Bakuretsu Con is a small, low-key anime convention held each autumn near Burlington, Vermont at the Hampton Inn and Conference Center. Now in its sixth year, Bakuretsu Con remains a tiny event, mostly due to its out-of-the-way location near Lake Champlain. Despite its low attendance, the convention works hard to provide a variety of panels, events, and activities, and staffers can often be found running around during the weekend convincing attendees to sign up for events. The small size also gives attendees up-close-and personal access to guests, which this year included voice actress Tiffany Grant, artist Steve Bennet, webcomic artist Michael "Mookie" Terracciano, content creators from NoN.D.E. Fan Films, and the Comiku Girls. The Hampton Innís free breakfast buffets were a welcome sight each morning and the host hotel's key-card issue which plagued many attendees last year was thankfully resolved. Despite some disorganization, including masquerade organizers who could not locate their judges, this convention is a fun, relaxing time, especially if youíre in the area.
Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
I was excited to attend Bakuretsu Con again this year, not so much for the convention itself, but the excuse to see friends. I often feel isolated up in the mountains for grad school and I face a three-hour one way drive to visit anyone; Bakuretsu Con is the perfect excuse to force people to come up my way, and is more than worth the drive across Vermont in my clunky old car. After attending so many larger events, I'm surprised Bakuretsu Con is worth the long drive from the Boston area for them; however I am thankful so many of my cosplay friends seem to disagree! I arrived at the convention Friday afternoon just in time to settle in with my roommates Sephygoth, Starlightslk, Mesoian, and Steve. After hanging out and catching up, I changed into Midnight Rose and attended the Japanese Tea Ceremony run by the Comiku Girls with Steve. The girls guided several volunteers through the ceremony, pausing to explain the symbolism or purpose behind each aspect. It was fascinating, though I had never had matcha before and was a bit shocked at it's bright lime green color. Despite the toxic look, however, the tea was delicious! Unfortunately, one obnoxious attendee continuously interrupted the panelists, or made a scene which disrupted the lesson entirely, though to the Comiku Girls' credit they handled him as best as could be expected each time.
After the tea we met up with PatrickD, Sephygoth, Starlightslk, and several other friends and hung out in Artist's Alley until the dance was set up and we headed in. It went really well for the first few songs, but then the next track played was voices talking, and after that it was the level-up fanfare from Final Fantasy (not remixed). Following that things really took a dive when they flat-out played the theme song from Tetris, again without being remixed. It was so ridiculous, we started miming being falling L or T shaped pieces because how else can you dance to that? Attendees were lining the walls, unsure what to do, and nobody was dancing to this terrible music. In a last-ditch effort Steve handed the DJ CDs from his car, and attendees packed the floor cutting a rug. . . until a con staffer intervened.
Despite the fact the dance finally had people dancing, the staffer reprimanded the DJ and reminded him he was only allowed to play Japanese anime or game music. Seriously?! This had not been true at any other anime convention I'd been to, and it hadn't even been the case at Bakuretsu Con last year, but the con staff was adamant that the dance remain completely anime-related. This is silly; a con dance is a way to socialize with other attendees at the end of the day, rather than just another Japanese cultural event. Sure, con dances often include J-Pop songs and remixed anime and game themes, but the majority of that stuff isn't danceable and the whole point of the dance is to have FUN. It wasn't the Bakuretsu Con's DJ's fault, but dances need dance music, or no one is going to dance. Seeing this wasn't going anywhere, we gave up and partied back in the hotel room instead.
Saturday morning, Starlightslk and I wore our Super Sailor Moon and Chibimoon costumes. She suggested we do a walk-on in the masquerade, so we quickly edited together some music on her laptop and headed downstairs to sign up for judging. There was some confusion between the masquerade coordinator and her judges, but we finally we had a nice session, explaining our construction techniques while the judges took extensive notes and asked good questions. Afterwards, Crazy Flower was kind enough to do a quick photoshoot with us, though it was chilly outside in Senshi fukus! That afternoon we hit up the Chibi Project panel, co-hosted by PatD and Jekka. Starlightslk and I got to do the introduction to the live podcast as Sailor Moon and Chibimoon, and got front row seats for the episode's experiment: destroying a Clow Wand from Cardcaptor Sakura. Jekka had made a Sakura costume just for the event, and proceeded to smash the living daylights out of the Clow Wand, much to the delight of the audience.
That evening we lined up for the masquerade; at most masquerades, the performers get to sit while the attendees have to wait in an obnoxious line. Bakuretu Conís masquerade is the opposite; the attendees are quickly seated using a fantastic ticket system to avoid waiting, while the participants wait their turn standing in the hallway. Costumes are often uncomfortable and being stuck outside means we miss the entire show until our number is up. Although I applaud the ticket system, Bakretsuís staff need to find a better place to seat performers. Finally we did our walk-on and Leelee and Steve closed the show strutting to ďIím Too Sexy.Ē Starlightslk and I won Best Advanced Craftsmanship, while Steve and Leelee won Best Presentation.
That night we attended Anime Unscripted, which had Tiffany Grant and Steve Bennet as the main performers. Steve and I were chosen to participate as guests for Party Quirks, where Steve was supposed to be an inept ninja, Tiffany was Vic Mignogna, and I was trapped in a role-playing game. I entered saying "Hello, Iím [insert name here]," and Steve attacked me in an inept wrestling move which could be construed as slightly sexual. I replied, ďI donít think Iíve learned this ability yet!" and the crowd died with laughter, which made for a perfect set up for Tiffany entering as the infamous Vic. We had a blast and it was a fun way to wrap up the evening before heading back to the room to party.
Sunday Starlightslk wore her Haruhi bunny outfit from The Melancholy Haruhi Suzumiya, and I did a shoot of her playing Guitar Hero in the game room. She returned the favor by getting some awesome pics of my Amano Rinoa costume outside with the fall foliage. I then changed into my more comfy Ravenclaw robes to hit up the Dating Game before rounding up the crew and ending the weekend with pizza and an awesome round of Mini Golf at Burlington's Pizza Putt. Overall it was an enjoyable weekend, where good friends made the trip more than worthwhile.