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Anime Expo 2013 July 10, 2013

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Events, Otaku.
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This year’s Anime Expo experience was a mixed bag because of a lot of things, things that well… should of gone a lot better. This post will allow me to vent a bit of how I felt during the event. If I do sound mad or annoyed at any particular person (which I won’t name obviously but they may notice anyways), I just want to be honest about it, please don’t take it too seriously.

Day 0

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I woke up at around 6:00 AM after getting about five or so hours of sleep. I was pretty much preparing stuff to pack in the morning before I went to sleep. I double checked my checklist that I wrote up since I was bringing so much stuff before having a quick bacon and eggs breakfast before leaving to go pick up the four others (friends and acquaintances) a little after 7:30 AM to bring them back to my place before ultimately leaving for LA. I arrived with everyone back at my house at about 9 AM and it took an hour to pack the car with my stuff. Between everyone who had stuff to bring, I had the most: My clothes luggage, bringing an additional luggage for Wii U (friends wanted me to bring it), cosplay, cosplay fixing materials, sleeping bag and pillow, and a whole bunch of snacks and waters complete with a big cooler. I rented a 7 seater minivan, but even with just 5 of us, we were much more cramped than I thought we would be. We left at 10 AM and made our way to our first stop at Gilroy which was brief. We made a second stop at Kettleman City, an exit on the 5 Interstate that I always go to on these kind of trips. I was planning to get gas here, but it was expensive. I decided that we’ll try for gas at the Grapevine exit, right before the mountains leading up to Los Angeles, hoping it was less expensive. We ended up going to the exit right before Grapevine because I was unsure for a second about where the exit was. The gas there was a bit cheaper, so we filled up there before going up to LA. We got into the LA area at around 4PM , but we got lost because of the GPS. Apparently when I input the address of the Los Angeles Convention Center, I put “Figueroa St” instead of “S Figueroa St”. I did not know that there was another Figueroa St. that was located near the coast. Luckily we figured it out before we actually got to the wrong destination, but it took more than an hour out of our way to get back to the downtown LA area, as we took side streets that were extremely slow to navigate. At this point I was getting really irritated due to the fact that one of my acquaintances who was older kept bugging me about the time and stuff. We finally got to the hotel at about 6PM or so, checked in, brought some of our stuff into the room, and got to the convention center at about 7PM where we proceeded to wait in line for our badges for about an hour and fifthteen minutes. The line for pre-reg badge was not bad, it was long but there was barely a time longer than a minute where I wasn’t moving. At Fanime 2013, I waited more than double the time here so I wasn’t complaining. By that time we got our badge, it was around 8:20 PM, so we just explored the convention center. Since it was my friends first time to AX or any anime convention for that matter it was a good way for them to get familiar with the area. (My older acquaintance has been to AX many times so he went his own way for a while.) While we were wandering around, I got a call from a friend I met at AX last year. I made arrangements for him to stay in our room for Day 0 night only so he was calling to let me know he was at the hotel. (We were staying at the Westin Bonaventure.) We returned to the hotel at about 10:30 PM where we welcomed my friend who was staying for the Day 0 night. We were too lazy to go out for dinner so we ordered room service, mainly burgers and fries and stuff. Not too expensive…. well actually it was. Whatever. Anyways it was nice chatting with my friend who was staying with us. He had a busy schedule for AX as he was one of the staffers for Danny Choo, who I am a big fan and follower of. He had to leave early the next morning so we went to sleep before 2AM for the first day of AX.

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Day 1

I got up when my DC staff friend woke up. He left when he needed to so I saw him off. Took a quick shower and got ready to get to the convention center for opening ceremonies which were to start at 10AM.  I came to AX Day 1 dressed as Seiun Eiji’s Summer uniform. There was some conflicting information about when it was to start though. The Anime Expo programs said it was to start at noon or something, while the AX program on their website said it started at 10AM. To my knowledge at the time, I knew that the online ones would be more accurate than the printed ones, but I checked with the info booth who confirmed the time for me. We all headed to the Main Events hall which was now located in the West Hall area for the opening ceremonies, which was delayed by about 3o minutes. Most events at anime conventions I’ve been to don’t really start on time. Throughout the entire opening ceremonies, it was obvious that the hosts did not rehearse (as they even kept mentioning that they did not rehearse throughout the ceremony.) All the guests of honor was announced, but I already knew that this year’s GOHs were not as fantastic as previous years. It seems that the west coast cons are lacking in good GOHs and I don’t know exactly why. The only notable GOH I wanted to see was Danny Choo as usual, but there was no real good music guests or seiyuus. I was still satisfied though because it gave me more time to focus on Cosplay Photography which is always my main concern at a con scene.

