[SAS'12] Sac Anime Summer 2012

It was the final year at the Woodlake Hotel, and Sac Anime went out with a bang! As next year grows closer, the people's sights are set on Sac Anime's big move to the Sacramento Convention Center- but for now let's enjoy some photos from this past weekend at Sac Anime Summer 2012. Kicking off the event on Friday was Jodon Bellofatto, Sac Anime's Director of Programming, as he presented Sac Anime's "Opening Ceremonies" event. I always attend Opening Ceremonies at Sac Anime, because it is there that you can get a real excellent feel for what's in store during the convention weekend. Jodon kept the presentation very fresh and delightful with a mix of informative rules, news, updates, and humor. 

 Above you can see Jodon pointing at Sac Anime's Guidebook QR code which could be found in the program books and around the convention on signs. Guidebook is a very handy resource, a downloadable app that fits all of Sac Anime's programming in your pocket via iPhone, as well as polls, updates, and feedback about the convention and more. Definitely check out Guidebook- I'm a tech and social media nut so I find this incredibly smart...and handy! Also on Friday was the RUN AROUND:NETWORK x Team LoveHate mashup panel, where I presented many facts and information on the history and present state of Itasha culture- you can read all about it and even watch the panel here. Alongside us in the panel programming was Laura Bailey, Johnny Yong Bosch, Eyeshine, Jennifer Hale, Billy Martinez, Michelle Ruff, Roger Craig Smith, Travis Willingham, and a few other talented groups and fan-panels. The outer fountain courtyard area near the gaming and karaoke rooms has always bustled with cosplayers! I attended several gatherings this past weekend, one of which was the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica gathering where I spotted none-other than our cosplaying comrade, Gogo Hikaru getting some time with the Mami cosplayers. Gogo and his twin brother, Ichiro Ao, are two great and proud Filipino cosplayers that take pride in their community, and are always a joy to work with. Together they form the IchiGoGo Twins! The two brothers spend a lot of time at deriving a delightfully fresh look at cosplay with unique tastes. At my recent RUN AROUND:NETWORK exclusive event, "Cosplay Fiesta", which took place at the Filipino Fiesta of Sacramento, I teamed up with the IchiGoGo Twins to present our Masquerade/Cosplay Contest. Another photo of the Madoka gathering. Gogo (on the left) is amused by something. One thing I always find very interesting is how cosplay groups make spots for cosplay meet-ups. 
Normally the fountain courtyard area would be for passing by to the Karaoke or Gaming rooms, but it seems attendees and cosplayers have always made this spot so lively- there are always meet-ups, photoshoots, and many spontaneous things taking place there. 
 Something I'm sure I share with many other members of the press and industry, is the curiosity as to where and how meet-ups will form at the new Convention Center. Which areas will become "cosplay central"? Would you buy this Magikarp? She's the "King of Karp" apparently. Only 500. Lovely Sailor Moon duo. Final Fantasy XI Dancer! I was an FFXI player for 5 years- only quit about a year and a half ago, mostly due to time constraits...MMO's take a lot of time... I was happy to see her though, FFXI isn't cosplayed as often as the other FF games. 

