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Anime Expo 2013!

anime-expo-greeting

This is how I am greeted wherever I go.

Hello, friends! This past weekend I attended my hometown convention, Anime Expo. I ducked writing about my trips to Sakura-Con and Anime Boston earlier in the year due to being quite busy and because I rationalized that people wouldn’t be too interested in reading about me hanging out with people and me being not the King of Maids. I don’t think I can avoid writing about this, however, so here I am! I don’t want to go on endlessly, though, so I’ll keep my points fast and loose, just like my high-flying, adventurous lifestyle. Here we go!

  • From Day 0, I really should have realized that the whole convention would be a logistical nightmare. If you’ve attended Anime Expo in the past two or three years, you could have seen this experience coming from a mile away — for various reasons, Anime Expo has been on the verge of not being able to handle its massive turnout for quite a while. It was a question of when, not if the whole thing would explode. Well, explode it did this year! I got lucky with but an hour-and-a-half wait for my pass. Some of the unlucky folks lining up on Day 1 were greeted with waiting times up to three or four times that amount. Lines to get into the exhibit hall in the morning regularly curled around outside (and if you wanted to get an autograph after Day 1, you had to get a good spot in that line, which meant showing up super early). Popular panels had regular attendees lined up in unrelated rooms, whereupon they joined the audience 10 or 15 minutes after the panel began. Total mess, by far the worst part of the convention.
  • But I did get some things done! I’m not usually an autographs person (I’d only gone for Miyuki Sawashiro prior to this year, which was a nice experience!), but there were some nice guests this year I thought I’d at least try for. Due to the aforementioned clusterfuck lines, I was never able to get even close to getting autographs for Masaaki Yuasa (disappointing, even though I really had nothing for him to sign!), Kazuhiko Inoue (I didn’t get my Cars figure in time for an autograph), or Megumi Han (how nice would it have been to get a Gon autograph?). I was able, however, to take advantage of confusion about the autograph process on Day 1 to get a decent spot in the line for Mari Okada. (Basically, I was told to walk up to the front and grab a ticket, even though there was a long line. I bet that didn’t happen other days!) It was a lot of standing around, but eventually . . .

simoun-autograph

  • . . . I got my copy of Simoun autographed! I’m almost certain I was the only person in line with this series. (Most folks had stuff from True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha (Okada appeared with P.A. Works’ Nobuhiro Kikuchi to promote the Hanasaku Iroha movie), and Toradora!) When I took out my DVD set, Okada’s immediate reaction was, “*gasp* Simoun!! :D” I thought it would get a good reaction, but her sheer delight still took me by surprise. I was a bit flustered while telling her how much I enjoyed the series, haha. Okada totally won me over here; she obviously had nothing but great memories working on this series, and seeing that joy was quite heartwarming for me. It’s a lovely memory!

mari-okada-and-me

  • And I also got a photo with Ms. Okada, where I’m not actually looking straight ahead, because how do I camera? Despite me raising my dojikko level (not the first time this would occur during the weekend), Okada’s enthusiasm still makes her too moe for me. The moment I saw her relishing her memories of Simoun, moe as a concept crystalized for me. I hereby declare The Cart Driver a PRO MARI OKADA ZONE.
  • So about my dojikkoness, my precious Day 1 memory was nearly tainted because I am a fucking idiot. Not five minutes after I arrived at the convention center, I lost my phone (that has to be a record), and later in the day I misplaced the keys for my rental car. I am a walking disaster. Thankfully, both items were taken to the lost and found area, which gave me a bit more hope regarding the overall kindness of humanity. From then on, I checked my pockets like a paranoid maniac to make sure everything was there constantly, haha.
  • On Day 2, I attended Mari Okada’s panel, which was one of those that got hit by the Linecon curse. I was unfortunately quite late and missed much of the beginning, but there was still some interesting stuff. Best part for me: Okada said she and Shoji Kawamori are trying to get more AKB0048 made, though she gave quite a diplomatic answer to someone trying to bait a season three announcement from here. I hope it happens!
  • Also went to the Sentai panel where there was a lot of awkward pitching and getting people hyped up for stuff. Industry panels are so dopey, but there was really nothing else to do at the time.
  • The highlight of Day 2, however, was finally being able to see Kick-Heart! I’ll have more in-depth thoughts when it’s digitally released in a week, but I enjoyed it quite a bit! It’s definitely more humorous!Yuasa than thoughtful!Yuasa, which was obviously a good direction to go in for this story. I was a big fan of pro wrestling back in the day and even watched my fair share of Japanese wrestling, so seeing all the in-ring action was quite fun. I wonder if I was the only one thinking, “Oh my god, Maskman S is using the Stretched Plum!!” during the second match. Maybe. In a room of hundreds watching a wrestling cartoon, surely someone else must have watched Toshiaki Kawada at some point. But, yeah, definitely glad this project came into fruition; Kickstarter is a good place for these shorter, odder anime projects that the normal economic climate won’t support. I really enjoy directors with distinctive visions knocking out these short features — there’s good stuff in anthologies like Robot CarnivalGenius Party and Neo-Tokyo.
  • No real Day 3 or 4 highlights other than me kicking it with many cool people, trawling the exhibit hall, eating out and playing way too much Tanto Cuore. Unfortunately, I doubt I will ever be King of Maids. I tried to see Little Witch Academia because I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, and Garden of Words just because Makoto Shinkai was there, but the line for the former was more than I felt like dealing with, and the line for the latter got capped more than an hour before the showing. Yikes! That’s a lot of foot fetishists.
  • Let’s close out with lots of pictures!

