Thursday, August 28, 2014

Con-Summer Merchandises Vol.2

THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS MAJOR TALES OF SYMPHONIA SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN'T COMPLETED THE GAME/READ THE MANGA/SEEN THE ANIMATION, THEN DON'T READ/SCROLL THIS POST! DON'T CARE? SCROLL AHEAD!

Hello everyone!

Now when my con-summer has reached its end it's time to write a "sum-it-up" post about all the merchandise that I bought and got for free at a summer con. This list includes merchandise that I "ordered" and had someone else buying for me from a con I didn't attend myself. Let's go!

Cosvision 2014

This Boo (Super Mario) lamp was bought by Shiro Samurai to me from Cosvision this year.
Desucon 2014

This Levi (Attack on Titan) bag was also bought by Shiro Samurai to me but it's from Desucon. Loving it to pieces! The hanging Judgment!Kratos Aurion (Tales of Symphonia) rubber strap is a gift from my good friends Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim from Närcon this year.
Zoom on the cutie tuuui ~
Skecon 3

Levi badge and screen cleaner.
Närcon 2014

Attack on Titan fan (different picture on each side) and the Teepo (Tales of Xillia) magnet that I got for free from the con's Namco Bandai desk.
Attack on Titan fabric poster.
Attack on Titan boots that I also got from Prince for free. I can't get over how comfy and useful these are for future cosplays! How can I thank you enough?! <3
Oh, what do you mean I like Attack on Titan?

Nerdcon 2014

I didn't buy any merchandise from the con.

That's it for this con-summer year. I decided that for future cons I will include all the merchandise in their respective con summaries. Tschüss ~

Frozen Angel out.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lens Review: Super Pinky Blue

Hello all!

Today I went to Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki's place to finally get my latest contact lens review out of the way - in other words, put on my Super Pinky Blue lenses and do a short review about them. If anyone wonders, yes these are the lenses I used on my Original Casual!Len Kagamine (Vocaloid) cosplay that I wore at Skecon this year. What are we waiting for? Let's go!

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

One lens in.
Indoors, in normal roomlight.
Indoors, facing the window.
Bathroom light.
Outdoors, in the shadow.
Outdoors, standing in shadow not facing sun directly.
Outdoors, facing sun. NO! NOT IN THE PIT! IT BUUUURRRRNNNNSSSSS!
From a distance. Face please stop looking so weird on this photo...
Opened lens bottle.
Super Pinky Blue in solution.
Lens review:

Color: 9/10 
Amazing and bright blue color! Seen from a distance as well.
Comfort: 6/10 
I personally don't find the Super Pinky series comfortable because of the big size. I also constantly feel that there is something in the eyes. Even in the long run, annoying.
Design: 5/10
I find Super Pinky lenses having a natural and a clear pattern. Like it.
Enlargement: 9/10
I think I have rather small eyes so these look alien on me, 'kay?
Naturalness: 1/10 
Eeh, these screams unnatural from quite the distance, I'm almost freaked out by my own pictures, really.
Opacity: 10/10 
Awesome color coverage, I don't think natural colors can do it much better than this!

-----

Curious about other colors from Super Pinky? I have reviewed the following: Hazel

Frozen Angel out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nerdcon 2014 Summary

Hello!

Nerdcon -the newly started con in Umeå- is now behind us and I together with my brave crew consisting of Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki arrived safely and victorious within the walls of our hometown after a tiresome and dangerous mission at the con...

Friday (pre-Nerdcon)

I left my apartment on Friday to go to Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki's place only to follow them out to the closest bus stop near their place pretty immediately I got there. We took the bus to Umeå and after too many hours we finally arrived at Umeå which is about 380 km south from our hometown. At Umeå we saw Hitsu waiting for us pretty immediately after that we got out from the bus and she drove the three of us to her apartment in the outskirts of the city. The rest of the day -for my part- went to mainly watch the three of them playing Super Smash Bros. and Mario Party (yeah, the first one) on Hitsu's Nintendo 64. I only played a few matches on Super Smash Bros. with character's I like to play with and watched the rest. I did this mostly to avoid rage editions on both games especially on Mario Party. Everyone who has played a Mario Party game at one point in their lives, knows that they are literally made to break friendships and get chairs thrown at you. No matter what you do against your fellow players in that game, you're either a dick or growing one on your forehead, period. Besides, I enjoy watching others play anyway so I don't mind at all having less game time. If you want to read about our gaming time feels and hilarious moments, take a look at Shiro Samurai's Nerdcon summary post here. After all the gaming time and all the laughing and TENTACLE! moments we decided to head to bed.

Now, to the actual con day...

