I accomplished everything I wanted to do, which was to meet some of the guests of honor at the convention and express my appreciation for their work and thank them in person. Looking back, I probably offended people with my broken impolite Japanese. I’m very sorry.
I met so many great people, some planned, some not. So here’s the rambling part of the post:
Thank you to volunteers/ACP members at the Aniplex booth, Gwiffy, Mei, Angie, DerpyHooves, Anaira, and Imari-san, and Ayli & Amecandy joining us on Saturday. It was a joy to work with all of you and bring a huge dose of fun and color to the SAO events.
We ran into Kawahara Reki on our way to the autograph room and he took photos with us. Mr. Kawahara turned out to be a very nice and humble man. He thanked each fan and would react with a “おおー!” at every new merchandise item brought for him to sign during the autograph session, in much stark contrast against Vic Mignogna, who was sharing the room and putting on an energetic show for his fans next booth over.
I first saw Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna passing by before the start of the 1st Kawahara autograph session and I finally saw them up-close by the CrunchyRoll booth when they went onto the stream. Aoi Eir is very pretty and Haruna Luna is a doll. She was so cute that I wanted to take her home. If I had to venture a guess, Aoi Eir is about my height and Haruna Luna is even more petite. Both songstresses looked a lot taller on their CD covers and posters. Both are massive anime fans, but what was surprising was that Aoi Eir is a professed hardcore FPS gamer.
The PSYCHO-PASS gathering at FUNimation booth went better than expected. Enforcers were loafing around and pointing Dominators at everyone and suddenly, a sea of Akanes. The only reason why I didn’t cosplay Akane was that I couldn’t afford or find an appropriate wig in time. It was around then when I saw Makoto in the crowds, taking photos (like always). Thank you for stopping by and your generous donation toward my Silica costume!
The Dominators (made by Davy) present at the booth were extremely well-made and detailed and I was able to wield one later during the ticketed PSYKYO-PASS party. Akapahua showed up with an official Dominator replica from that garage kit club in Japan and she graciously let me pose with it, too. Thank you!
I put together the can of Hyper Oats the night before the con, though I didn’t have time to fill it with actual oats. Unfortunately, no one understood the appeal of Gino’s pet cactus, so I’ve brought the cactus plant back home, named it Gino, and it’ll live out the rest of its life on my desk.
The directors and producer (Mr. Motohiro, Mr. Shiotani, Mr. Wada) of PSYCHO-PASS were cool people once they settled down during the panels and events. Shiotani was the funniest and most talkative of the bunch and quite the artist, too, doodling PSYCHO-PASS character faces next to his autographs. I tried to explain why the term ‘Hyper Oats’ stuck out with western fans, though I don’t think I got the point across due to the language barrier.
Oh, thanks, Aaron, for being my +1 during the PSYKYO-PARTY.
Saturday saw the official SAO gathering at the Aniplex booth, where I met the beautiful 1:1 scale Pina plush made by AGSMA Cosplay for the first time. Thank you for lending her to my Silica cosplay! Amazingly, Pina balanced on my head and I could walk around like that. My photo rate shot through the roof during the few hours she was on my head.
Keisos also debuted his Heathcliff at the gathering, fully finished, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he beat up a few Kiritos in duels on his way in and out of the con. A little secret: his collar was just that, a collar. I made it in a few hours as a last-minute favor, but his favor was far, far greater: Keisos handled almost all construction work on my breastplate, dagger, and sheath, all of which came together perfectly despite not a single moment of test fitting prior to the con. And Keisos had to bust out his own magnificent Heathcliff costume in the span of 2 months. I’m pretty sure that’s why Mr. Kawahara made a beeline for him during the group photos; who else would the creator stand next to other than the creator himself?
Nico Nico English shut down at the end of last year, so the Nico booth never happened at Sakura-Con this year. CrunchyRoll was the sole livestreamer and the stream got pretty silly without a dedicated host. Jon, I thought you weren’t going to come back for Sunday, but you did. Nice to see Squats-kun there, fulfilling his eternal duty of squats (& oats). I also met my Secret V/a/lentine giver, who turned out to be none other than William (he’s been on the Nico stream since inception). The girls working at the CR booth were so sweet and we had d-d-double SHIRIKA going for a while. Thank you, MangaFreak150, Meepy, Shaynii, AmaRobot 2.0, and the very flat-chested girl in orange CR shirt (I know I’m missing another name here)! I hope the stream will be improved next year.
…where I unintentionally called Mr. Kawahara cute
because my mind was drawing a blank
The con started winding down on Sunday. I attended press interviews with Kawahara, Aoi Eir/Haruna Luna, and Motohiro/Shiotani/Wada, which caused me to be unable to attend the final SAO event at the Aniplex booth and I missed the last appearance by the SAO guests of honor. I really wanted to say a final thanks and safe travels to them, but I’d already gotten plenty of great memories and and souvenirs by then. In the end, I brought back autographs from Mr. Kawahara, Aoi Eir, Haruna Luna, Mr. Motohiro, Mr. Shiotani, and Mr. Wada, a ticket from the PSYKYO-PARTY, a CR wristband, FUNimation button pins, and a small collection of business cards.
I still felt disappointed with myself about missing people, so I sent out messages on Twitter. I was struck speechless when Mr. Kawahara tweeted back and followed me. I suppose I should go pick up the latest volume of SAO when it gets released in about a week (April 10).
All in all, I had an absolutely amazing time at the convention. I’ve yet to find a single photo of me where I’m not smiling.
And Animeweedlord420 rocked the Yui dress that I made for him (with a wonderful wig styling job by Laura!)
And Keisos devastating people with his Heathcliff aura