sentai-girls-und-panzer-tank

This is the tank Sentai Filmworks brought in to promote Girls und Panzer. They also had buttons and stickers and stuff to give out. There were many tank-related jokes hurled at Sentai throughout the weekend.

oh-my-god

Inushinde spotted this at the Kinokuniya booth. I am not sure what it is, I and don’t know that I’d like to find out.

fat-tony-the-tiger-capn-crunch

Quite a terrifying exhibit hall sight. Cap’n Crunch’s weight has driven him to madness, while Tony the Tiger looks to be in immense pain. Only $45 each, kids!

bruno-figure

My first con purchase: A figure of Bruno Buccellati from Vento Aureo. I would have preferred the Super Action Statue version, but anything that’s not a current or reprinted release is ridiculously expensive, so I make due with what I can. I needed Bruno in my life because I have fallen in love after watching the fifth JoJo All-Star Battle PV a million times. Bruno has BY FAR the best battle cry in the series, and I love his style. (I’ve also fallen in love with Narancia because HOT-BLOODED YUUKO SANPEI.)

macross-lynn-minmay-figure

I’m not that huge a fan of Lynn Minmay, but this figure is so cool that I had to snatch it up. Now Minmay watches me from above as I sleep at night. That’s not creepy at all, yeah?

jojo-card-game-diooooooooooo

I also got this JoJo card game even though I can’t read any of the cards and have no clue how to play it. But there’s a foil Dio card inside! Worth it.

pokemon-deerling

My final major purchase was a mystery bag, because why not? I live tweeted my opening of the bag because that is always fun. The first prize was this Deerling! It’s actually pretty cute. I like it.

escaflowne-manga

The second was a staple of mystery bags: A random volume of some manga! I didn’t even know Escaflowne had a manga, but there you go. I ragequit at the character page because Dilandau’s design was all changed. I don’t even get to hear Minami Takayama be a glorious asshole as Dilandau, so whatever.

idolmaster-haruka-figure

Final thing: A figure of Haruka from The Idolm@ster! All I know about Idolm@ster is that you can put burgers on the girls’ hands in the games. That’s pretty much it. I didn’t really know what to do with the figure at first, but I had a couple of ideas . . .

idolmaster-haruka-riding-deerling-pokemon

Haruka riding her valiant Deerling steed + . . .

idolmaster-haruka-stone-mask-jojo

. . . the Stone Mask from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure = . . .

idolmaster-haruka-the-ultimate-being

. . . THE ULTIMATE BEING!!!! It totally works, because as an idol, sex is useless for Haruka.

popee-bookmark

This, however, is the crown jewel of the convention for me. I commissioned it from a Twitter pal (you can find her art Tumblr here), with the specification of Popee the Clown doing a JoJo pose. (I used this screenshot from Milky Holmes as a reference.) I didn’t even have to request Popee being put in a bloodstained Hell; Sammi did that all herself. It’s beautiful, and I will use this bookmark in public as much as possible. By far the best money I spent at Anime Expo!

So that’s it! I had a good time, and I hope all the lovely people I met — old and new — had a good time along with me. Also, I apparently lied at the beginning of this post, because this is stupid long.

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45 Comments

  1. il-Palazzo
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    “Inushinde spotted this at the Kinokuniya booth. I am not sure what it is, I and don’t know that I’d like to find out…”
    ^
    ^
    ^

    I didn’t even remember her face but as far as I know “Kyary Pamyu Pamyu” is the only one idol singer who would do something like this on her photobook cover. And I was right.

