Anime Expo 2013 Convention Report
One day, this wanko will try cosplaying… but that will be another story. The last time I visited the anime expo convention was during 2007, when Aya Hirano was at the peak of her popularity and had visited the convention with her main female cast members. I can still remember my flesh searing under the hot sun as I waited in line only to get informed my hours of patience would bear no fruit.
I was originally planning to sit this one out, but I had to accompany a few friends and guide them to their first anime convention. Rather than guide, more like dump them into the convention as I run off to hunt for figures! Well, let’s jump into this shall we? And a warning to all, there’s quite a lot of pictures in here.. and video too! I just couldn’t take my hands off the camera ;_;
Upon arriving at the convention, one of the main things I dreaded was the painful amount of time I’ll spend waiting in line. There’s nothing quite like waiting outside in the hot, scorching sun, wondering why you paid $70 to get massive sunburn. But luckily I was prepared, as I was familiar with the weather here. Thanks to some new sun lotion, I’ve negated most of the damage! You won’t be getting the best of me anymore, mother nature!
Even with resistance against the sun, you still have to be pretty amazed at how long the lines are. Considering that I came in at Day 1, I ended up waiting in line for around 3 hours. I guess it could have been worst, but I spent no more than 10 minutes back in 2007 :( I can’t quite remember, but I do wonder if the lack of a pre-registration deadline allowed the lines to form into such a monstrosity.
Either way, getting out of the line and into a area pumped full of AC reminds you of how air conditioning is among the greatest inventions ever created… And as expected, the convention center’s main area was packed with cosplayers and photographers. I couldn’t help but snap pictures, but I rather not post every single picture I took since…. I don’t want to go through another 1300 pictures..
And from within that area where I was taking pictures, I encountered Danny Choo’s special booth. Unlike the other booths in the convention center, his booth was the only one that was in the main area of the convention. Every other booth was stuck at the exhibitor’s hall, away from view. Danny Choo has really established a presence down here in anime expo since his debut.
Within the convention center, there were a lot more areas for people to commonly hang around in than I previously remembered… but then again, all I really cared about was the exhibit hall.
But overall other than the figures, they did have some interesting industry booths that I ended up visiting and snapping shots of. Especially for the bigger industry booths, it felt like a huge party over there, seeing a mass of people constantly dancing around. They sure did a good job of attracting foot traffic to their booths.
While the majority was heading there, I ended up at a more interesting place… I probably had more fun attempting to win a hug pillow cover from MangaGamer!
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be, I really could have gone for that girl from Dracu-Riot up there :( Well, I did end up getting some visual novel game at least… However, let’s move on back to the merchandise.
For the most part, the exhibit hall offered a huge amount of figures, gaming/anime goods, and even some retro consoles for sale. Prices were decent, but I couldn’t help but keep my wallet closed up unless I saw a good bargain. I think for most of the stuff there, I would have been better off with Hobbysearch + SAL shipping. Furthermore, it was sad to see that they had some bootlegged nendoroids in some of the booths. For an anime convention with a large amount of legit merchandise, it’s funny to see how that managed to get in there without anyone complaining about it. There should be a good amount of people that could detect bootlegs based on the quality alone.
Now my favorite booth is probably going to obviously be the Good Smile Company booth. Besides being the creator of my beloved nendoroids, they had the best prices for figures that I’ve ever seen in person. With some exclusive nendoroids going for $35.00 and $40.00, this was way better than any online shop that you’ll be able to find. The cheapest I get nendoroids for are through online international retailers with SAL shipping, and that normally costs me around $37+ depending on the currency exchange rate.
For a better idea on their great pricing, I’ll use petit/puchi nendoroids as an example. In the exhibit halls, every store was pricing them for $10-12. That’s the norm I’ve seen in the past conventions. From the Good Smile Company booth, we’re getting them for $5! Ahh… it’s so great to buy goods from the source ^____^ Well that only applies to buying it in person, as the GSC online store uses lame EMS shipping that eats up a hefty shipping price >_O;;
My love for Good Smile Company is too much :3 Another interesting booth I encountered had the artist/creator of a variety of old ero-manga. For those of you who have been in anime fandom long enough, you might have encountered some of his works such as La Blue Girl or Urotsukidoji. I should have gotten Zen a souvenir >_< But I fear mailing such an object would probably put me on the news… and not in a way I would like!
Well aside from the exhibit hall, I did some other activities, but that was only because the exhibit hall was closed :( The convention itself had some other main areas: the gaming room, concert events, the lounge 21 area, dance room, karaoke room, and the panels.
The gaming room itself is a standard for every convention, but overall, it didn’t really appeal to me. Although it had tabletop, PC, console and arcade gaming, I think I was disappointed by the fact that there weren’t any league of legends games going on ^_~ I don’t think I could get back into counter-strike again, I’m way past my prime for that game.
