I’ve always wanted to start a blog but just never really had a solid idea of what I wanted to blog about. I was finally able to attend Sakura Con this year and it finally hit me that anime would be a really solid foundation for me to blog about. Also of course, what would anime be without some cosplay?! I’ll do my best to keep this blog relevant to those two subjects. To kick things off, I’ll let you guys know how my experience was at my very first anime convention, Sakura Con 2015!
This blog was taken straight from my facebook. None of these pictures are edited as there were just too many to go through.
This is going to be a pretty lengthy post so if you’re not the type to appreciate long sentimental posts then I suggest skipping this post.
Being at Sakura Con 2015 was really a whirlpool of emotions for me. It was my first anime convention so it was truly a great experience for me. Hell, I’d say it’s even better than PAX to be truthfully honest. It was mind blowing to say the least to see ALL these people in Seattle who you have at least one thing in common with, and that’s the love for anime.
I’ll try to remember most of what I can from the event since it was a lot of things to take in at the time.
It was really a nostalgic feeling being there. The ability to see Vash the stampede and Wolfwood walking around having a laugh and enjoying the convention was a huge heart warming thing. The seeing a person cosplaying as Kid from Chrono Cross eating a quesadilla was really great since Chrono Cross is hands down one of my favorite RPG’s. It’s just great to see how the love for Chrono Cross hasn’t died out yet, and I’m thankful for that.
Walking around was probably my favorite part of the convention. Just seeing how clever people can be with their cosplays is truly amazing. By clever I mean, just how much time, work, and effort they’ve put into their cosplay. Not only did I see some of the best work, but I’ve met some of the coolest people there. I really should set a reminder for myself to ask people for thei emails after taking their pictures so I’m able to send the pictures to them.
I wanna talk how it is to be a cosplayer AND a photographer at a convention. On Friday, I went as dudley from Street Fighter. You know, the black britsh bulldog boxer? Yeah, him. It was an awesome cosplay, I thought at least. Simple cosplay but for some reason no one cosplayed as him. Since it was my first time it was pretty cool to have people stop you and ask for pictures. I’ve gotta say I was probably the ONLY dudley there out of the very few street fighter characters that were there. I decided that morning that I would cosplay in the morning and start taking pictures in the afternoon when more people started to show up. Turned out to be a good decision, but it sucks lugging around a camera and your props with you. At least on Saturday I was Franken Stein from Soul Eater so I was at least able to use my hands freely as I wanted without the constraints of boxing gloves in my hands. But that head screw really was a bother to wear some times because of all the weight being distributed to one said. But needless to say it was fun cosplaying.
Now I want to touch on how it is to be a photographer at a convention. I had a BLAST taking pictures of the cosplayers. It’s truly a heart warming feeling when you stop a cosplayer for a few pictures and their eyes and face light up when you ask that magical question. I remember seeing a woman that was really into her character that she was literally lurking on the window of the convention center. I was honestly a little creeped out myself and was about to stray away from asking her if I could get her picture. She turned around quickly and in the most sweetest voice said “Sure!” haha I was glad that I got her picture after that.
The only thing that really challenged me since I am a beginning photographer was the ever changing lighting. So that will explain as to why some of these pictures aren’t as great. Heck, I don’t even think any of these pictures are great. I remember saturday morning I wanted to leave my camera at home but I told myself “it’s your first convention, document everything!” And I’m sure glad that I brought the camera with me. As a photographer I need to be more intuitive of my surroundings for now on, which is definitely one growth area that I’m willing to exercise and work on.
Speaking about cosplays though, one game that the cosplayers were playing really stood out to me. I called it “kicks and hugs” since that seemed to be all they were doing. There would be a circle of them, an X amount of players would be in the center of the circle and the players in the center would kick a bottle that was on the ground. Wherever the mouth piece of the bottle would point to the player who kicked the bottle would hug that person that mouth piece was pointing to and they would swap positions then the cycle repeats. That was it, such a simple game with simple rules made it seem like this group of people knew each other for a long time. I didn’t join in for whatever reason was going on through my head at the time but I’ll definitely join in the next time I get a chance to play the game. After seeing this game executed made me realize just how closer a hobby such as anime can create one big family.
The panels there were ehh … I’m not really into panels or anything so there wasn’t really much to be excited about to be honest. I’m not really that deep into anime to be excited about meeting a voice actor or anything like that. One thing that bothered me was how on earth did a Mecca anime panel last for 2 hours and a history of fighting games panel only last for 30 minutes? The world may never know.
As you can tell by now I truly had my pros and cons about this convention. One thing I enjoyed was the free arcade they had! They had rock band on a huge screen, a couple ddr stations, two Initial D cabinets and two Street fighter Cabinets.
Of course I went straight for the street fighter and waited my turn in line. Finally my turn comes up, I pick Guile and wait for the VS. load screen to go away. It took longer than usual but I thought that just may have been the load time of the cabinet, whatever. As the announcer said “FIGHT!” I noticed something really wrong as I threw my first sonic boom, and then my second, then my third. The frame rate would slow down to a complete crawl whenever someone would try to perform a move. It was an annoyance, and to be honest I would’ve had some really good games with the folks there if the frame rates didn’t drop so damn much.