Saturday

I woke up at either 08:00 or 09:00 thinking that I'll be the one needing the least time to put on my cosplay makeup as I felt pretty confident doing the Levi (Attack on Titan) makeup now... I thought. When my company was done with putting their costumes on (including Hitsu) I was still trying to fix the makeup on my right eye. The makeup went smoothly to apply and I got the base part how I wanted it but I soon noticed that my right eye makeup wasn't even, compared to my left one and of course, I was bothered by it and wanted to fix it before heading out. I was the last one to put on my cosplay out of 4 and obviously, the last one to be ready and leave the house. With all of us done we left the building, climbed inside Hitsu's car and she drove us towards the city of Umeå or more precisely the con location. We got to the city quite fast and then we searched for a parking place where Hitsu could park her red car. She soon enough got the car parked and we headed towards the city and after a small walk we saw this:

The goal has been reached! Booyah!
We went inside and took the elevator to the floor the con was on -I think it was the 3rd floor- and outside the elevator to the left, we saw the Nerdcon ticket/information table! I picked up my Star Wars folder from the depths of my bag where my Nerdcon volunteer paper was safely guarded by Master Yoda, hihi. When it was my turn in the line I showed up my volunteer paper and in exchange for it, I got this badge band around my neck where it says that I'm a volunteer. Hehe, feeling special here <3

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Mweheheh, sweet ~
I think the clock was somewhere around 10:00 or 11:00 when we arrived at the con and my work shift would start at 13:00 so I hadn't that much time to look around the con before I had to be at the information table to get work instructions. But I managed to take a peek inside the Game Room and the Dealer's Hall and snap one photo each.

Game Room with some people playing.
Near the Dealer's Hall entrance. Eren please! xD
After visiting said places I speeded my way to the cafeteria to see what it looks like and then I had to leave for the information table, get the work instructions and all that was left now, was to enter -cleaning- Levi-mode.

All the photos from here and forward are taken by Shiro Samurai

Captain Levi signing up for duty!
I was told that the cleaning job is pretty soft but I was pretty sure that would not be the case for me. I did different stuff ranging all from removing and replacing full trash bags to take care of the bottle and cans so that the con can take out the money by recycling them. During my shift I felt it was very "lazy" to just clean the visible dirt and trash so I took my blue friend and cleaned almost the entire building, just because I felt like it. Frankly, I have no clue how long I spent on cleaning the con local with what I had but at one point I arrived at the cafeteria -I took each place and room in order- and Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki (working at the same time as I in the cafeteria) took some picture proof. It must have been a funny sight seeing Levi in the cleaning crew!

Just arrived at the cafeteria area.
What? I'm just doing my job.
Meanwhile at the cafeteria selling table. Photographer: Me.
DIRT!
Cleaning time, cleaning time ~
More DIRT!
The cafeteria was by far the most dirty place at the entire con.
During my working shift I lost count on how many times I was walking back and forth in the building, I swear! I never ran out of things to clean/take care of and every time I was done with one "cleaning round" and when I returned it was dirty again. It's not like I mind, after all I do enjoy cleaning. When the clock struck 16:00 my shift was over and I worked a bit over-time as my "complete round" was not done and I couldn't just leave something unfinished. A bit tired from the cleaning and a bit hungry our group left the con for a moment and followed Hitsu who led us to a Chinese restaurant near the con building. I ordered an appetizer as I wasn't so hungry that I could eat an entire meal. I really liked the shrimp rolls I had! Thumbs up for that restaurant and if someone wonders the name of it is Eurasia. With our tummies full we returned to the con. Despite having my working shift at its end I couldn't hold the organizer/clean-freak/nature lover within me in place, so I decided to scout around the con for bottles and cans in the wrong place, in other words - recyclable stuff in the trash and not in the "recycling shelf" where they are supposed to be. I really felt like doing this out of own will and interest as it really bothers me that the con loses money on this and it damages the nature too. So always when I walked past a trash can I would take a look at it -the Levi way- if there is something out of place in there. I had the Nerdcon crew giving me very positive comments about my will to work and help out despite being off-duty.

In the end I didn't mind working over my shift at all as I enjoyed helping people and keeping the place clean. I felt very good within for my work-despite-off-duty contribution. Have a WINNER picture a la Levi!

Mission complete!
After that the four of us was united we spent the rest of the hours at the con doing stuff we found interesting. Sadly, we missed the cosplay competition and the "Häst and Seek" game, which is your average Hide and Seek with a twist. You see, "häst" means horse in Swedish and the people hiding are wearing horse masks and the ones seeking after them makes funny/weird noises. We missed these two activities as they were during the time we had our working shifts. I would have really wanted to see the Häst and Seek one, but oh well no can do. Maybe next time. My remaining con time went mainly to scout after bottles and cans from the con's several trash cans and taking a closer look at the stuff that the Dealer's Hall sold. At one point I found and went to watch Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki play the very first Super Mario Bros. game for NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). Oh my the nostalgia waves! I didn't feel like playing back then so I remained as a silent nostalgia-sponge-bro.

