Pacific Media Expo 2013
So it seems that I’m still very much behind on my blogging as far as series go, but there’s a post I really wanted to get in as soon as possible while my memory is still fresh. After a long wait and suffering through lots of schoolwork and studying, Veteran’s Day weekend had arrived, and with that I could finally attend this year’s Pacific Media Expo. This was my second time at the convention, as I had gone with friends last year after learning there would be a Vocaloid concert. I really enjoyed the convention last year and it was very enjoyable for me this year as well. It’s quite a small convention and it doesn’t have as much to offer as some of the really big ones like Anime Expo, but it was certainly worth going to and it being a small convention had a lot of perks in and of itself.
The first day of PMX had one major event: a concert for the band Back-On. I’d been looking forward to the concert for a while and even watched the series they did music for just to prepare myself. I finished Murder Princess (which I’ll hopefully get to write about soon) and also started keeping up with Gundam Build Fighters from this season’s anime. I watched the first episode of Air Gear just to have an excuse to download its opening, but sadly I didn’t get around to finishing it and I’m hoping to get to the rest when I can. Anywho, the concert started at 9 so there was a lot of time before then. Much of the time spent waiting for the concert was in the console gaming room, where my group of friends was very pleased to see that they had JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle. Lots of fabulous fighting and awesomeness took place, and after a few hours we went to wait in line for the concert….for more waiting. Luckily, it was well worth the wait, as the Back-On concert was great and I had a fantastic time. There were a lot of songs I didn’t recognize (after all, the only ones I really knew were the anime OPs/EDs) but it was a blast nonetheless and it was awesome hearing the few that I actually did know. The only ones I recall recognizing were Nibun no Ichi (OP for Gundam Build Fighters), INFINITY (song from the Nibun no Ichi single), and Chain (OP for Air Gear). I think they also did a song from Eyeshield 21, though I hadn’t watched that so sadly I am not familiar with it. I do wish that they had played Hikari Sasuhou (OP for Murder Princess) since that was the first Back-On song I heard, but I still loved the concert and ended the night on a very good note. My ears were ringing and I was pretty tired, but it was safe to say that the convention began well for me.
The second day was much busier compared to the first day, though there was still some waiting involved. Since lots of time had been spent JoJoing the day before, I hadn’t gotten a chance to visit the exhibit hall. The exhibit hall at PMX is very small compared to the ones at some other conventions so I went in and looked around pretty quickly. Fast forward a bit and it’s 1:00, when Back-On’s panel began. The panel was primarily a Q and A session, starting off with some miscellaneous questions (the band’s musical influences, artists that influenced them, etc.) before handing it off to the audience to ask the band what they wanted to. The band members were quite relaxed and gave a lot of amusing responses. The band talked about how Avex (their record company) was responsible for a lot of their activity and amusingly mentioned how Avex is always in control, which was a bit of an ongoing joke for the panel. They were also asked about artists that they would like to collaborate with in the future. As they had previously stated that they listened to the Backstreet Boys, they brought them up again, much to the audience’s music. On the other hand, they were later asked about artists they would NOT want to collaborate with, and they answered with Justin Bieber, leading to applause from the audience. It must also be mentioned that my friend asked them if they had planned to get Back-On stage for the concert’s encore (/ba dum tss), giving a good (or bad?) laugh before the band replied that they did. Bad puns truly do make the world go round, at least for my friends and me anyway. For the safety of everyone’s sanity, I won’t be mentioning the countless bad puns that were spoken at the convention. For that matter, I probably don’t remember them all anyway.
Immediately after the Back-On panel was a Vocaloid panel by members of Synthesized Reality Productions, a group dedicated to bringing live Vocaloid shows to fans. The panel began with an introduction to Vocaloid itself before talking about Synthesized Reality Productions. SRP is a group that formed recently after Vocalekt Visions (the group who put on last year’s Vocaloid concert) stopped making concerts due to member Tempo-P being busy with work. Though the concerts are labeled as “unofficial,” it was made clear that SRP does have permission to hold these shows and goes through great lengths to get permission from the creators in Japan to present these songs in concert. SRP also makes the Vocaloid models they use from scratch, which explains why the Vocaloid designs in the concert this year looked different from last year’s. Not too long after the panel finished, the Vocaloid concert began. The concert was very enjoyable and quite a few of the Vocaloids got a bit of time to shine. Gumi and Miku definitely got most of the concert time, but there were also appearances from Yukari, Luka, Rin, and Len. There were some songs I recognized from last year’s concert but there were also quite a few I hadn’t heard before (both in concert and at all). I was especially happy when I heard Senbonzakura in concert since that’s one of my all-time favorite Vocaloid songs. To my knowledge, SRP has filmed the concert and will eventually post it. Until then, you can see the setlist for the concert here if you’re curious about some of these songs.
