Been a year and a half since I last attended a con. I feel like I’ve gotten rusty at this; I didn’t really accomplish much or take nearly the amount of pics I usually do.
One thing that stood out about the entire weekend was the huge amount of rain. Friday wasn’t bad, but it started to really come down Saturday, and Sunday was a full-on storm. This resulted in no outdoors cosplay and poor indoors lighting for photos. An overall sucky situation.
Day 1 was a bit short since I couldn’t drive up to Sacramento until after a poorly-scheduled doctor appointment. I had already decided beforehand that I would dedicate this day to ordering commissions, and I set a budget of $200 for the artist alley and the vendors hall combined. Happy to say that I managed to stay on budget, but it wasn’t easy. I started things out by overspending on commissions, leaving little for much else.
This time, I ordered four commissions. Unlike previous years where I split things up between my projects, three of my commissions were of Variable Guardian Lucia characters, representing my desire to focus on developing the game this year. I don’t think I’ll come close to finishing it, but I’m hoping to make good progress on it. That fourth commission? Would have been another Lucia one, except my printer ran out of yellow ink and refused to print without it. So I ended up making the following commissions:
I try my best not to order a commission from the same artist twice. Not as a strict policy, but more that it forces me to explore different artists. One artist that caught my attention was (nsfw warning) MW-Magister, who was NOT taking commissions, much to my dismay… though certainly for the best for her considering how swamped she would have been. If you haven’t clicked the link yet, allow her DA intro to spell it out for you: “I enjoy drawing, particularly big boobs.” Yeah, her stall was completely covered with heart attack-inducing cheesecake, and I am not the least bit ashamed of how much I enjoyed it.
Day 2 didn’t quite go the way I wanted. I ended up oversleeping and didn’t make it to Sacramento until around 3 PM. I was able to pick up my first two commissions, though.
While we’re on the topic, I bought a tiny Nihilego badge to show my support for the Poison-subtyped Ultra Beast. Alas, I was not able to find a single piece of Mareanie artwork and had to commission my own…
Seriously, we need more Mareanie love.
I have to say, Kalce totally nailed Rose. Definitely one of my best artist-to-subject matches. Speaking of Rose, she’s definitely stepped up in representation in my game. In the RPGM2000 version of my project, I just used the default “Queen” RTP to represent her. In MV, she’s really grown into her own character design. I really had to reach back into my memories and pull out details from several years ago when I wrote Vamoe Hunter Lumen.
I usually don’t buy prints, but I had the money to spare, and I’m just a huge Gravity Rush fan, so I bought a Gravity Rush print from Shunao.
Shunao wasn’t doing commissions, but he does have signups on his website, so that’s something I’m taking into consideration in the future.
Once I got my commissions, I had two priorities: get a Power Ranger’s autograph, and FINALLY get Michelle Ruff’s autograph after multiple years of trying and screwing myself at the last minute.
First, the Power Ranger. I was torn between spending my money on Walter Jones or David Yost, two of my all-time favorites. In the end, I went with Walter Jones (and it certainly helped that David Yost was taking a break when I was ready).
Meeting the original Black Ranger was a great experience. He jokingly fucked around with me for a bit, then signed my Funko Pop figure.
I made sure to take the opportunity to bring up the fact that he was the only reason I ever watched Space Cases. That’s when he took it back and went full-on Harland Band. I swear, I wish I had a Space Cases DVD for him to sign… but I’m not entirely certain that an official release even exists.
I was late getting in line for Michelle Ruff autographs, but I lucked out and snagged the last ticket for her line. Her session was scheduled to end at 6PM, and the artist alley would close at 7PM. While I was in line, I got texts informing me that my last two commissions were done, so I figured I would be able to get everything I wanted done in the second day and I could save money on gas and parking by not attending the third day.
The line dragged on. And on. And on. Somehow, Vic Mignogna finished his entire set half an hour before Michelle Ruff did. If you know anything about Vic Mignogna, you’d realize how completely absurd that is. I managed to clear the Elite Four twice while I was in line, and it could have been more times if I didn’t put my 3DS away after the first clear. The signing session ended up lasting a full hour past the scheduled time. Yep. That means I was prevented from picking up my commissions until the next day. But y’know what?
Fucking. Worth it. I cannot express just how obsessed I was with Ai Yori Aoshi when I was college. I even have the PC game released by Hirameki.
Day 3, as I said, was when the weather got really wild. Not that that ever stopped me from anime goodness.
First thing I did, naturally, was pick up my commissions.
To be perfectly honest, Sharon didn’t quite turn out the way I expected, but I blame the fact that she was by far the character I spent the least amount of effort describing in my reference notes. Plus I literally told the artist to put her own spin on it rather than strictly adhering to the sprite. That was my code for “I didn’t put enough thought into designing her.” The final product was good, don’t get me wrong – I’m just kicking myself for not being so detailed considering Sharon is internally one of my favorite characters.
In stark contrast, I put in a LOT of detail into Yard’s commission reference notes, and it shows.
At first I thought I noticed a tiny flaw: his ears aren’t pointy. Then I looked at my reference material and saw that I didn’t have pointy ears for Yard even though the generator did have that as an option. Heh, shows how much I know my own work… As a half-Drow, half-Dryad, it should make sense for Yard to have pointy ears… except he’s actually a half-Drow, half-human who was raised by Dryads… kind of an important difference.
He tries so hard to look tough… I just wanna hug him. *sniff*
With my final commissions acquired, I bolted to the Power Rangers panel… sorta. I ended up having one last meander around the vendor hall and noticed one vendor selling some old-school posters. What caught my eye was a really early Tenchi Muyo poster. I looked through the poster catalog hoping to find a similar Tenchi poster, but what I ended up finding blew my mind (as well as the last of my budget).
A 90’s-as-fuck honest-to-god DOKYUSEI promotional poster from 1995. Two years after the game was first released, and roughly the time the OVA came out, so I’m assuming this was promoting the anime. I don’t talk about it much, but the Dokyusei OVA (End of Summer was its English release name) was my white whale during high school, and that status continued through college (though Class Reunion shortly joined it).
So yeah, I snapped that up immediately.
BTW, while I’m on the subject of Elf games, I had been meaning to do a tribute to Elf through Hentai Hump-Day features for some time now, especially since it was recently announced that in Fall 2017 there will be a new anime adaptation of the Elf classic “YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world.” You bet your ass I’m gonna be watching that.
Anyway, wrapped up the day and the con as a whole with the Power Rangers panel. No video upload because I soon found out how utterly unsuited my phone is for event recording. My breathing drowns out most of the audio. As for the panel, I learned a lot of things. David Yost stole some Zordon crystals off the set of the Power Rangers movie (and subsequently lost them by randomly handing them out to fans through the years). One of the strange common threads that unites the cast is punking Jason David Frank. The original Power Ranger costumes the cast wore were… terrible (and the helmets would completely spin around during stunts). Bulk and Skull are every bit as awesome IRL as you imagine them to be. They haven’t watched the show but request that the fans compile a list of the best episode of each Power Rangers series so they can do a sort of mini-binge. Overall, I’m glad I was forced into attending the final day so I could see this panel. So… unexpectedly, thank you again, Michelle Ruff.