So you all may have been wondering where I was for the past few days (or not!), and why, despite the fact that the best show of the season is over (Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei), I still haven’t covered it. I haven’t seen any Summer shows, much less even finish all the Spring shows that I’m watching. The answer? Anime Expo 2010.
And holy crap this was the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. This was the first anime convention that I ever went to, and I decided to be the moron and literally go to every event for all four days at the biggest anime convention in the US. My feet still hurt. AND I’m going to Boston tomorrow. Oh boy! More walking! So all the Spring shows I have yet to finish will be two weeks late. >.> Well, better get this out of the way then. I’ve never blogged a convention before, but I’ll write this by day, and add in some thoughts. (PS – You can click the features for a bigger size.)
Day 1, I walk inside the convention, and I see the section where people who haven’t registered go. No one in line. An Anime Expo worker directs me to the location where people who have pre-registered go. Holy crap a huge ass line.
Sigh… Well, I waited in line for a long time, and because I was completely unwilling to wake up at 7:30 am for the Opening Ceremonies (I took the ~1 hour subway ride from my home to the convention), I decided to skip that and go to the first panel on the schedule: Gundam: The Panel. I’m not really a Gundam fan, so I wanted to figure out exactly why the franchise is so big. Big robots? Action? I dunno. All I know is that the line for the May’n panel, which would take place 1:30 from the Gundam panel, already had people waiting in it. That’s dedication to get a front seat. Well, time to find out all about Gundam!
And the panel sucked. Talk about the actual franchise? None. All they talked about were upcoming releases and models and stuff. That’s not what I signed up for… I probably should have headed to the Japanese DJ panel after I realized how dumb the Gundam panel was, but it totally slipped my mind, so I sat for a while, then I got up and went to the exhibit hall. Browsed around a while, was amazed at all the stuff in there, but I didn’t get too much time before the Kawamoto panel (cofounder of BONES), so I headed there.
I really regret not staying there the entire time. They showed a kickass montage of every BONES production to date, and I noticed a much greater increase in cheers for series that had been brought to America. And they only used action scenes from Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, which I felt defeated the point… But whatever. Immediately after the movie, the Q&A part began, and the questions asked were ok. I didn’t get to catch much though, since the May’n panel overlapped with the Kawamoto panel, and I really wanted to catch that, so I headed back around 5 minutes before the May’n panel to catch it.
Holy shit wtf the line. For some reason, getting a picture slipped my mind, so here’s a picture of Danny Choo fistbumping a Shingen cosplayer instead:
The line had at least 200 people already in it, if not more. Insane. And the panel started 15 minutes late. God damn it… But eventually we got started, and I have to say that the May’n panel was EVEN WORSE than the Gundam panel? How? The primary problem was undoubtedly the translator that they brought. She wasn’t fluent in English at all. If you remember episode 6 in Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei, with the episode about the English speaking club, that translator was like a depressed Hanuki. She just couldn’t construct sentences at all. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the Kawamoto panel had an excellent translator. My second problem was just the way May’n spoke. She spoke like a sin curve. Her voice went up and down, up and down, and I got a headache really quickly. The questions that were asked didn’t help my perceptions of the panel either. They were all fangirl questions that had little substance. They repeated questions. They gave her things, interrupting the flow of the panel. And that was basically it. At the end of the panel, they had a photograph session, and I really felt bad for her. She must have had so many flashes going off in her face… Dear God… Being considerate, I decided to not use flash, so I had to take several pictures to get a non-blurry one (the lighting sucked):
30 minutes after the panel, her autograph session was held. I took my time in getting to the autograph area, and I was just browsing some shops around the area, but I noticed that there were several people running, and I soon found out why.
Wow. Just wow. First autograph session I’ve ever been to, and I didn’t realize that it would be this insane. I waited in line for about 5 minutes before my patience ran out. The line literally wasn’t moving, and I would miss out on Yuu Asakawa’s panel if I waited any longer. Headed immediately over. The lighting still sucked, so I got crappy pictures:
But the panel was much better than the May’n one, probably because the translator didn’t suck. In fact, she was a contender for the best translator in the entire expo. She was fluent in both languages, and added humor into Asakawa’s answers when needed. Very solid, and a pretty good panel, but not really the best. In fact, and I’ll just say this here, none of the Voice Actors panels were really good at all. They all had a certain element of fanboy/girlism to them, although during some panels, better questions were asked. I did regret not going to the Bandai panel, where they expanded on some TTGL stuff and also announced a license for the first season of K-On! Oh well.
Next up, the three big guys who worked on Eden of the East – Tomohiko Ishii (Producer), Kenji Kamiyama (Director), and Satoru Nakamura (Head Animator). Ishii and Kamiyama also worked on GitS, so I was really excited about that too. The panel was far more structured than any other thus far, as most of the talking was done by the moderator, who basically asked the questions that someone in the Q&A would inevitably ask. I thought it was a good idea, especially because there were three people, and if each person had to answer a fan’s question… Things could have gotten messy real fast.
Eden of the East Trio – In order from left to right according to the list above
Afterward was the autograph session, which had a lot less people in it, so I was actually able to get one! I was infinitely more excited for the autographs of these guys than any VA. Screw Yui Horie, Eri Kitamura, May’n, and Megumi Nakajima. I was content enough with these three guys (well I didn’t know Nakamura that well, but Ishii and Kamiyama are just pure win).
After I recovered from that, I had nothing to do, so I grabbed a bite, and headed to the Anime Trivia show. I got bored after about 5 minutes (their categories were Mecha, Vampire, Shounen, and some other two random ones that I forgot). As I was walking back, I noticed some people advertising the showing of a film called ICE – Yesterday, Today, and No Future. I decided to check it out.
Half-decent art (it’s done by a film club, so I can’t hold that against them), a strange plotline, but a world where ONLY WOMEN EXIST? I’m sold! Ok not really. The VA was barely decent, but acceptable. Strangely enough, I found out afterward that AKB48 voiced the roles, so that explains why they sounded so crappy. Anyway, the film is a very cautionary tale, akin to many of Miyazaki’s films. If you can imagine it, the film felt like a mix of Nausicaa and Laputa, but with more action and more Yuri. But anyway, there were some scenes that played heavily on just the beauty of nature, and how man’s environmental destruction has ruined both the Earth and them as a species. The film touched on the danger in science of playing with the unknown, and just what a dangerous task that is. In the end, all the main characters died, even the protagonist. It just further cemented the danger of science. At the end, the film basically screamed out that we have to take action now to stop a catastrophe on this level from happening. The film was thematically good, but the execution was… eh… Lackluster. Terrible? Something like that. Sound, animation, art, plot, they’re all elements that need a lot of work. Interesting work though.
Anyway, after that I headed to the Nokia Plaza, where they were playing a preview mix of the Hardcore music that would be at the rave the following night. Hellz yeah that was awesome. That made me regret not going to the Japanese DJ panel. I got to see No+Chin and M-Project perform (came in halfway through), and then the Laser Light Show started. Loud music combined with lasers and anime enthusiasts and glow sticks and AMVs. Quite a sight.
Now imagine Ready, Steady, Go! from FMA with people going crazy with glow sticks!
Of course, one of the highlights of the evening was getting to see REDALiCE on stage doing his thing! He didn’t do any Touhou remixes (at least not that I could place) for the preview, but he did some good remixes nonetheless!
REDALiCE (left) omg omg omg omg and M-Project (in the get up)
Once he finished his stuff though, I went home, because I knew that I would need my energy for Day 2 of AX… When the May’n and Megumi concert and rave would happen. And you can bet that there would be tons of people there as well.