Hi all, it’s certainly been a while. As most of you know (if any of you are still following this blog), since I started working full-time about a year ago, my free time has been very limited, so I’ve been taking a break from consistent blogging. Rather than having the pressure of a blogging schedule like I had for many years, I’m now only writing new posts when I feel like it. And today happens to be one of those days, since I’m on a mini-vacation until Wednesday and have a few things to report…
A day at Anime Expo
First off, yesterday I spent the day at Anime Expo. Usually I go to the con every year for at least a few days, but this is the first time I’ve gone for only one day since my very first AX back in 2005. Since I only went for the one day and all I did was shop around the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley, I’ll just say a few things about my experience here and won’t be posting an elaborate coverage post like I usually do. But for those curious, there are a couple of reasons why I only went one day this year. One is that I’m trying to save money for another trip I have planned this summer, the Pokemon World Championships in August, which is a 3-day event in San Francisco. And another reason is that I promised I’d go with my mom on a little vacation this Sunday to Tuesday. She wants to get away for a few days because she can’t stand the firecrackers that obnoxious people in our neighborhood go crazy with every 4th of July. She has a lot of anxiety issues, especially with loud noises and dangerous things like illegal fireworks so close to our house, so she decided she can’t deal with it another year and has to get away. We’re not going very far, just staying in a nice hotel in an area where there shouldn’t be any 4th of July noise pollution going on. I’m actually looking forward to it because we’re making it a totally relaxing vacation and don’t plan on doing anything besides going to the hotel pool, watching movies, eating out, reading books, and not worrying about anything.
But anyway, as for my one day at Anime Expo 2016, it had a rough start but ended up fine in the end. When I arrived bright and early at the convention center, all I wanted to do that morning was get my badge and then get in line for the Exhibit Hall, which opens at 12pm on Day 1.
The line to get badges actually wasn’t too bad, only taking about an hour when I arrived around 7:30am. This is due to a new system AX implemented last year where, at the cost of no longer having personalized badges with each attendee’s name on it, registrations are able to be processed much quicker. The rough part started after that when me and a couple of friends wanted to get in line for the Exhibit Hall. Since people weren’t allowed inside the convention center until 10am, there was all kinds of chaos all around the building with lines of people going every which way and blending into each other: a line of people who wanted to get their badge, another line of people waiting to go inside, another line of people for the food trucks outside, plus all the people just hanging around. We got into a line that the staff member said was for the Exhibit Hall…and we were there for over 3 hours! But what was most infuriating was that, when we had finally reached the front of the line around 12:30pm and it was our turn to go in, the line kinda dispersed and people who weren’t even in the line started coming over from everywhere and just going right in! So it seems like there wasn’t even a point waiting in that line because once 12pm hit, anyone could just go inside whether they came from the line or not >_< At least I wasn't missing events or anything while I was in the line, but still, if I'd known there was no point to it I would NOT have spent all that time standing for 3 hours with a heavy bag, making my feet really sore by the time we went inside. But anyway, despite how annoying that was, I tried not to let it bother me once I got in the Exhibit Hall and just focused on my usual task of perusing all the booths I could get to.
Lots of anime posters to be bought!
And lots of figures!
And even more figures
Lots of plushies need a home too!
Digimon tri wall
Again, perhaps due to my waning passion for anime, I didn’t buy nearly as much as previous Expos, just a few little things, like the cute Haruhi mug pictured below.
After spending a few hours in the Exhibit Hall, I wanted to fully peruse Artist Alley next, but by then I was really hungry/thirsty and my feet were like jelly from standing for now 6 hours straight, so I had to take a break to get some food and sit for about an hour in the Tabletop Gaming room. While I was there, I hung out with my boyfriend and his sister for a bit, but I was just too tired to try and play Weiss Schwarz or Pokemon with anyone in the room like I had originally planned (so I ended up lugging my heavy box of Weiss decks with me for nothing XP) Once I had rested for a bit, we walked around Artist Alley for a while before I had to carpool back with my friends around 6pm.
Bought this lovely print from one of the artists
And again, because my time at AX was so brief, I only took a few cosplay photos, which you can see below.
Yours truly with Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s
Not sure what this was but it was awesome
Sound!Euphonium cosplayers at Pony Canyon’s booth
Mr. Game and Watch!
As for my general thoughts about my short AX experience this year, I think they’ve been making some good improvements, like moving Artist Alley into a different room than the Exhibit Hall, which provides room for more artists, and having the faster registration system. But as I’ve been saying in my coverage posts of the last few Anime Expos, the number of attendees has been growing rapidly each year and is reaching levels where the size of the venue and number of staff members simply cannot effectively deal with such an enormous amount of people. And of course, when you have such overwhelming crowds, the quality of every person’s experience is compromised.
