Anime Expo 2013 coverage and photos

I spent this past July 3rd through the 7th at Anime Expo, America’s largest anime convention and the highlight of every summer for me since I started going in 2005. This year I stayed longer than before – for the full five days – and it was also the first AX where I had Internet access throughout my stay, as well as my first time going as a press pass holder instead of a regular attendee. All this presented new experiences for me that made this year’s con quite exciting. There were some bumps along the way which I’ll mention in my coverage, but for the most part it was a great AX. So yes, onto my coverage and photos…

Day 0 – Wed. July 3rd

For those who have never been to Anime Expo, the convention is technically just four days, but registration opens at 3:00pm the day before, called Day 0. Since there are no other events on Day 0, lots of attendees come just to get their badges so they don’t have to waste time doing that on Day 1. By the time my boyfriend Arktavious and I arrived around 1:30pm, there were already thousands of people in line. The end of the line was unfortunately out in the hot sun but it wasn’t too scorching yet. For the next hour I just kept my hat on, doused myself in sunscreen, and we watched Haruhi episodes on the portable DVD player I brought.

Domo-kun and No Face must have been hot standing out in the sun for so long

The line finally started moving a little past 3:00pm, but it wasn’t until 1-2 hours later that it was finally my turn to get my badge. I had already preregistered back in March for a regular 4-Day attendee badge, but after reading up a bit and talking to other bloggers, I realized that I could possibly qualify for a press badge. Among the requirements for one is that you have a web site with at least 10,000 hits each month and business cards to give out. Press badge holders get a lot of perks: not only are they completely free, but you get front-of-line privileges and exclusive photo opportunities with the guests. I already had business cards and brought proof of my web site traffic with me to the con, so after I picked up my regular badge I went over to the press registration desk to see if I could switch to press. They weren’t sure at first but then realized that I did meet the requirements. So I got my awesome press badge!

Apparently my occupation is “webmistress” XD

Since press badges are free, I of course wanted to see about getting a refund for the 4-Day badge I had paid $60 for. Someone at the cashier desk said I needed to wait until after the convention and send an email to AX’s registration department. That didn’t sound quite right so I decided to ask someone else later on.

Wanted to see Attack on Titan cosplay this year and I found some right away!

Ark and I were tired, hot, and hungry by the time we got our badges so we just ate, refreshed ourselves at our hotel pool, and went to bed early. Unfortunately, being the night before 4th of July, some inconsiderate idiots decided to shoot off firecrakers at random intervals until 1:30am that night no too far from our hotel. It also didn’t help that our hotel room was on the second floor facing the street, so the traffic noise was not nice either. All that together with my excitement about the con and a stomach ache I had made me unable to sleep that night. But despite that, I wasn’t too tired the next day. Guess I was just that excited! XD

Day 1 – Thurs. July 4th

Forget AX, this is Linecon 2013!

Most people’s first order of business on Day 1 is to get in line early for the Exhibit Hall, which is the enormous room full of vendors selling all kinds of anime and related merchandise. It opens at 12:00pm on Day 1 and 10:00am the rest of the days. People who have premiere passes are able to get in an hour early at 11:00am on Day 1. Since the people at the press desk apparently weren’t knowledgeable about press passes when I asked them what all the perks were, I unfortunately didn’t know that press was allowed in early just like the premiere attendees. So I got in the incredibly long regular attendee line around 9:30am out in the hot sun, with the line not actually moving until passed 12:00pm. Considering my lack of sleep and having to literally stand in one spot out in the sun with other sweaty people all around me for three hours, I don’t know how I managed it. Willpower! =P It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I found out I could have gotten in much sooner with my press badge. But the one good thing about waiting in lines at AX is that I brought my 3DS with me and racked up a ton of Streetpasses while I was waiting.

The Yumeka Mii on my 3DS was kept very busy!

One of the fun wireless features of the 3DS is that you can create your own avatar for yourself called a Mii (just like on the Wii) and if you leave your 3DS in sleep mode, you’ll be able to bring the Miis of everyone else around you into your system. The more Miis you meet, the more you can advance in certain mini-games on the 3DS. I met a good 60+ people just standing in line that day XD

Once I finally got into the Exhibit Hall, I visited as many of the 100 or so booths there as I could. I had plans to meet up with friends from 2:00-3:30pm, so I could only shop for about an hour and a half. Luckily my years of past experiences at Anime Expo’s Exhibit Halls made it easy for me to push my way around the crowded room and snag the goodies I wanted in due time.

