I almost got out of the house without taking anybody with me on Saturday. Unfortunately Kiki (my oldest, names have been changed to protect the innocent) heard Sandra (note: name not changed!) and I talking about Anime Banzai as I was on my way out the door, so I was on the road when my cell-phone rang. She really, REALLY wanted to go. Mostly what I wanted to do was check out the 'Con, see if it would be worth exhibiting at in the future (short answer, "yes") and come home. What ended up happening instead was much different. Not only did I take my daughter with me, but I also roped two friends into coming, Tim and Jared (names most definitely not changed). So effective was my roping that Jared drove all four of us. We had a good time. Kiki had a great time. I can't believe she sat through the entire "how to be a magical girl" panel (presented by a pair of Sailor Moon cosplayers), but she did. She played in the Super Smash Brothers tournament, and was pleased to come in 2nd in her round. The show is in its third year now, and attendance was over 1200, but I'm not sure how much over. This is the first year it's been at a downtown hotel, and the two-day admission was three times what it was last year, which kept numbers a little low, I think. Still, it has promise. It's more than twice the size of the local Sci-Fi and Literary conventions, and about ten times the size of the LTUE symposium. I avoided hijacking panels this year, mostly by not attending anything worth hijacking. The "How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse" panel, for instance, should have been a hilarious discussion, but was drier than a sun-baked mummy. Boring and inaccurate -- a crowbar is a terrible weapon, unless you've got the grip strength of a stevedore. We left after about 15 minutes, because if I'd stayed any longer I would have been compelled to storm the front table, and I didn't want that on my conscience. The highlight of the day was having dinner with Guest of Honor Michael Dobson, whom I first met three years ago at Fandemonium in Boise. (In the interest of closing the loop a little bit, he just finished doing some voice work for the upcoming Penny Arcade game. In this trailer he's doing the narration.) Jared, Tim, Kiki, Michael, and I escaped the convention for 90 minutes for a nice meal and fun conversation. Michael is a great guy who knows how to make the anime fans (and hopeful aspirants) feel important. He's got kids of his own, and was super-nice to Kiki. When I'm the Guest of Honor at events, I work hard to be good to the fans, but this guy puts me to shame. So... there's my "not-a-convention-report" write-up. I suspect that the next time I write about Anime Banzai, it'll be from the perspective of somebody who is working the event.