Sunday, July 20, 2014

Anime Expo 2014, Year of the Steves! Part 1

Before I went to AX this year, I was deciding if I ever wanted to go back to AX again. This year was definitely one of the better years of the past six years that I have gone.

Every single con-goer I met was super friendly, and if you got bumped in the halls, whoever bumped you would immediately apologize. I also know that this isn’t an issue for some, but by Day 4, the huge crowds actually did not smell. For me that was a huge plus. In contrast to the amazing guests, the Access Control volunteers were all over. They treated everyone like cattle and blocked off entire hallways for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. It may not seem like a long time, but for a convention center filled with tens of thousands of people, it seems like ages. Overall the lines at Line Con were extremely unorganized, as well as panels that were smaller in fan base. Any panels that were larger or industry base were great in contrast. This was definitely one of the best years for cosplay. There was not one group that dominated over the cosplay community, which is one of the things that made my con. I enjoy seeing a wide variety of cosplays, and this year was the best of all the years I have attended.

Day 0
Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I was unable to go to Day 0. I usually go at 10 AM even though the doors don’t open until 3, but I had to work until 5 that day. I did not want to start lining up that late, and I was right not to. When I checked Facebook, I believe people who arrived at 5 or 6 were in line until midnight due to technical difficulties. I heard through word of mouth that the convention may consider mailing out badges in the future, which I hope they investigate, because while I do enjoy seeing friends early, it is annoying to stand in a cramped line for literally hours.

Day 1
Also unfortunately, I was unable to attend the first half of Day 1 due to class.
I don't know what was in that document, but I was staring at it the entire time thinking about Anime Expo.
I was driving from my college in Pomona, and I don’t know if it was because it was the day before the Fourth of July, or everyone was having a bad day, but there were 3 car accidents on my way home, and 4 on my way to the convention center. I got my badge and met up with my friends Sasha and Steve.

Nonetheless, I was able to reach the convention center in time to attend the Bandai Namco panel. I got there a little late, so I sadly missed the raffle tickets and free music CDs they handed out. The Bandai Namco panel was amazing in my opinion. I am a huge fan of the “Tales of” series, (10 years now) so when I saw the trailer for Tales of Xillia 2, Tales of Hearts R and Tales of Zesteria, I definitely flipped out. They had 2 voice actresses from the new Xillia 2 game answer some questions, a video message from Hideo Baba-san, and the North American “Tales of” producer. For those that aren’t familiar with the “Tales of” series, there was the more popular Sword Art Online game, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. The Bandai Namco people showed a trailer with gameplay, and brought out the producer for the game. He answered many questions, going so far as to joke that you could put anyone in a wedding dress. At the end of the panel, they raffled off the most amazing prizes a “Tales of” fan could dream of. Items from Japan that are extremely hard to buy in America, and the grand prize of every collector’s edition of “Tales of” you could get.

After the panel, I went to the exhibit hall to explore all of the goodies. Like the cosplayers, there was not one series that dominated over all of the shops, and I found more niche series for sale than normal. (Tales of, sorry I’m a huge fan…) Artist alley was fantastic as always, and again, everyone was extremely polite.

The next panel I went to was Super Art Fight. For those that read my review from last year’s AX, they should remember that it is a group of guys that “fight” through drawings. There is a large “Wheel of Death” displayed on a projector, and whatever words the wheel says both artists have to draw. If the artist feels like it, once they are finished with their drawing they can mess up the other’s drawing. This was the 18+ version, so the words were taken from Cards Against Humanity. I’m not sure how much detail I can go into, but basically there were a lot of dicks. Someone even paid the artists 20 dollars to draw, and it was fantastic. It is a hilarious event, and the artists are all really friendly. I would really recommend anyone who hasn’t gone to go, if they are old enough.

Day 2
Day 2 was the legendary Kill la Kill Gathering. The organization for the event itself was fantastic. You bought a ticket in what section you wanted, (I bought mine late so I had to sit in the far back), and the room was absolutely packed full. Because it was so full, we had to wait a bit for everyone to be seated before the event started, but 4 staff members dressed as the Elite 4 went on stage and pumped up the crowd, along with giving instructions for our special Kill la Kill (KLK) “glow sticks”. They weren’t regular “crack them and let there be light” glow sticks, they were tubes with LEDs that you could change the colors on called Freflows. They were special to the event in that they were able to be controlled by a staff member to sync up to a certain color to reflect the mood. After everyone was situated, the event started. They brought out the voice actresses for Ryuuko and Satsuki dressed as their respective characters, as well as some other members of the KLK team. It was the first time the two voice actresses had cosplayed, but they were more excited that so many people in the audience were dressed from KLK.

After some Q&A, they premiered the English dub for KLK, and surprised us with Eir Aoi coming out and singing the ending credits live instead of playing it on video. It was pretty awesome, and then they brought back the actors and did a bit more of Q&A. The last hour or so was as concert performance by Eir Aoi. 

Now food wise, the convention had a ton of food trucks, which was fantastic, because I love food. In years past of AX, the cafeteria and dealers hall closed at 6, so if you wanted food after 6, you were basically screwed. A few years after that, some locals set up a hot dog barbecue outside the main hall and made bank. This year, there were food trucks. Now I don't know about you, but I love food that is different. So what a surprise when I see my two favorite foods combined, chili and curry into a hot dog. Naturally, I flipped out and waited in line to buy this. I expect the food trucks made a lot of money from this convention, and I was totally grateful for them being there. Yes, they were slightly overpriced, ($6-12 in general for the trucks) but there aren't really any restaurants nearby the convention center that are any cheaper.
It was the best thing I ever tasted.
Later at night I went to the Burlesque show. It was great because the main hostess reminded me exactly of Eddie Izzard with her humor and general movements. So the Burlesque show is exactly how it sounds, with lady dancers removing clothing provocatively, but there was also an amazing magic show for those that may not enjoy dancing ladies, though it was mostly ladies. During this, there was a hiccup in the show where the hostess came back out to entertain the audience while something was being repaired backstage, so she did some improve by talking to a chair on set and naming it Steve. Throughout the rest of the night the audience would demand to see Steve, chanting “STEVE!” repeatedly at the top of their lungs. The event ran an hour overtime, but since the convention technically ends at midnight running over until 1 in the morning was of no consequence, except I missed my ride home so I had to get a ride with another friend. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.