Funimation’s booth in the Exhibit Hall

Bandai’s booth

Aniplex’s booth, complete with Kyubey eyes

As always, the big anime companies were giving away freebies like these posters

More freebies!

And even more freebies! (love those door hangers from Sentai)

I’ll share photos of the things I actually bought in the Exhibit Hall later in the post, since I did more shopping on Day 3. But anyway, after I did my first shop I met up with friends until 3:30pm. One of them was screenwriter Northrop Davis. He had taught a manga extension course that I attended at my university a few years ago and he’s an avid supporter of getting anime and manga acknowledged by American institutions. For the past couple of years he’s been working with a group of young artists at They do excellent work so check them out =D

At this point I wanted to get an autograph voucher for Noizi Ito, the illustrator/character designer for the Haruhi and Shana novels. Since I hate waiting in autograph lines, I usually pass on them for all but guests who have worked on series I really like. I know a lot of people are very gung-ho about getting autographs and will wait hours for one, even if it’s someone they’re not a huge fan of. I’m only willing to waste those hours at the con if it’s someone I’m dying to meet, and being the huge Haruhi fan that I am (and Shana is a favorite character of mine too), Ito was one guest I couldn’t pass on XD Her first autograph session was from 5:00-6:00pm that day.

Passed by this area where people could draw things on big sheets of paper

Anime Expo changed their autograph policy this year, which had its advantages and disadvantages. People could get autograph voucher tickets with a number on them that saves their spot in line, allowing them to leave the line up until it was their turn for an autograph. Unfortunately on this first day very few people knew that you could come to the autograph voucher desk up to three hours before the start of the session to get your ticket (I don’t think it stated that on the AX web site either). So when I arrived an hour and some minutes before Noizi Ito’s autograph session started at 5:00, my voucher number was 183. At first I wasn’t sure what to think since I didn’t know how fast she would sign, how many people would end up being there, nor if they’d extend the session beyond just an hour. But I soon got my unfortunate answer with the line being cut off soon after 6:00, with probably less than 100 people getting autographs that day. There was still a good 30-50 people ahead of me when they sent everyone away to make room for the next session. I was disappointed of course, but now that I knew that you could get your vouchers three hours beforehand, I planned to do that the next day for her second autograph session from 12:15-1:15pm.

Couldn’t miss grabbing a shot of this guy along the way

After my failed attempt at getting Ito’s autograph, I headed over to the room where Johnny Young Bosch’s panel was going to be held at 7:30pm. It was very apparent here just how crowded the convention had become. There was a chocking cluster of human traffic in that narrow hallway with people scrambling every which way to line up for one panel, exit another panel, or just figure out where they’re going. The line for Johnny Young Bosch’s panel grew so long that the staff had to open up a bunch of empty rooms and zigzag the line through them. It was at this moment I was very relieved to have my press badge because I was able to line up in the priority line with premiere attendees and get a good second row seat for the panel.

Johnny Young Bosch at his panel

For those who don’t know him, Johnny Young Bosch has done a ton of English dub voices for various anime, including Kiba from Wolf’s Rain, Lelouch from Code Geass, Ichigo from Bleach, Itsuki from Haruhi, Vash from Trigun, and many others. And before he started doing anime, he was the second Black Power Ranger in the original Might Morphin’ Power Rangers show I loved as a kid :3 I had gotten his autograph on a Haruhi poster back at AX ’07 but had never actually been to one of his panels. And it was hilarious! He’s a really funny guy and did a ton of things that kept the audience laughing. One guy in the audience asked Johnny to call his friend on his cell phone because the friend didn’t believe he was actually meeting Johnny in person, so Johnny actually did call him and talked to him in funny voices XD He also invited a girl in the audience to sit next to him since she was such a big fan and he playfully teased her while she was up there crying/laughing. And when he saw that there weren’t enough seats for the big crowd, he let a bunch of people sit at the long table on the stage with him. Probably the highlight of the panel was when he told us a funny story of how he tried to toss a bag of change to a homeless women while driving, but didn’t know his own strength and ended up hitting her in the face with it! The panel was mostly a Q&A but he was also totally okay with people asking him to sign random things they had and let them come up to the front for him to sign. All in all, it was a very fun and funny panel XD

