Anime Expo 2012 July 4, 2012Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: 2012, Anime Convention, Anime Expo, Los Angeles
I went to Anime Expo 2012, North America’s largest anime convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 29th to July 2nd. This marks my second time going to Anime Expo with this being AX’s 21st time running.
You can check out all 1000+ photos I took at Anime Expo 2012 at my Flickr set: Anime Expo 2012
My photo story of Anime Expo 2012 is on Figure.fm @ Anime Expo 2012
My content has also been re-posted on dannychoo.com. Check it out! – Anime Expo 2012 – User Report
I left the San Francisco Bay Area late on Thursday morning, at about 10am. We were originally suppose to leave at least before 9am, but my ride had some issues getting ready. The whole trip there was quite, how should I put this, terrifying, or maybe interesting. I’m saying this because the driver of our car wasn’t exactly experienced driving the long distance we were going. We kept swerving at almost every turn, drifted constantly into other lanes or off the road completely, and on several occasions almost had an accident. Looking back on it now we were quite lucky. I did offer to drive, but I never really pursued to do so, mainly because I didn’t want to seem like I wanted to sort of steal thier car (it’s a minivan), and also because it would of been my first time driving that long a distance as well, but I knew that I would of been the better driver out all of us in the car. None the less, I am grateful that I was able to get a ride for Anime Expo coming down here, as it saved me loads of money from renting a car.
We arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center right before 7pm, the time that Opening Ceremonies was to start. I didn’t want to miss Opening Ceremonies, but I knew that I should try picking up my pre-reg badge as well. I decided that, if Opening Ceremonies was badgeless (which it was), I would go to Opening Ceremonies and if there was no time after, get my badge the morning of Day 1. The reason why I didn’t decide to get my badge first from the start was the fact that last year I had to wait like 3 hours in line to pick up my badge in the hot sun. I thought it would be the same this year, but while attending Opening Ceremonies, my friends who I rode with down to LA passed by me and I saw they got their badges already. In my mind that means that they got their badge in 45 minutes or less as they got in line probably at 7pm and I saw them passing by me in the Opening Ceremonies at about 7:45pm. I ran out to pick up my badge when I figured out that I’d try to get mine and hope not to miss any important guest of honor introduction. I got mine in 15 minutes, probably a little less than that actually. I heard stories of people waiting 8 hours or longer to pick up their badge; I think it was because they waited before the line opened up. I guess running a little late helped in not having to deal with the long waiting of “linecon”. I returned to Opening Ceremonies to catch LiSA and Yuki Kajiura, so I didn’t miss anything important. Afterwards I took some photos of the nearly deserted convention center of Anime Expo. It was a sight that most would not see once Day 1 started. While wandering around in the empty Anime Expo, two great things happened. The first was that I happened to spot Danny Choo in front of the Mirai Suenaga itashas with a few other people and his wife. I took a photo of him with the itashas, but I should of also got a photo with me and him in front of the itashas which I didn’t do because I wasn’t thinking. I talked to him a bit and also asked him about the Culture Japan x Fakku Meet and Greet that I was looking forward to that wasn’t listed in the Anime Expo schedule. Danny said that it was a private event and that’s why it was not listed. I guess that would help in having a bit less people attending, hopefully meaning that Danny will have more time to mingle with us comrades. The second great thing was that I met some people who were in front of the Mirai itashas, one who is a Danny Choo fan as well, and another who is a big Shana fan from the Shakugan no Shana series. We talked for quite a while and it was fun, as I don’t get to talk to others about these kinds of things in that way quite often.
We got to the hotel (finally) after doing a little grocery shopping at a Food 4 Less. We checked in at about midnight with no problems. The hotel I stayed at was The Historic Mayfair Hotel Los Angeles. Now as for first impressions, this hotel is borderline what I would stay at around this area. The neighborhood directly around the hotel is not too good, but a few blocks toward downtown and your safe (for the most part). As this is a old hotel, there are some issues. The elevator is small and a bit shaky, and the halls smell. The room is OK for the most part. There is plenty of space for two people with two twin beds and it had a refrigerator and microwave (something that the hotel told us we wouldn’t have). That is pretty much the best things about the room. As I mentioned, this is a old hotel, so even with a recent renovation (as I’ve heard anyways), the walls and carpet look aged and broken, the bathroom is small and bare, the closet is whatever and missing an iron, the air conditioning is weak, and the room looks potentially like it could have cockroaches in it, though I didn’t see any thankfully. On the first night I noticed that there was no soaps or extra toilet paper in the bathroom, and there was only a couple towels. Good thing I brought my own. I went to sleep with no blankets (as the blankets are mostly bedsheets) because it was warm in the room.
