It was Hyper Japan! The premiere anime, manga and Japanese culture convention for us in the South-East, I’ve been having heavy bouts of depression with long panic attacks and had to force myself to go but I’m so glad I did. It IS still being held at Tobacco Dock though, a place I likened last time to something like ‘a Hello Kitty store exploded in a survival horror location’: my opinion of the venue has not changed because the venue and layout has not changed – you still enter though a creepy underground carpark that looks like a test map from Left 4 Dead and Tobacco Dock itself is still filled with empty rooms, dead ends and dark corners and it’s still confusing as fuck to navigate without checking your map. There are – happily – no pyramid headed rapey executioners dragging huge knives, no one cosplayed as Pyramid Head this year (which is a good thing, because dressing up as Red Pyramid is fucked up in many ways).
I had an awesome time regardless, I cosplayed for once (I was a wizard dressed all in pink, I looked fabulous, no you can’t see a picture) which generally makes me more approachable than my usual ‘scowling bald man all in black’ look (I can’t help it! Some people have resting bitch face I have resting you can’t come in here in those shoes mate face) and so chatted to many other nerds, some dressed up, some may have been or they just might have been really stylish in general - I even got to hang out with Nick Wylde and Judy Hopps for a while. I get a bit nervous around and when I get nervous I can overcompensate so I apologize to anyone who had an experience akin to a pink hurricane blowing past. I did feel a bit sparse this time around, I know there are always less sellers than at the Christmas Market because, well, that’s a Christmas Market themed convention but I still could have done with some more stalls and they REALLY needed some more food stalls but even if the convention had been utter crap objectively and it really fucking wasn’t - multiple stages, game rooms and panel rooms were all there to enjoy, I think there was a rave room too, what as that place? Even if it was crap objectively my friend’s infectious enthusiasm would have made sure I came out of my funk long enough to enjoy myself, we were all dressed up (except Dan, tit) and all themed (Fairy Tail, judge as applicable) and everyone was so up, it was a good time and a welcome break from mental and physical exhaustion (FEEL BAD FOR ME). I never do too much shopping at Hyper Japan events because it lacks the variety of crap LFCC and (to a lesser extent) MCM have on offer but I still got enough to squeeze an Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On post out – aren’t you delighted?
Your background for these is an awesome sketch of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit my friend bought for me from Disney World. Just to clarify: it HAS been up on my wall, I took it took it down for the new windows to be put in and haven't put it back yet.
A Present! (£6/$7.86 I think)
Oh no sorry it’s a LNO Squirtle, because that’s less like ‘Lego’ than ‘Smego’. This is the first thing I bought (well it was bought for me – thanks Natsu!) because how can anyone resist this? They had all three Gen 1 Starters too so if you’re more in the Bulbasaur or Charmander camps then they had your impulse buy covered too. I’m a Squirtle man, it was the Squirtle Squad that sealed the deal for me, a bunch of hoodlum squirrel turtles who had no fucks to give and wore glasses stolen from Mouser from Super Mario Bros 2? I didn’t want to raise a Squirtle after that, I wanted to be one and then it evolves into Thor Turtle and then a fucking tank. I like Bulbasaur and Charizard is undeniably badass but it’s just Squirtle has my heart.
Anyway I have one of these for Sonic and for Raphael and they’re a bitch to put together if you have hands as huge as mine, imagine King Kong trying to pick up a Jack Russel and you have an idea of what it’s like for me to build these, but it’ll be worth if for Squirtle. I need to get an Umbreon one of something like that so I can make little sunglasses for him, I bet they make one for the demon from Death Note (*Googles*… …. He’s called Ryuk), he has enough black to make Mouser sunglasses out of, surely?
Yeah, I paid over 10 bucks for this pissy little thing, that’s fucking Sanrio for you. Oh well it’s not a convention if you don’t get overcharged for something, and my dinner WAS really cheap for conventions so I’m still good. Anyway I think this my new ‘thing’, this is Gudetama, I think he looks like a pissed off Twinkie but he is in fact an egg, the Twinkie part is the yolk (which is the bit that’s alive) and the white blanket is some of the white of the egg that he’s lying on. He debuted in 2013 and suffers from crippling depression and social anxiety – so he’s basically me in cartoon form – I only found about him today. I didn’t really know much of what I just told you until I got home, I just thought he looked utterly lovable, he isn’t he? You want to give him a hug and tell him everything’s going to be ok, plus it’s just very VERY weird to anthropomorphise an egg yolk without the white, loveable and weird also fits with him being me but an egg.
