Thursday night, I tried to get some sleep early, like around 3 or 4 am. Predictably, I got a few good hours of sleep, before waking up more or less fully around 7. I putzed around for a bit, then laid down again, to finally get back to sleep around 10. I slept for only two more hours, before my alarm went off. By that time, I was fully into my sleep mode, and exorbitantly exhausted. Lying in bed, with the radio blaring, loud enough to fend off sweet sleep, I seriously considered blowing off the con and just sleeping through it. But, amazingly, my will was strong enough to force me out of that bed. I showered, got dressed, prepared myself, and then I was off. There was no turning back.
I decided to put some food in my system before entering the con, so that I wouldn't be walking around on an empty stomach, so I had a small meal at Wendy's on the nearby road. I entered the con at about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I'd say. I ended up parking up in the lot above, where there were plenty of spaces, and having to walk down around the side of the hill to get to the front of the hotel where the front entrance is. Walking into the lobby, it took me a moment to find the registration tables for the con, which, as it happens, were directly in front of me. I got my badge from a pink haired girl who [was the only one that] commented on my hair. I, of course, returned the comment, but I guess not much effort goes into a wig like that. Still, it was festive.
I spent a few hours scouting out the con, determining where everything was, and taking in the atmosphere. Video Rooms at one end of the hotel, Dealer's Room at the other end. Lobby in the middle. Panel Rooms and Video Game Room in the direction of the Video Rooms, and Main Events room in the direction of the Dealer's Room. I briefly looked in on the videos that were playing - Irresponsible Captain Tylor was one of the titles I recognized, before heading back across to the Dealer's Room, where I spent some time.
Some pretty cool stuff available. Lots of pre-made cosplay stuff, particularly of the Naruto variety - costumes and props alike. DVD's and manga, and a surprisingly large quantity of (live steel) swords and other knives. Keychains, plushes, basically a lot of the stuff you would expect to find in the Dealer's Room at an anime con. I spotted a Deedlit figure that I obviously couldn't resist buying, for only $15 or so. [Speaking of plushes, I just had a dream where I was looking for a Code Geass plush of C.C. in her white "bondage" outfit - ever seen one?]
I was a little detached from the Panels and Main Events during that first visit to the con, so after getting my Deedlit figure, I headed back to the Video Rooms to watch some stuff. I quickly realized that most of the stuff was being played in English, which pisses me off. But I wanted to kill some time, so I sat in for bits and pieces here and there. There was a movie playing called Petite Cossette that was mildly interesting (ignoring the English), with a somewhat dark atmosphere, but it kind of dragged on. [Interestingly, that's the title from which the image on my Otakon 2005 badge comes from - so now I finally have some context for it!]
I wanted to get home before dinner and the Open Stage, so I thought about heading out some time before or around 5ish. I knew I was gonna buy the latest volumes of Berserk (manga) during the con (since I was there, and it was at least as convenient as having to go to the store to pick them up), and I figured there was no point in waiting, so I stopped back at the Dealer's Room and picked up volumes 20 and 21 for a nice cheap price before leaving and heading back home.
After the Open Stage, it was around 11pm, and I was anxious to get back to the con for the midnight panel on Silent Hill. I made it there, but this second trip turned out to largely be a failure. Getting to the appropriate Panel Room, it was still a little early, but nothing was going on inside, and there were some other people sitting in there waiting - including a Silent Hill nurse sitting motionless in a creepy position. So I sat down in anticipation of the panel. Unfortunately, a staff member came in asking whether the panel was over (referring to the last one that must have finished up earlier) - asking the demonic Silent Hill nurse such a mundane question was an interesting spectacle - indicating that we'd have to clear the room before the next panel since it was an 18+ panel and they needed to check ID's before letting anyone enter. Those of us that were waiting for the Silent Hill panel filed out of the room (the nurse shuffled out), pondering the peculiarity of making Silent Hill an 18+ panel, which I don't believe it was supposed to be (despite the nature of the game series). Eventually, a question was fired, and the answer stunned us all - the Silent Hill panel had been rescheduled to a few hours earlier, and we had all missed it. Bummer. I had even worn my Silent Hill shirt that day... (By the way, we also found out that the panel that had taken Silent Hill's place was a yaoi panel, hence the carding, and why we all hurried off to find something else to do in place of our missed panel).
I had some time to kill before Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei was supposed to be showing, so I checked some of the other Video Rooms. I peeked in on one, and saw a schoolgirl (on screen), so I stepped in and took a seat. Then I realized it was Fruits Basket... In English, no less. Well, I eventually made it in to see Zetsubou, which was entertaining. I was happy that there were other Zetsubou fans there that were enjoying the series. I also learned that that particular video room was dedicated to unlicensed stuff (hence, in Japanese), which I hadn't realized earlier. Still, if I was creating a convention, I'd make Japanese the default for everything...
Anyhow, after Zetsubou ended, I stuck around and watched an episode of an apparently very old series called Devilman. It shocked me that such a series could exist, which is based on the premise that the protagonist is a kid who was killed by demons, which fought each other to the death for the privilege of inhabiting the boy's body, so that they could wreak havoc on the mortal world. Wow.
I made my way over to the Main Events room, looking for something to do, not wanting to go home just yet, and hoping that there might be a chance I could see some hentai AMV's that were supposedly gonna be played there (I know my tastes are pretty tame, but I have to admit a curiosity for 'tentacle rape'). No luck. I ended up sitting in on the end of a session where a bunch of apparent con-"celebrities", including at least one or two English voice actresses, told stories of "con horror" - terrible things that had happened to them in cons past. It was mostly boring, except for one story about an underground explosion during an Otakon, which resulted in skyborn manholes, and herds of rats leaving the sewers in a mass exodus. Otherwise, it was pretty inane, but I felt like taking in more of the con atmosphere. Following that panel, I ended up suffering through one Evangelion parody dub before I just had to leave. It was quite late by this time (I'm talking 3am), and I was quite tired. I got home absolutely exhausted, yet gradually made my way to bed, to get some rest before Saturday's excursion.
First day's reaction: resentment. "I'm not like these people. Although we share a major hobby, we are nothing alike. I certainly don't share their sense of humor." This kind of anime fandom has surprisingly little to do with anything Japanese. They watch these shows in English, pronounce the character's names with an American accent, are fans of the /English/ voice actors... Even the people that were watching the subtitled episodes I got to see, they would frequently read the subtitles out loud, like as if they were using their English "reading" to take the place of the Japanese audio... That's seriously what it seemed like. I doubt these people even listen to the actual Japanese words being spoken...
Anyway, it gets better; I was exhausted after the first day (hell, I got home, and my computer wasn't even working!), and even now (after the second day), I'm getting a small headache, and I /need/ to get some rest now, so I can't even write about today's adventure until tomorrow.