Monday, July 15, 2013

Matthew's Anime Expo 2013 Report: Part 3 - Day One

For some very odd reason, Day One began at 5am. Once one person in a room like this gets up, it'll cause a chain reaction and before you know it everyone is up.

At this year's Anime Expo, I was debuting two new cosplays and one of them debuted on Day One. In the "tradition" of cosplaying as Magician characters from the Persona franchise, I brought out Yosuke from Persona 4. I had Hillary, the one that the provided the wig, jacket, and the white lining on the pants, work on my wig much to the delight of a Yosuke fangirl. (It would be the same thing when Nate cosplayed the same character the next day).

Since both Hillary and Alex didn't pick up their badges the day before, we attempted to get to the convention grounds before 8am, which was accomplished thanks to the LA Metro. In all the times we needed to fast travel between the convention and the hotel, the $21 investment ($20 for a 7-day pass and $1 for the TAP card) was paying off early for everyone.

The first thing that caught my eye was an authentic WWII Panzer sitting in front of the South Hall. I did a double take and said "am I at E3 or Anime Expo?" Sentai Filmworks brought one to promote Girls & Panzer, which I described as "K-ON! meets World of Tanks." The grounds were bustling even more than Day Zero, and the inevitable lobby crowd started to form. Every once in a while when we were in the upper section of the South Hall, we would stare into the floor below and soak in the atmosphere.

The press room opened up soon after and we were treated to probably the most prized commodities of the entire convention: water and free Wi-Fi. Knowing that the room might have water for us to drink, I brought with me a water bottle and filled it up every time I stopped by. It saved me from buying outside drinks at the convention and surrounding areas as well as avoiding dehydration on the go. It was also an ice box and just being in the halls that were reserved for press and staff refreshed you; as soon as you walked onto the floor the temperature rose in a flash.

We also ran into Scarlet Rhapsody and both Ryan and I got to be in a cosplay music video to the tune of 2Pac's "California Love."

From that point until about 11am, I took a ton of photos of the floor below and catching my first glimpse of that massive Evangelion Unit 01 cosplayer that was sure to turn heads over the weekend.

At 11am, the Exhibit Hall opened for press, industry, and Premiere Pass badge holders. For some, this is why they paid that extra money over a regular badged attendee especially if their first destination was the Good Smile Company booth. GSC's booth had two AX "exclusive" figures on sale: Hatsune Miku Yukata Ver. and Kaname Madoka Maiko Ver. I say "exclusive" because after the convention they went on sale, but if you factor in the time before they're shipped, the time it takes to ship, and a higher price with possible customs charges you could say that those who came to AX snatched up a good deal.

Around 11:45am, we went back outside to cover what would be the 12pm rush into the Exhibit Hall. Me and Ryan got what we wanted and it was time for us to go to work. The crowd, which I estimated to be around 1,000 waiting to get in, was getting larger and larger by the minute. As the time got closer, the crowd was getting restless and were waiting for that ribbon-cutting moment. And then once the gates opened, we almost got trampled by attendees running up the stairs. I swear, I saw my life flash before my eyes before me for a millisecond while I kept my eye on Ryan to ensure that I didn't lose him. It took a good 3 minutes for the staircase to clear, and for the time being it was a beautiful sight to boot. (Editor's Note 7/2/2014: The other course of action that I could of taken was to run with everyone else into the Dealers Hall and take photos of people flooding the hall. I had two people already filming the crowd from the outside.)

While Ryan took the camcorder and went off to the Steins;Gate Gathering, I was off to the "Mega64: Panel For Real Americans" Panel. It was the panel to be in this early in the convention, and the folks over at Mega64 have always received a warm reception from AX. The panel started with a montage to all their works, then some talk and more videos before Q&A opened up. During the session, Derrick was intrigued by the "Yaoi" armband one attendee was wearing. With a quick search on Wikipedia, I showed him what yaoi meant. Given that the first thing that shows up in the article are two males kissing, his reaction was priceless. Garrett didn't even want to see it, and Rocco had the same reaction as Derrick had. I'm still waiting to see that on video when they release the panel highlights.

After that it was time to try out the AX Food Truck Lot, something that I've been pushing on this blog as well as on the AX forums. For the first day I had a Screwdriver from the Tornato Potato truck. The Screwdriver was a Tornato Potato with a sausage in the middle topped chili cheese style. Back in the cool press room with the free water, I ate into it and almost got my cosplay and camera dirty from the chili cheese. It was like I was back at the California State Fair.

During this time I also bought me up a AX snapback hat and a shot glass. I learned that their official 2013 t-shirt went fast on the first day and all the good sizes were sold out. They also didn't have polos, which I would of gladly purchased if they had one.

I also ran into Lucas, his sister Jade, and Jaden during this time. The three along with Tally made the entirity of the press team for AX 2013.

The other panel that I attended was the "huke, Good Smile Company, Ultra Super Pictures & Max Factory" Panel. It was an interesting panel in that huke, wearing a mask, was doing a live drawing during the panel. I had the opportunity to pull a Fry from Futurama and told the President of GSC to "shut up and take my money," which then he responded "bring multiple wallets." If only I had that Mr. President.

With evening of Day 1 approaching, it was time to get something decent to eat. For today, it would be Fatburger up the street. It was open 24 hours, so if we were ever hungry we could come here. Their burgers ranged from small to "XXXL," a 1.5lb burger. Since me and Ryan were into the whole food challenge business, we took the XXX Challenge in that we had to eat this XXXL burger within 30 minutes. Ryan did it in 10 minutes while I cruised and did in 12 minutes to the shock of people who didn't know that we could do such a thing.

But then something caught my eye as were waiting for our burgers. I saw this gentlemen with a familiar face and beard and said "Hey, isn't that Harley Morenstein from Epic Meal Time?" Then he turned around and he was wearing the EMT piece and we were all floored that we just met the man, the myth, the legend, the Bacon Man himself. Me, Ryan, and Nate all got photos with him and we were all star-struck. Not to mention, this happened while we were at ANIME EXPO. Then again, this is Los Angeles and you don't know what celebrity you might run into.

After lounging at the Luxe City Hotel with some drinks to commemorate this day, we still had a long way to go. And the entire time I was dropping hints that this convention could get much better, alluding to Ryan's eventual proposing to Amanda. But so far, our time at Anime Expo was good.

-Day One End-  

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