As most of you probably already know, I went to Anime Expo last month. It was my first time at an anime convention and I had a great time.
Unfortunately I was only able to be there Thursday, Friday, and part of Sunday during the day since I was also meeting some friends in LA who aren’t all that into anime. They went to the con for a couple hours and then bailed to take a nap.
I spent most of my time there hanging out with people from twitter, which was awesome. Do not go to a con without knowing anybody, it would suck. You spend most of the time waiting in line.
Flew to LA. Got there around 9:00 if I remember correctly. Took the metro, got to the hotel around 11:00. For future reference do not take the metro, it sucks.
Woke up around 9:00, headed to the convention center. I turned around a corner downtown and ran straight into one of my friends from college. Neither of us knew that the other liked anime. Pretty funny.
When I got to the convention center, I was greeted by a tank. Pretty sweet. Then I stood in line for two hours waiting for a badge. Slightly less sweet.
Once I finally got in I met up with violaxcore and emperorj. We hung out for a while and eventually Shinmaru joined us. We went to some talk about translating manga and anime, which turned out to be an hour-long laundry list of the different types of translation.
Then we checked out the exhibit hall, which was huge. The artist’s alley was particularly impressive. All these artists come to sell the things they draw themselves. We met up with sammdere and I bought this gorgeous Eru-Erufu bookmark that she made.
I ran into my friend from college again in the exhibit hall as emperorj bought figures, and met his friend who was cross-dressing in a Yuruyuri school uniform. Best cosplay of the convention, hands down.
Next we went to this industry panel from Sentai filmworks (except for Marina who went to stand in line for autographs). Inushinde ditched us to go in the press line. I should get a press pass next year. Or preferably they could just make the crowd control less of a miserable failure. Anyway, the talk was really boring. “We’re going to release X!” *Cheers* “We’re going to release Y!” *Cheers* for half an hour or so. It was pretty sad what the crowd cheered for though. Two of the most popular shows were Queen’s Blade: Rebellion and Medaka Box. There was total silence for the announcement of AKB0048 except for Shinmaru and I. Morons. (Fine I will admit that emperorj and I cheered a bit for Queen’s Blade: Rebellion but it was ironic cheering, okay?!!!) It ended with a Q&A session where the answer to every question was “we can’t say.”
In summary, it was really boring. I have this great picture of us sitting at the talk (although I’m not going to post it). EmperorJ is sitting next to me facepalming, while Shinmaru is tweeting and normalmar is playing her DS. That about captures the experience.
Afterwards, I think we walked around the exhibit hall some more. Toshio Maeda was there drawing pictures. Found kevo, usny and Rick Dom, who eagerly explained the many flaws of the tank at the convention entrance. We browsed through porn and idolmaster figures together until they kicked us out. I met up with my friends from real life and we went out to dinner together.
Went to the convention center with my friends around 10:00. They had to wait in the line for badges, it was much shorter this day. Once they were in we spent a bit of time in the exhibit hall before heading over for the talk by Nobuhiro Kikuchi. He’s a producer at PA Works and he talked about anime tourism, like how the made-up Bonbori festival from Hanasaku Iroha had become an actual festival. My real life friends who weren’t into anime were bored out of their minds and ditched us immediately after. I thought it was kind of interesting though.
Two of them stayed with me though for the next talk by Mari Okada. We ran into Shinmaru, Sehnng and normalmar in line. Unfortunately, half the talk was already over by the time we got into the talk. Terrible crowd management. What makes it even sadder was that a) we were in the middle of the line, and b) at the end of the talk, the room was half-empty. So there was no need for all the crowd control in the first place.
Anyway, Mari Okada was cool. Lots of questions about AKB0048. Someone asked about the recent scandal with AKB0048 and she shamelessly dodged the question.
Next, we raced to the Kick-Heart premiere and the Q and A with Masaaki Yuasa. Kick-Heart was great. Afterwards they showed a documentary about how the movie was made. Parts of it were really interesting. Other parts were all these fancy effects while the staff hung out on the beach and it was some of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen. Still it was very interesting. Then the host asked Yuasa a few questions before opening it up to the audience. Yuasa was simultaneously very shy and very honest, unlike many of the other guests who had the typical Japanese way of saying nothing extraordinarily politely. He was quite polite too though.
Afterwards I wandered around the exhibit hall some more and bought this poster for my friend who is a big Kenshin fan:
Hopefully she’s got it by now, apparently she never checks her mail.
I met up with my friends again and we went to a Q and A with the character designer of Haruhi, Noizi Itou. It was terrible in the most hilarious way imaginable. A third of the questions were dumb (i.e., “Where is season 3 of Haruhi?”) and another third were dumb and asked in incomprehensible attempts at Japanese. She answered most of the questions with a single word or sentence.
It didn’t help the questioners in that the only introduction they gave Noizimi Itou is that she is a “graphic designer and character designer”. No one knows what a character designer even does, much less how it can be a full time job. The best question was the last one. “Could you give some examples of works you did as a graphic designer?” Her answer, after five minutes of trying to understand the meaning of the question: “Oh, you know… a bunch of hardcore S and M stuff.” “Thank you for your questions, that’s all we have time for. Bye!” All her answers were absolutely infuriating like that.
After that, we went home and pigged out on Chinese food. Then we marathoned AKB0048. Obviously.
We had dim sum. Then we went to the beach. In the evening one of my friends’ families had this crazy good picnic. Best picnic I’ve ever been to, they even had those Korean barbecue beef slice things.
My friends left in the morning and dropped me off at the convention center after lunch. I met up with Shinmaru, Inushinde, normalmar, and I think a couple other people. Then we found gendomike and Yumeka and I had a chance to meet them.
Shinmaru opened his grab bag.
I bought another poster. Still have to frame it. And I got a book to put my bookmark in.
I hung out with everyone for a while, and then met up with SethBurn for dinner. Then I walked through Little Tokyo, took the bus to the airport (much much better than the metro) and went home. It was an overnight flight so when I got back I went straight to bed. It was the afternoon though…
It was a great experience. I’d do it again. Probably not every year but maybe every other year would be nice.
The lines were infuriating and the talks weren’t all that great. From what it sounds like the smaller conventions usually have more interesting talks. There were tons of cosplayers everywhere. Attack on Titan was all the rage. I thought the Artists’ Alley was amazing.
But the best part was being able to associate more twitter cartoon girl heads with actual people. So thanks to EmperorJ, violaxcore, Shinmaru, normalmar, Marina, sammdere, Inushinde, Sehnng, kevo, Usny, gendomike, Yumeka, SethBurn, and anyone I forgot for making the convention a great experience! I’d previously met EphemeralDreamer, GuardianEnzo, balloon_thief and kevo as well. And the following weekend I also got to hang out with Marina again and meet Avvesione which was great. The most interesting thing about meeting all these people is how they are often not at all like you expect them to be from talking to them on twitter. For example, Shinmaru is really moe and normalmar doesn’t cuss all the time. Kevo, on the other hand, is exactly like you’d expect.
Thanks again for a great time in Los Angeles! If you’re like me and have never been to a con before, I hope my experience will inspire you to give it a shot sometime.