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Sakura-Con 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here (I blame ArcheAge), but last, last week was Sakura-Con 2015. Sakura-con is the largest anime convention in the north west, with over 20,000 attendees and held at the Washington State Convention Center (Seattle, Washington) between April 3-5th. I went last yearand took tons of cosplay photos as an attendee, but this year, I decided to attend not only as volunteer staff, but also as a panelist!

Since I spent most of my time helping out in the console gaming room (I was part of tournament gaming staff), I was only able to spend a brief amount of time wandering around and attending events. Most of my photos came from the figure sculpting panel, TYPE-MOON photoshoot, Dollfie meet, concert, and of course my own Unlimited TYPE-MOON Works panel. Unlike my previous con photo albums, I wasn’t able to take many cosplayer photos, but it was still a lot of fun and I got a first-hands experience of what its like being on the other side of the fandom.

Convention

Welcome to Sakura-con!

Most of my time was spent sitting around in the video game room helping out with running the various game tournaments (Gundam Extreme Vs Full Boost, Persona 4, Dengeki Fighting Climax, Ultra Street Fighter 4, and more)

According to Wikipedia, last year’s Sakura-con’s attendance numbers were 22,000. I’m pretty sure this year was even more.

One of the few events I was able to attend was the Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Sakura-con exclusive premiere. Not only were we able to watch the first 3 episodes before they aired anywhere else in the world, but we got to see the longer director’s cut version (which had a few more scenes than the TV versions). No photos were allowed of course, so here’s a photo of the (long) line instead.

Attendees of the premiere did get a special poster with autographs/drawings by ufotable and TYPE-MOON staff (Nasu’s and Takeuchi’s bubbles are on the 4th row)

In the merchant’s hall, Arc System Works was showing off and letting players try out their upcoming new BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend. They would later host a special event later, which I also got to help out with.

Aniplex booth, capitalizing on Fate and SAO

Good Smile Company booth. A lot of stuff on display, as well as some Nendos/figmas for sale.

Live Sculpting Panel

The only panel I was able to attend the entire weekend (other than my own) was the live sculpting panel, aka “Good Smile Company x Max Factory Present Live Sculpting with Max Watanabe & Masaki Asai”, hosted by GSC’s Mamitan (DancingQueen on MFC). The panel consisted mainly of Max Watanabe (Max Factory’s CEO) taking questions and talking about the figma creation process and industry, while Masaki Asai (figma sculptor) did a live demo on 3D digital sculpting in the background.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but when my friend Tsukikira posed the question of, “so, what’s the story behind the Archer figma?”, both Max-san and Masaki-san buried their faces in their hands in shame. Turns out, after showing a prototype over 3 years ago, they kinda… forgot xD (After which it became a running joke and harder and harder to get back to)

From left to right: Mamitan, translator from GSC, Masaki Asai, Max Watanabe, Sakura-con translator

Live sculpt of a non-anime original character by Masaki-san. This would later be polished up and put up on charity auction as an exclusive figure (don’t remember the details).

Apparently Masaki-san was asked to make a 3D model of Kill-la-Kill’s Senketsu so that the animators could draw the fabrics correctly

Digital sculpt for Max Factory’s upcoming 1/20 scale Shimakaze figure

A Sakura-con-exclusive sculpt Masaki-san made in his hotel room, also for the charity auction and one-of-a-kind

Max-san showing off a bobblehead of himself :3

After the panel, I got a chance to go up and ask Masaki-san if Max Factory would ever consider making an official Archetype Earth figma. He replied something along the lines of, “Ahhh, Tsukihime? I know that series. Not sure, but the chance isn’t zero…” THERE IS HOPE!!!

Cosplayers!

