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What IS the big draw of ACEN for you?

#1 User is offline   Tombolo 

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:43 PM

What with all the drama of masquerade and soap bubble and stuff, I am curious. What are the big things that make ACEN somewhere you wanna go? If I ask you "what are you here to do," what is your answer?

For me...I think it's the community and the cosplay. I love running around and taking pictures and meeting people even if I'm too shy to actually get to know them that well. There are also some friends that I only ever really see at the con, and I also love blowing a year's worth of savings in the exhibit hall. Panels USED to be the big draw for me...but I only made it to one this year because I was too busy chillin' or going to photoshoots.
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#2 User is offline   The Fujoshi 

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:45 PM

Same; it's the community and the cosplay. The idea to talk about stuff like Hetalia, Pokemon, Mario, etc. without having to look at like an alien. Also it's the idea of doing stuff that I don't normally do at home, such as the panels, the dealer room, etc. and that interaction with other people with similar interest.

Also Acen is the only convention that is:

1) Not that far

2) During spring/summer months compared to other conventions. I want to go to Youma but the major issue is that it's in the winter time :x
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#3 User is offline   ☆ MV 

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:04 PM

Definitely the Japanese music guests(and some voice actors!). Every year the music guest is the one thing I wait for, and if possible, I like to be able to go to their concert, panel, and, although this is the first year I got an autograph at ACEN, their autograph. I like to be able to meet people I look up to or have learned about thanks to Japanese culture and anime, especially musically oriented ones since I adore music from around the world. I am also able to share this experience with others, whether they are my close friends or not, because it shows that I'm not the only one that's actually interested in them here :)

I also looooooove to just browse the dealer's room (and take pictures while doing so!). It's like, the one place my brother and I always go first because it reminds us of our first ACEN where we didn't even know there was "the rest of the con" and only went around the dealer's hall for a bit.
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(Sorry this list changes a lot, I'm really indecisive :( )
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#4 User is offline   Ohki 

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:34 PM

For me, it's not any one thing. It's a combination of it being a place to hang out with friends, make new friends, interact with people in my fandoms face to face, see cosplayers and sometimes cosplay myself, meet people involved in the anime industry both here and in Japan, do some nerdy shopping, attend panels on topics that interest me, go to dances, etc. No one thing is enough of a draw to get me to make the 4 hour trip and the financial commitment every year (though if ACen ever got a key guest for me, that could conceivably be, and actually I'd say the year they got Aural Vampire, that alone was enough of a draw, but usually it's the combination).
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#5 User is offline   Mullenkamp 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:07 AM

The masquerade staff is the best I've seen so far - it's always been a pleasure to perform at ACen, and it's the masq I try to be in every year if I'm going to be in a masq at all. Also, ACen is only a 2 hour drive from where I live and it generally takes place on or around my birthday when it's not exceptionally early like this year, so for ten years it's been sort of my giant birthday party with thousands of strangers. ;)

Aside from that, the draws are pretty much the same as any other con - a place to go and meet other fans of stuff I'm into, maybe learn new costuming techniques if I can manage to get into the panels (which is now difficult at every con I go to), an excuse to dress up in crazy costumes and be treated like a celebrity for a few days, and a good meetup for long-distance friends I only get to see a few times a year. The masq and the proximity/timing are really what put it above other cons for me.

#6 User is offline   arina_shirakawa 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:19 AM

For me, it's meeting the manga-kas and getting their autographs (and yes, that was also another huge reason why I staffed, the perks of meeting them at a seperate staff meet and greet) :heart: I still have the autographs I got years ago, like Yoshitoshi Abe, Kia Asamiya etc. We used to have killer Janapese manga-ka guests in the past. But not anymore, and it's sad -_-

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#7 User is offline   AaronStarfire 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:36 PM

For me it is the opportunity to get away from the everyday droll of life. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering for Acen and probably spent 40+ hours of my time helping get things done. Acen is my vacation. My getaway. My way to meet more awesome people. This year I had the pleasure of working with a very dedicated group of staffers who surprised me with how ready and willing they were to help the convention. The last two years I haven't made it to any panels and this year I didn't even make it into the exhibit hall. I can't wait for next year.

