Saturday, July 11, 2009

Anime Expo Cosplay Checklist-Final Score

Okay, let's see how I did with my own cosplay checklist at Anime Expo

-P=picture taken
-S=seen but unable to take good picture
-N=not seen

School Uniforms:
Kuniko Hojo (Shangri-La)-P
Ohashi High School (Toradora!)-P
North High School (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)-P
East High School (High School Musical)-N
Ryouu High School (Lucky Star)-P
Hikarizaka High School (Clannad)-P
Jindai High School (Full Metal Panic!)-P
Seishun Academy (Prince of Tennis)-P (athletic uniform)
Azumanga Daioh-S
Seiso Academy (La Corda D'Oro)-N
Ouran High School (Host Club)-P
Youkai Academy (Rosario + Vampire)-P
Kanon-N
Air-N
Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket)-S
Sakura High School (K-On!)-P? (Mio's gothic outfit from ending credits)
Cross Academy (Vampire Knight)-P
Ashford Academy (Code Geass)-P? (not from the school, but Code Geass cosplay was found)

Working World:
Animate store employee (Lucky Star)-S (because I thought my costume was better)
Gamers store employee (pink haired Hinata Miyakawa, Lucky Star)-N
Anna Miller's waitress (examples can be found in Lucky Star and Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu)-N
Fast food restaurant (Tsumugi Kotobuki, K-On!)-N
Battle waitress (Mikuru Asahina, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)-P
Bunny girl (found in way too many anime series)-P
Female gondolier (Aria)-N

Gundam (because it's the 30th anniversary):
Ray Amuro-N
Bright Noa-N
Char Aznable-N
Sayla Mass-N
Athrun Zala-N
Stella Loussier-N
Lacus Clyne-N

Cowboy Bebop (because last year was the 10th anniversary)*:
Spike Spiegel (Keanu, don't screw this up)-N
Jet Black-P
Faye Valentine-N
Ed-N

Shinichi Watanabe (because he's funny):
Nabeshin (Excel Saga, Nerima Daikon Brothers, Puni Puni Poemy)-P
Inspector Widgett (Yukika Karakuri, Nerima Daikon Brothers)-N
Mako/Hideki/Ichiro (Nerima Daikon Brothers)-N
Ilpalazzo (Excel Saga)-N
Excel (Excel Saga)-N
Hyatt (Excel Saga)-N
Sunako Nakahara (The Wallflower)-N
Kyohei Takano (The Wallflower)-N

Hayao Miyazaki (because he'll be in California this month):
Porco Rosso-S
Kiki (Kiki's Delivery Service)-S
Yubaba (Spirited Away)-N
San (Princess Mononoke)-P

And characters you'll see tons of:
Naruto-S
L (Death Note)-P
Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach)-N
Sora (Kingdom Hearts)-N
Akatsuki warrior (Naruto)-P
Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)-S
Yoko Littner (Gurren Lagann)-P
Kamina (Gurren Lagann)-P

And because I see it mentioned a lot, and there was a section dedicated to it in the latest cosplay book I bought, D. Gray Man:
Yuu Kanda-S
Lenalee Lee-S
Allen Walker-S
Lavi-S

Final Score:
P=20
S=10

Total Possible = 60 GRADE: E

I really should be more observant of cosplay....

The Illustrated Story: Anime Expo Day 4

It is interesting to find the the majority of my good photos were taken on the last day of Anime Expo...


Anyway, as this was also check-out day, there wasn't much planned (though it looks like ABC already claimed my hotel as HQ for the Michael Jackson coverage) as I had to take my friend to the airport later that evening. So my friend and I split up to watch different shows...I watched a little bit of Chocolate, a live action movie, which appeared to be from Thailand, about a girl with secret martial arts abilities who attacks business owners who owed her mother money.

The only things I wanted to see today was the voice actor panel for a chance to hear Kari Wahlgren speak, Robot Chicken panel, art auction, and closing ceremonies, and to catch some convention-closing sales at the exhibit hall. Unfortunately, there wasn't much in terms of sales, but I was able to snatch items that they were almost running out of, and the Artists' Alley did show some KyoAni fanart that I would want to put up on my wall:


I really learned to control my spending this time, buying only things that would be cheaper/easier to buy in person than online...If only I knew the Kinokuniya would've run out of the "Don't Say Lazy" CD, I would've bought it earlier instead of having to order it...

