This year marked Bakuretsu Con's fifth anniversary, and the con celebrated by moving to a slightly larger venue at the Hampton Inn. The location was pretty for photos and the larger space allowed for better organization of events. Even better, the Hampton Inn’s rooms went for only $79 a night, which included free breakfasts and complimentary tea, coffee, and hot chocolate 24 hours a day. The Hampton Inn did experience significant problems with their key cards, however, and it became almost impossible to have more than one functioning card per room throughout the weekend. Bakuretsu Con did suffer from a lack of people, including masquerade judges who were recruited the day of the event. While main events like the AMV contest and Anime Unscripted were well-attended, other panels ran to near empty rooms. Bakuretsu Con's out-of-the-way location and lack of promotion have prevented it from developing the following it deserves, as the organizers did put together an enjoyable event.
I knew Bakuretsu Con was going to be low-key, but I was excited to drive up to Vermont on Friday and have the chance to hang out with friends. I met up with my roommates, Starlightslk, Sephygoth, and AkaneSaotome, and unpacked before changing into Rinoa and heading down to the con. We checked out the tiny dealer's room and artist's alley, then headed into Burlington for the afternoon in costume. That evening we returned and attended PatD’s panel on starting conventions, and then hung around for Anime Unscripted, a convention version of Whose Line Is It Anyway. I jumped at the chance to volunteer, and was picked for “Superheroes,” where the world was out of Red Bull. It ended perfectly when I was turned around and a performer pointed to the wings on my Rinoa duster. “We don’t need any Red Bull after all. You’ve already got wings!” She nailed the perfect line to end the skit! That night I hit up the AMV contest, which I had entered for the first time with “Tonight, A Tribute To Rinoa” from Final Fantasy VIII which was in the Drama category and “Breath of Release” from Final Fantasy X which was in the Romance category. I was surprised by the high quality of some of the entries, while others were obviously a first attempt at AMV making. Highlights included a Naruto vid entitled “The Human Equation” which immediately stood out for its editing. My videos seemed to go over OK, though it was hard to tell while sitting up front in the seating section reserved for AMV editors. In the future I think I’ll bypass the reserved seating and hide in the back so I can better tell how the audience reacts to my videos. That night we hit up the dance, which was small but they played some great music, so we boogied down until it ended.
Saturday I spent the morning transforming into Sorceress Adel for masquerade judging, which took place on a top floor balcony overlooking the lobby. I had a blast leaning over the railing and frightening children who entered the hotel. Inu-girl was there as Shiva from Final Fantasy X; she had completely redone the wig since I last saw her at Anime Boston and some of the newer accessories glowed in the dark! My judging session was easy enough, and I was glad to see that the judges took the time to study the reference images closely. That afternoon I did a photoshoot of Sephy and Starlightslk as Robin and Amon from Witch Hunter Robin, and their costumes went really well with the fall foliage! Sephy got some nice photos of my before I had to head inside and set up for the masquerade. I had entered a solo skit called "Sorceress Dating 101," in which I made a voice recording in which a voice teaches Sorceress Adel how to get a boyfriend. When she admits she has a crush on Squall, the voice recommends she find out what it is about Rinoa that Squall finds appealing, and she interprets this to mean capturing Rinoa will solve the problem. I made a Rinoa dummy that could be "junctioned" to me with velcro; i just hoped everyone got the joke.
The masquerade coordinators had everyone come up on stage and get used to the setup, and they joked with anyone who was nervous until they felt comfortable. This aspect was a wonderful surprise; at large cons the masquerades are often so competitive and stressful that it was nice to see a place where NOT taking it seriously was encouraged, especially given the experience level of most of the participants. However, as performers we had to wait in line outside the ballroom during the show for over an hour, and we had to carry everything with us onstage. Given the size of the audience, there were plenty of seats which we could have occupied. My performance went well and I got some great laughs from the crowd. Once the performances ended, the AMV winners were announced and I won Best Romance for "Breath of Release!" I was shocked, since it hadn’t gotten much of a reaction at the screening, however as I watched the masquerade audience watch it from the back of the room, it was different; there was even a chorus of "Aww" at the end. As for the masquerade, Inu-girl deservingly won Best Craftsmanship, and I got Best Presentation!
That night I changed into Tifa and hung out with the crew; Spike Spencer stumbled out of his panel (ironically entitled "How To Talk To Girls”) and proceeded to follow me around making sexual comments. I kept telling him to shove off until I found PatD who rescued me. We hid in the basement where we made paper hats from a stack of flyers. As a joke, we stuck one in the elevator and sent it upstairs. When the elevator came back down, Sephy's sister was inside, holding the hat. We then sent more hats up the elevator with messages saying “Follow Hat To Party." We could hear other people laughing upstairs, and would push the down button fast enough so that they had to journey downstairs. It was a fun night! Sunday I wore Julia Heartilly, while AkaneSaotome got into her Ash Ketchum outfit which had an amazing wig! We all hung out for a bit, and PatD and I were amused to find that many of our paper hats from the night before had reappeared in various places around the con. That afternoon we headed to Pizza Putt for food, arcade games, and an AWESOME indoor mini golf course before heading home. Fantastic weekend, and I made a bunch of new friends!