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It was SMASH! in Sydney on the weekend!

And that's all the introduction really needed.
I went as 'Generic ShinRa Trooper', then added the Cloud wig at the last minute.  I don't really have the right face for Cloud, so it was basically a secret costume unlockable that I surprised a grand total of two people with.

Mirror photo time!  Before I went out and got incredibly dishevelled.  This is the one and only photo where I did not have helmet hair.  It's also one of the very few photos where my gun still had the strap attached - that lasted about two hours before it broke off, and at least one of those was spent in line.  Although really, not too shabby in terms of cosplay-time.  It nearly got confiscated, but they let me keep the gun in the end, which was a victory!  (Apparently it's illegal to carry even obviously fake guns around in public!)

This is with the helmet.
I couldn't see for pants, since I was going sans-glasses, but this was probably a good thing as it meant I was in happy ignorance of people's reactions leaving the hotel and walking to the Convention Centre.  Luckily I found a cadre of people heading there almost immediately and fell in with them, made small talk with a guy going as Deadpool!  It was totally awesome (and I imagine also totally freezing, sadly I missed out on getting a photo.)  I also kept dropping bits of my costume on the way, this set the theme for the rest of the day. :|  Me and gloves, idk how people in snowy countries manage.
Unfortunately, even though I got there only a quarter past nine, it took me so long to get through the line that I missed the Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito panel which was right at the start of the day!  :(  I was pretty cut up about that, since it was the only panel I was that interested in.  Water under the bridge, though!

SMASH! itself I found a lot like Supanova, only much more anime-focused, which was a great thing as the crowd was nice and manageable and the vibe really good.  Everyone was so friendly!  It's true that cons are much more fun when in cosplay.  Speaking of cosplay, I didn't get many pictures, largely because after my gun strap broke I had a constant shortage of spare hands.  :|  But here are some cool ones!


Like this epic Kingdom Hearts group!  Kingdom Hearts always seems to attract such amazing cosplayers.

Ciel and Alois from Kuroshitsuji!  I've kind of fallen out of love with Kuroshitsuji (something to do with finally getting my hands on the soundtrack collection) but I still adore adore adore the costumes!

And this needs no explanation.

Nabeshin from Excel Saga!  Appropriate, as indeed the original Nabeshin was at the con.  ....I am now actually a little worried that this might have been him.  (It's not, right?  RIGHT?)

Giant Ranma 1/2 group!  Ranma's a common enough cosplay, but so many side characters~!

ALSO AN EIKO! *__*  FF9 cosplay!  At risk of overusing the word too early, she was epic.  There was also a very cool giant Carbuncle running around which I sadly did not get a picture of. (LOL, my knee guards and ankle straps kept migrating, despite being taped pretty damned securely in place.)  

Anyhow, we chatted for a while since we were both lost (she was looking for the doll display, and I was looking and failing to find silverharmony ).  She was happy to see a Crisis Core Cloud and I was ecstatic to see FF9 representation.  She even brought a Zidane with her!  And apparently has plans for a Freya in the future, which is something to look forward to - don't think I've ever seen a Freya cosplay.
The people were by far the most interesting part of the con.  I was milling around near the escalators trying to see if I could spot Harmony (a failed endeavour from the very beginning since we were both half blind) when a Japanese fellow came up and asked for a photo.  Business as usual, as he headed off he threw out an 'arigatou' and apparently my subconscious was paying attention because it pulled a 'douitashimashite' out of thin air, which apparently pleased him to no end as he tracked me down again a bit later to chat. Which sounds terrifying but he spoke quite slowly and clearly so it was very easy to converse, and his english was pretty good too so we swapped back and forth between them.  Turns out he was studying to become a Japanese teacher!  He'll definitely do well, it was a lot of fun talking with him even with my broken and terribly out-of-practice Japanese.
He wanted facebook/twitter/deviantart/anything and ahahaha, I had to admit that I was only on LJ which was apparently the ONLY thing he wasn't on. It is getting kind of hard to exist without facebook.  :/  In any case, he was one of the few who got the 'surprise it's Cloud!' pictures.
I got yanked behind a black curtain for a cosplay documentary too.  It's easy not to mind when you've got a big honking helmet hiding your face.  But isn't there normally supposed to be release forms for that kind of stuff?

It's not a con without a Link!  First one I've seen with lip rings, though!

AND A GENESIS!  OMG A GENESIS!  Crisis Core fans unite!

I even found a Zack to face off against!  ....But I don't think he even knew what I was cosplaying, since he seemed very confused by it all. 