As for the concerts themselves, I ended up attending two of them. However, I only recorded bits of the concert, but for those fans of Pretty Cure, Ikeda Aya, the singer behind some of the the opening songs was performing in the first one. Note to self, be more prepared with equipping your zoom lens… and I could have really stabilized these videos better… or even recorded the whole thing.. I am disappointed in myself :(
Unfortunately I couldn’t do any video for Johnny Yong Bosch’s concert as I was too short to fight my way through the stage. Unlike the other concerts, the former black power ranger called the audience to rush forward and dance, instead of staying in their seats. I could definitely tell that the AX Staff didn’t like what he did, as they called in more staff to watch over that concert. Had to pass the camera along to a friend but at least we got shots due to his taller height!
It was a nice touch when his band played a bit of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song xD
Honestly, I’m not so interested in the dance portions of the convention, but given my new interest in photography/videography, I had to check out what was going on over there. I did manage to visit the Shinjuku Ball dance event that was going on during Friday, and despite it being small compared to the 18+ dance events, I found that it had a cozy feel. People were having fun, and I had enough room to take pictures and film!
And to top it off, they had some singers for the event. Nana Hatori and Jun Neki were performing that night, and I found it nice to be able to film a singer up close for once… I wasn’t being blocked by 6 foot titans this time around ;_; I should perhaps master stilts to compensate..
Although I didn’t catch the 18+ dance event, I could see from the lines that it was heavily packed. At one point I was going to go in there, however I had my backpack with me and they didn’t allow bags in. No way was I leaving my stuff with anyone!
Considering what I could see in the pictures and videos that my friends managed to capture, the event didn’t look like anything that belonged to an anime convention. With scantily clad gogo girls dancing on stage, it was more of a rave/club… What’s more sad is that there were photographers diving close to the stage so they could take upskirt shots of the dancers >_>;; I do wonder if anyone caught those photographers on video since what they did was so obvious O_O;
As for the lounge 21 area, I was surprised that they finally added in an area for the older fans. Oddly enough, I don’t have any pictures for that area, but for the most part it was just an area filled with couches and 3 bartending stations. They hosted some autograph sessions and meetups with some of the guests in there, so there was more to do than drink at least.
Practicing my manual focus shots on the group Star Marie
With all the stuff to see, there isn’t much time to get any alcohol in the system. And besides, I needed my health at 100% if I wanted jump back in the exhibition hall and hunt for deals!
But other than those events and areas I mentioned, I didn’t really check out anything else. I did attempt to see if I could get in any panels, but the lines were so long… and rooms so filled up.. that it just simply wasn’t worth it. But I guess given the turnout, it must have been more amazing than I imagined! Heck, I couldn’t even get into the hentai-related panels. Why was everything so full ;_;
Overall, the convention was a decent experience. It was a great place for me to practice my photography on, and they had a decent amount of areas for me to play around in. Although, I probably would have stayed in the exhibitor’s hall 24/7 if I could, I did feel that it was a great way to make use of a 4 day vacation.
I do feel that I could have done more at the convention, but as I wasn’t in nearby hotel this time around, I couldn’t go to the convention early or leave as I pleased. Not to mention, I did quite a bit of guiding this time around as everyone with me was new to anime conventions in general. Next time I’ll opt for a hotel under the anime expo block so I’ll be able to shuttle around whenever I want ^_^
One thing does come to mind though, I do recall the convention having more events during the late hours. Once midnight hit, all video rooms/panels were done with. I do recall them lasting longer… especially the video rooms. At some conventions aren’t they supposed to last 24 hours? So the limited late night activity was my only real complaint.
And of course, the goods I bought! I didn’t spend that much this time around, but most of my stuff came from the Good Smile Company booth. I’m happy that I managed to snag an exclusive of my favorite Idolmaster character. I do wonder when I’ll squeeze in some time for that visual novel over there that I won from MangaGamer. As for those curious about that maid up there, I kind of figured I needed an anime-based, deck building card game in my game inventory. I had seen a lot of people playing Tanto Cuore before so I was curious how it would go in my gaming nights. And of course, a small bottle of Dragon Ball Z water… think I’ll keep it as it is unless it has the magical properties of senzu beans.
Saving the best for last, I was able to claim the last teemo hat of the convention. Now I can finally renounce my humanity… you can now call me nemuiyordle.
Well here’s a few more images to finish things off, for some more, take a look at my imgur gallery. I might eventually include the rest of the pictures…
With the last day of anime expo ending at around 6pm, I had some time to spare at night as I would leave the following day. My group decided to head to Little Tokyo, and we bumped into some more cosplayers while waiting for a spot at a ramen place. On another note, Los Angeles has superior ramen compared to San Francisco.. I’m so envious of their food… that ramen was so fatty and rich in flavor *___*
That flavor… now every U.S. ramen will pale in comparison
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