Katsucon Loot

 

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For those who have been following my photo album uploads, you probably noticed that I’d been uploading albums of figures that I’d gotten at Katsucon. Since I finally got to doing photo shoots of the rest of the figures, I decided to put together a short summary of the things I’d picked up.

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First up are the first Figmas in my collection (from left to right: Shana, Saber, and Tsuruya). The first time I saw a write up about them on DannyChoo.com, I didn’t really understand them. Posable figures seemed a bit odd to me, and the ball joints made them look kinda odd. However, when I saw the Kagami Figma from Lucky Star, I figured I’d get one to see what it was all about. That and I wanted my own to take to random places for pictures. It didn’t take me long to find my first purchases, Saber and Tsuruya-san. Once I got them back to the hotel and cracked open the boxes, I was instantly hooked. They weren’t cheap or flimsy as I’d originally expected, but rather well put together. The bendable “cloth” bits were actually made of a soft pliable plastic and all the parts are very solid. Each one comes with different faces for various expressions, hands for different poses, a stand, accessories, and a small ziplock bag to store the extra pieces in.

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Unboxed figmas and accessories
 

I was so impressed that I went back to get the Shana Figma I saw earlier in the day. I think she and Saber will be having sword fights.

IMG_1256En garde!

In addition to the Figmas, I’d found several other gems that I decided to bring home.

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Click on each image for full album

From upper left to lower right: Sakura Matou from Alter, Belldandy from Kotobukiya, Tohsaka Rin from Kotobukiya, Ropponmatsu from Yamato, and Kasumi from Kotobukiya. I’ll probably do more in depth reviews later for each figure, so I won’t bother to do anything in depth here.

Although I managed not to get anything that was on my buy list, I still managed to spend a lot of money. I did, however, come close to buying the Gift Saber that was on my list. I saw her at one of the sellers booth but hesitated on price (she was marked at $140). Since I thought the tag was a bit high, I decided to come back later. By the time I came back, she was gone – I’d apparently missed her by a couple of minutes. Even though I knew the price was too high, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to make the decision on my own. So I did the next best thing. As soon as I got home, I put in the order to HLJ to have it shipped to me. In total, the figure cost me 8609 Yen, which is around $92. In the end, someone saved me $48 by buying her before I got the chance to! ^.^

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Katsucon – Day 2 and beyond

After the wonderful lesson in waiting in line during the first day, we got a chance to put our skills to practice. We got an early start and had a nutritious (and expensive) breakfast at the hotel then hit the convention floor. Since the panels were a bit lackluster this year, we made a beeline to the merchants room only to find this:

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Yep. That’s a line to get into the merchants room. It hadn’t opened for the morning yet, and people were waiting. Eventually, the staff did the same thing as for registration and herded us into the parking garage. Fun times. There are some advantages to waiting though. Since we were at the escalator, we saw some interesting sights.

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People waiting in line upstairs for registration

IMG_1203 OMG Moogle!

Once in, we spent the next several hours browsing, buying, browsing some more, and buying even more. At some point, we decided enough was enough and had to break for lunch. Despite having a decent buy list, I ended up not getting anything on the list. Somehow, that didn’t stop me from spending a bunch of money. I did, however, come really close to getting the Gift Saber. I saw her sitting in the corner of a booth and had even picked her up to examine her. The detail was stunning and she carried a price tag to match. Since I knew that particular seller had a tendency to overprice (I’d bought from them in the past), I put her back to go back to my rounds. Because she was fairly expensive, I figured she’d still be there when I got back. Boy was I wrong. On my return trip, I learned that she had just been bought not moments before I arrived. I really didn’t need to spend that $140 anyway. Luckily for me, I should be able to pick her up from HLJ for a bit less than the going con rate… One thing is for certain though, I know that’s a figure I want!

After meeting up with an old college buddy, we headed out for some food and conversation. Since we’d relegated ourselves to McDonalds the past two days, we went in search of a place that didn’t have a dollar menu. I may be an otaku at a convention, but I’m an otaku with a steady income. I had to find something that wasn’t the equivalent to instant ramen!

Then it was back to the dealer room to spend more money. I didn’t do as badly in the afternoon, acquiring a pair of figures. Since there really wasn’t much else going on, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and checked out the tail end of the AMV screenings. Of course, the only thing we really wanted to see was the absolutely awesome “Dragonball Z: The Silent Movie” video. If it didn’t win best of show and every other award, I’d have to stop going to Katsucon all together.

Of course, this put us in the perfect position for viewing Masquerade, as the video room was also serving as a simulcast for the actual event. Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties with sound not always coming through or video being stuck on the Katsucon logo. In all, the viewing experience was subpar and a bit poor considering this has been going on for 15 years. Similarly, the skits that were put on were a bit lackluster compared to previous years. None of them really motivated the entire crowd or drove me to find a recording on YouTube. It was a shame, really.

