I’m really glad I only came the two days.
You know, Expo is fun and all, but I really need to question whether or not I’m ever going to it a third time. Because for all the big events and large number of online acquaintances attending the thing, it’s kind of a lost cause if you don’t get to actually attend any of the former or meet any of the latter. I think I only attended three panels this year, and my time spent walking around the convention with other people only amounted to around three hours in total due to two little things I’d like to call “conflicting plans” and “so crowded we lost each other if we so much as sneezed”. Hell, it was so bad I couldn’t even hang out with my friend from Texas all that much, and it didn’t help that there were ALOT of couples at AX who looked like they were about to have cosplay sex at any moment. Man do I suck at finding people to socialize with, let alone doing some actual socializing.
But considering how much grief Twitter has already given AX for its agonizingly painful management of crowds, let’s focus on the positive side of things, starting with the Anisong concerts. Well, I never attended any of them or the Neon District event, but from what I’ve heard, they were really good. Personally, they didn’t seem like my sort of thing, as I’m not into idol music besides some of the tracks from Tokyo Mirage Sessions and I only like a couple of Japanese bands, none of whom were attending this year, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out. And judging by how none of my friends mentioned anything noteworthy besides said concerts, I think my inability to show up until Saturday night was a blessing in disguise.
In fact, there were alot of moments in Expo when I experienced blessings in disguise. Like how when I got to the back of the LARGE line in order to get into the convention, the back door conveniently opened so I could walk in within two minutes instead of two hours. Or how I had to charge my phone early into Sunday morning, only for Arkada from Glass Reflection to be having a conversation with people nearby. I really am the Ultimate Bullshit, aren’t I? Next thing you know, I’ll have an accident at the next convention, only to get intimate with a really hot Mitsuha from Your Name cosplayer as a result.
Speaking of Mitsuha cosplayers, man there sure were a few of them at the convention. Every time I met one, I couldn’t help but take a picture, as I always found her character design to be really cute, especially with that short hair and ribbon. Most of the cosplay photos I ended up taking were of people dressed as characters from Persona 5 and Danganronpa due to my love for those designs along with how they’re my two favorite anime video game franchises of all-time (incidentally, I didn’t take any Overwatch photos despite the large number of D. Vas there), but whenever I saw a really rare one like Hanabi from Scum’s Wish or Kat from Gravity Rush, I just had to get them to pose (and yes fanboys, I did get Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening as well). Watching all these people walking around in cosplay alone was worth the price of admission in my eyes, even if there were too many to walk around freely. There’s just something I find endearingly charming about the work people put into acquiring and wearing those uncomfortable outfits.
Weather was a lot better this year than last year, although it was still kinda scorching when you had to wait outside in a large line, so I almost felt a sigh of relief whenever one of said lines would get capped, preventing me from attending a panel. The biggest draw for me was getting to see the last of 2016’s “best anime movie EVAR” trilogy, In This Corner of the World, and thank god that was one of the panels I could actually attend given how I showed up to the line two hours in advance and still nearly couldn’t get in. Like Your Name and Koe no Katachi, I’m gonna need a rewatch to determine how much I like it because while it was definitely good, it’s also a lot to take in at once, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for how a lot of the runtime consisted of comedic skits I’d expect to see in My Neighbor The Yamadas. There’s also the fact that the subs were stiffer than Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright’s (I’m not joking. It really was that dry), and there were even some grammar errors at points. Is that movie getting dubbed when it hits US theaters next month? I sure hope so.
I didn’t get to see the Violet Evergarden premiere because, well, Appropriant left that one early and he was one of the last people allowed into the Corner of the World premiere, so there was no way I was going to risk losing the latter for a sneak preview to an anime that’s not going to air for another six months. According to what he and other people have told me though, we’re not in for another Kyoukai no Kanata situation with that anime, at least based on the first two episodes. In fact, people seem to really love that premiere to the point that I’m reminded of how ERASED did when it showed its face, which doesn’t really bring up good memories. People also told me it’s unmistakably a KyoAni anime despite the characters looking more adult, and I really hope they just mean in terms of production values, because I always get uncomfortable whenever an anime is inseparable from the studio, even when said anime turns out good.
Mind you, in regards to companies like Studio Trigger, I think it’s impossible to separate their name from any anime they make given their unique style of craziness. And speaking of Trigger, thank god they finally announced some new fucking IP instead of a goddamn continuation of already existing property like last year (seriously, fuck Inferno Cop 2). We’ve got some collaboration with A-1 Pictures (who incidentally announced jack at their own panel). We’ve got another anime by the Inferno Cop/Ninja Slayer team, which I’ll probably avoid like the plague because I can’t stand that cheap-ass format. And we’ve got another anime from the guys who made Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill, which I have no opinion on because all three of those announcements were like most of E3’s output in that they said “this is what we’re working on. We’re not going to tell you when it’ll show up or what it’s about. We just hope the names are enough to impress”.
