Tekko 2014 Review: Day 2

Day 2 of Tekko 2014 began with the Women in Anime panel hosted by voice actors Caitlin Glass, who I know best as Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist, and Brittany Karbowski, who came onto the scene after I started falling behind on watching Anime.  It was a Q&A panel and both of the ladies were interesting.  I really liked Ms. Karbowski’s story about scaring her boyfriend, which I’ll summarize for you…

She said that when her and her boyfriend lived together in a small apartment, she would get home before him and turn off all the lights, then hide in a closet somewhere in the apartment.  When her boyfriend would come home she’d giggle and say, in a very high-pitched, creepy-sounding voice, “Wanna come play with me?  Hehehe.”

She said she doesn’t do that anymore because now they own a house and it would take him forever to find her, that and it really freaks him out.  The panel was interesting, they were pretty funny and entertaining; a nice way to start the day.

After that we separated from our friend, who went to the How to Make a Steampunk Necklace workshop.  At this point we decided to finally make good on the threat to go to the lounge.  It was actually pretty cool, they had snacks and water, a bunch of tables with baskets of candy on it, and funnily enough Glass and Karbowski walked in from the back door of the café just a few moments after we came in.

Stalking

They had televisions set up to watch the main stage, so we watched part of the Masquerade, hosted by Uncle Yo, a perennial guest of Tekko.  We had a snack and got re-hydrated and had a quick chat with some of the wife’s relatives who happened to be at the convention, too.  Once we were done with our rest at the lounge we headed out and went to the Traditional Theater and Anime panel.

It was hosted by a very nervous college student; he almost seemed like he was going to perk up take the bull by the horns, rack us up and knock us down.  Until his opening question, “Who’s here to see the headlining band tonight?” fell flat as only a handful of people in the room were interested.  Half the room seemed like they didn’t even know bands played at the convention.  He had good information, he just needs to work on his presentation and public speaking skills and he’ll do well in the future.

At that point we headed to the Dealer’s Room and Artist’s Alley to get an eye on the things we might be interesting in throwing money at and met back up with our friend.  We grabbed some quick dinner and headed toward the Octo Erotica panel; a panel about tentacle porn.  Unfortunately the folks hosting the panel had canceled, so we missed out on the chance to see what could have been a very interesting panel.

So, with nothing else to do we headed to the OMG WTF Did I Just See panel.  Now as you might remember, this particular panel was one of the sour moments of the last year we were there.  And you know what?  Sour point this, time, too!  It was an 18+ panel and Tekko administration had forgotten to put a staffer in charge of the door to check IDs.  They didn’t have anyone to monitor the door or set up the lines outside the door.

Two distinct lines formed, one heading east and looping in a serpentine style, the other connecting half way through that line and lopping westward.  When the staffers finally realized they had a half-full 18+ room with two lines and not a single ID checked, five minutes before the panel started, they sent a couple of folks up to handle the situation.  They started checking badges, but didn’t do much else to fix the lines and just kind of…walked away from the situation once the doors opened.

The panel had a decent slew of interesting stuff, like before; most of it coming from Japanese television shows and commercials.  If Tekko staff could realize that it’s a popular panel, every year, and put the necessary staff into handling the doors, that’d be great…

StaffDoor

The last panel we went to had about as much care put into keeping the doors secured as the last one.  Once again we serpentined in front of the room, this time they had a staffer to check IDs for the 18+.  Unfortunately there were a few drunk guys behind us in line.  They realized that when the line started to move they could just barge straight to the door, nearly running over everyone serpentine in front of them.  The staffer at the door stopped them though…to check their IDs before letting them into the room.  So line control seems to still be weak at Tekko.

Anyway, the last panel we went to was the Is It Hentai?: RELOADED panel.  In this panel they either showed a picture or played a sound clip and then asked a volunteer if it was porn or not.  98% of the time it was porn, usually some pretty grotesque stuff, too.  They had a few tech issues because they said that Power Point had decided to crash and wipe out their original presentation so they had to rebuild it between panels.  They had a bunch of door prizes, which they explained was a car load of stuff they didn’t want when they moved so they were just getting rid of it.