    Check this one out, you might like it:

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Wow, first comment and mystery already solved. The Internet is a blessed place.

      Also, I highly endorse pop singers practicing their craft in surrealist nightmares.

      • Taka
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

        *puts on nerd glasses*
        Kyary is produced by Yasutaka Nakata whom also produces Perfume and, along with Toshiko Koshijima, is one half of the duo known as “Capsule”. In short, everything this man touches turns to gold. I highly recommend checking out more Kyary PVs. Most are weird and all are ridiculous fucking earworms.
        *takes off nerd glasses*

      • maeru
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

        She was also totally doing a JoJo pose near the end of that video- same one Popee’s doing, in fact.

      • just passing by
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Actually Maeru, Kyary *is* a JoJo fan, so you can imagine she couldn’t resist doing the pose. She has pretty amazing taste for an idol too, liking Aku no Hana and Punpun, to name but a few.

  2. lmm
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to the downward spiral; there’s always further to go. First you’ll think you need a few more figures to watch you sleep, then wearing their outfit starts to seem like the best way to express your respect for a character, then a body pillow starts to seem like a good idea…

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I am already deep down the rabbit hole with figures. I’m already running out of room, actually …

      I hope I never get to the body pillow phase of fandom, though. That might be a bit much for me.

  3. Gedata
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    ARIARARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARIARI
    Arriverderci!

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Nobody can beat that.

  4. Gedata
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Now that your done faffing about at Anime Expo, know what time it is? Summer animu catch-up time!

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Too much to watch, quitting anime forever.

  5. Sudachi
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Great shots, looks like fun despite the long lines. Plus the Girls und Panzer tank?! Wunderbar! But most exciting of all, this: “I hereby declare The Cart Driver a PRO MARI OKADA ZONE.”

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Scamp can never stop me.

      • Inushinde
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:46 am | Permalink

        His anti-Okada stance is officially in the minority.

  6. T1g
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS HOW GREAT IT IS TO LISTEN TO BRUNO’S BATTLECRY IN THE TRAILER A MILLION TIMES ITS NOT JUST ME!

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      I could listen to it all day, basically.

      • T1g
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Have you been watching the All Star Battle League videos?

      • Shinmaru
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        I saw there was a half-hour gameplay video posted while I was at AX, but I haven’t watched it yet.

      • T1g
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        You should make a post on All Star Battle when you get it

  7. Johnny Joestar
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how it feels to meet your favorite seiyuu.

    Are the preachers noisy or do they just stand there holding their signs? The former would be annoying while the latter would be kinda creepy.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s kind of weird, because I’m so used to just hearing their voice, so it’s bizarre to actually see the person with that voice in front of me.

      The preachers were actually somewhat cordial (from what I saw), which makes the forcefulness of their signs all the stranger.

  8. Embok
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Reading this post I thought to myself ‘Huh maybe I should watch Simoun’

    Then I got to this and decided it was no longer a maybe.

    “Best part for me: Okada said she and Shoji Kawamori are trying to get more AKB0048 made, though she gave quite a diplomatic answer to someone trying to bait a season three announcement from here. I hope it happens!”

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Haha, well, Simoun and AKB0048 aren’t all that similar. Simoun is much more serious. It’s quite good, though! The world is super interesting, and I love the characters.

      • Embok
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 1:00 am | Permalink

        Yeah it was less thinking they’re similar and more gaining respect for her because I generally think of her more as a slice of life person who happens to do good work when she’s with Kawamori. It’s nice to hear about her giving a strong positive reaction to something that isn’t Hanasaku Iroha/Toradora/etc.

        Honestly I don’t think cons are the thing for me, but being able to briefly chat up the people who make the shows I love might almost be worth it. A shame no Canadian con is going to get Kawamori and Thomas Romain any time soon.

  9. Leah
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Inushinde found something Kyary related, that’s one of my favourite artists. I see you had a relatively sweet time at the con, good for you. (Now I only need a picture of Inushinde and I could draw you three driving a cart.)

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      lol, I’ll leave it up to Inushinde to provide a picture of himself if he wants. :p

  10. foon
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    I didn’t make it to Mari Okada’s events, so mazeltov! I didn’t have a good first impression of Simoun, but maybe I should give it another chance.

