Jotting some stuff down before I forget:
It’s slowly becoming a 4-day con, but historically the prices for the con has been cheap. Now it’s a point of contention as prices has to rise to match quality/size/type of con. It also uses ancient pre-reg/at con reg methods, probably to save money but wait times are in the hour range. I pre-regged and decided to show up late night Thursday, meaning I got up early for prereg. Wait was just an hour and a half as I got to be like the 9th person in the pre-reg line so I got mine pretty quickly after prereg opened. But boy was their process slow.
The con didn’t feel more crowded than before, about the same as last year, and the attendance shows just a modest increase. For a con that is ostensibly in the same building it’s quite a spread of places events take place. I also spent most of my Saturday in the concert hall.
LOL the smoking area in front of the Renaissance is nuts. Pillar of smoke. On Sunday evening (as I dashed to the airport) I see guys with power washers spraying that whole area down.
Fire alarm tripped again Saturday night (2am) due to someone smoking on the 5th floor. Com’on guys.
Don’t nanpa the 17-year-olds.
Oh yeah, ATL security line Sunday night was terrible. Was 2nd or 3rd last person to board my flight home. I had a late start but things were not so fine at the TSA.
There were a lot of people into IM@S at the con, or so we found a bunch. I think this might be just a theory (that could deserve its own post) but LL’s flash-explosion of popularity paves the way for people hitched to new stuff to find their way to CG/SideM. Dunus who like cute idols (of either gender), it seems. It’s like some people “get it,” or starting to.
Yeah, there were a lot of producers at AWA. Great. I love it. Then you see this.
And I’m like lel. Sasuga.
Some guests impression:
Yokoyari Mengo is a mangaka who draws stuff but she’s got that internet thing going on, so she actually could pull out a good Iori if called upon. It was great when she asked if she can draw the “old” style Makoto when I asked for one and only had a “new” style pin for reference.
Kato Fuku was as you’d expect. CR kind of ushered them around so they got less exposure than the other AWA guests. Their little brunch was fun; I wasn’t a part of it but I had breakfast at the same time they were, a few tables away. It wasn’t even on purpose… Emirin is exactly as what I expected, but Kaorin is more of a discovery for me, as I didn’t have a good grasp of her public persona before. During their show (of a 5-song set) I was next to this huge Emirin fan who flew in from Japan. I didn’t know at the time but later we noticed he tagged himself on Eventernote, LOL. He did the calls the way you’d know, complete with the PPPH call outs. Welp, he’s hardly crazy among us…
Random aside: I was told by at least 2 people that one of the CR handlers for them was the inspiration of a character in the WUG movies. He’s from the Chicago area and was a part of CR’s WUG contingent last year, so that’s how Yamakan and company got to know him.
Lunatic Joker’s Tsukigami Luna is as graceful as always. He was busying playing LLSIF and DereSute and he did a 10 pull together with a bunch of us in his autograph line.
A winner is Miku. I got him to sketch Nansu and out myself as Seiota again. Not like this is a problem. I’m quite a bit post-otaku hierarchy already.
Aoi Eir…It feels like she’s been all over the place in a short time, but this is the first time I’ve seen her up close. I got a 2 shot with her as per the usual JHR program. Cool girl, regardless of her dark pasts LOL.
I didn’t get to really see Sakaguchi or get an autograph, but I did spot him in the autograph area on Sunday while dealing with that.
I got groped by Yuyoyuppe. He and Hige Driver are cool bros and wrote some anison lately. I didn’t know that they wrote anison until like, Saturday night. Guess that’s more my fault, but most notably Yuyoyuppe wrote Hey Smith! and Hige Driver wrote the Monmusu OP. Hige Driver also wrote some songs for Tokyo 7th Sister. Both wrote a couple for Trident. Hige Driver also wrote some other neat stuff. I think Yuyoyuppe also writes for Aoi Eir. Anyways, I was able to check their set on Saturday and it was a good time. Then I realized I probably saw them play before ala MOGRA or some such. Oh I guess they dabble in vocaloids too!
fhana. The reason why I booked AWA back in April was because of these guys, but also because I knew the con is a good quality, and that it is good quality. I was in Japan during their first one-man live but can’t due to eventer conflict, and that kind of ate me all year long. Going to AWA didn’t quite help, unfortunately. Also unfortunately I couldn’t really ask all the questions I wanted at the panel, so there’s no nerd chat about anime and games, or Aria geeking-out. There was a little bit of nerd chat on music but they all just use Logic and Logic-related accessories anyway.