Standing at the stage area facing the Dealer's Hall room.
Board Game room.
These paper-like Super Mario characters were scattered throughout the con's main area. Gay Luigi! <3
Intro screen for the NES Super Mario Bros. game. NOSTALGIA!
There was this one Dojo Game Room with only fighting-based games. One a PS3 there, was a BlazBlue game on.
When I, Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki were volunteers the three of us got this cash check from the con crew worth 50 SEK that we could use to buy food/snacks from the cafeteria (we also got free entry to the event). I used up mine during my working shift when I took a small snack break and the two others reserved stuff for them (read: Ramune soda) after me during one point before their shift ended, I think. We were at the cafeteria when they used up their remaining money in their cash checks. Hasakitsuki had a cup of coffee and we saw the results of the cupcake workshop that had been going on during the end of our working shift (I saw them making the cupcakes at one point near the end of my shift). While relaxing our last con minutes and when I still were on a bottle and can scouting round my pals just had to take a photo of me as Pullonkeräjä!Levi, hihi.

Who's your Levi now? ~
After that, we just went to look after Hitsu and as soon as we found her we decided to leave the con for this year, head over to Hitsu's place to have a gaming night. It was getting late anyway. The con closed at 22:00 and we left a bit before 21:00 I think. Before leaving I left my "unfinished" bottle & can plastic bag to the Nerdcon crew and told them -if they are willing- to pick up the bottles and cans from the trash cans around the con before closing the con, if they want to get some free con money. The answer felt positive at least and my off-duty work was very appreciated. Once back at Hitsu's place, we talked mostly about random stuff and it just got too late to be gaming time so we headed to sleep. On Sunday morning we got up and just took the bus safely back to the walls within our hometown.

Overall, Nerdcon was a well organized, small but cozy event with a good atmosphere to match. I really look forward to work there again -hopefully- next year. I see if I can make some minor changes from this year's volunteer position until next time. I can't wait to cosplay the uniform version of Levi and run around a con and clean it, omg <3

Levi says bye for now!

Frozen Angel out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nerdcon 2014 Cosplay Plans

Hi there geeks!

Nerdcon is a brand new con that was held for the first time during 2013 in Umeå, Sweden. This year, I will attend it together with Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki and the three of us will stay at Hitsu's place as she lives in Umeå and was so kind to let us stay at her apartment during the con. I hope that we can have lots of fun together at her place! The con is only one day and held the 16th August.

This year at Nerdcon I will do something different, something that I haven't done before at a con namely be a part of the con's volunteer crew. Yes, that's right! I have during my years as a cosplayer developed an interest to see and experience cons from different perspectives, including being both a regular congoer and a con volunteer. Of course I'm excited about what I will do and because it's the first time I will work at a con! Who said that cleaning can't be exciting? Wait, did I just say "cleaning"? Yupp, I did and one does not simply "sign up" for the cleaning crew without cosplaying:

Saturday

Suit!Levi from Attack on Titan.
Everyone who knows Attack on Titan somewhat should know by now the silliness of my volunteer position and my cosplay choice. If not, then the thing is that Levi is a very serious character and also humanity's strongest soldier (in other words: he's very badass!) and he has an... obsession with cleaning! I don't have the same degree of cleaning obsession but I enjoy it when places are tidy and organized. Oh and I am waaay too often the person picking up after others as it annoys me to sky levels when there is trash lying somewhere where it shouldn't be. It's not unusual at all to see me cleaning after others as I just can't stand it. Period. The hidden rage and urge to shove my invisible mop up their arse who don't clean after themselves. But yes, I will be on a cleaning patrol at Nerdcon from 13:00 to 16:00 and be both swag and myself in-character.

See you there!

Frozen Angel out.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oulu Animeseminaari 2014 Summary

Yo!

The anime seminar was held this week from 8th-9th August. Like last year I, Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki slept over at our aunt's place as she lives in Oulu and is just so awesome! To be at our gamer aunt's place was amazing but the event itself... well, was quite the disappointment to be honest and here comes why:

Friday

I think I woke up around 10:00 (local time) had my daily morning routine and didn't even bother putting on a cosplay, so I just rolled with casual gear feat. Groudon (Pokémon) hat. Our group arrived at the event later and our first thoughts were probably something along the lines of "Is this the event? You gotta be kidding me!" it was bad, really. Outside the library there was absolutely no indicator that there was an event going on, no posters, barely any "weirdly dressed" geeks or anything of that sort. Inside, well... it wasn't any better. There was simply nothing to see or do. Almost no panels, no cosplay competition, Dealer's Hall, Artist's Alley and barely any cosplayers... it was just full of nothing!

