Woke up early, put our junk in the car, kissed our kitty farwell, and drove off! We got lunch in the Grape Vine and then promptly got lost (because of me). I got us un-lost and then got us lost again after we passed Fullerton. BUT I GOT US UN-LOST AGAIN. But by the time I got us un-lost, we were in the middle of Riverside and it was like 105 degrees out. Oh, and the air conditioning in Nur's car doesn't work. Yahooo~! We made it safely to Temecula, where we got some delicious chilled beverages and waited until my Aunt and Uncle had arrived back at their home. When we got word from them, we headed to their place to hang out and spend the night. They're such wonderful, wonderful people and are much too kind to us.
Woke up early again, put on my Utsuho costume, ate a fantastic breakfast, and headed to San Diego. Parking was easy, but the place we always park is about six gajillion miles from the convention center, so the walk was not so easy. As soon as we hit the convention area it was PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. I got asked if I was cosplaying from Naruto. Hahahaha, I actually got asked that a couple times. I could see how people could think that. Getting our badges was suuuuper quick and easy.
We went through the exhibitor hall and tried to get the Derpy Hooves SDCC-exclusive pony for sygmus, but it turned out you needed a ticket to get it? And to get the ticket you had to be at preview night, because now the tickets were gone for the first day and most of the second? It was crazy. JUST LET ME GIVE YOU MY MONEY. We were able to pick up the book Nik requested, and he got a free head sketch of a character of his choosing. So that was cool. We looked around, and then I did the stamp rally for the VIZ booth. All that, and we still had plenty of time to line up for the Riders of Berk panel. Actually, we got there early enough to see the FortNight panel before it (they don't clear out rooms between panels). And then gave us free tshirts. Hahahaha, not complaining!! The game looks fun, it's sort of a zombie-esque game (I haaaate zombies), but lots of world building and stuff. I'm excited to see where it goes. The Riders of Berk panel was very neat! The animation looks nice (not as nice as the movie, but still quite nice, much better than I was expecting). A lot of the voice actors are back too! And Nolan North will be the new voice for Stoick, so I have NOOOOOO problems with that. Love that guy. The show will be two seasons and bridge the gap between the first and second movies, though you don't have to watch the show to get what's going on in the second movie. Very cool.
VIZ's main(?) panel was a bit after that, so we got in line early. Well… before it was a Star Trek: TNG panel about putting it on BluRay. I was kinda, "eh, okay," at first, but it was REALLY neat! The BluRays will be GORGEOUS. Truly, spectacularly GORGEOUS. But then the VIZ panel. It was pretty boring. (Sorry, bosses!!) We stayed in the same room to see a panel about Character/Creature Design which was fascinating. Oh goodness, I learned so so much. Hung out for a bit with Daniella there, then met up with her again in the Kodansha panel after. Also saw Deb Aoki! Kodansha has some sweet things coming out. If they can just help their book interiors look a wee bit nicer, they'll continue to get stronger and stronger. Daniella, Nur, and I head to the Lost in Translation panel right after, and it was interesting. Though Jake Tarbox seems to sorta take over the panel, hahahaha. shaenon was on the panel, awesome!
We were hungry, so Nur, Daniella, and I headed to a Baja Fresh and nom nom nom'ed. After, Nur and I drove to our hotel. I got us lost. Again. I wasn't have a good couple days direction-wise, okay? =\ We were sharing a hotel room with Thy and Mark because they are very kind and always allow us to. We chatted a bit, I got some work done (oh, the burdens of doing work for Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha! XD;; ), and headed to bed.
Tiger & Bunny on the VIZ booth awwwww yissss
Utsuho and Pochi decide to look at a map of Ooo.
And then decide to conquer the Ice Kingdom with Utsuho's bombs.
(Oh goodness, Pochi's leg is backwards in these pictures! I'm sorry Pochi!!!)
Got up, headed out. Leisurely walked around because our first panel was at 11am. Spotted this:
Next to it was…
GIANT FINN HEAD. He had a different expression on the other side.
Went into the Exhibitor Hall again to get the sketch for Nik that came with his book. Nur stood in line for that and I explored a bit.
Berserk love at the VIZ booth!