Day 2 – Fri. July 5th

At the Bushiroad panel

Despite a fireworks show and random firecrakcers going on that night, I was finally able to sleep somewhat the night of Day 1. Ark and I got up bright and early on Day 2 to head to the Bushiroad panel that started at 9:45am. I was a bit conflicted because I knew Noizi Ito had another autograph session at 12:15pm, and if I wanted to get a good autograph voucher number, I should get to the voucher desk as soon as possible (it opened at 10:00am since it was in the same room as the Exhibit Hall). But in the end I stayed the full time at the Bushiroad panel until it ended at 10:45am.

That black Weiss Schwarz bag and the SAO magnet in the upper right were free at the panel

The reason I’m interested in Bushiroad is because they’re the company that releases Weiss Schwarz, the anime crossover card game I really like. They release the cards both in Japan and the US, though they’ve only recently started releasing the cards in English. The only sets that have English releases thus far are Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, and Sword Art Online.

Weiss Schwarz SAO trial decks were all over AX ’13

Bushiroad was really working hard promoting their SAO cards at this con: if you bought the SAO trial deck at their booth, you got a free Asuna promo card (got both, which you can see in that photo with the Weiss Schwarz bag), they had tables and chairs set up at their booth where they would teach people how to play the game using the SAO deck, they had their own separate room at the con which had card play events throughout the day, and if you buy Aniplex’s SAO box set you’ll get another promo card. They also announced that their next English release will be the Hatsune Miku set, which I didn’t really care about since I’m not a Vocaloid fan. They also talked about the tournaments they hold, took notes on all the Japanese sets fans from the audience want in English, and told us that the only way they can get those sets released is if people support them and buy their stuff. I bought the SAO trial deck for just that reason XD The next English releases I would like to see are Angel Beats!, Evangelion, and Haruhi of course.

Back to Linecon for autographs

After I got out of the Bushiroad panel at 10:45am, I dashed into the Exhibit Hall so I could grab an autograph voucher for Ito’s session at 12:15pm. It was now that people were realizing how disorganized the whole autograph voucher thing was. Good Smile was having an autograph session for another guest at the con, huke (character designer for Steins;Gate and Black Rock Shooter) at their booth, and his line stretched all the way into the line of people waiting for autograph vouchers. And now that people knew that they should come three hours before the start of the autograph session they want, that made the line to get into the Exhibit Hall at 10:00am even longer (since the autograph voucher desk is in the Exhibit Hall), and the line to actually get the vouchers really long too since they only had one desk set up for all the different vouchers. Even the staff had trouble figuring out which line was the voucher line and which was huke’s. Some people had ended up wasting time waiting in the wrong line, which I almost did. At one point the staff were walking up and down the line handing the vouchers to people, which kind of messed up the people at the front of the line. Amongst the bedlam, when it was finally my turn to get a voucher for Ito, I was number 149. While I was there I also grabbed a ticket for Johnny Young Bosch’s autographs at 2:00pm that day, and was number 91.

Even in the crowded Exhibit Hall you can find good cosplay, like Hataraku Maou-sama!

By now everyone was realizing that if your number is more than 100, your chances of getting an autograph that day are practically nil. But I decided to attempt it anyway…and failed to get Ito’s autograph yet again. Despite her staying an extra ten minutes, there were still about 15 people ahead of me when they broke up the line around 1:30pm. I was bummed out as I had sacrificed going to the Sword Art Online dub premiere for her autograph session that day. I had also originally planned to get two autographs from her, one for each of the two Haruhi artbooks I have, and give her a drawing I had made for her. Now it seemed like I may not even get one autograph nor get a chance to give her the drawing! I underestimated how popular she was and didn’t think she’d have such a huge flock of fans as, say, a popular seiyuu or singer. She had one more autograph session the next day, and since I was planning to go to her panel later in the day, I knew people who go to the panel get priority for autographs. So I was a bit more confident that I’d be able to get her autograph on Day 3. And at least I was cheered up a bit later since I was able to get Johnny Young Bosch’s autograph :3

Johnny Young Bosch signing my LE Wolf’s Rain box

After I got Johnny’s autograph I headed over to the Tabletop Gaming Room where a tournament for Weiss Schwarz was going to be held. Unfortunately the tourney was from 3:00-7:00pm, which conflicted with Noizi Ito’s panel from 5:15-6:15pm. But since I’m not the best WS player (I always lose =P) and was just interested in playing with people rather than winning, the organizer let me forfeit the matches I would have while I was away at the panel, and then play again when I returned. Actually the tourney was put on by Desu Nation, an anime goods/card shop about a 40 minute drive from my house. I had been there a couple of times before and already knew Terry, the owner/organizer XD So after playing a good game with MenmaLives, I headed to Noizi Ito’s panel.