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After the opening ceremony, we got back to the Main Hall area (South Tower Lobby) where as expected, hundreds if not thousands of people were eagerly waiting for the Exhibit Halls to open. Normally I would wait for a couple to a few hours to enter the Exhibit Halls to let the surge of people dissipate a bit, but I ended up getting swept in after going around and taking photos of the crowds. I met up with my friends who were also in the Exhibit Halls and we proceeded to explore what we could in the crowded aisles. After a while we exited the Exhibit Halls where me and my friends split so that they could go around on their own and also so I could work on taking photos.

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I ended up leaving earlier than I would because I wanted to return to my hotel to finish working on my Seiun Eiji Solar Marine cosplay before tomorrow’s Danny Choo panel. I tried to finish it when I was back home, but I ran out of time so I had to work on making the shoulder armor parts throughout the night. It came out well enough at least. I decided to put on the finishing touches when I wake up the next morning.

Day 2

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I woke up super early, about 6 AM to start getting ready, cosplay too. The Danny Choo panel was starting at 9AM so I planned to be at the convention center at around 8:30 AM or earlier. When I got there, a line had already formed which irked me a bit. We entered the panel room pretty much on time and I was able to get a seat in a decent location on the right side. I set up my video camera as usual to record his panel, but it wasn’t the same as it was in previous years. Normally he would go through his talk about  how he got to where he is now from his humble beginnings back in the UK, but this time it was short. I could tell that time was quite limited for him even though he had three hours of panel time. After that he did some Q&A session, and then he did signing sessions which pretty much ended the panel. It wasn’t like previous years where he did like Rock-Paper-Scissors, giveaways, or the big group photo at the end. It just started and ended in low key. I kept my optimism as high as I could back then, but right now writing this from home remembering back, it just really didn’t do it for me. I kind of felt that Danny is more so at AX for promoting his Culture Japan than ever. Of course that’s not a bad thing and I do like seeing more exposure for it, it’s just that it felt that he was more here for business than for his readers and followers. I know that’s what a lot of people admire about him, his ability to connect with his readers personally and on a larger scale, because he was just like one of us, regular avid anime fans. I know he also has limited time too, and that the stuff I mentioned that he didn’t do this year in his panel that he normally does in previous years he might of phased out because it became old. I don’t know… I have mixed feeling about what I was expecting from the panel, it just wasn’t as great as I remember it would be.

After the panel which I felt early (about 11:30 AM), I got word that a fellow Mirai Millennium cosplayer was at the Mirai Mart booth, so I headed in that direction. After a quick hi to her at the booth, trip to my car to drop off a bunch of stuff, I headed back  to the booth again with just my cosplay and camera. We had a quick photoshoot before promptly returning to the Mirai Mart booth for Danny’s return.  I stayed there for a good few hours cosplaying for the booth with her while she was donning her Mirai Suenaga Solar Retrograde Suit cosplay. Her’s was pretty well made, despite the lack of time she had to make it and it being incomplete. Makes me feel that I should keep working on mine too, since I won’t be cosplaying for a while. That way next time it will look better than ever and it won’t keep breaking apart like it was during Day 2.

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By 2:30 PM, I left the booth and headed back to my car so that I could take off my exhausting cosplay. It was the first time I wore such a thing in a con so it was tiring. Even more so that the weather was warm (of course its LA). I went in to pick up a quick lunch at the convention food court and set out to do some cosplay photography. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was shooting at 3200 ISO which made my photos a bit grainy. I was wondering why I was getting such a high shutter speed but didn’t realize it was because I was using a much higher ISO than I should of been using. I noticed only once I got back to my hotel room. The photos were OK, but I told myself after that to always check my camera settings so that I wouldn’t do something like that again.

