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Anime Banzai 2013

Anime Banzai was my first anime convention. I have been attending for six years and I enjoy every minute of it. I do admit this year was more stressful than the others, but that was mostly my own doing. Deciding to help my sister start and finish a Zelda cosplay in a month was a big factor. I also decided to bring my two little brothers... okay one little brother. The other "little" brother is a teenager and almost taller than me.... scary thought there.

Photo by Sterling
VFire (Mercedes) as Sheik, Lexus as Zelda, and little brother as Toon Link
Despite needing to keep track of my siblings and make sure they were having fun, it really wasn't so bad. Banzai had one of the best gaming rooms this year and the boys were sort of lost in it for hours while I finished sewing Lexus into her Zelda cosplay and ran around making sure we had all our stuff for the contest. As always, a huge thanks to my friend Sadee for keeping me sane and helping out so much.

Day one of Banzai was a ton of fun. I was the Mad Hatter, Xerxes Break (Pandora Hearts) for the live Chess Game. This year I was a bishop piece and really didn't have much to say on stage. My pal, Colby, who played Pit from Kid Icarus was saying so many funny things I couldn't come up with any of my own.

Part way through the game my brother and sister called saying they needed a confirmation sheet for registration. The lines for registration were very long this year and they had made to the end of pre-reg when they realized Sterling had no ID (his school doesn't let them take their ID's home because too many lose them). I am on stage for the game, expertly hiding the point that I am on the phone and told them to wait while I figure out what to do. The poor kids just got back in line but they were alright with it.

My attack in the game came. My little brother, Bentley, was the Mad Hatter Chain so I summoned him on stage to take out the pawn we were facing. Soon after I was taken out by the enemy king piece and Bentley dragged me off stage. I think I heard a reference about being dragged to the Abyss... If you have seen or read the series you will get it. As soon as I was off-stage I ran out of the room, found my friend Dani (Who is awesome!) with her smart phone, and found the e-mail with Sterling's confirmation sheet. Crisis averted I darted back to the Chess game.

This has to be my favorite part of day one. As I ran back into the room the judges were handing out the prizes for Best Death, Best Smack Talk, and Best Attack. Bentley was standing on stage (That kid has no stage fright I swear!) when they announced Best Attack to the Mad Hatter. My timing was awesome. Bentley started walking forward to get the award and I was bolting into the room and came up right next to him, pretending I had been there the whole time.

All proud of his award.
Photo by Sterling
Bentley as the Mad Hatter Chain, VFire as the Hatter
I know bringing kids to events like these can be challenging. You have to keep them entertained and even fed, right? I am really glad I brought my brothers and sister along this year. Bentley now has his own little trophy with "Best Attack" on it for chess. He really did great on stage in front of so many people. He is such a cool kid.

The rest of the day was fairly normal. Just running around to see old faces and meet new ones. We went to the Dealer's room and looked at all the fun things there. I also took the boys to the game room, which became their favorite spot, especially with four player Pac-Man! My sister, Lexus, also got more a chance to run off and find her friends, rather than be attached to me so much. No one believes Lexus is an adult now! Not even me!

Photo by Mercedes
Sterling playing 4-player Pac-Man. Such a good
game! It was fun seeing everyone cheer on the
different players.
Day two of the convention started off... interesting. Lexus and I were up late finishing her dress for Zelda, which means we slept in a little too much and we were late for a panel. *cough* my own panel *cough* Luckily my pal Kat was kind enough to stall while we jetted over. Sadee, Rachael (Shining Force Kaya on Deviant Art), and I put together a panel on woodcraft for prop making. I think it did alright but it was not my best of panels I think. I am definitely reading the feedback on this one. At least everyone liked the video of me hurting my thumb on a belt sander. Sadee was awesome by getting her laptop to live and so we could use the slide show I made (my laptops are not currently in working order, so thank you so much Sadee!!!!)

After the panel we took over a small bathroom and finished putting on our cosplays. I was halfway in Sheik's cosplay. Lexus came to the convention in her PJ's! Lexus is also a trooper. I think I poked her with so many needles and safety pins in making this dress over the past month. Lexus also worked so hard on the embroidery, even when I found a faster way on the sewing machine that cut her six hours of work into 45 minutes...

Lexus busily working on embroidery during the week before Banzai.
Photo by Mercedes
Judging was stressful, but it always is for me. Especially in cases where I really care about the cosplay. I rambled badly, but I said all I wanted to in the five minutes they gave me. The worst part is I felt like I was pointing out all the bad things on the cosplay. I tried to counter with the parts that I thought were the coolest, like printing chainmail print fabric and how I attached everything together. Also, I was nervous about what they would think of the leather since it was my first leather craft armor project.

After that, I could breathe easy. We all went to a Zelda meet up and took pictures. Bentley was dressed as Toon Link so we were stopped for pictures quite a bit. He is so cute with his plush Master Sword! Sterling was a Pokemon Trainer so we have some pictures of him fighting other cosplayers with his Pokemon. The Zelda shoot was a lot of fun.

Photo by Sterling
Finally the contest came around. There were so many great costumes this year. The walk-ons went as they usually do with all of them very unique. The skits were really well done this year too. I liked them all very much, especially the Persona-4 one! I have not played that game but the cosplayers did a great job of explaining their characters situation and acting out the parts.

I took home 1st place Masters Craftsmanship! I can't believe it and I am glad all that hard work paid off! Then Lexus and I took home 1st place Masters Cosplay for our performance on stage! It was all so much fun! Many of my friends took home awards as well in each category. I would list them but I have listed them so many times now, haha! Sailor Crafty took Beginners. Renna Mira took Intermediate. J-ndrax took a Masters award and an Intermediate award. Colby also got a beginners award... so many talented friends! I am looking forward to challenging myself for next year.

Photo courtesy of Cheri Allen
Yay Masters! .... but where do we go from here?

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