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t take as many cosplayer photos as I usually do. Partially cause of my busy schedule, but also partially I suppose because I’ve kinda burnt out of cosplay photography (after seeing so many awesome cosplays for the past many years of attending cons). Here’s a few random ones I took

The one and only Gurren Lagann from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann <3

Kagami Hiiragi from Lucky Star

Kanami from Log Horizon

Ruler from Fate/Apocrypha

Excaliburrrrrr from Soul Eater

Well, that was Onyxpected! Onyx from Pokemon

Hannouji Academy’s Elite Four and Satsuki-sama from Kill la Kill

A lot, lot of Love Live idols… in fact, way too many! @_@

A cute Ahri cosplayer and fellow staff member that I chatted with while waiting in line for the concert

TYPE-MOON Photoshoot

With the Fate/stay night [UBW] anime last season, I was kind of expecting a huge turnout for the TYPE-MOON photoshoot (I definitely counted at least 10 Tohsaka Rins just at the premiere event), but only a handful showed up, most likely due to the lack of publicity (we’ll try harder next year, orz). As expected though, all attendees were from Fate/stay night or Fate/zero except the one Fate/Prototype Saber. I was probably the only non-Fate cosplayer there in my old Tohno Shiki cosplay (that no one except one person realized, doh!), so I didn’t bother getting any photos of myself.

Group shot

Fate/zero

Fate/stay night

Forever alone Archers

TYPE-MOON’s cashcow Sabers

“Bad guys” versus…

…”Good guys”??? (Archer’s in the middle, kinda)

I’m not sure what’s going on…

…but lets go with it…

…cause anything can happen in the Nasuverse, deshou?

No one brought along a Azoth Sword, so we borrowed Saber’s Excalibur for this scene

Gilgamesh x Kotomine Kirei, Fate/stay night versions

Fate/stay night’s Caster being camera shy (there was no Soichiro-sama there)

Fate/Zero’s Saber striking a pose

Fate/Zero’s Lancer trying out his luck

Gilgamesh being Gilgamesh

Dollfie Meet

Last year, OhnoRaptors and I were able to organize a nice DD meet at Sakura-con, but this time around, between all the time spent preparing for my panel and such, I kinda dropped the ball (and the meetup kinda defaulted to the regular BJD meet). It was still going to be Arcueid‘s first time at a convention, so I made sure to dress her up nicely in a kimono. Due to staff schedule conflicts, I was only able to attend the BJD meet on Saturday, but I was able to meet up with jadepixel again as well as meet another DD owner (didn’t catch his name) who brought along a Mirai.

Arcueid in her kimono, getting ready for her first con

At the BJD meet, getting her photo taken by Mirai

jadepixel’s adorable custom Vanille (DDH-06 on an MDD body)

And the lovely lady herself who did Arcueid’s custom faceup

Mirai wants to take more photos!

Group shot

Kanako Itou & GARNiDELiA Concert

Another one of the main events of Sakura-con is the concert. It was actually my very first time attending a concert at an anime convention – the last time I was interested in attending was Anime Expo 2011 with Mikunopolis LA, but I missed out cause I didn’t realize I had to buy tickets in advance. Since, I was staff, however, I got to line up in the VIP line, so I got front row “seats” (aka the standing area right in front of the stage).

The concert consisted of performances by Kanako Itou, followed by GARNiDELiA. Kanako Itou sang all the Steins;Gate/Chaos;Head/Robotics;Notes songs, some Higurashi songs and a few others, while the GARNiDELiA duo (Maria & Toku), who performed a mish-mash of songs including Freezing’s OP, Kill la Kill’s OP, Gundam Reconguista in G’s OP, and even a remixed cover of Evangelion’s Cruel Angel’s Thesis (which half the crowd sang along with). Funny enough, the only other time the audience sang along was during the waiting time before the start of the concert when Log Horizon’s OP song, “database” was played (during which everyone, myself included, was screaming “Database, database, living in the database, whoahooo!“). Also of amusement was how we somehow turned the traditional “en-core-reh!” chant into “Kan-col-le!” xD At least most of us were able to wave the glow sticks right (well, at least the front rower’s).

