A pretty good year this time around; the schedule was practically fucking empty yet it was actually not bad at all and felt much better than 2012 – minus the fact that 2012 had FUCKING YUKI KAJIURA CONCERT which was awesome (even though it wasn’t in the Nokia Theater) . But aside her and the stuff I bought, last year kinda blew. This time had some cool stuff, some cool people, and some cool panels.
A MOTHERFUCKING TANK;
Sentai actually threw some money down and we got an awesome Garupan tank out front of the convention center – with the Anglerfish logos and all. This was by far the coolest thing there this year – but also one of the coolest things that’s been at AX before too (aside from some of the guests of honor and concerts). It was just awesome, I can’t imagine how it was for non-anime people driving around in LA and seeing a TANK just sitting there.
Everyone knows HUKE, he’s the artist and character designer for a lot of popular stuff like Steins;Gate. He also created Black Rock Shooter’s original design for fun. We actually technically ran into him out of the panel looking at the Garupan tank cuz he tweeted about being at it right when we were, however nobody knows what huke looks like. He’s always fully covered, mask and all even at his panel and signing. He tried drawing a new design during the panel but they started extremely late, plus he got sidetracked showing off his SUPER SECRET texture folder that he’s very popular for in all his art.
My brother got a picture with him and a signature, but I wasn’t able to.
He ran out of time and drew this real quickly as we were all forced to leave the room for the next panel to set up.
Mitsuhisa “Production I.G.’s I” Ishikawa;
Founder of Production I.G. and executive producer on many of their shows. He was cool and I had him sign both an Attack on Titan poster as well as a Psycho Pass artbook. He stopped me as I was walking away afterwards to tell me he liked my Hatsune Miku shirt. He was one of the coolest guests this year just for the fact that he’s such an important person in the industry (let alone the creator of one of the best studios out there right now) and was a fun guy. During his panel he took off both his shirts and threw them to the crowd!
Producer who worked most notably on Psycho Pass, Kimi ni Todoke, and of course – Attack on Titan. We couldn’t make it to the showing of the series with him presenting it, however we did meet him during his signing, and that signing was awesome. Funimation had a cosplay gathering for all Attack on Titan cosplayers and had them all go over to the signing area where Wada was (and a little before he got there). There were so fucking many Survey Corps and a few Colossal Titans too. It was awesome, and they were even having one of the guys talk to them like in the show (“WHO IS OUR ENEMY?” everyone: “THE TITANS”), and they all did the show’s salute to Wada when he came out and he did it back. He was apparently a really cool guy and has supposedly even seen some of the parodies of the first opening. He signed an Attack on Titan poster for me, sadly I had nothing else prepared.
Attack on Titan Takeover;
I’m so glad I went from hating the show to loving it just barely before Anime Expo. The place was SO FUCKING FULL of AoT stuff – but also even moreso of cosplayers of the show. I’ve gone to Anime Expo since like 2002 and I think the number of cosplayers from AoT was even beyond that of Bleach/Naruto in the past. Literally anywhere you went, anywhere you looked, there were at least a couple members of the Survey Corps and rarely the Garrison. It’s no exaggeration – you never did not see them. They were fucking everywhere, and it was goddamn awesome, you couldn’t even take a piss without running into one in there too. It was crazy. It definitely helped that Wada and Ishikawa were there, but I feel like it would have been pretty crazy with AoT cosplay even if they weren’t there – but it probably wouldn’t have been AS insane. Worth going just to see all of them if you ask me.
They’re there every year but they’re always fun, so throwing that in here too. Also, Garrett showed off his Zettai Ryouiki while also giving an example of a tsundere with twintails.
Almost forgot this too, but this was an alright panel. The foundre of A-1 pictures was there and he was cosplaying as Kirito. All these higher ups were just awesome this year, they were all so friendly and clearly having fun, no stuffy bullshit, no ‘I have to be here’, they were genuinely having a blast and made everything a lot more fun. The room next door had Kendo going on the whole time and you could very clearly hear a landwhale just screaming her lungs out the entire time, it was hilarious.
Hatsune Miku / Crypton
They made the official release date announcement for Hatsune Miku’s US release finally, plus they let us hear the worldwide premier of her English voice bank! It was great, and of course they had a moe staff member presenting it. She spoke English pretty well, but what made her extra moe was that she talked like a punk mixed with polite – “…Shit! G-gomen.” It was cute. Super hyped for Miku’s US release too. They played some songs from the newest concert BD getting released in Japan soon so we got a first look at that as well, another one of the awesome holographic ones like they had at AX before. It was fun having a little mini-concert in a panel room though, people were even dancing around and waving their stupid glow sticks along with the fans in the audience of the recorded concert.
The only really negative experience I had this year – surprisingly not from the staff (they were actually really pretty great this year, so good job to them given that’s the first time I can compliment them in the like 10+ years I’ve gone) – was Makoto Shinkai being a prick and only doing 50 signatures total. Yeah, 50 people out of 50,000 people. Thanks a lot, Shinkai, go back to crying about how you fuck up every relationship you ever had in your same-story-over-and-over movies. Maybe it was his people or sentai who made him do that and not him, but fuck him anyway.
Oh and while it’s not so much a negative experience, I was really surprised by the lack of Girls und Panzer and Railgun/Railgun S merchandise. There was almost nothing whatsoever and both are so popular. But, as usual, convention sellers are always a few years behind with a couple exceptions (like all the AoT stuff). But aside Kinokinuya, I didn’t see a SINGLE thing from Railgun, and only saw ONE item at all for Girls und Panzer in some random booth. Railgun isn’t exactly new, so it’s surprising there was just nothing from even the past seasons. Obviously there was THE TANK and the door hanger for Garupan, but that was really it aside the one poster I found elsewhere (didn’t get, too lewd).
