Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anime Expo 2011: Avi's Point of View

After much flip-flopping and struggling with the funds for it, I was able to make it to AX this year. Here is what I covered that weekend.

Day 0: Press Junket

Day Zero was the day I would actually step out of my comfort zone and not only interview a Guest of Honor for the first time, but a Japanese GoH. Interviewing Nirgilis was a bit nervewracking, especially when I was under the impression that I would have to attempt asking our questions in Japanese, due to a slight mishap with our translator. While I could read our translated questions that was written in romanized Japanese by our translator, I wouldn't actually be able to understand their replies. Plus I was worried about flubbing up the Japanese questions in general. Thankfully, there was an interpretor in the room with the band, and I was able to speak English. Bullet officially dodged, though I know we'll be needing our own interpretor soon in case we aren't so lucky again. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself for doing something I'd never dreamed of before. I'm hoping to do more interviews in the future (and not be so nervous next time)!

Nirgilis is a band hailing from Osaka, known in the anime community for their themes for series such as Eureka Seven, D.Gray-man, and most recently, Deadman Wonderland. Current members include Acchu Iwata, Minoru Kurihara, and Yuki Inadera.

Check back soon for a link to our recorded interview with the band!

Day 1: Convention of the DEAD

Day One had a rather late start for us due to some hotel room drama. I missed a good deal of the panels I wanted to attend, such as Kalafina, but what I did manage to make it to was the Highschool of the Dead English Dub screening and the following Maon Kurosaki mini-concert. The dub of H.O.T.D. was pretty decent, with some VAs that I recognized, such as Monica Rial, who provided the voice for Shizuka Marikawa (the busty and airheaded school nurse), and quite a few new faces... or should I say new voices?

After the screening was the Maon Kurosaki mini-concert, which was very entertaning and lively. Kurosaki mostly performed her various ending themes for H.O.T.D., as well as her theme from Toaru Majutsu no Index II.

Day 2: Mikunopolis!

Day Two was officially Miku Day. Before I made my way to the Nokia Theater for the hugely anticipated Miku concert, I attended the Miku Conference. At this conference was Vocalo P (Vocaloid producer), Onyx Kobayashi, most known for his song Saihate, and Crypton Media Future Inc.'s marketing director, Wataru Sasaki. There was much discussion about Vocaloid and Miku of course, but they seemed to also have an interest in how the American Vocaloid fans enjoy Vocaloid as opposed to the Japanese fans. In particular, there was a confirmation that there would indeed be a US release of the Hatsune Miku Vocaloid program. Sasaki expressed a sort of excitement towards what the American fan might make with the new English version of Miku. Other than that, there was also an announcement and preview of KAITO Append, which would mean a crisper version of the KAITO Vocaloid program as well as additional versions of his voice, much like the Miku and Len and Rin Appends.

After a short visit to the exhibit hall and hanging out with my friends from Otaku no Podcast, I headed to LA Live for Mikunopolis. The crowd was huge and you could feel the excitement. Once inside the Nokia, the glow sticks were cracked and created a sea of glowing green leeks. Danny Choo hosted the event with Danceloid as the opening act. And then the intro began.... The concert as a whole was amazing. When you looked at the stage, Miku, Luka, Rin and Len looked much like real people dancing and singing to the music. The songs performed were mostly the more known favorites among the Vocaloid fandom. My personal favorites that night were Popipo, Romeo and Cinderella, Meltdown, Just Be Friends (which nearly the whole audience sang along to), and a very nice English version of World's End Dancehall.

I'm very glad I was able to make it to this concert. Seeing a virtual idol perform is indeed a unique experience, and I hope there are future Miku concerts in the States!

In summation, I think this was the best AX yet. My only complaint would be that I didn't make it to every event I wanted to, such as the Kalifina concert and the screening of the new Last Exile series. I can't wait to see what's in store next year, but I can safely say they'll have a hard time topping this year's amazing guests and events.

Signing out until PMX '11!


  1. It was great seeing you at AX :) And one of these days I'll actually finish editing the podcast episode :P (actually I am hoping to have it done and out on the feeds this weekend)
    Donald Burr, Host and Chief Otaku
    Otaku no Podcast - your source for anime and manga news, reviews, and commentary

  2. OK, it's up! Had to split it into 2 parts, because went LONG (Over 2 hours!)


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