AnimeNEXT 2012

Almost two weeks ago, I had the privilege and joy of going to an anime convention with close friends from New York and Philadelphia. I don’t think I have really posted here before on anime cons, but a brief description of them is a place were anime fans come together, go to panels targeted to topics based on favorite series, anime screenings to view, buy fan based items and food, listen to Asian music, —- and my favorite — dress up.

Here is this year’s con booklet!

I hadn’t been to a con in about 6 years now, last being in 2006 in Maryland for Otakon. AnimeNEXT is a much younger and smaller con, but it’s was loads of fun. It’s grown a lot from when I first saw it in 2004, so I can’t really complain.

To be honest, I was a little bit skeptical that I would really enjoy the con since it’s been some time since I attended one and my once undying love for anime withered away throughout college. However, John, Scott, Kirsten, and Megan really made this a con for me. If it wasn’t for them , I would have forgotten how much I enjoyed attending these things.While I didn’t really attend the events, hanging out with my friends and watching anime and cosplaying for a weekend was a great get away from life.

Here’s Scott & Kirsten as a great Holo & Lawrence pair from Spice and Wolf.

Ref art:

Friday, I dressed up as Mayuri Shiina (who affectionately refers to herself as Mayushii) from Steins Gate. While Mayuri is not my usual pick for a cosplay outfit criteria (and definitely a rather air-headed character), Mayuri is the childhood friend of Okarin aka Hououin Kyouma the main character mad scientist. Of course I had to match John’s Okarin. Megan decided to jump in and made it a group cosplay with her Feyris Nyan Nyan maid costume.

Reference art! From right to left: Mayuri, Feyris, Okarin.

Me as Mayuri.

Megs as Feyris Nyan Nyan.

John as Okarin.

Saturday, I dressed up as a character from Haibane Renmei per Megan’s request. In the reference art, I made Rakka’s outfit (middle/right) and Megan made Rekei’s outfit (far left).

Me as Rakka.

Megs as Rekei.

Really happy we had a “comfy time” costume. It was soooo hot!

I also came out with a lot of great souveniors! I got something for my sister and bro-in-law, but won’t post in fear they will see this pics haha. I’ll probs post later >:)

First up are two great teeshirts Megan bought for me at her favorite vendor, Modondi. They are absolutely adorable!!!!

The sumo one suits me best, I think!

Next up, I actually bought prints from Artist Alley, contrary to what I thought I was going to do. I have collected a lot of posters and wall decor over the years, but I couldn’t help myself! This was the first time I attended a big Artist Alley 🙂 I was so happy to see a Final Fantasy VI artwork with Terra Branford (top) and The World Ends with You group shot (bottom), since artwork for these games are pretty hard to find. Juri was the name of the artist herself 🙂 She not only did fan art, but some great fantasy based stuff.

I had bought Aniket a souvenir also of his favorite anime character, Luffy from One Piece. Don’t get me started on how many times I circled the Dealers Room to figure out what to get him and from what show. However, at the end of the day, he loved the shirt I got so much that he grabbed it and wore it before I could take a pic of it. It basically looks exactly like the image below, but minus those awkward black dashes/stitches. It’s a bit artsy and doesn’t scream obnoxiously “I’m an anime geek.” Great.

Here are the business cards of the places I bought from. Very happy with what I got 🙂 Please click for full size to figure out how to go to vendor websites!

And to end the entry, what better way than a display of true fan devotion. Triforce car decal? Holla!

Sakura Sunday – A Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival

I’m so behind on my blogging! But it’s nice that I have a huge surplus of topics to write about lately.This past Sunday, my dear friend and former roomie (but now current apartment mate) Megan had volunteered at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia as a Crafts Assistant.
It’s actually been running from March 4 to April 15. However two of their main events, the 5K Run and Sakura Sunday occurred on April 9-10. The event is hosted at the Horicultural Center, a 20-25 minute bus ride away from University City. Just $10 for entrance and your transportation fare.

http://jasgp.org/cherryblossomfestival/

Quite honestly when Megs asked me and John to arrive in the morning at the opening at 10:30 am, we were skeptical. What were we going to do for almost 6 hours in a small outdoor area?

The answer was a pleasant surprise.

First of all, just looking at all the different varieties of cherry blossoms took up a huge chuck of time & was ever so enjoyable. Some science behind the beautiful flower bearing trees:  The ones referred to as “sakura” trees are from the genus Prunus. According to the site there were over 10 different species of cherry blossoms there.

Besides gazing & photo taking fun, there were a ton of vendors selling Asian and Japanese merchandise or themed items. I came out with a slightly aching wallet, but a lot of loot. I’ve posted a few below, and the rest you will see in a month or so after a certain someone’s birthday  ;D

John got a plant and a practice sword we couldn’t stop playing with haha.

Also, there were many donation sites for Relief in Japan from the earthquakes. In one of charity booths, there was a really cool display of giant origami.

John was also able to participate in his very own origami as well. Meet Dilbert aka Dilly the crane.

Of course we went over to visit the crafting goddess, Megan. She was at the calligraphy table. Me and John tried our hand at the ancient art of brush strokes.

John’s says Samurai, Hope, & Japan I think. My paper says Samurai & Ninja. Hopefully our blotchy characters don’t translate to something offensive.

My favorite craft of all was the fish paper kites we got do. Hosted by the Philadelphia Art Museum, their booth was a huge hit. I waited like a creep til the last minute to do a fishy because A) I was slightly embarassed and more importantly B) I wanted as many kids to make theirs before supplies ran out. Lucky for the three of us, there were plenty of templates left!

Meet my darling Tuna Can, who I revamped after the Sakura Sunday to look like an Olympics mascot (by accident). And here is Megan’s swirly Miss Salmon! Finally, John & Bob, the flower-filled eye hole fish!

There were also a lot of events I couldn’t take photos of because I was too short and it was crowded: like drums & dance presentations, martial art expositions, a Harujuku inspired fashion show I sadly missed. I was able to see some cosplayers and  a few really well dressed sweet lolitas, however. I sadly didn’t catch my favorite group on  film because I didn’t want to disturb their lunch time 😄

But the main event was one from home!

Megan’s homemade bentos! Not only did this girl go and give her time to volunteer on a Sunday morning, but she woke up at 6am to cook these up.

Absolutely delicious, made from love, and tots free! I’ll let the beautiful pics do the talking! Fruits, veggies, onigiri, shrimp, egg and sweet egg (tamago) and dinosaur shaped chicken and a rabbit shaped apple!

A wonderful display that was great to consume & look at. Love this girl.

So all in all, a superb Sakura Sunday!