Anime Punch 2011

Another month, Another awesome con. Anime Punch 2011 “Armageddicon” (Columbus, OH) was far better then expected. I’d been told Anime Punch was somewhat like Matsuricon only better, but in my opinion it easily rivals Ohayocon. I’ll try to summarize and review the con as I go along.

Day-By-Day
Thursday
So on Thursday I finished the final packing of my bags and headed out to catch the bus over to Ryo’s. I actually almost didn’t make it thanks to three bags heavily loaded down with Dr. Pepper, Red Bull and other con supplies. Thanks to my water bottle however, I made it there around 4pm-ish.

Emi, Ryo and Kyra were already there and after a game of Yu-Gi-Oh Cards between Emi and Kyra, Kyra and I went down to get some get some cash from the ATM. After we got back she started working on her Yusei Wig. Using strips of a yellow shirt didn’t quite do the trick for the yellow lightning bolts in the hair though, so I went with her down to Staples and bought her a couple sheets of yellow duct tape sheets which looked to do the trick. The walks were actually quite nice, since usually I don’t have anyone to walk with.

Then we wandered over to the park nearby and randomly threw rocks at a poor, innocent sundial. After we stopped torturing the park furniture we headed back and were generally random until Nikki arrived. After we helped get her stuff in, the crew worked on Kyra’s wig for a bit before heading to sleep at about midnight.

Friday
After waking up at around 7:30am, I relaxed while the rest of the crew slowly woke up and started to get ready. (Reminds me again why I love simply cosplays, It takes me all of 3 minutes to get changed!)

I think we got to the con about 9am and headed upstairs to Con Registration. We actually got there before they were finished setting up reg, but after maybe 20 minutes they opened it up and slowly worked through the line. Strangely, pre-reg actually went a tad slower then reg, but I think that’s because they had to hunt through stacks of pre-printed badges which took a tad longer.

On a side note, the badges all had RFID tags which was a pretty cool idea. They used them to track attendance and so forth. Larger cons could really take a cue from this and do something similar.

Most of the day we wondered, running into people we’d seen before and talking to random people. I spent most of the time with Kyra with some time spent roaming with Nikki and Ryo when Kyra and Emi went off to do random wondering on their own.

To be honest, most of the day was spent like this. Since it’s a smaller con, it’s really easy to get through halls, even when it’s rather crowded, and there was no lack of con-goers. It felt really just big enough to be fun, while still small so that you see the same people enough times to get to know them and make new friends.

As a side note, there was awesome music everywhere. They even setup one of the DJ’s in a hallway which is something more cons need to do. Having kick-ass music to walk around too is just totally awesome. The rave also had really great music and the band they had was pretty good from what I heard too.

Oh yes, and I got tackled by Maddie’s friend who was a Hunter from Left 4 Dead. Totally outta the blue Hunter attack. All I could think was “Full Red bull! FULL RED BULL!! NOOO DON’T SPILL IT!!!”.

We did make several runs through the Artists Ally, which was pretty good. I was impressed by most of the stuff and I only thought a couple were really lame, however I suspect others may have liked them better the me, so overall it was one of the best Artists Ally’s I’ve seen.

For the most part, I didn’t really need my badge for Friday. I didn’t actually end up going into a single badge-required event until around 10pm when we were in “Who’s line is it anyway?” or something like that (which really wasn’t all that great) while we waited for our ride back to Ryo’s.

Since I didn’t take notes, I honestly can’t remember anything else for this day. I’m sure that lots more went on, but for the life of me I cannot remember.

Saturday
Ahh, Saturday. While it’d be impossible to top Friday, Saturday was an pretty darn good day. We woke up at probably 10 and piled into Nikki’s car and we were all able to cough up enough cash to pay for parking.

I spent some time looking through the dealers room, which was really nice. It looked like a few vendors could have used a tad more room, but overall I really liked the layout and it was easy to get around, even with my backpack on. There was a good mix of con snacks, card games, clothes, weapons and so forth. It was actually a really great dealers room, and one of the first to make me wish I had more money to spend. There was actually a dealer with a great deal on Yi-Gi-Oh cards, 100 for $5. I got two packs of pretty useful cards.

