This year’s Anime Expo had a wrinkle to the logistics since the X Games were also happening in the same general area, causing many AX attendees to take some detours in order to get to the convention center. Thankfully, the two events shouldn’t conflict next year (X Games Los Angeles will happen August 1-4 in 2013).
Day 0 – Thursday
The pre reg line (above) wasn’t as bad as it looked since the line was almost constantly moving forward thanks to a barcode system. It felt shorter than the Fanime day 1 pre-reg line but still felt like a while.
Friday – Day 1
Viz’s “super secret project” panel turned out to be about their newly-announced Neon Alley service. They said they’re trying to fill a gap in the market for uncut dubbed anime and are not trying to compete with simulcasts (which they already do through their VIZ Anime site.)
I’m personally not sold on it yet because of its dub focus (I’m more of a sub person) and because the shows currently announced for the service such as Blue Exorcist don’t interest me that much. It did make me think about how many services I already subscribe to and how I should probably cancel some of them I don’t use that often (like Netflix).
I watched the first part of Aniplex’s panel, which was mainly trailers, and then left for Crunchyroll’s panel in time to hear some of the Q&A portion.
I’ve liked Nozomi’s panels in the past, partly because I feel Shawne Kleckner is a straight talker. The announcement of their Lucky Penny line for standard box set series allows them to more leeway to release titles that don’t have enough extra material to fill a fleshed-out box set.
Out of their new titles – Ristorante Paradiso, Hyakko, Aoi Hana – I had watched about half of Hyakko and a couple episodes of Ristorante Paradiso.
I stopped by Lounge 21 with a friend and got a $10 mixed drink called the “Naughty Schoolgirl” (1 part Vodka, 4 parts Tentacle Grape) because I think they were out of the rum one. (Here’s a picture of the drink menu.) There was a rocking band playing that I don’t remember the name of, unfortunately.
Day 2 – Saturday
I saw part of the Pray for Japan film in the morning and thought it was alright. I liked how there was no narrator and there were core focuses that are revisited like some of the volunteers and a middle school that had to have its entrance ceremony at a different school. (I didn’t know it was already out on DVD until I searched on RightStuf a few days ago.)
I caught the last part of the NIS America panel as they were talking about their process of putting together materials for their premium editions and selecting titles. I liked their announcement of Natsume’s Book of Friends because it feels like a good fit for them. (I had only watched a few episodes of it before and thought it was okay.)
The next industry panel I attended was FUNimation’s. I may end up trying their premium subscription service once their planned Roku app launches since I have one of those boxes. I was pleasantly surprised by their license of Michiko e Hatchin. I expected to hear more details about Steins;Gate but maybe there will be something at Otakon later this month.
My only food truck purchase of the weekend was an Osaka Dog (hot dog with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, tomato, onion, dried seaweed, and bonito flakers) from Takoyaki Tanota because they had run out of takoyaki by the time I came around. It was good though the hot dog kept slipping out of the bun.
The Yuki Kajiura/FictionJunction concert that night was fantastic and the audience energy ramped up when they started performing some uptempo songs from My-Hime. Here’s a setlist for those who are interested.
Post-concert, I tried to stop into Alex Leavitt’s “Eromanga: The Good, the Bad, and the WTF” panel a little after it started but the room was so full that the staff wouldn’t let anyone in.
Day 3 – Sunday
The Production I.G. panel was basically showing trailers and soliciting questions in order to give away merchandise from certain shows like Guilty Crown. I did get a little interested in A Letter to Momo, which should be released in the US later this year.
I watched the Madhouse Chihayafuru guests Q&A panel even though I had only seen a few episodes of the show. It was interesting how they had one person keep track of which karuta cards had been played for continuity purposes.
Viz Media’s main industry panel was a standard one where they went through their DVD releases and manga releases along with talking about Shonen Jump Alpha. There wasn’t a Q&A portion because they ran out of time. I had promised Narutaki I would ask about Case Closed‘s digital release status (it had been announced at Fanime as volume 1 coming out in June) so I asked one of the reps afterward and he said it should be out soon after being a little surprised it hadn’t already been released.
Part of the academic circuit, “What Do Fans Do, How & Why?” featured three different presentations relating to fan activity. The first was Alex Leavitt and Andrea Horbinki about their paper called “Even a monkey can understand fan activism“, which focused on a particular anti-Bill 156 doujinshi and the potential for the Japanese doujin community to engage in political discourse.
Next was O.K. Keyes about the American Shoujo – in her words, “an adolescent female who can go on an adventure and is not restricted by typical gender norms nor rejecting them”. She gave examples of series including Powerpuff Girls and The Legend of Korra that have such characters. Last was Evan Jones about catalog sounds in Sunrise mecha series and how fans identify those sounds as they recognize them.
The last panel I attended at the convention was MangaGamer’s and even though I don’t play visual novels, it was fun to laugh along with the panelists at some of their newly announced titles like Boob Wars ~Big Boobs vs Flat Chests~.
That night, I watched some summer anime with my hotel roommates: Arcana Famiglia, Tari Tari, and Humanity Has Declined. I liked the last two while Arcana was sort of boring.
I liked this year’s AX despite having to walk around the X Games to get to the con center. A big part of that enjoyment was hanging out with people like Eternal, ToastCrust, Inushinde, Amoirsp, and kevo among others. I’ll probably go again next year but that may depend on the guests, special events like concerts and a few other things.