Press was allowed to take photos at Ito’s panel =D

Thanks to my press badge I was able to join my friend and fellow blogger/Ito and Haruhi fan ultimatemegax, and our friend skorpigeist, near the very front of the line. And just like Johnny’s panel line, Ito’s line ended up zigzagging through a bunch of empty rooms and all along the hall. I stood at the front of the line watching all the poor people in the regular line sweating in the small empty rooms they were ushered into. When her panel finally started I was able to take a good seat near the front…and caught a glimpse of fellow press blogger zzeroparticle right across from me XD Her panel was a pretty straightforward Q&A. After a brief introduction to who she was, people asked typical questions like what her favorite _____ is and things about her line of work. If anyone’s interested, she likes shrimp, her favorite Haruhi novel is volume 4 (Disappearance), and she likes Attack on Titan XD

For some of the guests, if you attend their panel you get a raffle ticket, and at the end they pick about 50 winning numbers and the people with those tickets will get first priority for the guest’s next autograph session. I unfortunately didn’t have a winning number for Ito, but the rule was that having a non-winning raffle ticket would still allow you to get next priority after the winners and before the rest of the people who didn’t attend the panel. I was hoping that would help me with my last chance at getting Ito’s autograph on Day 3.

People playing all kinds of card games in the Tabletop Gaming room

After the panel I returned to the Tabletop Gaming room and got in a couple more matches in the Weiss Schwarz tournament. The tournament ended later than scheduled, and at the end they raffled off a bunch of goodies, picking random numbers coinciding with people’s ranking in the tourney. And I won a lovely Madoka Magica card play mat! Guess it pays to come to tournaments even if you lose XD

The Madoka mat I won in the raffle (the Angel Beats! one I had bought in the Exhibit Hall)

Day 3 – Sat. July 6th

I had originally planned to go to the George Wada/Attack on Titan panel, as well as some cosplay gatherings, in the early afternoon of Day 3. But I knew that panel was going to be very popular and I was tired of waiting in line, plus I wanted to get to the Exhibit Hall as early as possible to get a good voucher number for my last chance at getting Ito’s autograph. I also wanted to spend more time shopping in the Exhibit Hall, since I had only spent an hour and a half there on Day 1 and didn’t get a chance to visit all the booths, nor even look at Artist Alley. It was this day that I found out that my press badge allowed me to get in the premiere line of the Exhibit Hall, which I really should have been informed about before I waited in the hectic line on Day 1 >_< So I got there early and after chatting with The Tentacle Couple while waiting for the Hall to open, I was among the first 50 people to get in and headed right to the autograph voucher desk!

Passed by some Power Rangers at Crunchyroll’s booth. Made me nostalgic :3

Now I had a bit of a problem because Ito’s autograph session didn’t start until 2:30pm, which meant they wouldn’t start giving out the vouchers for it until 11:30am, and I was already there for one a little passed 10:00am. I was hoping they’d have it early but they didn’t. Instead, I grabbed a number 3 spot for Johnny Young Bosch’s other autograph session at 12:00pm that day, and confirmed with the lady at the desk that the raffle ticket I got from Ito’s panel would let me get a priority ticket. So until 11:30 rolled around I shopped some more in the Exhibit Hall, looked around Artist Alley, and got some deck building hints for my Weiss Schwarz decks from a guy at one of the booths.

Banners at Crunchyroll’s booth. You can see the Power Rangers in the corner :3

So many goodies, so little time and money XD

These guys were promoting Kids on the Slope at Sentai’s booth

A little before 11:30am I rushed back to the autograph voucher desk. They must have learned from the chaos of Day 2, since they now had two desks set up for the vouchers instead of one, and lines were moving along much quicker. I got number 40-something for Ito’s session, which was a vast improvement from the previous days…or so I thought.

