Cosplacon 2016 Review and mini-author updates

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Konnichiwa reading peeps! ^_^ Morgan here! I hope you guys had a happy and safe 4th of July (if you celebrated, if not, I hope you had a marvelous Monday)! Before I dive deep into my annual anime convention review, Cosplacon in this case, I wanted to share some updates on how things are going this summer.  I start teaching College for Kids next week and will be gone for three weeks from the work on top of prepping for work and my FIRST EVER teaching classroom for my new job! 😀 So no one feels out of the loop, here is what is going on:

  • “Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals” is in its second, intense rounds of second edits now.  I have three amazing Beta Readers and editors for these edits and I have some other Beta Readers lined up for the final edits. August and September will be nuts for editing, but we will do the best we can! They are all amazing! We also are getting the cover lined up. ^_^ Thank you for your patience. <3

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  • July 1st was Indie Pride Day! I had an amazing girls writing day with my pals, Kate and Morgan W, we had homemade pizza, jammed to 90’s and Disney songs, including belting out “Let It Go,” and they helped me promote my books all day on my social medias for Indie Pride Day. I had a giveaway, excerpts from all my published books AND sneak-peeks for my two current working projects, images from the day, and more.  Thank you to everyone for all the support! ^_^
  • On Moon Panda Power, the Youtube channel I share with my fantastic author friend, Dan Wright, we made Top Five videos on our favorite animes, discussing them! It was a blast! =D What truly are my favorite anime and how do they compare to Dan’s? Moon Panda Power has the answers!
    • Our next video will involve some Power Ranger epicness! =D
  • When I helped out at the public library’s anime night in June, I had some wonderful young ladies make me some fan art. You can find the “Spirit Vision” inspired on my website “Fan Art” page and the other two on my author Facebook. =)

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Cosplacon 2016 Review:

*Images from the convention are throughout the post and the bottom.

To check out most of the panels I attended, you can view videos of them on my Youtube Channel (key word: Cosplacon 2016), along with Cosplacon 2014 and 2015 videos and past Anime St. Louis and NatsuCon!

To see ALL my pictures from the event, please go to my public Cosplacon 2016 Facebook gallery.

This year, admittedly, has been rough on me for a few reasons.  Money, being sick and having to deal with pain, uncertainty, and bills, a new position at my school district, and new jobs for my writing.  I survived, but I think my outlook on life was hazy for a while. I was hoping Cosplacon, this anime convention in Jefferson City with its amazing con chair, Rodney, would get my out of my funk.  I was thrilled to go and show off my latest cosplay, to be with my brother, husband during our five year anniversary, and our friends.

Let’s just say, things did not go as hoped.  As a disclaimer: I adore Cosplacon and most of these events were beyond their control, so no one is getting the blame. However, I also have to honestly rate this convention with how it affected me overall.  This is the most conflicted review I have ever given for a convention.  Please do not hate; I respect all the work the Cosplacon staff does.

This convention will be known to be as “The Roller Coaster Con.”

Because I do NOT want to offend anyone, but I want to be fully honest in my review, I am doing more of a Pros and Cons list this year with a detailed description (mostly in time order) and you can see from there.  I’m starting with cons to get the bad out of the way first.

Cons:

#1. Lack of Panels: Right off the bat, when I looked at the con schedule that came out about two weeks before the convention (I personally still feel like that’s cutting it close, but most cons I go to have cut it worse than that), there really wasn’t as many panels as before.  They had a decent variety and I love how they always add something new and challenging for us attendees.  Still, it was hard to fill out our schedule.  If Miles and I did not have Bryce Papenbrook, a talented anime dub and game voice actor to look forward to, and Derrick deciding to finally try the Pokémon DS League this year, then other than the few main events, there would have been hardly anything for us to do.

I can partly understand their concern since last year, at least five of the panels we went to on Thursday and Friday, NO ONE showed up! I vented about this in last year’s review, but it was awful.

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#2. No Samurai Dan or Jillian: Another note I was sour on for a while was the fact that Samurai Dan and Jillian were not invited back.  Dan and I have worked together in the past for author stuff and him and Jillian are incredible people.  They wanted to and were willing to come back to Cosplacon, but were not asked to return this year.  I did not ask the details; it is not my place, but even before I knew Dan, him and Jillian bring so much individuality to  conventions with their art and humor and everyone loves them, including the fuzzy beast! I knew about this since December and it made me hesitant often.  I am glad we have so many talented and overall nice cosplayers that attend as guests and cosplay is amazing, but if Bryce was not attending, then they only type of guests there would have been was cosplayers and that leaves out a core amount of your attendees. That’s why Dan and Jillian are so epic, for appeal!

