Anime Expo Day 1

Late night + early morning makes Marina a grouchy, apt-to-motion-sickness gal.  The day began at 8 AM, and I stumbled on home at about 9 PM to give myself some extra time before Day 2, which will be my busiest day of the convention.

Film
I met up with AnimeSuki Forum mates, papermario and Eater, then broke off with papermario to watch Tales of Vesperia: First Strike, which I hadn’t seen before.  The Councourse Hall in which it was shown was surprisingly large and boasted three large screens.  They even changed the audio from English to Japanese–the only downside to this was that due to the screens being somewhat close to the floor level, the subtitles were often difficult to see because of the heads of people in front.

This was a great way for me to officially start the convention since I’m a huge fan of Vesperia.  Though the film’s story was vastly different from the game’s story line, and only featured one scene of my favorite Rita Mordio, I still greatly enjoyed the focus on Yuri and Flynn as young knights.  You can see how inexperienced they still are not only because of their more relaxed stances on duty, but also because Repede is shown as a pup eager to bite down on any object or offending person.  The audience kept nice and quiet until the end where we all burst out in cheers and claps.

Exhibit Hall
I had originally planned to go to the Fate/Zero finale screening and Q&A, but I skipped it for the opening rush into the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley.  And RUSH, I do not kid.  What started as a decent crowd in the lobby turned into a cramfest near the escalators as we all waited for the go ahead.  Once people started moving, it was pretty much body to body as well all shuffled forward.  The closer to the escalator you got, the more tightly you were pressed.  The odd thing was that once you actually got up, you all of a sudden had plenty of space.  I guess those childhood lessons of kids getting sucked into escalators really sunk in.

It was a bit difficult to maintain any sense of order when it came to navigating the Exhibit Hall, but with my stubbornness, I think I hit every booth in there.  Notable purchases include a Rider and Waver (Fate/Zero) wall scroll and a Taiga (Toradora!) nendoroid.  Living in Alaska means that the shipping for anything is almost always a sinful amount of money, and waiting can last up to a month.  These were chances I couldn’t miss.  Smaller purchases included a few posters from the Artist Alley featuring Tsuritama, Samus of Metroid, and Yuno of Future Diary, as well as miniature phone straps of Natsume Yuujinchou‘s Madara and Hunter’s Killua.  I easily spent about three hours in here, until a reminding call about Yuki Kajiura’s upcoming panel pushed me out.

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Yuki Kajiura and FictionJunction Panel
Since I was here about an hour early, papermario and I were able to get pretty good spots in the line that was forming up in an area separated from the actual hall.  While there, we met up with Eater, and I was also able to spot and say hi to ppizzapie of ISML and Yumeka of Mainichi Anime Yume.  I am really grateful that the majority of the other areas did not have concrete floors like this line area did.  The next year I go, I might have to bring something soft to sit on for all the times I’ve had to sit and wait.

The actual Q&A session moved along pretty quickly since they jumped right into audience participation.  I appreciated listening to others’ questions since I hadn’t prepared any of my own, though I couldn’t stop myself from inwardly rephrasing some of the questions to make more sense.  I felt a bit sorry for the translator and artists, who seemed to have a bit of difficulty comprehending what was being asked of them at times.  As thrilling as it may be for a person to get to go up and ask in person a question of an artist like Yuki Kajiura, some stage practice wouldn’t hurt.  Carefully think of the question’s wording, maybe write it down so you don’t suddenly forget it in your excitement.  There’s no need to repeat flattery that a prior fan already spouted.  And most of all, be concise.

The panel was effective in getting me even more excited for their concert tomorrow!

Cosplay
Compared to ISML’s Momento10, who had about 900 and up photos, I didn’t get very many cosplay pictures today.  Most of the images I took were taken while I was standing in line, or on my way to another section of the convention center.  My favorite of Day 1 is undoubtedly the Madoka group, although I did see some really stellar presentations elsewhere that I missed snapping a shot of.

ISML Dinner
After Yuki Kajiura’s panel,  I met up with some members from International Saimoe League and we stopped at the nearby medieval restaurant for dinner.  Compared to the blogger dinner the night before, the smaller group of four was a nice change of pace; I was able to better talk to each of the people about ISML, the convention, anime in general, and undergrad and grad schools.  I have to commend Momento10 for his persistence in shooting cosplayers.  By evening, he had something like 900 images!

