There will likely be two parts to this overview as I only attended the earlier half of the day, and Midnight attended the rite of passage event of Masquerade while I was busy having a stupid epiphany (it wasn’t stupid it was great, ever had an epiphany and people try to hug you and you’re all NO I’M HAVING AN EPIPHANY DONT FUCKING TOUCH ME?!!??!!) but the part of the day I attended was so overwhelming and meaningful to me that I have to write it for you with emphasis.
The first thing we did had to deal with someone I have written about before. If you attend Anime Boston you will no doubt recall someone who is featured at cosplay events – easily recognized as Seto Kaiba, Ash Ketchum, and sometimes Grell from Black Butler. He is easily one of my favorite events and this year I had the pleasure of interviewing him. I feel this was one of the best conventions to be able to talk to people and show the magic of conventions behind what you might see at a larger con, and he kind of shows in this just how genuine the desires behind conventions are. This cosplayer goes by the name Seto Ketchum and you can find him on tumblr, facebook, and twitter!
Interview with Seto Ketchum, Cosplay Entertainer.
Oki: So introduce yourself, what would you say it is you ‘do’?
SK: Well I am a trained improv comic (trained is in heavy airquotes) and I am a cosplay entertainer. You have a lot of famous cosplayers like Yaya Han who are just so great and amazing, and I wanted to remind people of the comedic side of cosplay.
Oki: Would you say it is important to you to entertain people?
SK: Absolutely, when people come to conventions they want the chance to escape things in their life that are keeping them down, we all have stress, sadness, and a lot of issues in our life. I want to help people let it all go over this weekend. You’re spending a lot of money to be here, I want people to feel like they’re in a fun and happy place and like they’re all important, like they can participate and be a part of it all.
Oki: [laughter] So then, it’s easy to say that you are inspired by that desire?
SK: Absolutely, it’s so important to me that people enjoy themselves!
Oki: On that note, what characters are YOU fond of performing in that position?
SK: You know, each character I play is someone I can identify with in some way. Each of the character’s kind of personify a part of me and blow them up, making them in focus. Like with Kaiba I can be this egotistical guy who has so much confidence and can just shrug it all off and go “Oh I’m so great!” when normally, I am not like that. In real life I can never be mean and tend to be nice no matter the situation. It’s sort of a relief to play someone who can just so nonchalantly be like “oh whatever!”
Oki: So it allows you to feel cathartic while at the same time, providing entertainment?
SK: Yes. [laughs] It’s such a relief.
Oki: So it seems a huge part of the job for you is the happiness you give people, would you say that’s the most rewarding part of the job?
SK: Yes! It provides a kind of complete affirmation, I’m able to enjoy myself WITH the audience and can make everyone feel special.
Oki: So do you feel it’s part of your job to make every person feel interactive with your panels, and try to make sure no one feels left out?
SK: I feel like if I have to take ten extra minutes to make sure everyone’s feelings are taken into consideration, then I think it’s worth it. It’s not good humor to play on norms or gender stereotypes, that kind of humor is cheap and makes people feel so bad about themselves! I want everyone to feel like they’re having a great time when they’re in my panels. I don’t want anyone to feel like I am playing off of their weaknesses and having the audience laugh and affirm that kind of thing. No one wants to feel worse in a weekend that is supposed to let them get away from it all.
Oki: That is so awesome. It sounds like you have a lot of sympathy for fellow fans, is it because you got into anime early?
SK: Well I got into manga and my first manga was, don’t laugh, Gravitation. I first thought ‘oh that pink haired girl is cute’ and then I read and went ‘oh. . . Oh.’ [laughs] Then I went to my first convention when I was about 15 .
Oki: So would you say that it means a lot to you to be here?
SK: There was actually a time I used to do this because I felt I had to and it was so hard on me. As soon as the time came when I actually calmed down and treated it as something I wanted to do, not something I had to, it became something I enjoyed so much.
Oki: I know you recently had your family in an event at another con, would you say connecting your intimate life to it is an important thing for you?
SK: Well to me, this is an important hobby that I always want to enjoy! Like I said before it’s best for me when I know it’s something I can enjoy because I want to.
Oki: So did you have a goal then, about going to any kind of convention?
SK: Well getting into a con is like applying for a job, and if I were to be honest my favorite kind of place to be is small cons like AAC. You have dedicated tech staff and staff in general who are just amazing. And you get such a closer connection to the people at the con. I love big cons and the specific dedicated tech and staff, but there is something special about how close a small con feels for everyone involved. Ultimately I’d love to go to other small cons and help give them cosplay events so that they can have new events. That’s probably what I’d say my ‘goal’ is.
Oki: So I know I personally have a tendency to shout during events, would you say there’s a border between heckling and interacting?
