Marble Hornets out of nowhere.
Last day of the con is always kind of a slow, somewhat somber affair, moreso here because it was a lot shorter than AX. I woke up around 8:30 and set out around 9:45, getting to the convention center around 10 when the Exhibit hall opened. I briefly checked the Aniplex booth to check when the autograph sessions would start, but forgot that it wasn’t going to be just Kawahara signing, but Luna and Aoi as well. Because of this, I decided to go ahead and buy the SAO singles at Kinokuniya’s booth for them to sign as well, and I also picked up the Type Moon 10th Anniversary phantasm book at this time (unlike the Toloveru Venus art book, Kinokuniya’s price for it is about the same if you bought it on Amazon, but I did want to buy it eventually in any case). There honestly wasn’t much to do besides wander around until 11:15 or so, where I would line up for Ishizuka Atsuko’s panel. There wasn’t a lot of people lined up for her, which I felt bad for, but it most likely had to do with how little she was promoted, seeing as how Sakurasou hasn’t been licensed and promoted the way Funi has Psycho Pass licensed and promoted with the other directors there. She ran a few minutes late, but when she did arrive, she had a large tapestry of Sakurasou to hang on the front desk. She said that she would show a promo clip of Sakurasou, but that they would go through some questions for her first. The entire panel essentially was just questions for her, and they never showed the Sakurasou promo they said they would show, but most of the small group there had already seen sakurasou anyways. Anyways, the first question kinda sucked because it came from some girls who obviously didn’t do their research, and asked if she worked on Trigun because she works at Madhouse. She said she didn’t, and said that if she knew she was going to be asked, she would done more research. The next question was from one of the 3 Chinese fans sitting on my right (I should mention I was front row again, but there weren’t many people, so it’s not as impressive) who had seen Sakurasou and had asked if there were any plans of a second season, which was going to be my question too. She said that while the light novel series is still ongoing, there haven’t been any plans to make one. However, she did say that if we bought lots of the BD/DVDs, they would be able to justify a second season. While she said this, she brought out the BD Box of Sakurasou Vol. 1, which I thought was funny. Though that guy asked my question, I did have a backup one, and I ended up asking how Ishizuka, who is primarily involved in MADHOUSE, felt working on Sakurasou when the production company for that was JC Staff, and what were some of the differences in working. At first, she was surprised, and said “Wow, you sure know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes” and explained that MADHOUSE has a lot more talents focusing on traditional artist style, while JC Staff had more experience with digital art style, as well as more experience with the moe concept. A few other things was that Ishizuka is one of the few female directors in the business, and jokingly said that the age of female directors will come where they will all have the male staff around their fingers. She also said that it’s easier to get things done compared to young male directors giving directions to older/veteran workers who feel they’re further along in their career; she can instead phrase them as requests instead of orders. The big twister for me was Ishizuka saying that she was in charge of animation for Persona 4 Golden’s Opening artwork, and that she served the same role in Persona 4 Arena as well. At this time, she also brought out a Persona 4 Golden keyboard cover, which she did the artwork for Chie on it. Again, why wasn’t she more heavily promoted?
Afterwards, the MC said that we were very lucky to have come to the panel because they had some gifts for attending: Ishizuka then gave out same Sakurasou goods and the Persona 4 Golden Keyboard cover away to people in the audience. I was almost hoping she’d give away the Sakurasou BD as well, but unfortunately not. The way these were done was that we would play Janken with her, and only the people who won against her hand would proceed until there were only two left, where the two players would play against each other. She first gave away the desk Sakurasou tapestry, whom the girl in the Chinese fan group won, and then a tapestry of Shiina, whom one of the boys in the Chinese fan group won (I really wanted that one too, fuckdammit). I did, however get to score the Persona 4 Golden Keyboard cover, which I almost had to fight for if it wasn’t for one of the staffers giving up when it was just me and him….and surprise surprise, it was actually one of the translators that was with Fujimura during Guest Reception, which was quite a surprise haha. They also gave out a Shiina iphone 5 Case, a green tea cup, and some other stuff I can’t remember. The last things were 5 cell phone straps, 4 of them being little body pillows of Shiina, Nanami, Misaki, and Ryuunosuke, and the last one being an emblem from the series which I recall seeing, but I don’t remember. I got the one of Shiina. The panel was officially done, but everyone of us who got something asked her to sign the item. I think I got the most appropriate thing out of this, since she did draw the P4G cover. I’ve said this before, but she is pretty damn cute for a 31-year-old. I actually wish I took a picture with her during the guest reception, but at least I have one of her now.
