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Phoenix Feathers is updated on Tuesday and Friday

Ah well, on with the story, and what approximates to plot. See the updates if you haven't already.

Anime Expo New York was fantastic. It wasn't as big as expected (I'm told AX California gets to 10,000) but still larger than any other con I'd been to. We went with two friends, one of whom was thoroughly into cosplaying. She and the other 'Clow Cards' (Flowery, Windy, Wood, Silence and Fight) dominated the room we four shared, hung the 'don't disturb' sign on the door and sewed for nearly two days straight (last week's strip is entirely accurate, too. Sometime I think I want to cosplay, but I'm not so sure now). We were kept busy ferrying food from Yoshinawa, the local takeaway McDonalds-style Japanese place.
However, in the masquerade, when the cosplayers all showed off their costumes and sometimes skits, I could see why people do it, and why so much effort was put in by my friend and her group. That particular group won both Group Best of Performance and Group Best of Construction. They were really very good. The other cosplayers - 52 other groups - were also good, and some of the skits were very funny. There was a really cute little Sakura - she was nervous on stage but so sweet. Walking round the con and seeing the characters around was great fun (play 'spot the Vash/Chii/Sakura/Sailor Scout'. One Vash was female :). The other residents of the hotel weren't so sure though - 'this way to the freak show', one man commented. Pictures, I think, can be found somewhere around http://forums.axny.org (link dead 11 Jan 05).

One big difference between UK cons and USA cons was the anime. MinamiCon was primarily about seeing lots of anime, and there were five video rooms showing lots of new stuff - most of it downloaded from the net. At MinamiCon, Moonshadow and I spent most of our time in the video rooms, watching stuff. At AXNY, though, all the animes were legit and there were much fewer series that I hadn't seen, and most of those I wasn't interested in. Much more attention was directed at the fan-based stuff - the AMVs and the Masquerade (not that that's a bad thing). We only saw two animes the entire time - Now and Then, Here and There, and Kaze Makase Tsukikage Ran, both directed by Akitaroh Daichi, who also did Jubei-Chan. Both were good, and in the end, we got the box set of Now and Then, Here and There. We could have watched the whole series at the con but we decided to sleep in on Monday instead  ^.^

As an American Con, though, the dealers' room was great. Especially the last day! So many bargains.. we left with three box sets and a number of single DVDs. We were also lucky (or foolhardy) at the charity auction, where we 'won' a signed proof from .hack//sign, one of the series we are currently watching. Proceeds from that went to 9/11 relief, for those who are interested.

The other thing that I enjoyed was the artist's alley. I've never participated properly in one before, and it was rather annoying since I'd stripped down the doodlepad for the flight and I was hardly carrying anything worth showing. I used some of the sketches and pages from the First Story and some other random stuff. As well as that, Pen, my trusty laptop, had come with me (causing great consternation at the Statue of Liberty (!) and the security checks at both airports), and I had her set up showing our website. The ironic thing was, I spent some time making little sketched business cards with my email address and our website on, and we found out when we got back that the site was down from September 1st (although I have been emailed by one guy already, so it wasn't a total loss). Anyway, I enjoyed talking to people at artist's alley and enjoyed doodling randomly there. It was really nice to take a break from Phoenix Feathers.
Could the girls who stopped by our table in Artists Alley at AXNY on Sunday please send us your website (email here)? We want to look and we forgot to ask the site address. Thanks!

The days we weren't at the con, we wandered round New York. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, many large toyshops, Central Park and miles and miles of underground. It's a really weird place - so tall, so many skyscrapers. There were trees on the roofs. I found out I like bagels for breakfast, and that the best restaurants aren't always the expensive ones, and that no-one understands you if you have a British accent. At least one repetition was required. One really good thing I noticed about New York (does this extend to all America?) was the abundance of provision for the disabled - there was braille everywhere and lifts for wheelchairs all over the place. However, American cartoons are awful. I can't comment on the state of British cartoons, since I haven't seen any modern ones for ages, but the old cartoons (which were American, surely?) like Tom & Jerry, the Pink Panther, etc, were far, far better.

It's good to be back. The cats have been very huggy recently - maybe they're worried we'll go off and leave them again. Work seems odd. Like usual, after a big holiday, I want another one.

- Sun Kitten, 10th September '02

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