SK: Of course, people should always remember there is more than just themselves at a convention, always be respectful. I’ve only once before had a true heckler where I had to stop them from being negative and disrespectful. Sometimes people just forget to be a person, that they can’t become a group mentality or a bully while they’re on their own. You always have to remember to be a person and not someone who thinks it’s okay to leave that behind and pick on someone or make their traits a joke. Even with celebrities, you have to remember voice actors are people and don’t want to be treated like less either.
Oki: I have to say I really respect that. It’s been wonderful talking to you, but if you had to say anything to the people who recognize and admire you, much like myself, what would you say?
SK: Wow, honestly, I’d have to say Thank you. Thank you so much! It means so much to me! I am just a cosplayer, not a guest. It is so validating to know people appreciate me, and it is nothing but an honor to do this with all of you.
The interview for me was enlightening. It showed me almost immediately that small cons like this are a wonderful place to meet people for who they are. ‘Seto Ketchum’ himself was always a wonderful part of the con for me and to really feel like I as an audience and press member alike were validated was so wholly motivating. Again, I recommend going along to the links above and checking him out, every East Coast convention with him in it is so much better for it.
The con made itself even more poignant for me as I went to the Stein’s Gate panel. First off, I was reminded that we as reviewers as well as we as fans need to value dubs more than we do. It’s so hard to translate and script things to make the spirit of shows come to life, and funimation does such a wonderful job. Psycho Pass and Steins Gate are two excellent examples of hard work, and hearing just how much work they put into it aspired me anew to really dive into the industry. When you’re reading the credits on a dub, don’t just skip over the director or the script writer. Nothing could get done without those people!
Honestly Sunday was simply a continuation of this. It reminded me of how integral intimacy is to small cons. A staff member took over a panel and stepped up when he could, and he was simply awesome with his Once upon a Time knowledge, J. Michael Tatum, Chris Cason, and every single person offering Autographs was so kind and considerate. Tatum offered me words and insight this weekend that made me feel so motivated and enthused to keep it up in this industry. And you know what? I’d never get that at a big con. Even though it was boring at times and there were some serious problems with the schedule (for instance, they didn’t print us copies!) this con has spirit. It’s guests mean a lot and do alot (AJ Kane and C.C. Huntington were so fun even though they weren’t outright anime fans, and I always appreciate fellow southerners).
Thanks a lot to AAC. You didn’t even know I was press but mostly? We had a great time and interesting adventures. It’s always something to be said for a con when a press member doesn’t need a badge to feel welcome and at home. There will be more drawings and more fun things to come, but thanks to you all for making it special.
Midnight’s impressions of Masq to come!, but here is a picture to sum up the death match!
AAC for me is my home con, it’s about twenty minutes from my house and I’ve been attending since the con had it’s start in 2006. That being said, I’ve gone to every masquerade since the con has begun as well and it is always one of my favorite events. This year is a right of passage in the way that we have a new MC. Did this new MC match up to the one we’ve admired and loved so long, what was this years in between skits theme, and lastly how did the skits hold up, let’s find out.
Well first off, if this con taught me anything it’s that I NEED to watch Kill la Kill. The in between skits done by the masquerade MC’s were Kill la Kill and while I got most of the jokes off basic knowledge I feel like I would of appreciated it more if I’d seen the series. They still managed to keep it entertaining for someone who hadn’t seen the series.
The skits for the most part were relatively entertaining, some ones that stick out in my mind in particular were the Mikasa up there singing “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables”, The Tiger and Bunny that did that amazing dance. The Jean that did the amazingly dramatic speech about joining the Survey Corps [I literally stood up and did the salute from AOT at the end of this one.], The Dante that did the Devil May Cry skit that ended in a joke about just being a perverted cosplayer. [Loved your Urd Body Pillow.]
That is just a small collection of the amazing skits that went on. As always, the “Now for something completely different” category was interesting, the Ember Island Players skit had me in stiches.
I’d say the only thing that kept this from being a flawless masq, was the shear amount of audio difficulties. Some skits were hard to hear because there would either be static or the audio would be far too loud over the cosplayers voice. I would love to see the lyrics for the Armin’s parody song because I couldn’t hear a single word of it. The first AOT skit with the slapstick managed to be one of my favorites despite not being able to hear what was being said due to the physical comedy. I felt so bad for the Chi that sang a song and nobody could hear her. Also, seriously, her other name such a spoiler.
The walks on cosplays were great and everyone in Project Cosplay did such a great job. I loved the Howl, seriously. such good work. I had a seriously good time, not just at the masquerade but at the con as a whole. I hope we can fix up some of the issues we had this year by next. [like having a printed schedule.] otherwise, such a good time. Thank you everyone on staff who made this another amazing year, also thank you to all the guests and cosplayers.
See you all next year!