Toracon Con report

I was holding off on posting this until I could get pics up, but I still can’t find my goddam motherfucking shitty mini usb cable to get them off my camera.

So, report now, pics later.

Toracon 2010 (Saturday) started for us at 8 a.m. with 2 hours of standing in line. In fairness, this would have been the outcome no matter when we got there, and even if we had preordered. Once registration actually started, at 9, the line moved along steadily, if not as quickly as I’d have liked. But hey, it was a long line and they only had like, 5 people handling registrations (and 5 handling pre-reg).

Billy West was supposed to be at the Con, but sadly, he had plane difficulties, and all of his Saturday events were cancelled. Sad. 🙁

We didn’t miss anything with all the line-standing, however, getting in at 10, when things were just warming up. We headed over to check out the freshly opened Artist Alley and Vendor room. Artist Alley was the usual mix of prints, stickers, plushies and kitty ears, etc. None of the tables really stood out to me (as horrible or spectacular) but one little table was pretty dear to my heart: they got stuck in the very back corner of the room where a dead end was. The traffic jam was terrible! To be fair, they probably benefitted from it in the end. At the very least at the end of the day they sold out of all of the little bells on ribbons they’d had on our first peek into the room, and most of their ears and tails as well. There was also a booth selling little clay figurines of anime characters; those were pretty cute, too.

The Vendor room seemed rather chaotically put together this year, and it was hard to navigate or establish a flow of traffic. It didn’t help that it was in the same large hall as Artist Alley, separated by a thin curtain that naturally had to be guarded at all times to prevent people from going through it. That said, the vendor stalls seemed larger this year, and there were definitely a couple of new sellers, which was nice. I usually don’t buy things in the vendor room, but in this case I was persuaded to get a fan, and also bought some pocky to break a five and go back and get a bell-on-ribbon. XD

I then attended one of the first panels/discussions of the day, one on starting your own webcomics. It was informative in a very 101 way (well, it Waaas for beginners) and the speakers went over basic stuff about the different kinds of webcomics, where to get hosting, how to advertise, etc. No real rocket science, but some good tips, and one of the speakers, Adam Smithee (of Apple of Discord) was quite amusing to listen to. I would have liked to attend his later panel on how NOT to write a webcomic, but it was on Sunday, unfortunately.

After that we had a quick lunch of some truly bland subs in the RIT cafeteria. Food has always been one of the problems of Toracon. With a hotel there’s often a restaurant on site, or fast food within walking distance, but food on campus is REALLLY limited. They should really invite weenie-cart hot-dog vendors of something. One thing I have to say is a thing of mine, is seeing people in cosplay eat while dressed up. I donno, it really amuses me to see Naruto chowing down on a slice of pizza or something. Heh.

Our brief lunch gave us plenty of time to get in line for the Anime Human Chess Match in the auditorium. I was really excited for it, because the past two years I’d missed it entirely. We had about a half an hour’s wait, but were up front when they started letting people in and got FANTASTIC seats, right up by the stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the whole thing was hilarious. Not only were the costumes great, but it seemed everyone had really rehearsed well and for a long time. The choreography was good, and they really made the best out of some of the participant’s martial arts/acrobatic skills. The guy playing Sheik was especially brilliant. The whole thing was very funny, with decent acting from amateurs, and it didn’t seem to drag or overstay its welcome. Having an extremely creepy Pedobear as the villain was a great move, too. Heh. The one technical hitch, I think, was sometimes the music/sfx would get cut off a little abruptly, but it wasn’t too bad.

Next I was planning on seeing the AMV contest, but it wouldn’t start for a while, so I went and got a seat in the room beforehand, inadvertently catching the second half of the Vocaloid panel. (Some other people had the same idea XD.) The guy in charge of the panel seemed to really know his stuff, he did a question and answer session, which I’m sure would have been very helpful for those who wanted to do volcaloid. It was neat seeing a projection on the software too; I had never quite realized how powerful it was.

The AMV contest started up thankfully with very little technical difficulties. There are always some, but this year the start of the contest was only delayed a few minutes while they rebooted the laptop, and there were absolutely no hitches once the videos got started. I adore AMVs and the contest had some real talent. (I’m thinking about entering next year.) My favorite video was a Gurren Lagann one in the Drama category to Kamelot’s “Forever”, which was really, physically moving, and the song is both fantastic, and REALLY appropriate to the anime. Also I was surprised, because the two Code Geass videos in the competition were actually pretty good, and its an anime I’ve never seen, and am prejudiced against, so kudos to the editors who were able to get me past that and into their videos. The highlight of the comedy portion was definitely “Shoryuken? Sure you can!” a multi-anime video to some song I don’t know that sampled “Kung fu fighting”, but anyway, the video was of various anime characters playing fighting video games. It was great.

The cosplay contest was next, and I wasn’t about to leave the AMVs early to get back into the crowded auditorium, so I just stayed put for the simulcast. Well, I tried to stay put; they kicked us out for a few minute to do something with the tech, I guess. The must have botched it, because the simulcast started late, and they had to repeat the walk-on portion of the contest for our benefit. That was fine. The real travesty of the show however was the skit/talent portion. …it…it was just bad. I don’t like to put people down for doing what they love, but sweet merciful Shabrunigdo, they are ALL AWFUL. *facepalm* Seriously, if you’re going to do a dance thing, practice it more than once. And they were ALL dancing. There was only one actual skit, and it was… kinda surreal; it was about a ballet instructor… I think. Anyway, the less said about the whole thing, the better. The people with the best costumes won in the end anyway. The Team Fortress 2 crew was fantastic, and was rewarded accordingly, but best in show went to this girl who had an AMAZING recreation of the Hatter’s costume from TB’s Alice. It was… absolutely stunning. The girl herself was possessed of an unexpected quiet dignity as well, and even maintained it when the audience called for the dreaded “Futterwacken” dance, which she then preformed, as closely as humanly possible, in dignified silence. It was great. She gets my thumbs up.

It was 8:30 at that point, and I headed over to a panel I’d been planning to attend all day, not because I was super into it, but because it was really the only thing going on at the time besides the concert which we really had no interest in. This was ‘The History of Giant Mecha in anime’. Unfortunately, after I got there, I ended up (with the rest of the attendees) waiting, and waiting and waiting. The guy who was supposed to lecture actually NEVER showed up. However, just as we were giving up, 25 minutes into our time slot, Adam Smithee, the guy from the webcomic panel (who had a different Mecha panel on Sunday) showed up, and volunteered to talk. This turned out to be a FANTASTIC turn of events. The guy really knew his stuff, and was about 50x funnier than he was that morning. He really got me into it, and I’ve never been a fan of giant mecha, but now I have a list of like four shows I want to see. It was great, and a good note to end the day on.

I would have loved to have stayed for the late-night panels and discussions, but sadly, the person I’d come with had to work the next morning, and I would have to get up at 8:30 myself to go to the Doll show with my grandma.

All in all, I really think we did Toracon right this year. Yeah, there were a few hitches, but I mostly got to be where I wanted to be, and see what I wanted to see. I’ll definitely be coming back for my fourth year in a row next year.

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