Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Otakon toys!

(Originally posted August 12, re-posted for new log)

And now for something I forgot to add/almost didn't because it will only interest four (4) people (three of which probably come here), these are the whosits I purchased from the Otakon Dealer's room that weren't cheap and largely uninteresting DVD's:

First up are a couple of "Heartless" from the "Kingdom Hearts" videogames. These two came packed with Disney's Peter Pan and Beast, but I really just wanted the Heartless. For the usual $10 per set it just wouldn't have been worth it, but for the $5 pricetag at Otakon? Hell yes. The games may be too popular for their own good, but Heartless are boss as all get-out and don't you forget it.

Next is this sweet-ass collection of small GAMERA monsters, which came disassembled in mysterious surprise-boxes. You never knew which figure you were going to get, but I lucked out big time with these three.

This was not, however, the only set of gamera gambling-toys available....

A completely different-looking box offered mostly figures of Gamera himself, but enticed me with a small picture of the ultra-obscure GUILALA, or "X From Outer Space"...a silly, chickenlike space-fungus who starred in his own movie.

Lo and behold, my box contained exactly what I wanted, and Guilala is clearly this year's Otakon trophy. He knows it, too. Just look at him.

There's more as you can see, but nothing to really write home about. Absolutely everything else I purchased came in various other "mystery boxes", so I guess I have an addiction to the things. It probably goes all the way back to my utter failure with the "Trash Bag Bunch" toy line of the early 90's, which absolutely refused to yield anything I wanted off the back of the package.

Looking at it now, this is actually my smallest Otakon haul ever, especially compared to last year's:

I can't even tell what the "big" prize of 2005 was....could it have been the stuffed Baltan-seijin? Gamera's knife-headed nemesis Guiron? Or the little plastic Major Dr. Ghastly (from Cartoon Network's short-lived and forgotten "Evil Con Carne") I got out of a vending machine at the neighboring Fuddrucker's? Previous years also yielded some Gegege no Kitarou merchandise, godzilla swag out the wazoo, and even a tiny plastic "Toxic Seahorse" from Mega Man X.

None of them, however, can hold much of a candle to the X from outer Space. Yes, I think this year was a good year for Otakon. A good year indeed.


(Originally posted August 6 - reposted to new blog)

So every year I go to this big anime convention in nearby Baltimore, which is perhaps peculiar because of all the things I'm a "fan" of, Anime is pretty low on the list. I sort of just don't think of it as a world all its own, and tend to judge them on an individual basis like any other movie or television series. Regardless, it's always an interesting weekend with strange things to purchase and even stranger things to see.

And with that, I give you this site's first-ever convention photo gallery....with an amazing FIFTEEN photos! That's right....not thirteen, not sixteen, but FIFTEEN! Now, technically I'm supposed to have these people's permission to be putting up their photos, but this issue is rarely called to attention; people who do this stuff already expect to end up on the internet. If anyone here does object to their inclusion, let me know via email (linked on every page of this site) and, I don't know, I'll send you out a gift basket.

Click the thumbnails for a closer look, and learn the details on mouse-over (I really wish it worked right in Firefox). Much to the chagrin of purists, there's a lot more diversity than just "anime"...but if you're a purist about that sort of thing, it's probably time for you to stop and re-evaluate your life. I didn't get to chat much with a lot of the cosplayers, but all of them were polite and funny people. The red shyguys (Super Mario Brothers 2) taught me that shyguys are actually baby-eating vampires, which makes perfect sense when you get right down to it. There were actually several dozen shyguys in various colors throughout the convention, but I'm not quite sure what their affiliation was all about...hopefully one of them will find this and tell me the story.

Now, when most normal people think of an anime fan, they think of an overweight, unshaven teenaged male with social skills as poor as his hygiene, but the truth of the matter is that anime geeks are completely indistinguishable from everyday people and if anybody "owns" the subculture, it would appear to be women.

The succubi and bee girl (Q-bee) from Capcom's "Darkstalkers", Baroness from "G.I. Joe" and Catwoman here aren't all that unusual-looking for congoers, though Catwoman generated a constant, concentrated uproar wherever she went. Thankfully, the shirtless ninja guys are -not- a common occurance, but it's funny how this photo turned out when I didn't even realize they were there.

Very interesting to me this year was the amount of "Silent Hill" cosplay with more than eight "Red Pyramids" running around and too many zombie nurses to even keep track of, a big step up from the 0-2 Silent Hill characters of previous years, which I suppose we have the movie to thank. Standing out from the masses, however, was a single "orifice" or "lying figure" monster (from the film and the second game), who walked around with just the right twitch...a real crowd pleaser.

My personal favorite pyramid-head was one I didn't even photograph. While the others may have been a little more "picture-perfect", one guy's helmet had been painstakingly constructed from what craft stores call "fantastic plastic". This high-priced modeling plastic can only be molded for a few seconds before it has to be re-softened in boiling hot water, and this guy's pyramid was easily 50% larger than anyone else's. He attended the convention with what I assume to be his adorable girlfriend, who also made the best looking of the zombie nurses I saw and had constructed her mask the same pain-in-the-ass method. Sadly, I didn't meet these two until very late Saturday night, and they had been so hounded by the paparazzi that I chose not to bug them for a picture. I did, however, make you all this artistic vision that is 100% true to life and should satisfy you utterly: