I didn’t go far for GoDaikoCon 2015 — it was the closest anime convention I’ve been to yet, about 40 miles from home. And the place where I work was on the way, which helped on Friday, and Sunday too, sadly. The event was at a Marriott in Auburn Hills, Michigan, small but featuring awesome guests and events. Voice actors Greg Ayres, Tia Ballard, and Johnny Yong Bosch are all favorites of mine, starring in several anime series I’ve liked from early on (just a few years ago), like Angel Beats, Fairy Tail, and Haruhi Suzumiya.

From left, Johnny, Greg, and Tia at their voice actors panel.

Heading down to the convention after work on Friday, I wasn’t particularly planning to cosplay. However, a panel that day was titled “Disney Princess Tia,” probably because the voice actress played Snow White at Disneyland for a time, she likes Princess Peach, and other stuff.

This reminded me I was still holding on to my brother’s suit of chainmail armor and helm. I borrowed them for the Michigan Renaissance Festival in September, but they also seemed appropriate for a Disney princess thing. Tia never planned to cosplay as a princess at the convention. I knew this because I asked her on Twitter (one of the things I like about life in the second decade of the 21st century is being able to do that sort of thing).

“I won’t be cosplaying but everything is princess attire when you’re a princess at heart,” Tia tweeted. “Same with knights!”

But when I have chainmail armor, a lot of events look like opportunities to wear chainmail armor.

~tia and me1
This is me, protecting Tia with my sword. Begone, foul beast!
Foul beast begonned. Huzzah!

I changed from my work clothes into the armor in the parking lot of the hotel. I was wearing tights, actually my running pants, so I didn’t break any laws or anything. I’m getting good at putting that thing on. I wandered around a bit and got my picture taken a couple times, which was cool. I stopped by the Maid Cafe for a dinner of Ramen noodles, chocolate Pocky, and strawberry Ramune soda.

Darling Doubutsu maids! “Doubutsu” means “animal” in Japanese, hence the rabbit ears. She taught me how to open a marble-capped Ramune bottle.
And a run in with an assassin! Yes, we are both grown men.

JYB  and his edge-rock band Eyeshine performed twice, and I made it to both shows. Friday’s was a musical Q&A, and Saturday night was the actual concert. Great show, with songs from their album Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight, which I got in 2013 when I saw them at Anime Crossroads, and their newest album Sidewalk Dreams and Chalk Dust, which I got at GoDaikoCon. Lead guitarist Polo climbed up on this huge speaker, which was awesome. He didn’t dive into the crowd, fortunately. That would have been bad.

I got a set list and asked the band to autograph it!
Concert pic! I’m at right in my Flint from GI Joe cosplay, with the beret.

Saturday morning, Tia hosted “Happy’s Fairy Tail Panel.” Near the end of it, I asked her to explain her secret to success, in Happy’s voice. In the Fairy Tail anime and manga, Happy is a magical blue cat who can talk and fly and is a key member of the Fairy Tail guild. I might have filmed and posted Tia’s response on Youtube.

If the player doesn’t work or something, here’s a transcript:

TIA: Alright, so… Happy the cat gives you… life advice? Secret to your success.

ME: Secret to your success.

TIA: Cause he’s so successful…  in life…

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hey, he gets free fish.

TIA: He does get a lot of fish, and that’s really what matters. I mean, I get a lot of fish so obviously I know what I’m talking about. Alright … ahemememem … I gotta figure out something to say, hang on … this stuff’s usually scripted! Ahhhahhah… um… alright….

TIA AS HAPPY: Alright people, we’re going to have an intimate moment. And by intimate, I mean me, you, and alllllllll these people sitting with you. We’re all best friends now.

If there’s ever a time, that you feel not really like you, or you feel like you want to be her, or you want to be him, or you think that you’re not very good at something, you’re a liar!!!

You’re a filthy, stinking liar!!

You’re a liar, liar, pants. On. Fire.

And you should never listen to yourself cause you’re so just such a gross disgusting liar but!

That is because you’re amazing in real life.

So. Two things. Secret to success, right here, number one!

Never listen to yourself.

That’s number one.

Number twoooo … is to always listen to yourself.

Do you know what I’m saying? Do you get, what I’m saying?

It’s all in here. It’s all in your hearts. OK?

Believe in yourself.

But never believe in yourself.

And that’s… the secret to my success.

Thank you very much. Have to get that feeling out (or something like that).

US: cheers, laughter, applause.

TIA AS TIA: And I think, I can call this panel, with that.

Tia is about the only person anywhere I would ask to do such a thing. Maybe Monica Rial. I wasn’t the only fan to ask a voice actor to go above and beyond the usual Q&A, though. One fellow asked Johnny Yong Bosch at his panel to read with him a comic he created, in the voice of the piece’s villain.

Improv and now a dramatic reading! This is why I like these things.

I drew a couple pictures for Tia’s autograph session on Saturday afternoon. One was of Chiho Sasaki, a character she voices for the show Devil is a Part-timer. She works at a fast-foot restaurant in Tokyo with the “devil,” a Sauron-ish character from a world of fantasy brought to modern-day Japan through magic where he must make a living as a normal boy (mostly).

The drawing is good, but put the right inscription on it and it becomes priceless!

I also drew a picture of Happy the cat. He’s one of Tia’s favorite characters because he’s sassy but brave and true, and blue in color. That one I gave to her.

I wrote the inscription on this one! I think she appreciated it, and liked that I put my name on it.
Another picture with Tia! Then she hugged me. A good day it was. She’s wearing an Eminem shirt she just bought, in honor of being in the Detroit area. Do princesses like Eminem? Yes. Yes they do.

One more cool thing about Tia is she totes a prayer box to conventions and other events. She invites people to write about whatever personal issues, problems, concerns, hopes, dreams, or whatever on slips of paper and put them in the box. Later, she puts them in a book and prays about them. I wrote something for it because one can never have enough of that!

Here it is with her at the voice actor panel.

The voice actor panel, which was on Sunday, was fun and informative. I liked how the three voice actors got along up there — the Greg, Johnny, and Tia Trio. I asked about how Funimation and other studios are dubbing shows from Japan as they are released, “simuldubs,” they call it. So instead of English versions released months after the Japanese originals, they’re coming out days after.

They’re working faster and longer, they said.

“Lots of 12-hour days,” Tia said.

Many reasons for doing it, Greg said. The official reason is just to get dubs out to fans as fast as possible. Another, possibly realer reason is to fight piracy. Fans make their own dubs, and I can see those undercutting licensed versions if they’re out by themselves for too long. So, nice job, fellow fans. Still, I like watching the newest anime right when they’re released, like Assassination Classroom and Seraph of the End. So much to get caught up on, though. I have hundreds of episodes of Fairy Tale yet to watch!

The Masquerade event was Saturday afternoon. Conventions often schedule these costume contests concurrently with concerts and other activities I want to attend, so I’ve missed quite a few. So it was cool to see this one. Excellent cosplay work there and in the hallways.

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The masquerade judges, with cosplay guest Mogchelle at right. The middle judge’s ears would twitch, tilt, raise, and rotate like real animal ears. Very cool!

Next up is the Ren Fest in Groveland, Mich. Steel swords are allowed there, just no unsheathing. I have just the thing for it, thanks to Pael here at IMBH.

And I might rent a long sword to go with it.

— PhilC

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