Also got Johnny to autograph the 3rd Haruhi DVD that has Itsuki on the cover

With my number 3 voucher for Johnny Young Bosch, I was in and out of his line within the first few minutes of it starting at 12:00pm. After that I did a bunch more shopping in the Exhibit Hall and looked through some of the Artist Alley tables. Guess now would be a good time to share what I bought :3

Adorable plushies of Meloetta and Vaporeon

Another card box and sleeves for my Weiss Schwarz decks

Freebies from Desu Nation’s booth for buying the card sleeves and box

A Chii’s Sweet Home and Pony shirt

Chii and Pikachu charms for my phone

Reasonably priced figure of Alt. Haruhi

Lovely figure of Shana~

My most expensive purchase – always wanted a nice figure of Asuka

Carrying the loot I bought in a big convention bag that WeLoveFine gave out for free when I bought my Pony shirt from them, I made my way back to the autograph area around 2:00pm to get ready for Ito’s last autograph session. I knew that she was also having separate autograph sessions at NISA’s booth in the Exhibit Hall, but the only way you could get one of those is if you preordered their upcoming game title she does the art for, The Guided Fate Paradox, which cost $80. If I didn’t get her autograph this day, I was planning to spend the $80 and get it at NISA’s booth the next day.

When the autograph session started, the staff were at first confused about how the tickets were numbered, since a lot of people had the same numbers. But the reason was because one set of tickets was for the priority line (the people who got a raffle ticket from the panel but didn’t win the raffle) and the standby line (people who didn’t go to the panel). Myself and a few other people had to explain it to the staff and everyone, since people were lining up in the priority line when they should have been in the standby line and vice versa. When it was all straightened out, I took my number 40-something spot in the priority line and was fairly close to the front…but then the 50 or so people who won the raffle and got top priority vouchers started showing up and got to go first. And they just seemed to keep coming and coming! Just as their line started to shorten up and I thought “Alright, my line is gonna start moving now!” last minute stragglers would show up. It wasn’t until around 45 minutes into the hour-long session that all the winning people got their autographs and my line got to go next. I was a bundle of nerves as the clock was ticking and there were still so many people ahead of me. There was just 15 minutes left, then 10 minutes, then 8 minutes…I knew I was either gonna just make it or be the unlucky person who gets the line cut off right in front of them. I anxiously watched the staff check the time on their phones and whisper things amongst each other like “She has to leave at 3:30.” Finally there was just a few people ahead of me. I knew it was probably at least 3:30 or later and the staff member at the front of the line looked liked he was ready to send us away. It really does pay to open your mouth sometimes so I said to him “This is the third time I’ve been here, please don’t make me leave.” And then he said “Alright, she’s gonna be the last one”…and cut off the line right behind me! I was literally the very last person there to get Ito’s autograph!

My hard-earned Noizi Ito autograph!

I felt terrible for the 50 or so people still waiting behind me, especially the guy right behind me who said he had waited in her other lines too. But I was just ecstatic that I had such luck. When it was my turn I said a few things to her in Japanese, saying it was nice to meet her, telling her where I wanted her to sign in the book, and that I wanted to give her a little something, and then handed her the drawing I made. Some girl ahead of me had also given her drawings she made, which were better than mine, so I didn’t feel that special ;) She still seemed pleased though and thanked me, so that was enough.

The drawing I gave to Noizi Ito. It says “Thank you for coming to Anime Expo!”

After my big success with Ito’s autograph, I didn’t have anything planned until later so I headed back to my hotel to drop my heavy bag of loot off and take a swim in my hotel pool (yes, I love swimming :3)

My other big thrill at AX besides all the anime stuff is having a pool!

I was originally going to attend the unofficial event, Nihongo de OK, which is a gathering of native Japanese speakers and English speakers to converse and help each other learn their languages. It was supposed to start at 5:30pm right at the poolside bar of my hotel, but I was still at the pool passed 5:00 and didn’t see anyone coming to set up. What I did see though was a bride, groom, and lots of other people in fancy dress, including a photographer taking all kinds of photos of the bride. It really looked like a wedding was going on instead, especially when I saw them set up a table with candles and food and everything. I thought maybe the gathering was moved or cancelled because of the wedding. Either way, I decided to skip it since I would have felt awkward being in a big party right next to a wedding. So I left the hotel around 5:30-6:00pm, passing some Naruto cosplayers sitting at the poolside bar and wondering “Did they know there’s gonna be people in costumes walking around when they’re trying to take wedding photos?”