Day 3

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Unlike Day 2 where I felt that I was rushing to get to the convention early with cosplay, Day 3 was more chill. I got to the convention center via shuttle this time versus driving all the time and paying for parking at around 11AM. I only events I had planned to go to was the Culture Japan x FAKKU meet up at 5PM followed by a Culture Japan Night at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Little Tokyo at 7PM. In the meanwhile, cosplay photos.

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My friends and I started going back to the hotel at around 4PM, but stopped by the new Target/food area for a late lunch. After that we headed to the hotel where I rested a bit before returning pretty late to the CJ x FAKKu meetup at 5:45PM. It once again was not how it was like last year, it felt like another panel than just mingling like last time. I left shortly after it ended, took a few more cosplay shots, then headed back to the hotel again to prepare to go to Little Tokyo by car for CJN.

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I got to Little Tokyo before 8PM, but I got a bit lost while trying to find Kinokuniya by foot. I ended up running around the wrong block. By the time I made my way to Kinokuniya, there was a line of people waiting to talk and meet Danny. I wanted to wear my Solar Marine cosplay so I went back to my car which was not too far away, put on what I could without the body suit, didn’t bring out the sonic naginata due to me not being in a con scene and not wanting to bring out too much attention on the streets, and headed back to Kinokuiya. The line for Danny, while it wasn’t long, still had a decent wait time because it was here that Danny was taking more time to talk to each person, something that makes him feel more down to Earth than most high profile people. While in line I realized that I didn’t have much to really talk to him about besides my cosplay and stuff. Before that happened though we had a quick group shot with everybody which was cool. When it was my turn to talk to Danny, I kind of jumbled for words as usual. I should be used to meeting with Danny, but it’s just a natural reaction I end up having. He asked a bit about my cosplay and how I made it, I also told him ( as I’ve and many people told him before) that his Culture Japan brand is a wonderful way to spread Japanese culture and that I would always support it. I also brought my Mirai Suenaga Nendoroid that I won in the Mirai Suenaga Nendoroid give away a while back. I told him my quick story about how I thought I wasn’t in to win (because I entered late), then got an e-mail saying I did win, saw pictures of signed business cards of winners which did not have my name on any of them that made me think I did not win and that it was a mistake, then getting an e-mail before AX saying that it was sent complete with a picture of the package, then receiving it before bringing the Nendoroid back for him to autograph. Long story short: I won, I lost, I won, I got autographed. I left just around the time it was ending, about 10PM. I didn’t get a chance to go browsing Kinokuniya because I was in cosplay, I didn’t feel like walking around in there in costume. Got back to the hotel at 10:30PM where we started to pack up for home the next day.

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Day 4

Day 4 was suppose to be a chill day, but my nerves with my friends and acquaintances were starting to get to me. After we checked out of the hotel and had breakfast, we headed to the convention center for the last time, mainly for last minute shopping and cosplay shots.

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While I would have liked to stay until around closing ceremonies, because stuff likes to happen then that I like to photograph and be a part of, me and my group ended up leaving as early as 2:30 PM because apparently they wanted to go home already. Once everyone was in the car, we rushed out to head back to the San Francisco Bay Area. After traffic and stuff we arrived back in San Francisco close to midnight, right around when I estimated we’d be back. I dropped off everyone at their own homes and I got home at 12:30 PM where I just ate a bit before going to sleep.

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Overview

Throughout the trip, I kept a flexible, optimistic mind about things, but by the end of it I had to face facts: Things just didn’t go as I expected. One of the main reasons why this trip didn’t go so great was the fact that I brought along an older acquaintance who pretty much annoyed the shit out of me. He was like a damm backseat driver the entire time, always reminding me of the time which made me feel that I had to rush when we didn’t need to. I ended up speeding almost the entire trip because of it, putting my other friends in danger when my nerves were on the brink of breaking. Just thinking of it now just makes me want to regret letting him come. Luckily the person I’m referring to here doesn’t have regular access to the internet, nor does he know about this website, so I think I’m safe from him figuring out that I was annoyed with him the entire trip. I was nice to everyone on the trip, but I could only maintain that persona for so long. Once I dropped him off on the late night of Day 4, I sincerely apologized to my other three close friends who came on this trip. It was their first time really going on a trip of this scale and I felt that I made it a pretty bad experience. During a convention, I always see them sort of like a business venture. It’s a place where I can network and do work (photography). Since I’m on the move all the time, it’s hard to keep watch over my tail (my friends) who at times would become bored or tired of the convention and would end up splitting up, going back to the hotel room early, etc. I’d feel bad for them, but at the same time I warned them that this would be the case as this is what I do at conventions. After driving back two of my friends, the last one who I was to drop off had it rough during the trip because he rarely gets out much and the trip itself was like a total culture shock to him. He also got a bit of motion sickness because of my rough driving going back home. As I drove gently back to drop him off at his place, I cried a little. I felt so bad that I brought them along, for their own sake. I felt that when the idea of them coming along came up, it was half-heartily thought of. I felt I convinced them to come just because I thought  things would be good. I was wrong. I learned that for theses trips, it’s best for me to go alone. I don’t want others to be affected by my faults or unexpected events. Anyways, photographers are almost always solo right?