It was at this point that I'd exhausted the trader's hall (sadly Transreality had no new soundtracks for me) and so randomly selected doors to stand by and guard and ruin the light sources in people's photos by photobombing them.

Only to be accosted by an adorable Lenalee!  D Gray Man ftw!

I'm not sure exactly what this is (Pokemon?) but it was awesome and so needed to be photographed.  The lightning here washed out the green a bit, my crappy photography does not do it justice.

Crazy crazy cosplay.  Apparently this dress took a couple of grand to make.  It's amazing, but wow... that's... kind of insane.  That's more than most wedding dresses.
At this point I retreated outside to rehydrate and perform costume repairs (one of the knee guards was splitting and some parts needed to be restuck and I needed to take off the helmet for a while because it had started to hurt and ahahaha I still have a weird shaped bruise in the middle of my forehead from it that I have to cover up with makeup.  XD  It is not cosplay unless you suffer.)  Some blond guy came hanging around after a photo, right after I sat down.  -__-  But he was very nice and vanished to chase after Lina Inverse, then reappeared later when I was putting myself back together like some kind of ninja.  Ahaha, he admitted he thought I was a guy until he caught me outside, but we chatted for a while after that, mostly about FF7 compilation, which was fun, and until Kaori and co finally turned up just after 1!

They took so long because of the amazing Panty and Stocking cosplay!  FOUNDATION AND RED EYESHADOW CAN YOU BELIEVE?  It was incredible, though.  Also it was great to see you again Kaori~!  It is always epic funtimes.
They got there just in time for the cosplay comp!

Most of my photos here were awful and blurry, but here's a very cool Princess Tutu group.  Beautiful costumes.

And this was how I finally found Harmony, where she was acting as the showgirl for the auction items.  XD  You did a great job!
Tsubasa/xXxholic group!  Fai's staff was very impressive.
RIVAL PANTY AND STOCKING GROUP!  Ahaha, actually, I came across this group earlier and initially thought they were Kaori's group, since I couldn't tell without my glasses and all I saw was red people.  XD  Uhm, hopefully did not creep them out with my indecisive peering.
I sort of gave up with cosplay comp photography after that.  Ack, there was one girl who had a dreadful hit of stage fright and ran off stage, it was so dramatic I initially thought it was part of the skit!  She came back on later though, which took guts.  MC's were no John Robertson, but they were occasionally amusing as well.
THEN FINALLY SNAGGED HARMONY!  It was nice to meet you at last!  (After how many near misses?! XD)
Photographic proof! Ack helmet hair.  It is always a little nerve-wracking to meet online people in person for the first time, but I'm relieved to say she is as awesome and nice in person as she is in print.  :)  You did a great job with SMASH!  Thanks on behalf of everyone~
At that point I was wilting pretty badly from the lack of food and was getting a bit of a headache so split off to head back to the hotel and change for the concert that night and get a snack.  (Mc Donalds nuggets have never tasted so good, and never will again.)  I finished up a bit early so went and checked out the observation deck of my hotel.  It was unexpectedly ominous and amazing.
I was staying at the Park Regis, and floor 45 opens up onto a wooden deck with some chairs and plants which looks out over Sydney. It was very nice.  But if you walked up the steps to the very top, it was all concrete and open air and looks like the rooftop of an evil soulless headquarters.
I kept thinking it would be a great place for a photoshoot.
Especially this bit.  What is that?  It totally looks like the window grate to a cold dank rooftop prison.
Being open-air, it was quite cold, but the view was also incredible!
Hyde Park by night!
Then it was back to the Convention Centre for the highlight of the trip - Eminence's Memories of Fantasia!  *__*  I was so psyched about this, ever since I heard Hiroki Kikuta of Secret of Mana fame (you may recall a past spazz about some of his music) was attending.
They're much more lax about recording their performances these days, but this is the only picture I took because I was more interested in listening to the music.  Actually, the constant camera clicks were a little annoying, kind of like someone constantly coughing through a performance.