Finally got a shot of the (in)famous Girls und Panzer tank that Sentai brought

This banner was next to the tank

I headed back to the convention center and spent the next couple of hours in the Tabletop Gaming room, playing Weiss Schwarz with MenmaLives and having him improve my deck XD After that I went out to dinner with friend and fellow blogger Neo-Shonen Fujoshi, then later that night we hung out at AX’s Lounge 21 with blogger Marina. It was the relaxing evening I wanted, free of line waiting XD

Day 4 – Sun. July 7th

After breakfast and a final visit to the pool/jacuzzi, Ark and I had to check out of our hotel before 12:00pm. The hotel didn’t have the best place to store our luggage, so we left just our big suitcases there and carried all our other stuff and the things we bought with us. The bags weighing on our shoulders were painfully heavy, so all we did was make our way back to the Exhibit Hall, leave our stuff in a corner, and take turns visiting the Exhibit Hall while the other person watched the bags. And I was at last finally able to check out all of Artist Alley.

Artist Alley tables

And more Artist Alley

Pins! Gave some to my friends and coworkers who couldn’t come to the con

While wandering around the Exhibit Hall, some more bloggers wanted to meet up there. And thanks to Twitter, we were somehow able to hook up despite the crowds. So I got to hang out with Shinmaru, GendoMike, and Draggle for a little while, but unfortunately I had to cut it short since Ark’s dad was coming to pick us up soon. So we lugged our big bags back to the hotel, got our suitcases, played a game of Weiss Schwarz (I finally won! =D) then loaded our stuff into the van and headed home.


Here’s the rest of the cosplay photos I took =)

Mikasa from Attack on Titan

Nai and Gareki from Karneval

Evangelion Unit01

More Titan cosplay

Rikka from Chuunibyou

The main character from Animal Crossing I think (don’t know his name)

Slayers group


Fate/Zero group

Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!

Inori from Guilty Crown

The Colossal Titan

(Swimsuit) Taiga from Toradora!

Utena and Anthy (in the ladies’ room!)

Chiiaki from Moretsu Pirates

Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove (always gotta get Disney in there)

Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!

Concluding thoughts on Anime Expo 2013

After the chaos of Anime Expo 2007, I’ve mostly been avoiding the big guest autograph sessions until this year, and now I remember why. While every big convention has its share of crowds and disorganization, I think the staff weren’t quite on the ball as far as how the new autograph voucher policy worked, which I guess is understandable since it was the first year they’re using it. I think it’s an overall good idea, but there are a ton of things they can do to improve it next year. Some suggestions are to move the voucher desk somewhere outside the Exhibit Hall and open it earlier than 10:00am, let people in line who weren’t able to get an autograph that day have priority for the next day, have separate voucher lines for each guest, and allow people to get vouchers more than than just three hours in advance. Another new policy they implemented was a bag search for every attendee that went inside. While it was a tad inconvenient, considering all the weapon-related horror that’s happened in this country this past year, I for one am glad they decided to search bags. And was it just me, or were there a lot more young couples with children at this year’s AX? Seems like the people who got their start with anime in the US in the 90s are now at the age of having children. Guess the idea of otaku not breeding isn’t true XD

Another thing, which isn’t the fault of Anime Expo or anyone really, is that I think the con has simply grown bigger than the convention center and the staff can handle. As I discussed about the autograph lines and the lines for Johnny Young Bosch and Noizi Ito’s panels, they were just ridiculously long. Even if you came an hour early to many of the events, there still may not be room for you. Other big events like the screening of Makoto Shinkai’s new film, The Garden of Words, and the Blue Exorcist movie, were maxed out an hour or so before the screenings even started! And as it stands now, premiere fan passes for Anime Expo 2014 are already sold out! Anime Expo announced a record 61,000 attendees this year, acting like it was a good thing, but while it may be good for profit, it’s not good for every person’s overall con experience. The amount of staff they employ and the size and setup of the convention center simply can’t handle such numbers of people, and I really think it would be beneficial to the attendees, staff, and guests if they started capping their number of attendees the way other cons like ComicCon do. I think 55,000 or so would be good.

