At 11:30 am on Saturday, July 14, 2001, partner in
crime, Mike, showed up at my house, so we could car
pool to the Shoujocon in nearby East Brunswick, NJ.
The fact that the con had been moved to a location so
close to my home (changed from being in Newark, NJ),
made the 15 minute drive more sweet than usual (yeah,
because....driving down Route 1 is always loads of fun...O_o;;).
With my dorky ToT tank top in tow, we were off!
When we got to the hotel (yes, this con is in a hotel.
This ain't no Otakon, baby), I was glad to see that
the joint was bigger, and nicer looking than the location
the previous year. We immediately went to the registration
table. The girl handling us looked at me and my shirt
and said, "Oh, I've been to your site before!".
Wow, I saw a fan very quickly! We exchanged words, and
Mike and I continued registering. Sadly, this is the
only ToT fan I saw all day. I guess guests of Shoujocon
aren't really into DBZ, huh? :p Anyway, after registering
for a one-day membership, Mike and I strolled around,
checking the hotel out, and trying to figure out where
everything was. Immediate, I could definitely tell this
was a shoujo (by the way, shoujo is girls' anime) anime
convention, as there was an insane number of fans dressed
in Utena garb strutting their stuff. Hey, no complaints.
Utena is kick-arse. :)
After seeing the ridiculously long line for the super-tiny
dealers room (note to anyone from the Shoujocon staff
who may be reading this- get a bigger dealers room!),
we decided to scope out the video rooms. We watched
an episode or two of a "magical girl" series
called "Miracle Girls." Picture "Marmalade
Boy," only aimed at younger girls, and with super
powers. There was only so much of that series that we
could stomach, so we went and got some snacks.
We decided to give the video rooms another go, and
chose to watch an anime we have never heard before called
"Kiko-chan's Ribbon." Oh. My. God. This show
is "Kodomo no Omocha" on crack, and instead
of it staring someone hyper like 11-year-old Sana, "Kiko-chan's
Ribbon" revolves around the life of the seemingly
mute and creepy, but wise beyond her years 4-year-old
Kiko. Ahh, this show was quite the treat. it made me
wanna buy fan subs of it! So yeah, that's my current
anime recommendation. :)
Soon after, Mike and I ran into our buddies from our
local fan dub/Princeton/music video circle of friends,
Scott Melzer (amv GOD! Just WAIT till you see his DBZ
music video at Otakon), Jonathan, and another Mike.
I think we chilled with them for a bit before Mike and
I finally got into the dealers room. What a terrible
disappointment. Maybe it's just that all the cool things
sold out, or maybe it was a lack of variety in goods.
Either way, I left the con empty handed...for now. :P
Oh, and I finally saw my friend Kim, and her neato Card
Captor Sakura costume!
At some point, Mike, Scott, John, and I went to see
a guest panel all about "breaking into biz."
The panel featured Matt Davidson of ADV Films, voice
actress Mandy Bonhomme (she played Juri in "Revolutionary
Girl Utena"), and American comic book writer/artist
Colleen Doran. The panel would have been very interesting....had
Colleen Doran not babbled about herself and chewed other
panelists out the whole time. As much as I didn't want
to admit it, I found the woman to be something of a
bitch, and I wanted to throw something at her. At least
all of the other panelists were super cool. :)
OK, I hate to say it, but I should have written this
report sooner, because from this point on, things are
a blur, and I'm probably listing events out of order.
Therefore, I'll just talk about other random things
By some crazy miracle, Mike, Scott, John, Janet, another
guy whose name escapes me, and I all went to the local
Pizza Hut. We attracted many stares from people, what
with Scott and Janet in costume, and the six of us discussing
the Final Fantasy movie. Yes, we are dorks. Oh well...dinner
When we got back to the hotel, we watched the Costume
Contest and Cosplay. There were lots of pretty outfits...and
a lot of the same things over and over again (Sailor
Moon, Utena, Sakura...). Highlights included a skit
of "fan service" which consisted of two females
making out, and a Trigun skit with a male Vash and a
female Wolfwood making out. Ah yes, kissing gets the
Mike and I then attended a panel on subtitling and
music videos. Me and Mike wanted to run up and throw
in our two cents on music videos, but alas, we did not.
Damn, I forget what else we did....everything was
kind of a blur, since I was worried about the music
video contest. Oh well, speaking of that, I may as well
talk about that now.
I went into the music video contest with a bunch of
friends who supported me. In our group, all of us had
submitted videos to Otakon, however, for Shoujocon,
I was the only one with a submission. The competition-
a few acquaintances of Scott, the well-known ErmaC (Justin
Emerson), my friend from high school Rita, and a bunch
of names I have never seen before. Well...the equipment
in the music video room was shit. Videos using fansubs
as their source was near impossible to watch, and my
video, in which I used DVDs as a source, looked like
the footage was taken from fansubs. As for the videos
themselves, well, some were ones I would hope to never
see again in my life, while others were highly enjoyable.
