My "retirement" from conventions lasted all of one week as I got control of my mind again, and I was off to State College for Setsucon. Now whereas Columbus, Ohio is someplace I'd never go except for a convention (or maybe a concert...), I've been to State College, PA quite a few times before, back when Penn State had a football program. (Curse you, Mark Emmert. THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!) So I was rather familiar with the ride, but not the con.
After an icy ride to State College, I tried putting together my China cosplay. The wig was a pain in the butt. I got it to work early on, but it kept falling off, and every time I'd fix it, the hair would get more messed up. The wig just has too much hair, maybe if I cut off a bunch of it, it'll stay on my head and look right. In addition, the Shenron dragon I bought (to represent China's boss) was draped around my shoulders, something I thought would work. Nope, it too kept falling off. Given that I was also holding a giant Hello Kitty (Shinatty-chan) and my trusty Haruhi bag (also on life support), I sometimes looked like a comical klutz. Once, having my bag fall off. Twice, having my dragon fall off.
I saw a cosplayer dressed as Esther, Queen of Albion, and while the cosplay was excellent, my photo was anything but. I should have asked for multiple pictures, but keep in mind I had just arrived at the con and was still in "nervous mode." (This happens at every con until I meet people I know.)
So I went to the Pokemon panel, which was basically talking about the Penn State Pokemon Society. It would be a lot more exciting if I was a student at State College, because there are lots of fun things they do. Being an outsider, it's a little difficult to get into. They asked some Pokemon trivia questions, which amazingly I knew a few answers to.
I later went to the Host Auction, where they auctioned off cosplayers, and later Todd Haberkorn, who went for $510. (Charity or no charity, you'd better be getting more than an autograph and a "Hi" for that amount!) A couple of those girls were in pretty good cosplays that I got awful pictures of, since my iPhone 3G is on life support.
Artists' Alley was all right, I didn't buy anything, but I usually don't (I like official stuff). The dealers' room had no DVDs, which was disappointing - I like to buy DVDs shipping-free at cons, and I may purchase something on a whim instead of being frugal as usual. There were a bunch of Madoka shirts, but they were practically all "girls" shirts, meaning they'd look funny on me. A shame, because I would have bought all of them. (Madoka is a fandom I just decided to like without even watching it. More to come on that, though...) Otherwise, nothing I really wanted to buy, or nothing in my price range.
Also there was a 15-minute long "How Not to Write Fan Fiction" panel. It made me feel better for my short Full Metal Panic panel at Colossalcon last year.
I took a nice nap in my hotel room (all to myself!) and then later returned to hang out with Tekko staff, who, yes, I get along with now. That was probably more fun than any of the actual con activities.
Ask a Nation was at 8 am. Seriously, what is with Ask a Nation always being shafted these days? At Tekko & Colossalcon last year, it was stuck in a tiny room, and people sat on top of each other to watch it. Ohayocon was an anti-Hetalia con and didn't allow Ask a Nation. Then this con puts Ask a Nation at the horrible time of 8 in the morning on a Sunday. I used to hate Ask a Nation in the early days, when people didn't realize that jokes about Hitler and 9/11 and the Japan earthquake weren't funny. But Hetalia fans have matured quickly, and now I enjoy these panels. Anything else would have gotten at most 5 people in the audience, but somehow about 30 people showed up to watch the panel even at that time. I even got to beat up a 2P!America with Shinatty-chan.
Then it was back to sleep for me. If I have my own hotel room, and check-out isn't until noon, why not take advantage of it? Afterward I went to the autographs, not because I needed them, but because I wanted to lament the Packers' loss with fellow fan Cherami Leigh. ("Next year" she says.)
And then... I did something so ridiculous, so weird, so strange you won't believe it. I went to a videos room. Shocking, isn't it? (If you don't get it, it's because video rooms are almost forgotten at cons these days.) Of course, there was good reason: a perfect chance to see Puella Magi Madoka Magica. If I start watching something at home, I can get distracted. But here, I was forced to give my undivided attention to the show.
3 episodes was all it took. Actually maybe it only took one. I was completely sold on the series, finally getting to see what all the hype is about. And yes, the ending is spoiled for me since I went to a panel on it back in 2011 out of curiosity (I didn't expect full-blown spoilers!). But I've never met an anime that wasn't spoiled for me. I may have a full-blown post on the series soon, given that I'm now through episode 8. I just wish I could see the dub; the sub causes a few problems for me in understanding which character is speaking.
So there you have it. A very fun con, and well-worth it. I now realize, I don't have to give up cons and try to be cool. Conventions are where I belong. I can't try to become something I'm not; I should remain who I am. So it's on to Tekkoshocon in April, which has about as much potential as Madoka Kaname.
3 stars out of 4 for the con.