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Anime Banzai 2012 Aftermath

What a convention! I have been attending Anime Banzai for many years now and this has been my favorite this year so far. The panel heads were very easy to talk to and arrange the panels. They were very accommodating this year and great to work with. As for the panels themselves, they went off very well.

The General Prop Making Panel took up the full two hours we had assigned. Stacie Pitt and I ran it for the most part, but Shannon Deonier was able to make it for a good chunk of the time. Shannon had some great information on fun plastics and craft foam armor. I really want to try some those materials out and see what I can make. I took a ton of notes from her and from Stacie as well. Stacie is really talented with sintra and Epoxies molds. I really want sintra now.

The cosplay chess game on Friday was by far one of my favorite events, and has been for many years. The choices for the Kings and Queens were perfect for the theme as well. The theme for chess was Kawaii (Cute), with Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask as the leaders, versus Kowaii (scary), with Loki and the enchantress as their leaders.

The chess game operates with the moves all preplanned so pieces can talk with one another and plan out how their attacks and deaths will pan out. There are awards given out to Best Death and Best Kill as well as Audience Favorite and Best in Character. The king and queen pieces are exempt from awards but they get to determine the outcome of the game with a dramatic skit at the end. This year's skit was by far the best I had ever seen and of course, the cute side won!

Saturday came and it started with a bang, or rather the lack of one. My friend and I slept through our alarm and had to scramble to get to the convention center on time for judging. We did make it on time and the judging process was behind schedule anyways. I had heard that the panel of judges had changed this year, so I had no idea what to expect when walking into that room. My poor friend thought I had broken something because I, very unprofessionally, fan-girl screamed when I saw that one of the judges was none other than Melissa Shurig.

She is one of my cosplay idols and I had last heard she was not coming to the convention. It turns out she was asked to fill in as a judge and she set aside some time to come to the convention for this. I was so nervous! I managed to get through my five minute presentation (which was the first time I took five minutes to explain everything and not forget something/go over time ever!!!) and walked out of the room where I promptly sat down and laid on the floor. My nerves, ha-ha, my nerves.

The rest of the day was spent running back home for missing cosplay pieces and then sitting in the green room to wait for the cosplay contest. I ran into an amazing Chaos cosplay from the video game Dirge of Cerberus (Another fan-girl squee inserted here) and made a new friend with a panelist, Rachael, who had talked about fabrics and wood work.

Then the cosplay contest started and I was nervous all over again. The cosplay contest was really tight this year. Even some of the Beginner entries were making me sweat over my over my own work. My sister and I went on stage and our 45 second skit got the reaction I was hoping for. Shannon Deonier, Cassini Closet, Kame, and Sadee Hansen had a wonderful skit that brought tears to many eyes. I have not seen card captors but the emotion of their skit was evident. They won Best in Show, and totally deserved it. They gave the trophy to Cassini for her quad suit Kero cosplay, which still amazes me how she created that beautiful cosplay.

My sister, Lexus, and I won First Place Intermediate Cosplay! Finally I have a stage presence that isn’t "cute but disorganized!" We worked hard to create something organized and not thought of last second (yes, I often decide what I am going to do on stage minutes before... it doesn't work. Don't do that if you are smart.) Then I was called back on stage for First Place Intermediate Craftsmanship!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can now compete on a Masters level!!!!!! I gave the presentation award to my sister and kept the craftsmanship one for myself. My sister plan and I were so happy!

Sunday, I was walking on air as I returned to the convention for my final panel and meet-up with new and old friends. My Wood Props for Beginners panel was so full people were standing up in the back and sitting in the isles! I didn't get through everything I wanted but there are some new tricks that even I learned in that panel from the audience! Sadee Hansen and I had a lot of fun hosting that panel and I am really grateful for her help throughout the whole convention. She really keeps me sane at these things.

Overall, Anime Banzai 2012 was a great event and it was very well organized this year. They have a great staff and are friendly and helpful in every way, and I am not saying this because I won an award. I am saying this because I have seen this convention grow over the five years I have been attending and it has improved greatly. I cannot wait to see more from this convention!

On a side note: The Cosplay Repair Station staff was fantastic!

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