Anyhow, I was not disappointed!  FOUR Seiken Densetsu tracks!  Straight off the bat, which was strange, as they would have made much better finales.  The first set was all Kikuta, and it was some of the best.  Here's the track list break down:

Fear of the Heavens (Secret of Mana) - this is the main theme of Secret of Mana, I was so so happy to hear this live.  ;__;  LIFE MADE MORE COMPLETE.
The Little Sprite (Secret of Mana) - Sprite's theme!  Very cute, surprising choice!
Powell (Seiken Densetsu3) - Another really odd choice, considering this was the only SD3 piece, but heaps of fun and very nostalgic.  Flute got rather overpowered by percussion in this one, the dynamics were frequently off actually (unusual, since this is where Eminence normally shines), but I think that was more how they'd been miked than anything else.
Meridian Dance (Secret of Mana) - HELL YES I GOT MY ENCORE.  *__*
TENRYO 2nd Movement (Original) - one of Kikuta's original pieces, it was a two-instrument deal, one synth pad plus Hiroaki on violin.  Very nice, melancholic and mellow.
The Magic Bakery (Shining Hearts) - Very cute, all plucked strings.  I'd never heard Shining Hearts before.
The Windy Road (Shining Hearts) - Don't recall this one, actually.  ^_^;
They broke here to have an interview with Kikuta, it was quite interesting as he has such an unusual and varied history.  After all, he started out as a manga artist assistant for Shonen Sunday.  He also writes, and started out doing sound effects for Square before moving onto music!  He has no classical training, but oodles of talent, clearly.  You can really be jealous of such people.
The second set was miscellaneous!
Aerith's Theme (FF7) - No explanation needed.  It's always very beautiful, though it's another one of those I've heard at all of these concerts and am about ready to hear something else.
Memories from days far away (5 centimetres per second) - all of the music associated with Makoto Shinkai's work is beautiful, and the piano in this was particularly lovely.
My Neighbour Totoro Medley - Another one that is always great but is also done to death.  How to solve, though?  Because veteran attendees might have heard it heaps of times, but for the people attending their first anime/games concert, these old staples are so loved!  In any case, it was called Memories of Fantasia, so no great surprise.
Canta Per Me (Noir) - They played this one in Perth as well, it's awesome awesome even without vocals.  Noir had such a fantastic soundtrack, perhaps one day we can beg Salvos Nos from Eminence too.  :)
The Song (Gundam SeeD) - the best thing to come out of Gundam SeeD.  No joke.  Another repeat from Perth that was very welcome.
Here they broke the program set to play the amazing Mario medley too!  We were robbed of an encore, I suppose they moved it into the middle of the concert to save time (since they started late.)  Still, sad we didn't get an encore, normally we get heaps!  :(  By the sounds of it they didn't get much time to rehearse, perhaps that was why.  (You could hear that they were a little less polished than normal.)
Third set was mostly Kenji Ito.  His work often has a very lounge music sort of feel, which is nice but maybe not the sort of thing you expect to hear at a concert.  One nice thing, though, he performed the piano for all of his own pieces!  It's always very awesome when a composer does that.
Started out with Gusha no Mai (Dawn of Mana) - enjoyed this one mostly because of my familiarity with Dawn of Mana.
Prologue (Culdcept II) - Never played this, and was unfamiliar with the soundtrack.  Nice piano.
Memeto Mori (Wizardry Renaissance) - Also unfamiliar with this, but enjoyed it a lot because it was both evil and melancholic and that's always a plus with me.
Overture-Opening Title - Dawn of the Romance (Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song) - Never been a huge fan of the SaGa music, it's technically very good but a little generic for my tastes.
Afternoon Rain (Okami Kakushi) - very pretty, they brought out their vocalist at this point.
Netsujo No Ritsudo (Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song) - a bit more upbeat, everybody clapped along to this one, had some good energy.
That concluded Ito's set!  His interview was amusing mostly because it got off-track so often as Hiroaki kept correcting the MC on totally irrelevant topics.  Some interesting anecdotes in there, and Hiroaki can name drop composers like nobody's business.  By Ito's answers, it's very obvious he's a workhorse of the industry, and very classically trained.  
Then there were two secret-secret original secret vocal pieces that Eminence was being all super-secret about and nobody is allowed to talk about, so I won't, beyond saying that they were pretty cool and I am really looking forward to December.
No encore, sadly.  But then, the signing!  Thanks to Kaori's super amazing ninja line-cutting skills we managed to get second in line, and I got Kikuta to sign my Seiken Densetsu 3 soundtrack and Ito the Dawn of Mana one~  Was incredibly chuffed, ahahaha, Kikuta has an awesome signature, part of being a one-time manga artist I guess.  I embarrassed myself with some gushing in Japanese and then we were out of there is no time!  Kaori hadn't eaten all day and all I'd had were some chicken nuggets five hours before so we were fairly starving.
BUT FIRST, we took a wrong turn on our way back towards George Street, headed along Bathurst instead of Druitt and made this amazing discovery.
This incredible fountain, in front of this swanky building with a concierge and everything.  Possibly an apartment building?  It was hard to tell, didn't look like a hotel....
Here it is again from a different angle.  It even changed colours~  We stuck around until it turned blue and continued on, bought some cake at 85 degrees, and then chose the first restaurant that looked interesting, which turned out to be some weird Korean and Japanese fusion restaurant.
Some of the wait staff didn't speak english, apparently, and we had no idea what we were doing, so wound up ordering this.
Turns out it was one of those restaurants where you are supposed to bring a group of people and order a couple of plates to share!  The plates were enormous.  This kind of explained the odd look they gave us when we ordered.
I think we made a pretty good effort (Kaori more so than me).  Lucky we were both so starving!  The food was so amazing, though.  The omelette sported a surprisingly tasty blend of mustard and soy sauce, the karaage had mustard and chilli sauce with a mayo dipping sauce.  So delicious!
Then, because we're clearly stupid, we had midnight cake.  It was also tasty.  Still haven't found a place that makes better cake that 85 degrees.
Slept in a bit the next day, was supposed to meet up and tag along on Harmony and co's photo shoot, but the other half were late and then there was a bit of a bungle with the taxi so I wound up staying behind to wander around.  This worked out okay as I got to go to FISH (picked up the Anastasia soundtrack and some classical music CDs that were on special) and then haunted all the audio visual shops after a bit of rare equipment that apparently nobody in Australia stocks.  And also found this cool arcade!
Skilltester paradise!  All the hideously weird and difficult Japanese ones, including those diabolical two-pronged ones from Atlas.  I didn't win anything, but this is probably a good thing as I really don't need any more Yoshi plushies.
Also haunted Kinokuniya for a good long while, picked up the first couple of issues of Bakuman and some trade books~
...And maybe I also went to 85 degrees again.  *coughs*
At everybody's recommendation, tried Pepper Lunch for lunch!  They bring it out on a hot plate, had to take this picture very quickly before my food burnt on the spot.  It was delicious!  And very affordable.  And also right next to 85 degrees.

