October 17th - 19th, 2008
Nashua, New Hampshire

Convention Stats:
Location: Radisson Hotel Nashua
Event Year: Third
Reported Attendance: 1,022
Theme: "Go West"
Costumes Worn:
Jiraiya, Naruto
Xenmas, Kingdom Hearts
Ravenclaw Student, Harry Potter
Tifa Lockheart, Final Fantasy VII
Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Rinoa Heartilly, Amano Artwork
Rinoa Heartilly, Kingdom Hearts
Cosplay Chess: Xenmas, Rook
Masquerade: "Attack of the Clones"
Music Videos:
Romance Category: "Path to Power"
Special Activities:
Artist Alley Guest Artist
21+ Dating Game Co-Host
Masquerade Performance Judge
Best In Show, Masquerade
Best Master Performance, Masquerade
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Jamila Sisco, Andrew
For its' third year, Another Anime Convention 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 UMass: Lowell also ensured that the hotel's guests were relatively unconcerned 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, the rave did not disappoint, and AAC is growing steadily more popular among area conventions.

Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
I drove up to Nashua after work on Friday night and changed into my Ravenclaw robes; 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 had entered it as Romance when that really isn't the driving theme behind it. I didn't feel confident about it competing in that category, and regretted my choice even more during the screening as it didn't fit in well with the other videos it was competing against. Despite that, the videos were pretty good across the board, but the contest was long and 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 and I couldn't nudge him awake any more, we all decided it was time to call it a night.

Saturday was sunny and warm for October as I got into my new Mt. Nibel Tifa Lockheart costume which I had made for the convention’s “Go West!” theme. Gale wore her Crisis Core Aeris to match, and Andrew got some fantastic shots of us all around the outside of the hotel. Afterwards I did a shoot for Lo and Annie in their Le Chavelier D'eon costumes by a beautiful outdoor staircase and did another shoot for Ginger, Michela, and Crazy Flower in their Final Fantasy XII costumes in the woods behind the hotel. The brightly colored fall leaves made the perfect natural setting for both series and the costume colors popped in the low sunlight. That afternoon I changed into Dion Rogers' Rinoa Heartilly for masquerade craftsmanship judging; our silly skit involved Rinoa getting zapped by one of Dr. Odine’s machines, splitting her personality into different bodies represented by her different costumes: default Rinoa is depressed, her ballroom version is a party girl, her Amano version is an eco-hippie, and her Dion Rogers version is angry and violent. I had all of the Rinoa costumes already, so we just dressed everyone up in my clothes. At judging they loved Crazy Flower's clever Odine costume and the feather wings and hand beading I'd done for Amano Rinoa. It was the first time I'd had my work judged while it was being worn by someone else, and it was so much easier to talk about my costumes and point out details when I wasn't also the model!

At the masquerade the organizers sat the audience quickly and got started right away without all of the annoying set-up from 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, poorly choreographed number last year but stepped it up dramatically this time with well-executed choreography and a fantastic concept. I also loved some of the costumes; one novice cosplayer had an impressive set of feather wings which let up with LEDs. Our skit, by comparison, was a hot mess; the convention had unexpectedly shortened the maximum skit length requirements from 3 minutes to 2 this year so we cut out a lot out of the script. To make matters worse, parts of the audio were garbled by tech issues during the performance, so between both problems the entire plot was pretty much lost in translation. I was embarrassed when we won Best Master Performance AND Best In Show because we were the only ones in the advanced category; the judges should have bumped up several of the high-quality, lower-level entries into the advanced category instead of giving us two major awards for a pretty lame skit.

That night we changed and headed to Sketch’s room to pregame before heading to the rave, and had a fabulous time drinking cocktails and partying before heading downstairs once the dance floor was hopping. As was expected, the rave was fantastic; 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 spent an embarrassing about of time lying on the cold pavement outside the front door to cool off, but we danced from 9pm until past midnight, and Sketch joined me after finishing up co-hosting the Dating Game. The only downside to the evening was that the rave ran out of water, and the taps in the bathroom weren’t working when we tried to re-hydrate there.

Sketch was up at the crack of dawn for cosplay chess but I was so exhausted I barely woke up. Who does cosplay chess at such an ungodly hour of the morning? Later that morning Ellystar and I got into our FF8 costumes and did a mini photoshoot before catching the latter half of the chess 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 eally good, and the rest of the audience and I enjoyed it immensely. That afternoon the whole crew played Apples to Apples and watched the Anime Idol Competition before grabbing dinner on the way home. A wonderful weekend all around!