The convention itself was not as great as the previous couple of years I’ve been going to it. For starters, as mentioned, the GOH list was not impressive. It seems to be the case for the Fanime as well. Danny Choo seemed busier than ever which made his my encounters with him not as fun as it was last year. The cosplay at AX at least was pretty good, so at least we had that.

In terms of how much money I spent for this trip, I can tell you I spent much more than I estimated. What really was off the charts was how much I spent on parking. I estimated $60, I think I spent almost $200 on it alone. I wasn’t keeping track of food costs or how much I spent on loot because those were for necessity and enjoyment. The hotel and car rental was the majority of the costs of my trip, but those were partially recuperated by the split playing from the friends and acquaintance.

Conclusion

While it was a pretty crappy trip, I did learn somethings which is always a plus from a failure. Don’t bring people along who are bugging you about every little thing and others who you have to keep watch over all the time. Babysitting is not my thing during a trip like this, or any trip for that matter. Also, watch the amount of things I bring on a trip, because a car can fill up very fast. Try and scout the area a bit more from home so you know where cheaper parking is. Stuff like that.

As for Anime Expo, this year was my worst experience with it out of the three times I have gone. Would I return to Anime Expo again? Probably, because there are still friends I meet at conventions, and cosplays to take photos of. The guest of honor list really needs to improve next year with some notable Japanese voice actresses or something like that. I know I need to expand my list of conventions to go to, as I really only go to AOD, Fanime, and Anime Expo every year. If I had my own car, I’d go to more cons around the Bay Area like Daicon or Anime Destiny. I’d also like to go to ALA, Sakuracon, and PAX Prime as well.

The next couple of events I’ll be attending will be the J-Pop Summit Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown on July 27 and 28, and Japan Expo which is at the end of August.

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Anime Expo 2012 July 4, 2012

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

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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

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Day 0

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.

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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.

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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.

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Day 1

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.

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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.

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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.

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Day 2

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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.

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Waiting for the LiSA panel.

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We conga lined our way into the LiSA panel room, chanting her name as we did.

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.

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People in line for the Danny Choo panel.

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One of the many pieces of advise I follow from Danny Choo.

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!

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Click for full sized image!

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.

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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.

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Day 3

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Overview

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.

Anime Expo 2011 July 5, 2011

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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4 comments

Anime Expo 2011

Anime Expo was such a big experience for me, before, during, and after the convention; “Before”, because of the massive preparations I had to make for the trip, “During”, obviously from experiencing the con firsthand, and “After” from the affect that the con had on me. I will tell my story from start to end of my whole experience of Anime Expo 2011.

I’ve done a separate photo coverage post on Figure.fm for Anime Expo 2011. Please check it out.

Now, every story has its precursors, and my Anime Expo 2011 story starts way before Day 1. Early in the year, my most favorite guest of Anime Expo was announced, Danny Choo who is a blogger about everything Japan and is also director of his own show titled Culture Japan. I made a decision to try and make plans to go to Anime Expo mainly to meet Danny who is an inspiration to me and to many others, because of his success story about how he became from a regular person (like us normal people) to one who is becoming a increasingly known person for his work in spreading Japanese pop culture throughout the world. I’ll explain more about Danny Choo later on.

About a month before Anime Expo, I was able to reserve my hotel room at the Millennium Biltmore. I thought there were almost no more rooms but I got lucky (I guess). That was one of my main concerns that I had to deal with, but with it out of the way, I could focus on some smaller things.