It was almost time to head off to the airport, so went for a wander through Hyde Park.  It started to rain.
This is the ANZAC memorial.  Standing right here, listening to the raindrops on the shallow pond, was very peaceful for the middle of a big city.  It was a pleasant note to end a whirlwind and somewhat exhausting trip on.

...On to Manifest? :D?


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
I love hearing people's ~adventures at cons~ since they're always so happy and gushing about it. Your costume looked really great, although it's sad to see the Cloud wig being smooshed like that. I hope you'll be able to fix it.

Seems like you've had a lot of fun (and now you've got me hungry for cake ;_;). Can't wait for your next con report!
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:24 am (UTC)
Con posts are like extensions of the highs we get from cons! :)

Thanks! The wig wouldn't be too hard to fix, enough hairspray can do anything. I could just re-style it to the Advent Children do . :P
Jul. 18th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)

...But most importantly, it is done. And now only requires tweaking before I get drafting and ;; I'M GOING TO WAKE UP AND GIVE THIS THE PROPER COMMENT IT DESERVE. /gurghle
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
We've got Pepperlunch here too, it's so fun to stir it, I like that the pepper is not too overbearing =3

Your helmet is really awesome, are those real lights? o.o
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Oh, it's a chain? That makes sense. I will have to look up where else it's at!

They are indeed. :D
Jul. 18th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Wagh thanks for coming to SMASH!! I'm really happy you had a great time and I'm so happy we finally got to meet up. Lmao I love reading your recaps, they're always so amusing xD

Once again, I'm so sorry about the mixup with the taxi. I was braindead that morning and couldn't think properly *slaps self* =__=;; I still feel horrible about it. Next time you should stay more days so we get time to actually hang out :D
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:18 am (UTC)
Heh, thanks for not running away when I accosted you! XD

Don't be! I'm amazed you managed to be on time at all considering you had the best excuse of everyone to be dead on your feet! It worked out ok really, I was just a hanger-on and probably would have had to leave really early anyway! I hope the shoot went well in the end? Looking forward to seeing pictures~!
Jul. 18th, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
*A*!!! Your Cloud looks amazing, 8D!! OMG Sydney!!!! Can't wait to go there \o/ and sightsee (and er dressup orz)

Also can't wait for you to come down to Melbourne for Manifest!! 8Db
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
Thanks! Haha, you're going there soon? (Animania?) :D

\o/ I'm looking forward to it! Will be awesome to see everyone again!
Jul. 19th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Pokemon = Scyther :O

Your con posts always make me so happy~ (an envious -- wish I could've been there!)

