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Phoenix Feathers is updated on Tuesday and Friday

Whoo. Amecon was good fun. For the biggest con in the UK, and one that seemed so disorganised before the start, it went really, really well. There were minor hiccups (like the guy who was supposed to be running the AMV and CG/celling panels not turning up) but most of the stuff was on time and fun. I did find it amusing that the things we were most recognised for were the It's Raining Bishounen AMV - which is gratifying - and the fact that the back of our car is done up like a card from Magic:the Gathering! (Pepper, one red mana, Summon Red Car, 2/2). Bah  ^.^

We arrived on Friday, in the late afternoon, and shortly after we got there it started raining heavily, which definitely wasn't fun >.< (it was 'ame' con - 'ame' is 'rain' in Japanese). We chatted to Sweatdrop people in the evening and ran around carting stock to the Otaku table in the dealer's room, some way from the main hall, through the pouring rain - of course. Our table was in the artists' alley, the wide corridor leading to the main fanbar and video room one (a good spot, albeit very far away from the dealers), so we thought it was a good idea for Otaku to have some of the wonderful Sugardrops as well. We actually sold most of them over the con, which is good. Reprints shall be happening. Apart from that, though, we didn't do much - except watched two anime, Fafner, which might as well be 'Eva mark VI' (or whatever), and Monster, which is very, very promising. At the opening ceremony - which ran on time - we were told that the university of Leicester, which was hosting the con, had a legal obligation to provide us with food, so we had a university-style canteen open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which was a nice surprise. The food was edible and cheap, very useful, and we ate there for the duration of the con, excluding breakfast.

On Saturday we arrived fairly late to the Sweatdrop table (picture) and sat around behind it. That day I achieved one of my longest-running anime ambitions - I cosplayed. The costume, Lina Inverse from the Slayers TV series (chronicled here), was and is a long way from being complete - I need a pair of huge shoulderpads as well as some more unmentionable items before I'd call it finished - but it was recognisable and I only wore it on the floor, anyway. It was so much fun, especially when, while we were on our way to the dealers' room, someone called 'Lina Inverse!' and squeeed because she was such a fangirl. Apparently she'll be cosplaying Amelia at the next con (^^;;). There were lots of photo requests but I haven't found any on the web yet and our camera is rubbish so you'll have to wait - sorry. There's a pic of my back, standing next to Moonshadow in the dealers queue - he's modelling our special toothycat.net T-shirts - but you can only see the long - straight, sadly - red wig and black cloak. It's the eleventh on the page, which has some other good costumes on too. Go to the Amecon Anime Europe Photo Gallery (link dead 11 Jan 05) for even more. The wig got hot and itchy and proved impossible to eat in, the cloak got hot and heavy and the boots became supremely uncomfortable (cheapo Argos stuff) but when I got changed at the end of the day it was with reluctance. I am so wearing it next Minami :)

Aside from my first cosplaying experience, lots went on on Saturday. The dealers' room was a little disappointing - we were looking for DVDs from four anime series and only found one, but we could do with saving money anyway, and we bought more manga than usual. The masquerade was early and was good fun although seeing all the costumes you've already seen on the floor troop up to the stage is slightly annoying. I approve of the optional competition (your choice is not mentioned in the masquerade, just taken into account by the judges) but I do like the rules Minami used to have, that masquerade costumes should not have been seen before. Our friend went as Wolfwood from Trigun and his cross was the biggest of the three or four there (we should know, it went - folded, thankfully - in our car boot!). After the cosplaying there was a truly fun quiz which we - the Sweatdrop team - did about middling in. The best round was the 'judge a book by its cover', where there were eight doujinshi from Comiket (Japanese doujinshi convention) and we had to guess whether it contained 'filth' or not. Considering our team, we did quite badly on that one  ^^;

After *that*, we headed over for the AMV competition. As we expected, our most recent one (here) did not do that well, and it wasn't even particularly outstanding although at least we didn't have subtitles in it! The winner - deservedly in my opinion - was 'the Narutrix', a remaking of the Matrix 3 trailer with Naruto footage. It's an anime I haven't seen, but I still found the AMV funny and the lip-synching was really good. It was by the guy who did 'Thisu Kissu', a really good AMV from Minami 2004, so I'm really glad he won this time. The other ones I remember clearly include a very bizarre one of HellSing to a pretty happy tune and a very cool one which was basically a trailer for what looked to be a gorgeous Ghibli-style anime. We now really want to watch it but we still don't know what it is! After that, because we weren't in the dealer's room, the Sweatdrop table remained open until we got tired around 1 or 2 a.m., at which point we hoicked it into the art room, shoved a sofa in front of the door and went to bed.

I always find the last day of a con quite depressing, and I felt somewhat down for most of Sunday. We couldn't watch any more Monster because it was scheduled at the wrong time, and we ended up watching some Twin Spica, which was sweet and watchable but not outstanding, and no substitute. We ran the making manga panel again, which seemed to go fairly well, and waved goodbye to everyone who was leaving (after counting our takings - we made almost enough to cover a print run, which is not too bad). Then we read manga - having picked up quite a bit in the dealers' room - and went to the disco, which lifted the end-of-con low enough to cheer me up again.

On Monday we left and got home around 2:00 p.m., tidied up, unpacked, caught up with email, the wiki, various forums and sundry webcomics, downloaded more Monster, put up the new AMV and added it to animemusicvideos.org, and did sundry other tedious little chores. I also went to my Tae Kwon-Do class for the first time since I graded last Saturday and found that I passed (woohoo!). On the way home from Amecon, we discussed cons and the running thereof, and speculated on running one. The UK is short a winter con since Shinnenkai went down. So - what do you need to do to run a successful con? Answers on a postcard - or the wiki  ^.^

- Sun Kitten, 24th Aug '04

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