He became my new assistant today, I’d pop him out the bag for random adorable acts, well acts that I thought were adorable but were probably infuriating to all those around me, and to just look at him and repeat ‘he’s so cute but so sad, poor egg’. I foresee a corner of my room dedicated to a breakfast food with a severe lack of serotonin by this time next year AND IT WILL BE GLORIOUS (and eggy).
Sega Saturn Notebook!
A Present (£6/$7.86)
Holy shit. Ok I have a confession for you: The Sega Saturn is probably my favourite video game console. I say ‘probably’ because it’s a very close thing between the Saturn and Mega Drive and which way I roll generally depends on whether I want to play Astal or Comix Zone that day but I think generally my choice is the Saturn. There really isn’t a lot of Saturn merchandise in the west: it was a bit of a flop (not as big as some would have you believe and its library is awesome, especially if you import like I do) and lacks the respect afforded to the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, also we never had Segata Sanshiro – I’m sure the Saturn would have sold better if Segata has been doing our adverts, he’s fucking Japanese Chuck Norris with a quiff, Wipeout and Final Fantasy VII would have meant nothing in the face of that. So there’s not much about, and what is tends to be is rare NiGHTS into Dreams stuff that is infuriatingly expensive. This was neither and it’s just great, an actual piece of merchandise for the Saturn itself that’s useful and surprisingly convincing, even more so when you consider that up close it looks like it was made on something akin to MS Paint. I mean that Paint thing in a completely good way, the makers of this (Numskull) made something very good on a programme so simple, that’s class. This was the other half of my belated birthday present so thanks twice Natsu!
Puffy Stickers that Look Like Me!
I bought Natsu some Miso Soup because she loves it and that’s how I roll sometimes, sometimes it’s cars, sometimes it’s holidays, sometimes (in fact most times really) it’s 2 quid’s worth of just-add-water food. Anyone who bought this company’s Miso Soup (I jlike saying, ‘miso soup’; well typing ‘miso soup' technically but I’m saying it in my head and it’s just as fun there) got free puffy stickers, the company was trailing the Miso Soup and this was reward for taking a Miso Risk, but because I’d bought the Miso Soup for my friend they gave us to two sets of puffy stickers. Dear everyone: if you want to get people to think fondly of your promotion at any event the answer is puffy stickers, not regular stickers – fuck those commoners – PUFFY stickers, no squishy no good, Puffy stickers are fun, they are fun to squish, they’re fun to stick on things – especially people – and they feel that much more of a gift because while they’re not quite a toy, they’re closer than regular stickers. If you can’t get puffy stickers then small figurines of Pokémon are a good substitute.
These really do look like me too, if you combined Gudetama with these you’d get the perfect Cartoon Me. I feel like I should make an Austin Powers referencing joke here, but I haven’t forgiven the bloke who played Mini-Me for those terrible casino ads he does so fuck it I’m not putting the effort in. Actually I hear he’s a bit of a dick, hire Warwick Davies instead, Warwick Davies is one of the coolest Englishmen alive – and he’s never (to date) been on Wife Swap, advertised casinos in shitty ads OR been in a sex tape, he has however been an Ewok, raised an awesome family and sat in the penis of the Cerne Abbas Giant. That got tangent-y
Like the Saturn/Mega Drive thing I can never settle on my favourite Mario enemy, unlike the Saturn/Mega Drive thing no one cares and no one every asks ‘what’s your favourite Mario enemy?’ but just in case you would have, it’s either the Goomba or Dry Bones. I have an awesome plastic Goomba already (I’ve had it for about a decade now? Jesus I’m old) but I’ve never owned – nor seen – a plushie Dry Bones – so I impulse bought him mid-conversation, it went something like this
Me: “on topic, on topic, on topic”
Him: “on topic, on topic, on topic”
Me: “on topic, on to…HOLY FUCK IT’S A CUDDLY DRY BONES”
Him: “so it is”
Me “I’M BUYING THE SHIT OUT OF THIS! On topic on topic on topic”
HIM “on topic, on topic, on topic…”
He’s clearly known me far too long; he no longer reacts to my bullshit any more than I do. But yes, big Dry Bones fan (are you noticing a turtle theme here?), as soon as they were added to Mario Kart I’m Dry Bones every time (unless we’re playing that rule where you can’t be the same racer/fighter twice, then I use Dry Bones first). I’m still not sure if I like them having had a weakness added (it’s the Ice Flower), I feel it kind removes some of their undead threat, but then Zombies have weaknesses too and…you really couldn’t’ care could you? I’ll move on. Oh before I do: oit, Nintendo! When are we getting a Goomba in Mario Kart? I want a booster seat and little alterations to each cart so they can drive with only two limbs, you are actually being ablest leaving the out, yeah, how’d you like that? Also while we’re on this, get some Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi characters in there too, sod Zelda and Animal Crossing guest stars, I wanna race as Vivian and Count Bleck, and Sonic, add Sonic, and make his default cart the one he has in Sonic Drift 1 & 2 (The Cyclone), I have your pets Nintendo, I have your pets! Well that got tagenty-y.
