Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Närcon 2013 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!

Mine, Shiro Samurai and Sacchan's trip to Närcon started on last week's Wednesday. We took the train to Linköping like usual and the trip went well, nothing interesting happened during the trip. There was just random eating candies, derping and talking. We went to sleep kinda early when we got aboard the train because it was already late. For me, it felt like the trip there went quite fast.

BEWARE OF TEXT AND PHOTO HEAVY CON SUMMARY!

Thursday

When we arrived at the con at Thursday around 10:00-11:00 we put up our tent -or mostly Sacchan did when she was the only experienced one- at the camping area. Once the tent was up we went inside it to just chill. We had walked to the con from the Resecentrum and it was quite the walk so we all were very tired and drenched in sweat, a break was great. Later we went to the ticket line to get our con bands and the line moved faster than last year, at least according to me. When our group had finally gotten their con bands we went to pick up our cosplays from the tent. I went first to the con area to change to Kratos Aurion (Tales of Symphonia) because the clock was already around 15:00 or so and Närcon's Guest of Honor -Hideo Baba- would be there around 18:00 and it felt quite pointless to put on Keisuke Sannan (Hakuōki: Shinsengumi Kitan) first and then change it pretty soon to Kratos. Not to mention that Keisuke Sannan would take a crap lot of time to put on. I headed for the con with my Kratos cosplay in my bag.

I put on more makeup than usual when well... Hideo Baba. C'mon you gotta look good in front of him! When I was in full cosplay I started to walk around the con's indoor area in hope of running into other Tales of cosplayers. I didn't take long before I saw a Genis Sage and a Mithos (Tales of Symphonia) cosplayer heading into one of the Activity Rooms at the con and I followed them inside, just to say hello to them. They were talking with their friend and once they noticed me -who stood silently for a minute or two and waited- they got startled at first and said "Oh it's Kratos!" which made me smile a bit, heh. We chatted a bit and headed to the con's main entrance area and I saw Hideo Baba there! I walked with Mithos and Genis and they didn't seem to notice Hideo Baba so I told Mithos "Isn't that Hideo Baba?" and they turned around and went like "Oh my... ! It's Baba-san!" so we walked up to him and asked for pictures. First just Mithos and Genis and later the three of us. What especially made me happy was that when I walked up to him he looked at me like "Wow, Kratos!" for a second, like he didn't expect to see someone cosplaying him here. He greeted me with a handshake and said the character's name in Japanese (pronounced: Kuratosu) and oh dear how I smiled like a jerk within!

Me (Kratos Aurion), Hideo Baba, Genis Sage and Mithos. Photographer: Shiro Samurai.
What he was doing at the entrance area of the con seemed like some kind of preparations for interviews or so, I don't really know. The main event with him was supposed to be at the scene outside during 18:00. I went there with MangaRINer and some other Tales of Symphonia cosplayers. The event was just simply dang amazing! He introduced and told us about Tales of Xillia, Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Symphonia: Chronicles all of them for PlayStation 3. I must admit and say that I have no plans to buy any of them when I don't own a PS3 and I am satisfied with just the original Tales of Symphonia for Nintendo GameCube, even if I like the add-ons and extras in the Chronicles version. I really enjoyed seeing Baba-san there at the stage even if it rained a lot. He was so excited and happy and I could tell that he was really doing something that he loved and he did it with all his heart. It was clear to me that Tales of is something very important to him, it's his life and he enjoys it and shows it! This is the most beautiful thing of all that I can feel from a person... true happiness, that you really are in the right place in life and breathe what you create with passion. During the event Baba-san had taken some Tales of goods with him from Japan and to get them you had to play rock-paper-scissors with him and the audience. The winner got the item he was featuring before the game started. Myself I didn't win anything but I didn't really mind either because I enjoyed myself anyway and I had already felt what I valued the most - Hideo Baba's happiness. But Prince from Närcon Vinter won an, I think it was a Tales of Xillia thermo mug. Oh and I must say that the official opening song to Tales of Xillia gave me goosebumps, I didn't know what they sang about until MangaRINer told me and I went like "No wonder the goosebumps, this is deep...". The opening was played during the Hideo Baba event and on the game consoles where you could play Tales of Xillia during the convention, I always stopped and listened to it when I was near and heard it. So beautiful...

After the main event he went indoors to the entrance area to sign different kinds of goods from and to the fans and to pose with the Tales of cosplayers who asked him for a photo. It was getting late and when I were in the signature line together with the same company I had outside, I remembered that I were supposed to change to Keisuke Sannan. But I really didn't feel like it. I felt at heart that now, more than ever, I wanted to cosplay Kratos to show my love towards the Tales of games, fans and to Hideo Baba himself. So I stayed as Kratos the whole day and was with MangaRINer and their company. I stood in the line waiting to get my Tales of Symphonia signed by Hideo Baba together with MangaRINer and the others. I had originally planned to take my Tales of the Abyss (3DS) with me too, but I haven't played it yet so it would feel quite weird to just take it with me. It would be like "I love this game but I haven''t played it yet!" Awkward? Yes. Tales of Symphonia is the game that has always been the closest to my heart and my first Tales of game. It was something very special for me to get it signed so I only took that one with me for now.

