First thing on Friday morning, I picked up my press badge, with at least two staff members in the press/industry office recognizing my costume (I was cosplaying Princess Jupiter, anime style). Both of them said they were fans of Sailor Moon, and one of them was a big fan of Kotono Mitsuishi in both Sailor Moon and Evangelion. After this cheerful start to the day, I was off to the events!
(my badge is to the left, it features last year's winning entry for the mascot contest)
The first event of the convention I attended was the opening ceremonies. As it started late due to technical issues, the crowd enthusiastically cheered the mic check when things were up and running.
The event started with an announcement that ANCEA joined Seattle's Japan relief and the representative said over $146,000 was raised from their website, with most referral visits originating from Sakura Con's website. The organization also received assistance from key volunteers who work as Sakura Con staff (note: Sakura Con is fan-run). At this time, it was announced that various exhibitors as well as guests would be donating funds to the Red Cross, often using proceeds from the sale of specific items. Attendees could also make a paper crane in one of the craft rooms, and a dollar would be donated per finished crane.
Things soon became more exciting with a demonstration by the Seattle Wushuu Center! This demonstration of wushu (which looks like a mix of gymnastics, dance, and martial arts) was performed by six individuals and impressed the crowd.
Next up was the Consul General of Japan, in costume! He joked that his (admittedly heavy) historic costume was "what he would have worn to work 400 years ago." Congoers could have a chance to try on his armor during the convention, with more details at his booth in the exhibitors' hall. In his closing statements, he asked the crowd to be ambassadors for Japan and try to encourage correct pronunciation of words such as "samurai" and "karaoke." He finished by having the crowd loudly shout "Ganbare Nippon!"
Following the Consul General of Japan was the Evergreen Glee Club performance of various anime songs. Their website indicates that they started with Uchusenkan Yamato and Tetsuwan Atomu (songs I'm not particularly familiar with). Next, I almost immediately recognized "Stroll" (or "Hey, Let's Go") from My Neighbour Totoro. The song that followed also sounded like it was from a Studio Ghibli film, but I couldn't identify it at the time.
In the middle of the opening ceremonies, the MC briefly went over rules and announcements. This seemed like particularly good timing, since the crowd had grown from the very beginning. This lead to the introductory video that featured footage of last year's events and photos of this year's guests (the latter resulted in cheers from the crowd as fan favourites were displayed). The video closed with the words: "Let's do our best, Japan" in Japanese and English.
To conclude, the MC listed the wide variety of guests that attendees would enjoy seeing over the course of the convention. The crowd was buzzing with excitement for the events to come, a great start to the weekend!
(photo at right belongs to SailorRhapsody. I'm the cosplayer on the left)
Still to come: industry panels, guest interviews and FAQs, guest panels, a recap of the Sailor Moon panel I hosted on behalf of Moon Chase, and more.