Saturday, August 8, 2015

Anime Expo 2015: Overview

Anime Expo has grown again, 90,500 fans came out for the expo this year. That's huge business and awfully impressive when you can count all the big anime distributors in the US on one hand. I traversed the entire convention space from West Hall to South Hall, because East Hall doesn't exist due to poor planning. I found myself surrounded by cosplayers, video games and strange items from Japan.

Taiko drums welcomed friends and myself as well as the hyper-energetic laughter of a fan nearby as the LA Convention Center's main entrance swelled with cosplayers standing nut to butt next to each other on opening day. Soon fans spread out around the whole inner working of the convention space making it hard to move around, if stuck next to barely clothed cosplayers it was fine. If it was dudes in my case, it wasn't as fine.

VGC Foundation

One of the highlights was the first year of the VGC Foundation's extensive playable history booth found in the West Hall. VGC Foundation, which has no explanation of its name online, guessing Video Game Chicken Foundation, had a huge booth of games from every era to play.

I'm not sure what if any history or explanation of the games was taught there. Friendly staff let you play a huge assortment of games across time on consoles of every generation. This was easily a fun spot to play with friends and just enjoy the feeling of an arcade. There was no one to discuss the games, explain the history behind them or anything about the future of them.

It had a few glass booths with parts of consoles, other than that it was just a place set-up to play games and remind people of nostalgia or download emulators of older games.

From their Facebook page their motto is : VGC Foundation is a California Nonprofit Corporation that educates the community the History and Safety of Video Game and Computer Technology.

I'd have to disagree on its two main points and hope they have a clearer idea of what they're trying to do in the future. Safety of video games makes even less sense? In reference to what, MA titles? The say online gaming, but I see no reference online to them teaching any safety or much about them before AX 2015.

What can be positively said is they got people to come together and play video games in an open setting and let them compete and teach one another on their own.

My only advice, don't ever team-up with LA Game Space you guys, they took everyone's money and haven't done anything with it.

Mega 64

Mega 64 brought the mirth in silly costumes and special clips. The entire gang made it to the show, which hasn't happened in a few years. The hilarious online group that makes fun of games showed a special clip of a never-to-be-shown other version to the Nintendo World Championship video they made online. In this other version, the child that replaces Reggie never existed and was all in his head, and ends like an episodeoriginal video here. The audience nearly died from laughter before the Mega 64 crew did the usual Q & A.
of Are You Afraid of The Dark. See the

Artist Alley

This unstoppable force of artists keeps growing. The line blur between booths in the main hall and this selection. Many of the work looks good enough to hang in any LA Pop Culture shop. Others might start looking for work elsewhere.

Sarah Hall said, "I have a self-policy: Make things that you love rather then, oh, I know it's gonna sell." That was as I perused her assortment of double-sided keychains making fun of anime, cartoons and video games. One side may look normal the other might be the reverse of the character. For Wario, it's simply his butt farting, with a green gas bubble.

Sarah was one of many artists that soon put up sold out signs in artist alley. And I must say for Sarah her worked looked as professional as you would get from any distributor online or in store.

Dem Ukiyo-e Heroes

Jed Henry, whose art has been featured on the site often, had his own booth on the show floor. He seemed a bit dismayed, saying he sold more in the time he visited other conventions. "It's like a
mini-convention at those shows," Jed was talking about the times he visited Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra for his own two shows and for the shows of friends.

Jed was happy to relate that he plans on having a video game out with his artistic skill sometime later this year or next year. Edo Superstar will be out for mobile, some day. With the concept of touch based brawler, I wonder what it'll play like and look like when finished.

Jed we'll have to consider coming back it was his first AX.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Panel

Warner Home Video had some mess-ups that made us all miss the blood shed and hilarious to hear  British accents that they dubbed the first season on Jojo's Bizarre Adventure when they tried to show two episodes. It was hard to care about the first season just coming out as Crunchy Roll just ended it's run of the second series, Stardust Crusaders. That was until I watched it and the promise of twenty-six new episodes.

JoJo Bizarre Adventure is a sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, action manga that has gotten much love in Japan. It's hard to wonder why only in recent years that it's gotten an anime as it's as old as Dragon Ball. The series were just getting now came out in 2012.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure was suppose to come out on DVD by now, but has since been pushed back.

Naokatsu Tsuda, director of the anime was in attendance alongside the American dub voice of Ben Diskin, who voices Joseph Joestar. Oh my God! * It's a catchphrase that's already been trending online. You should see more of it if the second series gets dubbed.

It was shouted out alongside the special guesta posing for us. The style of the series is much different of other animes with violence alongside over the top poses in abstract positions from muscly men. Imagine Sailor Moon poses on dudes in over-the-top costumes.

When asked by the audience if we could look forward to another series Naokatsu Tsuda said it all depended on the fans and the producers. He would love to do it - there's tone of material and the JoJo name passes on to an new generation in the manga, which is still going.


No League of Legends this year, maybe they have to devote time to their own conventions. So many booths were at the event anyway.

Namco Bandai  had many games that looked lazily brought to America. I mean, no dubbing and subtitles that weren't transcribed to be more like their American counterparts. Goku sure seemed like a hillbilly, the way he does in Japan in J-Stars Victory Vs+. Talking about Goku, Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden was hardly playable. How do you screw up a 2D Fighter. Namco found a way.

*It's odd to mention, but amazing when you think about Namco Bandai in the states as being a massive failure as a company in content. A few years back their American anime division died to their incompetence . Yet, in Japan they're one of the most powerful companies in anime because they make the toys for the shows. Namco Bandai name over here on the other hand is synonymous with poorly made garbage titles.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls was playable at the NIS America Booth. We love the concept of homicidal robotic teddies killing adults so only kids can take control. Actual game-play was nothing to write home about. It's fun to make up a great story, if you make a girl shooting a laser/hack gun not fun, it's over.

Persona 5's demo line wrapped around the booth. The very odd Persona 4:Dancing All Night had takers too. Why go through an RPG  battle when you can dance to music? This rhythm game for Vita comes out Sep. 29.

Capcom was sure to show off Street Fighter V with no new games. I'm afraid for the future of a company the solely believes it can stay afloat with Monster Hunter and one fighting series while releasing remixes and collections. Nothing else of note, like it's been for the last few years.

For the most part a usual AX. Some of the concerts brought in a huge amount of fans. I asked multiple fans why they went to the concerts. The mostly answered that there was nothing else to do and they had no recognition of the bands or singer.

If anything the community remains the main reason to attend to meet other anime fans, find new anime and maybe go to the late night night panels if you're old enough.

Voice Acting with Hentai, dare I say every night panel needs more room. Fans are waiting long times to see some very naughty stuff and laugh at it. You're denying these fine fans some really inappropriate humor among those 18+ that is skewed for an anime fan.

More panels, more adult panels and more talent from Japan needs to come. As AX grows in fans it must provide better reasons to come out. It's too limited now.

I see so many fans turned away when a room feels up, there should be another panel for them to enjoy. AX grow with your fans, you're made up of them.