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

The line for getting goods signed by Hideo Baba. Notice the amount of Tales of cosplayers there!
When I were approaching Baba-san's table.
After getting your goods signed you could take a photo together with Hideo Baba <3
My Tales of Symphonia booklet signed by Hideo Baba. Photographer: Me.
Tales of poster that was a gift from Baba-san with his signature on. Photographer: Me.
When almost all of the fans had gotten their goods signed by Hideo Baba, the group of Tales of cosplayers at the con planned a small "surprise thing" for Baba-san. We all went in front of his signature table -cosplayers from mostly Graces and Symphonia- and waited until he was done with the signatures and then one of the cosplayers (I think it was our Malik or one of our Asbel's) counted down from 3 to 1 and then we all said "HIDEO BABA WE LOVE YOU!" together and bowed afterwards. Baba-san's expression was a glorious sight! It looked like he was about to explode of happiness! He must surely have been excited and maybe a bit nervous and surprised when he was signing the last goods and saw us all in front of him, just waiting for something. I was so happy when Baba-san himself (I think?) wanted a picture with all of us! So we all went and posed next to and around him and oh holy banana cake how many folks there was taking photos of us! I just can't express myself enough, this was something totally amazing and magical for me and I bet it were so for all the others too! Oh how I wish at the bottom of my heart that Baba-san himself enjoyed it as much as we all fans did!

Most of the con's Tales of cosplayers in a photo together with Hideo Baba.
After Hideo Baba's main event he said that he'd like to visit Närcon again next year and would like to spend more time with the fans or so my friends told me. I really hope he does! As I regret quite a lot that I didn't make some kind of gift to him to show him my gratitude towards the game series and to tell him what the series has meant for me, especially Symphonia. Sad Kratos is sad, it's so not like me to not give gifts to people I respect but I just didn't think about that in time! Hideo Baba was at the convention from 18:00 to 19:30 and a bit earlier too, seemingly. After that he had left I hanged around with MangaRINer and their company for the rest of the evening. When I became tired I headed for le tent to sleep. It had rained during the night so my poster was a bit moisturized on the next morning. Damn!

Friday

You know the feeling when you have been sleeping in a tent, freezing your ass off in the night and sweating like a pig when you wake up? Then you know how my night and morning was. I totally didn't feel like staying in bed so I got up early, headed to the con and changed to my Yamato "Matt" Ishida (Digimon) cosplay. I was glad that I headed early to the con because Shiro Samurai text me later and said that it started raining cats and dogs. When I was at the con I went to Cosplay Board Games' room to inform them that I am still here, even if I forgot to do it yesterday and told them that Shiro Samurai will arrive later. Soon afterwards I ran into Prince and SilverRacoon (now cosplaying from Attack on Titan) and we just walked around, spoke about everything between sky and earth and I completely lost track of time. Yeah, I totally forgot about the Cosplay Chess preparations which were 10:00 and I decided to not attend it in the end. I spent the rest of the day with Prince and SilverRacoon. Strolling around the con during the day I found myself a Hakuōki messenger bag from the Dealer's Hall and a Tales of Symphonia print from the Artist's Alley. Around 01:20 I went to sleep.

Saturday

A day that I and my friends have been waiting for since months - the Tales of Symphonia meet day. As usual I woke up from my super warm Emo Kakuna sleeping bag, put on parts of the Kratos cosplay and headed for the con to put on the rest of the cosplay. Once I got my cosplay on I went outside to wait until the clock was 12:00 to gather as many Tales of Symphonia cosplayers for our meet as possible. We waited about 20 minutes after 12:00 had passed to wait in the ones who might be late. I later remembered that our Raine was supposed to be Arche Kleine (Tales of Phantasia) at the small Cosplay Chess and would be late, so we headed for the photo studio with the ones we had. We had everyone except Raine, Presea and Decus (Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World) in our group. But when we reached the photo studio we were told that we can't photoshoot there for the time being so no photo studio for us. Shiro Samurai came with the suggestion that we should head to the con's outdoor area as there was a good photoshooting location there. We all went there and the area was perfect for our purpose!

Tales of Symphonia time!

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

The official picture pose reversed with Lloyd, Colette and Kratos in our way.
When Raine arrived they had some bakery with them. Everybody knows how good of a chef Raine is!
It actually wasn't so bad...
...or maybe not.
Tales of Symphonia group without Raine and our Genis.
Triple Colette!
Triple Sheena!
Kratos & Zelos.
MangaRINer came later and told me that the area reminded them of Torrent Forest and the fight between Lloyd and Kratos there, which is a very iconic and special fight in the game. We did some fighting poses to resemble that fight!