By the end of the panel they were just handing out free shit, which is cool because we got a DVD box set, a Manga, and a little toy ball-in-a-cup pen that my wife played with for about a straight week.  The panel itself was funny and when a second crash halted the panel they decided to read from a really crappy fanfiction, which was hilarious in its terrible writing.  Definitely worth a lookie-loo.

And that ends Day 2.  Monday we’ll reconvene here for the final Day’s review and the ultimate review of the whole convention and how I think Tekko has managed in the interim time we’ve spent away from it.

~RCS

TekkoDay

Okay so maybe I’m getting a little addicted to the Meme Generator thing.

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Tekko 2014 Review: Day 1 (Part 1)

As you all know I was very critical of Tekkoshocon a few years back. I decided to give the convention another chance this year. And that was a good decision. A lot of the problems they had before, they had fixed. Not to say there weren’t a few hiccups, something that big always will have something go wrong, but it was much better organized this year.

So here’s my complete review of Tekkoshocon 2014, starting with Day 1. Well, actually Day 2…we didn’t go to the Thursday events, opting to utilize the day for a set up period. So we’ll call Friday Day 1, for all intents and purposes.

 

First off we hit registration somewhere after noon. We had gotten the Premium Badges again this year, but our friend who went with us just got the regular badge. This opened her to a slew of jokes about abandoning her and going to the special Premium Lounge without her all weekend.

The Registration was something I had talked about before as being pretty poor, and it usually was every year. Getting the chance to go through Otakon’s registration was a delight…

This is the Premium Line?

This is the Premium Line?

So the last time I talked about Tekko registration I had mentioned I didn’t have any idea how to improve registration. Well the good news is somebody else must have, because Registration was a breeze. We Preemies…err, that’s a poor choice of name for that. Uhh…we…Snobby Cocksuckers?

I almost like Preemie better.

I almost like Preemie better.

Anyway, the Premium line was a simple process and we were done in about two minutes. Our friend didn’t even pre-register and she was still done with her regular badge in about fifteen minutes.

The last time we were at Tekko it took over half an hour for us to get through registration, and we pre-registered last time, too. So they’ve definitely hit a sweet spot with their registration set up this year. They need to keep doing whatever they did…it was over so quickly I couldn’t even be sure about what they were doing to make it go so smoothly. Ten points for Griff–Tekkoshocon 2014.

Anyway we had about an hour and a half to kill so we went to the Disney in Japan panel. The panel was basically an excuse to talk about the movie Frozen for half an hour. The first half was a lesson about Disneyland Japan from someone who had never been there; but she did have first-hand accounts from workers and visitors, so at least she knew something of what she was talking about. And she was very up front about her total lack of first-hand knowledge.

It was interesting and the last half of the panel was a comparison between American trailers and Japanese trailers for the movie Frozen, followed by a short discussion about the movie. Which I am plenty okay with; if you haven’t seen Frozen, yet, you really should. Children or not it’s a pretty awesome movie.

 

And that brings us to, what my wife calls, one of the best panels of the convention. The History Behind Sengoku Basara panel, hosted by yours truly and presented by Dickjutsu.com. Which I pointed out numerous times during the panel, because that was the whole point of the panel: To get paid to advertise this very site.

…okay, well actually that was only half of it. I really love talking about this stuff and it was a chance to get paid for talking about something that I care about deeply. Oh, and advertise the site, if I didn’t mention that already.

If I got a nickel for every time I used this picture...I'd use this picture a lot more.

If I got a nickel for every time I used this picture…I’d use this picture a lot more.

For those of you who came out to see it, I thank you. I hope you enjoyed listening to me talk at you as much as I enjoyed talking about Sengoku Japan. And my wife enjoyed it because I wasn’t directing all of my nerd air at her, alone…trapped with no recourse but to listen to me nerd-out, like usual.

...and then, when Oda Nobunaga was fifteen he...

…and then, when Oda Nobunaga was fifteen he…

 

Intermission

Now this is the point where I’d like to talk about dinner. It was at the Sharp Edge on Penn Avenue. That means it was delicious. We brought our friend to it, and indoctrinated her. Now everyone should go eat at the Sharp Edge– Wait a minute, I should charge advertising for how much I shill for that restaurant.

Can I at least a free pudding?

Can I at least get a free pudding?

Anyway, after dinner we headed back to the convention. This is already a step up from the last time we were there when we had dinner and decided we’d rather walk around Pittsburgh, even though it smelled like hobo semen, than go back to the convention.