I see Red Mages now and then, and sometimes the White Mage, but this was my first time seeing a Dancer! Also spotted this fantastic Miki cosplay from Vocaloid. RUN AROUND:NETWORK Partner, "Sac-BJD" is a Sacramento-based BJD meet-up group. 
If you haven't seen them at conventions or around the net, doll owners and BJDs/Dollfie can usually be spotted sporting their "children or daughters" as some call them- "musume" (daughter) in Japan- which are mainly made out of resin and vinyl. Many of them are themed, some even based after anime characters, and many you will see are purely custom. Also, they are very expensive. Heidi Duncan on the far left who's cosplaying Akari Mizunashi from Aria, is the group's main organizer and works to connect fans and owners of general asian Ball Jointed Dolls, Dollfie, and other brands of BJD's, bringing them together for doll meet-ups, teaching about BJDs at conventions, and more. Currently the group has over 67 regular members as of 9.11.12., who meet up not only in Sacramento, but also in other regions of California as well. Currently we are in the stages of planning an informational BJD book that will provide facts and plenty of info to keep you knowledgeable about dolls, brands, care, and more. More details on the book will come soon The panel was very unique, extensive on facts and useful knowledge, and should definitely happen again soon! One thing I never get to check out is the Card Gaming rooms. Just stepping in the doorway I spotted these two playing some Cardfight Vanguard. I mainly expected to see Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh games- which there were- however, I saw a lot of folks playing Bushiroad card games which was very pleasant to see. Aside from Cardfight Vanguard, I spotted games of WeiƟ Schwarz, Jewelpet, AlicexCros, and even Victory Spark. Guy on the left was sporting a Twinkle Crusaders Passion Star Stream Deck Box, which I admittedly "geeked-out" over since I played that game on my PC a while back. Any of you play Twinkle Crusaders? Next door to the Card Gaming rooms is the Video Gaming rooms. At the Woodlake Hotel there is a wing of many rooms in which Sac Anime has always utilized for the Artist's Alley, Video Gaming, Card Gaming, and Karaoke rooms. These rooms are usually crammed packed. During tournaments one cannot even enter if not in the tournament simply due to the sheer mass of humanity on the inside. Those who went to the Super Smash Brothers Brawl tournament will know what I mean. It is also somewhat difficult to cover these rooms as space is limited. In photos they look small, so you should know that the photos don't really do these rooms justice. Did the best I could to grab photos anyways. Rhythm games like this one have become incredibly popular. Do you play them? Super Smash Bro's has always been taken very seriously. Karaoke room- was actually quite large and had a good sized audience from behind where I was standing. 
For a moment I was tempted to go to the front and sing "Nico Nico Douga Ryuuseigun" which by far is my all-time favorite Kumikyoku. 
Are Kumikyoku's still going around like mad? Haven't heard of any great new ones since the big Kumikyoku boom in 2009. A shot of the Artist's Alley. Unfortunately it has always been rather small at Sac Anime, but you can't really do much with the limited space- good thing they're moving to the Convention Center. 
There were about 20 artist's or so. Do give the Sac Anime Artist's Alley a chance though if you ever pop in, there are some very talented folks here- many of which will do commissions for you. I usually find myself here hunting for prints that fit my favorite art-styles of my favorite characters. Highschool of the Dead cosplay group spotted! One major thing I have to mention, is the Harison Randall Memorial. Harison was a very well-known cosplayer around these parts who mainly cosplayed Jiraiya from Naruto. It was his incredible friendliness and kindness towards others that made him a star in the eyes of everyone that knew him. Tragically he died in the hospital after pushing his girlfriend out of the way of a speeding drunk driver while taking a walk with her one fateful evening. Since Sac Anime began he had been happily parading around as Jiraiya, usually known for holding a blasting boom-box which he would literally put in your face until you were happy- or he'd find another way to cheer you up- this kind of person who only thinks of others and is always a smiling face- this is the person our community has lost. After accumulating hundreds of members to the memorial itself and the Facebook page, there was a sense of unity in the air as we enjoyed the last Woodlake Hotel-based Sac Anime, while at the same time remembering a dear friend, and a hero. 

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the whole memorial which was held on Sunday. Conventions and other big events usually have me running from one thing to another- appointments, interviews, meet-ups, photoshoots, staff meetings, etc... but I made sure to stop by the memorial and pay my respects to Harison Randall and his family who were present. Also wish I would have had more time to stop by more of the other Guest's panels- but I did get to meet Jennifer Hale during the event! That of which I will be writing about soon! Moving along now- stepping into the Vendor's Room there are many exquisite artbooks and magazines. I made sure to pick up the latest Nyantype, Newtype, and Megami magazines. Any of the books in this photo tickle your fancy? Or how about some of these? I noticed a nice Tony Taka book there. Also that Suzumiya Haruhi book in the front that also appeared in the previous photo is very nice! Definitely pick it up if you're a Haruhi fan. Got mine for around $30.00 USD a few events back, and it is still one of my favorite artbooks. 

Or how about some of these? I noticed a nice Tony Taka book there.
Also that Suzumiya Haruhi book in the front that also appeared in the previous photo is very nice! Definitely pick it up if you're a Haruhi fan. Got mine for around $30.00 USD a few events back, and it is still one of my favorite artbooks. 

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This store was kind of a mess! There were a lot of Dakimakura though. Another vendor in the back actually had a clothes-line with Dakimakura on hangers for simple browsing pleasure!

