Good news everyone! It’s 4 in the morn’ and I’m listening to a remix of Binary Sunset while a heater blasts my tired feet. I should be asleep, but instead I’m starting this post about the weekend just been.
Armageddon Expo, the big con of lil’ ol’ New Zealand, has just been. The second-to-last ‘geddon of the year is over, now leaving us with a con-less gap until late October. Boo! But the weekend has been utterly amazing, helped in large part by my wonderful friends, cosplayers and civilians alike.
This iteration of the large (quiet in the cheap seats, Americans) Southern Hemisphere convention was in our capital city: Wellington. No, not Auckland. At this time of the year it’s cold, and as usual I chose cosplays that weren’t weather appropriate. Sleeveless costumes for winter, go!
We flew down on Friday night and spent the evening listening to Abba while putting the last bits of our cosplays together before the on on Saturday. What else is cosplay but last-minute-work? We ended up just gathering around the ironing board and using it as a table, despite the fact it was right next to a real table. Some good ol’ kiwi ingenuity at work there.
Saturday morning involved painting myself and then proceeding to get yellow on absolutely everything. Before anyone says it, I did seal my paint, but that didn’t save my poor camera strap.
I have a habit of becoming utterly overwhelmed the moment I walk into a convention. So many things to see! So many people I want to go talk to! So many noises and smells! But there were two things I noticed first: The beat-up-a-knight stand (seriously. You use a real sword) and the V 360º camera. Also, my friend in her trademark stetson making coffee for my brethren: my fellow caffeine addicted nerds.
The most noticeable stalls for me were the fan created crafts. I do love seeing fans being creative and proud of their work! I didn’t really have much spare money, nor the time to get anything, so a fair few tears were shed at my loss there. I did, however, manage to buy some cake flavoured vodka. It’s as good as it sounds!
Saturday was the day of the cosplay parade, which is something my girls JVCA and Kittyarts do. For all the folks who want to show off their costumes whether or not they’re up for the competition. Forever one of my favourite parts of ‘geddon!
After con we went to the Grand Century for a huge dinner with a lot of people. It’s a place I used to visit sometimes with friends for yum cha, but I think the sheer largeness of our group confused the staff because some of our food just didn’t… turn up. Regardless, it was a delicious dinner and I ate way too much (Mmmmm, fried squid…).
Sunday was the day I met the adorable Jessica Dicicco, the voice actress of Flame Princess! She was late to the signing, which happens so often I don’t even notice anymore. When she saw our group — two Flame Princesses and an Olette — she asked for a photo with us! I always love when actors get excited about cosplays of their characters. I feel like it’s something I would totally do myself, were I famous. She was also pretty dang short!
Other than the excitement of meeting Jessica and the joy of having little kids shyly asking me for photos (and getting caught attempting to crump by a small girl and her father) the day’s fun was mostly found post-con. We went to a restaurant in called Strawberry Fare, well known for its desserts. Seriously, I cannot recommend their food enough for anyone in Wellington.
Afterwards I convinced a few of my friends to go to the Library Bar with me, another old haunt of mine. The bartender had flair, and so did the aerosol absinthe in my friend’s drink. Not long after one of our friends came into the bar, followed by a whole flock of celebrities she was essentially babysitting! I’m not the kind to get overly excited about famous people near me, but I was pretty psyched up by Chris Judge being in the same bar as me.
And then came Monday. The day of reckoning. Judgement Day. The real Armageddon. The final day of the con, and also the day of the cosplay contest. I mean, there was no judging for me — but many of my friends were entering the competition. Instead, I spent the majority of the day stealing my friend’s props and capturing my friends beating each other up with a Catbug prop.
I ended up watching the fear factor-esque eating competition, in which one of the rounds was sculling raw egg whites and eating a whole raw onion. I would rather kiss a wookie than try anything of that sort, but one gal just chomped down the onion like an apple. Impressive skills! We also sat through a J-pop star, Chii Sakurabi’s concert. As I said on twitter: I had no clue what she was singing or what was happening, but she was adorable.
The comp though! My gosh, was everyone amazing. There were so many people who entered, and quite a lot of skits (my favourite part of the comp). There was a gorgeous cosplay of Kushana from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (which I still haven’t seen yet, oops!) who glowed onstage, a really awesome rigged toothless, a dwarf and barbarian face-off, a 40k surgeon whose backing was opera, and more! It really was amazing to watch. My friend, who I nicknamed Ser Florah, won best solo in his category.
After the con was general wind-down and dinner at McD’s. While there, we learnt that a con creeper who’d been molesting cosplayers had been caught thanks to some cosplayers we chatted to during our dinner. A good thing to hear! Cosplay harassment is getting to be a real problem at cons, and it is totally not okay. From the sounds of things, the Armageddon staff worked pretty hard to catch the guy, which was good to hear.
The highlight of the weekend for me was, of course, getting a photo with the 501st. I’d wandered over to them in the hopes the Captain Rex would be there so I could grab a pic with him for one of my friends, but when I got there they weren’t there. Sadface. Instead we kind of hovered nearby, until Rex and a couple others came along and dragged me into a picture. It was awesome!
The guy on the left saw me the day after and gave me a head nod. Another member of the 501st was a Mando with Maori patterns on their armour — so damn cool! Have I mentioned enough times how much I love the 501st?
Overall, this was probably my favourite ‘geddon to date, I had a blast both at the con and outside of it, and managed to see a lot of my good friends and meet a lot of awesome new people! I’ve already got plans a-churning for cosplays for Auckland Armageddon — which is far too far away for my liking! I’m now completely broke and have far too many things I want to make, but this was the best weekend I’ve had this year and I wouldn’t have it any other way.