Saturday: Yeah, I got back way too late on Friday to write an entry then, so here's coverage of both days so far. We got an early enough start on Friday and a pretty uneventful drive (the most noteworthy point was a Wild Mountain Chicken Sandwich at Wendy's... not bad), and arrived at the con in time to catch the second half of the opening ceremonies. Curt and I decided to watch the first DVD of Maison Ikkoku, which was pretty much what I've come to expect from an anime adaptation of a Rumiko Takahashi series. Curt went to watch some Stellvia after that, but I'd bumped into danightman and dragoni82 and decided to introduce them to each other in the dealers' room. We decided to make plans for dinner on Saturday night as a group. (I'd also bumped into khinsath shortly after entering, having completely forgotten that he was planning to be at the con. Silly me.) For once, I didn't buy anything during my "I won't buy anything" pass, but I noted that Tokyo Pavilion's booth featured Tokyo Babylon manga 4 and Azumanga Daioh DVD 6, as well as boxed sets of a few of those series that I've seen and didn't necessarily like, but should have in my collection simply because of their essential nature. Stuff like Escaflowne and Evangelion. They had good deals, though, like 20% off just about everything. Night and I went up to his room to write for a while, and I got some good material for ADC, which I absolutely must put behind a cut simply because I think it's brilliant. Of course, since the entire entry's cut, I'll just mark it with my usual scene breaks. This follows Ranma's "Guess I'd better face the world as a man for once."
"You always look down on yourself because of your gender-changing," Kasumi pointed out. "It's really not your fault, nor can you control it. Why can't you just embrace your nature and learn to live as you are?"
"It's not that easy," said Ranma. "It's fine to say there's nothing wrong with being a girl, but my whole life has been people drilling manliness into my head. 'Be a man, Ranma!' 'This is what being a man is all about!' 'If you don't come back as a real man, I'll make you run yourself through!'"
"And what is manliness?"
Ranma blinked. "Manliness is... being like a man, right?"
Kasumi smiled. "I've always felt that the most important thing in life is to be true to yourself. No matter what quality you consider to be 'manly', you'll find a woman who exhibits more of it than most men. And the most respected men in the world have a feminine side as well. Don't you think you'd be happier if you allowed what you are to be what you want to be?"
Ranma recognized that impeccable logic. "Have you been reading that 'How to Be More Assertive' book?" she asked.
Kasumi shook her head. "Is it good? It seems to be very popular."
"I never heard of it until today," said Ranma. "Then I found out the Amazons were kidnapping me and brainwashing me with it."
"That sounds like a troubling experience!" She laid a finger across her lips. "But perhaps there would be some benefit in learning from such a useful book."
"It ruined my life," grumbled Ranma.
"There you go!" exclaimed Kasumi, the smile returning to her face. "Now you're not blaming your Jusenkyo curse anymore!"
With that done, we went down to find Curt (in the DDR room, naturally) and the three of us went to TGIF for dinner. The server told us to throw our knives at him if we needed anything, and that became a running gag. He also seemed a little TOO attentive and implied that we'd be coming back for the rest of our meals... um, no. We'd been heading for Applebee's, but they'd already closed up and moved. Grrr.... We got back in time to catch the second half or so of the AMV contest, then stayed for Name That Tune. (I bought the third Angel Moxie book on the way back in... that one I knew I didn't have yet. ^_^) Of the first ten songs (the elimination round to choose the eight competitors), I got the first four right (the opening themes of DNA2, which I didn't recognize until after they played the fourth song, Cowboy Bebop, Card Captor Sakura season 1, and the ending of Dragon Half), and I should have gotten 6 (Fullmetal Alchemist, which crossed my mind at least once) and 9 (Gundam Seed... I put G Gundam, not remembering which one was the Adult Swim staple). Not enough to get me on stage, but I was the only one who had any clue about the "Poyoyon Poyon" song from Tenshi ni Narumon, and just about the entire audience shouted "SLAYERS!" at the song that I correctly identified as the ending theme of Saber Marionette J to X. Maybe it sounded a BIT Slayers-ish, but still. There were a few others that I knew, but most of those, the people onstage got or the whole audience knew. A few tricky ones, too, like obscure songs from Card Captor Sakura movies and background music from Pretear. That led right into Anime Hell, most interestingly distinguished this year by a German forklift safety video about a guy named Klaus. Think of Final Destination as a video on forklift safety, and that's about what the video was. Also, a distinct dearth of Heino, which was a blessing... just the latest video (the bar concert) and a fan parody Heino hip-hop video (complete with "Heino" standing perfectly still while the band "broke it down"). Then I decided to stay for Midnight Madness, featuring trailers for "future releases" (some parody commercials and trailers that seemed more like the entire jokes to me) as well as Fanboy Bebop and the remake of Evangelion: Redeath. Oh, and the Corn Pone flick Lord of the Jewel (the Inu-Yasha cast doing Lord of the Rings). Then back to the room and right to sleep... after setting the alarm to wake us in about four hours for a period of showering and getting dressed before the next day's activities started.