Image from The O-Network of Day 1 crowds – that is ridiculous!
I really think AX needs to start capping attendance because every year more and more young people are getting into anime and related pop culture, while older fans aren’t exactly going away either, or now have children of their own that they can bring! Because of all this, plus my not being as into anime as I used to be, in these recent years I’ve been going into AX expecting some inevitable disorganization (like that futile line waiting I mentioned), but I try to avoid as much of it as I can by only going to events about things I’m really interested in, or for guests I’m just dying to see (there are only, like, five I can think of honestly). I’d rather spend my time shopping around and playing games with friends I don’t get to see often. I would have liked to see the big Anisong World Matsuri event that AX has going on this year, since I like a couple of the bands performing, like FLOW and T.M. Revolution. But again, they’re not must-sees for me, and after how exhausting yesterday was, I’m kinda glad I’m not at Anime Expo again today. Or maybe I’m just getting old XD
New anime, finally!
Besides Anime Expo, my other news is that…I finally managed to watch a couple of new anime this past season! After not watching any new seasonal shows from summer 2015 to winter 2016 (besides the first part of Digimon tri and half of One Punch Man), I decided in mid-spring that I kinda missed watching new anime and wanted to check out some current shows. So I watched the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal, and the latest Studio Trigger anime, Kiznaiver. I recently completed both and enjoyed them very much.
I loved the concept of Kiznaiver right from episode 1 and continued to enjoy it throughout. The whole idea of people being connected through wounds and an organization wanting to use this phenomena for world peace is a very cool premise and not one I’ve seen before. The characters overall were likable as well. I even liked Tenga, the badass, quick-to-violence macho guy, which is an anime trope I usually don’t like. I liked him because he acted on good purposes rather than selfish ones, like defending Katsuhira from the bullies and supporting Chidori in her feelings for Katsuhira despite his own crush on her. I think Kiznaiver would have benefited from being a two-cour series because all of the eight main characters should have gotten the background development episodes that Honoka, Katsuhira, and Sonozaki got. I would have really liked to know Hisomu’s story since he was such an awkward one of the bunch and I had trouble figuring out his motives in some scenes. But for what we got, it was a very good show.
And as for Sailor Moon Crystal III it was, well, Sailor Moon. As much as I enjoy watching Sailor Moon, I can see its flaws and how its over-the-top emotional deus ex machina plots aren’t for everyone (seriously, why has the JSDF not been called all the many times monsters are attacking the city and should clearly be seen/heard by people XD) But despite that, I still like it as I find its old-school superhero/magical girl story charming and nostalgic.
With Kiznaiver and Sailor Moon now over, I’ll pick up at least two more anime to watch this summer season, possibly three. I’m still deciding on which ones so I’ll take recommendations =)
Future plans, for the blog and otherwise
Sometimes I feel like I want to start blogging more often again, but the mood is usually fleeting when I realize I’ve already written so much since I started in 2006, and I end up wanting to use my limited free time for other things, like hanging out with friends and going on trips with them, trying to get better at competitive Pokemon, or just relaxing at home after a hard day’s work with something that doesn’t require the kind of concentration that writing a good editorial post does (I also started rereading the Haruhi novels, slowly though, so it’s gonna take me a while to get through them all). And if I did start writing again, it’d have to (mostly) be about my other interests besides anime, since I’ve already written so much about anime and I’m not as passionate about it now as I am about some other things. So currently I’m going to continue as I’ve been – blogging once in a while when I feel like it, even if it amounts to only a few posts a year, some of which aren’t strictly about anime. I’d rather post less frequently but more enjoyably rather than having to push myself to do it when I don’t want to.
But actually, I may post again soon since I’ll be going to Pokemon Worlds in August for the first time and will probably want to write about my experience there (just to be clear, I won’t be competing in the main competition, since it’s only for the top players who are invited, but there are plenty of side events for everyone else). Speaking of trips, I’m also tentatively planning a trip to Disney World in Florida next spring for a week or so. I’ve never planned such a big trip on my own before, but my job is nice about letting employees take long vacations, and I have paid vacation time saved up. You never know what the future may bring so I should do this sort of thing now, while I have the opportunity.
So yeah, after years of using my free time to not only watch a lot of anime, but also write about it, my passions have moved on, at least for the time being. I’m glad I still have the motivation to watch a few new series, and still consider myself an anime fan (even if I don’t watch a lot of current shows anymore, I still love all my old favorite anime), but the things I want to use my spare time and money for have shifted. But who knows? Maybe one day down the line I’ll need a break from my hobbies now and will want to start blogging again, whether about anime or other things. But for the time being, blogging will still be very sporadic…I’m sure you all understand (and I still try to be active on Twitter though, so you can follow me there).
So with all that said, bye for now and I hope to be back in August for my Pokemon Worlds coverage…and random other times after that~