San Japan left me full of warm and gushy impressions, up to and including the full-blown case of headache-y sniffles I came down with Sunday night, and the days of drugged sleep resulting therefrom; luckily, most of the con itself was chicken-fried-awesome, and the pleasantest surprise of the whole weekend was the first panel I attended midday Saturday.
Little was going on downstairs, save for one [guess which!] handcuffed cosplayer playing dead in the midst of a cooing teenage cluster, black feathery halo and all; I checked the schedule again, trailed into the Ani-Idol finals, listened a bit, and almost immediately wandered back out in search of a Hare Hare Yukai-less environment (congrats nonetheless to the Demyx who won with it!).
This con had an interesting panel layout: many of them were either half-hours or staggered one-hour panels overlapping each other. It wasn't always apparent which was which at a glance, but the difference did cut down on blatant schedule conflicts and those twenty-minute "Any more questions? ...Anybody?" panel tail-ends you sometimes get at smaller cons.
This time, though, it meant either walking into an ongoing music creation panel - more Dale's or Zac's bag - or "The Chibi Project," whatever the hell that was. A quick caricature demonstration, maybe? The panel was being run by "PatrickD"--didn't ring any bells. Hmmmm...After an intensive five-second struggle, I decided on the mystery panel and walked into the dimmed, half-empty room just as a short video was beginning. Several brief transformation clips of Sailor Moon and her pink-haired future-daughter ensued, then an apparently pointless pre-battle sequence in which Chibi Moon is nabbed, zapped and/or squeezed by some huge bad guy/lady.
As we pondered this, the DVD cut right to live action, and that which followed lay bare the nature--nay, the very heart of The Chibi Project. Those of you with tender feelings toward chibis and inanimate objects resembling them may not want to hit the jump, but the rest of you...ha ha ha AH HA HAAA this was so awesome.
The Chibi Project, as explained in meticulous detail via their site, started innocently enough: a friend gave to site founder Patrick D one Chibi Moon PVC figurine from a set of Sailor Scouts she'd just purchased, and told him to do whatever he wanted with it. Well, he did what any right-thinking citizen would do, as we soon saw in the video. In the name of science and consequent betterment of mankind, he put Chibi Moon face down on the rail of a nearby commuter train. Alas, when struck, she flew off with only a few chips on her perky super-deformed widdle head. Unacceptable! Freezing her in solid ice and dumping it into 120-degree water also did negligible damage. So, as you all have probably figured out, Patrick decided enough was enough, and gave up. And by "gave up," I of course mean "stuck her in the microwave for 30 seconds on High."
And the stupid piece of crap still wasn't hurt! What followed was a journey through the ages: Patrick and his soon-to-become-cohorts moved on to studying Chibi's resistance to such common household hazards as a soldering iron, Blair Witch parodies, a common hammer, a hand saw, a George Foreman grill, open flame, an electric saw, hot glue, a DeLorean, a miniature rocket to the face, a full spin cycle in the wash, and a live juice dunk at the first Anime Boston, '03.
The anatomically hazardous object heading up this post? It was used upon a donated representation of a former con staple herself, now revealed (gasp) to not be wearing pants! Cover your eyes, children!
After the video, Patrick introduced himself and the Project, and had great news: we were going to do our own San Japan '08 live Chibi Project podcast!
Again, as with charred Chi, Pikachu, Shinji, Megaman and so many other "side projects" destroyed in grisly fashions by these fine scientists, our sacrifice du jour was donated by someone who wanted their toy destroyed publicly. (I must explain, if necessary, that my brother, his friends and myself got into a crapton of trouble in our day, setting Barbies afire in the backyard and recording our own original claymation play, Barney Goes To Hell, in the fireplace. Perpetrating atrocities upon playthings is in my blood; happening upon this panel was like Christmas after a long winter and no Christmas!)
This time, our victim was going to be...Botan, from Yu Yu Hakusho! She wasn't that annoying, I thought, but she was still our victim. Huzzah! (Apologies for this pic's blurriness; that's what happens when I take my own pics with a small digital camera.)
As he wrestled with the twist-ties holding Botan to her plastic packaging, Patrick explained that fire wasn't an option in our convention center, and he couldn't have brought any good tools with him on the plane. Thus, we were going to go medieval on Botan's ass: she was to be drawn and quartered, pulled apart for our amusement by volunteers! This was to be accomplished with kite string tied to her neck, wrists and feet. He also told us about an upcoming experiment with cloth, plastic, and metal Naruto headbands - some custom-made, as many varieties as he could find - and testing whether any could stop a bullet. Sounds dangerous to me - copycats, anyone? - but it's his property destruction, not mine. *shrug*
So, four volunteers took ahold of the strings and began exerting pressure on neck, wrists, and ankles...which proved amazingly solid. Seriously, I dunno what they used to make YYH figures, but it took over seven minutes of knot-slipping, palm-cutting tug-of-warring for Patrick to try putting his foot on it while they yanked her in every direction, and then to essentially say, "Hell with this. Everyone grab and pull!"
Even then, her middle had to be twisted this way and that and that and that before it came apart. Yeesh.
That panel made my sick little day, right there, but there was more to come that Saturday. Back in a few with a sad tale of inspiration and Aoi getting pwned by Amelie Belcher. Stay tuned!
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