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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Natsucon 2012: The Final Day

Today was the third and last day of Natsucon 2012, and I was genuinely saddened to see it end! I was having such a great time, I only wish I had done more. Well, there's always next year. After spending the morning checking out of my hotel room at the Doubletree, it was over to the convention center to see what I could see!

If you have never been to a convention on Sunday morning, let me detail how it looks like in two words: crickets chirping. Seriously, this is the time of the con when the least people all around and the hallways are at their emptiest. They've either gone home and don't plan on coming back for any other panels or events, still sleeping off the previous night's rave, or are jammed in the dealer's room desperate to get a good deal before it's too late. Which isn't to say you can't have fun Sunday morning! Luckily, Natsu had lots of morning programming for con-goers.

So, somehow I ended up at the one event I was pretty sure I'd be missing: the ramen eating contest. Yes, ramen eating contest. Despite the wait in line for it, it was actually worth it. Several rounds of contestants on stage, scarfing up bowls of (what looked to be unseasoned) ramen in sixty seconds. The winner of each round faced off to see who is the new ramen champion. Two of them ate the same number of bowls, ending with a sudden death face-off to see who could eat three bowls of ramen first.

And this is when stuff got messy. It got down between two guys, one the reigning champion from last year and the other a newcomer. Both guys at this point have eaten over ten bowls of ramen. The con goers even had buckets out in case they, you know, returned their noodles to the con. And then, at the very end, as soon as the newcomer finished his third bowl (thus winning), the ex-champion spilled his noodles onto the table, the bucket and his hand. I'm pretty sure it'll be all over YouTube by tomorrow morning. Along with images of the guy with noodles coming out of his nose. Sorry, that was gross. But you gotta give him a hand for holding out so long!

(Also, Sokka was the best ramen eating contest assistant ever. Go Sokka!)

Immediately after the ramen eating contest came the stage show featuring Samurai Dan and Jillian; funnily enough, despite them often being guests at both Kawakon and Natsucon, this was the first time I'd been able to see them perform their craft. And it was a blast! They were clearly knowledgeable about their swordwork and their personalities are infectiously upbeat. Plus, their banter was hilarious. They were even cool about interacting with the audience. Note to self: go to more panels and events run by Dan and Jillian! And buy their DVDs, eventually.

After this was the panel aptly named How Do Skit? (A Guide To Convention Skits), which did exactly what it says on the tin. It was also run by the same group who did the Avatar exhibition skit during the masquerade, so it was run by experts in the field. I actually came out of it seriously considering putting together a skit group, although I doubt anime cons are the best place to run Doctor Who skits (which would be my specialty). They included a ton of good tips including some very pertinent for people who cosplay on stage for the masquerade. I wish their power point was available online.

Somehow, after this panel I stumbled into the cosplay swimsuit contest which was . . . interesting. A lot of great costumes, don't get me wrong, and the Nerdfit Network did a great job hosting it. Let's just say this event can only be explained through photos, which will be provided tomorrow! Not from my camera, though; I was in a terrible place for shooting photos and the few I took were terrible. Thank goodness several other people were taking shots too; this blog would be sorely lacking if I didn't eventually provide pictures of swimsuit Sumomo and the Red Lantern.

Next up: AMV Rerun, where they reran the AMV contest I missed Friday. There were a lot of good videos. That's all I'm gonna say, because I don't want to give any hints about what will be posted tomorrow, hem hem.

And with that followed closing ceremonies, in which everybody said goodbye, the winners of the AMV contest were shown, free swag was thrown into the crowd, and it all ended with a rousing singalong to "We Are The Champions". All in all, a pretty bombastic closing ceremonies, the kind you walk out of feeling happy that it happened but kinda frustrated that it had to end. At the very least, Natsu staff said they would be putting up pre-reg rates for Natsucon 2013 much sooner than before, and that Micah might be a guest again next year (which would be awesome as I adore him and his hilarious ringtone for Funimation).

Tomorrow, I'll put up my 'wrap-up' post about Natsucon 2012, with my thoughts and ideas on how the convention went, what went well, and what didn't do so good overall. Oh, and plenty of photos and videos to satisfy the folks who didn't go. Do you want to see video of me embarrassing myself on a dance pad to Miku Hatsune's music? Keep it tuned to this blog!