The evening wore on and we ended up at the “Guest Uncensored” panel, which was marked 18+ and featured an ID check at the door. That alone made it awesome, because all the kiddies and fangirls weren’t allowed in. 🙂 It featured several of the guests from the con answering ridiculous questions, swearing, making rude jokes, and snorting Pixy Stix. All under the guise of a Q&A session. Truly classic. And there was Evangelion bashing. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?!?! THE ENDING WAS HORRID AND THE BIGGEST DISSAPOINTMENT EVARRRR!!!

The final day was more of the same, with a rounds through the merchant room and random picture taking. Pretty low key right before getting in the car and driving back.

IMG_1241 The trunk of my car, in all its glory

The convention itself was enjoyable. however, as an otaku get together, I felt it lacked a certain flair and excitement. The amount of panels felt scaled back (4 panels running at once), the events didn’t have the same “pop” as the past, and even the merchant room lacked a certain something (namely Sasuga Books). Compared to previous years, it also seemed less well organized (4 hour long registration line for pre-regs) and smaller (venue was a bit cramped). Also, with the lack of any seriously interesting guests, it became more of a shopping trip rather than a chance to see and meet some of the industry’s personalities.

Katsucon – Day 1

With the final day approaching, I think it’s time to summarize my experience at Katsucon 2009. We arrived in DC at around 4pm, after the 7 hour drive from Charlotte. Once we got checked in to the hotel, we made our way to the registration line, only to discover that it had snaked around the hotel, through the lobby, out the door, and down the street. Apparently, there was some “logistical issues” that prevented registration from moving smoothly. It also turns out that those that were buying their passes at the door were granted easy access. Oops. Given that there wasn’t much of a choice in the matter, we stood at the end of the line. While it wasn’t the typical DC February weather, it was far from a tropical day. The presence of sun made it bearable, but the approaching nightfall did not bode well for those of us still standing outside.

 IMG_1151 It was a bit chilly outside, and I’d left my jacket in the room

Fortunately for us, convention organizers recognized this as an issue and herded us into the underground parking garage. For better or for worse, this became our home for the next several hours. Small groups would be taken in to the registration area for processing but progress was extremely slow. We didn’t reach the pre-staging area until around 6pm. Almost an hour later, we had our badges in hand and were ready to go.

IMG_1154 Lined up like sheep

Our first order of business was to find something to eat. It had gotten late and we were hungry. We checked out the maid cafe, but discovered reservations were required for entry. We were told there was a McDonalds across the street, so we headed out to find it. What we weren’t told was that this “street” was actually a relatively busy 4 lane divided highway. Watching con-goers scurry across and jump the divider was amusing, especially if they were in costume. This provided further amusement once we had sat down to eat. “Hey, isn’t that Rinoa running across the street?”

Since we had gotten such a late start, there wasn’t much left to do besides go to the AMV screening. Most of the videos were fairly blah, but there’s always the one that is the clear leader. This year, it was an interesting pairing of Dragonball and the Sailor Moon piano arrangement. The video was titled “Dragonball: the silent film” and featured every single possible cliché from Dragonball Z. This video is so full of awesome, I’d recommend watching it. It’s available on YouTube.

The AMVs pretty much ended our first day at Katsucon. Before we turned in for the night, we spied a group of girls in some great costumes. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

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A group of girls cosplaying as the FREEing Haruhi bunnies

Getting ready for Katsucon

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With Katsucon just days away, I’m starting the process of gathering my gear together for the trip. In addition to the necessities like clothes and toiletries, I had to put together a selection of items to make sure I’m well armed for the con. In the picture above, I’ve got a few necessities, including my DS, compact digital camera, extra batteries for camera, spare memory card and a bag to put it haul it around in. Also, to blend in with the locals, a set of nekomimi will be required. I’m sure I’ll pick up a couple other items in the next day, and I’ll need to prep my laptop for the trip. I’ll also be bringing the SX10 along with me and had to make sure it’ll fit in the bag.

I’ve also made a list of things to look for in the dealer room:

Toysworks 1/6 ARIA figures – Still missing Aika, Alice, and Athena… doubt I’ll find them
Max Factory 1/8 Narusegawa Naru… also doubt I’ll find this one
Gift 1/8 Saber (relatively new release)
Griffon 1/7 Shana
FREEing 1/4 Ryoko Asakura bunny
Some sort of Figma… probably the Hiiragi Kagami one, just a really big fan of the look
Wave 1/10 Rena Sayers (Mai-Otome S.ifr)
Aqua Volume 1
 

Beyond that, I’ll be a bit discretionary with my funds. I don’t want to overdo it, in the case something catches my eye as a “must have.”