For those unawares, JAFAX is the anime convention/expo held every June at Grand Valley State University. It happens to also be the place where I first started doing conventions, artist alleys, and cosplay, so it's got a special place in my heart.
So here is the recap of the convention!
Friday was a nice relaxing day. Since the convention is only 2 days (Sat-Sun), we didn't need to really get there until the evening. Which was good, cause I was busy trying to finish my Pascal costume up for Saturday. Also, we weren't running the cosplay events this year (I had since retired as of last year), so I didn't have too much to worry about preparing.
Did some cleaning, and got all my bag suspender thingies ready to go. Took me a total of like 4 hours, but I think they came out pretty well! They were "good enough"! and we packed and was off.
Which was a total failure to launch. It took us almost 4 hours to GET to the Grand rapids area, which is absolutely RIDICULOUS. We hit like 3 traffic jams on the way, one taking us over 45 mins to get through.
Stopped by the site just to say hi (I just had to finish editing some panels that night so I was in no rush). Learned that stuff was gonna be set up a bit differently before. Namely, I was wondering where the crap the vendors went! Vendors got moved, so I'll talk about that in a bit.
Got to cow-hotel (it's in like the middle of nowhere), checked in, wrote the rest of the panels, and then went to sleep. Or at least tried to. Now that I have an awesome bed of awesomeness... those hotel beds just don't cut it anymore. So I was a tad tired in the morning.
We got up decently early, dressed, and headed out to the convention site. The line was reeeeally long as usual, so Dave and I decided to loiter around with Sil and Amanda and just people watch, take pics, and decide what we wanted to do.
|It was a long line. My pictures won't really do it justice.|
We checked in with the new cosplay coordinators, and they seemed to have everything handled on their end, and I could not be more proud for them. So I signed up for their fashion show (cause I could :P) and then went on my merry way.
I had learned the dealers were going to be in the same hall as the artists, so we just waited for the show to open, and then walked over to Mackinac. I really wanted to shop the AA first, and since dealers were there too - we shopped way ahead of other people! It was nice. I did not get as claustrophobic as before. (It was really bad in years past when it was all stuffed into Padnos).
|Each of those doorways held about 3 vendors.|
This year, they put them down the hall where the classrooms were in the "moderately new" area. In each of the large classrooms they'd have 2-3 vendors, and I think the set up was really nice in keeping the hallways clear of congestion. Which worked REALLY well. Only downsides to this set up was that even early in the morning, there did not seem to be enough A/C going around, and they got hot and partially smelly (not as bad as ACEN con funk hallway though).
|The hallway went on for a long time, but this was all I could see.|
Alley was packed due to people/location.
The artist alley was back down the hallway with all the big windows, and thanks to viewing rooms and vendors being in the same building, a lot of foot traffic built up in the alley. So much that I didn't get very good pictures. But here's a couple of them I took:
Saturday was pretty busy for us here at Crash Bang, as not only was I derping it up as Pascal, Dave and I were giving panels about cosplay! What was even more amazing is that they gave me one of the friggin LECTURE HALLS. How awesome is that? It was like, the biggest screen I ever had. Sil was kind enough to take some amazing pictures of me talking to a crowd.
|I almost look like I'm an authority on the subject! Having Jade around helps too.|
|My Vannah White Impression.|
|Hurr durrrrrrrr COSPLAAAAAAY|
|I was too short to point to the screen.|
I had not anticipated it's size!
It was suggested I make some videos about this. I am considering it (once I have extra time) - and having them linked to on my website! Sound fun for anybody? Please, let me know!
|Pascal, Tales of Graces F|
After the panels, we went out, roved, took pictures of cosplay (which I'm STILL going through), but here's a preview!
THEN (I told you it was busy) I changed into Princess!Rue at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and participated in the fashion show.
|Persona People on stage.|
|Wide angle lens is awesome. |
I need to get one of my own.
There were some really nice entries, and lo and behold almost EVERY. SINGLE. GROUP. stopped at each taped X on the stage. Nobody really ran across the stage. I was so proud. :)
Took a few more pictures, then went back to the hotel and changed so we could run out and see Brave that night. Which was a cute movie, and I'm glad I got to go see it.
|Princess Rue from Princess Tutu|
Sunday was catching up on any shopping I had left to do. Spent the early hours traipsing the alley, bought a couple of things, as well as in the dealer hall.
I continue my quest to collect all the Madoka Nendoroid figurines. They are so friggin cute and VERY well painted/made. I was skeptical of the $12 price, but gosh, they're worth it. I did get a duplicate of one of the figures. I'll make a post in case anybody wants to buy it.
|Kim doesn't look all that impressed. C'mon man, I saved the friggin' GALAXY!!|
Sunday I was dressed as Ben Tennison for fun, and Sil was Kim Possible (and yes, I am indeed working on a Ron. mwahaha). Got quite a few looks and pics taken, which was fun.
We ended up heading to the Maid Cafe to
|The Waitstaff. They were so awesome.|
They may have coerced me to come back to JAFAX next year, if only to derp it up as Cafe Kichijiouji de. They apparently will allow crossplay.
Afterwards, we headed out to get some pictures in the blistering heat, and around 3:30ish I was starting to get dehydrated, and decided it was time to go home! Drove home in record time, and made it home early enough for dinner, rest, and some drawing.
TL;DR - IN CONCLUSION
- I had a fun time visiting. I got kinda bored on Sunday, but I wasn't participating/running anything. Maybe next year. (I didn't enter the masq for obvious reasons)
- Dealer hall move was a big improvement over previous years
- Alley was still very crowded, but it's better to have them in hallways rather than classrooms.
- Cosplay events ran smoothly even without me there. I'm glad that my manual was useful. :)
- Maid cafe was good, I hope to help out next year.
- Maybe i'll do panels again next year. We'll see.
NEXT UP: OMG ANIME WORLD INDIANAPOLIS. They had an opening in their Artist's Alley, and held it for me. Updates coming soon.