Very fabulous ShinRa trooper outfit. I don't know if I've asked you this before, but how much time and effort (...and money) goes into your costumes? They're always amazing.
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:11 am (UTC)
There are too many Pokemon. XD Waaaay too many.

Wish you could have been too!

Thank you! Ahaha, it varies from costume to costume. Time wise this one actually wasn't too bad, especially since it was a bit of a rush job - the helmet took a few weekends, but the rest went pretty quickly. Money wise it added up a bit though, about $35 for the wig, $25 for the LED lights, $20 all up on the various belts, $15 for the shoes, $15 for the clothes from the op shop, then probably about $20 for all the extra odds and ends that went into the gun and truncheon and detailing. The rest was mostly cardboard and paint and glue I already had lying around. So maybe $130 all up? Ack, it looks so expensive when it's tallied like that....
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - Jul. 19th, 2011 10:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Jul. 19th, 2011 10:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - Jul. 19th, 2011 10:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Jul. 19th, 2011 10:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - Jul. 19th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Jul. 20th, 2011 10:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - Jul. 20th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)

AHH, I am glad you like the Nyanko-sensei charms! I have one too and like, the omamori itself makes me snicker every time I see his face :'D WHICH ONES DID YOU GET?

:oo That skilltester arcade place looks amazing. You'll have to give me directions!
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)

I got the regular Nyanko and the sleepy one! So adorable~! Thank you so much!

It's just down the road from Central Station, heading towards Paddy's Markets! It's this big glass structure wedged between these two ancient brick buildings, so it's fairly easy to spot!
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:56 am (UTC)
Your cloud wig is amazingggggg!

and yay for ur post - first I've heard about SMASH (everybody else on FB was just going "IT WAS AMAZING / AWESOME ETC")
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! A lot more amazing before it got smooshed.

This is why LJ is superior. ;)
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
Oooh!! You went to smash?? And got to see Eminence!! <3
I wish I could have been there!!!

Sounds like you had heaps of fun! And your costume looked pretty good! I reckon you suit Cloud! :D
And strangely enough.. (well maybe it's not that strange) but the people Kaori were hanging out with (doing panty and stocking cosplay) are the people I cosplay with.
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:58 am (UTC)
Wish you could have been too! Eminence does not do nearly enough concerts.

Thank you, it was a bit of a rush job though! And a complete mess by the end of the day.

Hahah, small world! We didn't get to hang out much though since they were late and then we were mostly sitting in the cosplay comp, which was a shame. They made a really impressive group though!
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(no subject) - sinnatious - Jul. 20th, 2011 10:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2011 11:42 am (UTC)
Talk about small world right? As noticed Kaori and thought hey it's also so and so. :D

As much as I hate to admit it, but Sydney does have unique stuff. I remember being awed by it when I was there and exploring QV. It's so beautiful.

@ Apparently it's illegal to carry even obviously fake guns around in public!)

Yeah. Imitation weapons. 8D;; I still have to finish Crisis Core. ;A; Genesis is such a hard boss. :/
Jul. 21st, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
You guys know everyone. At this rate you should just throw your own con and save on entry fees. XD

:( When I wasn't looking some more ridiculous laws popped up.

Seriously? I found him so easy, but I guess I was overlevelled. Do some more missions! :D TRUST ME, THE ENDING IS WORTH IT.
(no subject) - surealistic_des - Jul. 21st, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 23rd, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
Hey let me just give you a heads up, that girl with the dress that 'cost a grand'? If you ever see her again stay as far away from her as possible, she's famous in the WA cosplay circles for what she does to people she calls her friends.

The dress she is wearing is the perfect example, she 'borrowed' the money off a friend who will never see that money again.

She's also a compulsive and very good liar, always painting herself in a tragic light and making everyone else seem like they were out to get her.

There are a trail of people in Perth that let her stay with them that ended up regretting it because she tore up groups of friends and all the while raking up depts she will have no intention of paying back.

Be careful k?
Jul. 24th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
Cheers for the heads up, though I doubt I'd ever actually talk to her for more than the 20 seconds it takes for a photo. Kind of shocking that anybody would involve that kind of money in cosplay, especially if they can't afford it (and especially if it isn't their own.)

Heh, as Des said, Australian cosplay scene truly is quite small...
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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