Sunday, July 21, 2013

Anime Expo 2013 Review by Rukazu

Anime Expo 2013 Review
By Rukazu
Hey everyone, this is Rukazu, aka Lucas reporting on Anime Expo 2013!
First off, I want to tell everyone that while I did not actually get my press badge this year, I’m still putting up a review because I want to say my share on the expo.  

Day 0
Not much took place, other than getting off work and picking up my badge.  Since I didn’t get press, I had to wait in line like everyone else.  However, the line, though quite long, moved pretty fast and the actual badge pick up process was very efficient.  All you had to do was to scan the bar code yourself, and the staff would print out the badge, it took literally less than ten seconds.  Staff was the same as usual, couldn’t tell if they were ruder or less picky than the years before, but I didn’t really care either way.  

Day 1
In retrospect, July 4th was arguably speaking the best day of the con, next to July 7th.  Yes it felt a little odd to have July 4th be the first day of the convention and by the time I got there, the con was jam packed already! Just to make things interesting, I put on my Riddler’s Cosplay that day just to see what people’s reaction would be.   We got swept up into a huge crowd when Dealer’s Hall opened up and as usual tried to look around the Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley to see if there was anything good. 
The reason why this day was probably the second best day, was because I managed to take pictures with Danny Choo, Kyle Hebert, Yaya Han, and Harley Morenstein (host of Epic Mealtime) all in one day.  This was most likely due to being in the right place at the right time.  For example, I stopped by Yaya Han’s booth, who I’ve known about and seen her cosplays, and wanted the chance to talk to her.  Of course I wanted to buy a few prints and got them signed and even a picture taken with her, but putting all that aside, it was cool just to talk to her and ask her why she does cosplay as a profession and not just a hobby.  In fact, they all seem pretty cool and generally seemed to be enjoying themselves like the rest of us.  

Although I wasn’t able to make it to the AMV contest which was the big event of the day, the majority of the blog was able to get together for dinner at Fat Burger, where we met Harley Morenstein, and we all got to watch Ryan and Matt do the Fat Burger challenge.  And yes, they were both able to complete the challenge and get their pictures on the restaurant wall.  Putting aside dinner, this was also the first time where I got to introduce the Southern California division to Matt.  Afterward dinner my sister and I had to head back home because she had to finish her cosplay for the next day.  Overall, it was a pretty eventful first day and overall enjoyable to go to the biggest anime con of the year.  

Day 2
Today was an okay day, I had 3 gatherings I had to do, Key/Angel Beats, Sailor Moon, and Shin Megami Tensei/Persona.  The nice thing about my 3 costumes was that the bottom part of the costume was exactly the same.  Simple black slacks and dress shoes, so at least changing in and out was not a big deal.  However, because I didn’t plan much of the con, ith all the costume changes, and because I had to hold a lot of stuff, I wasn’t able to do much.   Plus I was walking around all day in dress shoes and that’s not really the most comfortable either.  

What made today really cool was not a panel or event, but hanging out with a friend of mine, gaming and getting dinner with him.  He went to the same college as I did, but graduated a year after me and since then, I hadn’t been able to get into contact with him.  After dinner, we went to the JAST panel, which was my first panel of this year’s AX.  It was pretty interesting as they were announcing the games (H) that they were going to be releasing soon and previewing the games they are going to be getting soon as well.  Overall the day was okay, not really super fun, but not bad either.  

Day 3
From past trends at cons, Saturdays are always the biggest days at cons.  However, I didn’t get the chance to see much of that as I was hanging out with my Touhou friends and cosplayers the whole time.  Basically I got dressed in my Shikieiki cosplay and walked around and rounded up most of the Touhou cosplayers.  Before long we got a huge group gathered in the game hall and as the gathering approached, we basically decided to do a giant Touhou train all around the con, and I was leading it!  It was pretty awesome to see the train continually get longer and longer as we kept adding more and more people and got a bunch of stares and looks from the rest of the attendees.  The gathering itself was pretty fun, and pretty big.  Afterwards we were all invited to a pizza dinner (similar to what we did at Fanime).  We got a pretty big group of about 20 people and we all headed up to the JW Marriot to get pizza.  

Although the Masquerade was taking place at that time, this was pretty late in the day, I found it more comfortable after a whole day of walking around and taking pictures, to just sit back, relax and chill out with fellow Touhou Fans.  Afterwards, we all headed back after a few hours and I met up with Ray since we couldn’t get into a panel we wanted and just chilled a bit more.  

Day 4
Since this was the last day of convention and I didn’t get the chance to buy much, it was pretty much “run around Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley and buy stuff day.”  This was the first con where I blew over 500 dollars on because either I never find what I want or I don’t have the money.  But then again, the Dealer’s Hall at Anime Expo and Artist Alley was really good and there was stuff I wanted to buy!  After finishing up there, I put my stuff back in the car and went around taking pictures before going over to the Funimation Panel.  There was a lot of stuff revealed like an “All in one package for Dragonball Z” new dubs and new releases.  After that panel though, my sister and I had to head out as she had an errand to do and we had dinner with our parents.

Now that everything is over, I like to do a comparison of AX to Fanime, since those two are the biggest cons I have gone to so far, but also to look at the pros and cons of each one.  Both have great cosplays, Dealer’s Halls and such, however, I cannot stress enough the core differences between the two are.  First and foremost, Fanime is a convention, but Anime Expo is an expo.  Meaning, a con is simply a bunch of people getting together and having fun, but Expo is driven because of the industry.  Automatically the overall feeling of the con is going to be different regardless.  The staff at Fanime was definitely more helpful and chill than the AX staff, but the lines were pretty bad for registration at Fanime. 

The registration was definitely really good, and I liked how they expanded into the West Hall this year and had a huge gaming room and even a Cosplay scene set up for pictures and such.  That was very impressive and many people really enjoyed it and used it throughout the con.  I wasn’t able to get into a lot of the events as they were all sold out because of an odd ticketing policy.  From what I’ve heard from other cons goers, the feelings are rather mixed.  On one hand I’ve heard that some staff was pretty good this year, like when peace bonding weapons, they did ask where you want the ribbon to go and they were okay with it.  Others unfortunately were not very good as they can seem rude and not treat the attendees like people or customers. 

It’s very difficult to say whether or not I enjoyed this con more than I enjoyed Fanime, but if I really had to pick one, it will be Fanime.  AX this year was certainly not bad, but not really impressive either.  I was still able to get a lot of stuff done at both cons and each case I choose to hang out more with my friends and socialize rather than get caught up in the events and such.  To be honest, that’s the part about cons I enjoy the most; the little things, the little shenanigans, the jokes and the people.  The cons are just a method and place for all that to happen.  I also got a lot of feedback from other con goers to see what their impression was like and it was pretty mixed.  Again, I heard a few complaints of the staff, nothing too serious, but others seem to not really care and feel the same when I mention that the con was neither really good nor bad.  I will mention that my biggest gripe with the con is that they took out the Feedback panel and never reinstated it.  I feel that it would be better to air out grievances there than on an internet forum.  I feel that AX would be able to do better if they heard and listened more to the attendees.  While some ideas I know have been implemented, others obviously have not been addressed.  Overall, I still go back if only because I enjoy the people and cosplays.

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