Those activities began with, of all things, Kaleido Star. I'd heard enough good things about the series that I wanted to see some, but to be honest, the trailers and summaries never did seem very good. Boy, were they misleading. They should fire and possibly severely torture whoever made those. The series itself was cute and funny and chock full of characterization that the trailers tried to pretend didn't exist. There was gymnastics, and that's really where the element of gymnastics in the series ends. When that was done, I went to the dealers' room to pick up the Kaleido Star box, along with the Azumanga Daioh DVD, Tokyo Babylon book, and that Escaflowne set (for a total of $75 for the complete series and the movie, that's not bad). I also got the box for the Wolf's Rain manga at the Borders booth... it's only two books long, so how much can it hurt? Curt and I watched the first episode of Aquarian Age (weird series... not the type of story I've come to expect from Broccoli... a boy band going professional while people in colored beams of light fight for no apparent reason), then decided to head to McDonald's for lunch, but there was a guy selling hot dogs for a dollar outside the convention center, and I stopped to buy one. Curt bought two smokeys, and I thought I should probably have bought more than one myself, but a line formed and I didn't want to wait around. We went back for more Aquarian Age (didn't explain much more), then I watched the first episode of Sister Princess (cute, worth looking into more but it's on my Christmas list) before the fanfic panel. We had an audience! And some people even stayed the whole time. I probably monopolized the discussion more than my share, but when Steve was talking, I did my best to wait patiently. A few people came up for my website URL at the end of the panel, and I mentioned a few of the stories during the panel. That done, we all went to see Who Wants to Be an Otaku Millionnaire, and Steve put my name in the drawing. I got up on stage with questions like Sakura Taisen and what video game has a character named Otaku. I put on a good enough show, though, and had I answered any more questions correctly, I'd have won a free pre-registration to a con I wasn't planning to attend. I was quite happy to receive a set of Dragonball mecha figurines. (It's got stuff like Bulma on her bike, Goku in a plane, Puar in a car [eek, rhyme], and Yamcha with a rocket launcher.) When that was done, it was time to hurry up and wait as technical problems delayed Totally Lame Anime by half an hour, and it was only me, Curt, Night, and Dragoni who went to La Rosa's Pizza for dinner. They hadn't heard about the con in advance and only had one person waiting all the tables and basically doing everything, but we'd gotten there after the rush (the cosplay was on), and she even got the chefs to make Curt a pizza with garlic butter instead of tomato sauce, which wasn't an option on the menu. Weird, for a pizza place. When we got back, I forewent my plans in favor of checking my Christmas list (as I suspected, I hadn't considered Kaleido Star worthy of inclusion, so I was safe there) and giving Mom a call. I went down in time to watch the first episode of Mezzo (a nifty series about a group of three people, including a very capable young girl, who get hired to complete all sorts of tasks) and then went over to see... Gravitation. Yes, Gravitation. And as I expected, it was pretty rank. I thought it might be okay at first, but the end of the episode clinched it for me, and Curt and I immediately headed for Funhouse. We caught the end of the Inu-Yasha movie, and I doubt I missed anything before those last twenty minutes or so, and then Funhouse turned out not to be the Anime Hell overflow I was expecting, but rather films that reminded me of Lupin III: Shooting Star (the animated opening to a live-action movie called Party 7) and The Maxx meets LSD (Noiseman... I never want to think about it again), and I was way too tired to sit through stuff that made no sense. So I left, and Curt's already asleep or trying to be, so I'll do the courteous thing and turn out the lights and follow suit. I've got tomorrow all scheduled out, minus things like food, but we can make adjustments as we need to. Packing stuff in the car is the big thing, and watching the series we want to see, then getting back as quickly as possible so Curt hopefully has time to drive home that night rather than staying another night. We'll see.