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#8 User is offline   ❤Mokyu❤ 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:40 PM

For me, it's the VA guests!

#9 User is offline   SeikoMiwarui 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:08 PM

I love seeing all of the wonderful cosplays. At small cons, you do see a few elaborate pieces, but I feel that a lot of people save their bigger, better items for big cons like ACEN. I think it's rewarding to see all the hard work people have put into their outfits (Whether they have them commissioned, or make it themselves; there is still effort there to put the whole thing together). I also go because you're more likely to find someone with 20,000+ there that might know what you're from - especially if it's more obscure. The photoshoots are another thing I go for, if I'm cosplaying as a particular character that is on the official shoot list and I can make it (for example, the D,Gray-Man photoshoot a few years ago because i was Road Kamelot; and then last year and this year for the Hellsing Photoshoot because I was Rip Van Winkle).

The artist alley and the vendors room are also major pluses <3 Being able to see so many good items all in one place - I'm a very tactile person, and I like my instant gratification, so being able to see the goods I might want to purchase (especially if they are clothes like corsets, or dresses), I really like to be able to feel them. For instance, no offense to Sixh, h.NAOTO, and I think it was Happy Peace Now (it was with the Angelic Pretty section), I LOVE their style so much but I highly doubt I would buy from them, even if I could afford it. The feel of the fabric they use is just SO wrong to me ;-; It's like this really weird polyester and...yeah idk >_>; I also have the seamstress curse so anything clothing related gets translated to my brain as "I know I won't make it...but I COULD make it....for so much less" and that prevents me from buying anything other than corsets because I'm too lazy to make those right now....

Every once and awhile I come across panels that are worth my while if K know they'll be small enough and I don't have to wait in line forever >_>; I did that the first four years I went to ACEN ('07-'10) for Anime Hell and I just don't want to do it anymore ;-;

#10 User is offline   Matcha Parfait 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:11 PM

This will not be a popular response, but I'm only interested in fashion-related content. It's just my thing. ♥ Angelic Pretty was the primary draw for me to attend ACEN this year, and any other year I've attended it has been for other fashion-related content as well.

#11 User is offline   kahad 

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:46 AM

I come for the dealers room, the people, to staff, and for Anime Hell/Midnight Madness.
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#12 User is offline   LordCanti 

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:13 AM

canti like going to acen to buy cool anime loot :o
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#13 User is offline   myrla 

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:34 AM

Chicago Friends, Cosplay/photoshoots, and panels.
ACen 2013: Panel denied. Not attending.

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#14 User is offline   MsLovelyCookie 

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:53 AM

-Well Acen for me is my vacation close to home. Its gives me a chance to get away from the family and work. Family->:zombie:<-Me

-The Exhibit Hall and Soap Bubble are the 2 main places I must attend when I am with my friend. This year I only had a few hours with my friend to look around in the Exhibit Hall and I only stayed for a bit at the Soap Bubble to see how the music compared to last year. :highfive: :happydance:

-Working in Registration this year allowed me to see what is behind the blue curtains, see how many different kinds of people buy Badges, and I got to explore more places then in all the years I have attended Acen. :0:

This post has been edited by MsLovelyCookie: 04 May 2012 - 11:54 AM

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#15 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:24 PM

ACEN is an excuse to visit Chicago is an excuse to attend ACEN. I come for the food, the people, the experiences, the traffic (not so bad this year), the fat tire draft.

This post has been edited by rondo: 04 May 2012 - 03:25 PM


#16 User is offline   Siren Noel 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:30 AM

Masquerade.

#17 User is offline   Mistress of Ecclectia 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:12 PM

Shopping for things I don't normally have access to, atmosphere, and just being able to go do stuff and hang out.

