< Piro >
Sunday - May 5, 2002
Gyah. I should know better than to go to cons. For some reason, whenever i leave the state for any length of time, all hell breaks loose and i spend weeks cleaning up the mess. My trip to Anime Central was no exception.
I still can't believe that Anime Central was only two weekends ago. It feels like it was months ago. First, i returned home to find my Eudora in-box was corrupted, and after making the mistake of saying 'yes' to the 'rebuild indexes' prompt, i lost 15,000 emails. Why in god's name did i have 15,000 emails in my In-box? Mainly because i never did sit down and work out a way to properly handle all the email i get as a result of MT. I read it as it comes in, and god help me if i want to answer anything a few days later - it was almost impossible to find anything.
There is some good that comes from loosing all this email (basically, it's all the non-spam emails i've received since MT started a year and a half ago) I decided that i needed to find better ways of dealing with my email, and better ways of filtering spam and virus ridden emails (btw, word to everyone out there, PLEASE SCAN FOR VIRUSES... i literally get 50 emails with the Klez virus attached PER DAY.). I've also developed a system for marking emails that i want to answer, priorities, flames and beatdownmails, etc. I simply cannot answer most emails, but i am going to try harder to answer emails that i want to answer.
Speaking of viruses, the next thing i returned to was a rather nasty virus infestation at the office that came in through my personal email account (yes, my Megatokyo email). We finally got on top of it, but it just added a truckload of stress that i didn't need last week.
Then, it was a whole host of other Megatokyo related things that needed to be done. There's a lot of stuff going on in the background, above and beyond just getting the comic out three times a week. Yes, the past two weeks were screwed up. This happens when you loose momentum. I know some people still have a problem with me trying hard to keep the 3 per week schedule - well, tough. you know damn well that you will at LEAST get two good comics per week, and on good weeks there will be a third comic. It's rare to completely miss a comic, but it happens. Let me explain real quick why 3 per week is preferable to 2 per week one last time so maybe all of you will finally 'get it'.
When it comes to drawing and storytelling, momentum is the key. When I am on a roll, it's actually EASIER to roll from comic to comic. What kills you are the breaks in between, where you get out of your groove. I tried 2 per week for a while, but the gaps between comics were too great, it was actually HARDER. 3 per week is a good schedule for me. What gets me are all the extra things that i do in the background. Honestly though, if you've been reading MT for any length of time, you've got to be used to this by now. Also, i think it shows people that the creative process isn't perfect. People think that THEY can't create anything because what they see on TV or in print is always there and flawless. Sure, with lots of lead time, money, and it being your main job, thats very possible. Most of us don't have that luxury, so perhaps my way of doing things isn't so bad? :)
ok, enough whining. I need a little electronic 'whine meter' that can sit on my computer (maybe it can be shaped like seraphim sitting on the monitor, showing me her laptop which has a readout that says '75% annoying - stop whining before i smack you." Gosh, that'd be cool.
I had an absolute blast at Anime Central, as did the rest of the Megatokyo crew who came. I didn't get there till Friday afternoon, but once i had a chance to hook up with everyone, it was a lot of fun. We managed to get an art table to sit at, and for once i think i was able to actually draw something more than just a scribble for most people who came by (sharpie marker is not really my favorite medium). On friday we came across the first Megatokyo cosplayers...
now, before i serve up some pics and whatnot, i need to pause for a second here. I don't think i can describe how WEIRD it is to see people dress up as characters that you created. Even here, a year later, i found myself blinking and looking around with a funny feeling in my gut. My first experience with this was last year when i went to Anime Central - i was told that there was a girl running around in a burgundy version of Kimiko's idol outfit.. Sure enough, there was (i come to find out a year later that a friend over on the Fredart Forums knows her - small world ^^;;) I remember drawing this sketch while sitting on the couch scribbling out ideas for this webcomic rod and i were working on. It's just too spooky.
At Otakon 2001, i think i was more prepared for the idea of MT cosplayers, but even so, it's just... a WEIRD feeling to see people dressed up as you characters. For instance, at otakon, the one's that i did catch was this gal dressed up as Pretty Pretty Piromi (from this horrid sketch i did) - she looks a hella lot better than the sketch, and then there was this darkly spooky cute Miho cosplayer - she even had red contacts in her eyes... ^^;;;
At Anime Central, there was a whole crew of MT cosplayers - and the most amusing thing about them is that they are Asmodeus's friends from school... they knew Asmo was involved with MT, but weren't aware that he was the 'asmodeus' character until he started helping them with thier oufits ^^;; I knew they were going to be there, and on friday i got a chance to meet Piro and Seraphim ^^;;; That's another thing... cosplaying MT characters is cool, but when someone is cosplaying as your girlfriend... that's really kinda spooky ^_^ i gotta tell you tho, she pulled it off quite well. Looks disturbingly LIKE seraphim. ^^;;;;oh, and there was this guy cosplaying as Dom, who oddly enough looks more like Dom than Dom does. ^_^
Oh, and i understand that there was a Largo and Miho cosplayer... but they got into a car accident on the way to Acen, and couldn't make it (no one was hurt, just the car ^^;;)... that somehow seems so... prophetic, somehow... ^^;;
Saturday was the real work day for us. First there was the Iron Guest competition against the lovely Lorraine Reyes McLees, which i lost (no surprises there ^_^) - oh, Ukyo has put together some of his pics from the con here - he's much more organized that i am). After that, we went to visit Akamatsu Ken's panel and hear from the great Love Hina artist himself. I had made a little gift art for Akamatsu-san, which i carried around in hopes of giving it to him. I finally was able to later that day, but we were both so busy that we didn't have a chance to talk. More on that later, though...
