Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Matthew's Anime Expo 2013 Report: Part 4 - Day Two

Day Two began with my quest to find ice coffee and/or breakfast in the early morning Los Angeles marine layer that encompassed the majority of Downtown.

Today would be return of Junpei Iori from Persona 3. After the old jacket had a torn lining, I decided to retire that jacket and get a brand new one which as also commissioned by Hillary. I gave her the Gekkoukan patch from the old jacket and even got the little indicator of what year you were in.

For this first round of searching I came across a closed 7-Eleven, which is weird considering that mostly everything else is open 24 hours or late, but the open Fanima which I remember from my previous trip here. Later on, I went inside the Macy's Plaza near the Sheraton Grand Hotel to see what was available at nearly 9am. A Carl's Jr. was open and I was able to try their new Sausage Biscuit sandwich.

I had nothing on my schedule until the Fate/Type Moon Gathering, so I spent the majority of my morning roaming the halls as indicated in my walk-through that I did. I spent the majority of it in the Exhibit Hall, checking out what I couldn't see the day before. I was impressed to see who exactly had a booth here, like an airsoft dealer in and SacAnime.

During my time in Exhibit Hall, I ran into a group of Attack on Titan cosplayers that were working for FUNimation. Since they saw my "" ribbon, they stopped me for a quick triva contest to win a prize. They asked me what the main character's last name was. I knew the characters on a first name basis but totally blanked on last names. They even hinted me about "it's a type of alcoholic drink" and I still drew a blank. His last name was Jager, and I was totally disappointed at myself. But I didn't come out a loser. A Sasha cosplayer dug from a bag and handed me a...potato. As she handed it to me, I looked at the potato, then her, then the potato, then her again, and back at the potato. I got the reference, but I was still shocked that I won a potato and it made perfect sense. To this time of writing, the potato is still good.

Other highlights included seeing an older Renton cosplayer from Eureka Seven AO, Crunchyroll being Crunchyroll, and capturing the essence of fixing a cosplay while in line at the autographs. There was also an excursion back to the AX Food Truck Lot where I experienced the White Rabbit Truck and a Chicken Adobo Burrito. It's not quite what my family makes, but it's good whatever the case. I won a free t-shirt for having the best Instagram photo from their contest that they were running.

I also made a stop by the Karaoke Room where the night before the Karaoke Contest took place. When I first saw the finalists list from that night I was impressed that Zanney, someone that I know from the convention circuit, made finals.

According to Tommy, this is how the finalists for both solos and groups played out Thursday night:

  1. Luciano Juarez
  2. Zanney
  3. Lauren Mar
  4. DBR
  5. Shades
  1. SNL - Sean and Lauren
  2. Double M - Martha & Margarita
  3. Sirian & Mina
She's opened the door at the Sakura-Con Karaoke Contest, and she's very close to knocking on Anime Expo's Contest. Everyone there thinks that she can take it all next year, and I believe them. I'd put money on that.

When I got back outside from my tour, I caught the tail end of the Sword Art Online Gathering which was going to be massive given the popularity of the series in the past year. I took a couple of photos before heading to the Fate/Type Moon Gathering, which Ryan and Hillary were both part of. After taking photos there, I went back to the hotel room to pick up the megaphone that would be used at the SMT/Persona Gathering.

At 3pm, the gathering and the countdown to the proposal began. I was near Adam, the gathering organizer, to keep tabs on time and our progress through the shots. We almost botched the entire proposal when we came to a disagreement over how to call everyone up prior to the proposal, but we got it through and he was able to pop the question. Some were in awe while others were like "we saw this coming because he told us beforehand." Also, I do apologize if I was in their line of shot when I took photos. I was sucked into the moment especially when I had a major hand in all of this.

