This year marked my first voyage into the monstrous gullet of the Anime Expo beast, and even though I slew it like the valiant, steel-clad knight I am, it certainly won’t be my last. For whenever there’s a chance of Aria swag and maid card games, I will be there. Anyway, here’s my coverage of this year’s expo, so please sit back and enjoy.
Arrival to LAX was relatively uneventful, though my trip to the convention center itself was a journey worthy of song. Because of some slightly outdated directions and my own lack of willingness to confirm with others if I actually got off at the right stop, I ended up walking up Figueroa Street for twenty blocks before catching a bus to Pico Boulevard. After that, I met up with Kevo of Desu Ex Machina and shot the shit before waiting in line to pick up my badge—a line over 800 people long. So, with my bright pink luggage in tow, I waited for three hours until I had that most important piece of expo plastic in my grubby mitts.
That night I attended the Day 0 dinner at Honda-ya, organized by the fantastic zzeroparticle, and chowed down for a good hour and a half before leaving by myself and getting hopelessly lost in LA on the way back. Because I stupidly ordered a second meal, the trip left me exhausted and I immediately passed out in the hotel.
Nightmarish does not even begin to describe the experience of pre-dealer’s room hours. While the staff did a good job at crowd control for the most part, there was one mistake where they let a huge crowd up an escalator while blocking off every way down except the elevator; why they didn’t just block the way up in the first place, I’ll never know.
Once the dealer’s room opened up, people poured in body to body like a large colony of Amazonian ants and proceeded to swarm the dealer’s room like… well, a large colony of Amazonian ants. Because I didn’t feel like being crushed under the collective weight of several thousand anime fans, I moseyed on over to the Fate/Zero finale showing and enjoyed seeing Gilgamesh’s sculpted figure again on a big screen. The vast majority of questions asked by the audience during the Q&A at the end were dumb as hell, when not just sycophantic or asking about possible Type Moon adaptations, so that ended up souring me on the experience. The day was pretty boring from then on, so nothing more will be said.
My dealer’s room haul for the day was pretty tame: Two Aria artbooks, Apocalypse Zero and Tanto Cuore, which ended up being the biggest time-sink of the whole damn thing. The night was spent building houses and sending card maids to kitchens until nearly sunrise.
Since Kevo didn’t have anything planned for the morning, aside from a janky anime trivia thing that was apparently god awful, I left the hotel with him to catch breakfast before heading down to the convention center. There was a decent pizza place that was open when everything else was crowded to hell and back, so that was nice.
The early afternoon was spent stalking the dealer’s room again looking for anything either terribad or Aria-related, since I’ve long passed the point of wanting anything legitimately good when I can just have it on my hard drive. I met up with Shinmaru and Flomu before having this picture taken with the one and only Peter Payne while in a Lucky Star swimsuit shirt, so that was pretty cool.
After that, I made my way to an Aoki Ei Q&A, where the stupidity and repetition of much of the Q made the A almost pointless; yet another reason to aim for press next time.
Instead of accepting a free ticket for the Fiction Junction concert, I joined Kevo, Shinmaru, and others in playing more Tanto Cuore and unexpectedly meeting up with 2DT, who was every bit as great a person as I expected him to be. While I wish I could have had an actual conversation with him that didn’t just degenerate into “Wow, you’re my favorite person ever” it was still great to know that he’s a coffee bro. Once again, Tanto Cuore was played until the wee hours of the morning. Oh, also ran into a Pico cosplayer who I happened to be sharing the hotel with. What’re the odds?
That ends Part One on a good note, please stand by for Part Two.