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AICon 2011 Summary (Part 2 of 3)


Us with our winning artworksAlrighty, so now that we've had time to absorb/recover, here's a more detailed rundown on the convention as we saw it. I'm going to follow up with a third part which has (what I hope will be) some constructive feedback on some more specific points.

WARNING: Wall Of Text Ahead.

This isn't the convention you're looking forThis is a pretty long blog post. I recommend only reading it if a) you were there and want to share in someone else's memory of the event, b) you're stalking us and want to know every detail about what we get up to, c) you're specifically interested in conventions/events/etc. and want to read my comments on this one, or d) you like anime stuff enough to sit through my waffling.

tl;dr: It was good, we had fun. I made some funnies, and we came home with a bounty of loot.

I totally understand if anybody wants to just scroll through and look at the photos or click on the links without reading <3


Hunter GirlThere were a lot of great people that we bumped into, including old friends that mim and I both knew before we met each other, other artists, and some girl dressed as a Hunter from Left 4 Dead, that mim and I both failed dismally at making conversation with (we're capable of saying more than asking the same questions two days in a row and answering ourselves with "Ah, that's right, you told us yesterday," honest).

I also got to talk photography with a few fellow camera wielding persons, and fondle an EOS 600D (still not sure if it's where I want to go camera wise - it doesn't have some of the things I really like about the SX10IS).

There was also a member of the 501st Legion loitering around in some very spiffy armour along with another Stormtrooper who was volunteering for the efent. I took a photo of one guy and got photographed by another. They both seemed really nice :)

Some artwork we foundOne other thing: we found this piece (click for larger view) of at in the artwork area that wasn't signed or dated. Mim thought it was too good to let go, so we grabbed it as the conference was ending. If you drew this, we totally love you. Send us your address and we'll return it to you ^_^

Our Stuff

Ouran CinderellaOur two main submissions for the art competition were The Wallflower Of Oz (winner of Best Themed Artwork) and Ouran Cinderella. These were both digital and represented a pretty big effort. Mim's Inkscape-fu has gone through the roof over the past couple of weeks.

Over the weekend, we drew a bunch pictures: mim did another version of the Lof Balloon (this time with a shameless plug for our website), Floating Girl, Choose Happy Fruit (winner of Best [Made On The] Weekend Artwork); and I drew some Flying Peas and Sunset Rocks (neither of which I submitted).

Floating GirlAll up, we both came home with a gold medal, which was totally unexpected. Mim says she knew that The Wallflower Of Oz would pick up something, but even after looking at all the other Best Themed submissions, I wasn't so sure. Mim was suffering the ambivalence that goes with having your least-effort work win over your most-effort work. We were both pretty pleased to see something a bit more out-of-the-ordinary take home Best Weekend.

Mim and I drawing. Photo courtesy of Crimotaku.For those interested, our loot consisted of a $50 Madman voucher and a set of Faber Castell manga pens for Best Themed, and a 12 pack of Copic Caio markers. More win for mim since I don't use pens much, but still pretty awesome.

I took a few photos of some of the cosplay stuff and the other competing artwork. You can see them on my Flickr account. Don't forget to check out the other art submissions! Start here and go through the next eight photos.


Ezio The KidThe cosplay competition was interesting. I haven't really taken in much of this sort of thing before, but I can see that there is a really fascinating spectrum that ranges along one dimension from people who just want to have a go, through to those who are ferverently passionate about it. Along a second axis we have individuals who dress up as a character they like being polar opposites to role players, whilst there a third facet covers the Costume Construction Artisans and the That Item In My Wardrobe Looks Pretty Close crowd. That the judges managed to avoid favouring any particular demographic was astounding (even with the assorted categories).

Nobodies worth mentioningI have photos of all of the cosplay competition entries, that are browsable and I'm assuming that the winners will be announced on the AICon site, so I won't cover everyting or even the winners, but there were a few that stood out to us (note: my anime knowledge is limited, so don't expect me to identify them all correctly): the young fellow playing the often mispronounced Ezio, the Katamari dude, the lass playing a darker portrayal of Alice (from a computer game called American McGee's Alice), this seemingly in character girl who gave a lot of energy, these two fellows who played some things I know nothing about called nobodies, and the two ladies playing some characters from an anime called Full Metal Alchemist that I've only seen the first episode of.