#3. Our Hotel Room: This is 125% NOT COSPLACON’S fault; this is Capital Plaza’s! The con is always at Capital Plaza and normally, it is a fantastic place and man! They are saints to be as patient and accepting as they are with all us otakus running around and doing who know’s what. 😉  We were on the 7th floor (we were on the 9th last year. Brown and Tabby were on the 9th this year) and our room was a wreck! The AC was old and it had trash stuck in it. One of our lamps had no light bulb in it. We did not have a “Do Not Disrupt” sign.  It just looked messy. We have been in at least three rooms here now and this one was by far the worse. We did nicely talk to management. The lady was nice, apologizing five times and writing things down, but other than her giving us a sign, none of our problems were fixed.

#4. $10 Night Events Only Wristbands: I understand the appeal of these and that Cosplacon needs to make money, but it’s pretty bad when all five of my group members are very…worried about this.  Anyone can come in off the street and buy one of these passes for $10 and the later events are all 18+, such as a game were artist drink and a burlesque show.  The con is more than welcome to have these events if the hotel allows, but I kept feeling something bad was going to happen because of this and police sirens would be wailing. Nothing happened that I knew of, but I just want everyone to be safe.

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#5. Evan and Andrew Couldn’t Attend the Convention: Again, this is not Cosplacon’s fault at all, but it sure put a damper on things. Evan had to have gallbladder surgery the week before and Andrew’s work refused to let him off although he asked for those days MONTHS ago! He is an amazing Deadpool and Rodney would have pulled him up on the spot to help all weekend!

#6. Small Selection of Venders: The venders they had were decent, but like last year, there was not much to chose from and this year’s was smaller! I still do not understand why they do not at least have one author anymore. They may be my work talking, but I find it odd since most other cons I go to have at least one author OR someone who makes their own manga series.  Cape had seven! Some of the booths were overpriced, some normal.  I bought stuff, sure, but I think Miles got more stuff when we went into town three times than actually things at the convention (although he did get some things).  More vendors or at least a variety please. The custom purse, decal, and glass people were a nice change though.

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#7. Lack of Pokémon Event Advertising: I’m being picky on this one, but for the last two years, Cosplacon updates about their DS Pokémon league, but this year, I only found it once in a generic paragraph on the website that they were having it this year.  They were doing SO many cool events this time around too, most not on the schedule! Derrick had a blast with the rad panels they were doing and the league overall, it being the highlight of the convention for him, but I wish they would have announced it better so others would know.

#8. Too Much Free Time: Part of this has to do with my final and BIG con in a moment, but this problem also arises from the lack of panels.  We went out to Slackers on Thursday, Hastings on Friday (which I think was closing or moving from how messy it was and they had random sales), and Barnes and Noble on Saturday. We had over three hours to kill on Saturday! SATURDAY! The MAIN day for all conventions! That should not be happening. Usually, even laidback con goers like us are running around ALL DAY doing awesome events and panels, but from 1:30 to 4:30, we had nothing, and I chose to walk around for 45 minutes after 4:30 just to hang out with Tabby and Brown.  I didn’t have to.

#9. My Irrational Fear Coming to Life: So…I will make this one brief:  I am SCARED TO DEATH of ANYTHING to do with “Willy Wonka.”  I had a traumatic experience in pre-school and no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of effects. I rock back and forth, cry, chew my lip, cry, and can’t catch my breath; I’m shaking just writing this! Well, a sweet young man bought all the special Cosplacon chocolate bars (one of the Achievement Challenges, to find a golden ticket).  He wanted to share it them with everyone, so he was called Wonka. I was okay with that, but Rodney then asked them to find the song that plays when they travel down the river.  The DJs had issues finding it, but eventually, they did and I stopped my camera, slammed my hands in my ears, began to rock, and cried through my Sailor V mask as Derrick squeezed my knee and rubbed my back.  It was only for a minute, but it was awful.  I do want to deeply apologize to the DJs and Rodney for when Brown, being a good friend, told them to cut the music.  I never want to be a spoiled sport, but it’s just something I can’t help and I never expected this to happen at a con.  It if was the OTHER annoying song, I would have sprinted out that room and ran to the corner or bathroom furthest away and rocked and cry.  I appreciate all those who took care of me.  It stressed me out though!