After that, it was off for more adventuring including my first taste of a Los Angeles street dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with mayo, ketchup, grilled onions, and other food goodness. After eating my first one, I went go to get another one with even more toppings from vendors that were constantly changing locations. I was able to get away with bargaining a lower price and I kept on getting street dogs on the cheap. During the Seagull Gathering that I was attending later in the evening, we saw the police pull up on Lindsay Plaza and watching the same vendors running with their carts to avoid the police. I've never seen anyone run that fast with a cart and not lose anything on it.

Tucked away near the GSC booth was the Bang Zoom Entertainment booth, a company that I thought would of went under after Bandai Entertainment left the States. They found new work with companies like Sentai Filmworks as indicated on their work with the Persona 4: The Animation dub. Also tucked away were autograph sessions that weren't officially done by Anime Expo, so you had to be following Bang Zoom on Facebook. It was the same way with FUNimation with Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh as well as the English Blue Exorcist cast over at the Aniplex booth. Today it was Karen Strassman, the voice of Kallen (Code Geass), Rider (Fate/Stay night), and Nanako (Persona 4: The Animation). I was there to see her as Aigis, the final piece to completing the Persona 3 Portable collection. It started with Vic back at Anime Vegas 2010, and it took me almost three years. Strassman is a name that you often don't hear from the West Coast convention circuit, to see her was a rare opportunity. I also got her blessings for Ryan and Amanda since it was the next best thing since the line was long and even with the fast travel I wouldn't had been able to come back with their stuff to autograph. I got filmed by Bang Zoom about our favorite roles, and I'm waiting to see how that played out.

Before RAM RIDER headlined the 2nd day of the AX Dance, there was a Shinjuku Ball that was held in the same location. It didn't feel like the Black and White Ball at Fanime or even the Starlight Ball at SacAnime, but it was a nice break from the convention...except if you were Scarlet Rhapsody, which she was reliving her entire college memories in this one playlist that she submitted way before I knew her. Luckily I wasn't there around to hear Rick Astley play if they ever played his signature track.

With some time before RAM RIDER took the stage (11pm), I went to hang out with Rhapsody at ESPN Zone, watch the Giants and Angels games, and take in some more drinks. Ryan and Amanda wanted to come, but with their reduced menu due to the economy they didn't have the signature party platter dish that costs $50 and can feed everyone at your table they didn't feel like coming and opted to rest before the Midnight Gathering.

When I come back to cover RAM RIDER for the time before the Midnight Gathering, I thought I could waltz right in as approved AX press as with most non-ticketed events. But due to the high-profile guests playing that night, I had to go wait in the back of the line like everyone else which I wasn't going to do. After talking to the AX Dance Manager, who came off rude especially after he let another outlet come in early and not myself while saying "I don't know you [but I know them]," I walked off displeased. And this wouldn't be the last time where the rules changed for an event as documented on the report for Day Three.

Instead, it got me more time to pick up Ryan and Amanda from the hotel as we went together to the Westin Bonaventure to the Midnight Gathering. As we arrived, we saw Danny Choo heading to his hotel room at the and both Hillary and Amanda had a chance to take a photo with him.

The King's Game started without G who was running late from Last Comic Standing which also meant that Nate would running late from the same event since he went to go cover it. For about two hours, we had wacky and unpredictable fun in this impromptu showcase. I got to run around as Junpei running around as Minato, and Ryan certainly nailed doing the worm and break dancing. When I got to become King, I called someone to give me a leg stretch. When I found it was a Dojima cosplayer, I asked him as Junpei voice "can I date your daughter [Nanako]?" which then he let out a huge "NO!" and pushed my leg back farther beyond stretching.

When the game ended at 2am, the last trains had ran and the shuttles were not helpful given that we would have to head back to the convention center then back to our hotel. We were about to walk the rest of the way when we saw a van taxi. For $14 ($10 fare plus $4 tip), it sure saved some of our feet that were aching.

We were officially through Anime Expo 2013, and even though the biggest event happened today bigger opportunities were looming.

-Day Two End-

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