Anime Expo 2013
Well I was actually going to post about a game I finished recently, but it just so happened that the day right after I completed it, I would be busy once again. Why is that? Well, the title should give that away. Anime Expo is always one of the highlights of my summer, and indeed it was quite the experience for me once again. Though it wasn’t one of my favorite Anime Expos, it was still fun all the same and a fantastic way for me to spend time with my friends while attending a big convention.
So I attended all four days of AX, all of which had their own interesting parts. Now one thing I should say beforehand is that this post is probably gonna be a good deal longer than the rest of mine since I’m writing about whatever I can for all the days of the convention, so this might be a more extensive read but bear with me. That said though it might be more interesting to hear about my convention adventures than me rambling about an anime so this might not be a bad thing on the whole. Anyway, without further ado, I’ll start with my day 1 adventures.
First day of the Anime Expo was exciting as always. The realization that the year-long wait has finally ended and the convention would once again start. A friend went with me on the drive up and we began our long day there. Now of course, one of the most dreaded things about conventions is lines, and unfortunately one of the worst of said lines is the line to receive the Expo badge. Now the funny thing is that I had already gone the day before with my family to get mine, but seeing as how there was nothing else to do and I had found another one of my friends while walking past the enormous line, I ended up staying once again, and my legs would later express their anger at this choice of mine.
Anywho, fast forward about two and a half hours later (perhaps less but I’m not quite sure), I’m all done with this madness and head off to the exhibit hall. As an experienced AX attendee, I was well aware that spending too much money too early at the convention is a terrible idea and was thus careful about what I wanted to buy. Interestingly enough, however, the first day was one of 2 days in which I actually did make purchases. I happened to find two Zatch Bell volumes (3 and 17) that I could not locate on the internet, so I swiftly purchased them, happy to own more exclusive volumes of a manga I truly love. My friend also directed me to the Aksys Games booth, where I made another purchase. Now, the game I had previously mentioned I was planning to post about was Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which was an excellent game. Of course, after such a great play, I was very eager to play the sequel: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, which I would have borrowed from a friend. Luckily, however, the booth had a pretty neat deal: $45 for VLR, 999, and a VLR-based watch too. VLR is typically about $40 anyway, but getting a free watch with it is a nice bonus. However, 999 was apparently $15 on its own, but was only $5 with the purchase of VLR, making this an amazing deal at just the right time for me.
Anywho, following that, I went to the panel for huke, Good Smile Company, Ultra Super Pictures & Max Factory. Truth be told I went mostly for huke, as I am quite a fan of the art style of Black Rock Shooter and Steins;Gate. However, I was also vaguely familiar with Good Smile Company due to some of the anime and Vocaloid figures I had seen in years past. Anywho, it was pretty neat seeing huke’s drawings and hearing some Q and A about his work, and I’m also a bit curious about getting more of those figures too. Sadly, being a high school kid with no job, I’m not exactly a rich person by any means, and I can already tell my wallet would be ashamed if I were to spend on too many figures at a time like this, so that will have to wait a bit. So that’s pretty much the gist of day 1.
Second day of the convention starts with me heading off to the Mari Okada panel. In truth, I’m personally not familiar with a lot of individuals responsible for scriptwriting and whatnot, so before the expo I hadn’t actually heard much about her. However, after taking a look at some of her work on her MyAnimeList page I was pretty interested. Apparently she did work on AKB0048 First Stage, Anohana, Fate/stay night, Gosick, and Toradora, all of which I enjoyed quite a bit. Not to mention a pretty lengthy list of other series I’m not quite so familiar with. Anywho, the panel was mostly Q and A, though sadly I actually don’t remember a lot about the questions that were asked. There was also a raffle at the end for autographs, but as it always goes I didn’t end up winning. In any case, I don’t think I have any merchandise that would have been fitting for her to sign anyway and hunting for some would probably have been quite a task. All the same though I’m certainly more interested now in finding out more about scriptwriters and such for anime, since I never seem to pay attention to those things and it might help me to appreciate it all more.