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Preparations for Seiun Cosplay before heading off to Anime Expo.

First off was creating my cosplay for AX. As a fan of Danny Choo, I was excited at the announcement of his new first male mascot character, Seiun Eiji, who has a very simple look (partially based on Danny himself), perfect for a beginner cosplayer such as myself. I was originally not planning to cosplay for AX, because I knew that it was going to be warm and I didn’t want to wear my ninja cosplay in such weather, and also I was planning to volunteer for the con too so I thought that cosplaying would get in the way. In the beginning process of putting the Seiun Eiji cosplay together, I already had black dress pants, black dress shoes, and beanie hat, but I realized that I needed to buy and/or create many elements of the cosplay that I was missing. Slowly but steadily, I was able to go to various stores to get the cosplay together; Burlington Coat Factory for the white dress shirt, blue tie, and watch, Target for headphones, Walgreens for some reading glasses (I don’t wear real glasses), and Michael’s Arts and Crafts store for some iron-on transfers to make the orange stripes and Danny Choo “D” logo for the shirt. Only about a couple of days before I left for LA did I have the cosplay complete. The iron-ons were my main concern about the cosplay itself, because they weren’t staying on too well, peeling off at the edges and ends, but was holding enough for the con. Overall I was impressed that I was able to put together my first custom cosplay.

As a blogger, I believe in networking on and offline, as it helps in meeting new people to build relationships, ultimately to discuss and work together for a joint cause. Since going to FanimeCon in San Jose, I’ve been attempting to network by creating business cards that have my intro along with my websites on it to advertise myself as a casual blogger, YouTuber, and photographer. While I know that I’m not the best at what I do, meeting new people allows me to gain readers and support who can help me along, because a blogger is almost nothing without readers. I’ll explain about the future for me as a casual blogger/YouTuber/photographer a bit later in this post. Anyways I luckily had some business card paper around, but I had to end up buying new ink for my printer. I had another problem during printing where the front side was aligned with the perforated parts of the business card paper but the back side was not, making me waste business card paper. I remedied that problem by making the back side upside down from the front of the card.

Planning what to pack is part of every long trip, but since I haven’t had one in a while, it took me a while to get everything I needed to bring into perspective. Besides clothes, toiletries, chargers, etc., I also planned to bring my Mirai Suenaga Figma for Danny to autograph. I also got a Virgin Mobile Mifi 2200 so that I would have mobile Wifi with me on the road. I initially had problems setting it up, but after a call to Virgin Mobile, they helped me set it up easily.

In terms of computers and cameras, I brought my digital camera, video camera, tripod, portable HD, iPod Touch and Nano, and laptop with me. The reason why I brought two iPods with me is that my iPod Touch’s audio output is being compromised by what I believe is a bent headphone jack. I still have both left and right side channels of sound, but the sound becomes distorted randomly when the headphone plug is jiggled around, most of the time messing with sound quality. I had to send in to repair before the trip, but apparently they couldn’t find any problems with it. I know it isn’t my headphones, as I tried it with various new ones that had the same problem. I don’t know what to do since my main repair place couldn’t find it themselves, but I’ll still get some second opinion for it, I don’t want to just give up on it.

As you can see during the month before Anime Expo, I was doing a lot in preparations for the convention. I wanted to make sure that I had everything ready for when I had to leave; I wanted my trip to LA for AX to be as great as possible.

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I decided to post my updates that I posted during my time at AX here. More detailed Day summaries after this segment.

— Day 0 of AX was a bit rough. I had to stand in line for two hours to pick up my badge, ended up not volunteering as planned because I didn’t know that I had to volunteer for the number of days that my badge was for (I wanted to volunteer for 2 out of the 4 days that my badge gives but they don’t give partial refunds of reg fees), and had to walk around in uncomfortable heat. Even so, all this won’t discourage me from enjoying Day 1 of AX because there is so much I plan to see and do. If you happen to be at AX, I’ll be dressed as Seiun Eiji from Mirai Millennium (a series based from Danny Choo). Just google “Seiun Eiji” if you don’t know the character’s visual. Anyways, good night and I’ll be back here and briefly report on my experiences of my first day of AX.