Surprisingly, that was not the only great Yu-Gi-Oh Card deal of the day, later in the night I found a $9 tin of cards with a good 300-ish cards. This was at “Heroes & Games”, the Convention Center’s game shop. Thanks to Trent being awesome and loaning me some money.

Mostly I spent the day wandering. I did run into Aly and Kida (Real name?) (Who finally realized who I was, Yay!) while having lunch in the food court. Oh yes, and the Pizza there is pretty horrible.

Since Kyra and Nikki entered the Cosplay Competition on Friday, Ryo and I headed off to get in line for the Masquerade. We were actually almost an hour early and, surprisingly, we were let in early to get seats. We actually almost got thrown out when other staff thought we’d been there since the last event, but after Ryo told them what happened we were allowed to stay since we had been in line to begin with.

The Skits were pretty horrid, but I give major props to the groups who did both of them. They were clearly dedicated and with a bit more work they both could have been good. There were only like 10-15 people in the Cosplay Competition and since Kyra (As Marik)and Nikki (As Yusei) entered together, they both won “Best Hair”.

For the rest of the evening I mostly wondered around with Niki/Ryo and Kyra, switching off to the other whenever I got bored. I really think I had far more fun just wondering then doing anything special, which, while pretty typical for me, felt even more special at Anime Punch.

At some point during the day, I got jumped by Maddie’s Hunter friend again and I’m pretty sure she jumped me too. She also was in a dress at one point…and kicked me. Ouch. Some of my friends are more painful to have then others.

Eventually I played a game of Yu-Gi-Oh with one of Trent’s friends (I lost) and then wondered with her up to his Hotel room to see what was up. Just some con drama, but I got a call from Ryo asking if I could come to con reg to take care of Kyra while Nikki and Ryo went to see the Hentai panel. I headed directly over and camped out with Kyra there.

While at con reg, I caught Blake as he was passing and we talked with Trent to figure out what the problems were and so forth, so for the most part everything was totally cool. Kyra got bored after a bit so I told her I’d stay at con reg so she could go into the Rave. She didn’t wanna go but Blake gave her some glow sticks and Trent offered to join her and I stayed at con reg since Kyra’s cell was dead.

That worked well until I got a text from Ryo at about 1:30am. Apparently someone got sick in front of Ryo which really upsets her, and Nikki was super tired. It was down to me to find Emi and Kyra so we could meet them at the car to go home. Two problems: They were both in the rave which is very dark and I had a huge backpack on that would never get let in.

After a few minutes of waiting outside the rave hoping they may come out, I wondered into con ops and asked them to watch my bag for a few minutes so I could find my friends in the rave. Surprisingly, they said yes. Usually cons don’t like to ever deal with that because it’s hard to figure out who’s bag is what and people often forget about their bags. So major props to Anime Punch’s Staff, they’re awesome.

I found Kyra easily in the rave, thankfully she wasn’t very hard to spot. We then had to find Emi. Trent happened to have her number who then texted her to come down to the lobby. She was annoyed at being rushed, but we didn’t have a choice really. We made it to the car and back home in one piece. Everyone was tired as hell and basically fell into bed after maybe 20 minutes.

Sunday
Ryo decided not to go to the con Sunday and Kyra wasn’t allowed to go with me, so I got a ride back to my place for a shower before going down to the con for the last few hours. It was really super dead since Sunday was also Easter and most people had to go to Church and family events. I did get a chance to hangout with Blake and Trent for a few hours before they left and I called for a ride.

On the way out I stopped over at the Convention Center game shop and got a few new trap cards for deck before heading for home. I’m glad I went the last day, even if it was dull. It gave a sense of closure and nicely finished up Anime Punch 2011 for me.

Summary
So if you’re wondering if you should go to Anime Punch 2012, stop wondering. You need to go. It has amazing staff, awesome people and a great location with plenty to do. I think it is easily one of the best cons I’ve been too. If I hadn’t made a couple really close friendships at Ohayocon I would say this is better, as is, it’s still really close and to be honest, I loved being able to move around and see easily with fewer people.

Dedicated to Kai and all my friends who couldn’t make it. We missed you!