Main entrance at Friday morning.
Indoors, next to the toilets.
The stairs leading to the library.
Main area.
Okay, here I thought that the previous anime seminars were bad but this is taking the prize! It's the lamest crap ever to be called an anime event. As there wasn't anything to see or do I spent my time with my friends outside, including Sacchan and Karri who arrived later. The day went by with some friends borrowing Sacchan's Colossal Titan (Attack on Titan) mask and having fun with it and much later my aunt had come to the seminar out of her own will. She bought an ice cream to me from the nearby ice cream bar! Thanks! I can actually call this the days highlight haha. At one point during the day I called Shiro Samurai -lost him at one point- and we decided to head back to aunt's place spending the rest of the day playing some Super Mario 3D World on her Wii U and it was a blast! We played a few stages before Sacchan had to leave -who tagged along- and continued until we reached world 3 before we went to sleep. It was way more fun than being at the event. Time well spent <3

The game's story intro playing. Photographer: Shiro Samurai.
Saturday

The three of us got up and no one of us even felt like attending the event again knowing how disappointing it was. It became an even bigger "How about no?" when we checked the forecast and saw that for the entire day they had promised more or less shitty weather. It was supposed to rain cats and dogs feat. thunderstorm. Our day went to check the market near the seminar area before the bad weather would hit us and at the market Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki bought some stuff, I didn't. We also bought some snacks for the evening and then we headed back to aunt's to keep playing some more Wii U and having a great Thai curry dish for dinner that aunt's partner made! It was really delicious! <3

The three of us stayed at aunt's place for Sunday as well until evening somewhere around 17:00 as there was no good train times for us back home during Saturday. 

Last words: 

 I really hope that Animeseminaari and the city of Oulu does something about this to keep the culture alive in the northern part of Finland. It's pretty sad that all the good cosplay events are in the south, I want to see them bloom in the north too as good as possible! Since well, people from the north also want to keep their hobby living and their wallet healthy ;)

Frozen Angel out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Oulu Animeseminaari 2014 Cosplay Plans

Hello all!

Oulun Animeseminaari is soon here again and this year it will be held at Oulu's Kaupunginkirjasto (city's library) instead of the Valve building from last year. There is good reasons for the local change like that the previous local got too expensive and small to host this kind of event in. But there was also down sides to the event from this, like for example that the cosplay competition got cancelled, Dealer's Hall sellers are not allowed to sell inside the library thus making their sales very weather dependant. What I think was the worst of these restrictions for the majority of the people attending the event is that no weapons of any kind are allowed inside the library building. This is the library's word and it's absolute. Oh well, I heard from Shiro Samurai who found out from our aunt that there is seemingly a very nice photoshoot location nearby so we should pay it a visit. Also, the event is held the 8th-9th August.

Because of the "no weapon" rule at the library I just have to roll with a character who don't have a weapon and therefore decided on:

Friday

Silver (Rival) from Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver.
I finally -with a suggestion from Shiro Samurai- decided to cosplay Silver again out of all the simple cosplays I had in my wardrobe. The last time I cosplayed him was at Närcon Vinter 2013, whoopsie ~

Saturday


Most likely I just wear my Groudon (Pokémon) hat or my pink shark one with casual gear. Right now it's leaning more towards the Groudon hat but we'll see.

See you at the seminar!

Frozen Angel out.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Närcon 2014 Summary

THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS MAJOR TALES OF SYMPHONIA SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN'T COMPLETED THE GAME/READ THE MANGA/SEEN THE ANIMATION, THEN DON'T READ/SCROLL THIS POST! DON'T CARE? SCROLL AHEAD!

Närcon - Sweden's biggest and most famous con and probably the best con to many out there. This year however, I headed there with only Sacchan by my side from my usual con company. Everything for the con was already bought so there was nothing more to do for me than to wait for Sacchan's arrival at my place, buy some snacks for the trip, pack my luggage and have our planned Attack on Titan photoshoot at Shiro Samurai and Hasakitsuki's place a day before our departure to southern Sweden.

Alright then, I think we're all ready to move towards the con summary.

Wednesday (pre-Närcon)