#18 User is offline   GITS SAC Motoko 

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:15 AM

I go mostly for friends, cosplaying, masquerade and guests if I'm appealed to them. Like this year, the biggest reason I went to ACEN was to see Eyeshine and friends. :D I really go for main programming mostly too. I love all the different events like the concerts, Midnight Maddness, Anime Hell and all the other ones. :D
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#19 User is offline   Gwydion 

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:48 AM

For me, it's the fact that ever since Ohayocon changed their AA policy, ACen has felt like our "home base" (which is weird since we live no where near Chicago, lol). We've certainly done the AA thing at other cons, but ACen is the one we actively try to make it to every year. There were a lot of people that came up to our table this year telling us they missed us last year, and that just made me feel really happy. I love seeing everyone change (or stay the same, in some cases) over the years, and I wouldn't trade these folks for the world. Financially, ACen is not the smart choice for us, but the attendees keep us wanting to come back despite this.

#20 User is offline   sisterdiscord 

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:44 PM

This will be TL:DR for some of you, and that's okay. But the question made me think..

For me, there's this progression of building energy as the show begins to happen that I can never get enough of. I always have a ton of pictures of the hotel turning into a beehive of activity

On Wed everything is quiet, peaceful, the world going about its usual business and the ACen staff as the anomaly, showing up to set up, laugh, push around heavy equipment, and greet all the friends we've made within the hotels' and convention center's staffs. Thursday progresses the tide of congoers arrive: bright colored costumes, vibrant hair, all kinds of music, and this growing anticipation, where everybody gathers in clumps to talk about what they'll see and do.

By Friday, the whole of Rosemont is full of the humming, laughing, cheering, and stampeding of fans. The cheer that goes up every time stanchions fall in the reg line always makes me grin. The ebb and flow of event starting, lines forming, people hurrying from place to place, and stopping to just socialize and share. The place is this amazing cacophony of sights and sounds, that continue to build one upon the other until Saturday evening.

The Masquerade and Soap Bubble are events I love, but calling them a favorite would be like trying to pick my favorite friend or my favorite kind of chocolate - Love 'em all, hard to point at one over another. the transition between the two does mark the point on the roller-coaster ride where we hit the last big exciting loop-de-loop of the weekend - The masq winners are announced, fans flow out of the room, and we turn it into a dance floor. Then that huge line flows into Main Programming , the house lights come up, and Gendo counts us down.

I always sneak in there somewhere to listen to the first cheering bounce of the dance, and the first burst of digital thunder from the DJs. Then I'm on duty, dealing with the patented Saturday Night Crazyness, and it all becomes a blur until I fall down to sleep, then wake up Sunday.

Sunday is more sparse, and a little melancholy, as the reality dawns that the weekend is coming to an end. We do the feedback session, closing ceremonies, and hug and greet and laugh with people about how their weekend went along. Then comes the long, hard night of pushing boxes, moving lighting, and getting all our stuff folded back to a few locations where it can be loaded out and away.

Monday the arc is complete..the hotel staff clean up the last of the strangely colored makeup from the hotel sofas, they put back the furniture that is moved out of the way to give us more walking space, and the hotel goes from Superman back to its usual Clark Kent--cosplayers gone, most of the staff headed home, a few of us still there to sit around Monday night, have a drink, and unwind.

Then, we turn around and do it again! I just get such a thrill out of everybody's excitement, out of the fun we all have, and out of watching it grow and recede like a big, happy tide of every color and description. I think the act of putting on the show is the reason I do the show at this point. So I guess I love it best because of all of you showing up to the party to make it what it is.
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#21 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:48 PM

Sisterdiscord, well said.

As for myself there are several reasons why I adore ACen. Firstly it's a small vacation I can take with my family since we can't get out very much due to taking care of my grandmother. So this is a chance to go and have some fun and be a bit of a kid and be someone who I normally can't be around other people. Secondly it's a chance to see friends who come from far away, and close by. Due to work I can see some of my friends but not all of them and I love getting the chance to see everyone in one place. Third it's a chance for me to Cosplay as characters I adore, and have photos taken of it. I also love the number of people that come in costume and just have fun. It's almost like halloween except no candy. Fourth is the chance to find new series to enjoy, the panels and enjoying the company of others that enjoy what I do. Fifth is the fact that I got to run a panel this year and hope to keep running it next year, the nerves of creating it and the fun of making it work...then the thrill of seeing all the people there, it was great, if exhausting. Can't wait till we get to do it again next year.

