Another Anime Convention is a growing anime and gaming convention held annually in southern New Hampshire. It features the standard con fare: panels, concerts, gaming, cosplay contests and performances, a combined artist alley/dealer's room, dance, formal ball, and several 18+ events.
For its third year Another Anime Con changed locations once again, moving to the castle-esque Radisson Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire. The move was an excellent decision on the part of the con's staff; not only was the hotel larger with more versatile function space, but the employees were accustomed to the convention crowd and were thoroughly amused - as opposed to annoyed - by attendee antics. The hotel's alternate use as an overflow dormitory space for students of the nearby University of Massachusetts: Lowell also ensured that the hotel's guests were relatively young and unconcerned with dealing with potentially noisy rooms. Finally, the hotel's architecture -from the castle-like turrets to the rolling hills and large pond - added something extra to the atmosphere and provided a fantastic backdrop for photos. Many of the organizational problems from last year seemed to have been resolved, although the hotel's rambling layout could have benefited from a few more signs designating areas such as registration and Masquerade HQ. However, its rave did not disappoint, and continues to be popular among area conventions.
I drove up to Nashua after work on Friday night and changed into my Ravenclaw robes from Harry Potter. After grabbing my badge, Sketch and I headed up to his room to break open the bar before meeting up with the rest of the crew to attend the AMV contest screening. I had entered my Final Fantasy IX AMV, “Path To Power,” but I was unsure what category it best fit in so I stuck it in romance. The videos were pretty good across the board, but by the time we hit the comedy category, those of us who had worked all day were nodding off in our chairs. When Sketch literally started snoring on my shoulder we all decided it was time to call it a night.
Saturday I got into my cowgirl Tifa Lockheart costume from Crisis Core which I had made for the convention’s “Go West!” theme. Gale wore her Crisis Core Aeris to match my outfit and Andrew got some fantastic shots of us. Afterwards I did a shoot for Lo and Annie in their Le Chavelier D'eon costumes and for Ginger, Michela, and Crazy Flower in their Final Fantasy XII costumes. The fall colors in the woods behind the hotel made for an excellent backdrop! That afternoon, we had judging for our silly Final Fantasy VIII masquerade skit where Rinoa accidently gets zapped by Dr. Odine’s machine. It splits her personality into different bodies; Rinoa is depressed an emo, her ballroom version is a happy party girl, her Amano version is a hippie, and her Kingdom Hearts version is a violent angry bitch. I had all of the costumes already, so we just dressed everyone up in my clothes. At judging they loved Crazy Flower's Odine costume complete with huge collar and homemade jeans, and they really liked the feather wings and hand beading I'd done for Amano Rinoa. It was so much easier to talk about my costumes when they were being modeled by other people!
At the masquerade the organizers sat the audience pretty quickly and got started right away without all of the annoying set-up which fell flat the year before. Katy was MC’ing again and did an amazing job of keeping everything moving. Several groups had improved leaps and bounds from last year; I was especially impressed with a group who had entered a rambling, unchoreographed mess in 2007, and this year had stepped it up dramatically with well-executed choreography and a great concept and thoughtful storyline to match! I also loved some of the costumes; one novice cosplayer had an impressive set of feather wings which let up with LEDs. As for our skit, it certainly was not our most well-executed performance by far. Reducing the time limit from 3 minutes to 2 this year meant we had to cut a lot of setup out from the script and the entire thing was pretty much lost in its translation. However, I was shocked when we won Best Master Performance AND Best In Show. I was embarrassed; the judges should have bumped up several of the skits to the advanced category instead of giving us two major awards for a mediocre skit.
That night we changed and headed to Sketch’s room to pre-game before heading to the rave. I love to dance and last year’s one at AAC was phenomenal: plenty of room, plenty of water, and plenty of clubbing music as opposed to Japanese crap that no one can dance to. As was expected, the rave was OMGWIN; the music was excellent, there was plenty of room to move around, and we recruited a ton of friends to come join in the fun. We took a couple of breaks to get some water and to spend some time lying on the ground outside to cool off, but for the most part we danced from 9pm until past midnight. The only downside was that around 11 the dance ran out of water, and the taps in the bathroom weren’t working when we tried to rehydrate there. Keep that water coming, con staff!
Sketch was up at the crack of dawn for cosplay chess but I was so exhausted I barely woke up until Gale needed help getting ready. Who does cosplay chess at such an ungodly hour of the morning? Later that morning Stardust and I got into our FF8 costumes and caught the latter half of the match. The game was lame compared to chess matches at other cons, but when the music refused to work one of the attendees I was sitting next to whipped out his guitar and started playing acoustic accompaniment for the battles taking place on stage. He was actually really good, and the rest of the audience and I enjoyed it immensely. That afternoon we played Apples to Apples in the game room and watched the Anime Idol competition before gathering up the crew to hit up dinner on the way home. Another great weekend!