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#10-#14. NO BRYCE PAPERNBROOK (and other guests): OKAY! This is where I am going to get some ugly thoughts, and again, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Cosplacon, Rodney, and the staff.  I am not blaming them! Like Rodney himself said, things happen, but the main reason (other than being with my friends and to cosplay), but the main reason I wanted to go was to meet Bryce. I adore meeting voice actors; it’s my con thing. They work so hard, their experiences, and they are usually super nice and fun. I owe them for introducing me to this lifestyle that was inside me all along. I researched roles and history on Bryce, wasted hours on Youtube watching panels he did, wrote a poem for him, made him some funny inside fan joke doodles, and got him a gift. It was worth it and Miles and I were so ready to get our pictures and autographs, to thank him for all he’s done, and hear his tales.

When we got our master Thursday and Friday schedule with a map on Friday morning, which I found useful, I cross referenced it with mine and noticed Bryce’s 1:00 panel was gone. It was early in the morning, so the help desk was clear.  I very nicely went up to the kind girls and asked if the time had been changed.  She said, “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry.  It’s on our website. Bryce had to cancel.  We are really sorry, but if you go to the panel room on Saturday for the scheduled time, then something good will happen.”  Well, disappointed does not begin to describe how I felt; close to crushed.  Miles and I asked again on Saturday, same person, and she swore something would be there for us. We went there 15 minutes early and Miles and I and about five other people waited for over an hour and saw no staff member.  We were hoping maybe a Skype call with Bryce or that he would magically show up. A Kirito cosplayers was nice and searched for a staff member. We FINALLY did get one and she was very kind, giving all of us, including a young lady who was a sweetheart and left for a bit, but did wait for us, FREE PASSES TO NEXT YEAR! So, Miles and I are good for Cosplacon, 2017. That was very great of them and I thank them for their responsibility, but I was still bummed.

Apparently, also, there were four cosplay guest total and a group that normally comes.  Two for sure, I think three, of the cosplay guest canceled, and only one member of the group could attend, ON TOP of Bryce not being there. I could tell poor Rodney was stressed.  🙁 It was a bad situation for all. The con handled it real well, but it still really messed up parts of the whole con for me.

Pros:

Now, for some awesome things that happened!

#1. Getting to Jefferson City and Back: We usually get sick on the curvy, three and a half hour ride to Cosplacon from our hometown.  I did get some different motion sickness pills this year, made myself sleep, and some pain medicine.  There was some construction on the way there twice, once set outside of Jefferson City, but luckily Tabby and Brown warned us.  Other than that, all went well.  There were no police pull-overs this year either like last year. 😉

#2. Amazing Food: Other than their Arby’s, all the food this year at Jefferson City was incredible! Our favorite Fuiji’s Japanese restaurant on Thursday was perfect (and good price), our usual Kate and Aly’s pizza (this time for delivery), Ruby Tuesday, a sweet, traditional breakfast place downtown that Brown and Tabby found, a super famous local ice cream parlor on Sunday, and, of course, a quick snacky dinner at the hotel’s restaurant on Saturday (although they are so short staffed and literally all the workers are running and sweating for us).  Everything was delicious and all the staff so nice! It really helped make us love Jefferson City.

#3. I Beat Derrick at Air Hockey: Derrick denies it, but I honestly beat him at air hockey when we went to the mall first arriving in Jefferson City on Thursday! Tabby tickled him in the arcade! HA! =D

#4. Great Shops and Kind People: Slackers, Barnes and Noble, the mall in general, and Hastings, all great shops nerds need and none too far from the capital. Need I say more? 😉  On another note, everyone in Jefferson City was so nice.  We got extra discounts at Hastings (AND, they are the FIRST place I have seen that sales Ramune, Japanese carbonated soda, all the time.  I got two Hello Kitty strawberry ones).  At Ruby Tuesday for lunch on Friday, I ordered cheese sticks for all of us to share, but Miles and I only ate one each. They were not good. The waitress was super nice and took it off our tab, seeing we hardly ate them when I told her we did not care for them, saving me almost $8! Our pizza people were also late that Friday evening for delivering. Well, it was because they burnt out first one a bit too much.  They felt so bad, that they made us a new one, but we got to keep both of them! I went to Barnes and Noble in my new cosplay, a cute older lady was grinning ear-to-ear seeing me and asking me why I was dressed so fun.  Everyone in Jefferson City was really awesome! And, Capital Plaza, you are still the bomb and were as nice as ever, so thank you. It sucks we just got a crappy room. Met some super nice vendors of course too (still looking for Percy Jackson fan art!)