Wednesday the 23rd July was the day when I and Sacchan took our luggages -we had surprisingly little stuff with us this time to the con- and headed out of my apartment and towards the bus station. At the bus station we took the Norrlands Kusten bus to Luleå where our Stockholm train awaited us, just like last year. Nothing worth mentioning happened on the bus and once at Luleå we dragged our stuff to the train station, boarded the right cart to Stockholm and somehow climbed our way up to our beds in the "room" we had. Yeah, we decided to take the sleeping cart place this time as the normal seat place in a night train is horrible especially if you have a hard time to fall asleep when it's noisy, like I have. I can remember all my seat place night train trips being more or less horrible and sleep deprived. Besides, the sleeping cart place was almost the same price as the seat place. In our "room" we had the beds highest up and it was sort of troublesome (mostly for Sacchan) when there wasn't any stairs to use to get down. Myself I'm quite "creative" so I try all sort of climbing ideas to get myself up. During the trip we wore casual clothing with Attack on Titan inspiration and the character wigs, so we didn't bother with full cosplay as the weather was toast. Our trip to Stockholm went quite fast according to me and it was nice, even if we didn't do much more than speak about the con, eat our snacks and chill. Oh oh one thing! According to our tickets we had to change trains at Gävle to reach Stockholm, but I asked the person who scanned our tickets if we could take the train to Stockholm directly and just skip the Gävle train to make it easier for us. Besides, I had a gut feeling that something with the Gävle train would screw up. It was absolutely fine with them as the price would still be the same. A couple of hours later I got a sms from SJ (the train company we traveled with) saying that the Gävle - Stockholm train we were meant to take had been cancelled. I smiled to myself when I got the text message and thanked my gut feeling. Now the train will take us straight to Stockholm, yiihoo!

~ Attention troops! ~

In this post I will write two lists of what I think was good and less-good about the con at the end of this summary and why my con opinion is as it is. This means that a few details from specific days will be listed at the end of this post along with my opinions about it, instead of being included during the actual day it happened.

Alright, with that being said let's move on to the actual con days.

Thursday

I don't remember exactly when I got up but I think it was around 08:00 and I played some Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology on my PSP until the clock was 10:00, then I decided to wake Mikasa-täti Sacchan up, as we would be in Stockholm around 11:00. Once at Stockholm we took our stuff and went to search for the area where the Närcon buses would be and depart. The Närcon bus would take congoers straight from either Stockholm or Göteborg to Närcon which is very nice and cheap. If you took the Närcon bus you wouldn't need to bother with a train to Linköping first and then a taxi to the con/hotel. We took one of the buses to the con and the bus was just like any other bigger bus featuring a toilet. Finally at the con we were looking for that expected, mega long con band line somewhere but to our positive surprise the con had a better idea than growing huge lines of people. This year Närcon had 4 con band stations -what I heard- spread out in different locations outside the con, where you could line up to get your ticket. This way, we got our tickets pretty fast and without problems. We searched for Psycho Cat -who we are gonna share the hotel room with- and once we found them, the three of us headed to the hotel to change to cosplays and to take shelter from the extreme heat. I think it was at least 27 degrees at this time during the day! Our hotel was 1,7 km away from the con -in other words, pretty close- so it wasn't that bad to walk there but the heat was almost unbearable! It was super nice when we finally reached the hotel and could take a cold shower, relax a bit after the journey, unpack our stuff and later head back to the con. The shower was the most desired thing at the hotel. I were a bit "meh" over that they didn't have a fridge or even a microwave, c'mon Scandic even the cheap Omenahotels in Finland have that kind of stuff! When everyone had their cosplays on for the day and were ready we walked back to the con. I cosplayed Suit!Levi and Sacchan was Wings of Counterattack!Mikasa Ackerman both from Attack on Titan and Psycho Cat cosplayed Kabuto Yakushi from Naruto.

 At the con I hanged around with my hotel company during the whole day and we checked the many Dealer's Hall rooms several times (the building is very confusing, it's like a maze especially the "shopping sector"). I saw some goods that I got interested in but I decided to observe as I had no money on me and I knew that the most stores don't take debit card. We didn't attend any panels or events that day either. Later, somewhere during the evening and forward I and Sacchan went to hang out with my good friends Prince and SilverRacoon. This year they had their close friend Kim with them who travelled all the way from America to Närcon and who was super fun and awesome! We grew quickly friends! I took some photos of a few cosplayers and things that I found nice during the day:

A bulletin near the cafeteria area with all the different kinds of Närcon's "good to know about" posters. Some were really nice! Explanation text in Swedish only!
My personal favorite poster.
School versions of Eren Yaeger, Armin Arlert and Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan) feat. sunglasses!
The professor from The Powerpuff Girls! Nostalgia!
Finnish Armin Arlert and Bertolt Hoover (Attack on Titan) cosplayer.
Somewhere around 22:00 I think, I and Sacchan headed towards the hotel to have some sleep and we said goodnight to Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim and then we left. Psycho Cat had already left for the hotel earlier than us. By the way, I was toasting so much in my Suit!Levi cosplay and I don't even want to think about how warm it was for my Mikasa-chan!