A Black Burger!
If you live in America, I doubt black burgers are all that special anymore, I know Burger King has done a couple for instance, but over here they’re rocking horse shit levels of rare and this is my first black burger. It was a gooooood first impression. This is technically a black baoger – a half burger half Gua Bao (a Taiwanese steamed bun) mash up – I think it would look more like both if I wasn’t scared of fresh vegetables but I still understood the mix in principal. The bun was very sweet and the chicken was soft, moist and flavoursome so it was a delightful eating experience, made all the more delightful by being in a black bun, I am sometimes a horrible goth stereotype and if you make something black I will like it 872% more than it’s non-black counterpart.
Now moaning: Hyper Japan is woefully in need of more food stands, the queues for the main food stalls (not the fringe, niche food stalls that sell baogers, the two or three that sell standard Japanese food and meals) had over an hour wait time apiece, the English food stalls (of which I saw two but then why would you have too many of them at a Japanese Culture convention really?) had over a half hour wait, that’s too long to wait for noodles or posh pizza, especially when everything costs three times a Burger King before drinks and sides. Hyper Japan bods: I don’t care what you do, lower pitch prices for food sellers, go and seek them out, do them deals, make sandwiches, whatever, but you need more food stalls – an hour wait for food negatively effects the convention experience, the hunger from avoiding an hour’s queue for food negatively effects the con experience, both hurt word of mouth and all three potentially hurts your ticket sales next con and a hour spent waiting for food is an hour people are spending away from the rest of the convention doing something that doesn’t benefit you.
Something I’ve never expressed on here before – I’m a Persona 4 fan and Chie is my homegirl (I am never using that term again). I left this till last because I’m so enthusiastic about finally owning a Chie figure/figurine but like a lot of things I REALLY like I get REALLY stuck on what to say about them other than kinda-scary gushing. I’ll try: Chie is awesome - that doesn’t mean she’s right or even all that nice at times, if she didn’t have problems then she wouldn’t be so great a character and wouldn’t be in Persona – but she’s awesome and we should be friends, pity she’s not real. I didn’t see any Chies this con, normally you get a couple cos she’s easy and cheap to cosplay as effectively and accurately but none, I thought there was one but it was just a girl with the same haircut. I did however see a spot-on Futaba who is my Chie for Persona 5 (because even that term’s better than ‘homegirl’), in retrospect I probably should have got a photo because that’s what you do but it always feels a little awkward as a big bloke (especially if you’re all in pink) to ask the smaller, younger female cosplayers for pictures, it kind of feels like I’m wearing a sandwich board saying ‘I’m going to take this home and wank to it and I’m not allowed within 100 feet of any schools in my area, just fyi’. Of course that’s not true and it’s all in my head and as I was dressed up I doubt she would thought twice about it and would probably have been really pleased but I’m me and being me sometimes means you don’t get photos of awesome people dressed up as awesome characters from awesome video games, I did tell her I liked her outfit though.
Hey, that tangent was actually useful!
On another tangent, I automatically capitalize the word ‘tangent’ because of Tangent Comics, which was this event that DC Comics had in the 1990s, I’m not event that big fan of it, it’s just what I associate the word ‘tangent’ with. I associate the word ‘orange’ with an obscure Disney mascot and the word ‘milk’ with Chris Marshall so it’s not just tangent or comic books that cause this problem. I’m fucking odd.
I’ll spare you any more of this, the high from today’s adventures in Kawaiiland is starting to wear off and I’m sinking back into Gudetamaland (aww, depression will always be that much cuter now I know of Gudetama) - I’ve ‘had’ to have chocolate just to finish the Chie section. Thanks for reading my bollocks (not like that) I hope it was mildly entertaining and if you went to Hyper Japan I hope you had as much fun as me.
That Chie photo is shit.