Not that big of a worry though as I wasn’t at the convention for games anyways. But they did have a HUGE console gaming room dedicated to games. They had Just Dance on a huge screen so a multiple number of people could play. And just row after row of console games. I remember they held many fighting game tournaments and of course the anime fighters would reign supreme over there. But what really bothered me was that they held the Street Fighter tournament at 11pm each night. Needless to say, I didn’t attend any of them.
Now some of you might be wondering: “What do you do when things start to slow down at an anime convention?” It’s simple, you watch anime. You might be thinking “but I could just do that at home.” Let me tell you this, at home; more than likely you dont have a huge movie theater screen with lovely surround sound. Do you know how it feels to watch anime on a huge screen?! It’s like sex! Without the sweat …. and without the person… You get what I mean though.
Friday was ended pretty early since we did get there pretty early and wanted to leave around 6 or so. Kind of wished we had stayed just a tad bit later so we could’ve stayed for the Final Fantasy photoshoot but my feet were screaming to go home.
Saturday is where all the real fun happened.
Usual things, we walked to the market to check out the merchandise, and the art. Same stuff as usual. but it was just filled up way more since everyone had the day off and school off. Usually I hate crowds but being surrounded by your favorite anime characters?! Who can complain right? So I just let the day go on without a complaint about lines or anything. The perfect part about this convention was that there were barely ANY lines anywhere. It was perfect!
I finally stopped by the vendor that was selling some figures and was really amazed at how much detail was given into each figure. I find it crazy just how much the art work has advanced from way back then. Anyone remember buying a DBZ figure and it didn’t like ANYTHING like it’s anime counter part? haha. Nonetheless I loved every second my eyes were on the figures.
I met up a couple of my friends just for really brief moments really. Sarah Lenh Chac came through to the convention with her made from scratch cosplay. I remember texting her so much around the couple days before Sakura-Con started because I needed tips on how to go about mounting my head screw to the head band. Thanks again Sarah!
Sur-rate Kou with her soul eater cosplay. I forget the witches name but it was perfect for her. I was glad to see that she got into the spirit of dressing up. I honestly never thought she’d be into Soul Eater but I feel like the love for it is dying so I always tend to get excited about seeing a soul eater cosplay.
When I really think about it, I think walking around was probably my favorite part of the convention. Simply for the reason that more people just kept showing up. Like I said before, I do my best to avoid crowds but I just cant say this enough, I love being surrounded by anime!
We got to watch a couple anime premiers but nothing that really tickled our fancy. We were just looking for an excuse to just have a sit and rest our tired feet to be honest.
We went to a concert at about 7PM or so that starred Kanako Ito and Grendalia (sp?). The concert was really enjoyable! I didn’t understand anything of what they were saying but the beats sounded nice so I was vibing the whole time with the artists. As my friend Damir Ciric would say “I’ll probably never bump this again but right now I’ll listen to it.” I wasn’t in the front crowd, that just seemed like too much people for me. I was in the way back but was still able to enjoy the concert on the huge screens that were provided for the audience in the way back.
Kanako Ito did a really well performance, She really knew how to touch the crowd and keep them handled. Some times I feel like foreign stars do a great job at keeping composed than american stars. That’s just my opinion though. Kanako did so well that the stage crowd was chanting for an encore. As for the encore song Kanako performed the opening theme song to “Steins Gate” I think. I’m not too familiar with the anime.
Grandelia did a really great job as well! She really knew how to rock the crowd. At one point she tried to get people to sing along with her to one of her songs which didn’t work out too well …. haha. For the most part though I really adored her personality and the way she sang. She has a voice of an angel. Like Fergie and Jesus put together (shout out to step brothers).
After the concert we went to go kill some time playing some games to wait for the “Prehistoric dance party” to start which is really a rave. Now I’m not one for raves, but we said “hey, if this is going to be the last night we come to sakura-con lets make the most of it,” We got to the rave at about 9:30 or so. There was a good amount of people there. So Damir Ciric and I decided we had to the front stage to join in on the festivities. Of course we just weren’t really vibing with everyone else. We walked around like lost dogs watching everyone have fun and at one point saw a man spinning around in a wheel chair having more fun than us! That’s when our night took a turn and we said “no way in hell is a guy in a wheel chair going to have more fun than us!”
So we went back to the car and put our stuff away and went to gameworks to have a few drinks to get the ball rolling. And to my surprise it worked. We went back to the rave and joined a circle. The people who we joined were one of the best groups of people I had met. I for one do not know how to dance to rave music at all and I remember one person just saying “who cares about how you look like, just go in and have fun.” And that’s exactly what we did. For the rest of the night we danced the night away making fools of ourselves, joining conga lines, just really loving every second of it until we finally decided to call it a night.
If you want me to say it in plain words, Sakura-Con was definitely fun, but it is what you make of it. If you don’t immerse yourself into the environment around you, you won’t have fun. Let go of the judgemental mindset and just let free. No ones a nerd, geek, or freak here. It’s all one big happy family. I remember going to captiol hill trying to get some Dick’s burgers and I got quite a few stares from people. If I learned anything from my experience at Sakura-Con it’s to break out your shell and push yourself to do things you’ve never done before, because you truly don’t know what you’re missing out on until you try it yourself.
I’m honestly pretty sad that the weekend has ended and I have to wait a whole nother year for it to come back, but for now on I think I’ll make this a tradition.
If you’ve gotten this far through the post, I just want to say thanks for reading this! Perhaps I’ll have more of these kinds of posts if people care enough for them.