Energy, excitement and canastas!The only other highlight of the cosplay competition for me was when a lass walked on in a wedding dress and I asked the guy in front of me if it was a Billy Idol cosplay, which caused everyone around us to laugh uncontrollably for the next few minutes. 

Tentacles and Mechs

Another event that we blundered into was a panel/quiz show rip off. We caught the last half, but it was clear to that the teams were unbalanced, and the audience was unhappy with their lack of proficiency, but not quite as unhappy as the host was with the audience's butting in.

Audience + pikachuAudience participants who were getting questions right were given badges as prizes, which was causing a lot of people at the back who weren't getting spotted from the stage some frustration. Mim says she overheard a girl standing, waving her arms and shouting "If somebody doesn't start listening to me, I'm going to snap some necks!" Eventually she got herself a badge ^_^

After the audience shouted out an answer that one of the teams couldn't answer, the host said that the next premature answer from the audience would result in being kicked out of the leaderboard. The following question was "What does Trogdor do to villages?" Before he'd finished saying "villages", I shouted as loud as I could (from the back of the theatre), "BURNINATE!!!"
"That's it! You're all disqualified!"
"And the countryside... and peasants..."

It's Alice, Jim, but not as we know her.I'm happy to receive any hate mail from other members of the audience for getting us disqualified.

Dispite the low scores, it seemed like a Good Time was Had By All, even the grumpy people who ended up getting badges - or at least I assume they did as I didn't see any broken necks.


Every attendee received a snazzy convention bag stuffed with a few flyers, a programme booklet and two ancient comics. Mim got a 1990 Batman: Ledgends of the Dark Night (B:LotDN) and some bizarre Rolling Stones album companion for Voodoo Lounge, whilst I got a 1991 reprint of X-Men 1 and a 1989 B:LotDN. Much to my envy, a friend of mine found G.I. Joe vs TRANSFORMERS in his bag.

Unfortunately this didn't make us flash or allow us to do backflipsSauntering through the Traders Hall, we found representatives from bigger places like Madman and Alternate Worlds, as well as local people like Artery and Cassandra James, and little independent tables like Chancake (which mim loved ^_^ ).

As far as purchases went, mim got a large Mario star, a manga book, a Clamp artbook, some anime conventions magazine, two keychains (from Chancake) and a Deathnote DVD, a couple of of Copic markers to replace two that ran out whilst she was drawing, an A3 bleedless art pad, and a bucket of chips. I managed to refrain from buying anything.

Opening/Closing Ceremony

Me with my winning artwork. Photo courtesy of CrimotakuThe opening and closing ceremonies bookended the convention with a nice bit of theatre which suggested that the entire convention took place within the unconcious mind of Aiko, one of AICon's two mascots. Aiko had fallen under some spell and passed into the type of deep coma known as a McGuffin. Aiko's twin brother Ichiro was transported into her mind to set about freeing her spirit. Or something.

Our friend Natalie cosplaying as someone I didn't recognise.In the closing ceremony, it was revealed that Aiko's nefarious actions (actions which were News To Me) were caused by some demonic spirit within her that was banished using the force of a thousand paper cranes made by convention attendees (presumably the ones that attended the origami workshop). At that point, a narrator said "It's over," and then it wasn't over and I started to lose the thread of what was going on, and then it was time for the convener to preside over the final Award Giving Out Part. After 6 years of being involved with and 3 years of being in charge of AICon, Blah (as he's known) was stepping down to do Other Things (which I can relate to - after only 18 months of LCA, I was totally ready to have an Epic Rest).

Guy be rollinAs a parting gift, many of the traders and I think some of the volunteers had pitched in to give Blah a box-o-stuff, which he dutifully showed to the attendees. The box included a large number of badges, which had him muttering, "Badges, badges, badges, badges, badges," at which point I called out, "Mushroom! Mushroom!" Mim tells me I may have uttered too many of the funnies, but that one got a good laugh, so I'm happy.

Whilst the awards were being handed out, some additional prizes were tossed down to someone after they're returned to the seating, and mim got hit in the head with a kirby.

That was about all I remember. We drove the long drive home, uploaded some photos and then fell asleep. Totally worth it ^_^

Note: there are a few photos by the Stormtrooper guy I mentioned earlier that I used in this blog post. Totally check out his Flickr  account for more/better pics of AICon.

Update: Part 3 is now live. You can also read part 1 if you haven't already.

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Date Posted:
 8th March 2011
 2 times
 Aicon(23), Competition(3), Convention(19)