After the concert, the final event for our day was the panel for LittleKuriboh and Marianne Miller. It was great to see LittleKuriboh again after a year, as the first time I ever met him in person was in fact last year’s PMX. Speaking of which, his panel from last year is on YouTube so for those looking for a good laugh, it’s certainly worth checking out. In any case, LK and Marianne got to talk a lot about some of their projects, which was quite nice to hear about. I’m a big fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series (though admittedly, I am behind on the episodes, and much to my dismay this was also true during last year’s PMX…….) and I’ve seen a bit of Naruto The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show as well, though I’m pretty uninformed about some of LK’s other work. I have yet to hear Marianne’s voicing (particularly because I don’t watch a lot of dubs and take a very long time to get to them once I do) but she seems pretty awesome so I’ll have to find some of the series with her. Aside from the many hilarious exchanges between the two and LK’s character improvs, one thing that really left an impression on me was when LK was asked about what he sees himself as doing had he not gotten into the abridged work. LK surprisingly began to talk about how his life was at the time and mentioned that he had actually been bullied, causing him to shut down as far as his social life and never leave his house. He said that he began to make Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged hoping to make a few other people laugh, at the time having the mindset that if he could just make his bullies laugh, he could temporarily avoid the sheer hate that they felt toward him. He didn’t realize just how big YGO Abridged would become, but as those who are familiar with it know, it has indeed gathered a huge following and LK says that he’s really opened up and found people who care about him (particularly Marianne) and that YGO Abridged has truly changed his life. It was really touching and inspiring to hear his story about how making that abridged series gave him so much opportunity and I have even more respect for him now knowing just what he had gone through up to this point. With LK’s panel done, I played a little bit of JoJo with my friends before leaving.
The last day was pretty uneventful for the most part, though there was one thing that made it quite worthwhile. I went to the exhibit hall with my friends again and went to LittleKuriboh’s booth, where he was selling posters and t-shirts. Seeing as how I still had a pretty good chunk of money, I bought a poster for $10 and LK signed it, making for an amazing souvenir. Here’s a picture of that poster:
After that, more time was spent on, surprise surprise, JoJo, before we finally left the convention. PMX really did go by quickly and it’s sad to see it go so fast, but I can definitely say I had a great time and it was a fantastic way for me to forget about the stress of schoolwork and to enjoy my extended weekend. Of course, that left me with a bit of homework to do today (and even more for me to do tomorrow night) but it was all worth it.
Before I end the post though, there are a few miscellaneous things I feel like mentioning since quite a lot went on during the expo. I could’ve put these in somewhere earlier, but that probably would’ve complicated things since a lot happened during random times. So for starters:
Pocky, Pocky, Pocky. Aside from all the epic anime related stuff, if there’s anything I can say was big as far as this convention, it would have to be the Pocky. PMX had a Pocky Room where they sold Pocky and even had a game in which a person tries to throw four Pocky inflated Pocky balloon-ish sticks into a box to win prizes. One nice thing about the Pocky room is that every time a person went in, he or she gets free Pocky, and sometimes even 3 boxes of it. Add on to the fact that they give you Pocky each time you come in and even more with purchases (in particular, my friends got a pack of Ramune and received a pack of 10 or so Pocky) and it’s clear that there’s lots and lots of Pocky to go around. I think I’ve had a good deal more Pocky at this convention than I have the entire year, and few were the hours that passed in which I hadn’t munched on at least a little bit of Pocky. They might as well have called it the Pocky Masses Expo with all the Pocky I’d seen this weekend. One of my friends left the con with a stash of Pocky as well, so it seems I won’t be saying goodbye to Pocky just yet.
Like I mentioned before, my group spent lots of time on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle. A while back I got into JoJo and really got into it, though admittedly I still have yet to read anything beyond the very early stages of part 6 in the manga. I had talked a lot about JoJo for a while, but it wasn’t until last year that one of my friends finally decided to read the manga and found that it was truly as amazing a series as I had said. Another friend got into JoJo after I decided to watch the new JoJo 2012 anime at my birthday party. In any case, as fellow JoJo bros, we talked a lot about getting our hands on JoJo All Star Battles since the thought of playing a fresh PS3 game with JoJo characters from parts 1-8 was very exciting, and as luck would have it, PMX actually had the game available. Countless hours were spent playing this and it was great seeing the many JoJos from decades of the manga’s story. The last day was largely spent playing through the story mode to unlock the characters since it was put into a PS3 without any save data, and lots of fabulousness and frustration took place. Since it seems that North America is indeed getting a release for this game sometime next year, I will buy it when I get the chance and enjoy playing through it all once again.
And then there’s the merchandise. Like I said already, there’s the YGO Abridged poster that I got, and I’d say it’s the highlight as far as my purchases go. I also bought two Blue Exorcist keychains, one is Rin and the other is Yukio:
And lastly, I bought some earphones with nice vibration. After coming across one of the booths and hearing how they sounded, a couple of friends and I decided to buy them. I still have working earbuds at the moment, but I’ve been thinking about what to do when those stop working so it’s nice to have a spare available beforehand. Here’s a picture of the box:
With all of that said, I can definitely say that PMX was a memorable experience. A small but lovely convention with lots of fun and a nicely relaxing atmosphere. It’s nothing like the huge and busy Anime Expo, in which you really do have to wait hours to get into the events you want. PMX is great because you really can go to a panel 5-10 minutes before and be just fine, so unless it’s a concert, you don’t have to worry about not getting a good seat. Even as far as concerts, you don’t have to wait countless hours beforehand to get in (though with Vocaloid there were tickets online to be reserved so that’s one thing). PMX was a short but awesome event and if I can, I will definitely make sure to go again next year. If any of you happen to live around the LA area, then it wouldn’t hurt to give PMX a try. It may not be the biggest convention out there, but a lot of its charms are actually because of that fact.