But besides some issues with the new autograph policy and the overwhelming number of people, I had a great time at the con nonetheless ^_^ Bought some nice stuff, hung out with cool people, went to fun events, and got coveted autographs. My highlight was being the very last person to get a (free) autograph from Noizi Ito. I’ll never forget that XD

Until AX 2014~!

23 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Toonleap says:

    Great post. And you are right about getting those autographs. It is a pain. I still remember that AX2007 convention where the Haruhi seiyuus were there. Hope they improve that.

    I think it would have been a good idea to split this report in various posts, like anime episodes with a cliffhanger. More exciting that way, but it was great to read it all anyway… :)

    I was surprised there were some cosplayers still doing old anime characters. Gawd, wish anime conventions where I live look like this one.

    Those were my thoughts. Good job reporting and thanks for sharing.

    • Yumeka says:

      Glad you enjoyed the coverage and thanks for reading! Yeah, the post did end up kind of long, but I don’t want to split it into separate posts because I don’t get to blog that often anymore – only once a week – and I’m more likely to forget details of the trip as time goes on, plus there are other things I need to blog around this time of year too, like reviewing completed seasonal anime and my first impressions of new anime.

      There’s always cosplay of old characters and new, and quite a good amount of non-anime characters too ^_^

  2. Shikon says:

    When I saw the length of this post I figured I’d get some coffee and enjoy lol.

    You did a great to report all of this, I always enjoy reading about anime expo considering that I’ve never been, it’s interesting to learn a bit more about it =P

    I gotta say, I’m totally envious that you got two autographs from Johnny Yong Bosch! I’ve always kept up with the English voice actors and he is definitley one of (if not) my favorite va’s. Regardless it’s awesome you finally got those autographs! Anyways I look forward to your AX 2014 coverage =)

    • Yumeka says:

      Johnny comes to a lot of conventions, here in California at least, so if you ever go to one he’s likely to be there =) I heard he also goes to some non-anime conventions too, such as Power Rangers conventions.

      Glad you enjoyed the report =D

  3. Ori says:

    As I was reading this I was hoping that you would’ve get Ito’s autograph since I knew from your tweets you had problems and couldn’t get it on day 1 and 2, and I didn’t check your tweet on day 3.
    This proves how much of a good writer you are since you had me on the edge my seat in suspense!
    ” I was a bundle of nerves as the clock was ticking and there were still so many people ahead of me. There was just 15 minutes left, then 10 minutes, then 8 minutes…I knew I was either gonna just make it or be the unlucky person who gets the line cut off right in front of them.” Uuuugh I can feel your pain! xD I am really happy that you made it! I was cheering hahaha. If you would’ve split the report and leaved it there with a cliffhanger I would’ve scream! xD

    I’ve never been to AnimeExpo and I’m amazed by it right now. Hopefully I’ll get the monies and go next year. Anyways, thanks for the coverage and photos, I really enjoyed it. :)

    • Yumeka says:

      LOL, I’m flattered that my writing had you in such suspense XD It would have spoiled the surprise if you had read my tweets on Day 3 about getting the autograph, so maybe it was a good thing you didn’t check my tweets then. And thanks for cheering for me on ;)

  4. Shinmaru says:

    To be honest, the security seemed to me more like a PR effort. It was quite mediocre. The layout of the LACC makes it incredibly easy to sneak past them — if you park in the main garage, you don’t have to get your bag checked, and on the final day, I was easily able to sneak ToastCrust and Inushinde in through a side entrance because getting their luggage checked would have been a huge hassle. Obviously I don’t totally advocate skirting security like that, but they made it super easy. Honestly, I think they instituted bag checks only because Anime Boston had a bag check and they would have looked bad if they didn’t. It certainly didn’t make me feel any safer; if anything, the lax security made me LESS confident in my safety. If Anime Expo is actually serious about security, then they really need to take the layout of the convention center into account.

    And, wow, I really wish I had known that I could have registered as press right there at the convention center. That would have made the whole weekend much less of a hassle, haha. Oh well. Something to store away for next year, I suppose. (When, of course, they’ll probably change their procedure yet again.)

    Hopefully we can hang out more next year! There were so many people at the con that I met maybe half the people I knew who were actually there, haha. Totally agreed that a cap is probably needed. Staff was totally overwhelmed by the amount of people there.