My video was #7, right smack dab in the middle of the
competition. My video was to be shown right after my
high school friend, Rita (who, apparently, was in Mike's
Japanese class last semester. Small world!) who made
a "Hana Yori Dango" video. I was so nervous
and my video was set to air. This was my first real
video at a con, so the pressure. Even though I was turning
green and was all sweaty with fright, I think Mike was
more nervous than I was. We were both squeezing each
others' hands like it was the friggin' Oscars. Yes,
it sounds lame, but keep in mind that I had been working
on my "Again" video since December, and Mike
was a big part in the production of the video. It was
just as much his work as it was my own. So, my video
played, and while I saw it on the big screen, it was
like a trippy dream. I was so used to watching the video
on my computer and TV that seeing it at the con, and
with an audience, was too odd. Finally, my video ended,
and I could finally breath. I think I almost teared
up, mostly out of relief that I could calm down, and
I was happy that the vid went over so well with the
crowd. After that, the rest of the videos were shown,
and a great time was had by all. :)
Now, on to the freaky and cool part of the con. For
the last several months, Mike and I have been involved
in Scott's huge fan dub parody called "This is
Otakudom." Our intention was to have it first air
at Otakon, but, we were able to convince the head of
video ops to show our rough draft, but almost completed
version, of the dub on Sunday. Surprisingly, he agreed.
What does this mean? It meant that Mike and I had to
now come on Sunday. We had only intended to come on
Saturday, but what the hell....it could be fun.
That night, I got home at a mere 1:15 am. My family
was still awake, so I told them all about the con. I
went off to bed, since I had to wake up at a staggering
7:30 am in the morning.
In the morning, Mike and I drove off to Shoujocon
again. We went right to the second airing of the music
video contest. I was happy to see fan response for a
second time. Ah, what an ego feeder. :P
As soon as the contest was over, we debuted "This
is Otakudom." The response was friggin' incredible!
Something that we had seen in production for so long
was finally being viewed up the public....and they ate
it up. I know I didn't really have a major role in the
dub, but even so, I was still hella proud to see how
the audience reacted to the production. I only hope
that someday, more people can see it, and that the fan
dub will go over well at Otakon.
To kill time, Mike and I went out to lunch and went
to a panel called "Is it Shoujo?" The panel
went way off topic, but we did get to talk about "Jem
and the Holograms," my fave American cartoon from
the 80s. Again, Colleen Doran was a total skankeroo,
but we had fun bashing her when it was over.
Time passed by. We hunted down the head of video ops
again, and convinced him to show our fan dub again,
at 4:20 pm. He agreed, and we immediately began to hand
out (edited) fliers announcing the video.
After an hour of delays, it was time for the closing
ceremony, in which the winners would be announced for
the music video contest. While sitting with Scott, John,
Janet and Mike, Mike and I were again found being all
nervous again. When the con staffers got to announcing
the winners, they made the situation more nervous by
babbling about stupid stuff, and delaying the nervousness!
The third place winner for the music video contest was
a fun, magical girl video called "Warriors."
Then it was time for second place. As soon as they said
"Entry #7," I knew it was me, and it was weird!
Gah, I've never won anything before, and it was neat
to hear my name! So, I was very pleased that my video
placed in the contest. Oh, happy happy! I went up to
the stage to claim my prize...a Gundam Wing tarot card
set. Hmm. Interesting. Well, I won my first video at
a con, and I couldn't be more ecstatic. The first place
winner was some large Asian guy with a video to the
obscure 80s anime "Heroic Legend of Arislan,"
or something like that. I forget the title. His video
was great and all, but I was surprised it won, since
it seemed like he used an anime no one watches. Aw well,
it was all good!
As soon as they announced the winners, we went off
to see the second airing of our fandub. When we got
to the video room, the place was packed, and soon after,
people were flooding into the hallways. The audience
repines was just as good as the first airing, so we
were all happy.
When the fan dub was done airing 40 minutes later,
Mike and I said our goodbyes to our hommies, and drove
The Shoujocon was a definite improvement over last
year's. However, I still found it to be rather small
(hotels are baaaad), and un-organized (not having TV
for a panel all about music videos, subtitling, and
video games? Yeah, real smart). Even so, mad props to
all those who made the con possible. It's a nice little
con for the poor Midwest of this nation, which doesn't
get much convention love. Can't wait to see how the
con improves in later years!
So, that was my experience! It was fun, and I did
more activities this year than I did last year. I was
glad I walked away with second in the amv contest, and
I was super happy my friends and I were able to show
our fan dub. All in all, a fun weekend. :) I just couldn't
wait to sleep after it was over.:P