Tue 5 Jul 2011
In the past, I’ve mentioned my poor experience with conventions. The loathing, the embarrassment, the lack of real passion. I was doing it wrong, I wasn’t going to conventions in the right mindset: to have fun, to meet people, to experience new things. So I gambled it all and made one huge trip this year to Anime Expo. This con, I told myself, I will do it right. If I can’t have fun here, I can’t have fun at any convention. So I budgeted $1000 and rolled the dice.
I had the time of my life. There’s no other way to say it, Anime Expo 2011 was by far one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. From meeting up with canon outside of LAX and traveling to the convention, to the cosplay, to the panels, to the people, to the bro-room, the experience was incredible. I don’t even know how to describe it. Actually, yes I do: one category at a time.
Amazing scale. The Los Angeles Convention Center is so big. Even then, all the people were packed inside shoulder to shoulder. That’s a ton of people! The panels and viewing rooms were big but still sometimes people had to stand. Sure, panels ran later than Minneapolis buses and I had to randomly wait 2 hours for Kalafina press tickets (a 5 minute process), but considering the scale of the event, AX was very well run.
Alex Leavitt gave a great panel on anime opening and ending themes that I went to. I’m really inspired by his poised and relaxed demeanor while presenting. I wanted to go to some more of his panels, but I had some schedule conflicts.
The Kalafina concert was lots of fun. Club Nokia was just big enough for the event. They sang all my favorite songs, from “Kyrie” to “Oblivious” to “Magia” to “Sprinter”. They announced their last song and preformed “I have a dream” (a track I absolutely adore), and I was starting to get disappointed that they left out “Hikari no Senritsu”. Then of course, they announced they had “one more” and performed “Hikari no Senritsu”. Trololol.
I hate cosplay at anime conventions. That’s probably because I’ve seen well more than my share of terrible cosplay at conferences past. And with the Vocaloid concert this year, I was braced for the worst. But I was genuinely suprised for the sheer quality of cosplay in general at AX. Sure, exceptions exist, but I thought just about everyone was tasteful or creative. I even took some pics of my favorites (when we weren’t both in a hurry, of course).
People get so used to terrible attempts at cosplay at conventions that even good cosplay can get overlooked. It’s the opposite at Anime Expo. People step it up for Anime Expo. I was thoroughly impressed by everyone who dressed for the weekend. Keep it up, guys!
Shoutouts to my awesomely incredible, Shiori-loving bro room. Canon, Bob_Coffee, SiN, Madotsuki, and Eternal. Old Maid with my Saimoe playing cards was beyond fun, even though I am hilariously awful at that game. Also, Nagisa 4 ever. You guys rule. Arkaether, you might as well have been my roommate too. Thanks for going on those totally girly shopping sprees with me in the exhibit hall and helping me pick out that figure. I think Eternal is still orbiting the MangaGamer booth. Nice meeting you, Kylaran. You totally tore apart the Kalafina concert, haha. Yumeka, nice meeting you. Too bad I forgot everyone else I met at the day 2 meetup. I have enough trouble remembering real life names. Throw in internet names and all is forfeit. Thanks for everything, Zzeroparticle. Your panel was fun. I hope to be there next year, we might just be collaborating on one . Shinmaru, you are a total bro. I hope to see you again soon. Sorry for forgetting your blog’s name! Most people don’t even know about my blog.
To the countless people I totally forgot to mention, sorry. This is embarrassing but Mystlord, were you that Asian dude that hung out with us in the hotel room Sunday night, having pretentious conversation until I fell asleep? If so, it was a great conversation. I loved talking to you. I hope I meet as many people next year, because if I’m in the country, hell yes I’m going.
I spent a good $280 on merchandise at Anime Expo. I now officially own a figurine (two, actually). Feels good.
$25 Mugi figurine (I can’t figure out which company made it) along with random manga I picked up ($27 total). It was the last figure and I couldn’t believe it when I saw it in the display case. I love the expression on her face and she’s painted perfectly. Better a nameless perfect figure than a flawed one from Good Smile.
Left to right: Witches’ Sabbath ($40) is a really cool doujin artbook by U235 that I got from this random Chinese booth Arkaether showed me. That booth was loaded. Good thing I got her business card. “Headphone Girls; A Pictoral Book” ($30) is exactly what is sounds like. SiN was drooling all over it when I showed it to him. I like headphones as much as anyone else (if only I had money) and I love the technical descriptions of all the headphones as well as rockin’ pics of all the girls. “Birth” ($60) is one of Kozue Amano’s artbooks. I was hesitating so hard deciding whether to buy it, but I’m really glad I did.
Finally decided on a Hitagi figurine from Kotobukiya for $85. It’s pretty, it has a cool pose, and it makes a statement (“I like Hitagi, bitches!”). There’s even a stapler for her to hold!
Overall, from merchandise to the flight to ridiculously expensive convention food, Anime Expo was worth every penny. It not only showed me a good time, it was inspiring. It inspired me to get back into taking anime seriously, because I see all these people who do. All these people who are intelligent, funny, and a blast to talk to. If I didn’t get to see you, I’m sorry. On my flight back, I could do nothing but think about how to prepare for next year. To be better known. To be prepared. Maybe even to do a panel. It was such a tiring weekend, but I’ve never felt more invigorated. Never felt more passion for anime. I went into AX looking for the fun in conventions. In the end, I found myself. The journey to AX next year starts now.