09/30/2009

Creepy Dude Put His Hand On My Shoulder And Whispered Into My Ear: “Welcome to the dark-side”: The NY Anime Fest 2009 Part 2

by Matthew Hawkins

So where was I? Oh yeah…

Day 2

Things kicked off with some Thwomps in the lobby…

… As expected, day two was a complete madhouse. The entire weekend was bustling, but it’s always the craziest on a Saturday. Afterwards it would be revealed that attendance hit over 20,000, which was a 16% increase over the previous year’s festival! By some accounts, that makes the NYAF the third largest anime con in America, right behind AnimeExpo and Otakon.

Anyhow, in addition to the larger crowd, Saturday also means the most bang for one’s cosplaying buck. And speaking of, here we have Kiki, the star of my favorite Studio Ghibli flick!

… What really makes this particular take on the character shine is the radio, of course. And no, I haven’t seen Ponyo yet. Sorry, been really busy.

Here’s Spike from Cowboy Bebop, whose not so much a bad-ass but clearly a dude that’s “seen things”…

Back at the yaoi table, they were actually selling yaoi paddles…

… Which were actually banned at Otakon, due to idiots hitting each other with large wooden paddles unprompted. Also banned at that other show, but not here, were Free Hugs signs and their variants…

… I love animu dorks, I truly do, but a lot of them know nothing of personal space.

Easily one of the most impressive costumes from the entire festival was this dude in the close to scale Bumblebee outfit…

… Sorry I couldn’t get a better shot, but he was completely surrounded the entire time, plus was moving like crazy, just like in the (ultra sh*tty) live-action movie. The dude inside was clearly comfortable on stilts since he was pulling off wacky dance steps like nothing (the degree of articulation and flexibility in the suit was also most impressive). Here?s a semi-decent front/side shot as he walked past us…

Check out these “classy” wall scrolls…

Believe it or not, we found these shirts to be actually hilarious…

Here’s the woman running one of the clothing booths that had shoes that Hilary spent much time trying on…

… And which I had to stick around cuz one guy kept trying to take pictures of her ass. Even better, dude was with his 11-year-old daughter as she tried on stuff. Yeesh.

Back to cosplay; it’s Psycho Mantis!

… I too love the yaoi flag in the back. Next, Godot from Phoenix Wright…

I was pleasantly surprised by the decent number of Digimon related references from throughout the weekend, like this kid…

You know him, you love him, it’s Char from Gundam!

… Now, if you look closely, to the back, there’s an Asian kid dressed like Naked Snake on the phone. This was by the women’s bathroom, while waiting for Hilary, and here’s his conversation: “I’m at the escalators… escalators! Escalators! I’m by the ESCALATORS!ESCALATORS! I’M BY THE ESCALATORS! ESCALATORS!!! … ESCALATORS!!! MOVING STAIRS!”

These Pokemon cosplayers were, in fact, super effective!

I also dug this girl as Ivysaur…

Any idea who this guy is supposed to be?

One thing I wished there was more of was Persona related cosplay. There was some to be sure, but not nearly as much as what was found at Otakon this summer. That being said, this person’s Izanagi from Persona 4 was simply amazing…

One the completely opposite end of the spectrum, yet still neat nonetheless, is this girl’s ultra ghetto Katamari cosplay…

As for what was popular, on the anime side of things, Soul Eater was everywhere. And on the gaming end of things, there were tons of Taokakas from BlazBlue, though this was the only one I was able to snap a picture of…

Speaking of Arc Systems Works, there was still a decent number of Guilty Gears strewn about. Cuz one can never have enough Bridget!

Also popular were Vocaloids, naturally…

… Love the makeshift keytar.

It’s at this point that we decided to look at the schedule and see what was going on. And I know I might come off sounding like a dick, as a speaker at the show and all, but there honestly wasn’t anything that seemed entirely captivating. I guess when you’ve seen one Mary Sue panel, you’ve basically seen them all. I personally would love to see panels that talk about the new stuff coming from Japan (the new season just started, after-all). I know some conventions don’t want fans talking about stuff that’s on their way to America, since that might ruffle the feathers of distributors that are also at the show. But considering how none of those folks were really on-hand, I was pretty disappointed that no one stepped up to the plate. As I’ve learned, when you get down to it, the lack of compelling programming is not entirely the fault of the organizers but fans that propose such things in the first place. Hell, that’s why I approached the NYAF to begin with, after seeing what had been passing off as video game programming.

Though there were tons of topics centered on cosplay, which is fine if you want to learn the in’s and out’s of that world. Personally, I’d much rather just walk around and take pictures of the stuff in action, which is precisely what I do anyway. But walking around takes energy, and eventually we were famished, hence the excursion to Chipotle, and… Did you guys know that Chipotle serves AWESOME margaritas?

This is what happens when you combine booze with the Evangelion iPhone app…

Soon it was time to hit the show floor once again. And on our way, we came across even more fab Persona 4 characters!

I think Hilary on purpose had problems taking our picture, to see how long Chie would keep her leg up there. Which was the entire time!

So one running gag we had the entire weekend, as well at anime cons past, is how virtually every InuYasha cosplayer looks so disheveled and utterly defeated, no matter what. Well here’s Hilary with one gaggle of folks from the show, with the star texting his mom perhaps.?

And here I am with some naked girl?

It’s literally a chicken with his head cut off!

Where there any Sailor Scouts? Of course there were…

Hilary this time kicking it with black InuYasha and black L from Death Note…

KNUCKLES.

Hey, even more MegaTen cosplay! Metis from Persona 3 FES and Raidou Kuzunoha from Devil Summoner…

Hilary almost picked up a Kamen Rider mask, but chose Ultraman in the end…

This Red Power Ranger was all over the place, posing with pretty much everyone. Including me…

Yet another Naked Snake/Big Boss…

Not only does Hilary love Char, but she also loves his ride, the red Zaku…

And here we have Hilary with one half of Team Rocket from Pokemon…

… Now, for whatever reason, Hilary decided to strike up a conversation with this person who, much like the person from Disogranization XIII from the day before, I recognized but did not remember me…

… Some of you might remember him as well, but I’ll get to that in a moment; next thing you know, Hilary is doing a portrait of this person!

… The best part is how this all went down beside a hot dog cart! Unfortunately, they were asked to move, since the condiments were being blocked, so move they did…

… By this point, Hilary was finishing up and simply engaging in small talk. She mostly complimented his hair…

… Soon it was time to ink her latest masterwork…

… And at this point, he/she made some comments regarding Hilary’s inking related decisions, which somewhat annoyed me; let’s see this other person do any better. The truth is, Hilary was doing her best to keep things vague on purpose, as to keep it as flatting as possible….

… Eventually, the finishing touches were applied…

I waited till we were a good ten feet away before divulging to Hilary that I knew the person she had just drawn: he was the really weird guy that I encountered at the Pokemon Platinum launch who was mistakenly accused by some (including myself) of distributing a racist Pokemon. Man, what a small world! It was noted afterwards by Mia and her friends during dinner that Hilary got off lucky because that person usually demands a kiss after any exchange.

TO BE CONCLUDED

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