Over all to Me Acen draws me due to the atmospher, the events (masqurade for example, maybe next year I can go)the fun of others around us and the fact that I can see people actually smiling and happy. Not because they are trying to be cool, but because here all the inner geek all the childness in them, the part of them that people tell them to lock away, can be brought out in one glorious moment where, for once in a great while, they can not only live in a fantasy and explore aspects of a series, or game, or show that they love with others, but they can go back to being that kid on the sofa or in the classroom and talk about the cartoons and anime that gave them a love of the artform and the joy that comes from watching those shows. I hope that made sense.
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#22 User is offline   ozone_00 

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:23 PM

For conventions in general it's mostly the feeling of community, but also shopping for anime goodies, checking out cosplays, and meeting VA's and such. For Acen specifically, probably things that come with its size; big guest list, Japanese guests, big dealer room, always tons of stuff to do. The only drawback to that is its physical size, it's so spread out that it takes some time to get from one end to the other and it's really easy to miss or be late to events, plus just getting back to your room can be quite a trek in itself. I love just wandering the halls late at night when the atmosphere is so chill and relaxed. From the gaming area in the basement (a.k.a. The Dungeon) to the Hyatt lobby to the front entrances of the Hyatt and Convention Center and anywhere in between wherever people can find a spot to take a seat and chat. In previous years I liked hanging at the Soap Bubble, even if it was just to listen to the music and watch people dance. I haven't done that in a while though since the line gets so long it's hard to casually walk in and out. I also like coming to Chicago. I don't get to go to big cities much so just passing through town is a bit of an adventure for me. I have only recently started venturing away from the con, even if only to Mitsuwa and Super Dawg.

This post has been edited by ozone_00: 10 May 2012 - 04:51 PM

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#23 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:02 PM

Rosa - yours was spot on. It's why I love coming in on Wed and leaving on Monday. Watching it all unfold like one of those summer concert timelapses. Building up, filling in, controlled chaos, ebbing out, tearing down and gone.


I'm an artist - so I'm locked to my table for 3 days (by choice mind you!) and so my perspective is a bit unique:

While I love the panels, AMV's, music, guests, and all that makes up ACen I don't get to see it as much anymore. What makes me keep coming back (and as an artist no less) is my customers. And I don't mean handing me money :lol: .

It's watching someone bust out laughing at one of my designs - dragging a friend over - and them frantically saying "I must have this!". That I can create something that resonates and entertains someone else is I think at the core of what motivates any manga-ka or artist out there.

All the snippets of overheard randomness that gets me in a laughing fit. Sitting in one spot means hearing some of the most bizarre things as people walk past. Sometimes you have context, sometimes it's better without. A few times I've written it down!

The immersion the cosplayers will go to - there was a Doctor wandering around the alley and a weeping angel a few paces behind that stopped whenever he turned around (I guess there was a perception filter around everyone else ;) ). Or the guy with the head crab stalking a Gordon Freeman cosplayer. The Misa who lost her apple after getting a photo taken at my table - I promised her I'd watch for floating apple cores after that. (Which totally would be an awesome DeathNote cosplay - have a half eaten apple floating above and behind you somehow). But I digress....

Doing a commission that absolutely makes someone's day. Seeing them light up as I show the finished result - because AA is about getting something you can get nowhere else (typically).

Seeing the younger ones too - especially the cosplayer ones. Kids in X-men, Batman, StarWars, etc costumes thinking this WAY better than Halloween even if there's no free candy. Knowing I'll probably see them on their own a few years from now - their awesome parents having shown them this little world where loving books or movies and dressing up and "playing pretend" is normal and cool. Watching the big grin as I tell them how great they look and getting a photo (parent's permission of course), makes them feel like superstars.


