This year, we attended Sakuracon at the Washington State Convention Center. Sakuracon is a huge anime/manga/Japanese culture convention which is held every year around Easter weekend. We have gone every year for past 3 or 4 years, I think.
Unfortunately, it’s usually the same weekend as Norwescon, the large local sci-fi/fantasy/etc. convention, so that I have never gotten to attend Norwescon. Despite the fact that one of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher, was a guest at Norwescon this year. (Did anyone go and get to see him? Was it fun?)
Anyway, at Sakuracon this year, both Dev and I got to meet people who were very influential to us and helped get us into anime. Dev got to meet Tony Oliver, who has done a lot of voice work, including the main character of Robotech. I got to meet Kotono Mitsuishi, who was the original Japanese voice actress for Tsukino Usagi, the title character of Sailor Moon (among many other roles). She was adorable; she very patiently answered questions at two panels worth of Q&A, and at the second one, she asked the entire room to gather around the front, so she could take a picture of her fans to take back with her. It was really cute. I also got Mitsuishi’s autograph on a Sailor Moon anime-manga book (one of those comic books made up of screenshots from episodes).
On the subject of costumes, we didn’t actually take too many pictures this year, which is sad. I do have to say that people really need to have more spatial awareness of the elements of their costumes. I do not like getting smacked in the head with a giant Bleach sword or someone’s wings. I’ve found it’s getting harder and harder for me to recognize costumes at cons, because I haven’t been watching much current anime. I fell out of it for a while, and it actually took this Sakuracon to get me wanting to watch stuff again.
(We have been keeping up with a fun little superhero show called Tiger & Bunny that’s also being shown on Hulu. One of the main characters is also an older man with a daughter, and I like seeing a main hero from that age group for a change.)
We didn’t get to watch that much at the con itself. We saw a couple of episodes of Eyeshield 21, which is a comedy about Japanese high school teams who play American football. We also saw the first two episodes of Gundam Unicorn. I’m not a Gundam fan, so I admit I laughed a bit at it. (You decided to call your main villain Full Frontal? Really?!)
Oh, and there were quite a few technical difficulties this year. It seems like something went wrong at almost every panel we attended.
The con itself was decently laid out, with almost all the panels and the theaters on the sixth floor, and the exhibition hall on the fourth. There were a few vendors with inappropriate artwork hung up on their booths, IMO, especially for an all-ages show which Sakuracon is supposed to be. I actually didn’t spend much money in the dealer’s room this year! We got a Luffy straw hat from one of the booths, some small One Piece figurines, and a Portrait of Pirates Shanks figure. (I’m still so obsessed with One Piece, even though I’m not caught up on the current story arc. XD)
Overall, we had fun, although it felt like it was over way too soon. We’ll probably be going again next year.