Sunday, July 14, 2013

Anime Expo 2013 Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

And here's another personal review of Anime Expo 2013! I arrived back last week and had a great deal of fun. Here's the review:

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of the convention:

THE GOOD:

- The cosplay quality was really nice! It felt great to see a great deal of anime cosplays than it had been the past couple of years. I don't necessarily condone anit-anime cosplays at all, but they were dominating a bit too much over the last couple of years. Or, there were too many people not in cosplay. I got the opportunity to take lots of pictures, and there was such a variety of old cosplays and new ones, even rare ones! I was so excited when I see the Nanami Haruka and Heroine from Amnesia. All the sweet otome-game excitement!

- It's a double-edged sword, but the masquerade process was significantly easier than Fanime. The only major con to this side of the issue is that it was easy for me and most of the contestants out there, but the staff had a major hell of an experience. It's strange to think that masquerade was almost not going to happen considering the ridiculous circumstances. Tony, the main cosplay events manager, was gracious and professional throughout the entire process, and his team helped me get everything set up in a timely and effective manner. I had no problems with him at all, and even complimented him on his hard work!

- The Dealer's Hall was wonderful! So much Detective Conan stuff, some great visual novels, pencil boards, and cute little keychains and effects. I bought the loveliest artbook from Matsubara Hidenori featuring his art for Ah! Megamisama, Evangelion, King of Thorn, Count of Monte Christo, Sakura Taisen, and Fushigi Umi no Nadia! I was so shocked to find this! I also got a free little Kira Project VN, a Windmill pencil board, an Utapri keychain of Masato, and my glorious Lychee VN Ruby binder. I don't collect Lychee cards, but I am using the binder for my other VN works and notes!

- My cosplays went way better than expected! I only wanted to make 1 new cosplay for the convention, which had turned out to be Belldandy. She was so much work, so I knew I wanted to take my time with her. I wore Moemura on the first day, and I wound up getting so many compliments about her. I managed to go to the gathering, and took some pictures with some really awesome Maodka cosplayers, including a super friendly Moemura, Kyoko, and Miki. I then wore Mari on the second day and got to spend my time with my friends Nanami and Yori. Nanami wanted to take some shots by the EVA cockpit dressed as Rei, and then we all got some awesome shots of the EVA girls trio. And then as Belldandy, a lot of people really liked it. My friend Emi made the wings and gave them to me! They're super lovely. I got compliments backstage.

- The skit went all right! I performed it by winging it completely, ad improvized on the spot because my original skit idea wasn't able to work out since my partner had dropped due to family circumstances. So, I was able to perform and used my aings, costume, and fans to try to create a dance.

- Although I didn't win, the craftsmanship judges came backstage to tell me what a wonderful job I did! They told me they were so impressed with my hard work, and that I needed to keep working and come back again for next year. It was such an inspirational thing to hear, because I've always been one to feel unsure of my skills. It's inspired me to work harder!

THE BAD:

- That horrible autograph line! I didn't even get close to getting Ito Noizi's autograph, which was the one thing I wanted from Anime Expo's main events! I was saddening, and I eve bought a cute autograph board for her to sign, although we weren't close at all. She had a plane to catch and even more unfortunate, they told me had I gone to her panel I would have gotten better tickets! But I was in craftsmanship judging at the time...it was saddening. And the line organization was hard to keep up with.

- I accidentally lost my belt for Belldandy backstage, although it's not a horrible loss. It's easy to tangle although really pretty, but I wanted to remake it anyway because I wanted a better chain that wouldn't tangle. I feel more confident in remaing a great deal of her jewlery since I am confident about them now. I'm going to remake the earrings and the collar while I'm at it.

- One of the backstage skits had super large sets and were trying to move them through a super small backstage setting. One of the sets hit me hard on the leg while I was sitting in the waiting area, and I was in a lot of pain. It really sucked to have that happen before going on stage! They apologized and I knew it wasn't intentional, but it still was a bit of a damper on the entire experience. I'm not really fond of huge sets that much. ^_^;

- On top of that, I twisted my anle the neck day. Ow! Thankfully, it wasn't too bad at all and it's healing right. I didn't know how it happened, but I'm at least okay!

