It’s that time of year again: Sakura-Con 2016! Sakura-Con is the largest anime convention in the north west, with over 20,000 attendees and held this year at the Washington State Convention Center (Seattle, Washington) between March 25-27th. This was my third year attending, having attended and blogged about both 2015 and 2014. This time around, I didn’t have any panel topics in mind so I just attended (once again) as volunteer staff this year for tournament gaming. The scheduling this year also wasn’t all that interesting so I spent most of my free time just wandering around looking for Fate cosplayers and handing out the Fate/Grand Order cards that I made.
First stop in the morning was of course the Exhibitor’s Hall! There was a fire alarm at our hotel that morning that made us all wait outside in our pajamas for a while so by the time I finished getting into cosplay and walked over to the convention centre, the Exhibitor’s Hall had already opened. Luckily there wasn’t much that I wanted, so no loss.
There was quite a huge line at the Good Smile Company booth. I’m sure the line up was for more Miku nendos or GSC Nendoroid 10th anniversary exclusives or whatnot.
I didn’t have anything on my shopping list for GSC (that’s what AmiAmi pre-orders are for), so I just walked around the line and took photos of the displays. Couldn’t really stand still in the moving aisles so please excuse the blurry/out-of-focus photos.
GSC also was showing off their Good Smile Racing car, which you could sponsor if you wanted some special exclusives (and your name on a long list).
I also dropped by the Kotobukiya booth. This time, I actually wanted something, specifically the Sakura-Con exclusive ”Blue Impulse” Frame Arms Girl. I’ve never owned a Frame Arms Girl, but I do have a Konami ”Arnval Mk 2 Tempesta” Busou Shinki whose build quality has left much to be desired. Hopefully Kotobukiya’s line is much better.
There was also a booth advertising NHK World and featured a giant Domo-kun. Naturally, I couldn’t resist and ended up getting my photo taken with him :3
This year, there weren’t many events/panels that interested me, but one of them was the SAO Movie Panel, which, as expected, had a huge line-up. The panel featured Reki Kawahara (SAO author), abec (SAO character designer), Kazuma Miki (SAO editor), and Shinichiro Kashiwada (Aniplex producer).
The panel was for the upcoming Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scales. Everyone who got into the room got a poster thingy and a raffle ticket (which were for some pretty sweet prizes that I won none of).
Rather than some early premiere/preview, the panel consisted of a mostly slide-show movie info-session panel and Abec doing a live sketch (using SAI paint I believe) of Asuna in her new Ordinal Scale outfit. All new details about the movie got released online the day after, so it was pretty much just a live sketch session (didn’t take photos of the sketch though).
The second event I attended was the premiere screening (episode 1 + 2) of Studio Trigger’s new upcoming original anime, Kiznaiver. Apparently Japanese broadcast doesn’t happen til April 9th, so we were technically the first to see it. It was pretty neat (definitely a Trigger work) and got a poster out of it.
The third and last panel I attended was a Q&A panel featuring Hiroyasu Kobayashi (Studio Khara) and Shigeto Koyama (Studio Trigger/freelance character/mecha designer). They talked about the challenges and experiences of working in the design part of the anime industry, as well as showed off some of their work made for the Japan Animator Expo (particularly Obake-chan. They were tight-lipped about the recent FLCL Season 2 announcement though. I had brought my Buster Machine #7 figure for Koyama-san to sign (since I missed the auto-graph session earlier and he wasn’t there during the staff auto-graph session) but they wouldn’t let him :(
Apart from the events/panels, I spent a good amount of time in the video gaming room helping out as tournament staff. As always, attendance/turn-outs were high and things went quite smoothly I think.
Most of my time was spent sitting behind the “Tournament Signups” sign, occasional fixing up the Magical Battle Arena NEXT stations, and introducing people to the awesome Madoka doujin game, Grief Syndrome
I also helped run the Tetris tournament which, to my surprise, had quite a huge turnout and was far more intense than I would ever have expected.
In between shifts were runs to the “Staff Preservation” room, aka the “free food for volunteer staff” room.
Probably not a meal you should have too frequently :P
During the post-con cleanup, we got to use the huge lift to move all the TVs into the loading dock. It was pretty neat.
Tournament Gaming and Mahjong staff heading off after a successful three days of Sakura-Con staffing.
After having my mind blown by the amazing quality of cosplayers at Comiket, I’ve kind of found it hard to be impressed by cosplayers I see at western anime conventions. And so, like with last year, the non-photo-shoot cosplay photo count is a bit low this year, but here’s the partial photo dump, see Flickr for the full set.
The RX-0 Unicorn Phenex Gundam cosplay was so awesome that I had to get my photo taken with it~
The photoshoots that I did make time to attend this year were the two Fate photoshoots (last year was “TYPE-MOON” but this year it just became “Fate”, sadly). The first was at the official Aniplex booth in the Exhibitor’s Hall, and the second was fan-organized in the lobby area. Turnout was a lot higher than I expected (more than last year at least) so we got a nice bunch of photos. Here’s the partial photo dump, see Flickr for the full set.
For this year’s Sakura-con, I decided to make a bunch of Fate/Grand Order Servant cards to hand out to Fate cosplayer and FGO players that I meet. Being a last-minute idea, I didn’t have much material on-hand so I ended up just using my colour printer, a pair of scissors, and some packing tape for lamination.
Tsukikira and I stayed up til 1am the night before the con cutting out and laminated a total of 50 gold Servant cards. They turned out to be far more popular than I expected though, as they quickly ran out and a few people who managed to hunt me down on Sunday left empty-handed. For Anime Expo 2016, I’ll try to make a lot more as well as use sturdier material.
Here’s the happy/disappointed faces of all the new Servant owners. I should mix in a few Black Keys next time for more Yorokobe’ing.
Gudako getting a bit over-excited from all those 4/5-stars…
One of the F/GO players I met gave me a Mashu stamp that he made out of Perler beads. It was very cute and awesome!
I didn’t really buy much this year, so the loot pile was pretty small. Pretty much just the Frame Arms Girl and some freebies.
And that’s it for my Sakura-Con 2016 report. Overall, was a fun time as always. See you again next year, Sakura-con! (Next up: Anime Expo 2016)
MyFigure Collection: http://myfigurecollection.net/blog/27838
Flickr General: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157666520107365
Flickr Cosplayers: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157666520107355
Flickr Photoshoots: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157666520107335
Flickr FGO Cards: https://www.flickr.com/photos/keripo/sets/72157666520107315