One of my favorite perks of being an anime reviewer for DVDTalk.com is that I have
a good excuse to hit the anime conventions again. I used to go to these things all
the time back in college. After I made my long awaited debut in the real world in
2004, I decided that I was a professional and stopped going. Actually, it just felt
weird to go. When I first started hitting the cons, the panels and the dealer rooms
were the main draw. Cosplayers made up a small, but noticeable, portion of the crowd.
They were the freaks. The superfans. I always appreciated the effort that they put
into their costumes and I loved that they usually roleplayed the part the entire
day. They were fun, but I was never willing to take that step and join their ranks.
Cosplayers now make up a majority of the crowd—sometimes like 80-90%. They proudly
walk around with spiky hair, giant swords, ninja masks, magical fairy girl skirts,
cat ears or some combination of all the above.
Now, it is my duty to attend anime conventions. Or so I tell myself. Truth is, I
love this shit.
Today’s post will cover the convention Mrs. Zenestex and I went to in early July:
Orlando Anime Day.
I should have known better. The website for the convention bragged about its 3,000
square foot dealer space. Yeah, a whole three thousand square feet. In other words,
the convention spanned all of one hotel conference room. It was predictably awkward
with hundreds of cosplayers crammed into a ridiculously small dealer room. Outside
of the dealers, I’m fairly certain that we were the only ones there who weren’t
cosplayers. I didn’t let the crowd dissuade me and still came away with some cool
loot. Here are the highlights of my haul.
What treasures await inside the illustrious grab bag?
Grab bags are an easy way for dealers to get rid of the crap they can’t sell otherwise.
These bags are there for suckers like me who can’t stand not knowing what’s inside
them. I know for a fact that they’re full of crap, but I MUST know exactly what
this crap is. This dealer in particular had an awesome stand full of figures, keychains,
voodoo dolls, wall scrolls, and Dragon Ball Z Dragon Balls. If there would ever
be a cool grab bag, this was the time. I was ready to take the plunge and buy a
$20 bag, but my wife shot me a dangerous glare that said, “You’re sleeping on the
sofa if you get that $20 grab bag.”
I raised an eyebrow, studied her face for a moment, and returned my “the sofa is
kinda comfy” expression.
My wife’s glare went from dangerous to murderous.
I bought the much smaller $10 grab bag. It’s a good thing I didn’t go with the bigger
bag because these were filled with complete garbage. At least mine was. A World
of Warcraft sticker, buttons, body stickers, some random keychains, and an ironically
sun-bleached Bleach keychain rounded out the loot from the bag. I despise keychains.
I don’t even like the keychains that double as door lock remotes and trunk openers.
Now I have seven anime keychains that I’ll never use. And a World of Warcraft sticker.
The only item I was interested in was the small L figure from Death Note—even that
kind of sucked as far as figures go. Anime Convention Law: Grab bags suck. Stay
What a load of crap. $10.
Mrs. Zenestex insisted on a Futsan marionette. A Futsan is the two person lion costume
used in the Chinese Lion Dance. You’ve seen them. I had no idea what marionette
she was talking about until she walked me back to the dealer selling tea products
and chopsticks who I completely ignored. She was right. These puppets were kind
of rad. We got a yellow one. My idiot “dog” thinks it’s another dog—he smells the
puppet’s ass every time I take it out and play with it. I put “dog” in quotations
because I’m certain he’s a six-pound, Ewok midget. And he doesn’t bark; he instead
makes a screeching howl-whine. I refuse to take him out in public because when he
sees another dog, bird, cat, squirrel or child, he stands upright, walks on his
two hind feet, and howl-whines in that direction. Maybe if I can find an Invisibility
Cloak, I’ll walk him again. Anyway, my Ewok is in love with the Futsan. I have to
store it out of range from his two-foot vertical leap so he doesn’t hump it.
My "dog" is infatuated with Goldilocks here.
This Revoltech Starscream toy does not transform. Even with that severe handicap,
it is the coolest looking Transformers toy I have ever seen and I had to have it.
You can pose him however you want and he comes with Megatron in his gun form. I
love you, Starscream poseable action figure. Revoltech also makes Rodimus Prime,
Megatron, and Optimus Prime figures. I sense a collection in my future.
No, he doesn't transform. Doesn't change the fact this Starscream is a badass toy.
These nunchucks began my latest hobby. The dealer room had the requisite martial
arts weapon dealer. In my wife’s eyes, I have proven myself incapable of wielding
a deadly weapon. It’s my own fault. A buddy of mine owned a pair of samurai swords.
When he first got them, we immediately went outside and started swinging them wildly
at each other, sloppily recreating a samurai battle to the death. My wife was horrified
at the whole ordeal and swore that I can’t even be trusted with a butter knife.
In truth, the samurai swords were very dull, but the image of me hacking away at
my best friend was forever ingrained in her mind.
Usually my eyes widen with a crazed glee at the sight of the weapons dealer stand
and my wife drags me away. I tried a different tact this time. I played it cool,
even though my first instinct was to grab a samurai sword, rip off my shirt, yell
“FREEEDOOOOMMM!!!” and run through the crowd.
Instead I casually studied the weaponry. In my coolness, I had an epiphany. Nunchucks
aren’t so deadly. It was brilliant. Finally, on this day, I would own a weapon!
I asked the dealer if he had any nunchucks and he pointed to a pair of Chinese knock-off,
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Michelangelo nunchucks. They were perfect. And until
I got home and tore into the package, I didn’t even know they included a yellow
ninja turtle mask. Who cares that none of the ninja turtles sported a yellow mask.
I could be the fifth ninja turtle. Naw, that's as blasphemous as Murray the K proclaiming
himself as the fifth Beatle.
My Chinese knock-off Michelangelo nunchuck set
In the time since attending this convention, I have started to learn how to use
the nunchucks. They are so fun. And so completely useless in a fight. I’d probably
knock myself out if I ever actually used them. I’ve clunked myself in the head a
few times learning some moves, but that doesn’t hurt nearly as much as you’d expect.
The worst was learning to pass the nunchucks through my legs. I was so afraid of
hitting myself in the junk, that I passed them way too low and nailed my shin. Holy
fuck, that hurt.
Yeah, the fact that the mask is yellow bugs me, too. But I figure it's just a bonus,
so I don't sweat it.