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Con Report: Taiyou Con 2012

2012.01.13

East Blue is back from Taiyou Con 2012, at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa!  Mei, Placidmage, Hazard and Emmacchi were in attendance (S.V. couldn’t make it and was sorely missed!) for all three days.  We led some panels, took some photos, and had a blast at the Masquerade.

East Blue's Umineko Cosplays

Placidmage, Emmacchi, Mei and Hazard on Saturday at Taiyou Con 2012.

Panels:

This was our first time participating in running panels, and it was arguably one of the best experiences we had at the convention.  East Blue members were involved in three panels throughout the weekend, all of which were collaborative with cosplay friends.

On Friday night, we ran Placidmage’s “Yuurei: Japanese Ghost Stories,” a panel about traditional Japanese horror stories, with the help of Mikan Mafia’s Tsubame and Toiea.  Placidmage started out talking about several different kinds of Japanese ghosts and monsters, but the bulk of the panel was our version of a hyakumonogatari kaidan-kai (the telling of one hundred scary stories, a tradition similar to Ouija).  Participants in a hyakumonogatari kaidan-kai light one hundred candles at the start, blowing one out each time someone tells a scary story.  Once all the stories are told and the candles extinguished, a supernatural event is supposed to occur.  In our panel, we used electric tea candles (for safety reasons), but told many of the traditional tales recorded in Lafcadio Hearn‘s collections of kaidan.  The biggest hit was Hazard’s telling of Jikininki, which scared both audience members and panelists alike.  We also had a little audience participation from And Friend‘s Leexy as well, who told a haunting kamikakushi story.  This was a fantastic way to kick off the convention.

On Saturday, Placidmage helped out with Tsubame‘s panel, “Tale as Old as Time,” a discussion of traditional Japanese fairy tales from the Otogizoushi.  (Mei, Hazard and Emmacchi were in attendance but did not actively participate.)  Placidmage and Tsubame, together with our friend Lars, told four stories: Taketori Monogatari, Urashima Tarou, Momotarou, and Issun-boushi.  After retelling these classic stories, Tsubame would draw parallels to popular anime series that had used motifs from these tales.  Some associations were very obvious (like the character Issun-boushi who appears in the game “Okami”), but some were very subtle and surprising.  Did you know about the influence of Taketori Monogatari on the character Luna from “Sailor Moon?”  Although we barely scratched the magical surface of the Otogizoushi with this particular panel, we had a great time and hope to tell more fairy tales at a future panel.

On Sunday, Mei (cosplaying as Sasagawa Ryohei) and Placidmage helped run “Omertà: A Katekyo Hitman Reborn! Panel,” while Hazard and Emmacchi watched (in Reborn! cosplay, of course).  This fan panel covered the basics of the Reborn! story, touched on the warm and wonderful fandom, and concluded with a trivia contest and a game of charades (with prizes).  Mikan Mafia’s Tsubame was lead on this panel, with Toiea and And Friend‘s Leexy also bringing their knowledge and experiences to the table.  Many of us were brought together for the first time because of the Reborn! fandom, so this was more than just a fan panel for us.

Reborn! Panel at Taiyou Con 2012

East Blue members Placidmage (center) and Mei (center left, as Sasagawa Ryohei) with Mikan Mafia’s Tsubame and Toiea (as Beatrice), and And Friend’s Leexy (as Castiel).

J-Fashion Show:

Our very own Placidmage was a model this year at the Taiyou Con J-Fashion Show.  She strutted her stuff on the stage wearing a Red Ridinghood-inspired mori girl outfit, designed by Toiea.  This was her first time participating in the J-Fashion Show, and we hope she’ll participate again in the future.

Placidmage at the J-Fashion Show

Placidmage at the J-Fashion Show.  Photos courtesy of Kataklizmic Design.

Placidmage at the J-Fashion Show

Placidmage’s outfit from the back.

Earl Phantomhive’s Tea Party:

Witches love tea parties!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  When we saw that Team Kissu was running a Kuroshitsuji-themed cafe, we had to go.  Mei, Placidmage and Emmacchi, in our Umineko witch costumes, bought tickets and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The food and drinks were tasty, and the service was impeccable.  We had fun with all of the hosts, but our favorites were Toiea as Grell, and ValdaAbyss as Alois.  Alois, if you’re reading this, Eva-Beatrice and her purple dress would love to talk cake with you!

Masquerade: 

This was our first Masquerade competition as a group, and Hazard’s first time competing, so we were both eager and a little nervous.  Our competition costumes were from the series Umineko no Naku Koro ni, a series of visual novels (and an anime adaptation) about a game of wits between a witch and a clever young man.  Toiea of Mikan Mafia competed with us, and we were glad to have her!

