Late night + early morning makes Marina a grouchy, apt-to-motion-sickness gal. The day began at 8 AM, and I stumbled on home at about 9 PM to give myself some extra time before Day 2, which will be my busiest day of the convention.
I met up with AnimeSuki Forum mates, papermario and Eater, then broke off with papermario to watch Tales of Vesperia: First Strike, which I hadn’t seen before. The Councourse Hall in which it was shown was surprisingly large and boasted three large screens. They even changed the audio from English to Japanese–the only downside to this was that due to the screens being somewhat close to the floor level, the subtitles were often difficult to see because of the heads of people in front.
This was a great way for me to officially start the convention since I’m a huge fan of Vesperia. Though the film’s story was vastly different from the game’s story line, and only featured one scene of my favorite Rita Mordio, I still greatly enjoyed the focus on Yuri and Flynn as young knights. You can see how inexperienced they still are not only because of their more relaxed stances on duty, but also because Repede is shown as a pup eager to bite down on any object or offending person. The audience kept nice and quiet until the end where we all burst out in cheers and claps.
I had originally planned to go to the Fate/Zero finale screening and Q&A, but I skipped it for the opening rush into the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley. And RUSH, I do not kid. What started as a decent crowd in the lobby turned into a cramfest near the escalators as we all waited for the go ahead. Once people started moving, it was pretty much body to body as well all shuffled forward. The closer to the escalator you got, the more tightly you were pressed. The odd thing was that once you actually got up, you all of a sudden had plenty of space. I guess those childhood lessons of kids getting sucked into escalators really sunk in.
It was a bit difficult to maintain any sense of order when it came to navigating the Exhibit Hall, but with my stubbornness, I think I hit every booth in there. Notable purchases include a Rider and Waver (Fate/Zero) wall scroll and a Taiga (Toradora!) nendoroid. Living in Alaska means that the shipping for anything is almost always a sinful amount of money, and waiting can last up to a month. These were chances I couldn’t miss. Smaller purchases included a few posters from the Artist Alley featuring Tsuritama, Samus of Metroid, and Yuno of Future Diary, as well as miniature phone straps of Natsume Yuujinchou‘s Madara and Hunter’s Killua. I easily spent about three hours in here, until a reminding call about Yuki Kajiura’s upcoming panel pushed me out.
Yuki Kajiura and FictionJunction Panel
Since I was here about an hour early, papermario and I were able to get pretty good spots in the line that was forming up in an area separated from the actual hall. While there, we met up with Eater, and I was also able to spot and say hi to ppizzapie of ISML and Yumeka of Mainichi Anime Yume. I am really grateful that the majority of the other areas did not have concrete floors like this line area did. The next year I go, I might have to bring something soft to sit on for all the times I’ve had to sit and wait.
The actual Q&A session moved along pretty quickly since they jumped right into audience participation. I appreciated listening to others’ questions since I hadn’t prepared any of my own, though I couldn’t stop myself from inwardly rephrasing some of the questions to make more sense. I felt a bit sorry for the translator and artists, who seemed to have a bit of difficulty comprehending what was being asked of them at times. As thrilling as it may be for a person to get to go up and ask in person a question of an artist like Yuki Kajiura, some stage practice wouldn’t hurt. Carefully think of the question’s wording, maybe write it down so you don’t suddenly forget it in your excitement. There’s no need to repeat flattery that a prior fan already spouted. And most of all, be concise.
The panel was effective in getting me even more excited for their concert tomorrow!
Compared to ISML’s Momento10, who had about 900 and up photos, I didn’t get very many cosplay pictures today. Most of the images I took were taken while I was standing in line, or on my way to another section of the convention center. My favorite of Day 1 is undoubtedly the Madoka group, although I did see some really stellar presentations elsewhere that I missed snapping a shot of.
After Yuki Kajiura’s panel, I met up with some members from International Saimoe League and we stopped at the nearby medieval restaurant for dinner. Compared to the blogger dinner the night before, the smaller group of four was a nice change of pace; I was able to better talk to each of the people about ISML, the convention, anime in general, and undergrad and grad schools. I have to commend Momento10 for his persistence in shooting cosplayers. By evening, he had something like 900 images!