Alpha love at the VIZ booth! AWWWW YEAH BARRAGE AND NURA, MY TWO FAVORITE ALPHA SERIES.
Blue Exorcist was BIG at SDCC. BIIIIG. A lot of the outside of the VIZ booth had Blue Exorcist stuffs. And they were giving away posters. Wooo~!!
I felt bad not being able to pick up Derpy, so I went to the Hasbro booth and took pictures of some of their displays.
Nur got the sketch for Nik (OMG SUCH A NICE SKETCH) and we wandered around, looking for the BioWare booth. Turns out it was next to the VIZ booth but it looked mainly like a Star Wars booth. Huh. Well, there we found:
SNAAAAAAAKES! Some are real and some are not. No clue who is blocking the snakes, but… SNAAAAKES!!!! ♥ It was for the release of the Indiana Jones movies on BluRay.
Finally, it was about time for our first panel, the JManga panel. They have a lot of titles I'd love to read and they're finally going to have their stuff available for iOS devices! My mini-manga-dreams have come true!! Next was Neon Alley, the panel for VIZ's new anime channel. I won a Kon pillow by answering a question. We're trying to get Dyson to use it as his new bed. It's not working, Dyson seems frightened of it. =\
Next was Wreck-it Ralph: The Art of the Story. The movie looks pretty fun, I can't wait until it's out in theaters! Ahhhh, the cameos, so many lovely cameos! We wanted to go to Naughty Dog's Last of Us panel, but the line was ENORMOUS, so we decided to call it a day. We were going to go to the Yen Press panel, but that would mean waiting around for a couple hours and we were tired and getting hungry. We decided to head to Horton Plaza, where the Wreck-it Ralph panelists said there was a Fix It Felix game.
OH. OHHHHH GUYS. OHHHH MY GOODNESS. It was like something so out of the 80s. THIS GAME!!!!! THIS. GAME! Nur and I both waited in line to play it.
AHHHH THIS GAME!!!
Nur was pretty good, but I wasn't. I barely got enough points (I got 2900, you needed 2500) to get the shirt they were giving out. BUT I GOT IT. Playing the game was a blast!! It didn't play very smoothly ("Don't use the jump button, just tap up on the stick!" "Don't hold the stick any direction or Felix will stop, you have to tap it!"), but it really added to the feeling that this was indeed a game made in 1982.
The cabinets were aged, GAAAHHHHHHH the detail they went to on this! I love it. I love love LOVE it.
But at it's heart, it's a game about douchebags being douches to other douchebags. Think about it; Ralph goes and wrecks a building, throws someone out a window, throws bricks at Felix. What a jerk. But who would just do that for no good reason? Those sort of acts take effort. EFFORT! So he must have had a reason. And then at the end of the level, the occupants of the building gang up on Ralph, who is, BY THE WAY, NOT RESISTING, and throw him off a building. All after one of them give a kiss and medal(?) (and a pie?) to Felix, who sits there smugly as Ralph is thrown off the building. Ralph is a big guy, but that's a big building her gets thrown off of. I feel bad for the guy. And I bet he's so pissed off that he's been thrown off a building, he goes to wreck the next one (or rewreck the previous one, it's not clear and they look the same). IT'S A CYCLE OF DOUCHEBAGGERY. AND HATE. EVERYONE IS A JERK.
With our new shirts in hand, we headed back to the car, stopped at Taco Bell (Friday nights are traditionally Taco Bell nights!), and chilled in the hotel room. This hotel room, btw, was pretty awesome. It was like a little suite! There was a living room area, and then an area with the beds. So cool! Anyway, I did more work and we watched some TV until Thy and Mark came back. Then we chatted and went to bed.
Our first panel was at noon, so we headed over to the Nintendo Gaming Lounge in the Marriot next to the convention center. It wasn't open quite yet, so we hung out in the nice, large lobby in the Marriot and listened to another fan play videogame and anime songs on the grand piano they had. Whoever that fan was, sure was talented. I played Tap Dragon Drop, a free How to Train Your Dragon iPad game a sticker we got at the Riders of Berk panel told me about. At 9:30, the doors for the Gaming Lounge opened. It was cool, we played some Castlevania for the 3DS, some Mario for the 3DS, and the new 3DS Kingdom Hearts. I don't like the 3D effects on them, so I turned them off each time. I didn't care for the Mario game, but Castlevania was fun and the Kingdom Hearts game felt so nostalgic! I want to replay the first two now!! They gave us these cool tag board poster thingies (they're about 14"x17"?) for Pokémon Black2/White2 and Pokémon Conquest. I'm very much going to put them on my wall!
