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Saturday Pocky Status: Slightly Melted

Slowly waking up, Genjitsu stumbled out of bed, sleepily checking the clock. 9 am. Wow. Checking the bed, he found Frank and Leon in a rather compromising position, but it was too early in the morning to think, so he didn't whip out his camera for incriminating pictures. The first thing that needed to be done was to head for masquerade check-in at 10. While he didn't want to reveal the skit so early, he knew he had to if the judges were going to let them actually compete. Waking everybody up, the group marched downstairs, using strategic bedsheets to hide their props.

It must be a bad sign when you walk in, the coordinators' eyes widen, and they say, "Oh noooooo, I remember you guys from last year!" However, it must also be a good sign when in the process of doing a quick demonstration of the skit, the same coordinators can't stop laughing. They gave us full approval, and we were officially in the masquerade!

Next up was the Ken Akamatsu panel. Camping in line with Leon and Jon, Genjitsu waited for the creator of Love Hina, munching on a Powerbar (which still has the consistency of sweetened cardboard). The wait was rather uneventful, with the exception of spotting Piro from Megatokyo, along with his 2nd generation clone, Dom! Jon was ironically enough cosplaying as Shirt Guy Dom, so Genjitsu convinced him to greet them. Needless to say, Piro was quite amused, Dom quite shocked (Piro: "My god, he looks more like Dom than Dom does!").

Lots of interesting points were brought up at the panel, including how Akamatsu has had his wife cosplay as Naru. He also announced his work on a new anime series not related to Love Hina, but to possibly feature even more turtles. He also noted how if Naru weren't in the picture, Keitaro would most likely end up with Shinobu (hmm, we'll ignore the possible pedophile implications of this and consider it platonic) With the exception of one poorly phrased question (Note: In a room full of otaku, never ask a question like, "Akamatsu, we all know that nice dorky guys finish last, so I was wondering, was Love Hina meant for the dorky guys?"), the panel itself ran pretty smoothly.

After the panel, Genjitsu met up with the rest of the group, and now it was time for skit practice! Caleb and Paul were arriving a little later in the afternoon, but they had to do a full runthrough with or without them. They practiced for about 2 hours, Genjitsu and Leon furiously battling with poster tubes, and the occassional pause as an innocent bystander would walk through. They were seen by everybody on the other floors, but since they didn't have the real props it was ok. In the middle of practice Caleb and Paul finally showed up, and they managed to squeeze in a few full runthroughs with everybody. Afterwards everybody split up again; Genjitsu decided to do what he did best - wander around. Highlights included discovering a Jpop booth in the dealer's room:

Genjitsu: "I won't buy anything, I need to save money, and I'm past the point of impulse buying!"
Dealer: "Welcome to our new store! We specialize in all sorts of J-pop music, including all the new Do As Infinity CDs!"
Genjitsu: "....I'll take them all!"

Ok, so much for self control. Then there was the videogame room with the infamous "Towel Rei", and I'm sure somewhere along the way, Genjitsu fell on his face a couple of times, but it's hard to remember right now.

Before they knew it, 7:00 rolled by, and it was time to line up for the masquerade. Covering the props with strategic bedsheets, Frank and the others donned their black cloaks and headed down. Everybody looked quite somber and gloomy in their outfits (with the exception of Helena's pink tint), and the swords drew a lot of attention as well. When asked who they were, Frank promptly responded with, "Oh, we're Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings". Even funnier, some actually believed it!

The wait itself was long, but Genjitsu managed to kill time by taking a few more pictures of the waiting line. As per tradition, the masquerade was delayed again, but the waiting time actually was nowhere near as long as last year. Between Helena's grumbling of how no one could possibly recognize her Kotori outfit, Emily and Jon's debating whether a particular Anthy cosplayer was a girl or guy, and Genjitsu's fascination with the meat locker backstage, time went by quicker than expected.

"Last year they raced to the ends of the earth with Initial D and Utena. Now, the University of Chicago Japanese Animation Society is proud to present another battle for the end of the world!!!!"