So Tekko’s definitely making progress.

 

Back to the Story at Hand!

When we returned to the convention we went straight on to our second panel, the History Behind Dynasty Warriors. Like I mentioned before it was getting paid to talk about something I’m very passionate about and get some free advertising for the site.

Once again…thanks to those who came and I hope you enjoyed the panel.

Immediately after my panel was the Attitudes Toward Plus Size Cosplay panel, which was actually one of the bigger issues with scheduling. Normally all the panels had a 30 minute set up/tear down period, but there was no such period between my panel and theirs. I tried to get out of their way as quickly as possible, but oh well, a minor hiccup compared to the kind of stuff that used to happen at Tekko.

We decided to stay for the next panel and that was probably a mistake. The ladies handling the panel had a good idea, their premise was to stir debate about the attitudes toward plus size cosplay; hence the title of their panel, I imagine. A good idea. But they handled it poorly, especially when the debate broke out.

A small-framed young man stood up and shattered their whole plan by actually coming up with a counter-point and calling up a moment of hypocrisy in their suggestions.

All in all I can see both sides of the coin. What they were saying was right, but what he said was also right. He lacked tact, as far as he just stood up and called hem on their bullshit instead of going at it from a more diplomatic avenue. But when they accused him of not having a viable opinion in the debate on cosplay attitudes because he wasn’t a fat woman, she showed that she had even less tact than him.

We’ll be going into more detail on this later, but we’ll leave it at that for now. This post is about Tekko as a whole, not a rant on a single panel. I will say, however, that we got disgusted by the ladies running the panel when they singled the poor guy out and made fun of him…right as they started discussion on engaging with detractors and to always ignore them and take the high road. By the way, though, ignoring those who speak out against you…not a good policy for ‘starting a debate.’

Moving on we went to the Anime Horrors panel. But I’m sure you have something productive to do right now. So we’ll take a little break here and pick this up tomorrow. Your homework for next class is to like, share, and comment on this post. Haha, and you thought I could only shill for Sharp Edge–goddamnit I do need to charge for ad time.

~RCS

Tekkoshocon 2014 News!

I’ve been rather critical of Tekkoshocon before, but this year we’ve decided to try it out again.  We’ve been told by folks that went last year that a lot of the things we complained about had been fixed; so we’ve decided to give it another shot after going to Baltimore’s Otakon last year.

But not only that, we’ve gone two steps further: I’m going to be hosting two panels at Tekko this year.  As it looks right now one panel, on Japanese History related to the anime/game series Sengoku Basara, will be Friday afternoon at 2pm in Panel Room 3.  The other panel on the History of the Three Kingdoms Era of China as related to the game series Dynasty Warriors will be held the same day (Friday) at 6pm in Panel Room 2.

I’ll let you all know as soon as I do if the times change.

We’ll be giving away door prizes at both panels as well, including books and computer games, and of course the chance to listen to me talk about two of my favorite subjects for an hour a piece.

So if you’re going to be at Tekkoshocon this year in early April, feel free to come on down and see either or both of my panels.

The door prizes alone are pretty nice, we’ve got some decent games to give away: Europa Universalis 3, Majesty 2, a few Uno games, a book on Ninjutsu in the Sengoku Basara panel, and who knows what else!

Oh I know what else; that’s right.  Anyway…

We’d love to see our adoring fans (maybe even both of you!) come on down to see us, especially if you’ll be there anyway.

~RCS

Otakon 2013: Day Zero

Sorry for the lackluster update on this. We wound up being more than 2 hours behind schedule because of a huge accident on I-70. Then once the hectic day was over, we go back to the hotel to find…the wifi is not working. Only for us though.
Called down to the front desk and got this response, “I dunno…it’s working for me, it’s working for everyone else. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
Stay tuned for another update, hopefully tomorrow and hopefully not typed on a phone.
~RCS

Tekkoshocon X Review: Day 1

Well, Tekkoshocon 2012 is over and I’ve had a day to recover (and of course the site takes off while I’m away and can’t do anything).  It was a pretty…decisive, we’ll call it.

There were a handful of good panels, a couple of great ones, and a few bad ones.  We’ll hit everything in sequence, but first let’s discuss what Tekkoshocon is, for those who don’t know.