- I wish I had Belldandy's dress better completed. I have plenty of time now, but I didn't get to finish and instead draped a skirt as opposed to a full-length dress. it successfully gave the illusion that I had a full gown, but I still want the most genuine effect. I'm going to rework a lot and fix, style the wig (I had little time!) and better makeup and gloves. I also think I solved the key to her anklets!

THE UGLY:

- THOSE LINES. Ugh. I'm so lucky I actually had some fun in them pointing out cute cosplays, but I was horrified that the original Day 0 line that we tried to get to actually closed an hour before they had placed their notices up. It was horrible because we had ran all the way past this seedy neighborhood.

- The crowd was admittedly terrible. It is great to see how much it has grown but dear goodness, it was hard to walk through and hope that you wren't going to hurt people with your props and vice versa.

- Food prices are always nutty at the convention. There isn't much to say, other than I think I successfully spent triple price for a burger at the convention restaurant simply because I couldn't leave the area before craftsmanship judging.

- The heat. x_x The heat was rather bad, but it's California and then summertime, so you can't necessarily complain that much.

 -The AX behind-the-scenes controversies - Although it's not directly affecting the normal, regular attendee, it's still a saddening piece of news to hear about how corrupitve they have further sunken to.The fact that they publicly fired Tony is unacceptable, and the way they later on tried to distribute prizes and made a fiasco of the departments is just as worse. I really hope that even though like I said, the attendee situation may not necessrily be that affected by this news, that they still see tis as a window of opportunity to improve.

Final Thoughts:

Anime Expo was fun not just for me, but for friends I took with me who were very new to the con scene. They got great results, and we got the chance to wear cosplays together and find our own niches. It's the first con in ages where I didn't bring a sewing machine to fix and or finish things, and it was such a freeing experience to run around and enjoy what the convention provided.

But it was a great experience. I got the chance to be a regular attendee, take pictures, compliment people, and ask them how they made their items. Backstage, I got the chance to talk with a really old-school and amazing cosplayer who was awesome enough to share the experience of pre-masquerade with me after thinking that I'd be completely alone and bored. The cosplay quality was also great and refreshing to see, and the lovely souvenirs I got aren't ones I often buy, but I was glad to have picked up!

My cosplays have very much improved since last years. I wore my Juliet last year and it was likely to look at, but it was all made of a cotton fabric that wrinkled a bit more than I liked, and it was obviously tough to discuss how I made it -- I admittedly made a great deal of it under very stressful conditions and was so sleep deprived that I didn't realize at one point that I was still sewing! It's an ongoing joke with my friends now, and we call it, "pulling a Kagura".

And I do intend on returning back! It was a great milestone to see hood friends, gathering around with people, and getting the chance to really be a cosplayer and a fan.

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And cosplay updates!

My cosplay list keeps ever-changing, but I'll be having a more formal cosplay plans for the year and the next.

Our next cosplay convention is Japan Expo USA in Santa Clara, CA. It's a European-organized convention, since the original convention originates from France. It went on during the same weekend of Anime Expo! Japan Expo is pretty famous for being a huge convention in Europe, and it's exciting to see a new branch down here in the US.

We have a cosplay group forming for the ext big Japan Expo masquerade,  and already some of us have the materials set for it. It's so exciting, because it might also be one of the best cosplay ideas ever since an old special friend may be joining us!

I'm in for a great deal of work, but it shall be mega worth it!

Also for Nisei Week here in Los Angeles, I'm planning on working and finishing my Kinomoto Sakura cosplay from Cardcaptor Sakura! I'm going to get started now and hopefully will get it all ready for then!

I'm hoping to post more pictures soon, but for now, there's the review and some updates!

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