After that I went back to the exhibit hall for more anime and manga hunting, but no luck. However, I did find one thing. With Bandai Entertainment out of commission, a lot of series have been shafted, and Eureka Seven is one such series. Now I happened to have bought the first half of the anime, but unfortunately I’ve had no luck finding the other half. Anywho, I went to one booth and to my surprise, I found that second half! ……For $350. To put it lightly, I can’t fathom why in the world anybody would be willing to make a purchase like that. I honestly don’t think I would make a purchase for any anime at a price like that (well, maybe something like One Piece, if only because it’s so long you’re eventually going to have to pay that much to own it all anyway) and it’s utterly pointless because, well, there isn’t any company to support by making that purchase so there isn’t any real “supporting the industry” business to be done here. But since Funimation has its hands on Eureka Seven AO, perhaps I’ll be lucky and they’ll also pick up the original Eureka Seven too.
After that, I had headed over an hour in advance to watch the Blue Exorcist movie, seeing as how I bumped up my Blue Exorcist watch over summer simply because they were premiering it here. Unfortunately, an hour was apparently not nearly enough, and the movie was already filled up. With nothing to do at the time, I had to figure out something else to spend the time on instead. So I ultimately opted to attend an Aksys Games panel titled “The Art of Localization” seeing as how the whole Zero Escape deal got me interested in them. It was pretty interesting hearing about the process of adapting Japanese games to the Americas and such, and I’m actually curious about becoming a localization editor now. Seeing as how I routinely make bad puns in real life, having a job in which that’s required would work wonders for me, while I can at the same time help bring awesome Japanese games to the west. That said however, I actually don’t know much about what the job would require, and if in fact I need to have a decent share of Japanese language knowledge, I guess I’ll have even more reason to learn it in college than I already do. One thing I liked is how they made a mention of 999 in talking about it, warning the audience of big spoilers and giving some people time to exit so they wouldn’t ruin the story for themselves. I certainly felt proud of my glorious 999 all-nighter (if I hadn’t already) and having finished the whole game right before the expo was indeed the right choice.
After that, my parents went to a concert to see Moonstream, since they really liked them at the Pacific Media Expo last year. So during that time, I went to the entertainment hall and played Super Smash Bros. Brawl with my friends to pass the time. I’ve gotten a lot rustier since I haven’t played many games, especially this, for quite a while, but it was fun all the same and I had a good time. And with that, day 2 is done.
On the third day I had to wake up a bit earlier than the other days (7:30, not too bad considering my awful experiences with 0 period throughout the school year but still a bit difficult considering I’ve gotten used to summer) to attend a Vocaloid panel. It was quite similar to last year, as there was a Miku Miku Dance mini-concert type of thing as well as some new (even unreleased) Vocaloid videos to see as well so that was pretty neat. Though if anything I was very surprised to hear Spanish Vocaloid songs. There was a Miku one which sadly I don’t remember the name of, but I also saw a video for a Len song called Len VS. Warrior Quest XVIIDX, which was a very amusing video. Right afterward, there was another Vocaloid panel (in which most of the Vocaloid panel attendees swiftly rushed to the other side of the hall to get in line) that focused more on some of the composers for some Vocaloid songs, I don’t remember all of the ones who were there but I know Dixie Flatline and Utata-P were there. Some videos by these creators were shown, some of which were already popular hits (The Happiness and Peace of Mind Committee, for example) but also some new ones, with an especially memorable one being an English Gumi dance-style song.
After that, nothing really eventful happened until I went to the A-1 Pictures panel. It was pretty neat to hear about A-1 Pictures president Masao Ueda’s history with the anime industry and all as well as seeing some new anime footage too. Saw some material from Gin no Saji (which I’m really only aware of due to the manga being written by the author of Fullmetal Alchemist, one of my all-time favorites), Servant x Service, and some other things too. Apparently A-1 Pictures is planning to create a mecha series that aims to “supercede Gundam.” Now I’m not all too familiar with Gundam and to this day I have yet to watch through any of its installments (though I know I should since I’m a pretty big mecha fan), but I’m a bit skeptical about something surpassing Gundam at least as far as legacy goes, considering even people with only a vague knowledge of anime at least have heard of Gundam. As for Gundam’s quality, I guess I’ll have to find out for myself once I actually start watching it. And so day 3 is done. At that point I could definitely feel the sadness of the expo ending soon, but alas there was still a day left to enjoy…..