I woke up past 10 am and took a quick shower (more like being watered only as I had no soap) and got into my Seiun Eiji cosplay and headed out to the convention center before noon. I arrived at Anime Expo to see a massive amount of people in the lobby area of the convention center waiting for the Dealers Hall to open up at around 12pm. It opened a bit late, about a half hour late. I headed inside once most of the people went in to see what’s in store for buying this year. Unlike last year, I had plenty of money to spend. At the same time there isn’t too much i’m keen on buying, as I don’t buy figures, collectables, etc. that often. Mainly I was looking to take a whole bunch of photos of the Dealers Hall, buy some Moekana, and plan what souvenirs I would buy for people back home. I also got a lot of free stuff. Also bought myself a ticket for the LiSA concert, getting a Silver seat for $30. Looking at the map where I would be seated didn’t look too great, but at least I’m guaranteed a seat not all the way in the back.
I got hungry after wandering around the Dealers Hall so I went to the food court area of the convention center for a late lunch. I had a cheeseburger and Coke, I should of taken a photo of it. It costed about 11 dollar something.
I went around and took photos of cosplayers and other interesting things. I happened to spot a couple of Mirai Suenaga cosplayers, one in her Solar Marine uniform and one in a kigurumi. It’s rare to find Mirai cosplayers which is sad in my opinion, but I guess when the Mirai Millenium anime comes out will be the time when we’ll see more cosplayers of the series.
On the way back to the hotel at about 8:30pm, I decided to stop by a nearby Ralph’s grocery store to pick up a few stuff, mainly I wanted to pick up shampoo because there was none in my room and I wasn’t going to just rinse with just water for the next four days. I also picked up a TV dinner for dinner and milk for my chocolate chip muffins I picked up the day before at Food 4 Less. Once I got back to my hotel room, I started work on writing a bit here on Topic “Otaku” and uploaded some highlight photos of both Day 0 and 1 of Anime Expo on my Coolmikeol Facebook fan page.
Day 2 started with me arriving at the convention center at about noon again. I planned to go to the LiSA panel, so for next couple of hours I wandered around the con, taking photos of some cool cosplay and going around the booths in the Dealers Hall. The dealers hall was one of my favorite places to be around at Anime Expo because it’s nice and cool and because I like seeing all of the stuff, whether or not I will but it or not. There are a couple of downsides to the Dealers Hall, mainly what those are is that it’s crowded and that it has horrible lighting, both of which makes a bad combination for taking photos of cosplay in there.
About an hour and a half before the LiSA panel, I decided to check out the line situation for it. They were using a separate room for people to line up for it, which I thought was a smart idea from last year’s AX where lines just stretched all over the place, making it hard for people to get around them and causing confusions. Anyways, I was debating to myself whether or not to come back to the line later or start waiting in line now. After a couple of minutes thinking, I thought to myself “screw it” and proceeded to wait in line which was sort of short at the time. It was a good thing that I did enter the line when I did. Apparently, the room I was in (which was quite small), when filled, would be the max amount of people they would take for the seats at the LiSA panel, minus the industry, press, and premiere people. They had us count off how many people were in line once it got pretty full. I was number 50 out of nearly 400 in the room, so I was in good shape to have a decent seat. We were finally allowed to conga line into the panel room 30 minutes after the scheduled time for the panel (the panel was late, not meaning that we entered 30 minutes into the panel, so keep that in mind. The panel was scheduled for 4pm but started roughly about 4:30pm). The LiSA panel was great, showing some clips of current and future projects of hers, doing some Q and A’s with fans, and giving away some autographed posters by answering some trivia about her. It ended at 5:30pm.
I wanted to go to the Danny Choo panel especially early, but first I needed to eat a quick lunch so I nabbed some pizza and soda and ate it on the way to the line for his panel. I got to the line before 6pm with his panel scheduled to start at 7:30pm. I was not as early as I wanted to be, but I was somewhat close to the start of the line. Here I was able to talk the time away with fans of Danny Choo/Culture Japan about many things while waiting. I didn’t see any Mirai Millenium cosplayers except for the other Eiji I bumped into earlier, not even a Mirai Suenaga cosplayer which was disappointing. When we finally moved into the panel room, I took a seat in between two people who I met at AX this year. As usual, Danny’s panel was great, which summarized all of Danny’s current and future projects, some random giveaways with random questions which didn’t make much sense, and of course the serious talk which covered life and work. At the end of the panel, I knew that we were going to take the big group shot, so I headed up front early and the result is that I got front and center between Kigurumi Mirai and Danny. I was glad I moved when I did. It was another great panel from you Danny!
