Hi everyone, Day 2-4 of the Anime Expo here~ Friday completely destroyed me. I was running around like mad to try to fit everything in! Saturday and Sunday were much more mellow, and I spent more time in the exhibit hall than anything else. I’m doing all three days in one big post because I’m leaving for Boston in a few, so you won’t see anything from me until Friday/Saturday! PS – This post is 2600 words long. Just a heads up.
First up was the Geneon Universal panel. They were pretty solid, and they announced licenses for: Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail, Hellsing, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Hakuoki, and High School of the Dead. Tons of cheers for the first four, and some chuckles in Hakuoki when they announced that the selling point (and I would assume a big reason for bringing it to America), is that it “has gained a fanatical female following in Japan”. You can also bet that the High School of the Dead trailer had Gunbuster like physics, with boobs doing strange things. The gratuitous panty shot was also there of course!
I think one of the more surprising announcements made by Geneon is that they were going to release music from Japanese artists on iTunes! Thus far, they’ve got MELL, KOTOKO, Mami Kawada, and others from their music label “I’ve”. They also got fripSide, Elisa, and Maon Kurosaki on board, no doubt because of their anime licenses.
I actually totally forgot what I did for the next hour or so, but I know that I checked out the TOKYOPOP panel, but left quickly because I wanted to get Yuu Asakawa’s autograph. I went 25 minutes early to get her autograph.
And the line was just as ridiculous as yesterday. Well, I just facepalmed and wandered the exhibit hall for a while, until Eri Kitamura’s panel that is. It was nice seeing her and all, but it was essentially the same routine as the other VA panels, where people fanboy/girled, and I got essentially nothing out of that panel. I will say that she did do a lot more character voices though, and she did Yui-nyan twice… But the BEST part about that panel was this:
You have to watch it. That was absolutely hilarious and brilliant.
Immediately after though, it was time for the Megumi Nakajima and May’n concert! No photos allowed and blah blah blah, so no pictures of that. But it was a great performance, with the order going May’n, then a duet, then Megumi, then the last three were duets. Being Japanese, they tried to speak English on stage, and failed in terms of sentence construction with an epic fashion. Trying to convert particles into English is a definite no go! (listen to my this song?) Anyway, they did all the songs from Macross Frontier, and both also sang some songs from their newest Singles (no cheers at all for those songs :P). Each also sang one song from another anime. I believe May’n did the Shangri-La opening, but I couldn’t place Megumi’s song. For the special guest, they brought Yoko Kanno on stage to play the piano for their final slow songs. It was seriously epic. I believe they sang Lion as their closer, though obviously Yoko Kanno didn’t play the piano for that
Immediately after that concert was the Right Stuf & Nozomi Entertainment Panel, where they announced Sora no Woto and Revolutionary Girl Utena. You can bet that the Utena announcement was like opening the floodgates. But that panel wasn’t my highest priority. I quickly got out of my chair and ran to try to beat the fanboys to Horie’s panel. Sucks that the line was about double the length of the May’n line though… Some insane fanboying going on in the Horie panel, and no pictures allowed, so uhh yeah. Not much to say about that…
The autograph session was immediately after, and people literally RAN to the autograph room. It was like a stampede, and I’m surprised people didn’t get run over. I just rolled my eyes and went to the exhibit hall to do some more shopping before the Funimation panel… I came back 5 minutes before to catch it… And the line was double the length of the Horie panel. What the hell you’re kidding me. Ridiculous amounts of hype for that.. But it was worth it. They had a solid panel, with some neat statistics such as how something like 50% of fans were 25+, 40% are 18-24, and the largest growing market is 13-17.
But that wasn’t the reason why we came to the Funimation panel, we came to see what they were going to pick up. And its quite a list! Licensing rescues/re-releases: Chrono Crusade, Gantz, Kaleido Star, Peacemaker, Texhnolyze, Ai Yori Aoshi, Armitage III, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Lain, and the entire Tenchi Muyo! series. Simulcasts: Moyashimon Live Action TV, Shiki, Black Butler 2, Sekirei, Sengoku Basara 2, and The Legend of the Legendary Heroes. New acquisitions: Toaru Majutsu no Index, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Darker than BLACK 2, Shakugan no Shana 2, movie, and OVA, Black Lagoon 3, Hellsing Ultimate, and Trigun: Badlands Rumble.