Friday

Friday morning started with that our group of three got up and went to eat breakfast in the hotel that was included in the hotel price. The breakfast was good, I especially liked the mango yoghurt and the bread they had! With our tummies full we headed back to our room, lagged a bit and changed to our cosplays. My cosplay for Friday was Pre-Game!Kratos Aurion with Sacchan as Anna Irving both from Tales of Symphonia. Psycho Cat decided to be Kabuto again. Finally at the con after a toasting walk, we just walked around the con and went to check this one seller who sold fans, keychains, plushies and posters etc and I really wanted the Attack on Titan fan. Mainly because I really needed it in the warm con weather and it also had a cool design and c'mon I don't have a fan to start with! How am I supposed to survive the coming summer cons without one? I quickly realized when I stood in front of the seller that I didn't have any money on me -still only debit card- and it didn't hit to take out some when we were near the ATM (machine you take out paper money from). Psycho Cat was so kind to lend me enough for the fan and I promised to pay them back when I had the correct amount at hand before the con ended. Later during the day they wanted to hang with their own friends so we split up for the rest of the day. I and Sacchan went to find and wait for MangaRINer so that we could have our planned Aurion family time-fuck photoshoot as MangaRINer really wanted to cosplay Lloyd Irving (Tales of Symphonia) now when there actually was someone cosplaying the character's real parents namely - Kratos Aurion and Anna Irving. MangaRINer's friends both old and new -I think?- joined the small photoshoot and we had fun doing it and sharing photo ideas. I hope that I can get the photos from the later photoshoot as a memory. I grew quickly friends with one new friend of MangaRINer's who cosplayed as Veigue Lungberg from Tales of Rebirth. I and Sacchan spent a good chunk of time being with these people. At one point during the evening we went to watch the CMV contest that was a "warm-up" before the Hall Cosplay competition. We went to watch it mainly because MangaRINer and their friends made one of the CMV entries. Personally I think the first shown CMV was the best one but all were good, more or less. The funniest ones was the one my friends did and the one with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cosplayers. After the CMV contest we said goodnight to MangaRINer and their company as they went to sleep. We went to spend the rest of the evening together with Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim again. We had a blast! Here is some photos from Friday:

World of Warcraft cosplayers? I'm not sure but their costumes were amazing!
The Närcon grill this year, it had changed location from the previous year. The grill was on the road leading to the con's main sleeping accommodation place (read: classrooms).
Beauty and the Beast cosplayers! My second favorite Disney movie! <3
Bowser with his Princess Peach harem! I loved the originality of this idea! xD
Heisuke Tōdō from Hakuōki: Shinsengumi Kitan.
Just a picture from the beginning of the CMV contest.
Saturday

Saturday was perhaps our most awaited day as the Tales of Gathering were on this day and I had been looking forward to meet all the people from last year's Närcon. We got up around 08:00 I think, had breakfast like usual and changed to our Tales of Symphonia cosplays, in a bit of a hurry. I cosplayed Kratos Aurion and Sacchan rolled with Sheena Fujibayashi. Once with our cosplays on, Sacchan helped Psycho Cat with their Amaimon (Blue Exorcist) cosplay nails and then we left for the con as we had a meet to catch. When we were almost at the con I picked up my phone and we realized that we were too late for the first meet at 11:00 so we had to aim to be there on the one at 12:00 instead. Inside the con, we took a look around if there was any Tales of cosplayers around but there wasn't so we decided to take a quick look at this one Dealer's Hall seller's stuff who sold the most interesting stuff -according to both of us- before it was time for the second meet. We had barely time to check the merchandises before Sacchan pointed at the clock and asked if the second meet was supposed to be 12:00. I said it was and then we hurried back to the main area and there was -almost- all the other Tales of cosplayers waiting. We went to secure our spots and a lot of congoers took our photos (we were around 20+ cosplayers just like last year) and when all the photographing was done, I thought it was the perfect time to pick a chat with some of the peeps from last year. But as soon as I turned around and was ready to hit a chat all of the other Tales of cosplayers -except for Prince and MangaRINer's friends- had left! You bet if I felt "meh" afterwards! I mean, I've been looking forward to meet these peeps again and I didn't even get a chance to speak with them after picking up my stuff and preparing myself mentally. Laaaaame *cough*

After the "meet" I and Sacchan went back to that same seller and if I remember right she bought this one Colossal Titan (Attack on Titan) mask for shit and giggles and later during the day I bought two Hakuōki figurines, one for Shiro Samurai and the other one for Hasakitsuki, they will pay me back for it later. I also got a free Teepo (Tales of Xillia) magnet from one of the Namco Bandai workers at the con, it was the only freebie that I wanted from what they had. Somewhere around 13:00-14:00 I think, I went to have my "yearly talk" with MangaRINer that both of us had been looking really forward to. I had a really nice time talking with them and I knew they had as well. When we were done talking they returned to their friends and I went to find Sacchan. Sacchan told me that the Sheena cosplay had made her breathing uncomfortable so we decided to head to the hotel to take a small break, despite having our legs and backs hurting pretty much from all the walking. Also, some of the knuckle details from my Kratos cosplay had came off and disappeared during the meet and I felt I needed a break too. Oh and I needed to take out some money too! We headed towards our hotel and along the way the rubber band on my left Kratos shoe snapped. Great, now I really had a reason to change cosplays. At the hotel I changed to casual Levi and Sacchan to casual Mikasa Ackerman and I must say that it felt great to have an easy cosplay on after going as Kratos half day! Back at the con we spent the rest of the evening hanging with Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim, ate at McDonald's which was near the con area -there wasn't anything else nearby- and missed the Tales of Panel's beginning time by a sliver, nooooes! We had planned to watch it and both of our friend groups were participating in it and I heard afterwards that it was hilarious! Luckily it was recorded, so we will see it someday, yaay! At late evening Sacchan felt like turning into a titan and make some funny things when wearing the Colossal Titan mask (I took photos of course!) and go plot twist! Colossal Titan!Mikasa! Nah, just kidding!