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This vendor had quite a bit of Square Enix's Play-Arts series figures. I have to say that the Play-Arts series has come a long way. The newer ones are looking excellent, and 10x the quality and durability of the older ones. Final Fantasy XIII-2 Sera spotted- really wanted to pick her up with Adam Jensen from Deus Ex. Anyone else into Deus Ex much? Been playing it lately, its one of the better story-games that came out last year.
Trailer below:



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Those Alpacas...they're popping up everywhere.

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Bishoujo figurines from various series.

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That's a nice C.C. there.

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One Piece, Poke'mon and Eva stuff.

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Really want to collect more of those Nanoha Puchi Nendoroids.

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More goodies. Are those...Ika Musume headphones? Or?
Cookies for you if you can name the anime playing on the laptop there.

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Couple awesome plushies here like the Ievan Polka Hatsune Miku and that crazy Rin Kagamine cat.

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Folks at Toys Logic who are always so awesome! You can always count on them to have some of the best merchandise at the convention! Goes for FanimeCon and many other events that Toys Logic comes to. Seems they didn't bring too much to this one- but a fly tells me they'll have an awesome selection at Sac Anime Winter 2013.

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Another important thing I should mention is that when in the Vendor's/Dealer's Room, take notice of booths like the one above- I've found many nice figures in piles that are off to the side such as this one!

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Some convention attendees browsing goods in the vendor's room.

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I love this! There's always a few T-shirt vendors around- usually pick up a new shirt at cons. Personally I prefer the style of Sanshee or Sanshee-like vendors. Cospa would probably be my best choice, but I haven't seen Cospa vendors at conventions around these parts...yet.

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Also found in the Vendor's Room is none-other than Jason Dube!
Jason runs Scattered Comics which publishes several different series by Jason Dube himself and a few other artists. One of which, is the Shadow Hunters series. If you've been steadily on RUN AROUND:NETWORK recently you may have noticed that I have been featuring elements of Jason's work such as photos and interviews with cosplayers who work with Jason at his booth cosplaying characters from Shadow Hunters, and featuring several of his works- which I will be reviewing soon! If you're an RA:N reader who's been around for a long time then you may remember some of my posts about Jason Dube and Scattered Comics on the old RA:N before the big revamp!
Definitely check out his site, and if you see Scattered Comics at an event stop by and take a look!

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Jason with Iris and Deveraux, the Shadow Hunters girls who I recently interviewed.

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Interesting to see the local news getting interested in our events. Spotted this Fox40 News Vehicle outside. I always feel it is very important for the local news to report on Japanese Pop-Culture events to an extent- as there's always folks to share the news with at home who don't know about the world of cosplay, anime, and games. However, it is still the bloggers, photographers, and yours truly who grabs the real coverage.

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Here we have Anthony Beanes from Mission Start Podcast- looks like he's about to lose his head to those red scythes! Who here knows what series these cosplayers are from?
Anthony and I along with several bloggers recently recorded the latest episode of the Mission Start spin-off, "The Conover", which will be out soon on iTunes. The Conover covers our "feedback" of the convention, our experiences, reviews, and our ideas and hopes for the next event!

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Nyaruko-san from Haiyore! Nyaruko-san!
Was actually surprised to see Nyaruko-san cosplay already.

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And here again is another one I didn't expect to see already- The heroine (literally her name) from Jinrui wa Suitashimashita aka Jintai for short. In english the series's name is "Humanity Has Declined". Its a pretty new anime, coming out in the Summer 2012 season. Haven't checked it out yet myself- when having time for anime I've mainly been watching Sword Art Online, Kokoro Connect, and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II.

Trailers below to catch you up on some of the latest anime:








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AnimeX99 from Flickr, a friend of ours that we've nicknamed "Vegas" since we don't know his name- but he is from Las Vegas- we've met up a few times at Dollfie Dream meet-ups and conventions.
This time he's Epic Meal Time Madoka!
You can find more of his Dollfie photos on his Flickr.

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Saber Dollfies.

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Vegas's Dollfie Rosalie and Sakura- I had a hilarious time taking photos of them with Rosalie's tentacle arms! You can only imagine the sorts of poses we did with...nevermind!

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Another one of Vegas's Dollfie- Fujiko.

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Final Fantasy X cosplay. It is still fantastic to me to see FFX cosplay these days. FFX was one of my all-time favorites. Do you have a favorite Final Fantasy game?

