Anime Central 2003: Lots of Words, a Few Pictures, and Way Too Much DDR

Chapter I: Careless Preparation
To be brutally and violently honest, I wasn't planning on going to Anime Central this year. It wasn't within walking distance like it was years before, and I had a weekend job that didn't take kindly to me asking for days off last year (they still made me work).
But, thanks to the whining and begging of my people, I was able to "make it work" (I planned my previously-scheduled quitting around the con) for great justice.
....and actually, I totally forgot about the convention until the day before. I didn't prepare one bit. On the opening Friday, I spent an hour after work piling everything into a backpack that was totally essential.

Why the hell did I make this?!?DVDs
Excel Saga vol. 3-4
End of Evangelion
Akira
FLCL vol. 1-2
Saber Marionette J vol. 1
Nadesico: The Complete Chronicles
Don Sumerfeld's 'Rejected'

VCDs
Kodomo no Omocha ep. 1-6
Di Gi Charat ep.1-16 (complete)

Games
Dance Dance Revolution Konamix
Two dance pads

Essentials
tBook II (12" PowerBook G4)
Panel equipment
Ethernet cable (in case a live port was found)
Strongbad T-Shirt
Enough money to exist with minimal purchases.

Let me make one thing clear right now...
Cosplayers scare me and I hope to never be one of them.
Granted, the Poképimp was hilarious, and recognizing characters you know can be fun, but some people have no shame.

Chapter II: This Time It's Personal
With hasteful direction-grabbing from Yahoo!Maps, I make my way through rush hour to within a mile of O'Hare airport at a sluggish pace with no air conditioning to calm my road rage. I reach the general area of the convention center and realize that I have no idea where to park.
I'm meeting my friends somewhere in the hotel that the convention's taking place at. Damned if I know where that is...
I find a parking garage up the road. $11 for one day.
Three levels up, I find a wonderful space. I park unevenly. I make my way out of the concrete fortress into cell range while carrying my supplies.

Chapter III: Close Quarters
I take out someone's cell phone and call Riske. You might remember Riske from other Rants such as...um...the other Acen rant. The call went something like this...

Dude?
Dude.
Dude! Are you at the place?
Yes. I am at place.

Cool. We're over here.
Where?
Here. By the people.
I see people, but I see no you people.
Wait. I can see you. Don't move.

I find my group of people. In line. Waiting to register. Because they're stupid and didn't pre-register.
Like me.
Riske and Other Guy who were smart already had their pre-reg tags and could roam freely about the hotel. They supplied the other four of us with water and hamcubes for the 3 hour wait in line.
It's spent talking about the cosplayers and awaiting more ham cubes from the smart people.
After being ridiculed by the pre-regs and fighting over benches along the way, the registration booth thingy was mine. I gave the con person $45 and got my wonderful sharp-edged con badge. A license to wander freely. I took that opportunity by running straight to the bathroom.

Chapter IV: "I call the floor!"
The hotel room was rather standard. TV with hotel-specific channels, defective AC controls, and an impossibly clean bathroom.
Riske and Other Guy had already set up the PS2 to act as the DVD and game playing device for the weekend. We all celebrated by busting some grooves.
Dance Dance Revolution is the greatest scheme thought up by the US Army. It conditions fat gamers and otakus to lose weight and become strong enough to live through Basic Training so they can defeat the communist armies.
I coached and laughed at two newcomers to the game with no rhythm whatsoever. Their hasteful make-up-for-that-note-I'm-almost-about-to-miss steps threw off their game.
I schooled them all with my monster grooves on End of the Century. All were amazed at my lightning fast feet.
Sooner or later, my students became more and more funky and started learning the phat beats to the game's satisfaction. Levels were being passed.
I was pleased.

Chapter V: This road is bumpy and it's ahrd to type...
After a few dozen games of DDR and a screening of Happy Tree Friends by Other Guy (I hate Happy Tree Friends...), we all realized that there was an anime convention going on and made our way to the convention area.

