Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Day 3 Convention Report

Where is it from? It looks so familiar
The story of anime convention is a story of experiencing the great things the con can offer, while trying to minimize the bad experiences you have. Seemingly simple things can create a rewarding and pleasing experience. In contrast, not following etiquette or skipping out on a simple “please” can ruin an otherwise great experience. My third day of Anime Expo had plenty of the former, and there were some unfortunate instances where I had to deal with the latter.

Michael Underwood arriving
My third day of Anime Expo 2011 starts with the 20th anniversary panel that was planned by Board Director Marisa Price and was moderated by Paul Wilson. Being a person who started in Anime Expo in 2004, it was a real treat hearing some of the original founders and members share stories about Anime Expo. One of my favorites was the story told when Anime Expo was in the Disneyland Hotel back in 2000. He was recollecting how the Disney hotel had to give a handwritten note at every guest’s room in the Disneyland Hotel to tell them that all the costumed characters walking around was not associated with Disney. Jerry, a cosplay photographer who has attended every Anime Expo ever (he even has an Anime Con 1991 shirt) was there snapping pictures. One of the AX staffers asked the panelists if they can see Anime Expo hitting the 50,000 mark, or even the 100,000 mark in the future. Michael Underwood, the Anime Expo director of Entertainment responded saying that in AX 2011 the convention was very close to hitting the magical 50,000 number. I believe it was Josh Ritter or another panelist who said that they could see Anime Expo hitting 100,000 within 5 to 7 years if the organization can sustain its current growth levels. The panel was a great panel and it was one of my big highlights of the convention’s third day.

Ange and Mammon
I went around a bit until I realized it was time to hit the genderbent/crossplay gathering. I arrived at the site and there weren’t a lot of people there, it seems that site 3 is not a good place to have a cosplay gathering since most people arrived over there only on accident. I could imagine that we missed quite a few people who could not find the site. We decided to walk around and go to site 1 where I did a little photo shoot with the cosplayers there. After that I walked around the convention center a bit, I saw some really awesome cosplay as I was walking around. There was a really good Ange and Mammon cosplayer from Umineko no Naku Koro Ni. The Ange cosplayer was spot on, her outfit was excellent. Mammon was one of the seven stakes of purgatory from Umineko and her outfit was perfect. Having seen cosplay photographs of all 7 stakes, it would be cool if we had a whole set of cosplayers from the series. Another fascinating one is cosplay that looks like it came from Hyperdimension Neptunia, but yet it doesn’t.

The official Puella Magi Madoka Magica gathering was insane. There were way too many photographers for such a small area; it was hard to get remotely good pictures, so I tried getting creative with some tight shots. It was a fight to get the best shots, and it was for the most part an uphill battle. After that, I had a chance to talk with my friend Joy who cosplayed as Sayaka from Madoka Magica and we headed off to our site to do our photoshoot. The shoot was one of my favorite shoots of Anime Expo, with the exception of random jerks getting in my shot without even asking permission. They needed to take my panel on cosplay photography, specifically the part about etiquette towards other cosplay photographers. I wouldn’t mind if they kindly asked, but they got in the way of my picture without consulting, how rude.

Kat in her Crossplay
I had another photoshoot to do, but these rude photographers that got in my way extended my shoot far longer than I expected. It was bad because this person was the only cosplayer whose phone number I didn’t give out before the convention. Thanks rude photographers, you ruined my schedule and someone’s day because of it. I would go on a rant about it, but let’s just say that it left me in a very sour mood. After that, I hung out with my friend Kat and proceeded to do my third shoot with her in her Captain Jack Sparrow cosplay. Having done several shoots with her it went by really smoothly and I got some of my best cosplay pics from the shoot with her.

With the sun starting to go down, I headed off to an industry event where I made friends with people from all over the con world. After that I headed to the meet the guest reception. The first guest I had the pleasure to talk with was Seiji Muzushima. We talked about our Anime Expo experiences and he mentioned how he loved seeing all the Puella Magi Madoka Magica cosplayers. I told him that I took lots of great pictures and proceeded to show him some of my favorite photographs. He loved it and he traded business cards with me so that I can send him my favorite cosplay pictures. The second person I had the pleasure of talking to was none other than Danny Choo. He was fun to talk to like always. He said that he was very happy that Anime Expo overall felt like it has more energy and positive spirit compared to last year. I had a chance to show him some of my cosplay photographs and he was pleased with the pictures. The last guests of honor I had the chance of meeting were the executives behind Cypton. I asked one of the executives what he thought about Miku getting big in the west, and he said that he was pleasantly surprised. He said that the concert went very well and that he loved the crowd’s energy. It was a fun experience and I wish I could chat with the girls of Kalafina more, but I didn’t have the chance to because I arrived to the meet the guest reception a little late.

Code Geass dance
The big event of the night was Masquerade, and it was quite a show. The two hosts were wonderful like always, getting the crowd excited for the skits. There were some great skits in Anime Expo’s Masquerade, with two Madoka Magica skits (and it had heavy spoilers for those who didn’t watch the anime). The dancing skits were awesome; one of my favorites was the Code Geass one. All in all, it was a great Masquerade. The problem was the halftime show after Danny Choo was lacking. I mean, they pretty much had the two hosts standing up and stalling. I felt so sorry for them that they had to do that. I was hoping that they would show some Anime Music Videos or that we would have the awesome high school band that played in Anime Expo 2007 and 2008.

The third day of Anime Expo moved much slower that the frenetic pace of Saturday, but it was quite busy. Day 3 reminds me of the best and the worst of Anime Expo. We got to celebrate Anime Expo’s history with the great 20th anniversary panel. I had a chance to meet the guests of honor again and get their experiences and stories of Anime Expo. The good also comes with the bad, the exceptionally rude photographers who got in the way of several photo shoots come to mind. It was a great day, but I was reminded that there are people who need a nice lecture having better etiquette.

Anime Expo 2011 Day 2 Convention Report 
SEGA's recap video of the amazing MIKUNOPOLIS concert


GuoBia said...

Hello! I'm GuoBia, and I played Kallen in the Code Geass performance. I'm just writing to say that I'm so glad that you enjoyed it!

I love that photo of the performance, this one: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-AG99RcWoKMI/ThzcU9HRW-I/AAAAAAAAAiA/uiW7qfD8jaM/s1600/IMG_4930.JPG I was wondering if you would give me permission to repost it, with credits?

Kat said...

Lesson learned... no more Site 3 gatherings!!! By the way, thanks for the fun shoots during the con. You're really really really easy to work with (possibly because I'm confident that the pictures you took will turn out great! Hmm... that just gave me a suggestion idea for your panel ^^)

It was also cool reading about your experiences meeting the GoHs ^^

KrisZ said...

Hi Guo, I sent you a message on deviantArt.

Kat, don't worry about it, next year's genderbent gathering will be even better. We did 3 shoots during Anime Expo and they all turned out well. You are probably my most prolific cosplayer in terns of pictures.