East Blue's Umineko Group at Taiyou Con 2012

From left to right: Emmacchi as Eva-Beatrice, Placidmage as Bernkastel, Mei as Lambdadelta, Hazard as Battler (kneeling), and Toiea as Beatrice.

Taiyou Con’s Masquerade was run very well this year.  Seperate stations for craftsmanship judging, stage ninjas, MC and audio check made it easy to get in and out of the Green Room quickly, and everyone was very professional.  Our den mom was really sweet and very positive and helpful.  During the Masquerade, we had a screen (with audio!) in the Green Room so we could watch the other skits.  We also had a great time hanging out with the awesome ladies of Banzai Productions and SassaFrass Cosplay, who performed a hilarious Hetalia skit.

For our skit, we adapted Bette Midler’s rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” from the film “Hocus Pocus.”  We all adore this movie, and with so many witches, it seemed like a great idea.  We re-wrote the lyrics of the song, recorded our own audio and choreographed a simple dance.  You can view our Masquerade skit here:

We ended up winning an award for Best in Master Craftsmanship, which we are very pleased with.  Overall, we had a great time at the Taiyou Con Masquerade, and hope to participate again next year.

Photo Booth: 

We have to include a section for Taiyou Con’s awesome photo booth, run this year by Toshi Yamioka.  In addition to producing some fabulous pictures, Toshi and his team were courteous, fun, and very speedy with image processing and printing.  We fully support Toshi as the official convention photo booth photographer for future conventions.  Check out these gems he was able to snap:

Bernkastel and Lambdadelta

Placidmage as Bernkastel and Mei as Lambdadelta.

Extreme Brofist!

An extreme brofist by Emmacchi as Colonello and Mei as Sasagawa Ryohei (Reborn!).

Scene of the Crime

Murder is in the air with Mei as Lambdadelta and And Friend’s Leexy as Dr. Watson.

Derpin' around at Taiyou Con.

You can’t always be serious for photos. Top row, left to right: Lars, Hazard (as Reborn from Reborn!), Mikan Mafia’s Tsubame, Mikan Mafia’s Toiea (as Beatrice from Umineko). Bottom row, left to right: Emmacchi (as Colonello from Reborn!), Placidmage, and Mei (on the ground, as Sasagawa Ryohei from Reborn!).

Conclusions:

We had a fabulous time at Taiyou Con this year, and hopefully we’ll be able to make it back again in the future.  We’ll close with some testimonials from the East Blue attendees:

Hazard: I had a great time at Taiyou-Con.  The ghost stories panel was A LOT of fun and went really well.  I spent some time at the AMV contest and saw some very good entries.  There was a little hitch with internet submissions but the videos themselves were very entertaining.  This was my first AZ con and only the second one of this size that I have attended.  The Dealer’s Room was small but had great variety in swag.  I also loved the setup of the Artist’s Alley.  It was positioned in the center of everything and the artists received attention from every con-goer as a result.  The Masquerade was masterfully run.  I don’t really have a way to compare, this being my first masquerade competition, but the whole thing went off without a hitch.  I would definitely come back for Taiyou-Con.

Placidmage: Taiyou-con is a small con, with a lot of really awesome people!  I’m so glad that Emmacchi and Hazard were able to come visit and compete with us.  No one should be surprised that my favorite part of the convention was the Masquerade ;D  I’m such a ham… I also loved doing panels (as I said, giant ham).  But aside from all that, it was the first time we were able to lead panels, and I think the audience really enjoyed them.  I think I will absolutely continue to do panels in the future, especially the Yuurei one.  I love Japanese ghost stories.

Emmacchi: I couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off the 2012 convention gauntlet.  Though small, Taiyou Con had a lot of heart, and I had a great time.  My only regret is that I wish I’d had more time to go to more panels and hang out with more friends.  I was especially pleased with how smoothly the Masquerade was run, particularly that they checked our audio before we went on stage!  Sometimes, tiny details like that can make all the difference, and I’m glad that Masquerade director Cira gets that.  I’m proud of our group for pulling together some great panels and a fun Masquerade skit.

Mei: I love small conventions (to the EXTREME!), and I’m so glad that Emmacchi and Hazard could make it this year. Competing in the masquerade (read: acting like derps on stage) was a lot of fun, and I’m really happy we managed to pull a skit together despite the distance between members. I also had a lot of fun with the panels, and hope to do more in the near future! Overall, Taiyou was extreme, my friends are awesome, and I am clearly the best at imitating fossilized dinosaurs (see picture above).

Our Taiyou Con 2012 Group

East Blue and friends at Taiyou Con 2012.

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