News from Culture Japan: Nendroid Mirai Suenaga has been confirmed for a winter 2012 release, along with a announcement for a Max Factory Mirai Suenaga Scale Figure. Once those are on pre-order, I’ll definitively pre-order them. I can’t wait! As for the Mirai Millennium anime, Danny says he is currently working on the scenario for it, but nothing beyond that. The earliest I expect the anime to come out will be next year, but I can wait as I need to work on my new cosplay for that anyways.
I stayed afterwards with the Kigurumi Mirai cosplayer and two other Eiji cosplayers and got to be a part of Danny’s entourage for a bit, taking photos with Danny and his fans. It was really cool knowing that we were “with” Danny, than being just being a part of the crowd. We stayed with the Danny Choo GOH group until we saw him off leaving the con that night of Day 2. I got to meet new fellow dannychoo.com/Culture Japan comrades and I knew we would see each other again at the meet up on Day 4.
Day 3 started with me arriving at the convention center at about 11:30am. The only event I had planned to go to was the LiSA concert which was to start at 2pm, so in the meanwhile I just took more photos of cosplayers and looked around the Dealers Hall again. I can never resist going in there; it’s the best part of the con besides the guests of honor.
Before 2pm I got in line for the concert which was outside in the hot sun. Luckly we weren’t out there too long and before long we made our way into Hall G where all main events were being held this year. Last year events like this would of been maybe held at the Nokia area, but I’m glad that everything is within the convention center so that I didn’t have to walk too far, and also because there are seats and the stage looks better than Nokia L.A. Live (not Nokia Theater).
The concert was absolutely fantastic! The best concert I’ve been to. I have only been to a handful of concerts, but LiSA’s energy, just radiated and spread to everyone in the audience. I was surprised how much she ran around and was still able to sing very well without running out of breath. I love her style of music, I just do. If you didn’t know, she was the singing voice for Yui of the anime Angel Beats! and she performed three songs from the series: “My Soul, Your Beats”. “Ichiban no Takaramono, and “Crow Song”. She also performed her popular song “Oath Sign” from the recently aired Fate/Zero anime, along with songs from her other albums Letters to U and Lover’s Mile. What was cool was that she even had lights set up that had the letters of her name, they flashed whenever people chanted her name or with the songs. At the end of the concert, she took a group shot with everyone in the audience. She encouraged everyone to get close up which I did by running up as close as I could and standing up on a chair, as did many others. She’s a really awesome singer and I hope to see another one of her concerts if she comes around here again.
After the concert I decided that it was time to buy most of the big stuff I was planning to buy from the Dealer’s Hall before it closed at 6pm. The reason was that tomorrow during Day 4, I was planning to go to the Danny Choo x Fakku meet and greet which would run from 11am to 3pm, the Dealer’s Hall closing at 3pm on that last day and I didn’t want to leave early. I bought the big bulky stuff and walked back to my hotel and back to the convention center which took over an hour. I returned to the Dealer’s Hall to do a quick walk around before they started kicking people out a little past 6pm.
I stayed around to take more photos of cosplayers as I knew that I wouldn’t have much time to do so the next day. I left the convention center a little past 8pm while the masquerade was going on. This year’s masquerade was not free, and it isn’t always that great anyways so I felt I didn’t really miss anything important. I started doing a little packing up before going to sleep for Day 4.
Waking up earlier than usual during my trip at Anime Expo 2012, I started packing and getting ready to check out of the hotel, as check out was at 11am. Once I double checked that I got everything out of the room, I headed to the lobby of my hotel and checked out at about 10:15am. I saw many other con goers checking out and leaving as well. I arrived back at the convention center at about 11am and first headed to the Danny Choo x Fakku meet and greet to see what’s going on. After arriving at the meet up and staying for the quick intro of the event, I quickly ran back to the main lobby area to pick up a poster size of AX’s program cover, a Mirai poster that was prominent during Danny’s visit to AX last year, and whatever else I could get for free in a rush in the Dealer’s Hall as it would close at 3pm, the same time as the meet up.
