Friday, November 05, 2010

Hello Nurse! (Yaoi-Con, Day One)

Day One Begins

The day begins in the late morning (overslept!) but it's all good since nothing really begins until this evening. I have to admit, I like the pace of this con; it seems the organizers aren't morning people either since everything begins after 12 pm and continues into the wee hours of the morning. I head downstairs to pick up my badge and goodie bag and witness the full swing of a hotel in the throes of a convention.

Its fortunate that Carmen made me pre-register since a very long line greeted me that afternoon, luckily it was for everyone else, pre-reg's scooted through very quickly in another line. Security is tight, I had to present my picture ID and the email of my preregistration, I was then given a wrist bracelet and badge both of which I must have at all times to participate in any part of the convention. They are very serious about security here and take every precaution that no one under the age of 18 somehow slips past.

Day 1 is still very relaxed. No panels, just registration, swap meet, opening ceremonies, bishie(1) bingo and a screening of Rocky Horror Picture show much later in the evening.


Swap Meet Louie

The swap meet is an opportunity for anyone to bring their new or used merchandise/paraphernalia and sell or swap for other things. Most everyone were fans who had various old manga, artbooks, art work and doujinshi(2) for sale, others had merchandise, anime, handmade items and still others were just outright vendors selling incredibly overpriced merchandise. Used merchandise at that. I didn't purchase much but I loved that many of the sellers were dressed up.

A Veritable Who's Who Among the Yaoi fandom

Standing in line, waiting to be seated for Opening Ceremonies was probably a lesson in how the rest of the convention will be run; with everything running behind and the endless waiting for events to begin. In other words, it was a typical convention.

After an extra half hour of waiting, the line finally started to move and we were allowed into the Grand Ballroom to be properly seated. About fifteen minutes later, the festivities began and we were greeted by our Master of Ceremonies (he didn't bother introducing himself) and he launched into a long (somewhat witty) monologue, heavy on puns and innuendos, on the rules and expectations of the convention in addition to an introduction to the guests of honor.

The Grande Dame of Yaoi is Ms. Ayano Yamane. She is responsible for the Viewfinder series, The Crimson Spell, and Ikoku Irokoi Romantan just to name a few of her more popular manga. The room erupted into cheers and a standing ovation when she came out onto the stage (and she damn near tripped on her evening gown). She was very gracious and spoke with the help of her interpreter, it had been widely circulated throughout the convention that she really did not want her picture taken but I managed to snap a couple while she was on stage.

I very much recommend the Viewfinder series, if anything just to see what creative things someone can do with a roll of film.

Another very popular mangaka(3), who was invited to the party was Hinako Takanaga. She is responsible for Little Butterfly, The Tyrant Falls in Love and The Devil's Secret among others.

Two other guests were Ryoutarou Okiayu and Hidenobu Kiuchi who are both very popular voice actors in many mainstream anime series and while I can understand their invitations to the convention from the fandom point of view, it's unclear as to why they might want to come to a yaoi convention, unless it was pure curiosity. Reason being, they've never voiced any yaoi anime other than Gravitation(4).

B-I-N-G-O and bingo was his name-o!

A bishie bingo event occurred and it was basically a transparent attempt to incorportate a male strip tease into the game of bingo. Not that there's anything wrong with that but ummm.... it would have helped if they had bishie's that were worth drooling over (ouch!) and worth spending your money on to disrobe. (Please be advised that this is my own personal, biased opinion and in no way reflects the fact that I'm sure other women found the bishie's provided as being incredibly sexy.) Unfortunatley, photos were not allowed at this particular event, as I expected.

Day One just confirmed my suspicions as to the ultimate nature of conventions, to find like minded persons that share your peculiar obsessions and feel a measure of acceptance (not that there's anything wrong with that!) . Everyone I met was incredibly nice, the best way to meet people was to speak to them while waiting in lines and while I brought my DS and hoped to tag someone in DQIX, it was not to be. Although I found plenty of people in line playing their respective DS's and PSP's. Like I said before, it's always curious to me how different fandoms intersect and there is a large gaming faction within the yaoi fandom.


Footnotes:
(1.) Bishie is short for bishonen which in Japanese means, "beautiful boy".
(2.) Doujinshi is a self-published manga/novels (usually by amateurs but not always) but it usually involves pairings you would never see in the official series. According to Carmen, Doujinshi's are typically better than the series that it's based on and it's almost always entirely sexual in nature.
(3.) Mangaka is a comic artist or cartoonist.
(4.) And Gravitation is hella old.

2 comments:

  1. You know, Sakura-con has a swap meet too. I've only ever heard of it/seen it at anime cons. I wonder if that's something that's unique to that crowd.

    Also, yay strip bingo! lol!

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  2. Actually, Okiayu has been in quite a few big name BL anime (Kizuna, Junjou Romantica, No Money, Sukisho, Mirage of Blaze, Kachou no Koi, Fujimi Orchestra, and Zetsuai, in addition to the aforementioned Gravitation) plus countless BL drama CDs. Kiuchi has done a handful of BL drama CDs.

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