Best Romance, AMV Contest
Best Fun/Upbeat, AMV Contest
Best Master Performance, Masquerade
Sketch's Special Activities:
Artist Alley: Guest Artist
Masquerade: Performance Judge
For it's sophomore year, Another Anime Convention moved to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Nashua, having already outgrown its original location in Manchester. Although AAC is small and young, the convention managed to pull off a polished look; their program guide and artwork were on par with larger conventions and AAC’s events, including their formal ball, AMV contest, masquerade, and rave, were all aesthetically and technically well put together. A unique and popular feature of 2007’s event was that many panels and events featured free food, from a Japanese snack table to gingerbread man decorating. That said, the convention was not without issues; communication between staff and attendees was poor, and there was a lot of confusion in regards to locations, event times, and how to sign up for certain functions. It was also difficult to identify staff and security team members, as many were in costume and did not wear identifying sashes or tags. The layout did not facilitate attendee traffic and noise from the halls or other events routinely spilled over into panels and video rooms. Finally, the inclusion of somewhat insulting commentary typed on-screen during the masquerade displayed questionable judgment by staff members and took away from the performances. These difficulties, however, are easily solvable growing pains, and AAC thus far is a welcome addition to the New England convention circuit.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
I had heard good things about Another Anime Con’s premiere last year and was excited to check it out. I drove down to Nashua late Friday and changed into my Arwen gown for the Ouran Host Club Ball. An elegant tent had been set up in the courtyard and decorated with paper lanterns and twinkling lights; after the hosts checked me in they escorted me to the tent. The music was well-chosen and soft enough that guests could chat with their dance partners, and the staff served sparkling cider in wine glasses and handed out soap bubble favors. The atmosphere in general was much nicer than balls I'd been to at larger conventions; the only drawback was the lack of communication about how to sign up for the event combined with a low attendance cap caused too few people to show up which meant that after a few dances there wasn't much left to do. That evening I had two videos competing at the AMV Contest so I headed there next; I was afraid I was late, but the show had encountered technical difficulties so I arrived just in time for it to start. I was impressed with the quality of the entries for a small convention; highlights included “Senshi No Moondance,” a Sailor Moon action video, and “Hypnerotomachia,” a surrealistic video bordering on avant-garde theatre. After the contest I hit up a Japanese snack panel, leaving with a purse-fill of Pocky and matcha ice cream for the hotel room.
Saturday morning I was up early and into my Chibimoon costume to attend masquerade rehearsal; they wouldn't begin until all entrants had arrived, and many cosplayers were late which delayed the entire process. Though I appreciated being able to ask questions, check the volume on our sound, and go over cues with the tech staff, I don’t know why they didn’t just rehearse in the order that groups arrived rather than making everyone sit there until the entire entrant pool showed up. Afterwards we were sent to craftsmanship judging and the judges went over every inch of our costumes asking thoughtful questions. That afternoon I changed into Tifa and hung out with Sketch and PatrickD in Artist’s Alley until the sound from the band performing in main events spilled so loudly into the hall that it was impossible to chat. Annoyed, we all headed instead to Crazy Flower’s makeup panel, where she did an excellent job covering a wide range of topics from simple enhancement makeup to complex patterns and prosthesis.
That evening I got back into Chibiusa for the masquerade, which opened with text commentary typed on the video screens by staff members using Notepad. It was a funny way to warm up the crowd, but it became a problem when it continued throughout the show and sometimes even during the skits. The young performers were unnerved by the public commentary during their performances, as it was impossible to tell if the audience’s reactions were to the skit or the screen. Each screen had different text, and the show was often hijacked as the two screens competed with each other for the audience's attention. It also prevented the screen from serving its main purpose as a visual aid, as the text preempted the video feed of the actual performances. The skits themselves were hit or miss, and most would have benefited from pre-recorded dialog – something even the staff who were performing neglected to do and as a result I couldn’t hear the entire opening even though I was up front. I did enjoy the runway show by the Iron Cosplay contestants, who had a set time to make very creative costumes from found materials. Our skit was received well and I was relieved the audience wasn't too young to understand the Loony Tunes reference. Crazy Flower ended up winning Best Craftsmanship for her FFXII Moogle and we both won Best Advanced Performance for the skit. As for the AMV Contest, both of my videos won their respective categories! That night we hit up the rave; the music was awesome and there was plenty of room to move. There wasn’t a lot of ventilation and it got hot fast, but luckily there was a steady supply of ice water to hydrate.
Sunday I got into Amano Rinoa and hit up the Dating Game to watch Gale and Lindsay perform as bachelorettes. They were funny and the entire show was quite entertaining. That afternoon we checked out Anime Unscripted hosted by PatrickD and Jekka, and then headed to the gingerbread cookie-making panel where we designed a cute pair of heavily-frosted characters. They were quickly devoured before heading home. Overall it was a great weekend, and I hope to return!