— Day 1 of AX complete. All of Day 1 I was in cosplay as Seiun Eiji. Most of the time I was waiting in line for some event or panel. I got to meet blogger Danny Choo, who is a inspiration to me. Overall the day was filled with seeing special guests, but I didn’t feel as satisfied as I thought I would. I hope Day 2’s concerts will make things better.

— Day 2 of AX was a BIG FAIL, partially on my part, partially on the con. I think I failed BIG TIME as a blogger.When I couldn’t bring my camera to the Kalafina concert, I assumed it would be the same condition for the Miku concert. Apparently not the case as it seems cameras were going through. Now I have missed a big chance to bring photo coverage of the first Miku Hatsune U.S. Concert. I’m sorry readers…

I did enjoy both the Kalafina and Hatsune Miku concerts. Though I may not be a big fan of Vocaloid music, I still felt that if I had a chance to see a real concert of hers, then I should so that I can share my experiences of the concert with others who couldn’t go. Unfortunately no photos from me during that time.

— Day 3 made up for some of the problems I had on the previous days. The Culture Japan/Fakku meetup was fantastic! I got to meet a few new comrades and get to meet Danny and get autographs, photos, video, and I even gave him a small hand drawn fanart of Kanata without her glasses with a message to Danny on the back. I also asked him a couple of questions about various stuff such if Culture Japan will be on DVD and about if he will have any plans to visit Northern California.

I went to the Maon Kurosaki concert and it was awesome! I loved every song she sang. I even changed my mind about her song Magic World, which I had taken off my iPod before, but it will return along with much more Kurosaki music. I also went to the Masquerade to bring closure to my AX experience as I wasn’t planning to stay too long on Day 4. I left after Danny Choo’s mid show.

— Day 4 After checking out of the hotel, I headed back to AX just to go to the exhibit halls for the last time. Bought some gifts for friends, and tried to find anymore free stuff but almost all gone. I left AX/LA at about 3pm and returned back in the Bay Area by around 11pm. The drive back was hot and long.

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Full Day Summaries

Day 0 – June 30th

 I left San Francisco at about 7am and after a several hour drive arrived in Los Angeles at about 2:30pm. After checking in to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, I got to the Los Angeles Convention Center where Anime Expo takes place just past 5pm. I got into the extremely long pre-register badge pick up line at 5:30pm and two hours later got it, rushed into the LACC to the volunteer office before the 8pm close out time just to find out that I couldn’t volunteer, because I wanted to volunteer for just two out of the four days. The volunteering times must coincide with the number of days your badge says, meaning that I either had to volunteer all four days, or not volunteer at all. I didn’t know that prior to deciding on how much I was planning to volunteer. I had to give up my plan to volunteer then because I wouldn’t have the time. Later on I realized that volunteering would be impossible for me, because time is very limited in a con like this, and I need all the time in the world.

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Long pre-reg line for badge pickup at AX.

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Day 1 – July 1st

I arrived late to AX, approximately 10:30am but I was still able to make it to see some of the opening ceremony. After that I went to see the Kalafina panel at noon and took a peek at the NIS America panel, to kill some time for the lines at the exhibit halls to shorten. My plan worked as at about 2pm there were no lines for the exhibit halls. I stayed in there for a few hours, walking through every aisle taking photos of interesting eye catching stuff. Free stuff was also present and got myself an AX lanyard, some Hi-Chew pens and stuff, Crunchyroll.com T-shirt, niconico.com bottle, and a few other minor stuff. I didn’t really buy anything on my first day as I wanted to save my money for any future things I wanted to buy. The main event of Day 1 for me was the 8pm Danny Choo panel. I didn’t get as early in line as I would have liked to be, I got in line at about 7:15pm, as there was already a good amount of people ahead of me. When the line started moving past 8pm, I started recording using my video camera, all the way into the panel room. I was able to get a couple of rows away from the front, but on the right side of the middle row. I recorded Danny’s panel and loved it, I even got a picture with him. I saw YouTube videos of Danny’s panel from last year’s AX and this year it was similar. Danny’s panel is a mix of an introduction of who he is, a motivational/inspirational talk, about Danny’s and his company, Mirai inc.’s, future plans, along with some fun mixed in such as giveaways and group photos. It was great being a part of the panel and I got to even take a picture with him as well, but that wasn’t the only time during the con. I returned back to the hotel to prepare for Day 2 of AX before midnight.

