Convention Review: Animation On Display 2013 (Saturday, February16th)

My boyfriend and I attended Animation on Display 2013 on Saturday, February 16th dressed as Black Mage and White Mage from Final Fantasy I, respectively. The convention took place at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. We left for the con an hour later than we had intended, but we made insanely good time somehow and arrived exactly when we intended (I guess that would make us Wizards, not Mages though, haha). On the way to the con, we both expressed that it didn't feel like we were on our way to a convention. Maybe we weren't as excited, or maybe we just weren't as stressed as we usually were. Admittedly, we were mainly going to AoD So that we could test out our two-hour-long "Magikarp: A History" panel (more on that later), so there was no staying up until 4am the night before rushing to finish cosplays. I felt relaxed and alert on the way to AoD.

When we arrived, the first order of business was finding a parking space and getting into costume. We've always had pretty good luck finding parking in the garage that's connected to the Kabuki hotel, and this year was no exception. We found a spot not too far from the elevators and put our mage robes on. My boyfriend's is the hardest to put on because it's stiffer and heavier, and he also has the put the head/hat on and have it tucked into his robes.

Once that was settled and we got into the hotel, we set out to get our badges and check-in as panelists. As usual, this involved a lot of running around and having no idea where we're going. For some reason, we never remember whether panelists at AoD are supposed to go to Con Ops, Pre-Reg, or at-con registration. Because of the way it works at Fanime, we took a guess and went to at-con registration. The line for registration was blocking the pathway, so we had to go outside of the building and walk around to get to registration. Once there, we were told to fill out registration forms, but the forms said nothing about panelists, so we finally asked a staff member. She told us to go to Pre-reg. The line went pretty fast, but we hit a snag when the staff member helping us couldn't find my boyfriend's name in the list of panelists. Somehow they had his name wrong, it sounded sort of similar, but wasn't even close. I've double-checked the submission e-mail that I sent this year, and I definitely put the right name down, and they've never gotten it wrong in past years, so we have no idea what happened there. Luckily a nearby staff member knew us, and we got both of our badges anyway.

After we got our badges, we went to the dealer's hall, which was incredibly crowded, hot, and stuffy. We managed to wrestle our way through the crowds to look at booths. My boyfriend had limited vision because of his Black Mage headpiece, but could still see enough to find things he was interested in. We were pulled aside for a quick photo in the cosplay photo spot before I found something I absolutely just had to own; an itty-bitty Victini! (A Vic-teeny, if you will.) Here he is sitting on top of a quarter. He was only six dollars, so I'm not entirely surprised that his arm is already starting to break off. I had him on my phone, but I didn't want his arm to fall off, so he's currently sitting in my room until I can put super-glue on the crack in his arm. Then he'll re-join me on my phone.

Soon, it was time for some lunch. We headed to the mall where I got a sandwich from Andersen Bakery. Not exactly the most exotic convention food, especially for being in Japan Town, but man, it was good. I also picked up some flan for dessert. We took our time eating, since we planned horribly and barely looked at the events list, and had nothing else in mind to get to until our photoshoot with BlizzardTerrak at 4:30. Toward the end of our lunch, someone came up and asked for a photo of the two of us. Normally, I get really annoyed when people ask me for photos when I'm eating, and that should have gone double in this case, since my boyfriend had his hat/headpiece off, and it's a pain to get back on, but for some reason, I really didn't mind this time. We took this as a cue to get moving again and head back to the convention.

a random convention photo
of the two of us found on the internet
We just so happened to get to the Game Room right as it was time for Munchkin! For those who have never played Munchkin, all you really need to know is that it's the best card game in the universe, and my boyfriend and I are hopelessly addicted to it. When we arrived, the main game of Munchkin had already started, and there were quite a few people involved. There were several smaller games going on with different typed of Munchkin, like Munchkin Bites, the vampire Munchkin, and Cthulu Munchkin. My boyfriend and I lurked near the regular Munchkin game, thinking we would just jump in whenever they finished. We forgot how long Munchkin takes when there's more than three people playing; it takes a long time. Another girl came in and looked like she wanted to play with the big group too, so my boyfriend and I invited her to play a game with us using one of the other Munchin games. At first she declined, but we convinced her to play, and the three of us played Super Munchkin, which is like regular Munchin but super hero-themed. She claimed she didn't know how to play well, so I helped her out, but near the end, she had a ridiculous amount of bonuses and super powers. Maybe it was beginner's luck? Haha.