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DJ Sandman! One of the members of the main group of DJs that play during the Sac Anime late-night raves, but also plays at many other events here in California. DJ Sandman's mixes are some of the best!
I had the usual short chat with him about the previous night's rave event, as well as talking about his upcoming project. Will possibly post more info on his projects soon- he does a variation of video game/anime/club type music that is very good!

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Its Anthony again! This time as Laharl from the Disgaea series!

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Team Fortress 2 cosplay spotted- Sniper on the right next to Heavy on the left who's sporting a Dovahkiin helm from Skyrim!

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Pyro- another character from Team Fortress 2.
Check out my recent video from Team Fortress 2 where I try out the new Mann vs Machine mode, as Pyro!


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Casshern duo spotted.

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Popped by the big Touhou gathering for a few pics. Youmu Konpaku is one of my favorite Touhou characters. Do you have any favorites?

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Assassin's Creed assassins doing their thing...

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Male Commander Shepard cosplay from the Mass Effect series.

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JoJo PandaFace spotted as Neliel Tu Oderschvank from Bleach.

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Bane is waiting around outside near the front, ready to give you permission to enter the con...as the meme goes...

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Yoruichi from Bleach I believe.

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Another thing about Sac Anime, is that no matter where you go there are always interesting and entertaining folks doing something rather...well, interesting!
These fellows were freely playing Zelda music and taking requests in the second fountain courtyard area.
Its just a fun plus to walk by and hear a real ocarina in the background playing familiar tunes.
Most of the con-goers are always really friendly- its hard to go and not make at least one new friend over the weekend.

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Out near the Team LoveHate/Itasha area. This one may look familiar if you've been following me for a while- its the 350z Hatsune Miku Vocaloid itasha!
Also present were the brand new Shadow Hunters itasha. During the convention I was actually dual wielding cameras, (as usual) both the Sony Handycam (recently shown in review here) and my Nikon D5000. I was working very hard grabbing a boat-load of footage for you that will be compiled in a documentary about the Radisson/Woodlake era of Sac Anime- unfortunately I realized when I returned to the office that I had only grabbed HD footage of the itasha and somehow didn't snap any pictures. So in that light you will be seeing the Shadow Hunters itasha in the upcoming Sac Anime documentary I'll be announcing in one of the next posts here at runaroundnetwork.com.
Gomenasai!

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Gears of War Lancer holding up the trunk lid in the back of the 350z.

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Group shot of Team LoveHate outside.

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Another shot of me from our panel.

And that's a wrap!
In general this summer's Sac Anime flowed very well, with a sense of unity this time as the majority of the community not only came together this time to engage and fellowship with each other in pure Otaku-dom, see amazing guest Voice Actors and Industry guests, hunt and buy awesome figurines and anime loot- but also to pay respect, honor, and share the courage of Harison Randall, as well as being a part of the last Radisson/Woodlake Hotel Sac Anime as we came to the end of an era. Nostalgia, Unity, Fellowship, Fun, Family, Equality, Honor, and Respect amongst one another filled the Ambiance of the well-organized, safe, and engaging atmosphere that the convention had to offer. 
As the weekend ended, the community have began to fully set their sights on what is in store for January 2013.

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As this is the big SAS'12 post, more SAS'12 information and general Sac Anime news will still be coming. The Documentary Video/Movie will appear some time in the next couple weeks, with information being posted later tomorrow. Thanks for following us through another great post of RA:N Sac Anime Coverage! Look forward to the 2013 event, as the coverage has been improving after each event! And remember! The big Video Coverage is coming!
A big thank you to all who made this weekend possible, all of my readers and fans that I was able to meet and talk to, our awesome panel attendees, con staff, and everyone else in between! 
Cheers to the future for Sac Anime Winter 2013!

-Hikaru Kazushime
 
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About Hikaru Kazushime

Hikaru Kazushime is an American entrepreneur from the USA who lives in California and is the creator of Run Around:Network, a brand that brings Visual Culture to life. Kazu (called for short) is an active personality in the anime and gaming industries and sub-culture scenes. Kazu resides in his hometown of Sacramento, California where he manages RA:N from his home office. Learn more about Kazu by clicking the "About Hikaru Kazushime" link at the top under the "About" tab.

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