At about noon on Day 4, I arrived back at the meet and greet (which is technically called Culture Japan night even though it’s morning). There is where I stayed for the rest of the meet up, just chilling with Culture Japan fans, Mirai Millennium cosplayers, being able to be on stage, and in general having a great time. There was one guy I met who was cosplaying as Eiji in the solar marine uniform. His first attempt was really well done, as there isn’t much designs of the solar marine for Eiji out there yet. Even before Anime Expo, I was planning to attempt making a solar marine uniform for my Seiun Eiji cosplay. I asked him a bit about how he made his and got some tips for when I try to make it. I’ll be making my debut as Seiun Eiji in his solar marine uniform next year as there isn’t any other big anime conventions/eventsI plan to go to until next year. I also made new contacts with the Mirai Suenaga solar marine cosplayer and the other Seiun Eiji who was doing the same thing as me. We all agreed that in the future we should make a Mirai Millennium cosplay group; I believe that will happen at the earliest next year if the Mirai Millennium project moves forward and releases details about characters and story.
Me and the other Mirai Millennium cosplayers do a little prank on Danny Choo, as seen here:
I stayed until the end of the Culture Japan meet up and beyond to get my stuff signed. I didn’t want to bother Danny while he was dealing with the other people, and I knew he would put a little time with his series’s cosplayers. He took some photos of me and solar marine Eiji which I will add later here when they are up. Danny told me that he was planning to head up to the San Francisco area, which made me quite excited in my mind, as that’s where I live. He even asked a little advise about how to get up there, which it seems he took as he is here now in San Francisco for business reasons; he took Interstate 5 (mentioned from his Twitter) which is the way I always take going from and to LA. For a little bit, he would not be thousands of miles away, but simply several miles away in downtown in my hometown. I hope that maybe there is a chance that we (his readers) can meet up with him once while he is here in San Francisco.
Overall, I had a really great time at Anime Expo 2012. Personally it was my best anime convention experience, for a few reasons. 1) The pre-reg badge pickup on Day 0 was very quick, hardly the case last year where I had to wait three hours in the heat. 2) Even though X-Games crowded the area around the convention and compacted AX events only inside the convention center, I liked how main events was held in Hall G rather than at the Nokia area. I didn’t have to walk far for the LiSA concert and have to deal with a “no camera” policy that made for a bad experience for me last year. 3) While there weren’t that many guests of honor I wanted to see, there is an upside to not having so many GOH panels and events to want to go to. It allowed me to hang around the lobby and halls of the convention center to take photos of cosplayers, and also to just be able to wander the Dealer’s Hall without having to stress myself to be somewhere at a specific time. I do admit that I might of not came to AX this year if Danny Choo wasn’t around, but that wasn’t the case this year. I’m hoping that he returns next year (which has been hinted in a few occasions), along with some new guests of honor like some more seiyuus and Japanese music acts such as Mami Kawada. 4) I met a lot of new people at Anime Expo which is always fun. Meeting new people from many different places, talking casually about anime and Japanese pop culture, it’s the advise of what I remember from Danny Choo’s panel last year: “Networking is key. If you lose everything, you’ll still have the friends and people who can help you back up. ” (Or something along the lines of that.)
A couple downsides was how crazy it was outside the convention with the detours and crowds of X-Games. I tried to just stay inside to avoid having to deal with X-Games so it wasn’t too bad. Another was my hotel, The Historic Mayfair Hotel Los Angeles. While it was cheap, it was also the quality of what I paid for. I was half expecting to see cockroaches or other unwelcome guests in my room but luckily it never happened. Surprisingly my hotel had free internet of decent quality that allowed me to upload photos to my Facebook Fan page and work on my blog a bit so that was a plus. It also had a refrigerator and microwave, something that the hotel said we wouldn’t have but my room did when I first entered it. The neighborhood was also not great, making me feel not safe when walking in that area, especially alone. Another was that since this hotel was not part of the block hotels for AX, there was no shuttle that came around to pick up and drop you off at the convention center. In the future, I’ll make sure to reserve a hotel room earlier than a month before AX, one that is closer and has shuttle service so that I won’t have to carry all my loot from the con for 20 minutes in the hot sun in a bad neighborhood.
That’s all for now. I did a lot of writing and I’m glad to be done with Anime Expo blogging. Still I have a lot to do with my other projects, and also to catch up on animes as well. I dubbed this month my “anime month” as I plan to watch a lot of it this month, both new airing ones and ones I’ve planned to watch for a long time.