My Anime Expo Experience
While my fellow agents are currently at San Diego Comic Con this weekend enjoying the geekiest weekend of the year (and I swear one year I will attend as well), this will give me a chance to share my experience of another convention that happened last weekend. I’m taking about Anime Expo that was from July 2 – 5, 2015. This was quite the experience for me as this was my first year attending and also my time in in California. I have only been to one other convention before this, New York Comic Con, so the huge turn out at this years event was not intimidating to me and with so much happening and timing of everything, I still feel I didn’t get to enjoy everything Anime Expo had to offer. Since this is to be expected with such a large event I don’t feel bad, in fact, I have all the more reason to return again. If I do have any regrets it wasn’t taking enough pictures of the awesome cosplay I saw. I really felt I missed out on that and I apologize. With that said, I would like to share what I did experience while out there.
Hopefully, if you’ve never attended you will one day or at least a local anime convention close to you. And if you can, enjoy it with company. I took this trip myself and wish I had at least one person with me during the journey. I took lots of pictures and if you would like to see them, check out my instagram: NerdGirlSabrina. They are not all up yet so keep checking back.
The pre-start to Anime Expo. Many choose this day to pick up their badges and instead of coming the day of to do so. I arrived early before the noon time of when it began and that line was long. It was here where I learned about it’s other nickname “line con” which this was my first of many encounters during the weekend. Even so, this was also my less aggravating time standing on a line that weekend. Once the lines started moving, they moved fast. The enthusiasm of the other attendees helped. The high fives given as everyone passed each other were the best moments. After finally, attaining my badge, program guide, and complimentary bag with little goodies inside I pretty much didn’t have anything to do until 7 pm when a Momoiro Clover Z (a Japanese Idol group that will be giving a performance the night of Day 1) event happened. Took that time to walk around off site to eat, review other plans for the week, and enjoy what would be my surrounds for the next few days. I really wish I hadn’t but not for the reasons you think. Unknown to many of us, Momoiro Clover Z made an appearance in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center (the location Anime Expo is held) handing out what looked to be flyers (maybe for the event that very night or even the concert?). All I know is a hour later after checking my twitter feed is when I found out. Some people even got the chance to take pictures with them. Even with knowing I was going to see them later, it was still a little heartbreaking to miss.
Momoiro Clover Z Fan Event – Fast ward to the time of the event, I made sure to make up for earlier by getting a good seat from where the actual girls will be sitting. This also put me in nice position with their Japanese fans that also came from overseas. I believe they won a lottery to attend. The event gave us a good opportunity to do Q & A with the girls which apparently even in Japan they rarely do like this. Over all this was a good time to spend with other fans both domestic and international and mostly experience the girls in person before the concert the next day. So lucky fans even got prizes (a hugs) from the girls.
The beginning of what seemed like a very long day, early plans do attend certain panels were not brought to fruition. My goal was to attain my Momoiro Clover Z concert tickets early and enjoy a few events before the concert. Unfortunately, I had to spend at least a couple hours online just to pick up a purchase that had already been made. What should have started at 9 am didn’t start until later. We waited outside but at least were were under a canopy. While I was checking my Twitter, I see I wasn’t the only stressed out about the situation. Finally the line got moving, although slow. Once I finally got my ticket, and used it to get 10% off my official Momoiro Clover Z light pen, I attended the Aniplex of America panel though I wasn’t really planning to attending any industry panels.
Momoiro Clover Z Concert – One of the events I’ve been looking forward to attending since Anime Expo announced it. Along with the greet and meet the previous day, I was over excited. And what a pleasant surprised that the people sitting in the same row as me were also the people I spent time with waiting in the line to even get the tickets. Sort of like a reunion if you will. The show got on the way with guest Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS accepting an award with Momoiro Clover Z for their collaboration song “Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina“. Once that was over, the show began and the group performed various songs from anime including “Moon Pride” from Sailor Moon Crystal, “Pledge of Z” from Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, and more.
