Anime St. Louis 2019 Review
I would first like to apologize to you, readers for my absence. I was spending the past two weeks crunching out my Bittersweet Ninja Maya and This is HEV-y Zer0 cosplays for the cosplay contest. But I'll go into that in a little, but let's begin!
First off, I was stressed and tired from the crunch, so I didn't have high expectations. Last year wasn't that great to me, so I felt it was better to go in with low expectations and hope that the con met the minimum bar for me to keep attending. Boy, was I excited to be proved wrong! Friday, I didn't stay too long, but attended the My Hero Academia meet up, which was run by my wonderful friend @Heyykristique (find her on Instagram!) and although it was only supposed to go from 6:30 to 8, it went on for a hot minute since there were so many cosplayers at the meet up. I only heard one person boo the only Mineta cosplayer, but I immediately drowned it out with my cheering and was joined by others in the area. I'm glad I wasn't the only person that wasn't willing to put up with that persons poopy attitude. There were so many amazing My Hero cosplayers and it felt really home-y at the meet up, even though I had to leave early to go to my Posing Panel.
I feel really bad that the panelist before Ren-Chan and I went up had no one in their room. We showed up about 20 minutes early, and were hoping to get at least the tail end of their panel, but they were leaving, too disheartened to go through their discussion. I hope they read this and know that I really wish I could have seen their panel. We were really fortunate to have about 20-30 people come into our Posing Workshop and were really lively and willing to learn about how to make their photoshoots even better. I hope that we'll be able to present at different conventions and educate a lot more people.
I was unable to stay much later after our time slot finished, so I could finish Maya and Zer0. After spending the next 14 hours finishing our Borderlands (and May's cosplay of the month!) we were getting ready for the cosplay contest. We were rushing, hoping we were not gonna miss our judging time, and of course we were stopped by the security tables. I feel like this is unfortunately necessary, but not as strict as they were having it. I saw a cosplayer have a small can of mousse that was told they would have to completely walk it back to their car or they would have to confiscate it. You weren't even allowed to bring in your own water bottles (which I am sure was a money grab by the hotel/convention center so that the attendees would spend $2.60 on a 16 oz bottle of water) which could be dangerous to people who can't afford to drink as much as they should to stay hydrated. This isn't necessarily the fault of the con's, but there should be exceptions. I heard stories of some attendees being forced to down their alcohol since they wouldn't be allowed to come into the convention center otherwise. That could get dangerous for people wanting to nurse their huge drink rather than chug it.
Anyways, back to the cosplay contest. I adore the people running it, (just as a disclaimer) but they were pretty unorganized when it came to judging. My pre-judging time was set for 2:25, and I didn't get judged until almost 3:25, which was 35 minutes before the cosplay contest was set to start. Unfortunately, this was a huuuuge miscommunication between the con staff and the contest staff, since the contest people thought they started at 5, rather than 6. This also mixed in with the fashion show doing their dry run before the contestants even got to do their walk-on, so it was kind of a clusterbomb. That being said, once the communication was fixed, the cosplay contest went off without a hitch, until the judges left for dinner before the contest was over. (I'm not entirely sure what all went down there, just that the MC had to stall in order to allow them time to come back. Luckily, it was only about 5 minutes, but for a contestant, that was excruciating.
They did the order a little weird for announcing the winners this year, but every convention does it differently. They announced the winners of the classes first (Chibi, Novice, Journeyman, Master, Best in Show) then announced the honorable mentions (Crowd favorite, best group, etc). There was also only one skit, so it was an automatic win for them, which was great, but seemed like a cop out? I may come across as rude with that, but I mean well. I am just used to seeing 3-5 skits come out for ASTL, so it was odd to see only one prepared. Tolia and I did manage to snag the Crowd Favorite award, and I am still gushing over it. This was my first win at ASTL and I couldn't be happier. The prizes were also pretty lit, so be on the lookout for me being able to debut Fire Nation Sokka and Suki in the future! After the contest, I was able to relax a little and meander around. Everyone that saw my cosplay was super warm and very excited to talk about the game play trailer for 3, and I am so ready to pull out a new Maya cosplay!
I did not stay super late on Saturday, since I had about 8 hours of sleep between 3 days, but I was able to see a bunch of wonderful friends and other cosplayers, while also not being too crowded by others. I left around 9:30, but Tolia came back to the rave and gave it a perfect 5/7. He said it was really fun and great energy, and I believe him. One of these years, I'll go back and enjoy myself. From the videos shared around, others enjoyed it as well.
Sunday morning, I was able to wake up, feeling pretty refreshed, despite the fact that my body wasn't sure I got enough sleep, and presented my Organizing Cosplay panel. I had a pretty good group, for such an early panel, which was a really pleasant surprise. I did have someone who interrupted me, but it was easy to play off and I know it was in good humor. I actually had a few people put up with my rant just to take pictures of Tolia and I's Rukia and Ichigo cosplays, which was so wonderful. I was really worried no one would recognize them.
We hit the vendor's hall and I was able to finally get a good look around. Unfortunately, it was most of the same vendors with the same merch as last year, but the artist alley was amazing and even though I couldn't find a lot of what I wanted, I was still able to find a few cute charms to add to my ita bags (Which I may be in the process of designing myself). All of the artists were amazing, and even one of them had created METAL BADGES. They were super sturdy, amazing to talk to, and a really wonderful dude. He created the art for the badges this year, and it was super well done. I really hope some year I can be an artist myself.
Overall, this con was pretty amazing with what I was able to experience myself. I did hear of some drama between other friends, but it wasn't enough to affect me. I really hope it is fixed soon and they can enjoy their future cons. ASTL was a smash, and even with my level of anxiety and stress from my last minute builds, I still had so much fun. I really look forward to 2020 and hoping to either win the cosplay contest, be a guest, or have a booth! Hopefully you decide to join us next year, friends, and I am looking forward to it!