Fun Stuff – FanimeCon 2013 AKA The Weekend of ‘Durarara!!’

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First off, I must apologize for the lack of visual aids in my Famine 2013 regale. Sorry to say, but I’m not much of a picture person. Be sure to check out Will and Daniel’s version of our weekend extravaganza too! Lemme break down my experience into a series of highlights:

Learning how to play Weiβ Schwarz

This was first on the agenda for Day 1 (Friday). Will, myself, and others took our first dive into the strange game, which involves using cards that feature characters from a variety of series like Madoka, Vocaloid, and Fate/Zero. The tutorial was a lot to take in, but it’s an overall fun game that doesn’t feel as hyper competitive as other games like Yugioh. Now all that’s left is to procure a playing deck of my own. Even though most of the cards out now are in Japanese, I hope to get myself a Persona 4 deck.

Roaming around the Swap Meet, Dealer’s Hall, and Artist’s Alley

This comprised the meat of my time at Fanime, but for me it mostly involved a lot of missed opportunities to buy stuff. On one hand this is good because I saved money, and I wouldn’t have to worry about buyer’s remorse later. The down side is, well, I didn’t buy the things I wanted! I missed out on a pretty sweet Kino no Tabi poster at the Swap Meet, but I shagged SNAGGED a used copy of Dragon Quest VIII for $8. Seeing as it’s a 100+ hour game, I’ll probably never play it but it’s nice to have the option.

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At the Dealer’s Hall, I picked up an awesome Velvet Room keychain for only $6 and an Angel Beats! wallet for $15. There were these adorably large and fluffy cat plushes for $35, but I had to resist. They also had some Mawaru Penguindrum penguin tissue holders for $30+. Once again, self control was needed. Finally, I procured some very nice Persona 4 pins, with my three favorite characters, at the Artist’s Alley. Unfortunately, I missed out on a nice Madoka poster and a cool Super Smash Bros. poster. It’s funny how I’ve seen a lot of the art being sold there on Tumblr, and it was kind of cool to see the person behind the artwork.

Music Fest with ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D and 7!!

This was probably the highlight on the entire convention for me. I had always imagined what going to a concert where they played my favorite songs from anime would be like, and this concert completely blew away all the standards I had. There really isn’t any substitute for listening to a recording and listening to a rock band live. It’s weird because orchestral performances are actually fairly similar to the recordings due to the precision involved, but rock performances are totally different. The limiter is removed and the name of the game is to maximize the energy in the room. It also gave me a perfect opportunity to fanboy over the bands.

If you didn’t know, ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D did the 2nd OP for Durarara!!, “Complication,” which happens to be one of my favorite opening sequences of all time. The way the music and visuals work in concert with each is fantastic. So to see and hear the song being played live in front of me was a completely surreal experience. As expected, the band saved the song for last, and I sang along the entire time (as much as possible without knowing Japanese). Being in the same room with so many other Durarara!! fans was an incredibly gratifying experience.

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7!! does several opening songs for Naruto, but I know the band for their work for Kimi to Boku., the song “Bye Bye.” Funnily enough, they saved this song for last as well. Also, the crowd went ballistics when they showed scenes from Naruto on the screen. It shows that the series is as popular as ever. I’m sad that they didn’t show anything from Kimi to Boku., but it’s understandable since it’s not very popular (I love it though!).

Q & A Sessions with the ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D and 7!!

It was an awesome experience to get up close with the bands after the concert to ask them some personal questions. Interesting facts:

  • The lead singer of 7!! says her favorite anime character is Naruto, which is pretty fitting.
  • The drummer of ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D loves anime. His favorite series is Oreimo, and the character he most identifies with is Kyousuke. I think that’s hilarious and awesome.
  • ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D keeps writing songs for Durarara!! in hopes that there will be a second season.

Panel With Darrel Guilbeau, the English Voice Actor of Durarara!!’s Mikado Ryuugamine

As I sat in a room with Mikado’s English voice actor and a bunch of fujoshi, I was again reminded of Durarara!!’s persisting popularity. When Darrel Guilbeau was asked why he likes Durarara!! so much, he gave an explanation that was almost word for word with my own reasons. He said he loves the countless unique characters and how the story slowly unravels itself like a mystery. If I had to add anything, I would add that every preconception you have at the beginning of the series is completely flipped around by the end. Monsters you thought were monsters aren’t actually monsters, and the monsters you didn’t think were monsters are, in fact, monsters.

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The above picture of Anri, Mikado, and Masaomi cosplaying only seemed appropriate. There was also an interesting discussion about shipping. When the audience was asked who their OTP was, they responded with a resounding “Shizaya!” If anyone wonders, I ship CeltyxShinra and MikadoxAnri (even though I’m not into shipping at all). Daniel Guilbeau half-jokingly declared that his OTP is MikadoxSimon.

Even though I missed the panel with the animation director (Takahiro Omori) for Durarara!!, Darrel Guilbeau didn’t, and he says he asked him if he had plans for a season two. Apparently, Omori responded politely with “we will work to make it happen.” Whether this was just a polite gesture towards an overseas colleague or actual truth, we don’t know. All I know is that absolutely everyone is dying for a 2nd season and that Durarara!! holds a special place in my heart as one of my absolute favorite series of all time.

The Fire Emblem Panel

What was supposed to be an introductory panel for people looking to get into the series quickly turned into a therapy group for people to share their traumatic Fire Emblem experiences. Being a fan of the series, it was an incredibly fun panel with a lot of jokes about the games and the community. Unfortunately, most of the discussion was based around Awakening which I still have yet to play. Most of my knowledge hovers around 6-9. It was still a funny experience to hear everyone discuss their waifus, though.

The Masquerade

Or as I like to call it, Fanime’s talent show. No offense to anyone who performed, but it wasn’t the most engaging experience for me. Aside from a very entertaining Dragonball Z (Vegeta: “IT’S…IT’S… IT’S OUT OF BATTERIES!!!) parody act, nothing really tickled my fancy. Everything else was abstract interpretive dance or average level dance routines.

Screenings of Sora no Woto and Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S

Sure, I’ve seen Sora no Woto already, but I couldn’t resist watching some again. I personally think it’s incredibly underrated, and it definitely ranks as one of my favorites. Just the atmosphere and score alone make it a must-watch. Unfortunately, they cut it off early to set up for Yaoi Bingo. For Railgun S, I made it in time for episode 5. Those of you who read my impressions for the series, you’ll know that that’s an emotional one for me.

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That’s about it for my Fanime 2013 story! Nothing much else to note, other than my friend saying that he’d “accidentally trip” me if I was going to be killed by my own Persona 4 style shadow. It makes me wish that there were more of these things around the year (maybe I should go to my school’s annual convention in October…). Also, we discovered that conventions are a great place to StreetPass farm. I got almost 400 while I was there. Fanime 2014 is a definite possibility in the near future, and maybe I’ll cosplay this time!

B.W.

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One response to “Fun Stuff – FanimeCon 2013 AKA The Weekend of ‘Durarara!!’

  1. Pingback: Durarara!! Announced New TV Anime Series (and Thoughts) | Adrift Culture·

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