Tekkoshocon is a Japanese and English portmanteau of Tekkosho (Steel Mill) and Con (abbreviation of Convention), since it is held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It’s a fairly small anime convention as far as conventions go, with a high water mark of 4,300 people in 2011.  Compare that to Baltimore’s Otaku Convention which had 31,348 people in 2011!

But here’s the summarized highlights, I’ll cover a new day each day this week.

-Thursday-

We weren’t really interested in much happening Thursday morning, but we had a pretty full schedule for Thursday evening.  We got to the Wyndham, where the convention was being held around 2 in the afternoon.

We hit a panel about making video games, being run by a flash game developer.  It was good stuff, informational, sadly most of the stuff he went over I’d already researched on my own.  But it was nice to see an actual developer divvy up the details on what to do, how to do it, and he even used an awesome new term, Nerd Wrangling, which should totally be on Urban Dictionary soon.

We roamed about for a bit and went to a Legend of Zelda-related panel that my fiancé missed out on for the most part, since she’s never really played one of the games.  I missed out on the grander scheme of it, because I’ve only played part of the series…I missed out on Ocarina of Time and the likes, since I never had an N64, and I never played any of the handheld versions or such.  Needless to say it was interesting panel, nonetheless.

Next we went to a panel held by David Fielding, it was called Acting 101.  David Fielding is the face and voice of Zordon, the guy in the tube who commanded the Power Rangers during the first season or so.

We roamed through the artist alley and decided to get dinner, since we had a couple of hours to kill before the panels we were really waiting for came to fruition.  But right before we did, we paused for a bathroom break.  I walked into the men’s room and walked passed a bald gentleman.  I undid my pants and glanced to the side to realize…I was peeing beside David Fielding.

Imaging pissing next to that!

I peed next to Zordon!

I watched the Power Rangers pretty heartily when I was a kid when it first came out, but after a year or so I fell out of it.  Needless to say it is a huge part of Nerd Culture and took up a big part of my thoughts when I was a kid, so peeing next to Zordon was a token fanboy moment for me.  I managed to keep my composure, though, and didn’t spazz out and start talking to him at the urinal, or anything creepy like that.

Then came the evening panels and we went to a panel called “OMG!  WTF did I just watch?”

Here is where shit started hitting fans.  The two people running the panel showed up about 5 minutes before it was supposed to start.  And they had tech problems when they finally showed up.

We were all finally let in about ten minutes late, to find they were still not operational.  There were two panelists, completely aloof to how cords and cables worked, two Tekko staffers, and a Tekko Tech staffer.  None of the five of them could get anything to work.  apparently they were trying to run a DVD off of a DVD player, but it wouldn’t sync up with the projector the con was utilizing.

Finally a guy about a row behind me walked up to them and said, “Why don’t you just get a laptop and run it from there.”

He was met by blank stares from the panelists and the associated staffers.  Suddenly the tech staffer jumped on his radio and called for a laptop.  Lo and behold, they bring down a laptop…we are now twenty minutes late for the panel to start.

They put the DVD in and everything works…almost!  Again we have 5 people trying to figure out how to work this laptop, including a tech staffer, and once again the hero a row behind me groans and walks to the front of the room.

He makes a subtle motion with his hand and everyone backs away.  Two keystrokes and a click and everything is working.

Now, thirty minutes late, the panel finally starts.  It was a good panel once it started, though; very funny stuff and run by a man dressed like Rainbow Dash with a Jay Leno-quality chin.

Finally it was over to Anime Mythbusters to test events that happen in Anime and see if they are physically possible, or at least mildly plausible.  That was interesting, education, and entertaining, so it was a success.

And then we went home and got a short turn around of sleep, because Friday started at 10:30 in the morning…

~RCS

Phoning It In

To all my loyal fans, yes both of you, I just wanted to let you know that my computer has been acting up like a drunk four-year-old lately. I fixed it (I think) last night and made backups of everything.
So I should be good to go soon-ish. Just in time for Tekkoshocon 2012!
Anyone who follows me, I’m going to be at Tekko again this year. I’ve sprung for the Premium badges this year, so if you see me in front of you in line…no Donkey Punches. 😉
I hope to get back in the swing of things soon. Until then, I’m forced to update this with my phone.
~RCS

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