Con Report: Anime Expo 2009By Courtney Kraft - Posted Jul 06, 2009
July 4th weekend means fireworks and barbeque to some, but to otaku like me, it means Anime Expo! This year's AX, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, saw a record attendance of over 44,000 people. Oddly enough, the unwashed masses didn't smell too bad. Plus, everyone was very polite.
Anime Expo hosted two concerts this year from girl group Morning Musume and visual kei band Moi dix Mois which is quite a treat for J-pop and J-rock fans who don't have the means to fly to Japan to see them. I only glimpsed Moi dix Mois during the autograph singing session, but yes, they really do dress like that. Ah, if only I had $10,000 lying around to build my own visual-kei wardrobe...
Speaking of shopping, I think I could have spent the entire con in the exhibitor's hall. Imagine the south hall of E3... now imagine it filled with anime, manga, toys, costumes, art, video games, and the occasional random girl group. AX is a great place if you're looking for goth, rock, and steampunk clothing and accessories. Sweet, sweet bliss. Thy name is dealer hall shopping. I swear if I had a spare $1000, I would have bought a lot more. In the end, I snatched up a corset, a hat, a skirt, and a t-shirt for my boss. I couldn't afford the $450 red leather cloak.
Cosplay, oh the cosplay! I always feel a little left out when I'm not dressed up, but I was there as a member of the press after all. Being press has its perks. I didn't have to wait in line to go to the Legend of Zelda Mythbusters panel (not what I thought it would be), plus I didn't feel so bad about getting close to panelists to take photos. I did, however, bust out my new corset, skirt, and hat the next day to join in on the fun.
AX 2009 taught me three valuable things about cosplay:
- Tulle is not comfortable to sit on.
- Those face masks not only complete an outfit, but they also help prevent the spread of nerd flu.
- Anime nerd girls are the hottest kind of nerd girls. I have the photos to prove it.
As much as I wanted to don my Integra Hellsing costume on the third day, it was probably best that I didn't. I went to artists and directors panels in the morning, and it just so happened that the Hellsing OVA writer Yosuke Kuroda was on one of the panels. In addition to him were other prestigious directors including Seiji Mizushima (Fullmetal Alchemist), Satoshi Nishimura (Trigun, Black Lagoon), Toshimichi Mori (BlazBlue), and Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann). Wouldn't want to look unprofessional, now would we? The artists' panel was composed of Atsushi Nishigori, Daisuke Ishiwatari, Takashi Okazaki, Yasuhiro Nightow, and Yuu Kouga. My favorite moment of these guests of honor panels was when a fan dressed as Vash the Stampede from Trigun offered Nightow and Nishimura a box of donuts.
I also attended panels for Viz and Funimation, two of the largest North American manga and anime distributors. Needless to say, both companies are putting out a metric ton of new content this year. Funimation is also launching a new networking site called ShoDojo that will allow members to screen anime together and chat about it live. Sweetness! It kind of defeats the purpose of having anime night at my place. Then again, more pizza and sushi for me!
I couldn't make it on Thursday because I have this silly job writing a news ticker for some show called X-Play. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to skip the AX Idol auditions. The world will just have to wait to hear me belt out "Toki Ni Ai Wa" another year. AX Idol is a contest for singers and voice actors for the chance to win either a demo recording or an audition with Bang Zoom! Entertainment. One guy competed in full-on Darth Maul cosplay which made his young boy voices all the more hilarious.
Anime Expo had five rooms showing anime movies and series, a karaoke room, voice acting workshops, a manga café/library, console gaming, and tabletop gaming. That was all on top of a costume contest and masquerade ball, concerts, and massive number panels ranging from guests of honor to industry panels to otaku debates to ParaPara dancing. There was so much to do and never enough time to do it. Note to self, get a hotel room next year or bring an inflatable mattress.
Now gentleman, I will share the wisest teaching Anime Expo had to offer. If you want a room of girls to scream and fawn over you, all you need to do is kiss another dude. Here's the thing, yaoi (or "slash" as we call it in the Western hemisphere) is very popular among girls. Remember how earlier I said that the hottest girl nerds are anime girl nerds? Therefore kissing another dude gets you hot anime girl nerds...somehow.
This has been the biggest Anime Expo to date. It's no Comic Con, but it's still the largest anime convention in the country. There seemed to be fewer industry panels overall, but the con did a great job of making up for them with other events.
Oh man...I am one tired Teggy. Guess I'd better get started on my Sailor Jupiter costume for next year!
For the full photo gallery from Anime Expo 2009, click here!