I caught a little bit of the voice actor panel with Kari Wahlgren...Learning that it was really nothing more than a Q&A session, I left after Ms. Wahlgren satisfied a fan's request of saying "I love you, Konata" in her Kagami voice...the same format was true for the Robot Chicken panel, though it was neat to hear Seth Green mention a new series...

I did meet up with my friend for Shin Chan before checking out the exhibit hall and Artists' Alley one more time before lunch.

While my friend wanted to enjoy her purchases, I attempted to try to get a unique collectible at the charity auction. Unfortunately, things quickly got too rich for my blood even when I wanted an autographed Shuffle wall scroll...

Since the auction ran long, I couldn't stay for the closing ceremonies. My friend and I had one last meal at Little Tokyo before heading to the airport. We found more AX attendees hanging out at Little Tokyo:


I hope my friend becomes more comfortable having her pic taken for the next cosplay event as I'm already thinking of new costumes to work on...

Now some final cosplay pics:

First up are some Metal Gear Solid pics (and best use of old appliances...):





Now some other pics:









Considering how long it takes me to put pics in a blog post, I've placed the last of my pics in my Flickr.

Hopefully I'll do a better job posting cosplay pics on my blog next time...

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Illustrated Story: Anime Expo Day 3

Lesson Learned: Learn HTML so posting new blog entries will be a lot easier…


July 4 is one of those days that I really wanna show my patriotism, so I had no cosplays planned so I can wear a patriotic t-shirt. However, I guess my friend really became comfortable with cosplay enough that she wore the same Clannad uniform for a second day…


Before my roommates woke up, I wanted to hit the treadmill at the workout room at the hotel. However, the room was closed for the weekend, so I decided to walk down Figueroa and reminisce about the times I used to walk all the way to downtown L.A. from USC. Along the way, I found that the media already has started staking out spots for their camera crews.



On the way back, I asked a cameraman for Fox News on how spots are assigned, and he mentioned that it's pretty much first-come/first-served. He picked the spot he was at because he wanted to get a Staples Center sign.


Now that everyone was awake, my friend and I finally started walking to the convention center...along the way, I found a Michael Jackson tribute wall where you can sign it:


Apparently, one person wasn't sure what famous Michael passed away:



So when we got to the convention center, we started watching videos, first was Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. I really liked the action, and I will have to find the other movies. That video was followed with watching episodes of Ouran High School Host Club. Now I understand the popularity of the series as I really enjoyed the humor.


After that, I was dragged into the Yaoi Press Industry Panel...oddly enough, I wasn't the only straight guy in the room...I explained myself to others in saying that I had to show my support for a hometown company (based in Las Vegas) by attending the panel. Fortunately, I was called by my college buddy and was able to leave early...I was actually disappointed to hear that a Vegas based Yaoi company wasn't expanding into Yuri but into Yaoi novels...


I met up with my college buddy and hung out in the exhibit hall while my friend was going to the Japanese traditional dance workshop. The most interesting thing we saw was someone's remote-controlled R2-D2 unit:



Since my college buddy was meeting up with his roommates soon, I went off to a video room while my friend finished the dance workshop. Because of a schedule change, Lucky Star was playing during the time slot originally set for Bleach: Memories of Nobody...this caused a headache for fans who didn't pick up an updated schedule at the information booth. So the volunteer checking badges could figure out the schedule, I gave him my copy of the schedule he can show to people to prove that there was an official change in the schedule...


Once I met up with my friend, we headed off for lunch in Little Tokyo. Lesson learned: let friend know that you want to take her to different part of Little Tokyo than place visited the night before. I wanted to show my friend another part of Little Tokyo, but I should've known from her excitement over Korean BBQ the night before that I should've just drove back to the Little Tokyo Marketplace. We parked at the Japanese Village Plaza parking and started walking towards the Little Tokyo Marketplace. After a block or so, we got lost in the Toy District. After asking for directions, we went back to the shopping center where we parked and decided to eat at the Korean BBQ place located there instead. After lunch, I took my friend to the famous Anime Jungle store and began to look for a place for dessert...


I remember a press release for a maid cafe set up only during Anime Expo at Salon de Cafe Focus (there was a guy passing out flyers who thought my friend was Japanese even though she's Korean). After a tough time walking in the heat in uncomfortable shoes looking for the Little Tokyo Marketplace, it was a relief to find the cafe above Anime Jungle.


