Anime Expo Report – Day 1

This sure sucks up a lot of energy… (Yes, I know the positioning is weird. No idea why)


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

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.

And that’s just the inside part… The outside part has about four times the people…

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:

Hellz yeah

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):

She is pretty cute though…

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.

Are you shitting me?

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:

Ugh better lighting please :(

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.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted July 5, 2010 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I wish I could have been there. I envy those pictures. :)

  2. Windaerie
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Wowww, this looks amazing! Scary lines though…. :D

    • Posted July 5, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Seriously… You haven’t seen the half of it though…

  3. Posted July 5, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    GET TO THE CIRCLE JERKING

    lol j/k Did you get any cool info from the Eden of the East panel?

    • Posted July 5, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Umm not too much. There was just some conversation about the production process for Eden of the East, then some talk on how it was like to work on GitS. They did confirm a new original work where the three of them would be working together again, so I was very :) about that!

  4. Posted July 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    wuzzup? Anyway, love the article. lol.
    “Screw Yui Horie, Eri Kitamura, May’n, and Megumi Nakajima.” XD that’s a little harsh but I know you’re joking. Of course, screwing them would be an appealing option…Ahem.
    The girls from AKB48 were trained robots and they were definitely no fun. Went to that panel and took pics for the sake of reporting, nothing more. As for autographs, I actually found the mad dash for May’N’s fun. For Yuu Asakakwa’s panel, people were called line by line to get the tickets and so dashing was pretty much pointless. As for Hocchan, it was definitely worth it – but we got them at the NIS booth thanks to our “extensive (har har)” network. She was really cute, tho. I think Yuu’s panel was the best because she’s fun, lively and friendly.

  5. Posted July 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, when I heard about how huge the autograph lines were, I was pretty much no thanks since I valued my time actually doing things rather than standing in line. And there were plenty of things to do, which made it all even better. You really should try to apply for press next year since it’s so fun being able to get better access without having to push and shove. And the events they had for press were really awesome!

    • Posted July 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Next year I’ll finally be old enough to apply for the Press pass haha :P

  6. YF19EX
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Well just got back from AX.

    For me AX is about meeting guests and getting autographs and sketches. Overall cons are about getting away from work and hanging out with friends who love anime. Announcements made at industry panels don’t interest me too much since I can read it in the news of blogs. Too me it is unique experience to see, hear and talk too the real people behind the character, its designs and productions.

    I really enjoyed meeting Toshihiro Kawamoto. To me his character designs set the standard in terms of detail for Bandai through the early 90s. Gundam 0083 to me seems to be the best example of that, with the detail going into the characters faces in terms of eyes, skin reaction etc. But I failed to get a sketch from him. I was late to the last open autograph session and only made it to an autograph. Going to the charity auction, the last item was a Cowboy Bebop full color sketch he made which included all the characters which went for over 4.5k.

    May’n and Megumi Nakajima Concert: I enjoyed the concert very much. Put in the Nokia Theater, it was a professionally run production which allowed both to sing really well. They ran through all songs of Macross Frontier in addition to their own personal album songs. The greatest surprise was Yoko Kanno. Again another legendary soundtrack maker for many of Bandai’s works though the 90s and 2000s. Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop etc. The other person I could also compare to her is Yuki Kajura who also has a very distinct style. Unfortunately as a surprise guest, she was not available to panels or meeting. (or if there was I did not hear about it). On that end, I did not bother to try to meet or get autographs from them. I enjoy listening to the music and would love to see them, but they were just too busy.

    Mell concert: Another surprise concert that I really enjoyed. Like many I was introduced to MELL through Red Faction in Black Lagoons opening. What I did not know was she was part of “I’ve”, Geneon’s muisc production that also includes Mami Kawada and KOTOKO. So her production was in the same vain in terms of quality. (Saw the KOTOKO in concert at AX 2005) She is also a very personable. She enjoys her fans and shows incredible interest in meeting them. She even went overtime in many of her autograph sessions even against AX wishes so she could continue to meet attendees.

    Whats interesting is that you can see all the differences between guests. Either by management or personality, sometimes determines the interest the guest has in meeting fans vs doing things like just taking prescreened questions or leaving early etc.

    Yui Horie and Eri Kitamura: Now this was insanity. I have a friend who has been obsessing on meeting Yui Horie for years and he finally got his chance. I was first introduced to her from her roll as Naru in Love Hina and have watched many of her other works over the years. Now since the two of them were promoting Tora Dora, they were together in signing and panels. This produced conflicts and crowds. I got lucky to meet Yui Horie just because of a last min notification of a signing at the NIS booth. So I was able to get it before it went viral. A very genuine and friendly person from initial meeting. But due to her popularity I kept away from her panel and any other signings. Eri Kitamura I never got a chance to see due to the above conflicts and crowds as well.

    I got other war stories but for the first time since 2005, I truly enjoyed this AX. (We will never speak about the Haruhi disaster of 2007)

    • Posted July 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      The Haruhi Disaster of 2007…Oh boy…

      • Posted July 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        The Haruhi disaster of 2007? Lol did they bring Hirano Aya or something? o.O

        I wish Yoko Kanno had a panel too :( I personally am not a big fan of MELL’s music, so I didn’t go to that. Overall a good con in terms of content, but organization was just terrible. Maybe next year they’ll cut back on some big events and organize everything better :/

        • Posted July 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          AX invited Aya Hirano, Minori Chihara and Yuko Goto to put on a concert, and pretty much everything involving them (and many other guests) was a huge debacle, with lines and scheduling and about everything else you can think of being absolutely horrible. That one-year stop in Long Beach was definitely the worst Anime Expo I’ve been to. Pretty much everyone who went has at least one or two nightmare stories, haha.

          Trust me: Whatever organizational problems AX had this year, they were NOTHING compared to 2007.

  7. iheartcurry
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering about that Yojouhan post, since the last episode as well as the series was amazing. I didn’t get to watch it until yesterday night because of AX either. Am definitely looking forward to that when you have rested and returned back to your normal state of life.

    I went an Eden panel too, not sure if it was the same one, but they talked about the ED at the end and how it was originally supposed to be the OP of the show, but due to some network restraints had to change it or something, which I thought was a nice tidbit.

    I think around 10:30 the pre-register line died down as my friend was able to get a ticket in like ten minutes (took me 2 hours on day 0!), but it definitely surprises me that AT con had a much faster line.

    • Posted July 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I want to watch Yojouhan and the ending to everything sooo bad, but I’ll have to get back to it on Friday/Saturday. But until then, I’ll enjoy my time on vacation :D

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