Kill La Kill Panel – Best panel to be at as a Kill La Kill fan, the main cast was in attendance with Carrie Karanen (voice actress for Satsuki Kiryuin) cosplaying as her character. Each actor mentioned their favorite experience from the show, answered questions, and even did improve as and as not their respective characters. They even showed the viewers results from a poll feature fan favorite moments. Can you guess what that moment was? Hint: It’s Mako related.
Jo Jo Bizarre Adventure English Dub Premiere – Attendees got to watch episodes 3 and 10 premiered dubbed. I’ve never seen Jo Jo Bizarre Adventure prior to the screen so I couldn’t tell you what was going on. Even so, Episode 3 had some difficulties and parts of the episode weren’t shown. After the episodes, there was a Q & A with voice actor Ben Diskin who played one of the Jo Jos, and the director of the anime.
Crunchyroll Concert – The concert put on by Crunchyroll featured guest Anamanaguchi and headliner Porter Robinson. I haven’t heard of either one of these guest or their music prior to the concert but they certainly got my attention afterwards. Both deal with the music genre of electronic sounds with anime related themes. Certainly a most appropriate concert for Anime Expo. I enjoyed the show very much and have linked to their youtube accounts so you can experience their music for yourselves.
Probably the most calmer of the five days for me. I only attended three panels:
Miki Yoshikawa is the manga author for the manga Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches which is now also an anime. She talked about the concept and ideas of her manga along with her editors. Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches focus more on Romantic-Comedy in comparison to her earlier work Yankee-kun to Megane-chan which focused more on comedy. Although she hasn’t thought about what her next work would be, she wants it to be something she can say “No way I drew that?”/something she even wouldn’t suspect. She also enjoyed the energy of Anime Expo and the cosplay of her characters during her live drawing. She even mention how loud the people in the room next to her where she was staying. Her advice for people who want to get into manga was to keep doing it and with passion. Yoshikawa also brought some candy for those who attended the panel with the wrapping featuring characters from her manga.
Julietta Suzuki is the manga author for the manga Kamisama Kiss which has also has an anime counterpart. She had love reading as a child and combined that with her ability to draw. Suzuki also mentioned what she liked about this line of work is that she can wake up whenever and there wasn’t a daily routine. If she had to do a new series idea the genre would be a western fantasy. She talked about struggles of thinking she had more time than she actually did. Another line of work she would have gotten into would have been computer programming. Her advice for future manga artist is to keep drawing and mentions that it’s not hard to become a manga author in Japan but it is to continue. A little extra fact about Suzuki that she mentions is that she like Fight Club and Edward Norton.
Danny Choo is the creator of Culture Japan. Danny discussed his happenings with himself and his company during the last year including surgery. Also gave a history of making his Smart Doll line from trying to get companies to work with him to finally deciding to do it on his own with 3D printers. There were even moments in time where he and his wife were homeless and lived in storage for about a year before things finally picked up. He brought up the learning of Starbucks and being inspired by it. Danny has a web show also called Culture Japan with a season 3 in the works. Those who attended had a chance to show off their own Smart Dolls on display.
Last day of a long weekend. I was both happy since I didn’t have to deal with crowds until my next convention and a little sad since this the fun of it all was over. I had no plans that day so this gave me an opportunity to spend a good amount of time in the exhibit hall and buy some goodies for myself finally. I was good and actually didn’t spend too much. The place that got my attention the most this day was the Crunchyroll booth. During the last hour of the exhibit hall being open was their annual dance party. Craziest thing ever! As long as you were dancing, they were giving away prizes, posters, and treats. You would think that was all they gave away but no. Their cardboard cut outs of characters from Gintama and personalities from Crunchyroll (two animated versions of managers and mascot Hime-chan) was also given away. They wanted to go out with a bang and they nailed it. The last thing done was the closing ceremonies, with highlighted all the events from the weekend and thank all involved for their hard work. Once Anime Expo was officially over, I was on my way to the airport and back home.