Anime Central 2012 Goodies

Recently,  I attended an anime convention dubbed Anime Central (ACEN).  I used to be a regular attendee, but decided to forgo it for the past few years because I started finding more gripes with the convention than actual entertainment.  Anyway, after five years,  I returned to the craziness that is ACEN and can honestly say I had a pretty good time.

Programming:  Truth be told, I didn’t attend any panel programs this ACEN.  Friday had no programs that looked remotely interesting to me.  (Saturday and Sunday were another matter, but alas, I wasn’t there for those events!)  With nothing to talk about regarding the programming,  why not jump to the main reason I attend conventions– Cosplayers, the Dealers Hall, and the Artist Alley.

Our dolls watching cosplayers from the restaurant window, while we ate lunch.

Cosplayers:  As expected, cosplayers came out in droves to ACEN. Either I’m really out of the loop regarding the popular anime’s of today or a lot more people went pop culture themed.  Personally, I don’t have a problem with that– it helped me recognize them easier!  There were a ton of people dressed as ‘the Doctor’ from Doctor Who.  Surprisingly, there were also at least 40 people dressed as My Little Pony characters.  It surprised me mainly (pun intended!) because I had never really seen anyone cosplay as an animal character before.  The most unique costumes I saw came from a group of attendees dressed as ramen noodles.  (Photos will be posted in another post!)

Dealers Hall/Artist Alley:  I saw some definite changes in the Dealers Hall since my last trek to ACEN.  This year brought along many fantastic ‘steampunk’ themed booth, as well as your typical Japanese figure vendors.  Also along for the ACEN ride, were wig makers and (dare I say?) ball jointed doll vendors, including Mint on Card!  (For those outside of the BJD realm, Mint on Card is a BJD store located in Michigan.)  Mint on Card was awesome enough to bring wigs, shoes, clothing, and even some dolls.  I would have loved to walk home with a 60 cm male doll, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year budget wise.

I found the dealers with ‘traditional’ merchandise (ie: figures, keychains, manga) to be a bit redundant, but with everything that happened to Japan in recent years, I’m sure it hasn’t been easy for US dealers to come across large amounts of stock.  Shockingly, I didn’t see any Pinky ST figures or Re-Ment.  One booth had Re-Ment phone fobs, but I was really looking forward to picking up some food to add to my collection.  Production of Pinky ST’s has pretty much been non existent in past years, but I still expected vendors to have a few for sale.  The lack of those two products really was a downer.  Also a bit of a downer was the fact that the mini figures you usually find in ‘surprise’ type packaging were more money that I would have expected.  In the end, I broke down and bought two from a booth that I should have just picked up a grab bag from for the same price.  I probably would have gotten more for my money.

Ah, the artist alley.  My favorite booths in the Artist Alley weren’t the ‘fine art’ ones, but rather, the ones that had a bit more unique wares.  Color me surprised at the number of Perler bead designers in the Alley.  I remember my third ACEN, I purchased a Perler bead Charizard magnet.  My mom thought I was nuts.  I adored it (and still do!).    This year it seemed like at least 1/4 of the vendors had some Perler bead action going on.  Had I my own refrigerator, I would have left with so many magnets!

Another thing that surprised me while walking the Artist Alley was the vast number of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic products.  I saw crochet’d My Little Ponies, Perler My Little Ponies, felt My Little Ponies.  Literally, they were all over the places and super adorable.  Dare I say, they were totally kawaii!  Sadly, they were also somewhat expensive.  I didn’t leave with any of the cute My Little Pony items, but maybe next year!  I was disappointed that no one was selling OOAK My Little Ponies (ie: My Little Pony re-paints).  I would have loved to add a new OOAK pony to my collection– maybe an Ash Ketchum or Misty?

While not as prevalent as My Little Pony vendors, there were also a handful of booths dedicated to ball jointed doll clothing and wigs!  The people running the booth were very nice and even allowed us to test the outfits on our dolls before buying.

The Goodies:  Ah, the big reveal.  Here are some photos of what came home with me!

My Luts Aru in a green star MSD Wa-loli by Crimson Chimera

Originally, I purchased this Wa-loli for my Doll In Mind Fantasia.  I had some trouble getting it to fit her chest properly, so instead Aru gets to wear this little number.  The Wa-loli was crafted by Crimson Chimera.  The wig was purchased at ACEN, as well.  It has three parts– one short bob cut and two pony tails that clip on.  It’s a very versatile wig, even if the pony tails like slipping down occasionally.   (I’m blanking on the vendor right now, but I’ll edit this if I can find the name of the booth.)

My MSD Doll In Mind Fantasia wearing a Resin Melody top and skirt.

Breena is modeling a casual outfit purchased at the Resin Melody booth.  Originally, Aru was going to wear this, but I had to do a minor quick change.  Both dolls look great in it, though!

Banpresto K-On Ritsu Prize Figure

I like to pick up at least one figure when I go to ACEN.  If I were to give awards out, this vendor would have won best booth!  One example of each of the figures for sale was de-boxed and displayed in well lit, glass cases. (If I remembered the name of the vendor, I’d give them kudo’s, but I’m blanking right now!)  In the center case, they had two oversized  figures on display that caught my eye.  I meant to buy both figures, this one with the drums and another with a girl playing a guitar, but just before I was helped, someone bought the last guitarist.  I knew very little about this set and nothing about the character/anime before purchasing it, but it turns out that this figure is a Banpresto prize figure of Ritsu from the anime K-ON.  Since ACEN, I’ve watched all 13 episodes of K-ON and loved them all.  I’m looking forward to watching season 2 and collecting the rest of band to eventually complete this set!

These are my two token ‘surprise’ boxes.  I was surprised at the lack of vendors with these out of box.  A good chunk of vendors had them in boxes, but in my ACEN’s past, it was quite common to have these already broken up into their series.  The left is a TokiDoki Unicorn figure and the right is a girl with rice balancing on her head.  The box was completely in Japanese, so I have no idea what set she’s from, but she’s unique, nonetheless!

The gang relaxing between in the lobby.

Overall, I had a good time at ACEN and am very happy I could share the day with my mom.  She’s the best shopping buddy around!   I have been hearing horror stories for years about this and that, but I didn’t have close to as many gripes leaving ACEN this year as I did in past years.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even go next year!

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May 8, 2012. Tags: . Uncategorized.

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