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#5-#6. Pokémon DS League: Derrick had such an incredible time with this. Without it, he would have had almost nothing to do at the con. DERRICK WON ALL THE COSTUME BADGES! He worked hard and was so proud. The gym leaders had plenty of badges and were very hard (I got beat bad by the normal one, who gave the attendees the most issues), but nice. They had cool panels for prizes, like a Ditto with perfect IVs for an egg event, two different ways to challenge the gym leaders, these amazing trainer cards for collectables, a champion belt for the new champ, and more. All they need to do is advertise more next time, and then it’d be wonderful!

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Brown and Tabby during their “Five Nights of Freddie’s” skit that won! 😀

#7. Skits: The Skit Contest was great! All eight entries did a wonderful job! It was so fun to watch.  I did film all of them and you can watch them here on my Youtube Channel. What was so incredible is my friends, Brown and Tabby, WON! They worked SO hard on their cosplay, their dancing, the theme, and the video that went with the skit. They truly were the best prepared and they deserved to win! They also got FREE passes for next year! 😀

#8. Cosplay: Others: There were some pretty fantastic cosplays and everyone was really nice! ^_^

#9: Cosplay: Ours: Tabby worked so hard on her Springtrap (from “Five Nights of Freddie’s” cosplay and it was a huge hit, even scaring some people. She stayed in character the whole time, Brown talking for her. She hissed, got in faces, and if she got too close, he would tease her.  It was fun to see how everyone reacted to it. Nathan did a good job with his character too and being her handler.  They got a professional photo shoot and I cannot WAIT to see the pictures! I got to see her make some parts of her cosplay, including edible blood while I sewed at her house. That was fun. ;)- She also made Miles his prop wrench and time travel necklace for his new cosplay. They turned out beyond glorious!

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Miles was his comfy and personal favorite, Roxas from Kingdom Hearts.  He got some pictures, high-fives, and a little girl (I’d say around 3), got a picture with him for her name is Roxie, after Roxas, and her older sister is Kiari! 0.0 Mom is a huge Kingdom Hearts fan apparently! So epic! He wore Li from our childhood favorite, Cardcaptor Sakura, with his lasen board Julie made him.  He got some photos too (I got him a new butt bell and it was funny to hear it), met a Sakura from the show (she even waved at him three times, a big smile on her face, and called him husband in front of us.  Miles shrugged and said, “So…apparently I got married), and the gentleman who ran the DVD booth even gave him a FREE Li figure! 😀 On Saturday, he wore his first closet cosplay: Max, the main character in one of his favorite Playstation 2 games: Dark Cloud 2.  He REALLY looks like the character. It took us a while to get all the pieces, but mom and dad helped too and he looked epic! =D He figured no one would know who he was and assumed he was a steampunk handy man, but TWO people knew who he was, one a Joane cosplayer from his favorite, R.W.B.Y.! That was nifty! We did get some nice shots of him in that new cosplay.

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Thursday, I wore my Chii lacy kimono waitress outfit.  I had a few people figure out who I was and one person said something rude about my ‘on button,’ arching his eyebrows to look appealing.  I burned him back.  I hate being smug, but there is no need to be a pervert.  My outfit, sadly, is falling apart a little, but Derrick was nice and helped me the best we could.

cose8Friday, I was everyone’s favorite, Sailor V! The Sailor Scout group I normally see there could not make it, but I saw a Sailor Venus and Mars. 🙂 I got some photos, about average for me.  I did walk into the hall area where they were having Pokémon to check on Derrick when a young Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad (I say, young, but she was around 15 at least), fanned over me and started gushing, calling me Sailor Moon and how she watched me as a little girl.  I was going to kindly correct her, but then she grinned and flashed her phone in front of us, proclaiming, “Selfie!” I was forced into three selfies before really knew what happened, but I posed on impulse! HA! Her friends took normal pictures of us on their camera, that they were having issues with. The Harley kept apologizing and thanking me for my patience. I felt old, her doing that, but it was fun to make her smile and get swept away.