Quite a list, and you can bet that Funimation basically stole AX right there. Tons of simulcasts and acquisitions. After that, I caught some of MELL’s concert (hello free tickets!), but I soon headed back for the Aniplex panel. That panel wasn’t too exciting, as they focused a lot on Gurren Lagann, though they also grabbed Durarara!! The first 22 minutes of Welcome to the Space Show can also be seen on their Youtube page.
The second highlight of the day though was this insane Hardcore rave that was held at the Nokia Theater. Apparently it was 18+ only (and I’m 17), but I got in anyway. Alcohol was abound in cups littering the place, so I think it would be really easy for any minor to drink any. I still don’t get why anyone drinks alcohol. That stuff tastes terrible. Anyway, they had a solid DJ line up for it. I got there late, but I only really missed DJ Chucky. I didn’t like No+Chin’s stuff, but DJ Guhroovy and DJ Schwarzenegger were pretty good. Then REDALiCE came on the stage. Holy crap he was the best DJ I’ve ever listened to. His live performance was sooo much better than his CDs, probably because he just selected his best tracks to play. I distinctly remember remixes of Third Eye and of course Bad Apple, though I also remember hearing some IN track (I think it was Lunatic Eyes ~ Invisible Full Moon). But whatever. All that matters is that he is the best DJ ever, and played Taboo Tears You Up as a finale. I had a ridiculous amount of fun just at that. I wish it happened again on Saturday night
Day 3 began with the Viz Media panel, which I personally wasn’t that interested in, since I’m not really a manga reader. I’m not sure why I can’t get into it, because even though Impz recommended me After School Nightmare, it’s now on permanent hold because I can’t seem to get back into it despite reading 75% of it. Whatever.
Immediately afterward was the Nakajima panel. Do I need to say again that it was completely superficial and dumb? Moving on. I spent a lot of this day in the Exhibit Hall and Artists Alley just shopping around. There wasn’t anything that I was interested in at all, though I did stop by the Konishi panel for a while to see him. No pictures though :(. Anyway, I’ll talk more about my impressions of the Exhibit Hall and Artists Alley in the Day 4 section, because I basically stayed there the entire time. The only thing to mention during this day was that the Nakajima line was just as ridiculously long as May’n's line. Didn’t even bother
Oh, there’s one thing I have to mention, and that’s the contest Funimation held. They had this contest to find three people with Noblesse Oblige shirts on (but they weren’t selling those shirts damn it!), and if you got three cards from them, then you got some free stuff. They gave out clues via Twitter, so I was able to track the first guy down because of that. The second guy said that he was at Nokia Plaza. I spent 30 minutes making about 10 loops around that place to try and find the guy, and I ended up with nothing. After being completely frustrated, I headed back for the aniblogger meet up.
It wasn’t a long meetup, but I got to meet some awesome people: Yumeka from Mainichi Anime Yume, Shinmaru from Unmei Kaihen, KylaranAeldin from The Nihon Review, zzeroparticle from Anime Instrumentality, Jan S from Jan Suzukawa, CCY from Mega Megane Moe, three people from AnimeDiet, Ray, Mike, and Rome, and we passed by omonomono as we were walking back to the convention, but we unfortunately didn’t have time to talk. Tons of cool people, and I had lots of fun talking to them. I wish I could have seen Shinmaru in his Persona cosplay, but I did get to see CCY walking around in Keine cosplay, which I definitely saw the previous night at the rave (bento hat yeah!). We ended up chilling out at a food court location, where CCY and I were able to get some Japanese food before the store closed down (everyone else got Quiznos). Somehow CCY was able to live on just pure white rice, which is a mystery to me, but we hung out and chatted for a while. KylaranAdelin was extremely talkative, which was really awesome for just getting conversation started.
The meetup kind of broke up after a while though, and we went our separate ways. I headed to the all ages dance, heard the crappy music, left after 5 minutes, grabbed a free ticket to the Masquerade, and watched the cosplay show. The highlight wasn’t the acts, but the AMVs that won the contest held yesterday. Some very good stuff, and the three winners were an FMA one for Drama, Gurren Lagann one for Action, and a fast food one (playing on the pizza Code Geass thing + McDonalds/KFC craze in Japan) for Comedy. The Comedy one was very well done, and ended up winning best of show as well.