Anyway, we had fun in our casual Attack on Titan cosplays and later we went outside to try one of the new fruity drinks that Närcon had this year from Josbaren - the Charmander drink. If I remember right it had mango, raspberry and orange or something like that in it. It was pretty cool but it didn't beat the Super Mario drink according to me. During the day I ran into some familiar faces like Arche (our Raine from last year), Mighty, Sabi etc and I was glad to get all my affairs done during that day and Friday. Here is the Saturday photos, peeps!



That Colossal Titan though! xD
The "sweet corner" at the main building. Pretty popular, always people there.
Glassbaren (ice cream bar) and the Josbaren (fruity drink bar) in the same tent.
Waluigi! <3 from Super Mario.
Before we headed to sleep for the day we ran into a Levi and Eren Yaeger cosplayer and Sacchan wanted to have a photo with them as Colossal Titan!Mikasa feat. my mop. We arrived at the hotel almost the same time as Psycho Cat. We spoke a bit with each other before we headed to bed.

Sunday

The last con day and I didn't even feel as laggy as I use to on Sundays. I guess that's a good thing? We got up from our cozy beds, had breakfast and then we changed to our Sunday cosplays. It was interesting for me to put on Dio's bandage for the first time -he has only one eye so I need to cover my left one- as I had no clue how feels to only be able to see with one eye, I didn't see through the bandage. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and neither did it cause me any kind of headache in the length. With the cosplay on (no makeup) and the bandage over my left eye -I later found out that I should have covered the right one- I was done. I cosplayed Dio and Sacchan cosplayed as Aya Drevis both from Mad Father. We were excited to cosplay these two characters because during the other days we had seen two other cosplayers from Mad Father namely Aya and Alfred Drevis, Aya's father. So we were really hoping that we would run into them during the day! The con ended 16:00 and we didn't really go anywhere or checked anything as we decided to leave our luggage at the main entrance together with Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim's luggage. It was this spot where many congoers had left their luggages for a quick and easy access to it later when leaving the con. No one of us could be bothered to line up at the mega long line to the Garderoben and pay a small sum for storing them there. When we had our stuff near the entrance we had this thing that at least one of us had to stay and watch the stuff if anyone wanted/needed to go somewhere. This was no problem as there was always someone who didn't feel like going anywhere. While waiting at the entrance these other Mad Father cosplayers almost passed us by, before we waved at them and told them to come to us as we really wanted a group photo. They were happy to see other people cosplaying from the game and expected themselves to be the only ones, lolnope!

We chatted with Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim until the clock was somewhere around 14:30 and then we all had to head to our respective departure areas to later get home. But before we had to leave I got the promised Attack on Titan boots from Prince for free (thank you so muuuch, really! <3) which was his old ones that he could give away as he had bought new, better and more comfortable ones to himself. After this I and Sacchan went to change back to normal gear and I took my chance to try out the new boots. The ones I've been using during the whole con started to really hurt so I was glad having a change of boots! Okay, having the newly received boots on was like balsam for the toes as they were singing Hallelujah in unison! I cut it right to the core - they were easily my most comfortable cosplay shoes ever! So comfortable that I almost didn't want to take them off during the train trip back home! With both of us in normal gear and back at the main entrance, it was time to say goodbye to Prince, SilverRacoon and Kim and oh dang I'm gonna miss you guys so freaking much! We followed them outside, gave our final hugs to each other and went separate ways. I and Sacchan spent the last con minutes by waiting at the line for the Närcon bus to take us to Stockholm. There was nothing really interesting on the way back home it was pretty much the same as the way down to Närcon. But we enjoyed our trip back home despite having our train being 4 hours and 30 minutes late. Oh well, shit happens!

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Alright. Now when the main Närcon day summaries are behind it's time for my opinion post about the good and the less-good things during the con. Let's start!

Good:

+ The variety of merchandise. For the first time -according to me- it felt like that the sellers sold different stuff compared to the previous years. But overall, there was only one store selling t-shirts, another focusing on figurines, a third on contact lenses etc. Keep this up!

+ New drinks in Josbaren & Glassbaren. Not only one but at least 3-4! Great!

