While the entire bottom half (no actually, bottom 1/3 or 1/4) of the Netherlands is dressing up as idiots celebrating Carnaval, I, for the first time in my life, attended a convention without cosplaying. Yes, on the only occasion (well, except Halloween probably) I can walk on the street in cosplay without everybody staring at me, I’m wearing my normal clothes. Why? Well the most important reason is that I didn’t have any inspiration and I didn’t feel like wearing my older outfits. Another one is that I just wanted to enjoy this relatively short convention, the dealer room, the shows and the lectures without worrying about my skirt, fake ears, sore feet, face paint, etc. The result is that I wasn’t as hyped as usual (but maybe that’s also because this is my 7th convention and it’s in my own university building), but attending the convention itself was a much more relaxed experience. I did wear a PeanutButterGamer fan T-shirt though. He’s an awesome youtuber who does game… stuff. Go check him out.
So Tsunacon 2015. This was the 7th edition of Tsunacon. You know what they did? They took all the experience they’ve gathered in the past 6 years and they didn’t use it. The first half of the day wasn’t all that bad though. We came after the crowd, so we didn’t have to stand in line, but we were just in time for the opening of the dealer room. The dealer room is actually the same every year, and a lot of dealers also attend the other Dutch cons, but that’s not bad at all. You get to know the dealers, which ones have the best offers, what you can get and where, so that’s great! My pro-dealer-room-tip #1: When you see something awesome but they still have enough in stock, go check the other dealers first before you buy it! I found a Wind Waker Link Nendroid for €60,-, but I later found another dealer was selling exactly the same thing for €40,- (which I obviously bought).
Another tip: Go check if there’s a Bring and Buy! They basically sell second-hand stuff but most of the time the boxes are still sealed, and it’s so much cheaper than when you’ve bought it new! They also sell stuff in damaged or opened boxes (=even cheaper), without box (=even more cheap) or slightly damaged or easy-to-fix figures (=absolute bargain). I also bought super awesome-looking figures of Eren and Levi from Attack on Titan, and my boyfriend bought 2 Monster Hunter Nendroids and 2 Monster Hunter figures. I’m going to spread the pictures of our loot throughout this post because I don’t have any other pictures…
Because Tsunacon also included a part of the building next to the usual building this year, we were able to sneak into my boyfriend’s office (he works at the university) so we could dump our loot there. It was Sunday, so that part of the building was actually off-limits. I felt such a criminal (I loved it). Anyway, after dumping our loot we attended a panel of American-Japanese voice actress Lisle Wilkerson. I also attended her panel at Abunai, and I absolutely adore her. It’s a funny experience to hear her talk about Japan through an American perspective (you have to pay for extra ketchup at McDonald’s in Japan!), while we are of course looking at her American perspective through a Dutch perspective (well, duh, we’d be happy if ketchup is even included in the menu). Sadly, this is the fist occasion where I noticed that the organization could be better. Lisle probably came over from the US to attend Tsunacon (or am I being to egocentric here?), and the panel was held in a huge lecture room, but there were only, like, 20 people attending. I only came because I already knew who Lisle Wilkerson was because of Abunai, but Tsunacon didn’t promote her attendance at all.
After another round in the dealer room and a quick visit to the game room, we attended the cosplay competition. That… was not good for my mood. Because it was held in a lecture room, and not an actual theater, they were struggling with the lights a bit. You know what they did eventually? They turned off the lights above the stage and turned on the lights above the audience. I was staring at the dark corner the entire time. The announcers couldn’t possibly be more disinterested and they had trouble pronouncing literally everything. I get that you don’t know how to pronounce every Japanese name, but they even had trouble with simple English names. Before I go on, I want to say that I respect anyone who makes their cosplay themselves. It requires skill, patience, time, and those are all things I do not have. But when I go to a contest, I want to see quality. There were two contestants that didn’t even match their hair to their character (which is okay if you’re just casually cosplaying, but not when you’re entering a freaking contest!), one costume was just plain simple (a shirt and dungarees), and the majority of the acts were just bad (this is actually something I notice at a lot of cosplay contests/fashion shows). I have 10 years worth of acting experience, so it may be a bit unfair for me to say this, but when you stand in front of an audience, look into the audience, don’t turn your back at the audience (unless you’re showing off the back of your costume of course), use your entire body, make big gestures, radiate energy! Most of the contestants were just awkwardly moving at the music while staring at the ground or the ceiling, showing more of their side and the back than the front. They didn’t introduce the judges to us, so I kinda have the idea that they were just random people of the organization, and I absolutely did not agree with the winners. The only contestant I was really impressed with got an ‘honorable mention’. Again, I do respect people who make their cosplay themselves, but I blame to organization for not putting any effort in ensuring quality in this contest.
The only reason I sat through the cosplay competition is because the AMV (Anime Music Video) competition was afterwards. I love good AMV’s! I got introduced to so may good anime trough AMV competitions, and the previous years were good, so I was looking forward to this. But you guessed it, it was an ‘anyone can enter’ contest again. There were video’s with blurred subtitles (and even that failed sometimes), multiple video’s were so pixelated I could almost count the pixels, one used material ripped from Youtube, scenes were so context dependent that no-one could understand them unless you knew the anime… This wasn’t fun to watch! I once went to an AMV-101 kind of thing, and there are a few basic rules for making a good AMV: use raws (NO SUBTITLES), make sure they’re HD (unless your material is from before the HD-era), make sure that anyone gets what your video is about. This is kinda common sense right? But Tsunacon didn’t even apply the first two rules as minimum requirements! And there were 2,5 hours worth of video’s! That’s too long! They also told us that they wouldn’t be able to announce the winner in the end, because then it would be closing time. The winner would get his prize send to his house afterwards. They obviously had enough contestants, why didn’t they make a selection? And you know what you can do with AMV’s? Judge them beforehand! And you know who the judges were? The contestants themselves! Just like the Eurovision Song Festival. Because there is absolutely no nepotism (I googled that word) there. Oh wait… On top of that, all the video’s were mashed behind each other on one huuuge video, and they gave no information on which anime was used as source material, which song was used or who the creator was. I left the room after 10 video’s. It just felt like the organization didn’t put any effort in this.
So I was very disappointed in this year’s Tsunacon. I’m not even sure if I want to attend next year. On the other hand, it’s too close to ignore (it’s in my city) and the dealer room is awesome. Let’s just say I’m happy I didn’t cosplay.