THAT STUPID to know where the only exit and entrance to the loading bay is the only open area to the outside world) to the AZ staff who have to find the one guy who is supposed to do everyone's job there. So after having enough outta that, I get my ticket to get the car down the loading dock and my brother and I proceed to get the vehicle. Of course, we had to make a pit stop to try and get some giant convention schedules like my bro and his friends did last year which proudly hangs in my apartment. We find out they used some kinda space duck tape to those suckers and couldn't get them down easy enough without damaging the posters, so we decided to leave it alone this year. Mark my words AZ, ill be back with those schedules next year. But, we got our car to the deck and loaded whatever VHS tapes in tubs that Josh couldn't get, and said goodbye to the con till next year.

I have to say, every year for these cons there  is always the positives and negatives for these things. The negative for me is that I was there the 2 outta 3 days, so it seemed for that I had to rush my moment there in the 2 days to kinda take it all in. So this year just didn't feel the same as the previous years in terms of I guess fun like I did in the past. But, the positives seem to show that a lot happened, and I did a lot between seeing friends, the panel, my adventures and doing some grunt work. I'm the kinda guy who thinks that doing something productive and always going behind the scenes at places including cons is just fun for me. I really enjoyed spending time with my friend Josh and doing some work for him and kinda seeing how things works that many con people may never get to do. I guess you could say I'm used to doing that sorta thing, and it does feel very rewarding to say the least.

All in all, I really enjoyed my time, and I just can't wait till next year. I know I do get some traffic on this site so it does show that people do go to this quite often. Maybe for you this was incredibly boring or the most interesting read you had on a blog in a long time. Hey, either way I'm cool with that, and please feel free to comment down below on... anything discussing this post or anything you wanna ask me. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and see you next time!


  1. When the guy up front got a little *too* involved, that's when that heckler gear of mine kicked in. It's a good thing we'd talked about that kinda thing before...

    Ultimately, I'm glad he was excited because he was having fun. I'd rather have those kind of hecklers than negative jerks.

  2. He just seemed really excited to be there. I really didn't mind him that much he just seems like a loud guy, so I'd assume that's just his personality.