+ Artist's Alley got an own building with lots of space and one that actually was comfy to visit and not crowded, despite the amount of people there. Good location hence a bit far from the main building.

+ The line system this year to get the con band was super smooth! Närcon had fixed more than one station where congoers could scan their tickets to get their con bands. With this system Närcon can leave the old-fashioned "it's-taking-forever" ticket line behind. Awesome!

Bad:

- The whole con atmosphere, seriously. I couldn't feel the con hype like the past years, the majority of the congoers felt somehow annoyed or something and it was more like a zombie apocalypse edition this year.

- That the Kårallen house was for crew people only this year. Yeah, I can understand it being closed during a competition after that it has started and all but why have it closed this year when the closest ATM is there? Närcon should know that many congoers spends a lot of money at cons, runs out of it and needs to take out more somewhere. Want to sell? Make it as easy as possible for the congoers to take it out somewhere - preferably as close to the con area as possible. This year the closest ATM was at Hemköp -so far I know- about 1,7 kms away from the con area. So who wants to travel with hurting feet and legs, uncomfortable shoes, hurting backs and other body parts in a toasting weather for 1,7 kms raise your hand! Do you see any hands up? Personally, I would only go that distance with hurting body parts if I really, really had to (read: for example if a cosplay broke).

- The overall information and lack of direction signs. Alright, not only was the atmosphere bad but so was seemingly the information of the con too according to how it felt and what I heard from friends. I feel lucky at least knowing that I got accurate answers about the Närcon bus when it was time to head back. Apart from this, it feels like the con was just a mess. I heard from friends of mine who asked for help and no one knew anything what was going on and directed them to the wrong people/place. Neither did people really bother speaking English with them which really annoyed my friends (they're not Swedish). I also missed out interesting activities like the Cosplay Board Games' Cosplay Chess (sure, I heard what time it was but were was it?), the food festival and the vattenkrig (water war) game that I heard afterwards was one of the con's highlights. When I and my hotel friends were heading for the camping area once, there wasn't a single sign along the way stating if we even were on the right track. This is especially important if Närcon plans to aim at being an International con and have guests and visitors outside of Sweden. Make sure that there is proper signs in English -at least- clearly marking and showing what is going on, where and when! Oh and please keep the programs in Swedish and English too. All of them. Be a good image Närcon! I want you to be it not only for the con but for the sake of Sweden's con reputation too! Närcon is the biggest and most famous con in Sweden, remember? So make sure that it lives up to it too! ;)

- Organization. The con just felt very unorganized and unfinished somehow compared to previous years, like that it slipped out of the hands of the crew and organizers. I'm now going after what my friends told me and felt and partly from my own experience. Personally I think Närcon took a too big step to increase the amount of visitors from around 4500 to 7000 in just one year. One year. This big increase really needs proper planning and I felt it was here where the con and its information fell short. It would be wiser to take a small increase of visitors each year and see how it rolls, if good by all means make it bigger. But make sure that all the details and administration stuff works according to the con's size too!

- The food. I have read and heard that Närcon had planned to increase their amount of food variations. Sure they did, but was it good? No. Even McDonald's was better compared to what the con had from own and friends experience again. Cheaper, better and faster. I had one of my friend's Creams telling me how dry and tasteless the Närcon grill burgers was. I wish Närcon really does something about this in the future. Food is an essential part of staying healthy and have the energy to be active at the con.

I guess that covers it up. I also thought about skipping Närcon for a few years and see were it's going. The con is getting more expensive and at the same time less-good -in my opinion- right now. In the length if Närcon stays or keeps it up like this, I'm gonna leave it be and visit other cons unless Närcon either gets that amazing Guest of Honor that I really don't want to miss or changes to the better. But yeah, I will observe for now and see what happens and read others' stories about future Närcons. When living in northern Sweden it's expensive to travel south and Finland's cons overall are just so much better organized than Närcon was this year. They are also much cheaper both con and travel wise, learn from Finland big brother. I'm sad that I won't see my friends for a while but I'm sure we can solve this somehow. Oh and I also figured along with some friends and Sacchan at the con that if I go to Närcon in the future, it would be wiser to take the train to Helsinki first, then the boat over to Stockholm and if Creams and her friend can give us a ride to Närcon straight from Stockholm, it will be worth it. Also considering other options.

That's all I have to say about Närcon this year and I'm honestly more disappointed than satisfied with it and I don't know what I would do there without Prince or MangaRINer and their friends. These peeps deserve a "Best company of the year" medals for simply being an amazing company during all the days.

Thank you for reading and I'm out.

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See a photo of yourself in this post? Want it? Just send me a mail and I will send the photo to you in its original size! My mail address is MercenaryKratos@gmail.com. You can also contact me if you took my photo during the con.

Frozen Angel out.