 

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Saturday, I got to wear my new cosplay: Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth, by CLAMP! I have blue hair, a fancy cape, can control a water dragon Rune God with our trusted and tasty looking animal pal, Mokona. It was epic! The only think I did not like was how my wig (which was cheap, I confess, but it was the shade and length I wanted), was sheerish in the back.  Derrick helped brush it to cover some of it, and my chest looks fat and huge in the shots because the cape is so heavy, my collar so high, that it tightens weird, giving me a fat chest illusion.  Other than that (I do need to get the book covers fixed one of these days; the white ones they came with were way too buy on the calf), it was grand. Not many people knew who I was, but many just though the outfit looked B.A.  But, the six or seven who did…fangirl screamed bloody murder, hugged me, and we had a photo shoot with them bouncing on their toes.  I heard, “RAYEARTH!” from the heavens at least four times! One time was from Rodney’s cute assistant girl and another from a woman that lead to something really fantastic happening in another point…

cosp69OH! My sword! Holy cheese graters, my sword is the bomb! My friend, Zelda, worked SUPER hard on it to make it look like Umi’s water dragon fencing sword, a challenge, but everyone loved it. It was odd for me to learn how to hold it (and with my left hand because Umi is a leftie), but I just didn’t want to break her lovely craftsmanship…or someone’s eyes. I did have the AMAZING Aiken Skywalker that sang “Let is Flow” for skits last Cosplacon (that is my highest watched video on my Youtube channel), that he was so impressed with my craftsmanship on my costume, sword, and everything, gushing over ME! That was an honor! He was shocked to know I filmed him last year and we looked up my Youtube together. ^_^ It was so fun to cosplay as Umi and I cannot wait to do it again! OH! I also got asked by the Brass Engine Productions, who are at all the local conventions and special friends of Rodeny’s, to do some poses and attack calls for their Cosplacon 2016 video as Umi! I was really touched! I have been asked, way back with Anime St. Louis, to do this with Sakura as well, but I did not make the final cut. Even if I am in it for just a second, I will feel like a rock star. ^_^

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#10-#12: Cosplay Royale: Guys, this was the BEST Cosplay Royale I have ever been to for ANY conventions, and I have been to 11 cosplay contests! Everyone had such energy and talent. Fun was apparent from all, the cosplayers and attendees.  Derrick cheered just much as I did and I was grinning at all the amazing cosplay I saw.  Aaron, AKA Jack Sparrow, was our MC and he was a RIOT! A dream! =D He would forget names, acting like Jack, and several of the cosplayers interacted with him (Tabby included, hissing at him and he hid behind Brown in a photo).  He even spit at the audience twice! HA! Although, he did not like when the furries did their dramatic pose where they covered their face with their arms extended to the side.  He kept telling them to stop it, so some of the other cosplayers afterwards would quickly do it behind Jack’s back! Rodney did it too and soon, we got the whole audience doing it in one of Rodney’s annual Cosplacon selfies! ^-^ The support was felt in the entire room and I know personally, I would not have wanted to be a judge; they were all so talented.  Tabby sadly did not win, but there were only eight awards out of around 80 cosplayers, but everyone was so good, no one was mad.  It was EPIC! I know Rodney loves his cosplay and he sure got a line-up this year! Speaking of Rodney…

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#13-#14: Rodney and his Love for us/his Energy: I made sure Sunday, when it was super quiet, I found Rodney, shook his hand, and thanked him for all his love and hard work, saying I saw he was stressed (he agreed with me there), but I told him I noticed and he made my five year anniversary special.  He has a charming smile on his face.  All weekend, he would have his random dance battles, throw t-shirts and candy, do free style raps, be silly with us, and more. He is not scared of the stage like most con chairs, completely out in the open, being part of achievements, and will help any way he can despite how busy he is.  Rodney, you are a huge reason I love Cosplacon. The connect you have with your loves and us, the friendships that are so easy to see with your staff, how you always up your game so everyone can have a good time, especially your Donuts with Dad’s on Father’s Day Sunday you do.  Thank you, truly.

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#15: The Staff: The Staff was as awesome as always.  I did not see nearly as many badge checkers as I do normally, which surprised me (sometimes, I saw none), but that may be just short number. Still, some did panels, some smiled and helped us out the best they could, and their respect for their boss man was so apparent.  They handled the lack of guests very well considering the sudden and challenging situation.  The con gave everyone a discount code for next year on their site for a while and Miles and I got free passes for 2017 since we came mostly for Bryce and waited outside his panel room door for over an hour like instructed.

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#16. SMASH BROS!: =D This one is for my Cosplacon peeps! SMASH BROS!