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Me (cosplaying as Seiun Eiji) with Blogger Danny Choo.

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Day 2 – July 2nd

I arrived late to AX on Saturday, getting there before noon. I hung around the exhibit halls before lining up at about past 2pm for the 3pm panel of Maon Kurosaki. As with many panels that I attended at AX so far, it was late and so it also ended late, at about 4:20pm. I had a Kalafina concert at 5pm so I had to leave while stuff was still going on within the Kurosaki panel, such as the raffle for a Kurosaki autograph. I don’t know i got chosen in that raffle as many people are choosing that raffle, but I had to leave to get to the concert all the way at Club Nokia. When I arrived, I found out that I couldn’t enter the venue at all with my digital camera due to their strict policy. This is where my day gets bad. I had no idea what to do at this point in time with my camera. With only about 30 minutes to the start of the concert, I couldn’t return to my hotel because was too far away. I was considering hiding my camera somewhere and getting it back later, but I didn’t want to take the risk of it being found and stolen. I heard about bag check from some person and decided that would be the best thing to do, so that meant that I had to rush back to the LACC, wait in line, pay $10, and run back before the concert started. I got into the Kalafina concert just as it was starting. The Kalafina concert was great, I got shivers from some of their music, because of their voices and emotion they put into their songs. After the concert I went back to bag check to pick up a few things from my bag, but I did not get my camera because I had tickets to the Hatsune Miku concert and I thought that Nokia Theatre’s policy would be the same like Club Nokia. For the two hours before the concert I just wandered around, witnessing missed photo opportunities. About an hour before the Miku concert I arrived at the Nokia Theatre to find so many people in line ready to enter when the doors open. I couldn’t even find the end of the line or any real line for that matter until the doors opened. When I got to security check, I noticed that cameras were allowed to go through but not allowed to be used during the concert. When I got in and sat down, I realized that I missed a whole bunch of photo ops before and around the concert. It was a BIG FAIL on my part because I didn’t find out about whether or not cameras were allowed. I missed my only opportunity to bring photo coverage of the crowds outside of the concert before the doors opened. Anyways the Hatsune Miku concert was nice to watch. I enjoyed to opening act by the DANCEROID pair, because I’ve seen Kozue on YouTube and it was great seeing her live dancing in perfect sync with Ikura. The projection effects of Miku and of the other Vocaloids on stage was done well. It took a bit for my eyes to adjust to see her as an entity that moves with similarity of that of a normal human. I cross-eyed myself a coupe of times to purposely blur my vision to see if her movements were similar to that of a human dancing on stage, and it was pretty spot on. I enjoyed some of the music, but I’m not really such a big Miku/Vocaloid fan, I mainly decided to go to the Miku concert because I thought it was a good opportunity to see a 3D Miku and be a part of the first ever Vocaloid US concert. The only visual problem with the Vocaloid concert was noticeable when Miku (or any other of the vocaloids) moved to the extreme left or right of the projection screen which caused her to fade. I was sitting on the left area of the seats, so if Miku went all the way to the right, she would fade like a ghost. Swinging around to the left side where I was, she became super bright and clear, and you can even see the two lights from the projectors that bring Miku to the stage, though those projector lights can be seen all the time. Day 2 was the worst day of my experience at Anime Expo all because of the rushing I had to do with the camera problem. Even then, I’ll just learn from my mistakes from Day 2 and try again better next time. I’ll be prepared so that I won’t miss my chances at photo taking.

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Day 3 – July 3rd

I vowed to make amends from the previous day with the Culture Japan x FAKKU meet and greet. I was really looking forward to meeting Danny Choo and more comrades of the DC community. I arrived just as things were getting underway at just past 11am. After a quick talk by Danny and Jacob, lines formed to come up to see and talk to Danny and Jacob. I decided to wait a bit before going into line, as we had 4 hours and there wasn’t that many people. I took my time meeting new people, giving out business cards that gave a quick intro about who I am and what I do, and chatted the time away. It was great meeting everyone that I did, as it’s fun networking with people with similar interests. About a couple of hours into the meet and greet, I got in line and eventually got up to the front to have Danny autograph my Figma Mirai Suenaga. Later on I was able to give Danny my pencil artwork of Kanata without her glasses, drawn from looking at one of her original pictures (not traced) along with a note to Danny on the back to thank him for be an inspiration to myself and many others. I even got to ask him a couple of questions and got his responses recorded. Overall I was able to do everything I wanted to accomplish, thank you Danny for taking your time to answer my questions.