ZEKROM AND RESHIRAM WOOOOOOO! Look guys, I'm a Pokémon too! I'm a Cranidos! Wearing what is basically sweats to this convention was BRILLIANT. It's not quite a costume, but it's very comfy and looks costume-y enough (there's a tail on it that you can't see) that it doesn't seem like I'm just wearing sweats. Ku ku ku~
Eventually we got in line for the Shonen Jump Alpha panel and got into the panel before it, for The Unfinished Swan. The game looks neat. I made Nur sit in the very front for the Alpha panel, and we got to sit near Deb Aoki and Brigid Alverson (who I hadn't met in person before, so it was lovely to meet her!). The best part of the Alpha panel? They announced Takama-Ga-Hara.
THEY. ANNOUNCED. TAKAMA-GA-HARA.
This is my new Alpha series. I've been working on it for a few weeks now and I LOVE it. It's a silly fighting series and I'm having SO much fun with it! I've never worked on a series to close to it's initial release in Japan (I think I might have had the files before it was in print in Japan), so this is very, very special to me. It's my baby series. I want my baby to grow up all big and strong! The first chapter will be in next Monday's (July 23rd's) Jump Alpha issue, so please check it out!
So I squealed a bit when they announced it because I finally talk to people about it and gush and do all my fangirling. Ah, so happy!! They also announced that they'll be catching up with Japan on Blue Exorcist releases, and new chapters will be in Alpha as well. Then they had some interesting discussion with some of the Japanese editors (Death Note editor, Bakuman editor, the newKenshin editor, and original YGO editor who is now the editor-in-chief of Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan). I had seen the Bakuman editor earlier, and I'm kicking myself for not saying hello. It seemed like his english was quite good, so maybe I wouldn't have looked like such an idiot talking to him? No, I probably would have anyway. I just wasn't… fully sure it was him when I saw him though… I saw a Japanese man with a professional badge wearing a Perfect Crime Party shirt and I was like "DUUUUUDE HE HAS TO BE THE EDITOR" but then I doubted myself and said nothing. It was him. Oh well.
After the panel, we went to go see the BioWare hangout area or whatever it's called, but it was being used for a signing for some of the Mass Effect voice actors. There was a bit line. We saw Nat in line, so we chatted with her until the line swept her into the building. So Nur and I waddled over to the Shifty Look freeplay arcade and played some old school awesomeness. At about 2:30, we made our way to the back of the convention center to go to the Shonen Jump Alpha Fan Meet-Up! And to get the free ice cream they were giving out. John Bae, one of the Alpha team members and my old Psyren editor, saw me in line and let me chill near the front with the editors and other VIZ employees. I felt special, but also pretty useless. I stood next to a box and guarded it. Guarded it poorly. Chatted a bunch with Alexis, who is my His Favorite editor. We got popsicles and chatted and I guarded and then we chatted and on and on. Eventually, the box I was poorly guarding was empty (it had been filled with bags for Alpha subscribers), and I took the opportunity to jump in.
This is my box. No one mess with my box.
I would be standing in the box and people would come over with their trash in their hands, get close, see me, and then casually go to one side as they continued their quest for a trash can. Thank-you, sirs and mada'ams, for not throwing trash in my box.
