Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ray Reports: Anime Expo 2013 Day 3: Touhoucon


Day 3 of Anime Expo was Touhou day for me, and featured the gathering itself and the post-gathering dinner.

I will admit, the day was off to a rocky start. I had intended to go with my roommates to go shopping for tape so I could finish my gohei prop, but then they left without me because they had other things to do. Not wanting to fend for myself in downlown Los Angeles while in an opposite-gender cosplay, I decided to deal with my gohei another time and just head down to the convention.

I thoguht about attending the crossplay gathering, but I was hardly in the mood so I skimped out.

I finally started dumping my money into the exhibitor's hall today. I swung by the ChinAnime booth and got a tote bag / artbook / postcard combo for $40. The bag itself is pretty big and makes for a pretty good one at cons, but I don't feel this is a bag I'd want to bring with me to, say, a department store or a shopping mall.


I also hit up the Kinokuniya Booth and noticed they were sellign a lot of Touhou goods, including albums, doujin manga, and even games. Looking at the Akyuu's Untouched Score series, which are effectively the soundtracks to the PC98 Touhou games, I figured $15 wasn't a bad deal for each of these CDs, so I grabbed vol. 5 (the OST to Highly Responsive to Prayers, the very first Touhou game).


For lunch, some friends and I went to Lucky Strike, a bowling alley / restaurant. I just got fries with curry ketchup since I wanted to save costs. Ended up feeling full easily though.

The Touhou gathering was at 4 PM, and it was at the same time as the Homestuck gathering. While I don't despise the HS fandom, I feel that this hurt the TH gathering's attendence a little as I'm sure there are some folks who are both into TH and HS.

Getting back on topic, I felt a little shy at first. This was my first time indulging in the SoCal Touhou community, and the only people I already knew who were at the gathering were Lucas, DJ PrEyX, and a recent acquaintance of mine that I had met two days prior, so trying to adapt to my enviroment took some time.

The gathering was run similarly to the Fanime Touhou gatherings, going through characters by game and then doing a group shot, though it diverged in a few ways: Characters who appear in multiple games (e.g. Reimu and Marisa, the two core protagonists) were in every per-game photo, and "special request" shots were done after the group photo. Also, after the group photo, people were allowed to leave or casually hang around the area due to the gathering lasting two hours, which is a good thing because convention gatherings typically leave little in the way of time or space for socializing.

In addition to the gathering itself, there was also a post-gathering dinner being hosted, and at first I thought about skipping out because I didn't think there would be room for new attendees and I was unsure if I wanted to pay $8 for it, since I was trying to watch my budget. I decided to say screw it and pay to attend, since I had nothing better to do. This ended up being a good decision for me, as it allowed me to get to know fellow fans and cosplayers some more.

The dinner was supposed to be held at a reserved area in the JW Marriott lobby, but complications arose and we ended up crowding near a hotel room where someone would provide pizza. We had worries that our group's size would result in us getting ejected and forced to split up, but thanks to all of us being mature and keeping conversations down to a modest volume, that did not happen. We spent our time having group discussions about Touhou, getting to know each other, and a few brought their laptops to play games on. I also remembered to set up a mailing list, so I got everyone's emails and other contact info so I could shoot emails and help each other keep in touch.

During our conversations, someone from outside of the gathering noticed our group and took advantage of this to ask us if we could do their child a favor and help them do a video speech, with us as the audience. We agreed to this, and it turns out the one giving out the speech was a fellow cosplayer and congoer, and her speech was based off of material in Uta no Prince-sama, as she was cosplaying from that series. A few mishaps took place while she was trying to get her video recorded, but we all pulled through.

By the end of the after-dinner had gotten to know many of the folks there, and would go on later to add them on Facebook or otherwise keep in contact with them. Very much worth the $8 to get to know some fellow Touhou fans and cosplayers, not just from SoCal but also other parts of the country.

After the after-dinner, I went back to the convention center. With not too long before the Is It Hentai? panel, I decided to try to get in, 40 minutes before the panel was to start...but not only was it maxed out, turns out it had been that way 2 hours prior to the panel starting time.

With not much else to do, I decided to recharge my phone, which had been dead for several hours. Lucas stopped by because he needed to charge his camera battery, so we just talked at length about things, like comparing Fanime's Touhou gathering and AX's, Touhou itself, various con whatevers, among other things.

Since it was almost midnight, there was nothing else to do, and I don't go to con dances. Took the shuttle back to the hotel and got ready to cosplay Reimu again the next day.

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