The Infamous Line-Con?
After a long drive through the desert and around the mountains, I was greeted by the familiar site of Anime-Expo’s infamous pre-registration lines. Wrapping around the Los Angeles Convention Center and down the busy LA streets, I was a little shocked with how long this year’s lines were. Typically they only wrap around the south garage a few times but as you see the lines lasted for forever.
What really irked me on Day 0 though was probably how tough it was for the people who followed the rules and did what they were told only to end up worse off from where they started. While this doesn’t apply directly to me since all of my paperwork went through, I feel terrible for the Industry, Press members, and Pre-Registered Attendees who couldn’t register / pick up their registration because of problems with the system. Partly because if they broke the rules they would have gotten their things a lot quicker and partly because I sat there with a friend as I suffered together with him for four hours :|.
Being stuck in line wasn’t all bad though — I managed to have a really interesting talk with an industry member about just how seriously registration issues like this could affect the convention as a whole. While I may not necessarily agree with everything he said, there was a lot of truth in how the negative nature of the experience can taint your entire day before it even starts. All I know is that I feel bad for everyone who stuck in the gigantic lines and I hope you were able to at least get your badge at the least 😐
Panels, Panels, and more Panels
Since I’m writing this after the fact (for the most part), I can say that Day 1 was easily my favorite day by far. With the convention center teeming with everyone in their cosplays, it was a blast walking around and snapping photos of everyone who put so much effort into their outfits. After going around and snapping some photos with my little setup, it was time to enter the epic dealers hall. Chock-full of booths run by the anime industry, retail stores, and even fans there was an almost impossible amount of things to check out. What was pretty cool about this year’s though was how they moved the autograph lines into the Entertainment Hall / Game Room which meant a lot more space for both booths and artist alley! For those of you who attended, I don’t know if it was just me but the artist alley felt like it went on for forever.
But really, the panels on Day 1 are probably what made it my favorite. Seeing how it felt like this year’s theme was Kill la Kill and I had a limited amount of time, I decided to hit up the Eir Aoi panel followed by the panel hosting Koshimizu Ami and Suzaki Aya who voiced Ryuuko and Satsuki. While the Eir Aoi panel was fun, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a panel as much as I enjoyed the seiyuu one. What I’ve noticed as a panel regular is that the panels are more for satisfying your need to see the stars in person more so than actually getting to interact with them. Usually filled with a pre-roll of questions, I was amazed with how quickly the panel jumped into Q&A and just how enthusiastic Koshimizu-san and Suzaki-san were about interacting with the fans. They answered everything ranging from the strange all the way to the awkward — something you don’t usually see!
A Blur and Meeting up RC-ers!
I can’t recall the individual things from the next three days all that well but there are definitely a few things I can clearly remember! The coolest for me though was meeting randomc readers Bakakubi, Niki, and Kurotsuki from Montreal at the convention! Honestly, I never thought I’d actually find people who knew about the site at the convention let alone have people asking me to meet them. But somehow it happened and it was awesome spending time with you three<3! The thing is though, I think this was the most I’ve ever talked to complete strangers! I don’t know what it was (maybe something in the water?) but everyone ended up being super talkative and super awesome.
Space Dandy Panel
While it wasn’t as crazy as the Kill la Kill seiyuu one, I really enjoyed the Space Dandy panel featuring Satake Uki (QT’s seiyuu) and Minami Masahiko (President of BONES). It was really interesting getting to learn about the guy who’s in charge of the studio we all know and love and as an added bonus he seemed really interested with interacting with the fans. Throughout the entire interview his best line probably was when he mentioned he focuses more on the fans rather then the market — and it sounded pretty genuine! Also, did you know QT’s seiyuu is also a part of 9nine!? (I didn’t >>)
After a few years of being a bit meh, this year’s convention was just awesome. With the return of big name industry members holding really fun panels and an even larger Dealer’s Hall / Artist Alley for attendees to navigate, this year’s con gave me some of the chills I felt back when it was my first time going. Sure there wasn’t as much free stuff as there was in the past, but I’m really hoping this is a sign that the con itself is heading toward bigger and larger things.
Sure, along the way there were some awkward moments (*cough* registration *cough*) but every time I saw something negative happen the staff and volunteers were trying their best to accommodate the attendees. Toss in how they provided shade and water to the people out in the blazing sun and even handed out some snacks when they had extra and it makes me happy to know that their thoughts are in the right place.
But really, my favorite experience this year has to be meeting up with actual randomc readers and getting to spend time with them. I say it every year that I want to meet up with people, but with a majority of our readers located outside the US I rarely get to see anyone. To everyone who made an attempt to meet up with me (and let me meet up with them), you rock!
And thank you to the readers who make this post all worth it! <3 I know some of you weren’t able to go so I hope the pictures and videos are enough to hold you over until next year! If you have any questions feel free to hit me up on twitter @rctakaii or email me at takaii at randomc dot net!
Koshimizu Ami and Ryoka Yuzuki Kill la Kill Live Panel Snippets!
Care when listening! Audio levels are a bit high and not level!