We were only allowed to take photos of the Kanako Itou half, so no pics of Toku-sempai noticing me unfortunately :(

I’m pretty sure the main room got max’ed out for the concert

Kanako Itou jumping on stage and getting right into it with tons of energy

I’m probably one of those glow-stick wavers in the front

By the end of the concert, my arms were dead tired and my throat dead dry, but it was totally worth it :P

Unlimited TYPE-MOON Works Panel

Aside from volunteering as staff this year, I decided to take another step forward in anime con involvement and present my very own panel! Being a huge TYPE-MOON fan and with the first season of the Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] anime adaption just having finished airing, I figured it was a good opportunity to introduce the rest of the Nasuverse to the waves of new Saber fans. And so, “Unlimited TYPE-MOON Works” was born.

I was undoubtedly pretty nervous while presenting (and was told that I stumbled a few times), but overall, the panel went really well and was a pretty big success. Despite having no history presenting panels, not only was my panel application accepted but I was given a 45 minute slot in one of the bigger conference rooms (4C-4, holding up to 180 people). Attendance was a lot higher than expected (~3/4 of the room full, on a Sunday afternoon) and almost everyone stayed til the very end (and clapped too!). You can check out/download the the complete slides here in case you missed it.

Look mom, it’s my panel in the catalog!

The empty room while I set up, was quite surprised how big of a room I was given

People getting seated right after doors opened at 1:45pm

Me in my No-Game-No-Life shirt sitting alone up front, presenting the panel

Pretty full house for a Sunday afternoon

Everyone watching the misfortunes of poor, poor Sakura-chan

A view from the panelist’s seat – I had Arcueid beside me cheering me on, as well as a trusty can of Red Bull to give me wings

Audience clapping as I wrapped up the panel (had to rush the ending cause I went over-time)

Click the slide below to check out the panel’s slides and learn more about the fascinating world of TYPE-MOON

Behind the Scenes

Anime conventions don’t just magically organize themselves overnight – they are the fruits of weeks/months of planning and hard work by volunteer staff. Here’s some rare glimpses into what happens behind the scenes

Bag stuffing! Ever wondered where those loot bags with the con schedule book and various flyers/freebies came from? The answer is from the nearby Sheraton Hotel’s Meeting Room C, a week before the con, hand-packaged by a few hundred volunteer staff, assembly-line style.

Tournament gaming staff + friends posing with Arc System Works representatives right after the BlazBlue Experience event (more info here. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed photos for the event, but I did get to see Ueda Kana (Japanese voice actor for BlazBlue’s Rachel Alucard and Fate/stay night [UBW]’s Tohsaka Rin), Kondou Kanako (Japanese voice actor for BlazBlue’s Noel Vermillion/Nu-12/etc.), and Toshimichi Mori (director of BlazBlue) in person.

Giant official BlazBlue poster, signed by Kana-san, Kanako-san, Mori-san, and the rest of the Arc System Works staff who came along

I didn’t get to take the poster home of course (one of the other more senior staff members did), but I did pick up some Miku gashapons from the GSC booth and “Star Dream Girls” Idolmaster artbook from Sekai Project’s booth for thebobness. I also picked up a copy of the “2013 Moe Headphones Design” artbook from Sekai Project, but haven’t had a chance to take a picture of it cause it’s still in the loot bag that Tsukikira took home with him and still hasn’t given back >_<

Even though Sakura-Con officially ends at 5pm, we kicked out everyone closed the console gaming room early at 4pm since it takes much longer tearing down/cleaning up/packing up all the equipment (TVs, consoles, cables, sound systems, tables, chairs, etc.), especially since most of it comes from the staff (I lent out my PS3, Qamba Q4 stick, and copy of Dengeki Busou Fighting Climax). Thus, we weren’t able to leave the convention center til around 8pm. Here’s a pic of the tournament gaming staff + Mahjong staff heading out, lead by our fearless leader Mike.

Hmm, there’s something missing…

There you go, much better now!

After a long weekend of work, time to all go relax at the local bar

Tournament gaming staff + Mahjong room staff group photo

Obligatory Jojo’s pose version

And that’s it for this year’s Sakura-con 2015 report. Hope you enjoyed the con and see you all next year!

~Keripo

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157651960612002/
MyFigureCollection: http://myfigurecollection.net/blog/21135

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