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:







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