Our game finished up just in time for our scheduled shoot, but the photographer was running late, so my boyfriend and I decided to head outside to the courtyard between the hotel and the second part of the mall to people-watch. People-watching is arguably the best part of conventions, really. I found a rock to perch myself on top of, which other people liked too and took pictures of. We were approached by two photographers who were affiliated with Cosplay Photography, and they wanted to do a shoot with us. Unfortunately, this happened exactly when the photographer we had originally scheduled with became available. I spoke with our original photographer, and he said he was also late for a different shoot with a friend of ours, so that worked out well.


Shooting with the photographers from Cosplay Photographers was a really enjoyable experience. They knew a lot of different poses for us to try, and they also encouraged us to try any poses we liked too. They were very polite, and they helped a lot with my costume too, like when my sleeves turned inside-out at the bottom or when there were twigs on the bottom of my robes. It also  turned out that there were three photographers together. I have no idea where the third one came from, but he was excellent too. I can't wait to see the photos when they're ready. One of the photographers showed me how they looked on-camera, but the other two didn't, and I have no idea what they're going to change in post. It's always exciting to shoot with new photographers.



We finished up just as our original photographer finished with our friend. We met up in the garden area, which was over-crowded by other cosplayers and photographers. As soon as we got there, a different photographer asked for a photo of us. I told him okay, but that we were there with another photographer, so if he wanted to just take a quick photo, that was okay, but we'd prefer to not take too much time. He seemed to understand, but still shooting with him took a little longer than I thought it would. It seemed to be alright with our photographer though, he took a moment to sit down and grab a bite to eat.

We finally got to shoot with our photographer as scheduled. As usual, my brain blanked on poses. Maybe if we had a larger group or at least an enemy to mock-fight, we could have come up with things better, but it is what it is, and I suck at coming up with poses, no matter how much thought I put into it beforehand. At least this time, we got to take some photos as a couple (because I want White Mage and Black Mage to be together so bad)! Here's some of the highlights.

At the end of our photoshoot, we spotted a Yuna and a Lulu cosplayer (from Final Fantasy X). Even though we knew who they were, it's extremely rare for people cosplaying later Final Fantasy games to know character from earlier Final Fantasy games. Heck, it's rare to find people who have played anything before Final Fanstasy VI. I have no idea if they knew who we were, they made no mention of it, but either way, our photographer thought it would be cool to get a picture of the four of us together, since we were all from Final Fantasy. We thanked them for taking a photo with us and were on our way.
Yep, that's Final Fantasy all right.
It was getting close to 6pm by this time, and "Magikarp: A History" was scheduled to begin at 7pm, so we decided to go back to the car to drop off our robes (they're very cumbersome) and pick up my boyfriend's laptop, which has the panel presentation on it. I kept my capelet on just because I felt like it and was a lame "casual" White Mage (haha?) for the rest of the night. We were pretty hungry, so we went to get something to eat again in the mall. I still had half of my sandwich from earlier in the day, and my boyfriend bought a pound cake to snack on. When we were finished, we went back to the convention to wait for the panel before us to end so we could set up for ours.

For some reason, I got unreasonably nervous waiting for our panel to start. We had hosted "Magikarp: A History" six times before then, and I definitely knew the panel material, but for some reason, I was really, really nervous, I felt sick and didn't want to do it, but of course it was far too late to back out. The panel went pretty well, though it did run really short. Some of it was nerves, for sure, since during our test-run, it was much longer, so we must have just talked really fast. I messed up a couple of the presentation ques, and we both tripped over our words a bit, but we muscled through it, and everyone seemed to have fun. The new additions to our panel that prompted us to expand it to a two-hour time slot went over really well, and some of them are my new favorite parts of the panel. We had a lot of extra time left over at the end, so we showed an episode of Pokemon about a Pokemon researcher who dedicated his life to the study of Magikarp. We can only assume that people enjoyed it, because after the convention, we got a handful of new likes on our panel's Facebook page.

After the panel, we wanted to visit the Dealer's Hall again, since my boyfriend was out of cosplay and could see better, but they had already closed up for the night, so we just went home. Going home was quite the journey in itself, the directions that I had gotten weren't nearly detailed enough, and we went at least a half an hour out of our way before turning around and getting headed in the right direction.

Overall, I had a pretty good time at Animation on Display 2013. It wasn't very exciting outside of getting a whole bunch of photos taken of us, but that was okay. It was a very relaxed day in Japan Town in cosplay with my boyfriend.

Cosplay-Related Highlights:
Everyone thought my boyfriend was cosplaying as Vivi.
I got mistaken for some kind of paladin, or just plain ignored sometimes.
Loads of people thought that my boyfriend and I were cosplaying from two different series.

Random older gentleman in the mall: Wow. I think you guys win for best costume.
(Whether or not he knew who we were or just thought we looked cool is still a mystery.)

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