#17: Super Card Fight: On Friday night, there was an 18+ panel for Super Card Fight.  I have seen a few famous Youtubers (including Smosh) play it before and it looked interesting.  However, you have to debate your cause for it and although I am okay with talking in front of people at times and having fun, I am not good at arguing.  I am so non-confrontational that I would win an Olympic medal in it! I liked how they just let most of us watch.  Plus, although I am a nerd, my branch would be Otaku, not an overall nerd, and this game compassed all sorts of nerds, which is great for a party game, but that put me at a disadvantage. There were maybe 25-30 of us in a small room on the second floor, but it was a good time to listen to all the potential fights. The point of the game is you chose one of three hero cards and they get two powers (or conditions sometimes), then you and your opponent(s) (we did two people at a time to make it easier), then they got a time limit to debate why there’s would win the situation card. Afterwards, the audience could comment and then, by cheering, the winner was decided.

Derrick and Brown even got to go up, which was so neat! ^_^ However, I wanted to vote for Brown because he controlled the Sailor Scouts, but Derrick had MacGyver.  I knew my dad would be thrilled with that.  Tabby said MacGyver would win, so she cheered for Derrick and I rooted for Brown and the Sailor Scouts! We switched husbands! HA! Brown ended up making it to the final three, which was rockin!

I did have one issue during this and I am not personally attacking an individual or being a snot, but it irked me so badly that I wanted to raise my hand at the audience feedback for this fight, but I knew I would come off as rude/picky.  One guy had the Spartans as his heroes. When he was debating why they would win, he stated they were Greek…-_-;; Okay, they are Roman, but some people can mix that up, so I let that one go.  Then, he went on to say there were 300 of them, and he included children and women in these numbers. Ah…no.  They were a big city state.  The famous 300 in battle is where he got that from.  I was a getting my fugitive feathers ruffled a bit more, but I pushed it down.  The kicker?  He said that no one could beat the Spartans because they were immortal! 0.o   My hand almost shot up, but I prayed I heard that wrong, until I heard Miles next to me mumble, “What? Did he say immortal?”  We both stared at each other in disbelief.  I know I am obsessive with Mythology and Percy Jackson and my dad is a history teacher, but how can the Spartans be immortal?  I knew about 300. THEY DIED at the end! Sorry, spoilers, but if you DIE, you are NOT immortal! The saddest part?  NO ONE BROUGHT ANY OF THESE POINTS UP! About seven people said something, no one bringing up any of those wrong facts! I know everyone does not know everything about everything; I sure as Hades don’t, but geez! I was stomping and fuming for an hour about this! >.<

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#18. Steampunk Shoot-Out: Every year on Sunday morning, when everyone is tired from packing to leave and partying too hard and late Saturday, Brass Engine Productions does a shootout (being a heavily influenced Steampunk group) with a history on it, the styles, and, naturally, a chance to take on your opponent with Nerf guns. This year, they had a tournament setting since there was maybe 15 people max there (Brown and Tabby wanted to join, but they had their photo shoot).  The main guys were so tired, but they still were entertaining, making the tension humorous, doing hilarious voices, and such.  It was fun to see, although the grieves mostly had to do with people walking past each other.  Apparently, this town needs a cross-walk. 😉  There even was a $1 bounty on someone’s ‘head.’ HA! All and all, it was a hit! We also found a large cockroach and they placed him in a wooden box, taking pictures of him before he was released.  My only issue was for SURE one, maybe two or more of the participates were still…not fully sober when attending and they were breaking all these rules and being loud.  I can tall it bothered the panel people a few times. -_-;;

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#19. Playing with Kids: OKAY! I admit it; I adore working with kids. That’s why I am a teacher and volunteer with students often.  On Sunday, there really was not much to do. Derrick wanted to go to the Pokémon carnival to battle the gym leaders since they were all there in one place. Shockingly, unlike the last two years, it was really slow. Miles and I found Derrick battling by the stage easily enough, and I knew Brown and Tabby still had a half hour of their photo shoot left (Miles and I already finished exploring the venders room, even getting snacks and I chatting with one of my con friends).  So, we sat in some empty chairs close to the stage and the second I am about to rest, I see a little boy, about two or so, rolling with the con beach ball, having a, well, a ball! His smile and giggle was so sweet.  I sent a thanksgiving to Kamisama and informed Miles, “I am going to go play with the kid.”  I knew he had to belong to someone there and they could tell me to stop and I would have respected that. Well, turns out the little boy’s mom was the dark gym leader.  MAN! We had SO MUCH FUN! It was over an hour and a half of us throwing the ball, playing carnival games, eating snacks, and such.  There was one point he grabbed the giant to him ball and trotted around the room with it.  I chased after him, the whole giant room, between all the rows of gym leaders, shouting, “Where are you going?” I was smiling like a baka, having so much fun that it wasn’t until I past Derrick in his chair, battle the little one’s mom and laughing that I realized I have been running around on stage with all the gym leaders! 0.o  The mom kept apologizing for dumping her kid on me, but blessed me since she could not get a sitter and she had to battle. Derrick chuckled again and told her, “Oh, that’s my wife.  She’s a teacher. Trust me, she is having JUST as much fun and he’s in good hands. The only issue is, you may not get your son back!”

