Coverage and photos of my 2-day stay at AX ’10 have finally been posted! Massive descriptions and cosplay galore after the jump…
Day 2 – Fri. July 2nd
Getting started: I arrived at the LACC around 10:30am on Day 2 of AX ’10. The preregistration line to get your badge looked intimidating at first, stretching way around the building, but luckily it moved very fast. The new badge system that AX has used since they started at the LACC in ’08, where they have a bunch of computers set up in a room for each attendee to individually print their own badge, seems to be working well.
Crazy AX crowds!
I heard the badge lines on Day 0 and 1 were bad, so I guess there’s one advantage to coming on Day 2 XD The hotel I stayed at for the night, the newly built J.W. Marriot, was gorgeous and the closest hotel to just about every part of the LACC.
Megumi Nakajima/May’n concert: I had pre-ordered my ticket for this concert along with my badge around the end of May. Strangely I still didn’t get such a good seat (are they randomly assigned?) Thinking this would be the most popular concert of this year’s con, I arrived at the Nokia Theater two hours early. To my surprise, only a few other people were waiting there that early, and the rest of the crowd didn’t start to arrive until an hour before the concert was to start at 1:30pm. As soon as the Nokia Theater opened its doors at 12:30pm, I was one of the first to go in, get my bag checked, and take my seat.
Despite starting a half hour late, to say this concert was spectacular would be an understatement. First, May’n sang a bunch of solo songs (with two very talented dancers with her on the stage). After a while of just May’n songs, it seemed like Megumi wouldn’t get a chance to shine, but that wasn’t the case. She came onto the stage as they broke into a duet of “What ’bout my Star” before she got a chance to sing her solos. The girls mostly sang Macross Frontier songs, both from the TV series and movie. They also each sang one non-Macross anime song. May’n sang the Shangri-la opening, “Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare,” which is a well liked song despite the anime not being very popular. Megumi sang the first Kobato ending, “Jellyfish no Kokuhaku,” which is okay, but I like her other Kobato ending song, “Watashi ni Dekiru Koto,” better.
When this concert was announced way before AX started, a “special guest” was said to also be appearing. Some speculated it would be another Macross F seiyuu while others thought it would be Yoko Kanno, who writes the music for Macross (and many other anime), since she was a special guest at another concert the girls did in Japan. I noticed a piano on the stage while the girls were performing, and sure enough we found out why – the special guest was indeed the legendary Yoko Kanno, who’s been writing brilliant music for anime since before I became a fan! You can imagine the uproar from the audience when Kanno came on stage. She even did a little dance along with Megumi before taking her seat at the piano. After a concert full of electronic music, hearing Kanno work her magic on the keyboard while May’n and Megumi sang beautiful renditions of “Aimo” and “Ai Oboete Imasu Ka” brought tears to my eyes (Kanno sang along a bit too). Finally, after thinking to myself throughout the concert “what about the Macross F openings?” the girls wrapped things up with awesome duets of “Lion” and “Triangular.”
Other things that made the concert great was audience interactions. In between songs or during instrumental parts, the girls would say a few things to the audience and ask us to interact with them, such as introducing themselves in English (the best they could) and shouting “I love LA!” Megumi even had us sing the famous “KIRA!” part of “Seikan Hikou” with her, along with the hand motion XD She also added some English lines just for us when she sang “Ninjin Loves you yeah!” The audience stood up for most of their songs and sat down for the gentler ones. Unfortunately I didn’t have a glow stick with me like I did for Halko Mamoi’s concert in ’07, so I just used my hands and body to move along with the music (I also sang along with songs if I knew the words).
The design of the Nokia Theater was great. The colorful lights and glowing background shining through the stage during the concert made it much more intense. There were also two huge video screens on each side of the theater that provided great close-ups of May’n, Megumi, and Kanno as they performed, so those of us farthest from the stage wouldn’t miss out (I had binoculars with me though XD)
All in all, it was an extraordinary concert – the girls, dressed in cute outfits of course, sang every song a fan could want them to sing, and Yoko Kanno’s surprise performance was the icing on the cake.
Photos and more details about the concert can be found here via Japanator.
After the concert… I was planning to go to the ANN panel after the concert, but I ended up meeting some friends from my university’s anime club whom I hadn’t seen since graduation a year ago, so instead I hung out with them and we ate together.
After that, I did my preliminary inspection of the Exhibit Hall (was planning to do my thorough shopping spree there tomorrow) before heading off to the Haruhi and Lucky Star cosplay gathering.
Couldn’t resist buying her on my first visit to the Exhibit Hall ^^
Haruhi and Lucky Star cosplay gathering: This is the first cosplay gathering I’ve gone to actually. I’ve never cosplayed myself, but I love taking pictures.
Unfortunately not as many cosplayers showed up for this gathering as I’d hoped. There were only three Lucky Star cosplayers (Tsukasa, Akira, and Patricia) and not much of a variety of Haruhi cosplayers – a lot of Haruhis, Mikurus, Yukis, and Kyons (and one Itsuki!) but I was hoping for something a little different, like Alt. Haruhi from “The Disappearance” or minor characters like Tsuruya and Kyon’s sister. But it was still fun nonetheless. They did a variety of poses, both as individual characters and in groups. They also did the dances for “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” and “Hare Hare Yukai.”