    • Yumeka says:

      Hmm, I didn’t know about Anime Boston implementing bag checks nor that the security at AX was lax in some areas (since I always came in through the main entrance). I guess I’m just glad there was some bag checking going on as opposed to none. But based on what you said, there certainly is room for improvement next year. Maybe metal detectors?

      I think their rules and requirements for the press badge have remained consistent over the years. So as long as you get some business cards together and can print out stats of your site traffic showing 10,000 or more hits a month, you should be able to qualify.

      Hope to see you next year too =)

  5. Myna says:

    Always nice to see that there’s still some Utena love out there.

    Glad you had another great time as always. :)

    • Yumeka says:

      I knew you’d like the Utena cosplayers ;) Anthy is especially spot-on.

      You should come to Anime Expo next year ^_^ It would be awesome to finally meet you in person.

      • Myna says:

        Oh, I’d love to! I haven’t been to a con in six years. But who knows what my summer will be like next year… In terms of performing, financially, and everything else.

        • Yumeka says:

          Yeah, I know time and money make it difficult to travel out of state for a con. But it’s something you can start saving up for and maybe there will be a convention at a convenient time of year for you (if not AX then perhaps another one).

  6. Yeah, 61,000 attendees… I kind of doubt that XD. The crowds looked to me to be about the same as last year, when I think it was 49,000… ? I think AX is embellishing somewhat. XD

    Reading about your three long waits for Ito’s autograph made me tired – and that was just reading it! I can’t believe how you hung in there. Your drawing that you gave to Ito was great!

    I love the Bosch photo with him holding the Wolf’s Rain box. =D And the Maneki Chi shirt!! XD

    Agree AX was fun, but the parts of it that were disorganized were frustrating yet again. Hopefully, they’ve heard some feedback from people and will do better next year.

    • Yumeka says:

      Heh, I dunno, going by all the lines I was standing in or just observing, I thought at least 50,000+ people were at the con this year XD 61,000 maybe is an exaggeration, but not too much so I don’t think =P But who knows.

      Glad you liked my Ito drawing ^^,,, Since I can’t draw people I decided to draw the little character she uses for her avatar. It has a name but I don’t know what it is :3

  7. Kal says:

    Wow, thanks for the awesome coverage, I’m glad you were finally able to get that autograph. That experience will just make it even more priceless for you than it already is :) Looks like it was fun, and you know what to expect next year, and take better advantage of your press badge!

    • Yumeka says:

      Glad you enjoyed the coverage! Getting Ito’s autograph last minute will definitely go down as one of my most memorable AX moments (along with the catastrophic autograph story I had at AX 2007 XD) Thanks for reading.

  8. pKjd says:

    Congrats on the Noizi Ito autograph. The fact that you were able to get it without having to go through the hassle at the NISA booth is amazing. You really were lucky.

    Oh and I have that same Meloetta plush. So adorable~

    • Yumeka says:

      Yeah, I really did get lucky with Ito’s autograph. I was planning to spend the money at NISA’s booth on the last day if I didn’t get the autograph on Day 3. Her autograph session on Day 4 probably wasn’t crowded…but glad I was able to save the $80 in the end XD

      I saw the Meloetta plush on AmiAmi or some other Japanese store a while ago and thought it was so cute, but when I was ready to order it the shipping ended up being more than the plush itself XD So I decided against buying it. Didn’t think I’d end up finding it at the con :3

  9. Marow says:

    Congratulations on managing to get an Ito autograph so easily!

    And yikes, 61,000 people?! That’s… crazy. It doesn’t seem to be that crowded in the pictures you have posted, though o_o

    • Yumeka says:

      LOL, I wouldn’t say getting Ito’s autograph was easy XD But in terms of having to spend $80 at the NISA sessions or getting it for free at the AX sessions, the latter was definitely the easier route for my wallet!

      Yeah, it’s hard to judge the crowds from the photos I posted…you have to be there to really feel the massive amounts of people. But if you look up videos of people walking through the convention center, especially the hordes going into the Exhibit Hall on Day 1, they can give you a good idea of the spectacular crowds XD

  10. elfunes92 says:

    lol la verdad nunca estuve en una expo anime , aca en argentina mucho no hay de eso , sin duda alguna mi anime favorito es Slayers , que bueno estuvo el cosplay

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