Later, Rodney’s little four-year-old daughter, Zoey, came in and she is as cute as a bug in a rug! I asked her if she wanted to play ball with us and man! All three of us were playing with the ball, tossing rings (the little boy had to make sure there was only one ring on each cone and he placed them in a pattern! He is only two and a half! I was really impressed), rolling on the floor, sharing gummies that Zoey’s mom bought for her to share, and such.  She was so sad I had to leave, asking if I could always play with her and giving me several hugs. I posed with pictures with both of them (I was in my Totoro dress and ears).  This was one of my favorite parts of my whole con experience.  I hope I can do it again! Rodney, need a con babysitter?  Just message me! 😉

#20-#21: Friends: What can I say?  Spending time with my good friends on top of Derrick and Miles is such a treat. We all need these four days each year so badly.  All the fun dinners together, ice cream, hanging out, UNO battles, room visits, it makes the con something simple, easy, and special.  I wish Andrew and Evan could have come; it would have made it even more epic, but still, I was so blessed to be with Brown and Tabby, our support for each other. I also got to see my buddies Shelia and Danny and their lovely girls, Lily and April, who I have not seen since Tabby and Brown’s wedding over a year precious.  Their cosplays Shelia made for them were incredible! I got to sit and hang with my friend Katy that I met at last Cosplacon and a really sweet Sailor Moon cosplayer, Jennifer, came to take pictures with me Sunday! She is so bright and cheerful.  Friends are golden and that is so true in this case.

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#22. I Somehow Joined a Cosplay Group 0.o: So, I mentioned in the above entry that Jennifer plays an amazing Sailor Moon?  She plays many grand characters, but she was apart of this fabulous Sailor Moon group that was there last year.  I wanted to get a group photo of them with my Sailor V, but they did not come this year. Well, on Saturday, in my new Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth, I mentioned how I had some extreme fan girls? Well, I had one from across the main foyer way, where the waterfall is.  She was in a mauve Star Trek uniform, her friend in a black Star Trek uniform close behind.  She had her camera in her hand as she trotted towards me, so excited.  She exclaimed, “I knew you were from Magic Knights! No one has a sword that skinny other than Umi!”  We got some pictures and it was great.  She even asked if I was a pro-cosplayer, what my cosplay name was, and if she could add me on Facebook. I was really surprised by that, but I did add her as a friend. About an hour or so later, around the same spot, I was talking to Miles, Brown, and Tabby, when she shuffled over from out of nowhere again with her friend. She started, “I’m sorry, but, I just have to tell you this: I’m the head of a cosplay group and I have been wanting to do a Rayearth group for a while; I like doing more…lesser known, but cute and amazing anime titles.  And, since you already have a great Umi, we can have our Umi in the group and I can most likely convince my friends to cosplay the other characters for photo opps. Would you join our cosplay group?”

First off, I was stunned and honored.  I cannot make clothes well, if at all, but the fact she had a group and wanted ME apart of it, that I was the start to one of their anime photo sessions was astounding. When she showed me the name of the group, I was floored again; it was the group that my buddy Jennifer was Sailor Moon in, the AMAZING Sailor Moon cosplay group for the mid-west! Not only were they a cosplay group, but a well-known and talented one at that.  I stuttered yes and she discussed their gigs and details.  Jennifer was really happy when I told her I got to join.  I told the leader I also do Sailor V and I loved theirs.  She started at me, bewilderment on her face, and smirked, “Well, you were just made for this, weren’t you?”  I don’t know all the details yet, but, at least for Cosplacon, I will be apart of the Magic Knights Rayearth group! 😀