11 thoughts on “Anime Expo Day 1

  1. Holy crap, that place looks PACKED. I mean, I knew it was a huge convention, but that just looks overwhelming. I might just stick to smaller conventions.

    But it sounds like you’re having an awesome time so far, so that’s great. Also, that medieval restaurant looks badass.

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    • Like I mentioned, I was seriously being pressed from all sides. There was no personal bubble to be had! If you don’t like large crowds, Day 3 was a bit less crowded, and I hear Day 4 is even lower in attendance since everyone is flying home. I’ll find out for myself though since I’m running by for a bit before my own flight out.
      The medieval restaurant was pretty fun, but I sorta envisioned more of a mini arena or something, for battles :p

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  2. Not gonna lie that mass of humanity is the stuff of nightmares for me. Would not be good.

    Looks like ya snagged some good stuff so far though. Have your eyes on anything that you are hoping will be discounted on the last day?

    I laughed at your little tangent on the fans asking questions. You’re dead on I just found it funny this convention has triggered a pet peeve for both of us.

    Kinda dissapointed you didn’t talk about the medieval restaurant. It sounded like you had a fun day though. Enjoy every moment.

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    • Ahh, so you don’t like huge crowds huh. Then this is DEFINITELY not the place for you! Luckily, there are always smaller anime conventions you can try attending whenever you get the opportunity. I don’t really have anything in particular I’m hoping to find discounted, just general stuff like art books, CDs, manga, and maybe a small plushie. I pretty much bought w/e I really wanted and didn’t see a lot of merchandise from anime that I was hoping to see.

      And YES, I’m a stickler about polite audiences and addressing people on stage; perhaps that’s just my own experience as a stage performer growing up. I always hated it when people took a long time to quiet down so I could perform, and the questions thing is something that magnified after I taught a few classes and received some ridiculous student questions.

      There wasn’t really much to tell about the medieval restaurant as a location, since it was pretty much a regular joint with a makeover appearance. If you’re talking about the experience meeting people, that of course was pretty cool.

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  3. Despite how rough of a day it was, I definitely would like to be in your shoes for once and have been there as well. Maybe someday…being a Caribbean animeniac, especially of my…tastes, ain’t easy.

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    • I’m sure you would have had a blast, had you been here🙂 There was just so much to do for people of varying interests. Even if you didn’t like any of the panel topics, there were tons of activities like karaoke, dancing, all types of gaming, running around photographing cosplayers, etc. And tastes, do you mean your love for yuri? Because there’s a whole lot of that there ^^

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  4. Lol I have social anxiety disorder. I would freak out in that situation of unavoidable contact. I am lucky enough to be able to do big things minus contact because a big crowd makes you invisible. A big crowd can be the loneliest place in the world.

    You obviously have no such issues lol. It’s really cool that you’ve done some teaching. What did you teach? Oh! And I gotta ask how often my comments set off that pet peeve?

    I’m dissapointed in that resturaunt. I had hoped for real commitment to the theme.

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  5. Yeah, it’s too bad the rooms in the convention center don’t have elevated seating. It makes watching subtitled anime a pain the more heads there are in front of you XP

    I also agree that people should be more prepared and try to restrain themselves a bit when asking guests questions at focus panels. If I recall correctly, one person at the Kajiura panel said “aishiteru” to her, meaning “I love you” but more along romantic lines rather than what they should have said, “Suki desu.” Especially if they’re going to speak Japanese, they should know ahead of time that what they’re saying isn’t embarrassing XP

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    • Haha, I remember that “aishiteru” moment and wincing at it! I was also a bit miffed at the so-called music major question about why Kajiura often composes with a lot black keys, which supposedly gives it a “sharp” feeling. It’s not so much her using those types of key signatures that makes the music sound “sharp”, as the particular scale doesn’t really matter; I think the questioner was more aiming at the high amount of dissonance she uses in her harmonies, which are more likely additional sharps and flats written into the measures on top of the original key signature of any given section–but just didn’t know how to phrase it properly. It’s no wonder Kajiura was confused in how to answer.

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