And another aside; not a negative – actually a positive – the gaming room was MASSIVE and had just so many TVs and consoles. I don’t really spend time in those, but it was great that they finally moved it from the cramped shithole tiny room it was always put in since forever. In the same room was also a huge area for cosplay photos and fixing your costumes – again, really cool they did this. They even had several ‘sets’ to use for pictures, like one in a classroom, one of a shrine, and so on.
in terms of panels and guests, the schedule seemed pretty awful – yet it was actually both really fun and cool. Every Japanese guest turned out to be super bro-tier and were fun and interesting as well. Definitely was not nearly as bad as it seemed it was going to be, actually it was pretty good in general in that regard. And, I mean, I said they had no big-name Japanese guests this year – but Ishikawa you can’t get much bigger than, plus that founder of A-1, HUKE, wada, and such are pretty big as well. And yeah, they were all cool people who were having fun, which made the whole convention much better. Last year, for example, almost every day (even after something good) we went home feeling like it was mostly a waste – that wasn’t the case at all this year. Even days we didn’t stay all that late we were able to leave feeling like it was really great and worthwhile.
Starting with signed stuff cuz it’s the coolest;
Ishikawa of Production I.G. signed my Psycho Pass artbook. Actually, the artbook is new too, I bought it the day beforehand and brought it again for him to sign it. Easily one of the coolest things I got that year – the combo of the artbook and signature.
Ishikawa also signed an Attack on Titan poster for me. George Wada signed one as well. Originally I was going to have Wada sign a plain signboard (I didn’t have any AoT stuff he could sign) but luckily they gave out these actually pretty fucking awesome posters for free right when you got your turn with him and he signed them if you wanted. The back was really cool too, but I preferred this side because it had the whole main cast. I could have had them sign opposite sides, but Ishikawa signed the same side before I could stop him!
(No picture) – I also got a signature from Johnny Yong Bosch on a sign board. When he asked who I was a fan of I had a spaghetti moment and was like ‘you?’. It was awkward and funny and eventually I just said Vash because it’s the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind with him.
These were free at the Sentai booth, and I thought they were really cute. I also kind of collect do not disturb door hangers (i have no fucking idea why, I just do – I also collect anime themed clocks) – so, for me, these were a great free thing to get. I have the front facing (Gathering Intel) Garupan one on the door for now. Somehow Sentai, of all people, were the only ones really giving out free stuff this year. NOBODY gave free stuff the past couple of years for the most part, but they had these, bags, some booklet I lost with stuff in it, so yeah. Cool that they had anything, but especially something I actually really liked that you wouldn’t normally find for anime.
Mini-clock of Fate/Zero with Saber and Kiritsugu. Funnily enough, I hadn’t watched the show yet at this point (I only actually just watched it this past week, and I fucking loved it), and worse – I fucking HATE fate/stay-night. I just bought it because I always buy some kind of clock at Anime Expo – I never intend to but it happens, and when I saw this little clock I thought it was cool (especially with how tiny it was, as my other anime clocks vary in size too – but nothing this small), so I ended up buying it and adding it to the collection. Now that I watched Zero, I’m really happy I got it.
My favorite thing I got this year is this Attack on Titan sword keychain. It’s just so cool, I’m really glad someone was selling it. Along with that I got a Survey Corps pin/badge and one of those silly styled keychains of Levi (he’s my second favorite, after Mikasa and just above Potatos). Again, with these, and the next 2 things, and all the cosplayers, and wada, I really am so glad I realized I actually really like this show. I would have missed out on a lot otherwise and it would have also made all the cosplayers an annoyance rather than cool.
Some more Attack on Titan stuff – this time, posters. These were fanmade and sold in the Artist’s Alley, I really loved the style and overall quality and look to them – even better than the pieces I have from previous years probably (especially the one of potatos). I was originally just going to get her, but Levi was lookin cool – so I got him too.
But, after getting two of my top 3 characters in the show, I felt I had to get my top favorite too! Different artist, but equally as well done Mikasa poster! Next to her is Reimu – I originally bought her for a friend because he sent me a dakimakura cover of my Biribiri, but he decided to be a piece of shit so it’s mine now. It’s a nice piece, so I don’t mind, Reimu is alright too.
I mentioned it earlier, but only Kinokinuya’s booth had any Railgun goods this year from what I saw. So I got all they had. The top poster is actually a poster made of the same material used for clear files – so it’s got taht nice bit of transparency that makes it look a little different depending on what’s behind it. I’ll probably hang it in a frame without any backing – to let the light through and shine through from the wall behind it. I did that for a Noir poster of the same material in the past, it looked extra good that way.
My favorite of the three though is the bottom left. The bottom two are just clear files, but it’s just so cute. Not only is she the most adorable in that one, it was made in a way to make it seem 3D and it does work somewhat, so it’s cool as well. I also just think the whole design of it is just great. The colors, the little lightnings and stars, and of course her pose and Railgun S art quality and style, plus the font and text in general – it all just looks so nice that it’s maybe one of my favorite pieces of her so far. The one on the right is cute too, and Kuroko is being moe on it as well!
And, lastly, I saw this Yamada for a good price. She’s a prize figure, but she’s actually really good quality and very cute eating her Taiyaki with cat ears on. They had a really nice figure of Poplar but it was like $100 at all the booths that had it. Luckily I own two nice quality Inami’s (she’s my favorite anyway) and now a Yamada. Poplar can wait till a price drop.
Oh! I almost forgot, they were giving out these free pins (and sticker) at the FUCKING TANK too! Go Team Hippo!