Its right after the iron guest that i made a small mistake. Issac asked me if i could help judge the cosplay masquerade later that night. Like a doofus, i said 'sure!'. what i didn't realize was that this would goof me up later that evening.
after relaxing for a bit in the guest suite, we finally headed on down to the do the Megatokyo panel which was at 4:45 to 6:30. First off, the line to get into the panel was huge... mind numbingly huge. People described it as being bigger than even what i saw. When i got into the room, my heart fell... i had assumed we were getting both programming rooms, but what i saw was that the room had been divided and we had only a room for 200 people - and there were way way way more than that outside. Now, to be fair to the con staff, we had a room for 30 people last year, and they figured that a room for 200 would be plenty... but it wasn't. I was pretty upset about this, and i couldn't figure out what to do. I had committed to the cosplay judging, and i had to go, but i insisted on having a second panel after that just in case any of those people in line would be willing to come back later. I don't think its fair or right that anyone who gave us the honor of coming to see us couldn't - no matter what ever happens with mt's popularity, i don't ever want people shut out. My many thanks to everyone who came back to the second panel (which included the MT cosplayers, who didn't make it in the first time :(
The first panel went pretty well, i think we were sort of entertaining (there are times i just want to beat dom, asmodeus, and ukyo up with a baseball bat, and there were times that evening... ^^;; I think Crowqueen felt the same way. :) There was even an underwear signing request... gyah, i felt bad for refusing, she looked dejected... but i have to keep my conscience in mind, you understand. ^^;;;
after the panel, i helped judge the cosplay event... now, honestly, i think that everyone, and i mean EVERY one of the cosplayers that got up there and performed their skits on stage deserved a prize. It takes a brave person to do that, and i have to say i enjoyed watching all of it.
I was, of course, late for the second panel... to my chagrin, i discovered that Dom, Asmodeus and Ukyo had been, er... entertaining the crowd... while waiting for me. I do humbly apologize for this, and I will be bringing a liberal supply of duct tape to the next con to prevent any further... incidents...
At least the MT cosplayers were able to get to the second MT panel ^^;;; I've ruined some of these panels by posing with them (i don't look like piro at all, tho i do have the whole 'dork' thing down well ^^;;).Here's the cast - Junpei, the Megagamers boss, Piro, Seraphim, Ping and Dom., as well as them posing here and here, and then me ruining the picture here. Here Ping beats up on Junpei ^_^, and a better shot of ping-chan.
Needless to say, i've never ceased to be impressed or not honored by people dressing up as MT characters. People seem to have fun doing it, and that really, is all that matters. :) Thanks to all of you, and if i missed anyone, please send me some picks, i'd love to see em.
Ok, this is getting long (what else is new) i should finish my con report. As i said earlier, I didn't have a chance to talk to Akamatsu-san, the guest of honor and amazingly talented creator of Love Hina, on saturday. However, on Sunday, thanks to Seizo-san, who was working as Akamatsu's translator, myself and the MT crew were invited to join Akamatsu-san and his wife for some Chicago style pizza at a restaurant near the hotel. I have to say that Akamatsu-san and his wife were incredibly nice, and were very receptive to talking with us (and trying to work their way thru a chicago deep dish ^_^). Many thanks to both Seizo and Asmodeus for their translation efforts. I have to admit that i was so damn nervous at the lunch that i didn't eat much, and any Japanese comprehension went out the window. Akamatsu-san had indeed checked out Megatokyo before coming to the con, and i was very grateful for the chance to talk with him about MT and to tell him about the nature of the market for anime, manga and comics here in the states.
after that, i headed home. I have to say i was pretty thoughtful on the drive home. It's been a very weird year and a half since Megatokyo started. Sometimes i dont know what to think. I've just been enjoying the ride, with all its trials and tribulations. Things do indeed change little by little, but its better that way... it makes it more surprising when you suddenly register just how much they HAVE changed over time...
I'd like to give thanks to Issac, Tony and Ryan as well as the rest of the Anime Central crew for all their help and for running a great con. You guys really made me feel welcome as a guest, and I hope i am able to come again next year. Keep up the good work. Props to our silent MT crewmember Crowqueen for proving that not everyone involved with MT is a freak :P, and hi to Cortana, Cookie, Pingchan, Shinji, cddikers, Mike, Rob and everyone else i missed or didn't get a chance to talk to at the con. That's the trouble with cons - too many friends around ^_^