Since it was Independence Day, they only had one maid working, but at the same time, there were very few customers. My friend ordered a milk tea while I got an item that I got when I first visited Cafe Mai:lish in Akihabara in Tokyo, a melon soda float:


Unlike the Tokyo version, this float was much more reasonable priced. The special maid cafe menu had pretty common Japanese cafe fare such as curry rice, udon, and flan. It also turned out we weren't the only AX attendees to learn of this place (since probably many were drawn to the AniMaid Cafe held at the convention center and at the Westin Bonaventure):


After dessert, I finally drove my friend back to Little Tokyo Marketplace so she could get her cream puffs from Beard Papa's. After dropping off the car at the hotel, we returned to the convention center where I missed the Kari Wahlgren panel, but I was able to go to the BangZoom voice acting workshop. I wanted to go to this again because they gave away cool stuff like figures and t-shirts last year. Unfortunately, the economy must have affected the freebies, but it was still an enjoyable panel. My friend ducked out so she could get to the fanfiction writing panel and workshop. After her panel ended, we went back to the hotel to relax...


Not content with spending the last night of AX cooped up at the hotel, I went back to the convention center while my friend slept and our roommates attended the masquerade to see what goes on at night. I originally planned to watch Please Teacher, but the alien elements was a little too weird for me, so I left after 10 minutes. Along the way, I came across people who were waiting for the Mini Skirt Army panel. Unfortunately for them, they didn't pick up the updated schedule showing that it was cancelled, so someone had to inform them of the bad news. Lesson learned: always pick up the updated schedule every morning.


One advantage of holding Anime Expo at the L.A. Convention Center is that it is a glass building, so you have a lot of sunlight for taking photos. Unfortunately, at night, the lighting is not as great, but you do find some interesting cosplay at night:



Since I felt a cold coming, I went back to the hotel for the night to find one of my roommates back from Masquerade an hour early. According to him, it wasn't that great...After attending a few masquerades, I've learned that the best ones focus only on the costumes as many entries have excellent costumers, but not-so-great actors. If only masquerades only focused on the costumes, I would attend more of them...


Cosplay pics taken this day:


The most interesting cosplay I've ever seen at Anime Expo-one of the AX mascots:


And here's some more cosplay:







Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Illustrated Story: Anime Expo Day 2

I took the most pictures this day because of the Haruhi/Lucky Star gathering as I was cosplaying as Meito Anizawa (Anime Tenchou, the Animate store manager in Lucky Star). Unfortunately, I can't post most of the them because of the risque nature of some of the poses...but here's a better narrative of what happened on day 2 of Anime Expo 2009:

My friend wanted to start the day with origami, which she clearly enjoyed more than I did as I gave up on the third item, but I was able to make a flower and a spinner. At our table, half of us gave away our flowers to a lady who arrived late but also wanted to show something from the origami session to her kids so they can come the next day:





One of the other activities I remember that day was an Anime trivia contest where the audience knew more of the answers than the three contestants whose combined Anime Expo attendance was I think 5 times, and it seemed like they didn't go to other cons.

There was also some visits to the Exhibit Hall, where one cosplayer at the Crunchyroll booth and one of the exhibitors at a cosplay shop booth recognized my cosplay...before that, there was only one person who took my picture before origami and another guy dressed as Meito who recognized me (but I still believe my cosplay had more of a real retail employee feel). Lesson learned: get more spiky hair for Meito and partner with a girl cosplaying as Konata (even though I prefer Nanako Kuroi)...

The highlight of this day was the Morning Musume concert. My friend and I never heard of this group before, which is why I wanted to attend. Such high energy music is great at small doses, but it was a great concert nonetheless. During this concert, Morning Musume, along with founder Tsunku, and Hangry of Hangry x Angry, announced the winners of the OPV contest:

Tsunku's favorite came from China/Hong Kong:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=59131967

Morning Musume's favorite came from the U.S:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=59191893

And the grand prix award selected by both Tsunku and Morning Musume was from Japan, a video that fits well with Anime Expo:

[OPV]3, 2, 1 BREAKIN’ OUT!アニメーションmix


After the concert, I went off to the Haruhi/Lucky Star gathering thinking I would find a lot of Lucky Star cosplay. Unfortunately, lack of posting of cosplay gatherings at the info booth lead to an outnumbering of Lucky Star cosplayers:

To illustrate, here are pics from the Haruhi part of the gathering:






On the other hand, here's all the Lucky Star cosplayers that were present:
At least the OVA was represented in Tsukasa...Lesson learned: while cosplay gatherings are not official Anime Expo events, every anime con blogger should post the gathering list prior to AX to ensure that there are many places to find this info besides Cosplay.com.


