Thursday, July 18, 2013

Matthew's Anime Expo 2013 Report: Part 5 - Day Three

Unlike the day before where I had a ton of free time, today was full of things for me to do and attend from the morning of until all the way through the night.

My second round of my iced coffee searching brought me back to the 7-Eleven when they were open, much to my delight. Like the other days, I went ahead of my roommates and associates especially when today Ryan and I were running the Durarara!! Gathering. It actually took me some time to find the exact spot where we would be holding the gathering, not to mention it was right near the line that was going into the Exhibit Hall so unless you were on the street level looking for the gathering you didn't have much luck finding it from above.

The gathering went smooth and as the shoots went on the gathering got bigger and bigger. I think our final group shot grew at least two-fold from the first group shot. We ended with a staircase shot that looked like it came straight out of the anime; I got to pose as Dotachin and it was awesome to be a part of that shot.

The panel to be at today was George Wada's Attack on Titan Panel early in the morning. Here's an interesting tidbit: when Wada was a Guest of Honor at Sakura-Con, he was there for Psycho-Pass and Attack on Titan was only a couple of episodes old. At Sakura-Con, he received very few questions about AoT, but now a couple of months later he had a panel dedicated to this fast-growing series that many are considering to be that next Cowboy Bebop. The panel started with the premiere of episode 13.5, a recap episode, which at the time had not aired in Japan yet. Then Wada and MC Danny Choo, who had personally brought Wada as well as cosplay superstar Alodia Gosiengfiao to Anime Expo, had a one-on-one interview as well as a Q&A session.

Then we get to the point where Choo wants to record a "title call" for the Japanese producers to see how much we love AoT. Once Choo announced what we would say and how we would say it, I thought "Man, that's hella weak." So I talked to the guy next to me and I conjure up a chant with clapping instead of whatever Choo wanted us to. I get up and start "Attack on Titan *clap clap clapclapclap*" and try to get this hype train rolling. Within a few calls, all of Petree Hall was onto the chant. I ran up and down the middle of the hall getting people to join with me. I was surely on the AoT hype train and after seeing a gathering of cosplayers that filled up the entire stage area, I was inspired by this panel and George Wada to pursue my Connie cosplay. He also inspired me to ditch Dotachin and wear a limited edition licensed AoT t-shirt that was just as exclusive as buying a Miku Yukata Nendoroid, which you can see me wearing through numerous photos and videos.

The next thing I wanted to cover was the US premiere of the Garden of Words movie from acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai. Unfortunately, neither myself or Nate was able to cover it. My reason was that I got stuck waiting an hour at a food truck, and Nate's reason what was Access Control blended the lines for press, Premiere Badge holders, and regular attendees into a 1,000 seat theater-style room. He was guided through a number of lines and when he got the point where he could walk right in the doors to go into the room he was denied while another line that formed on the other side went in. So even if I had gotten my food in time, I wouldn't had been able to go to the viewing.

However, I did obtain a VIP ticket to attend his reception at Lounge 21. Free drinks and his autograph on my copy of The Placed Promised in Our Early Days sort of made up for the lack of coverage, but this combined with the RAM RIDER fiasco the night before I was kind of getting stemmed from the lack of knowledge and coherency from these staffers. Another thing to note was how old Shinkai was; I preceived him to be much older around Hayao Miyazaki's age when in fact he's just in his early 40s while Miyazaki is in his 70s.

One of AX's well-kept secrets is the standby line for events. At a certain point at the convention before a ticketed event begins, usually one to two hours, they'll start to hand them out in the standby line. When Porno Graffiti were announced, I was estimating that they would be sold out or have few tickets to give away. But when we got into line and got our tickets half an hour later, staffers had a stack of tickets, more than I thought they would have. We did run into a problem. We had a ton of stuff that we weren't able to unload at the hotel due to our busy schedules, and both Nate and I made a mad dash towards West Hall to get whatever bags we had carried with us to Club Nokia.

This was my first time here at Club Nokia, although Ryan was here when he covered NIRGILIS a couple of years ago. It wasn't too overly crowded where we were, and to be honest having the floor seats was better than having the balcony. Porno Graffiti rocked Club Nokia, and the two-member band of Akihito and Haruichi knew how to hype up the audience. Nate was rolling with the theme to Magi, and all of us were losing our voice when "Melissa" from Fullmetal Alchemist came on. Then when the encore hit, it was a triple encore with a reprise of "Melissa." I totally lost it when they decided to play that song TWICE especially in the triple encore.

I would put FLOW two years in a row at Fanime above Porno Graffiti's performance, but it's pretty dang close.

With all of us burnt out to cover the Masquerade, we headed back to the Luxe City Hotel for more drinks and a toast to Ryan & Amanda's engagement before I went off to experience the nightlife like I did a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the night ended early. That time would also be the last time that I would eat a street dog.

I do have to say that the JW Marriott is a very nice hotel.

-Day Three End-

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