So the last day had arrived, and with that I decided I would take one final adventure throughout the exhibit hall just to make sure I’d seen everything I needed to see and bought everything I needed to buy. So I went row by row throughout the exhibit hall and indeed made a few more purchases. I got a couple of keychains (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica ones, being Kyouko and Homura, my two favorite characters of the series), two t-shirts (one Blue Exorcist and another Evangelion) as well as an Evangelion messenger bag for my laptop (which happens to have the exact same image as the above picture). One of my friends also bought a Yu-Gi-Oh abridged t-shirt with Marik and his not-so lovely hugs and even got LittleKuriboh to sign the t-shirt. Before I left I made sure to ask LittleKuriboh if he would attend Pacific Media Expo again since my group of friends had first met him in person there, and it seems that he is so I’m definitely looking forward to going there this year. Although I should probably do what I failed to do back then and actually catch up to those YGO Abridged episodes though, seeing as how I’m now even further behind on it all than I was before.
After that, my group of friends went to a Vocaloid panel, which was apparently made pretty last minute since it wasn’t on the original schedule and only had a brief mention with schedule changes right before the Expo. That said though it was quite awesome all the same. They actually showed a demo for the English voicebank of Miku, which truly surprised me with its clarity. Many attempts to use English on the original Japanese Vocaloid voicebanks had, to put it simply, sounded more like Engrish, but the English Miku seems to have turned out very well and I’m truly looking forward to its release. The English Miku will be released on both Windows and Mac, which is certainly good as it will make it more accessible to the fans. Good for me too I suppose since I own a Mac, although I have both Windows and Mac running on it anyway so it probably wouldn’t have made much more of a difference besides sheer convenience. It was also announced that there was a “Find Me” campaign on Mikubook in which Miku fans could let Crypton Future Media know where they live in order to boost the chances of cities with many fans having a Vocaloid concert nearby, seeing as how there is such great demand for one within the fandom. At the same time, it allows fans to enter a contest for either a trip to Tokyo and the Hatsune Miku Magical Mirai event, or a set of various Miku goods (which I opted for as 39 winners offers a better chance than the one grand winner for Tokyo). The panel then followed up by showing some exclusive footage from the Hatsune Miku Live Party 2013 in Kansai concert, which was neat since its actual release is on August 30. There were some great songs, with the first few being ones I had not heard but near the end there were songs I recognized, such as Rin’s Kokoro, Miku’s Popipo, and Romeo and Cinderella (one of my own personal favorite Miku songs and one I had enjoyed thoroughly at the Mikunopolis concert in 2011). I had such great nostalgia witnessing Miku concert material, even if only recorded from another one in Japan, but I truly hope that one day I will have the opportunity to once again see Miku in a glorious concert as a now much bigger fan than I had been at the time.
After that we also went to the Closing Ceremony, and it was nice to see some of the guests once again before the convention was finally over. But eventually it did end, and it finally kicked in that, yes, I will have to wait another year before I can experience this all over again.
Now I’m sure that many of you are wondering, “Where are the Anime Expo pictures?” Truth be told, all of the picture taking was done by my friends, and I still have to wait for them to send them to me, if they’ll ever actually get around to that in the first place. Not to mention that there isn’t much of a satisfying way for me to fit those pictures into the blog in a way that relates to my experiences, since most of those were cosplay pics anyway. But anyway, if they do, I’d be happy to put up a link with some nice ones. If not, however, there are many, many photos of it out on the web by now I’m sure (and in all honesty they’re probably better pictures anyway, but that’s besides the point) but I’ll edit the post if I get my hands on them.
And with that, I guess my story about Anime Expo this year is complete. I hope that reading my long paragraphs about stuff I went around doing for the past few days was entertaining and if any of you did not attend it, I truly hope that you too will have the opportunity to attend the convention in future years, or at least another anime convention somewhere. They’re truly great fun and incredibly worthwhile. Now I’ll have to wait and see what happens for next year’s Anime Expo. Who knows, maybe if I’m lucky I might one day get to see Kana Hanazawa (my favorite anime seiyu) at a convention, but only time will tell who I’ll see next year or years beyond. But until then, I’ll just have to wait another year and increase my anime watching to prepare myself for what’s next.