Anime blogger and Twitter meet-up: The cosplay gathering only lasted about a half hour so I had time to go with my friend Jan to the blogger/Twitter meet-up organized by Debi Aoki. Quite a lot of people showed – nearly twenty I think, and we had dinner together outside a Japanese restaurant called Katsuya near the LA Live stage. Since I already had my meal for the day (and Katsuya is kind of pricey), myself and a few others excused ourselves from the bill and bought our own drinks XD I didn’t know very many people at this meet-up and I only got to talk to a few, but it was fun. It was awesome meeting wintermuted and Kylaran in person among others. Our group occupied Katsuya’s outside eating area for hours and we talked about many things, including how anime has changed over the years and how the future of all media may become inescapably digitized (topics I’ve discussed in some way on my blog actually). The atmosphere of the LA Live area, with its music, lights, and large video screens, made that evening quite energetic.
Day 3 – Sat. July 3rd
Toradora! US premiere and panel: I got up bright and early on Day 3 to go to the Toradora! panel at 10am. Like with the concert, I was one of the first people there, but this time a crowd started gathering outside early on. It wasn’t long before a huge line formed, wrapping around the building and the opposite wall. Luckily I was near the beginning of the line and got a seat in the front row once the doors opened.
The panel started with a showing of episode 9 of Toradora! using NIS America’s newly released subbed version. This episode was more comedy-centered than drama-centered like the majority of the series, so naturally there was much roaring laughter from the audience.
Two of the voice actresses from Toradora!, Eri Kitamura (Ami) and Yui Horie (Minori), were guests at this year’s AX and had their own focus panels and autograph sessions. I didn’t go to their other panels, so I was pleasantly surprised that they were both the focus of this panel! After the episode finished, the two of them along with the Toradora! producer (forgot his name!) came up to the stage (each with their own interpreter). After some introductions, there was a Q&A session where they answered questions that fans had submitted earlier. Some of the questions were more of amusing requests, asking them to have a conversation in their characters’ voices or do the voice of another Toradora! character. They both did impressions of Inko-chan, which was absolutely hilarious XD It was equally funny when the interpreters would have to interpret whatever hyperbolic acting or singing they did. One of the questions that stuck out to me was when they were asked what seiyuu they would like to work with, and Kitamura said Megumi Hayashibara, one of my favorite singers and seiyuu! =D
Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley: After the Toradora! panel, I did my throughout perusal of the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley, literally going to every single booth for both sections.
Freebies from Funimation! An Eden of the East poster and some picture cards
There actually wasn’t as much stuff I was dying to buy compared to previous cons, but regardless I ended up spending more than I should have XP I was looking for Angel Beats! stuff in particular, but there was literally nothing for that series available to buy. Guess it’s just too new and I’ll have to try again at AX ’11. I was also thinking of buying another Haruhi jigsaw puzzle like I did in ’08, but I couldn’t find those this time either.
Amazing K-ON! fan art poster I bought from Artist Alley
Last minute I ended up buying NIS America’s premium collection of the first half of Toradora!. As a company that’s done only games, this is their first anime release, and I think they’re doing a good job.
All this for $50 was a great deal!
Their special AX offer was the first 13 episodes subbed on two DVDs, a full-color, hardcover episode guide book for those episodes, a poster, and a Disgaea plushie all for just $50! Since Toradora! is definitely an anime I’d like to watch again, how could I refuse such a great offer? I heard that some people were experiencing technical trouble with the DVDs, but upon purchase they told people that they would replace their discs if they reported any problems on their web site.
Anime bloggers meet-up: After dropping off my loot at my hotel room, I went back to the LACC for another, smaller bloggers meet-up organized by Shinmaru. Jan could only stay briefly at the meet-up, so I ended up being the only girl there XD We waited around for about an hour for people to show before heading off to the food court a few blocks away from the LACC. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay until the end of the meet-up because my mom was coming to pick me up, so I missed out on meeting omo who came later. But it was great meeting Shinmaru, zzeroparticle, CCY, and Mystlord in person, as well as the staff of Anime Diet.
Gallade and Gardevoir (Pokemon)
Macross Frontier gathering (left side)
Macross Frontier gathering (right side)
Magic Knight Rayearth group
Celty and Shizuo from Durarara!!
Princess Peach and Daisy
Ami and Ryuuji from Toradora!
Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh!
TK from Angel Beats!
Jiraiya (sage mode) from Naruto
Digimon (Tailmon and Guilmon)
SSBB group (DK, Lucario, Falco)
Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon
Sakura from Cardcaptor Sakura
Various Cardcaptor Sakura costumes
To sum things up, this was a great AX – a fantastic guest list (though no one I personally was dying to meet), great cosplay, and all the events seemed to go smoothly. As usual, I got to hang out with friends new and old, and buy some cool stuff. Hopefully I can make the full 4-day con for AX ’11 next year!