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#23-#25. Miles’ Pun Count: So, let me tell you about my bro-bro, Miles: he is a pun master, as rolling of the eyes worthy that is at times. They are groan-tastic, ghastly punny.  When we were in the car, barely out of our hometown, he did one and Derrick rolled his eyes. I informed Miles that if he wanted to say puns on this four day trip, we had to start a counter. He was pumped and they dubbed me judge. His goal was 40 by the time we got home Sunday late afternoon.  By Saturday night, he was only five or so away, so I upped it to 50.  At the ice cream shop, he did a lot, so I went up to 75. He bit his lip, but accepted the challenge.  Then, it went to 80, all for a gold star sticker. Finally, for kicks, we wanted to see if he could make it to 100, which was going to be his goal for Cosplacon 2017. He did a CRAP-TON on the three hour car ride home, so many that a little after the two hours mark, he was at 105 and I made the counter broken! 0.o

MY BROTHER MADE 105 PUNS IN FOUR DAYS! 0.o There were even 6 that we did not count because they were too much of a stretch! Tabby and Brown got three each and Derrick got 10.  I accidently got three, even though I only wanted to judge, not be on the board! -_- Dang board… NOW…his goal for next year: 125 PUNS IN FOUR DAYS! Whoa! He is a little nervous there, but ready for the challenge.

Cosplacon, 2017: Let’s have a pun-off or challenge or panel, Miles and I can totally run it! Let’s make it happen!

OH! So, I did say a funny at the convention, but mine was not on purpose. Still, the boys KEEP talking about it and Mom and Dad cracked up later when I told them: it was Saturday evening and Miles, Derrick, and I were going down to the main floor (we were on our room floor, the 7th) to meet Brown and Tabby at the hotel restaurant.  There was about 12 people in our elevator, which is a lot. We stopped on the second floor and the person saw there was no room.  A young man in the corner of us (we were closest to the door), said, “Oh! Jake, hey man! How’s it going?” The gentleman, Jake, said good before the doors closed. As we descended to the final floor, the young man told the young woman he was with, “I wonder where Jake’s been?” NOW! Background: I worked for a special education teacher, and his first name was Jake.  The secretary nicknamed him, and that was what a lot of the staff referred to him as, so, this came out BY IMPULSE!

I THOUGHT I was mumbling, but I answered to myself, “At State Farm…” All of the sudden, Miles chuckled under his breath and Derrick was giving a funny grin.  The door chimed open and I blinked, confused. The young man in the corner who knew the con Jake started laughing and then beamed at me, saying, “That was a good one!” and him and the girl went ahead of us, laughing.  I blinked, more befuddled on why they were commenting on me.  Derrick goes, “Ummm, your Jake from State Farm comment? That was awesome!” I screamed, “WHAT?! I…I didn’t know anyone heard that! I was just mumbling that to myself!” Miles slapped my back, and said, “Well, it was great!” Derrick HAD to tell Brown and Tabby the second we saw them and they lost it. *sighs*  I guess that’s my con moment for 2016. 😉

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Okay things:

  • Iron Cosplay- I LOVE (<3) Iron Cosplay, but these year’s was only so/so.  I think because it was on a Thursday, which never gets a ton of business.  Maybe one on Thursday AND Friday?
  • Welcome panel/Opening Ceremonies- The welcome panels were fun.  I love their energy, and the beach ball was fun, even if I got hit a few times, once holding my camera.  Surely in the top 5 for welcome panels and opening ceremonies. But, no offense, most opening ceremonies are rules and some audience hype.  Hard to make them incredible.
  • Japanese 101 panel- The staff member who ran it was super nice and really knew she stuff, taking several college classes in Japanese in college and going/living to Japan often, but she went too fast (and I teach a basic Japanese class for pre-teens and teens). I think there should have been a few more interactive games and not too many talking to your shoulder partner since many people are not uncomfortable.  I did like the yukata she brought! =D
  • Cards Against Humanity- You can’t go WRONG with Cards Against Humanity; we play it often with friends and the people running it did fine.  I just felt awkward with my group (I was the only girl, but I owned that).  Still, it was not the same as when Samurai Dan and Jillian run it.  They bring such life and spark to all their panels, especially this game! They introduced us to it. It makes a huge difference.

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Cosplacon, I adore you and thank you for an incredible, spectacular year! I look forward to 2017, for your ‘fifth element’ celebration! <3 I know you had some downs this year, but you pushed through, all for us, with integrity, passion, and drive.  It did not go unnoticed.  ^_^

To check out most of the panels I attended, you can view videos of them on my Youtube Channel (key word: Cosplacon 2016), along with Cosplacon 2014 and 2015 videos and past Anime St. Louis and NatsuCon!

To see ALL my pictures from the event, please go to my public Cosplacon 2016 Facebook gallery.

Want to see the reviews and images for past Cosplacons?

Photo Gallery:

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