We (me and some k-r friends) just finished up our weekend at Acen 2008! The convention this year was a blast ^^ That could have something to do with the fact that I haven’t been to an anime convention since 2006, but it was great nonetheless.
I spent much less time sitting in panels this time around and more time going to the main events (opening ceremony, concerts, masquerade, etc). Of course, this also translated into spending more time in line, but over all, I think it was worth it. Well, maybe except for the opening ceremony. It was basically an introduction of the convention guests and seemed to drag on longer than necessary. I will probably skip that in the future xD
As for the musical guests this year, it was a pretty good line-up, I think ^_^ We attended the concerts Friday night which I believe was a bit busier than the Saturday afternoon repeats (might want to remember that for next time). The opening act was Peelander-Z. Wow, I don’t know how to describe this band… Their music wasn’t anything special (hard punk rock) but their interaction with the crowd was like nothing I had ever seen before (Japanese music or otherwise). These guys didn’t just stop with crowd surfing (they did plenty of that though). They also brought fans up on the stage to clank pots and pans together and even hand them their instruments to let them play. It was seriously crazy. Oh, and they played a game bowling with human pins XD
After Peelander-Z, Mari Iijima took the stage. Apparently, she’s famous for doing some Macross songs and voicing but since I’ve never watched any Macross, she was new to me. Not having heard her anime work, I have to say I was pretty impressed with her piano and vocal skills. She played pretty, thoughtful songs and was enjoyable overall. I picked up one of her CDs afterwards and got it signed ^^ By the way, Mari speaks very good English, and in fact, many of her songs are in English. That made it a bit easier to communicate with her at the autograph session.
The last music guest was a popular band named HALCALI. They have a kind of mix of pop and rap sound to their music. The main members, Haruka and Yukari (HARUKARI, get it?) didn’t play any instruments, they just sang as is common with idol bands in Japan xD. They aren’t bad though. They have some popular songs and did ending themes for Eureka 7 and Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z so they are fairly well known. They don’t speak English fluently, but they seem to be learning as they did try to speak English and they mentioned they want to have a debut in America. Actually, Acen 2008 was their first performance in the US, so it was kind of their US debut but I think they want more than just an anime convention :D
Aside from the musical guests, I attended the cosplay masquerade which was pretty entertaining. The first half was were just walk-on cosplayers (no talking/acting). The second half was the good part, the skits ^^ Some were better than others, but most were good. Death Note and yaoi were the main themes this year >_< I'll try to dig up some pictures of the cosplayers. And lastly, but not least, the dealer's room! I always have a lot of fun wandering around the dealer's room looking for random, obscure anime items. Of course, the items you find at American cons usually aren't that rare, but it's a great opportunity to look at items you would otherwise only see only. In fact, I'm really not a figurine collector, but I picked up several (smaller) ones this year after seeing them in person ^^. I also picked up some Megami magazines I had been eying online. Getting to flip through the pages and actually see the images in person was enough to convince me to buy them (3 Megami Creators, $14 per volume, 1 Megami Deluxe for $16, 1 Megami Magazine for $18). From the same shop that had the Megami magazines, I picked up a few artbooks. Looking back, getting the artbooks was probably not a good idea as they were priced higher than what I could get them for online, even after factoring shipping costs from Japan. Oh well. The magazines were definitely worth it as shipping for a single magazine is usually about as much as the magazine itself! On Sunday, we were too busy packing and getting ready to leave to attend any panels or events. We took one last round of the dealer's room (picked up another figure >_<) and headed back home to Indiana. Acen 2008 = success! Now maybe Otakon will be next ;) [gallery=acen2008]