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New Character for Toys Alive!New Character for Toys Alive!
Super Sentai PanelSuper Sentai Panel
Jack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & MeJack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & Me
Jack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & MeJack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & Me
This guy also competed in the Gundam Competition!This guy also competed in the Gundam Competition!
BMO!!!BMO!!!
Cosplay at its finest!Cosplay at its finest!
CosplayCosplay
More Adventure TIme!More Adventure TIme!
My Gunpla EntriesMy Gunpla Entries
Adventure TimeAdventure Time
My group entry with AmandaMy group entry with Amanda
The Gunpla World Cup EntriesThe Gunpla World Cup Entries
Megaman!Megaman!
UNICORNUNICORN
The line after I got my pass had doubled...The line after I got my pass had doubled...
Finishing Touches!Finishing Touches!
  • New Character for Toys Alive!
  • Super Sentai Panel
  • Jack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & Me
  • Jack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & Me
  • This guy also competed in the Gundam Competition!
  • BMO!!!
  • Cosplay at its finest!
  • Cosplay
  • More Adventure TIme!
  • My Gunpla Entries
  • Adventure Time
  • My group entry with Amanda
  • The Gunpla World Cup Entries
  • Megaman!
  • UNICORN
  • The line after I got my pass had doubled...
  • Finishing Touches!

Sakura Con 2012 was an absolutely wonderful time for me! It might be good for me to make a confession first. I am not a huge anime fan. I don’t know much about the culture and I will frequently introduce myself as a BS fan of Anime. Honestly I don’t know much about anything if it doesn’t include Gundams…I started with Dragonball Z, Pokemon and Sailor Moon. To average anime fans, those are the obvious ones. Imagine going to a unique television conference and telling people that you only watch fox news while the people you are talking to are dressed up as characters from Fringe, Lost and Family Guy.

Intro

I go to these events to be inspired, to build my hope in humanity and to see really AWESOME STUFF! Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) was a great time to study the different markets of what’s popular (Steam Punk) and what’s phasing out (Zombie related anything), however Sakura Con wasn’t helpful in that regard. Most of the time I had no idea what people’s costumes (also called “Cosplay“) were, but they don’t really mind telling you if you ask. One of the major reasons I like going to cons is to ask people what they are passionate about. I go in with an open mind and ask people what I should be watching, reading etc. and they are incredibly gracious with their responses! It’s a great way to pass time in lines.

In case you have never been to a con there are 4 or so major reasons people go: 1. to socialize with others; 2. to dress up and “cosplay” (pretend to be that character); 3. Watch Anime; 4. Play Games (Role-Playing, Card Games, Mobile Games, Arcade Games, Console Games, Retro Games); 5. Sit in a variety panels to hear stars talk about a show you loved, share interest in other activities, or pick up new techniques in a plethora of hobbies; 6. SHOP the show floor where people travel from around the country to show off stuff from Japan or their home-made items; I spend my time doing a variety of all those things, although I didn’t dress up for this particular event. I truly enjoying seeing all the creativity that goes into the costumes. People make such elaborate works of art and push the threshold of what I think “clothing’ is. These events truly inspire me!

The number 1 reason I went to this con was because they were one of the hosting sites for the 2012 Gunpla World Cup. This is a worldwide competition where people from around the globe who enjoy building Gundams (i.e. plastic Robot model kits made by Bandai

) can show off their favorite works while hoping to win a variety of awards with “Best In Show” giving you the opportunity to face off with the winners from around your country to see who will go on to represent your country with the best of the globe. This LINK (and THIS ONE) will show you some of the winners from last year. You can learn more by checking out THIS blog post about me building 3 gundams for the competition.

Preparing for the Con

Completing the gundams was the first part of preparing and the second part includes going through the schedule of the con and writing down the panels I want to attend in my iCal which were sync’ed to my iPhone.

Day 1

I got in line at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Seattle around 8:30 pm. It wasn’t until 11:30 that I got throughout the line with a ticket. There were 2 rooms that were being used for the line. When I entered I was in the back of room 2. By the time I had a ticket the line had wrapped outside, and was wrapping around the hotel…I met one person who got in line a half hour after me. He was in line for 5 hours. Next year I will book my ticket online if I don’t wind up working for the con. After getting my pass I went straight to the show floor to drop off my Gundam kits at the Bluefin Corp booth for the Gunpla World Cup. The gundams are displayed all three days and judged on the second day. After that I continued to explore the many tables with things for sale. One thing on my shopping list was a scaled drum set for my Toys Alive photos.

