Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ray Reports: Anime Expo 2013 Day 2: Persona-con

Day 2, Friday, saw me attending a couple of Shin Megami Tensei events: The daytime gathering as well as the corresponding midnight gathering.


Before heading off to to the con, I stopped by the Starbucks near the 7th/Metro station to get some iced tea and some of their overpriced breakfast. (Hey, I have a Starbucks account with credit on it, might as well use it instead of actual money.)

At the Dealer's Hall I found the Rockin' Android booth, which was showcasing some of their published games, including Diadra Empty and Flying Red Barrel. I also came across the J-List booth, which was selling various goods such as T-shirts, visual novels, and...goods that are best not mentioned here. Never thought I'd see J-List and their infamous wares in person.

For lunch, I went to Tornado Potato, a food truck that served whole potatoes cut into spiraling treats on sticks. I got a potato with garlic and cheese on it.

The gathering took place at 3 PM, which sadly forced me to ditch the "Cosplay is not Consent" panel as it conflicted with the gathering. Most of my CCB colleagues were there, being Persona fans and everything, and I went in my usual Minato cosplay. I was surprised to find out that someone came cosplaying as Shin Megami Tensei IV's protagonist, showing that even the Western side of the fandom is getting up to speed with SMT games besides P3 and 4.

We went through our usual "everyone from one game", "everyone of a particular character status", etc. shots, as well as taking the opportunity to do some special poses.



At the end of the gathering, Ryan, cosplaying as Yuu, came to the center and called out Amanda, cosplaying as propose to her! At first I thought the two were just acting, but as I found out later, he was actually serious. A cosplaying couple using their home environment as a question-popping ground? Sure, why not.

Near the gathering was one of many bacon-wrapped hot dog stands that came to the convention center. To satiate my curiousity, I decided to try one which, in addition to the titular ingredients, also had ketchup and onions on it. Tasty, but $5 for one is a bit much.

Later still, I went back to foodtruckcon to try out another unique treat: Fluff Ice. Marketed as not quite ice cream and not quite froyo, it's ice made into a fluffy yogurt-like mass. I got the peach-flavored one, as it reminded me of a friend of mine.


Between all the food truck madness, I caught sight of some Christian preaching protesters. Ugh, even though what they're doing isn't against the law, it's a nuisance to congoers who just want to have a good time and not get in debates over religion or be reminded they're going to hell for actually having fun.


For dinner, I went to one of the food trucks again and got a couple of lobster tacos. Yes, I realize I spent a lot on overpriced food. Makes me wish there was a Subway within walking distance. Still, liked what I got.


Sometime later I decided to head back to the hotel via the Metro. I do recall trying to use my cellphone while in the subway and failing (being spoiled by BART, which provides underground cellphone coverage, will do this to you), and making a stop over at 7th/Metro to check out Famima!!, a Japanese 24/7 convenience store. I picked up a couple of tuna mayo onigiri for $3 and found them to be pretty satisfying. I also picked up a 1.5L bottle of water.

I attempted to attend a panel, the Learning Japanese with Hentai panel, hosted by a friend of mine. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that the panel line was already maxed out, so no entry.

Following this disappointment, I ran into Hilly and Sora, who were waiting for the King's Game gathering. We all took a shuttle to the Westin, where it was being held, and arrived around 10:30 PM, a good hour and a half early.

We got to walk around, enjoying the pretty, fountain-lined lobby of the Westin. Hilly seemed exhausted, so I handed my water bottle to her since she probably needed it more than I did.

Then came the King's Game gathering. For those not familiar with the King's Game, it's a game taken (or at least popularized) by Persona 4: Players are randomly called up to be the "King", who can then assign 1-5 people to do "orders" for them. Same thing as the King's Game gathering at Fanime, though with a smaller player cap.

Thankfully this time around I didn't see any instances of people going "omg pick me! pick <number>!", though one person seemed to be a bit over-excited (thankfully not to the point of having to be removed). Although I was called up to do a few orders, such as giving someone a piggyback ride, I sadly didn't get to be King this time; I actually had a decent idea for an order for once.



Notably, with the exception of Alex, all of my roommates were here at the gathering. While we all enjoyed ourselves, we did run into a major snag: The gathering ended around 2:30 AM. We needed to be up tomorrow to go to events in the morning or get ready in cosplay. Shuttle service was still running but there was no direct route from the Westin to the Kawada; we'd have to go to the convention center then to the Kawada if we wanted to take the shuttle. The Metro was closed, and walking was somewhat out of the question due to the distance and Hilly having a toe problem. Fortunatly, we were able to hail a taxi van around the corner and get back to the room safely.
My business done for the day, I showered up and went to sleep as soon as I could, for I had some major plans tomorrow.

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