The bags that were being given to Alpha subscribers were nice. A few little bonus-y things. But it wasn't like there was a million dollars in it. But people freaking wanted those damn bags. People would complain that they didn't get their bag and when one of us would ask to see the Alpha subscriber ribbon or told us the password that was sent to the subscribers, some would get all huffy! "Well, no one SAID we had to be a subscriber! We were told that if we were the first hundred people, we would get a bag! So we want our bag!" COOL IT, PEOPLE! You're getting free popsicles! Free Pocky! Not everything is free for everyone! This is a Shonen Jump Alpha fan gathering. Let the subscribers have their little bonus! It's not the end of the world! Goodness! @_@
Nur and I were going to try to make it to the Mass Effect panel or the Person of Interest panel, but… we figured the Person of Interest panel would be super crowded and hard to get in, especially since it was a couple hours before the Mythbusters panel, and we just didn't want to put the effort forth to get off our lazy butts and possibly listen to people complain about the ending of Mass Effect 3 some more. So we just hung out at the Alpha truck and watched people eat popsicles. I talked a bunch to Hope (editor for Barrage and Toriko, among other things), who is very awesome, and to Daniella, and a bit with Joel (my ex-editor for Psyren and my editor for Nura). And more with Alexis. He's really easy to talk with. Nat stopped by for a bit, and then Rachel and her friends did too! And it turns out that Hope is friends with one of Rachel's friends? What a small world.
Finally, Daniella, Nur, and I decided to head out, so we went to the Best and Worst Manga of 2012 panel and FORGOT TO SAVE A SEAT FOR ALEXIS GAAAAH I'M SORRY ALEXIS!!! T^T The panel was fun, I have a slew of new books to check out. Nur, Daniella, and I met up with Rachel and her friend (sorry, can't remember her name!), and all of us headed to Panera for dinner. It was lovely, and filled with fun conversation. The Panera was next to Horton Plaza so we went to play Fix It Felix again. I knew was I was doing this time, so I was AWESOME at the game. Eventually one of the ladies asked me to stop once I hit 150K points so other people could play. Fair, very fair, but... I COULD HAVE GONE TO THE KILL SCREEN!!! Yeah, probably not, but I felt so cool playing the game. They gave me another shirt even though I told them I had one. They said it was almost closing time for them and they wanted to give out the rest of the shirts anyway. XD;; (Any LOCAL Wreck-it Ralph fans? I don't need an extra shirt, I'm happy to give it to someone who would appreciate it, but I won't ship it or anything.) The lovely ladies we were hanging out with were going to hang out in the lobby of Daniella's hotel, but I had a little bit more work on Takama-Ga-Hara chapter 2 and wanted a shower, so we bid each other adieu.
Oh my goodness oh my goodness I was the most excited for this day. We didn't go to the convention at all. We packed up, said our farewells to Mark and Thy, and headed to a small strip mall because it was…
It's not that we could only choose Book-Off or Comic Con, but there weren't any panels we were crazy about and we had to drive all the way back, so we decided to not spend the money for parking and instead just head straight to the
When it came time to check out, the lady helping me was like, "Damn girl, wtf, this basket is overflowing." We sorted my books and she was about to ring me up when I told her that I still had two baskets. Poor register lady, it looked like she nearly had a heart attack. I apologized many times and tried to tell her that this was really important/special to me because we only come here once a year, but I think she was just overwhelmed. I'm sorry!!! Watching her face contort into all these weird shapes as she looked at my haul made me feel really bad about getting so many. BUT THEY LOOK SO GOOD! T^T;;
Eventually everything was sorted, tallied, and paid for. We avoided buying a lot of doubles this year because we had our entire collection catalogued and searchable on our iPads. It helped a lot, but I think I still got a couple doubles on accident!
By the time our books were packed in the car, it was 1:30pm and we decided to grab some lunch at the Mitsuwa in the strip mall before getting on the road. …On the road for the long, long, loooonnng trip back. We passed by two accidents, bad ones too. It was scary. We stopped in the Grape Vine again, this time to get something cool to drink. Then we hit traffic south of Buttonwillow on I-5, which slowed us down to a crawl for a few miles. It was past 8 when we got dinner in Kettleman City, and we finally pulled into our driveway sometime after 11pm. Sooo tired. But the drive didn't seem as long as it was! We listened to podcasts the entire way, alternating between This American Life and My Brother, My Brother, and Me. It made the drive go a lot faster than usual.
Our Book-Off haul. Not all mine! A couple of the bags are Nur's! Got lots of great stuff… but mostly filled holes in our collections. I finished getting Mars, nearly finished getting Violinist of Hameln and Master Keaton, among many others.
It was a very fun convention. It felt less stressful this year than in previous years. I think that might be because I didn't have to worry about a huge costume or anything, the outfits I wore were very easy to get around in and I felt very comfy in them.