The feels... <3
After the Tales of Symphonia meet when the cosplayers started to go their own ways I and MangaRINer went to talk some deeper stuff with just the two of us. After that, I returned to Prince and SilverRacoon's company. I spent the rest of the day together with them. Once during the day I felt quite sad for personal reasons so I went away from my company (read: I lost them later) a short while to sort my thoughts. On the way to a quiet place one person who was heading inside the con building patted my shoulder when walking past me and said "Amazing Kratos cosplay!" I was surprised to hear that and answered "T-thanks!" to them. I always carry the fear inside me that people will look down on me because of my height and I am really grateful for those who look at my cosplay and not my height. Anyway, that comment made me feel a bit better. During the day I got three people telling me that my Kratos cosplay was amazing and one of them were probably around 30+! We talked a bit and they said that they had beaten the game over 10 times if not even more, just because they loved the story so much! At 21:00 or was it 18:00 all the Tales of cosplayers had decided to meet and take group photos with each other, like some kind of Tales of Gathering. I joined them first as the photographer then jumped in the gang.

Tales of Gathering group. Photographer: Me.
I went to sleep around 22:00 or so. On my way back to the tent one of my shoes decided to broke and so did my sheath's metallic part during the day as well. It was glued in place with silicon and my dad said that it will never fall off. Fat lie, haha.

Sunday

I crawled out of Emo Kakuna and my throat felt crap but still I took my cosplay and headed to the con. My cosplay for the day was Pre-Game!Kratos Aurion and I had my Lloyd Irving plushie with me, just like in Skecon. When I had my cosplay on and walked in the entrance area I saw Ron cosplaying as Asbel Lhant (Tales of Graces) sitting on one of the benches there. I quickly walked past them, hoping that they didn't notice that I was carrying a Lloyd plushie. I know that Ron hasn't played Tales of Symphonia as they told me this during Thursday, so in this case I would have been a major walking spoiler for them. I just hope that I didn't spoil anything! I ran into Prince and SilverRacoon later and joined them again for their amazing company.

During the day I roamed the con area with my trusted camera and snapped some photos of different locations and such. At one point when I was outdoors, I came across this nice Gary Oak (Pokémon) cosplayer who recognized my cosplay and said "Hey, you're that version of Kratos that's in the United World opening and in the manga!" I died a few times over after hearing that, someone knew this version! Ermahglerb! <3

Trainer Red (right) and Gary Oak (left) from Pokémon.
My Link milkshake feat Lloyd plushie.
The front area with the grill and the con's outdoor food places.
The Josbaren and Glassbaren where you could get fruity drinks and awesome milkshakes.
I went indoors to take some photos of the Tales of Xillia announcement thing -before it gets taken down- the Tales of Xillia game console next to it, a PVC figurine collection in one of the con's rooms. Yeah, you were allowed to take photos there and the nerdy Närcon photo which was hanging together with other events/happenings that has been known to Linköping city.

The nerdy Närcon photo hanging in the university's wall.
Some persons PVC figurine collections. Focus on the Dizzy figurine from Guilty Gear.
PVC collection, focus on the Milla Maxwell figurine from Tales of Xillia.
Tales of Xillia announcement poster together with the game console where you could play the game before the official release.
Close up on the poster.
When the clock was getting closer to 16:00 it was time to say farewell to this year's Närcon. I said farewell to all the friends I could spot before I had to take the taxi together with Sacchan and Shiro Samurai to the Resecentrum. Once at the Resecentrum we bought something to eat for the trip back home and boarded the train once it was time to leave Linköping. During the trip back home Shiro Samurai suddenly poked me in the butt and I turned around annoyed... only to hear him saying that my pants had cracked up. Guess if I were glad to hear that?

This happened to me at Närcon 2013:

- I met Hideo Baba and got my Tales of Symphonia signed.

- I played rock-paper-scissors with Hideo Baba and the audience during his main event.

- Had a lot of fun in the Tales of Symphonia meet during Saturday.

 However, I was not only in for pleasant surprised when three of my cosplays broke -in some way- during the con. This is what broke:

- The metallic part came loose on my Kratos sword sheath.

- The rubber band at the back of one of my Kratos shoes broke.

- My Kratos wig's spikes fell down thanks to heavy rain.

- The ribbons around one of my Keisuke Sannan sword sheath's started fraying in mega speed!

- My Pre-Game!Kratos pants cracked. Sweet.

Now when I get home I at least have things to take care of, haha! Thanks for reading and see you all later!

Psst this was the best Närcon ever for me! <3

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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.

4 comments:

  1. Så jäklar glad att höra hur dina dagar på Närcon var, låter as trevligt. Jag är super glad att du fick träffa Hideo Baba och allt. ^____^

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  2. Meeting Hideo Baba sounds so awesome! It's indeed so nice when the makers like the thing they do and are so nice to the fans!

    Also great that there were so many other Tales of cosplayers, it's always so much fun in a group!

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  3. If Baba comes next year I want to do a Tales of Symphonia cosplay too! 8D

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  4. I'm happy that you had a blast at Narcon, bro! You're so lucky for getting to meet/get your pic taken with Hideo Baba. =D

    Love those Tales of pictures so much, especially the “Raine's bakery” ones. XD Hope you get your broken cosplays fixed.

    ReplyDelete