Anime Expo 2011

Culture Japan x FAKKU Meet & Greet

Anime Expo 2011

I (on the right side) wasn't the only one cosplaying as Seiun Eiji. He was the only other one I saw at AX, his Seiun Eiji cosplay is slightly better than mine with the sewed on sleeve lines.

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My autographed Mirai Suenaga Figma by Danny. The drawn picture is of Kanata without her glasses, one of Danny's mascots that I drew a while ago. I decided to give it to him as a gift and I left a note on the back of my drawing to personally thank Danny for being such an inspirational person to me and to many others.

After the DC/FAKKU meetup, I had a couple of event I was going to attend, the Maon Kurosaki concert at Club Nokia at 5pm and the Masquerade at Nokia Theatre at 8pm. The situation was very similar to yesterday’s so I did things right this time. An hour before the Kurosaki concert I left my backpack at bag check along with my camera because I knew that Club Nokia doesn’t allow anyone through with a camera. The Kurosaki concert was awesome! I loved every song that she sang and it even made me change my mind about liking her single Magic World which I had taken off my iPod before because I didn’t like it so much, but it will be returning soon. I was pretty close to the stage so, she is quite cute looking up close. When I went to her panel on Day 2, I learned that she used to be a hikikomori, and that’s why in her music videos she is shown to be a glasses wearing person in a dark room watching the outside. I hope to see a concert of her’s again if I do get the chance. After the Kurosaki concert, I first stopped by Nokia Theatre to ask the security about whether they at least let people through with cameras (and of course I said I wasn’t going to do flash photography). I learned that the conditions were the same as the Miku concert so I returned back to bag check just to pick up my camera and during my time before the concert, took pictures of as many interesting things as I could. Less than 30 minutes before the start of the Masquerade, I already took my seat which was right in the middle, but pretty far back from the stage. The masquerade was an OK show to watch. It’s like a talent show of sorts but with cosplay and themes from various animes/series. I didn’t enjoy the Fanime one too much, but this one was slightly better. The hosts were funny and some of the acts were pretty good. I stuck around because I wanted to catch the mid show that Danny Choo said he was a part of. Danny’s part in the mid show was to help introduce and translate for Toshiyuki Morikawa, a seiyuu for various big series such as Naruto, Bleach, etc. I loved the part where Danny imitates a Harry Potter accent, as he did it really well. He really did sound like Harry Potter in my opinion. I left shortly after that for the shuttle buses that took me back to my hotel before midnight. The masquerade was a way to bring closure to my AX experience as I wasn’t planning to stick around too long on Day 4.

Anime Expo 2011

Nokia Theatre Masqurade Stage

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Day 4 – July 4th

After checking out of the hotel, I got to AX at about 1:30pm to quickly do some last minute shopping at the exhibit hall, but mostly did rounds to try and get more free stuff if there was. I bought a couple of things, one was a gift for a friend, and I also bought a ocarina because I wanted to try one out since I saw one at Fanime but I didn’t get last time. There was no more free stuff…. I left LA at about 3pm and arrived back in San Francisco at about 11pm. I encountered traffic during my drive back home, that’s why it took longer than expected. The fog and cold is so welcoming when coming from such a hot city such as Los Angeles.

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Anime Expo 2011

My overall experience of Anime Expo 2011 is slightly more positive than negative. I did encounter many problems that I did not foresee or think about when making plans, such as dealing with extremely long lines, heat from the weather, time constraints, staff issues, and camera allowance. At the same time I had some great experiences as well, mostly from getting to see/meet guests in person, meeting new comrades, and experiencing something new. Despite all the problems I had with AX, it doesn’t mean that I’ll deter me from trying to go again. I think the overall message of that Anime Expo 2011 is telling me is to keep moving forward and don’t regret the past, and as Danny Choo has said before “Identify and live your passion. The rest will always follow.” I’ll make sure to follow my passion to pursue a future that I’ll love to live in.