Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ray Reports: Anime Expo 2013 Day 1: Mission Start!


One of AX's biggest attractions is the exhibitor's hall, and oh boy, it is quite the site to behold.. Other attractions open this same day as well, setting the con in motion.

So we all intended to wake up at 6 or 8 AM, but we ended up getting up around 4:30 AM instead. At the least, this gave us a lot of time to prepare for the con. I threw on my Minato cosplay, which I would wear for the next two days.

We arrived around 9 AM, to a convention that was just waking up, so to speak; most things were not open yet. I took the extra time to meet my friend Azu, who I've known for 6 years but never met in person until now, so we wandered around and took the time to catch up on things.

Then the CCB crew and I visited Press Lounge, a room reserved only for attendees with press status, myself included. A few services were offered, such as a water cooler and WPA2-encrypted wifi, and we had a window giving us a view of the exhibitor's hall.

The Exhibitor's Hall was scheduled to open at noon for standard attendees, and 11 AM for Premier attendees. Press, however, was able to get in as early as 10:30 AM or so. While Matt et al. were off to the Good Smile Company booth for Nendoroids, I went off to explore the entire hall, exploring the many, many booths (some of which were under construction) both in the dealer's section and Artist's Alley. I also got a peek at the industry booths in the front rows--Crunchyroll, NIS America, Daisuki, Nexon, and various other companies were presesnt to show off their wares. There were so many vendors and artists that I pretty much tired myself out trying to skim the area! I was excited to see a bunch of Touhou stuff, but I swore to save it for Saturday and Sunday when I cosplayed as Reimu, so I held off on making purchases for now.

During this time, the paths were devoid of attendees, with only vendors and a few press present, so I took care to just browse for now. However, come noon and the hall was packed before I knew it.
I went off to get lunch, my only nearby options being Hooters, Stella's, and the array of food trucks that had assembled in the parking lot across the street. I opted for the food trucks.


I liked the food, although it wasn't exactly cheap; a typical meal ran for about $7-9. Still, the food is good and varied; I went over to Luckdish to try out the curry nachos.

Going back to the convention center, I got to meet a lot of my online friends, most of which are Twitter friends. We sat around and chatted for a while, making  in-jokes, then going out for dinner, which was a little difficult due to the lack of nearby eateries, but we settled for Stella's.

Not wanting to spend too much money on food, since I was going to be going to dinner with my blog crew later, I opted for some fries instead.

I had dinner for real later with the blog crew, at Fat Burger. There was a "wall of fame" for finishing a XXXL-size burger within 30 minutes, and Matt and Ryan took up the challenge. They both finished in 15 minutes.

Afterwards, I decided to visit the entertainment hall--or in other-conventions terms, the gaming hall. In the middle was the console and PC gaming sections, chock full of StarCraft, Dance Central, and   fighting games. I ignored the sight and went to the arcade.

Fortunately, it had a ton of music games, including no less than three Pump It Up machines, beatmania IIDX 20 tricoro, two pop'n music machines, Taiko no Tatsujin (12, I think?), and DanceDanceRevolution X3. Unfortunately, I didn't play the panel stomping games because I didn't want to ruin my cosplay, and also the keys on tricoro, while more sensitive than on a typical cabinet, were quite sticky.


I also tried Crazy Taxi, and ragequit about 10 seconds later because the reverse gear didn't work. The reverse gear is needed for some techniques, and having a CT cab with no reverse gear is like a fighting game where light attack buttons don't work; sure you might be able to get some functionality out of the game but you won't be able to pull off a lot of the game's magic tricks.

Conclusion: While I loved the variety of games that appeal to me at the arcade, many of them were in questionable condition, and things not working is one of my greatest arcade pet peeves.

The con's non-dance attractions closed at around midnight, and the Metro was closing up, so I boarded the shuttle instead and went back to the hotel.

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