Thursday, July 9, 2009

Anime Expo 2009

 <-That's me in costume on the left, and some Chie cosplayer I met on artist alley on the right.

As an anime blogger, it is my duty to attend anime expo ant tell you all how it went. I can tell you that this year was fun, but not as fun as the previous year. I find that if it were not for my keen convention senses, I would not have nearly as much fun as I did, but, my experience from the past five anime expos that I attended (Yeah I’ve attended six anime conventions now. Take that anime club president!)

Just because this year was fun does not mean that it was the best of anime expo. This year was not as good as last year (which was not as good as the year before it, although 2007 managed to be better than 2006) for several reasons. I find that although the Los Angeles convention center is nice, the con isn’t filling it with as much good stuff. The Long beach convention center was too small to contain it, but they managed to put in much more effort, creating a better con. I also found that holding major events in the Nokia theater had a much better feel than in some hall in the convention center (alas, I understand that Nokia theater is expensive) Furthermore, the weapon policies and safety procedures of the Los Angeles convention center simply blow. A decent summary of the weapon policy is “If your weapon looks like fun, you can’t bring it in.” The weapon policy makes it so that if your weapon looks like something your character would use, you can’t weild it. I wanted to bring a golf club for my costume, but that doesn’t even comply with their ridiculous policies. Not to mention, there’s a lot of restrictions on throwing items into crowds. Two years ago, ADV had an awesome booth with a tower that they threw free stuff into the crowd from. At LA? I didn’t even see an ADV booth this year. Overall, they didn’t put as much effort into this year’s con.

Lets see, programming. This year’s AMV contest was not nearly as good as last years. My favorite AMV was “Code Roll,” followed by an AMV to “Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce. Nothing that could compare to “The Harrassement of Kyon” from last year. The previous year was a bit more explosive, and I got a much better overall vibe. This year had some sparks, but nothing that could top last year.

Ah, I also attended the Masquerade this year (unlike last year) Some skits would be funnier had I seen the anime they came from. Alas, I had not seen them. I thought the over-elaborite costumes on display were nice, such as a guy dressed as Safer-Sephiroth. Some parts were less than interesting.

Let’s See, Anime I watched while there…. I watched a few episodes of Ouran host club, which was HILARIOUS. I watched the first few episodes of Lucky Star, which did not live up to its creator’s other work (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya) The best anime I saw was definitely Gurran Laggan: The movie. My Friend Iron Peanut was right about that movie. That movie was so manly that watching it almost made me grow a full beard. It was an anime that managed to be about as manly as 300. Yeah, that movie was very manly, and it warrants its own review. I’ll do that later though.

Let’s talk about the people at the con. Well, I managed to make it to quite a few cosplay gatherings. Shin Megami Tensei gathering had a lot of cool people, except it was disappointing due to the fact that nobody dressed up as the main villain from Persona 4. I got to participate in the gathering at least, which was fun. Other gatherings I attended include: The Kingdom Hearts gathering, which was rather funny, and the Legend of Zelda gathering, which had some amazing costumes. The Yu gi Oh gathering was interesting because of the dedication of the fans, while finally, the Rurouni Kenshin gathering was interesting because a lot of my friends were in it (I may go to next years Rurouni Kenshin gathering dressed as Shishio.) On another note, my Hotel Group managed to be about on par with last years. I was roomed with an Axel cosplayer and a Demyx (Kingdom Hearts II), along with one of the best Uhara (Bleach) cosplayers in the con. Everyone was pretty nice.

Oh yes, and the underground fun that lies in the con…. The parties! Yes, when you get 50k people together, there happen to be some party animals in there. I found the parties to be satisfactory, despite the fact that they were in the Westin hotel instead of the convention center. Now then, having the parties in the same hotel that I am staying at isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it did limit a few of my friends abilities to go to it. Blech. First type of party was… THE RAVE! I was only able to get into the rave on night 2, because on night 3 the line was too bloody long. Also, I was only able to stay for an hour, because I had to see the AMV contest. What raving I did do was awesome, however, despite the fact that I couldn’t get into the hotel room to drop off my bag. Stupid hotel room rules) Now then, on night three, the line extended about half the length of the lobby, making attending the rave nearly impossible. (it got shut down before I would have gotten in anyway) So on the third (and final) night, I managed to find a party in my hotel lobby. Better yet, I got to dance with a girl wearing an outfit with like, a bajillion buttons on it, which was pretty fun. She wasn’t a very good dancer, but really, it’s the effort that counts. In summary, the parties were pretty great this year, assuming you were cool enough to get in. Which I obviously am.

Although it had its downsides, AX managed to be rally fun. Still the highlight of the year (well, actually, I’m going to Comicon this year, so it has an opponent) Any Otaku should attempt to make it, at least just to see how insane it is. However, hopefully next year the people running the event manage to get their act together, because quality has been sinking.

Next Year: Anime Expo 2010->

Related Posts:
Comic Con 09
Convention Trances: Drawing on the Essense of an anime convention
Getting the most out of an anime convention