After spending time on the shopping floor I went to the 6th floor to room 6C where I saw some voice actors do a demo on how they dub Japanese cartoons for American audiences. It was very interesting observing how they use cues, Pro-Tools and how they taught a few audience members to dub a section of a strange cooking-show.

Around 3:15pm I went to room 6E to see a “Foam Sword Contest”. I had no idea what it was going to be but I was definitely pleased. The seats in the room formed a square empty space in the middle of the room like you might have seen in Karate Kid where kids made a tournament and paired off to fight each other with foam swords. I don’t know the rules but I’m sure google has the answer. Make sure you check one of these out if you hear about it! I was fascinated by the different fighting styles.

While at ECCC I heard Will Wheaton talk about his new Youtube Show “Tabletop” where he reviewed different board games. That panel inspired me to check out board games because I have never enjoyed Monopoly or any of the other games I had played. While he was talking about games, the crowd went crazy when he mentioned Munchkin. That made it to my list of things to learn about. At Sakura Con there was a gaming room where people played the Pokemon card game, Magic and a plethora of other games including Munchkin. At 6pm I went to room 613 to see if I could find some strangers to teach me to play. Needless to say the game is amazing and I now own a copy ;)

At 9:45pm I went to room 206 to hear some people discuss the various Gundam Anime Series’. It wasn’t all that entertaining to I went to Theater 4C 2 to watch a new Trigun movie. Probably around 11 I made my way home and was VERY excited to go to bed.

Day 2

The second day of the Con probably got started around 10am for me. At noon I went to see if I could play another round of Munchkin (which rocked!). At 1pm I attended a Panel about the JET program where you can get paid to teach English in Japan. From 3-4pm the Gundams were judged and at about 4:15pm the winners were announced. My Gundam Age-1 Normal won BEST 1/144 Scale and my Hakugin Ryuseiba SD (Horse Gundam) won best SD! I was NOT expecting to win two different categories! I also appreciated that they mis-labeled those as being made by my girlfriend. I received a Gundam Age-2 Normal Kit and a new SD Gundam Age Kit!!! I made sure Amanda got the Age SD kit.

6C was my destination at 4pm where Steve Blum who plays Starscream on the new Transformers cartoon was talking about his experience. After his panel I booked it to get Amanda a signature by Chris Sabat who voiced her favorite Dragonball Z Character, Vegeta.

At 6pm Chris Sabat had a panel in room 618 where he shared about his experiences voice directing DBZ “back in the day”. It was a fantastic time!

My night came to an end in Theater 4C-2 where I watched the first 2 episodes of Gundam Unicorn which were fabulous!!!

Day 3

My final day at Sakura Con started with a panel about voicing video games at 10:45am. After that I got to attend a very interesting panel about Super Sentai at 11:15 am in room 309. In case you don’t know, the American tv show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was made in a pretty bizarre way. There had been a show in Japan called Super Sentai that had been on for almost 20 years at that time. Some people decided to take one of the shows fight sequences and cut it with American actors to make a show for the youth of America. That is what we know as Power Rangers. This panel answered A LOT of questions I had!

I spent the rest of the time taking pictures of people’s costumes, sharing conversations, shopping and picking up my Gundams before heading home. There was an estimated 30,000 people at the con.

Conclusion

Events like this are sometimes sad to leave. it’s so nice to be able to walk up to anyone and be able to strike up an interesting conversation about media, stories or another culture. Anime fans might not smell the best, but they are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever encountered. I love their culture. I had an absolute blast and I am looking forward to working with the staff on next year’s event. I was blown away to find out that the even exists as a non-profit business. This means that NOBODY on staff gets paid. ALL of the planning is done by volunteers!!!! MADNESS

(The last picture is all the stuff I collected and bought at the con…people pass a lot of stuff out).

Jack Elliot Nunn (Best in Show Winner) & Me

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