babyrodent: It's my long-haired tuxedo cat Belle with Captain America (Default)
Disclaimer: What you're about to read is all true as this really did happen. If you have any questions, then feel free to ask.

Back in 2011, my friend Alyssa and I would hang out quite a lot as we went to the same high school at the time. We were on summer vacation at the time and, never having gone to Anime Expo in Los Angeles before, decided to go there for the first time. Mom got tickets for Saturday both of us and my dad, who would be our chaperone. Oh, you may ask, why Anime Expo specifically? Two words: Vic Mignogna. We were anime dorks and well aware of who he is, having seen a few videos on him. So in preparation for Anime Expo, we decided to give him a few presents on the off chance that we would meet him: two of my drawings for him (one was a comic, the other a drawing of three of the characters he voiced in each other's clothing with interesting results) and a drawing of Edward Elric that Alyssa made entirely in gray-scale. Now we had a game plan in motion- we got the tickets, cosplay, gifts, and stuff to take with us. Alyssa was staying over at my place with the intention to leave with me and my dad on Saturday.

Then the inevitable happened: Alyssa fell ill with the flu and thus had to call her folks to take her home. As she had to pack up in the wee hours of the morning, she asked me if I could give her drawing to Vic for her. I told her that I would do my best to try, but I couldn't make promises that I would be successful.

To give you guys an idea as to why I said this, Vic Mignogna is a crazy popular voice actor in English dubs of anime. In fact, he was so popular that if you get to meet him, then you were considered to be one of the "lucky ones". Both my friend and I were very much aware of this, hence the game plan. So when Alyssa got sick, I could tell that she felt disappointed that she would not be able to meet Vic and give him her drawing. When she asked me, that's when I realized that I still have a chance to do this for her. At the time that I told her my answer, I didn't even know if I could be successful because there was a higher chance that I would fail than succeed. So I had to rely on fate to have the final word.

Regardless, I told her my answer and she felt relieved that her efforts on drawing Edward Elric would not go to waste after all. With that, her parents picked her up and brought her back to her place with her drawing in my possession.

The next day, I got dressed in my Death Note cosplay- I cosplayed as Matt, complete with fake cigarettes made from small rolled up paper wrapped in tape- and my dad and I went to Los Angeles for Anime Expo 2011. We got our badges and our swag (including a couple of packets of Magic the Gathering cards- I got the Green Mana cards with Garruk Wildspeaker on the packet box, Dad got Red Mana cards which he gave to me to give to Alyssa since fire) and we spent the day at the convention. 

So after a while, we go in line to go to Vic Mignogna's panel. At this point, the shoes that I wore started to become a bother. I call them the "High-Heeled Boots From Hell" (or the H2BFH) because they were most likely made, gift-wrapped, and sent from Satan himself with a neat little bow. I've only worn them twice for my Matt cosplay because I was too pigheaded to wear sneakers that day (that, and I wanted to true to Matt's design), but even then, they were the worst part of the cosplay. So these stupid boots started to hurt my feet as Dad and I stood in line in the hot summer weather of July. But I endured because I didn't bring anything to remedy my feet (again, not my smartest idea). I also started sweating as well (I wore goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, a vest, a pair of leather gloves, and the H2BFH), but again, I endured.

Finally, we head to the panel where Vic was at and, when we got in, Dad and I sat in the very back near the door. At the time, I thought that this was a bad idea, but in hindsight, it was actually a good call on Dad's part.

So after the panel (where, like a complete fool, I kept raising my hand and holding the gifts in it- the heat was frying my brain, okay?), Dad let me tag along with another con goer to go in line to meet Vic Mignogna in the Exhibit Hall, which he would join me later. So I go in line and later joined by Dad and we wait what felt like a long time. I talked to other cosplayers, gave a free hug a Deidara cosplayer with a sign for free hugs, and got a "Gospel of John" CD that Vic (a devout Christian) made with the intention to give to Alyssa (since she's also Christian as well) once we return. After a while, we were close to the table where Vic was at. However, we heard the announcement that the Exhibit Hall would close at 6:00 pm, which prompted groans of disappointment and frustration. That made me realize that I've gone too far to quit now. It was now or never!

When we were almost at Vic Mignogna's table, I was on my last legs. I was exhausted, dehydrated, hungry, sore, getting blisters under my feet, sweating like a pig, and on the verge of collapsing. However, my instincts kicked in and I told myself to not collapse until the presents were delivered to Vic. At the table next to Vic's was his fiancee (now partner), Michelle Specht, where I got to briefly converse with her. She was providing encouragement- "At the homestretch now!"- and I explained to her as to what was going on, including the drawings. When it came time for me and my dad to move on, Michelle wished me luck and I gave Dad the camera for photos.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived: I was now in front of Vic Mignogna!

After introducing myself to him (and correcting the pronunciation of my name- people read it as "Ay-va", but it's "Ee-va" for me), I gave him the drawings. But as he was about to sign them, I said that he doesn't need to autograph them. This surprised him as he brought his head up to me and asked me, "Wait, no autograph?" (I could tell that he was genuinely confused, too, because he was so used to signing stuff that he's been given in front of him- so when this happened, he was caught off-guard). But then I explained to him these were gifts for him and that Alyssa was going to come with me and Dad (but then couldn't), which he quickly understood and accepted the gifts. He was able to sign his autograph on the "Gospel of John" CD for Alyssa and pose for a photo with me in the form of a hug. Once we broke off, we bid farewell and Dad and I made our way back to the car.

As soon as we made it, I immediately discarded the vest, gloves, and the H2BFH, giving my feet much needed rest. On the way home, Dad asked me why I didn't have Vic sign the gifts, to which I explained to him that I wanted the others to meet him before the Exhibit Hall closes- he understood it. We were able to stop by a McDonald's where I replenished my energy with Chicken McNuggets and Powerade.

Not only did I give Alyssa the CD and the swag that my dad was given, but I told her that I succeeded. Luckily, she was able to go to Anime Expo 2012 with me, my mom, and Charlie (another friend) where she got to meet another person that she wanted to meet as well: LittleKuriboh- twice, in fact, on Saturday and Sunday. As for me, I got to meet another well-known voice actor in 2015, just four years after that fateful day: Todd Haberkorn, Vic's friend/rival. This time, it was at the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club in Los Angeles with my older sister for Rob Paulsen's "Talkin' Toons" podcast; I got to ask him a question; and I wore comfy shoes this time. Plus, my older sister and I didn't have to wait too long in line to meet him (that, and when I introduced him to my sister, he greeted her with "Hi, big sister!").

As for the High-Heeled Boots From Hell? They were immediately sold off after AX'11.

It's safe to say that I learned my lesson.


babyrodent: It's my long-haired tuxedo cat Belle with Captain America (Default)
Eva Williams

September 2017

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