Chapter VI: I don't like emacs either.
For all of you who've never been to Anime Central before, every Friday night they have something called Anime Hell. It's where they show almost no anime.
...but that's not the hell part.
They show old US propaganda stuff, parodies of old films, horribly bad live action Japanese stuff from the 50s and basically anything that is stupid/stupidly hilarious. We saw God (a winged He-Man-type action figure with an eyeball for a head) fight a robot bunny. We saw more Heino than I ever want to see again. We saw the little-known animated Titanic movie. We also saw the classic Monkey vs. Robot.
Two of the three projectors tried to kill themselves instead of showing the horrid images we endured.
After Hell was Midnight Madness which showed fandubs.
It kicked off with Studio Sokodei's ReDeath as always, then went forward with Fanboy Bebop. After those was some freaky fake Scottish fandub and by that time, we had enough. It was time to escape.

Part VII: Wait a second...I thought these were Chapters!
Around 1am, I started thinking about what I had to eat that day.
5mL Water
1 Ham Cube
200mL Sierra Mist
300mL Mountain Dew
2 Potato Chips

Needless to say, I was hit with the crave, and found it hard to behave. A trip to White Castle was in order.
A sack of 10 "hamburgers" was purchased and eaten by Riske and I. no more crave.
We got back to the hotel at 3am and found everybody else asleep instead of playing DDR.
Wimps.
6 people in the room and only two beds, isn't exactly a winning combination. I got to sleep on the floor...or at least try to.
Hotel carpets aren't known for their comfyness.
After a few hours of caffeine and hard surface-induced insomnia, I became one with the room. I found that my laptop's pulsing sleep light pulses ever-so-slightly faster than Other Other Guy's laptop. I could determine the consciousness status of all the other people in the room based on breathing patterns alone. I learned to respect the healing powers of sleep.

Chapter VIII: Backwards Engrish
I spent 5am until 7am gently peeling away the ADV sticker advertisement that was covering what I assumed to be a printed but unpaid Suncoast ad. I failed.
The masses started waking up and some of us went to the con suite to eat the free food.
300mL Mountain Dew
5 glazed donut holes
4" diameter Orange
3 small carrots
After "breakfast", I watched some episodes of Hellsing. I liked the "Next Episode" teasers.
Back to the hotel room.
More DDR. The newbies were getting gooder. I challenged them and still won.
Soon after, it was decided that we visit our friendly neighborhood Japanese mall...

Chapter IX: There's no escape from the Dance Dance.
Mitsuwa Marketplace is basically Japan, only 100,000 square feet large. The only difference is that you pay for everything in US Dollars.
We stocked up on Pocky and Ramune drinks then had some lunch at their uncommonly large food court. After that, I came up with the idea for the Otako - common Japanese foods in a taco (see left). Someday, this will be the greatest food ever.
On our way out, I remembered they had a genuine arcade DDR machine. We couldn't leave until that was thoroughly played.
The dynamics of an arcade "pad" vary greatly from the flimsy PSX pads. You can throw your weight differently and hit the pads at times with less movement. End of the Century was tested. I was great and awesome. Sugoi, you could say.
It was time for the TDA Panel.

Chapter X: Unknowingly Loyal Subjects.
We made it back to the con and prepared for the TDA Panel. It happened to take place in the main lobby. There were hundreds of people there, to my surprise. Many of the questions I got were along the line of "what the hell are you doing?" or "who are you?". It made me proud to be free advertising for Cartoon Network and their ilk.
My job was done. It was time to go home.
Unfortunately, our adventure at Mitsuwa made me miss the Megatokyo panel and the Music Video contest. In fact, more time was spent outside the hotel than in. I'm a fool.
I slept in all Sunday morning and tried to resume a normal life without DDR.
...at least, for 16 hours.

Anime Central 2003 Pictures

Our table filled with awsomey goodness. Look at all the cool things we had on it.

Ramune...ON ICE!

Bruce Faulconer...at ACen?!? Oh, happy day!
Wait...He spelled his name wrong...

Much DDR fun was had by all. Novices became less novice. I became their god.

There was a Pepito cosplayer!

Here's me preparing to hold the TDA Panel. The catgirl and Rei cosplayer patiently wait.

Click here for pictures of the TDA Panel!

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