Anyway, I had to leave to catch the subway train before the winners of the Masquerade were announced, so onto Day 4! I really hated that the MangaGamer panel was 18+. After all, they had enough eroge on display in the event hall with little censoring, and Hentai was just laid out for all eyes to see as well. I saw some Mahou Shoujo Ai DVDs, Wordsworth, Hentai Doujins all over the place, etc etc. Also some titles I’d never heard of, though my exposure with Hentai is limited to the popular ones, so I’m not surprised that I didn’t know the vast majority of them. I also saw that they didn’t check ID at all if you bought Hentai DVDs. I was really considering buying a Mahou Shoujo Ai DVD and bringing it home… But I decided against it in the end for obvious reasons
Sidenote: If you get people to cosplay popular characters and sing popular songs. No matter how poorly they sing, they will always gather a crowd.
The day began with Danny Choo’s panel, which was fun because he showed a subtitled episode of his show Culture:Japan. Some interesting stuff, especially since the episode took a look at the typical Japanese High School. He also showed some short Black Rock Shooter preview, which I thought looked like crap, but it’ll probably be a big hit anyway with those fans.
Afterward, I basically headed to the Exhibit Hall and Artist alley for the rest of the day. There was a lot of stuff there, but there was a LOT of overpriced crap and a lot of just crap in general, so I had to do some serious weeding out to find good stuff to buy.
First off, the Artists Alley. I personally didn’t find too much interesting stuff there. The problems ranged from poor shading, to mass produced faces, to strange proportions, etc etc. The vast majority of artists also drew stuff that I wasn’t interested in, namely K-On!, BL, Bleach, Naruto, etc. There were some gems there, but I couldn’t justify spending 10-15 dollars on those. There was also one stall where I recognized pictures ripped off of pixiv (or some image board at least), with no credit given. I was really annoyed by that.
On the topic of problems with art, in the exhibit hall there were about three booths set up for artists who drew a lot of stuff. Wow what the hell it was like they were drawing to a formula. Those serious eyes, same shading levels, same faces, all mugshots, etc really pissed me off every time I walked past those stalls, so I ended up avoiding those areas sooner or later.
A lot of the stuff in the Exhibit Hall was ridiculously overpriced. Figurines (not even good ones), were going for something like 60 dollars, and I found some that had price increases of 150% of what I normally see. I didn’t buy anything, though I gave into my fanboyism at one point to buy a slightly overpriced Youmu doujin/artbook (I love Youmu… And Koishi <3… Now that I think about it, they are both rather flat, have white short hair, and mostly portrayed as rather innocent characters… Hmm…) Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s one:
I didn’t show a lot of the free stuff I got too, but this was the vast majority of my stuff. Starting from the top left and going in rows: Autographed Eden of the East poster by the Producer, Director, and Head Animator of the series, neko-Patchy and Youmu doujins, Toradora poster, Evangelion scroll, Boogiepop Phantom scroll, Eden of the East poster, autographed sketch by a VN artist (name escapes me at the moment and I’m in a hurry), Higurashi VN, Umineko VN, Asuka figurine, Higurashi Kai VN, Abe Lain illustration book, an art book, Rin figurine, Eden of the East Shirt, shirt from MangaGamers, Toradora Set 1, another shirt from MangaGamers.
I spent so much time wandering the artists alley to find all that stuff, and I don’t think I got ripped off for the majority of it (save for the Youmu doujin as mentioned earlier). Overall a good haul, and I had fun
Final thing of note was the Charity Auction held after the Exhibit Hall closed. Apparently any sort of autographed item goes for up to $500, and the top item (autographed sketch by Cowboy Bebop artist), went for $4000. The three items before that (other autographed sketches), went for ~$3000. There were a lot of autographed single Toradora CDs, which went for ~100-500 depending on which CD it was. Silky Heart was ~$200, two Pre-Parade CDs went for $500. I missed the first part, but I think a fair estimate of money generated from that auction would be ~$20000. I never knew people would be willing to pay so much for that stuff, or even have money for that.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it. A great first con, and my feet still hurt. I have a huge backlog of anime to watch, my wallet is lighter, and I’m going to Boston and get to walk some more, but it was totally worth it. A big shoutout to all the bloggers I met at the convention! Thanks for putting up with a big rant