Their show is more remarkable. The mixing at the live was not the greatest. This 4-piece outfit lies out like 4 instrumentalists, including Towana. She mostly just move back and forth and maybe play up with Kevin or Yuuki a bit here and there.
Sonically they do have a particular togetherness that accentuates each instrument individually. Or maybe because I was standing in front of the guitar amp? Their anison pieces definitely feel a lot more restrained, and for the most part, fitting into formulaic sets and predictable ebbs and flows. The instrumentation is where it shines for those pieces, and I think the more popular anisons of theirs are popular because they’re put together well and not as much as they were particularly brilliant; like how Hoshizuku no Interlude plays to their strength and is cleverly put together. On the other hand, songs like Kotonoha Breakdown live is quite the divine experience.
Let me take a step back and say fhana is one of those band lives that don’t sound the same as they are in studio, and even with an ORB amp coupled with my AKG K7XX. I feel like there’s some kind of progressive rock spirit hiding behind the disguise of trendy beats and strong high-range sonics. And I guess you have to do that if you are an anison band. But my goodness can I have Kotonoha Breakdown live again because it is so damn good. If likened to an engine, Kotonoha Breakdown was the one song they were firing on all four cylinders, because sonically that’s what that song was; each player is bouncing it in sync with each other.
Also it needed to be louder. The sound quality of the venue/setup just wasn’t the greatest. Like during Aoi Eir’s set it was too loud, but somehow it was just fine for Kato*Fuku. I don’t know. For all 3 shows I was pretty much right up front, nearly center for fhana and to the right for the other two.
What else was at the con? Food, food, food. We partied at a friend’s house on Friday night and all kinds of joke were to be had, including a line of “CG is Fake” jokes. I’ll write them up soon. I didn’t hit up any panels besides Kato Fuku/fhana/Yuyoyuppe&Hige Driver. Did some autograph lining-up. Walked the dealer’s room. Checked out the rave for a bit. Waited about 1.75 hours for my badge. Even if it was kind of rainy all weekend I didn’t get to pull out my Milimas umbrella.
I used my 765 Live Theater messenger bag and lost 0 pins again. One pin fell. Probably wouldn’t be a problem if I carried fewer things, and certain cat cosplayer didn’t drum on it all the time. (It’s actually a good check if any is falling out so I don’t particularly mind.)
Please, no more fire alarms for 2016.
PS. Foooooood. Community Q BBQ for takeout was great. Loved all the offerings we had: baby back ribs, pulled chicken, pulled pork, brisket. Both sauces are tops, with the fiery tomato-based sauce taking the top. Their mac & cheese is really good, I’d give it 0.7 Poole’s.
There were like 4 food trucks in the dealer’s room. I tried the hotdog one (top image) and it was OK, nothing really special but they did use the right quality ingredients. I tried also the viet truck and it was also just OK; it tasted good, just low quantity for high price. Selling vietnamese coffee at a con though, now we’re talking.
This is supposedly the 3rd best diner in the USA. I don’t know, but it’s pretty good. The fresh challah bread they serve is probably my favorite thing (and they make french toast out of it as a menu item), maybe tied with the soup. I had a typical extravagantly meated-up burger, which is a normal burger but the patties (2 of them) are wrapped in pastrami. It was okay. Again, quality ingredients but nothing much else to write home about; it’s all you want really in a diner. I thought the matzo ball soup they served was kind of nuanced and delicious, but who’d eat that except people from NY/NJ or Jewish?