November 3rd - 5th, 2006
Burlington, Vermont

Convention Stats:
Location: Hampton Inn & Con Center
Event Year: Fifth
Reported Attendance: 480
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Sorceress Adel, Final Fantasy VIII
Tifa Lockheart, Advent Children
Julia Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Shiva's Performances:
Anime Unscripted: Guest
AMV Contest: "Tonight"
AMV Contest: "Breath of Release"
Masquerade: "Sorceress Dating 101"
Breath of Release AMV:
Shiva's Awards:
Best Romance, AMV Contest
Best Novice Performance, Masquerade
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Sephygoth (x2), Shiva (x2), Sephygoth (x2)

Bakuretsu Con is a small, low-key anime convention held each autumn near Burlington, Vermont. This year marked Bakuretsu Con's fifth anniversary, and the con celebrated by moving to a slightly larger venue at the Hampton Inn and Conference Center in Colchester, Vermont. The location was pretty for photos, featuring a small courtyard with a gazebo, and the larger space allowed plenty of room for panels and a main event space. The convention room rate was only $79 a night, which included free breakfast and complimentary tea, coffee, and hot chocolate 24 hours a day - an attractive deal for most attendees. With roommates, most could stay at the host hotel for under $50 for the weekend, though many attendees reported issues with having more than one functioning key card per room. Convention guests were few and two voice actors canceled close to the con date; however those who were there included artist Steve Bennett, editor Scott Melzer, the Comiku Girls, and anime voice actor Spike Spencer. Bakuretsu Con did suffer from a lack of people; 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 likely contribute to its small size, however despite these drawbacks the organizers put together an enjoyable event.

Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
This was my first time attending a convention that wasn't Anime Boston, and I knew going in that Bakuretsu Con was going to be a small, somewhat amateurish event compared to what I had become accustomed to. That said, I was excited to drive up to Vermont on Friday and have the chance to hang out with friends, wear costumes, and take a break from the pressures of grad school life for the weekend. I met up with my roommates, Starlightslk, Sephygoth, Mesosian, and AkaneSaotome; I had met all of them at previous events but this was our first time rooming and hanging out together. We unpacked, I changed into my classic Rinoa Heartilly costume, and we all headed downstairs to the con. Most of the event was held along a length of narrow L-shaped hallway with event rooms lining one side. We picked up our badges and programs at a small table at the end of the hall, then checked out the tiny combined dealer's room and Artist's Alley. It probably took us about 20 minutes to see everything there was to look at, and most of the event program did not start until Friday evening, so we all piled into Sephygoth's car and drove into downtown Burlington to walk around for the afternoon.

That evening we attended PatrickD’s panel on starting conventions, and then hung around in the same room for Anime Unscripted; the con was so small that the staff did not clear the room between events. Anime Unscripted usually uses at least some guest artists as performers but this evening all of the participants were volunteers from the audience. Once I realized Anime Unscripted was just a convention version of Whose Line Is It Anyway, I jumped at the chance to volunteer and was picked for “Superheroes,” where the emergency was that the world was out of Red Bull. It ended perfectly when I was turned around by a fellow volunteer who pointed to the wings on my Rinoa costume. “We don’t need any Red Bull after all. We’ve already got wings!” she ad-libbed, and the audience cheered.

Following the show I went to the AMV contest which I had entered for the first time; my “Tonight, A Tribute To Rinoa” AMV from Final Fantasy VIII was competing in the Drama category and my “Breath of Release” AMV from Final Fantasy X was competing in Romance. Given the small size of the convention I was surprised by the high quality of some of the entries, while others were obviously a first attempt at AMV making and would have been disqualified at larger contests for having watermarks or varying aspect ratios. A Naruto AMV entitled “The Human Equation” immediately stood out for its excellent 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. I decided that if I made it into any future AMV contests I'd bypass the reserved seating and hide in the back so I can observe the audience's reaction. Afterwards I hit up the dance with my roommates, which was small but they played some great music.

Saturday I spent the morning transforming into Sorceress Adel for masquerade judging, which took place on a top floor balcony overlooking the lobby. I got a kick out of randomly leaning over the railing and frightening unsuspecting people entering 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 afterwards I took photos of Sephy and Starlightslk as Robin and Amon from Witch Hunter Robin, and Sephy got some nice photos of me as well. I had entered a solo skit called "Sorceress Dating 101," in which a 1950s-style voiceover instructs Sorceress Adel on dating. In a misguided attempt to find out what makes Rinoa so appealing, Adel captures Rinoa and junctions her, much to the instructor's horror. I made a Rinoa dummy that could be "junctioned" to me with velcro and dressed it up in my Rinoa costume and wig.

When I reported in, 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 - including bags, purses, etc. - with us onstage. Given the size of the audience, there were plenty of seats which we could have occupied and which would have allowed us to watch the show. My performance went well, and afterwards the AMV winners were announced. I won Best Romance for "Breath of Release" and I was shocked, especially since the video hadn’t gotten much of a reaction at the screening the night before. This time 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 Performance!

That night I changed into Tifa and wandered a bit on my own. 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 PatrickD 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, it had one of our friends, 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. Afterwards we all hung out in the room; it was a fun night!

Sunday I wore Julia Heartilly and PatrickD 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 all drove to Pizza Putt near the Burlington airport for food, arcade games, and an awesome indoor mini golf course before parting ways. All and all it was a fantastic weekend, and I made a bunch of new friends!