After the long commute, the long lines, and lines which wanted me to come back in an hour to stand in them then, I did something relatively unusual at an anime convention: I watched anime. Indeed, that's the lure of a con like this for me, a chance to sample more series. Good costumes are a major added bonus. I spent an hour mid-afternoon watching DDR and para para dancing because watching groups of people doing perfectly coordinated steps with almost robotic accuracy is transfixing, at least for short periods of time. Famous voice actors? Panels? RPGs? I was there for the anime. And the masquerade.
Lyrical Nanohana: I caught the last episode of the 2 or 3 being shown; fairly generic magical girl anime.
Magical Canan: Slightly less generic shoujo anime. There are a few interesting things to the premise - namely, the way the creature transforms when the girl does; I really couldn't tell from the first few episodes how strong the plot arc might be though.
Rozen Maiden: More interesting than Magical Canan, but less appealing to me. It's about every day kids and animate dolls with a mysterious - and ancient - past. Cute, but not endearingly so. Still, the snob doll had neat hair.
Tsubasa Chronicles: Huge cast of characters! Enormous elaborately-constructed multi-world saga! Earth-shaking consequences! Pretty outfits! Amusing crossovers with other CLAMP properties! Suspenseful episode endings! And I'm deeply intrigued. I'd love to see more.
My Hime: Intriguing, even more for the complex human relationships than the plot. Honestly, I'm not sure I care about the nasty things that the magical powers will lead these girls into - but I do care about their dark pasts and the developments of their current friendships and potential relationships.
The masquerade was in a smaller venue this year than last, a good thing really, given how attending a masquerade in person is all about being able to actually see the costumes. The masquerade registration table gave out a limited number of wristbands to help with crowd control in advance, one of which I secured before they ran out early on Saturday afternoon. Also, the show was being broadcast within the hotel. I showed up an hour and a half before scheduled starting time and ended up helping to form the beginnings of the line. (Who needs dinner? I had an enormous lunch, knowing I'd need to overcompensate.)
A cosplayer stopped to ask Don, my conversationalist of that moment, where the line was, because of his badge. The cosplayer proved delightful company for the evening, feeding me MnMs and filling in my copious ignorance as to which games and shows many of the performers were recreating. And she was a good cosplayer, with properly hemmed and detailed garments, one who cared deeply when other cosplayers wore bright pink tennis shoes with otherwise well-coordinated outfits. Conveniently, she was cosplaying a character from the Tsubasa Chronicles (Princess Tomoyo) - just-in-time knowledge acquisition on my part. Thank you for the help and company, Bonnie, wherever you are!
The short story of the two of us obtaining seats is that we ended up in the second row center. (A coup! And the second time in as many years I've done that well at AN's masquerade!) The improv troupe pre-show was a very good idea: funny, distracting, competent. Sadly, it had to run for an hour and even then the masquerade wasn't ready to begin. Entirely too typical of large masquerades with complex logistics.
There were 83 entries, minus the ten or so which dropped out along the way. It ran expeditiously, with skits sharply curtailed, and managed to end on time despite the late beginning! There was more affection than fighting on stage, numerous dance numbers, a gorgeous Queen of Spades costume (yellow, don't know from what series), a phenomenally acrobatic group, lots and lots and lots of Final Fantasy groups, a Live Action Sailor Moon group, a really spiffy chocobo, and, to my delight, an Utena-Wicked (the musical) crossover musical number. Just to name a few of the many entries.