After finding out that my friend, who I've known since our college days, never explored downtown L.A. while she was a student, we spent the evening cruising around Little Tokyo. Because I'm terrible with directions, we didn't end up in the main part of Little Tokyo where you would find Anime Jungle but at Little Tokyo Marketplace. We did find a good sushi place in this shopping center, played some Japanese video games and also went grocery shopping where my friend bought a lot of pickled things such as kimchi along with mochi.

My friend and I spent the rest of the evening at the hotel watching Haruhi DVDs and eating her Japanese supermarket purchases...Lesson learned: if eating kimchi, make sure there is proper ventilation in the room...I guess the kimchi I'm used to eating wasn't as strong...

Cosplay pics I took during this day:



(It's a giant strawberry Pocky, nothing more...)






Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Illustrated Story: Anime Expo Day 1

After missing the exit on the drive from OC to the L.A. Convention Center, my friend and I actually met up with our roommates at the hotel at the same time.

I took my cosplayed friend to the opening ceremonies, which started about a half hour late:



What I remember from the opening ceremonies was one of the Guests of Honor commented that he wanted to come to the U.S. to see how cute the anime fans were here (he probably was in for a shock considering how cute the girls in Akihabara are...) and the painting of one eye on the daruma doll (wikipedia that to understand the significance).

Since hotel check-in was hours away, we hopped around the convention center, watching a little bit of Emma: A Victorian Romance (rich guy falls in love with maid in Victorian times, hence the slow pacing), watching a little bit of the AX Idol Singing Auditions where Vic Mignogna was one of the judges (good thing I wasn't auditioning for voice acting as they lost all the sign-up data), and meeting up for the Clannad gathering that I set up earlier (though only one person showed up):

My friend and I also dressed as Hikarizaka High School students, but my friend notoriously hates it when I post up pics of her (though I think she's very cute), so you won't see pics of her in this blog...at last count, there were only two other people I'm aware of who took her pic, so you'll be lucky if you see her picture...

My friend really wanted to compliment a pair of girls on the craftsmanship in their Chobits cosplay...they told us to thank China as they ordered their costumes...

My friend and I also took part in the Masquerade Ball dance instruction workshop where we ran into our roommates...as one of the attendees said, it helps if you had marching band experience, which I had, but I still lacked speed.

After the dance lesson, we went back to the hotel to check-in, and signs that the neighbors were aware of AX were evident:

There were also signs that the city was getting ready for, at the time, a rumored tribute to Michael Jackson at nearby Staples Center:

Upon check-in, we learned the hotel rate was based on number of occupants, not number of beds. As such, all the rooms with two beds were taken the day before, so we were stuck with a king size bed and almost didn't get a rollaway bed because of the demand. However, they did locate one and wouldn't charge us for the rollaway. We were also surprised to hear that they charged more for the second car parked as usually there's only one car associated with a room. (Lesson learned: ask what the parking rate is for the second car and inquire about early check-in in order to try to secure the desired number of beds.)

So while all of us unpacked (Lesson learned: don't forget the cell phone charger), making multiple trips to and from the car, I caught my first instance of a Full Metal Panic cosplay (which I wasn't expecting considering how old FMP: The Second Raid is):

To get ready for the Masquerade Ball, we showered and changed (lesson learned: either lose weight or don't cosplay wearing a blazer in the summer to avoid massive sweating) before heading back to the LACC to take the shuttle to the Westin Bonaventure. Before boarding the shuttles, I came across another surprising cosplay...other guys at the hotel asked the Kaname cosplayer where Sosuke was, but I guess he was hanging out with her doppelganger:


Before heading off to the Masquerade Ball, we saw the Chibi Masquerade where we saw a wide variety of novice cosplayers, including a Tohru Honda with a live rat as a partner, a kid doing Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, a Gintama skit that had to be restarted about 3 times, a very good violin performance, and a girl dressed as the Guitar Hero controller:


(Lesson learned: Get better seats for Masquerade and learn how to take better indoor photos...very few pics from Chibi Masquerade turned out well. The rest became blurry.)

So after riding the shuttle to the Westin Bonaventure, we missed the actual masquerade part of the masquerade ball, but there was still dancing, where I tried to remember what I learned earlier in the afternoon. I chatted with someone about American foreign policy while dancing for some reason...oh yes, I wanted to cover a topic that wasn't about Michael Jackson...Later my friend and I had some Korean food at one of the restaurants at the Westin before heading back to the LACC and walking back to our hotel. My friend went ahead of me while I wanted to explore L.A. Live:



Of course, I did take some pics of cosplay during the day: