As mentioned in Part 1 of My First Otafest Aurora, it has been a few years since I attended an anime convention in Calgary. There was a lot to see and do. Unfortunately, it was impossible to see everything, so choices had to be made.
Messy Ramune at the Otafest Aurora Maid Cafe
I hooked up with my friends Poohkiez and Krimson Gray to check out the Maid Cafe at around 1:30 p.m. Along the way, we ran into Index, so of course I (as in Misaka) had to have my picture taken with her:
We sat with four people from Medicine Hat. Half of us ordered the Ramune Combo, while the other half ordered the Deluxe:
It was their first time to try Ramune. When I demonstrated how to push the marble in, I made a big mess. Perhaps I shouldn't have demonstrated with so much gusto? I still have to give my camera a deep cleaning! >_<
The desserts were delicious, however. Afterwards, we made crafts. Good times.
Later, Krimson said, "I miss the dance routine from Main but the space wasn't there." He echoed my sentiment when he said: "There should be a rule that they have at least one trap. The cross dressing maid guy just makes any Meido Café feel complete."
THWOMP Hosts 'How Do You Cover Video Game Music?'
THWOMP delved into music nerd land by discussing the evolution of video game music, as well as the process of transforming 8- and 16- bit music into a rock band arrangement. It was fascinating to hear about how the retro game composers had to get creative scoring with only four channels.
In early games, the same track that was used for percussion was also used for sound effects. That explains why the drums cut out once in a while.
Originally, video game music had to be transcribed by ear, pencil and paper. It was a time consuming process. Now, music can be transcribed with the aid of a music emulator.
On the Photo Booth and Wandering Aimlessly
I had to run to the Cosplay Pageant Awards. They were just giving out the Best Group Award when I arrived. The judges commented on how impressed they were that all entrants worked on their costumes. Not a single entry was a ready-made costume. Congrats to all the winners!
Afterwards, I wound up at the Christmas Cosplay Photo Booth. I had a delightful chat with a crossplaying loli. He had a tough time finding his swanky white boots.
There, I also met Lag from Letter Bee:
I was told that "Lag's" sister made the costume in under a month. Putting the bee insignia on the cap was the most time consuming part. Lag gave me a cute letter.
The Otafest Mixer and Mingler (A.K.A. "speed dating") got off to a slow start. The room was packed with much younger folk than I, with no drinks in sight. Hopefully, the drinks weren't too far behind. I, however, decided to keep moving.
Next stop: An Introduction to Ballroom Dancing. That was pretty popular too.
Back to THWOMP for the THWIMP Jam Session. The band took some requests and gave a sampler of group's upcoming CD. The new album will be released in the spring.
I left early to catch "How to Survive Cons", which unfortunately, was cancelled. I asked Gareth Lypka, Otafest Public Relations, about it. Either the notice was posted after I left or the information didn't get to organizers in time. Gareth explained further: "The majority of our panels are run by our fans and this sometimes they bail on us. We are usually pretty on top of making sure the schedule is updated but sometimes there are misses. It's just a part of running a event." He added, "The majority of our panelists are pretty dedicated to their craft and are very reliable."
The Otafest Aurora Gala and Eating in the Dark
Krimson and I stuck around for the Gala and bit Poohkiez good night. We made some new friends over a great discussion about various facets of otaku culture. In the dark. The lighting was extremely dim. Most of my tablemates and I took a photo of our plate to help identify where everything was on the plate.
Perhaps, had the lighting been better, we would have noticed that someone stole our Kiku's entire place setting. It was all sorted out in the end.
Dessert, tea and coffee was served in the lobby while organizers transformed the hall into a dance floor. We wound up chatting more than dancing.
Here is the video from the Otafest Aurora Cosplay Showcase by OTL Productions:
Otafest Aurora - The Verdict
Organization, for the most part, was really good. Two of my companions reported that the on-site registration was "easy". Both Krimson and I pre-registered, so it was really easy for us. My guess is that Del arrived later than the rest of us and got caught in a wave.
I liked how the events were spread out over five floors. That was done to minimize crowding issues. However, my companions and I all noted that the Vendor Room and Artists' Alley were congested throughout the day. We agreed that it would be nice to have larger area for these places in future conventions.
Poohkiez summed it up nicely: "I liked the fact that there were a variety of presentations and things to do, from anime to 'So you want to go to Japan' to the Maid Cafe to the Gala."
Perhaps Del has voiced the sentiments of several otaku: "It would be great if the convention was just a bit longer," she said. "One day conventions are a bit too short and sweet for my taste. If it were longer, it would provide more for the attendees to do and frankly, I believe it would generate more interest in the con overall."
All in all, Otafest Aurora was a great anime convention in Calgary. Short and sweet.