Man, they weren’t kidding when they said Somerset, New Jersey was in the butt-crack middle-of-nowhere. When my taxi pulled into my hotel on Thursday night—Day 0 of AnimeNext—I wondered if I had been sent to the outpost of a distant civilization. But when I strolled over to the Garden State Exhibition Center the following morning, it became clear that the only distant civilization I would be encountering was one that I was all too familiar with.
After waiting a couple of hours to pick up my con badge, my usual fears were confirmed when I saw the Hello! Pro army milling about, wearing shirts and happi coats that looked only slightly more ridiculous than being dressed as a Homestuck or Brony or Meduka. This time I decided to play their little game and put my name down on an “unofficial” numbered list of fans who wanted to get into the dealer room for the specific purpose of buying Berryz goods that would entitle them to an autograph ticket/bracelet. I’m not sure this list accomplished anything other than you know who you’re behind, and you know who’s after you, and can wander off to the bathroom (or wherever) and come back without losing your place. Also you can stroke your wota peen about how early you got up to claim a place in line.
Honestly, my schedule was based entirely on how early the Subway near my hotel opened, because that was where I would get breakfast first. Everyone else can have their ridiculous 5-in-the-morning madness. Madness? THIS. IS. BERRYZ. KOBO!!!!!!!11