Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pacific Media Expo 2011

As promised, I'm back again this year with my review of PMX 2011. Before the con started, I already had much to look forward to. The con returned to the much preferred LAX Hilton location, there was a new impressive block of BJD (Ball-Jointed Doll) panels and workshops, long-beloved J-Rock band, D, was announced to perform not one, but two nights in a row, and my favorite, the lolita brand announcement. Gothic lolita brand, Atelier-Pierrot and it's designer, Yuko Ashizawa, would be bringing their wares for the Fashion Boutique this year. As expected, I was thrilled and selling whatever I could to have a decent amount of spending money.

Dog Tier Jade Harley, Dave Strider, and God Tier John Egbert from Homestuck.

Day 1: "Passion!"

My first visit was made to the Fashion Boutique, of course. Atelier-Pierrot's designs are even more beautiful in person. I had no luck fitting into the clothing, but I settled for a lovely floral headdress instead. After a while it was time for the D concert. I'm so glad to have had the priviledge to finally see this band live after being a fan since they were known as Syndrome. Their music is certainly unique, with a mix of metal, gothic, and classical elements that come together for a very powerful and beautiful sound. At the D press panel, we learned that their while their influences come from older VK bands, (X-Japan, Luna Sea, and Buck-Tick, to name a few), and Western bands such as Dream Theater, at it's core, D is simply D and it's own influence. The buzz word of the day (or meme, as the band hilariously made it out to be) was "passion". Therefore, D is passion! Compairing their Japanese audience to their Western audience, they felt that the Western fans had quite a lot more energy and... shall we say? "Passion". D struck me as very down-to-earth. They know what works best for them and continue to move forward not only entertainers, but a band that has a lot of "passion" for their music. I hope to see them again in the future!

Musical Guest of Honor, D.

Day 2: Culture Shock

After shopping at the Fashion Swap Meet for a bit, I attended the Yuko Ashizawa press panel. I asked Ms. Ashizawa what the main influences for her designs were, and she said that much of her influence comes from old furniture and antiques, something I could definitely see reflected in her clothing, which have a very old, gothic, Victorian look to them. When discussing sizing, she lamented that while she tried to bring her biggest dresses, they seemed to not be quite large enough for some, citing the differences in Western bodies to the smaller Japanese bodies she typically designs for. Longer torsos and larger chests being the main issue. Another difference between the Western lolis that she mentioned was that we tend to pay a lot more attention to detail and in a larger way when coordinating outfits, whereas the Japanese lolis seem to have a much more subtle approach. Ms. Ashizawa also mentioned that Westerners are much more talkative and sociable, saying that in her boutique at PMX, people would actually approach her and chat her up about her designs. A stark contrast to Japan, where her customers are much more shy and stand-offish. She asked those of us in lolita what our experiences were in lolita, such as how often we wear it. When we replied that it's difficult to wear full lolita in the everyday outing due to comments such as "Are you in theater?", she thought it was something to be envied. Ms. Ashizawa expressed that she prefers comments and getting a discussion going rather than the plain stares and non-confrontational nature of the Japanese public. Learning about the social differences in our cultures was very educational and would certainly make for valuable information for lolitas looking to visit Japan, or anyone who plans to visit in general.

Myself with Atelier-Pierrot designer, Yuko Ashizawa.

I actually managed to attend CosFest this year and watch my fellow bloggers, Zanney and Jackie, perform their Rockman.EXE (Megaman NT Warrior) skit. Great job, guys! Notable skits included Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Princess Jellyfish, and Uta no Prince-sama. The masq this year was pretty solid, with great skits. The intermission entertainment was also rather good, but ran a bit long.

Best Performance winners, cosplaying from Diegaea.

Judge's Award winners, cosplaying from Trinity Blood.

Best Group Craftsmanship winners, cosplaying from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Best in Show winners, cosplaying from Princess Jellyfish.

Day 3: Dolls, Dresses, and All Things Girly

The fashion show this year was fairly decent. The designs were definitely the stars of the show. My only complaint would be the late start and odd timing, but in the end, that wasn't what mattered. Those outfits were to die for.

The rest of my day would consist of mutilple consecutive doll panels. They were very informational for those just starting in doll collecting, or wanting more tips and tricks for things such as face-ups (doll makeup) or seam removal. My favorite panel was my friend Michelle Klein-Hass' vinyl doll panel. She was wonderful at explaining the history and nuances of vinyl doll collecting, which is something that a resin doll collector, like myself, never knew a whole lot about. Learning about the process in which these dolls are made was very interesting!

Panelists talk about the basics of Ball-Jointed Dolls.

One of the smallest BJDs is the Pukipuki. It fits in the palm of your hand!

Vinyl dolls from companies such as Volks and Obitsu.

Last, but not least, was the Project Ball-Joint contest. If you know anything about Project Runway and how contestants have to make a design made of odd materials "work", that's pretty much what this was. I quickly discovered I like designing clothes, no matter how unconventional the materials and time constraints. My doll looked rather silly in the end, but he earned me a nice runner-up prize!

Project Ball-Joint contestants all lined up and looking fabulous. (Photo taken by Liza Saguto)

In summation, I had a lot of fun at PMX this year. PMX was my first con experience back in '04, and I continue to enjoy it year after year. As someone who enjoys things outside of anime, it's refreshing to get the chance to experience my other hobbies at a con. I'll definitely be back next year and I can't wait to see what's in store. Supposedly they already have a brand lined up that was originally supposed to be there this year. I'm going to be guessing until I see you again at PMX 2012!

View more pictures from PMX '11 on our flickr.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.