Connichi 2008, Kassel
At 14.500 attendees, Connichi is currently the largest anime convention in Germany and one of the largest anime conventions in Europe.
We had a booth there, and of course I took a Travel Blythe. This time, my rescued girl whose face I had just finished (see custom doll section) got to come - her name is Yucie (after the purple haired heroine of Princess Maker 3, whose default name is Lisa in the game and Yucie in the anime version "Petite Princess Yucie").
Just after unloading the car...
...and the final set up on Friday morning.
Since the room where our booth was could not be locked at night, we had to take the display down every evening to put it in safe storage and set up the booth again the next morning before the hall opened. A bit of a pain you-know-where but once you´ve established the basic set-up you quickly get into a routine taking things down and setting them up again, so we could live with it.
A Place to Stay
Our B&B was in a rural village on the outskirts of Kassel, in a former farmhouse built in 1801. It was really nice there, even though it was a bit noisy since we had come on the weekend of the village fair and there was loud music and drunk shouting and singing going until early in the morning each night. Ouch.
Yucie inspects our room.
Yucie squirreled from here to there, taking in all the impressions. It was her first outing as a member of the Travel Blythe Clan, so everything was twice as exciting.
Soon, the hall filled with cosplayers and other attendees.
Yucie: ... oooooh! There's even Jack Sparrow! (drool)
Yucie: ... so where is the elevator?
Yucie tried some green tea chocolate (white chocolate died and flavoured with green tea powder). Yucie: Mnyah! Tastes like an old sock. Just gimme a cup of green tea and a regular bar of chocolate already!
The Slurping Pot Noodles Contest.
Checking out the dealers´ rooms.
Small Press, Doujinshi and Artists' Alley
Knackered after a long drive to Kassel, this fan club rep dozed off in a quiet moment...
Model Kits on Display
Autograph Session for the Guests of Honor - members of Studio GAINAX.
left to right: Akai Takami (creator of "Princess Maker", so Yucie got to meet her namesake's "daddy"), Hiroyuki Imaishi (director of "Re: Cutie Honey" and "Gurren Lagann"), Atsushi Nishigori (character designer of "Gurren Lagann").
left to right: Hiroyuki Imaishi, Atsushi Nishigori, You Yoshinari (mecha designer of "Gurren Lagann"), Masahiko Otsuka (director of "Petite Princess Yucie", and of episodes of "Gurren Lagann" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion"), Hiroyuki Yamaga (co founder and head of GAINAX, director of "Wings of Honneamise", "Mahoromatic", "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi" and more), Ryouji Masuyama (Key Animator, "Gurren Lagann").
Halko Momoi, singer and voice actress, best known as the voice of "Soul Taker" 's Komugi-chan and "Ai Yori Aoshi" 's Chika. Isn´t she cute?
Back at the booth
When Yucie returned to the booth, there was an old friend waiting for her: Traveling Sasuke.
Mini Doll Meet with Traveling Sasuke, Ahoi (owned by xxchibixx) and Yucie
Ahoi: Do you think what I think...? Yucie: Yep. Let´s sneak away and catch the Halko Momoi concert!
Waiting for the Momoi concert to begin... (Sasuke was there, too, he just isn´t in the picture).
Momoi's concert was the last event of the convention, only to be followed by the closing ceremony which we didn't attend because we were busy closing down the booth and packing everything for the trip home. The concert was a lovely end to an exhausting but fun convention. (2008)
Connichi 2002 - a trip down memory lane
I found a couple of pictures of the very first Connichi in my archives and thought it would be fun to see how much things have changed since then. The number of attendees has almost grown ten times, from 1.500 in 2002 to 14.500 in 2008. The convention was held in a youth club in Ludwigshafen (pretty much an industrial city) and moved to the - admittedly, much nicer - location in Kassel in the following year.
That was our booth in 2002. We had 9 issues of MangasZene magazine, and a couple of figures from the shop. Our inventory was extremely limited compared to our booths in later years at other events.
A glance into the dealers´ room. As you can see, things were a lot smaller and less crowded back then.
That booth belonged to a cosplay club. I don´t think they´re still around.
Tsuki no Senshi were still performing the Sailor Moon musicals they started out with. They were also at Connichi 2008, this time they were showing their third Kingdom Hearts show.
TnS again, this time in Utena costumes.
From the beginning, Connichi has been supported by Studio Gainax. This time, there was a small exhibition with rare and regular merchandise to "Neon Genesis Evangelion".
An original production cel signed by Hideaki Anno. *drool*
Gainax´ Kazuya Tsurumaki was the very first guest of honor. He was involved in the direction of "Nadia" and "Evangelion" and directed "Karekano", "FLCL" and "Diebuster".
Some of the cosplayers in 2002.