Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Day 4 Convention Report

Kuroko from Railgun
The last day of an anime convention is typically the slowest, this Anime Expo being one of the rare exceptions. This day four was one of the most energetic and fun days I could remember. My experiences in this day reaffirm what I believe, that Anime Expo is about creating wonderful memories with fellow fans. We ended our twentieth year with an incredible experience, by the fans and for the fans.

Day 4 of Anime Expo starts off with a bang; I got up late and ran to my cosplay photography panel. Unfortunately I was not the only one late, Bryan woke up late and he ran to the panel late. The people running the panel were nice enough to run a cute and funny slideshow so that the guests waiting for the panel didn’t get irritated at our tardiness. The room was half full; it wasn’t as packed at the Day 1 panel of Anime Expo. It is easy to understand why, because the panel was so early. As we were doing the panel Jerry Shaw and Nick were taking our pictures. We kept it as nice and as short as possible and headed out of the room. I had such a great experience running a panel that I told Bryan that we have to run more panels together in future Anime Expo’s.

I had a few short minute to catch my breath until I had a chance to go to my awesome panel with the SPJA Board of Directors. It was in a huge hall that had only a handful of people there. The Board meeting started with Marc Perez giving a little update on the convention. We as a board voted to acknowledge Takayuki Karahashi as an official 20 year staffer. For those of you who don’t know, Taka is an interpreter for Guest Relations, one of the original founders of Anime Expo, and he is a fellow Board Director who I have deep respect for. We talk about the success of Anime Expo and addressed issues with the Los Angeles Convention Center once the stadium starts getting built. Before we close the meeting, I made a couple of comments about how the Board of Directors have great synergy together and that I am proud of working with a great group of people. After that, an attempt was made on Marc using nerf guns. I had no idea about this event so I just sat there, somewhat shocked and a little amused at the situation. The open Board of Directors meeting was actually quite fun; I just wished that more people attended it.

After the Board of Directors meeting, I go around and snap a couple of photos. With all that done, I had a chance to do a photo shoot with one of my favorite cosplayers, Mikari Takeriya and her great husband. Originally, I was supposed to do a shoot with them on Day 3, but Mikari’s husband got out of his Welkin cosplay, so I couldn’t do it. I stopped by the Exhibit Hall and bought some great Alter figures to put in my figure collection. After that, I headed back to South Hall. Looking around South Hall, I noticed that the convention center was unusually busy for the fourth day. Normally the convention center is fairly empty on Day 4, but during this Anime Expo the convention center was quite busy.

I decided to stop by the Karaoke room to say hi to the staff there, and there was Board Directors Hank Wong and Cecilia Amo. We talked about how this Anime Expo exceeded all my expectations and turned out to be one of our best conventions in a long time. I was heading off, but Hank stopped me and told me that they were going to sing a goodbye song in Kareoke. I sat down and took some pictures, and then I realized that the song was one of my favorite songs of all time. It was Forever Love performed by Yoshiki and X-Japan. After hearing the song, I kind of regret not going up there and singing. After all, I had experience in Show Choir, so singing and performing to me is almost second nature. I promised Hank that for Anime Expo 2012 I will be up there and sing it with them. By writing this on my blog, I guess the whole world now knows where I will be during Day 4 of Anime Expo 2012.

Manga Lounge Staff
After the Karaoke room closed, I really had nothing to do until Closing Ceremonies. As I was walking around the Los Angeles Convention Center I noticed the jubilant atmosphere in Anime Expo that has been gone for so many years. People were just hanging around the convention center, singing, dancing, and being merry. There was a sense of joy among the attendees of the convention. It warmed my heart seeing so many happy faces. Looking around, I noticed that there was a strong sense of satisfaction and a sense that deep down inside they just wished that Anime Expo would continue for a couple more days. I had the chance to talk see many of them, and they conveyed to me the positive and great experiences they had about this year’s convention. As a member of the Board of Directors who has pushed for a more fan-friendly atmosphere, it made me very happy to see that the fruits of my hard work have reached the fans. At that moment, I made a promise to myself to do what I can to make sure that the next convention will be an even better experience. It makes me so proud to see that they leave Anime Expo with so many great memories and experiences.

Taka as interpreter
I headed off for Closing Ceremonies, it was the first time I was attended this event for the 8 years I attended Anime Expo. Right off the bat, I got an amazing present to use. One of the guys in archiving let me borrow the Canon 85mm f1.2L lens (for those of you who don’t know, it is an amazing $2,100 piece of glass I have been pining for a long time). I placed it on my Canon XSi and started doing some shots. This lens really is as magical as they say it is. The lens was sharp and it was a joy to use on my SLR. As the Closing Ceremonies start, I start shooting with this amazing lens. Each picture had bokeh that was so buttery smooth that you could get fat just looking at the picture. The first guest was my personal favorite, Danny Choo. After that came the rest of the GOH’s. With all the guest of honors on stage, Marc Perez, the Chairman and CEO of the SPJA goes on stage. He makes waves with his big announcement, Anime Expo 2011 had 47,800 paid attendance badges and 125,000 turnstyle attendance. He remarked that we gave Anime Expo the best present we could give it, by making the 20th anniversary the biggest Anime Expo to date.

After Closing Ceremonies I head off to Dead Dog to hang out with the Anime Expo staff. We were literally Dead Dog tired from this year’s convention. Over the course of four days, I walked almost 100 miles. I worked various departments throughout the convention, talked to thousands of people, made many friends, and created amazing memories that will last a lifetime. Like with any convention experiences, it had some ups and downs, but this convention definitely ranks as one of my personal favorite Anime Expo’s. The con wouldn’t be as great as it was without the hardworking staff to make it happen. It had great managers who pulled together and dealt with all the issues that came about. Anime Expo had great Directors who helped steer Anime Expo in the right direction.

Danny Choo at Closing Ceremonies
Throughout the convention, I was reminded why Anime Expo is such a great convention, because of the fans. When trying to determine what defines an Anime Expo fan, it is hard to say because the fans are the ones who cosplay, take pictures, create beautiful art, bring industry together, and work for the convention. We all are there for 4 days together in harmony for the common love of anime and manga. During Anime Expo we don’t care about race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, education level, and many other neat little boxes to categorize and separate humanity. In the end, we go together because we love anime and manga; we are a family of fans. For one short weekend, we create a golden city of anime and manga, where we can celebrate our love for the medium together as one. That is the Anime Expo that I want to protect and lead to a bright future.

Anime Expo 2011 Convention Report Day 1
Anime Expo 2011 Convention Report Day 2
Anime Expo 2011 Convention Report Day 3
Sega's recap of the amazing Mikunopolis Concert

1 comment:

Eve said...

cool blog. it was my first closing ceremony too and i was actually very touched by it. the amazing guests of honor were so kind and way too humble. i really appreciated them coming out and taking time to talk to us at the end.