Some of it will sound ego-centric if you've never been on this side of the table. It's the same feeling as when I find the perfect item online and share it with a friend and they go "Yes! That is totally me!". It reaffirms that I am close to them and "get" them enough to know their reaction. To have that with a perfect stranger - is giddy'ing. (Shutup, I can make up words...) :P

I couldn't have that with my online store. I don't get to interact the same way. Sure you can say that's any AA at any con - but not really. ACen has it's own vibe to it. There's a different level of buzz here that I'm addicted to.
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#24 User is offline   Sailor Moon Crossplayer 

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 07:31 AM

The raves
Meeting new friends

#25 User is offline   Washu Takahashi 

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 07:58 AM

I've never been to the Masq or Soap Bubble because of the lines, so those don't do anything for me. xD

Personally, my favorite thing would be cosplay. I love seeing what other people come up with and finding that one cosplay that leaves me breathless. And I love the cosplay that make me want to walk up to the person wearing it and ask them a million questions about how they made it xD (I try to restrain myself from that though lol)

I also love the Dealer's Room/AA. I'll walk around each at least 3 times throughout the weekend, making sure I didn't miss anything and blowing tons of money I don't have xD

And last would be the VAs. Love meeting my favorite character's voices and getting autographs.
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Friday: Rider [Fate/Stay Night], Maki Nishikino (Little Devil) Kisumi Shigino [Free!], Kae Serinuma (Gym) [Kiss Him Not Me!]
Saturday: Layla Hamilton [Kaleido Star] 100%, Zen (Spicy Jalapeno) [Mystic Messenger] Maki Nishikino (Sunny Day Song)
Sunday: Christophe Giacometti (Rapsodie Espagnole) [Yuri!!! on Ice] 100%

Add me on Facebook! Washu Takahashi Cosplay

#26 User is offline   Shiggitay 

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:32 AM

Same answer as many here, but for friends, cosplay watching, and I like anime cons in general. :)
Anime fo lyfe!

Representin' Anime Boston 2017, Anime Central 2017 and Otakon 2017!! WOOO WOOO~~~~

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#27 User is offline   CupcakeChaos13 

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:49 AM

This thread gets me so pumped for next year! ACen '12 was my first time and what drew me is all the stories my friends told me. I had a blast meeting new friends and exploring all the panels. The raves were fun and of course the shopping and all the local artists were cool to check out. The people watching was great and I loved taking pics with all the epic cosplayers...sadly I think I missed a lot though cuz I don't remember anime Hell or AA (?) I'll be better prepared next time since this one was so last minute
ACen 2015 Cosplay:
Stocking
(maybe) Sailor Moon

#28 User is offline   Agatha 

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 08:42 AM

For me, part of the draw is just the general atmosphere - it's a fun way to be geeky for a weekend around other people who like the same things. Also:

-Cosplay. I love seeing everyone's costumes, and I love dressing up as well. It's really fun at ACen just because there are so many people and it seems like a lot of people save their most elaborate work for this convention. It's so cool to see!

-Artists Alley. Vendors I can pretty much take or leave, because these days you can find most things online, but I love going through Artists Alley and seeing all the creative stuff people come up with. It's really neat to be able to get something unique. My bank account doesn't love it nearly as much, though. XD

-Panels/guests/what-have-you: This varies from year to year, but these can be really fun and informative too!

#29 User is offline   Cherry_Wolf 

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:07 AM

ACen, for me, use to be kind of a "tradition". I had to drop it last year cause of meeting up with friends at Otakon - and sadly, I do not have the money for two big cons a year (though I'm going to try anyways next year x_x)

But the biggest draw about ACen for me, is the atmosphere mainly. I love anime conventions and its the closest one that is big enough for me. So much to do and so many people to see. I love it!

I also kind of go for the dealer's room/artist alley cause I love window shopping ;u;! But I am not heavily into any fandoms this year around, so I'm hoping that stays the same and I can save myself the money :lol:
I tried changing my avatar and it said I needed permission? I've never had that problem before and I've been on this forum for many years, so what gives?

#30 User is offline   Femme Fatale 

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 04:12 AM

Cosplayers, dealers room, chillaxin' in my hotel room, hanging out with friends and having fun.
Excel's Big Sis

Coming Soon to ACen 2018

Yukata versions of Junko Enoshima (Danga Ronpa - Friday) and Miku Hatsune (Saturday)

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