After this was the ticketed autograph session, which wasn’t all that eventful except for people having discussions on SAO related stuff in line. I did try to get someone to take a picture of me getting my stuff signed by Kakahara, but he couldn’t make it past the crowd and only got my backpack. I also made a mistake with Aoi’s, since I actually wanted her to sign the inside of the Innocence single on her picture like I had done for the other CDs, but I don’t plan on opening the CD much anyways. Afterwards, there was still some time to kill before the photo shoot and raffle, so I decided to get some food from one of the Convention center cafe. I had a personal pan pizza, thinking it’d be pretty bad, but I was lucky to get what was probably the freshest cafeteria bought pizzas, where the cheese was still oozing, the oil on the pepperoni still quite hot (so hot that I burnt part of the roof of my mouth), and the crust still crispy. It was actually a satisfying lunch rather than just eating to curb hunger. Afterwards, the line for the photo was starting, but you had to have the concert T-Shirt present to take a photo with them (you didn’t actually have to wear it, just able to present it). I had left it in the hotel because I had worn it during the concert the previous day, but went back to the hotel to go ahead and grab it, because, just like the ticketed autographs, you were guaranteed to get a photo as long as you had it, since they were limited. My only gripe was that it was smelly from the sweat of the concert, so I blasted the entire thing with AXE Body Spray to make it smell nicer. As for the actual photo, I had it where I held up the t-shirt as we were taking the photo and Aoi and Luna pointed at it. I couldn’t wait to see the picture taken by one of the staff “professionals”..
Contact me if you know how to repaint pictures so it looks less shit.
And this blurrtastic piece of crap was what I got. Some “professional.” Ah well, I still have the guest reception picture, using that shit as my phone wallpaper.
Finally the raffle began and….I didn’t win shit. D: In fact, I stood RIGHT NEXT to the guy (cosplaying Okabe/HOUOUIN KYOUMA) who won the big SAO tapestry signed by both Luna and Aoi, the grand prize. Was disappointed that I didn’t win, but not so much that it ruined my day (like the Fujimura autograph thing). Afterwards, there really wasn’t much to do except wander around a bit more.
Closing Ceremonies for Sakura-con was a bit different than what I was expecting from my experiences at Anime Expo: instead of reintroducing the guests on stage and saying good bye and all that, they screened the winner of the AMV contest (this really well done EVA Rebuild AMV whose song I didn’t catch the name of), a koto performance by the Seattle ensemble Silk Strings, and a Taiko drum performance by another Seattle based production (if that’s the right word for it). They were all very impressive, and I’d love to see one of these done for other cons as well. It ended by a Banzai chant and that was that. The entire convention center hadn’t completely shut down, but people were starting to leave, so I did the same.
With everything done and little actual sightseeing done on my part, I decided to take a walk through Seattle, first down to the waterfront to eat at Elliot’s Oyster House, then stopped by the first Starbucks to pick up something to send to my mom and dad. Got them the Pike Place Roast (two of them set me back like $16, holy shit), then got myself an Iced Caramel Macchiato and called it a day.
All in all, Sakura-con was a lot more enjoyable than I initially thought it was going to be; not because I had any negative thoughts about it, but because I knew it wasn’t going to be as big as AX in LA was. However, this turned out to be a blessing in this case since panels weren’t as far a walk from each other and it made navigation easy to the point where I knew where everything was in a day as opposed to having to be at AX in it’s entirety to finally get a grasp of where stuff was. I think the Guest Reception is also one of the best things about it if you’re big on meeting Guests of Honor like I am. I would definitely come back next year.
Time to show off the crap I got at the con, woo hoo.
First up, all autographed Shikishi boards. From top left, clockwise: Fujimura Ayumi, Haruna Luna, Kawamoto Toshihiro, Kawahara Reki, Aoi Eir, Ishizuka Atusko.
The two art books, both bought at Kinokuniya: Venus, To-Love-Ru Darkness Illustrations, and Type Moon 10th Anniversary Phantasm.
Prayer and Innocence Singles by Aoi Eir and Sora wa Takaku, Kaze wa Utau and Overfly singles by Luna Haruna. Again, I meant to have Eir sign her picture for Innocence, but forgot to open it to specify. Ah well.
The Concert T-shirt and the green foam glowstick I got from the Sony booth.
The Sword Art Online wallscroll that came with the ticket for the autograph session.
The Gundam Unicorn posters and pencil boards I got, including the signed one by Fujimura Ayumi and Stephanie Sheh.
The double sided Psycho Pass posters from the Funimation booth. I got two so that I could show off both sides.
And finally, the P4 Golden Keyboard Cover and Sakurasou Mashiro body pillow cell phone strap from Ishizuka Atsuko’s panel.
Quite a haul, just as much as my AX 2012 trip. Less Shikishi boards, but more combined autographs overall with the singles. Let’s see if AX 2013 can top this.