    Did you go to Makoto Shinkai’s panel on Day 4? I would consider it one of the highlights of the con. The questions people asked were actually interesting, and Shinkai gave insightful and detailed answers.

    I enjoyed Kick-Heart, but it was pretty much what I expected–I didn’t feel like it had the depth of The Tatami Galaxy. Then again, it was only 12 minutes, so who am I kidding? Anyway, I certainly don’t regret pitching in for the Kickstarter. I was one of the lucky people that got a premium voucher for the autograph session, but I couldn’t make it to the session due to my friend forgetting his badge at home… -_-

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Ah, I thought about going to that panel, but I spent most of that last day hanging out with people. I’m sure there’s a good write-up of the panel somewhere, so I’ll probably read that if I’m interested.

    • fathomlessblue
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Dismissing Simoun after the first couple of episodes seems a pretty common occurrence. It certainly doesn’t create a great first impression, but the characterisation and writing constantly improves as the series goes along. I personally love it to bits!

      • foon
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        If I remember correctly, the reasons I didn’t like it were 1) the art, and 2) the fact that half the girls turn into guys later on. My opinions may have changed since then, and in particular I’m not as much of a hardcore yuri fanboy as I used to be, so maybe I wouldn’t be offended by the second point now. I’ll definitely give it a shot when I can!

    • lmm
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Simoun starts very slowly; it spends the first eight or so episodes setting up. It comes together into something wonderful, with the characters interlocking perfectly, but you have to get through a load of not much happening first.

  11. Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Oh man, Mari Okada sounds like such a wonderful person. Everyone talking about her was glowing with praise. Yuasa sounds like a hella cool ass dude too, with his hipster beanie and all. Damn you, Kick-Heart premier rascals

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Yuasa looks dope, but he is also moe as fuck. There’s this part in the making of feature shown during the Kick-Heart panel where Yuasa talks about not doing any work for a while and not having a great year until the Kickstarter project; it provided a great boost for him, and I was like, “omg ;-;”

  12. fathomlessblue
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Let me get this straight; you came out of Anime Expo with both a signed copy of Simoun and a personalised Popee bookmark?!?!

    Finally I understand what pure, unbridled hatred feels like. Well played sir.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      *dances around throwing bombs everywhere* :D

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        I am willing to trade my ranking in FAL alongside my unsigned copy of Simoun for yours. Be cool Shin, just this once be cool!

  13. Kiseki
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised there’s someone on this side of the internet who hasn’t heard of Kyary yet! PONPONPON was everywhere once…

    Meeting people in the industry is always the best. They’re never not adorable. ;~; I heard Yuasa drew everyone’s favorite character for autographs too? Ahh curse you all and your mainland cons.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Haha, I’m often in the dark with a lot of stuff, especially on the musical side of things. I only seem cooler than I actually am …

      Yep, from what I saw, Yuasa was sketching stuff along with his autographs. I saw some nice drawings of Kaiba around.

  14. Posted July 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Blasphemy! How could you called that Pokemon a generic name such as deerling? Oh, wait, I don’t know it’s name myself. I only know the names of the original 255 Pokemons.
    :-D

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      What a Poke-Hipster!

  15. Posted July 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear you had a good time ^_^ And geez, you were able to go to Sakura-con and Anime Boston earlier this year too? Lucky XD I only have the time and funds for one big multi-day con a year.

    I think I passed by those cereal mascot figures but didn’t notice them. Now that I look at your photo, they are indeed hilariously hideous.

    And awesome job making something cool out of the things in your mystery bag XD

    My boyfriend plays Tanto Kuroe too. And we both like Weiss Schwarz. Do you have any interest in trying Weiss Schwarz? It’s a great game so I’m always trying to promote it so more sets in English can be released XD

    Anyway, I’m glad I got to see you briefly at least. I’m planning to post my AX coverage next week. Hopefully they’ll get the lines and autograph situations more organized in 2014.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I saved up a while for my trips this year, haha. Been planning this for a while now!

      I’ve never played Weiss Schwarz, though I did enjoy the Milky Holmes mat that ToastCrust has!

  16. Pusswookie
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I hope you didn’t repent; who knows what you might get born again as? You could even come back as a Sea Barnacle!
    At any rate, you already lucked out what with being an American Male, best not roll the dice again.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted July 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      This is all too true.

  17. Ramiel
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Wanted to try and meet up with you guys there, but ended up being too busy for my own good, plus I could never get reception inside the place to check twitter where you guys might be. I was totally at the Kick Heart Premier though!

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