Speaking of impressing with just names, FLCL 2 and 3 finally have a name behind it besides The Pillows, and it turns out it’s the guy who directed Flip Flappers that’s heading this revival. And if that wasn’t enough to get the sakuga fandom excited, the trailer sure helped seal the deal, even if there’s a bit of controversy regarding some of the character designs. I should point out that this is all stuff I learned second-hand without ever attending any of these panels, which makes me wonder I should have bothered to put in any effort to go to them if I had the time given how the trailers are gonna get posted online anyways. Hell, I did attend a panel for an upcoming attraction: a Danganronpa V3 one. And while I’m definitely hyped as hell for the game, one new trailer and the voice actors playing a game with Monokuma wasn’t exactly enticing stuff.
Oh yeah, I also attended a premiere for Welcome to the Ballroom, which is coming out in a few days anyways, and I’ve avoided most of the hype for, so it’s not like I would have missed anything by skipping it (although it is an Anime Strike show, so hope you guys like losing money or pirating). It wasn’t very impressive either. There wasn’t much actual animation in regards to the dancing (although it did have peaks like those “sweat bullets”, which you’ll understand in time) and the story has a distractingly rigid following to the sports formula, complete with the main character learning tough moves very fast (which I think is just a fundamentally flawed way to tell a sports story given how I’ve seen enough competitive environments to know that that can’t happen in real life) along with this stupid scene of him walking in on a girl changing. Also, whoever came up with bullies in fiction really deserves to die, because that is a horrible method to introduce conflict. I guess it’s above average in terms of its genre, although the two-cour length sort of worries me, especially given my recent history with those sorts of anime. Would definitely prefer to watch Compulsive Gambler instead, although it’s a Netflix show, which puts me in a bit of a quandary regarding Let’s Watching it.
There was also a screening of Koe no Katachi, but that line got capped two hours before it aired, so I couldn’t go see it on a bigger screen than my crummy laptop. Thankfully, it turns out the film has been announced for theatrical release in October, so…cool. Yeah I know there was Magus Bridge thing as well, but I don’t know what that property is about given how I never read the manga and can barely remember the OVAs.
The final highlight of Expo was the Dealer’s Hall, and while I didn’t bother with the Atlus booth because I think I’m better off paying for Persona 5 t-shirts online than even considering standing in that line, it was still a lot of fun to explore, especially when anime video games were concerned. For the record, I ended up buying twelve volumes worth of hentai from the Project H booth when I discovered they were selling ’em for ten bucks each along with their selection being pretty decent (although the purchases ended up being so heavy you could literally use them as a murder weapon), and I pre-ordered the Danganronpa V3 special edition from the NIS booth because why the fuck shouldn’t I own extra Danganronpa merchandise? Yes I’ve heard that V3 is not that good, but I liked Danganronpa 3 despite its faults and Ultra Despair Girls is a ton of fun, so I’m hoping that’s just the fans exaggerating. I am a bit disappointed that it’s acknowledging the previous games rather than doing something completely new based on the new trailer, but hopefully it’s self-contained enough to be enjoyable as its own thing.
If any of you guys are wondering what I thought about the Artist Alley or Entertainment Hall, I didn’t get to explore the former much, and aside from this Classroom Crisis car (surprised people still remember that show, as I’ve completely forgotten what my opinion of it was other than “not rewatchable”), there wasn’t much to say about the latter either. Sorry.
In the end, my Expo vacation ended up giving me a special screening of a movie I’ve been looking forward to for years, lots of cool cosplay photos, a pre-order for a game that I really want to play, a lot of new hentai to read and/or try to do something with on this blog, the fundamentals on how to use the Uber app, and a large credit card bill. Was it worth sitting through all those lines and paying all that money to experience? Yes, but I’m not sure if I’d want to go through that again. The online people I’m on good terms with can barely make enough time to hang out with me or have less patience than I do, there’s no denying that the money I spent on this was not a small amount, and man was I dead tired every time I came back to my motel, let alone when I came back to Texas. Also, apparently I was lucky to do as much as I did, and there were so many big events I was looking forward to that circumstances prevented me from attending. That’s not a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
Still, I really don’t regret going, both as an anime fan as well as a guy who didn’t really have much to do during the Independence Day weekend otherwise. Although man am I looking forward to the much smaller AnimeFEST after that fiasco.
- Also disappointed that I never took pictures of all the girls dressing up as Prompto from Final Fantasy XV.
- For the record, the manga lounge’s selection was kinda shit.
- I’d love to cosplay as Yusuke Kitagawa or Nagito Komaeda sometime in my life.