Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anime Expo 2010 Review

Anime Expo has left us and I'm gonna miss walking downtown past Staples Center and Nokia Plaza and seeing others in clothes that aren't considered normal. Ah, to see people in new and different fashions. To see people have a voice through there clothes instead of the same boring outfit. I'm sick of sarcasm and witticisms on t-shirts. I love how friendly a downtown street looks at night with cosplayers talking with enthusiasm about there favorite anime.  Anime Expo means a better LA.

The cosplayers were out and every other hobby relating to Japanese culture was downtown over the past few days. I was able to enjoy just a few activities going on as there were so many. I'll be highlighting some of my favorite activities and what I could pass by.

Day 1

The first day was busy and everyone was excited to have AX back in town.

I got to check out the show floor a little bit before it opened to the public. Big booths were setting up still, planning out what they were going do.

Merchandise was plentiful with imported products and hard to find collectibles shining all around with Otaku glare. Your favorite anime was represented in key chains, figures, t-shirts and fan art of Artist Alley. This is only a small sample of the many different products and stores represented. I really can't list all the products you can find there. There's just too much. I constantly heard weeps about running out of money.
The best panel I went to the first day would have to be the Anime in Stand- Up Comedy. The panel was to prepare newcomers for Anime Expo's Last Comic Standing. The hosts were three and then four former contestants of Anime Expo Last Comic Standing some of which who won. Three comedians were leading a great panel when fellow comedian  who lost contact with them joined them on stage after complaining enough about he's phone not working or not receiving messages from them.

 The panelists gave a few easy lessons of what to do and what not to do on stage. Then it broke down into a mini AX Last Comic Standing where the audience got up and did some stand-up. Most of it was awful and bad Pokemon jokes, but its was one of those so bad it's good to watch kind of shows. Hopefully, the comedians who did they panel just do skits next year. The panelists were funny it just seems they didn't use their talents to the full extent that they could. I want to see more.

Day 2 was practically all entertainment. Shinichi Watanabe aka Nabeshin is a priceless commodity to the convention.

The one in the middle is Nabeshin. They guy stage right is his translator and the women ... hhmm I was there for the whole panel and I don't think it was ever explained what she was doing up there. The panel is like being part of a cartoon. All the silly antics become real thanks to Nabeshin's great fans who get in the spirit of things and share the laughs. This is a must go to panel for next year if Nabeshin returns. This was my favorite of the entire expo.

           The Mell concert was loud and rocked out the Nokia Theater. The fans stood up and remained standing for the show. The show was a mix of some great music in different musical genres. Very poor English in between songs and a drummer wearing a funny outfit.

           I wish the usual staff around Nokia took a hiatus though. People who don't get Anime or Otaku culture kind of bring down the event. They didn't understand and they tried to relate to people and it  was awkward. I saw a lot of awkward moments when staff would just stop talking to attendees . However, everyone working this year was helpful and courteous, they weren't jerks just slightly confused by cosplayers and the event.

            I think the only problems for Expo this year were maybe the times and some technical problems. Some big panels were just to close to each other time wise. In a few  panels there were technical problems.
Kisaragi had to be pushed back for a hour because of this.

          It was worth it though. I mean when was the least time you've seen a play you enjoyed? A play you didn't see on a field trip or in school?
The show head two giant monitors on each side of the stage for subtitles. The entire play was in Japanese.

            Kisaragi was a Otaku play about five fans of a cute idol name Kisaragi. They come together after her death for a mini-expo to mourn and remember her. While sharing fan knowledge they discover her suicide might have been a murder. The actors were great. I loved the performance and I hope more play pops up next year.
             I don't want to get into plot, but I'll tell you the set never changes and the actors managed to entertain a crowd for two full hours. I did feel some of it dragged on, but it was completely worth it for a knockout performance and ending that was so bittersweet it was like having a scrumptious dessert after having a three course meal at a fancy restaurant

Day 3

             The stand out performance of day three head to be Mega 64. The line for the show filled up the West Hall. Mega 64 started of their panel with some insane musical numbers.
They showed around two clips of unseen footage that will never be available online. One of them was a series of phone calls to Gamestop

         Then the show got crazier and crazier. Mega 64 thought people deserved a Q & A because they   weren't able to do it last time or a their last con. This was a so bad it's good decision. I can't fully remember what was asked, but I remember laughing at how stupid people were. The same question was asked and that person was sorely made fun of. Some jerks would walk up to Mega 64 as they left before the panel ended in front of everyone. Mega 64 took it all in stride. Simply put it was just entertaining.

Later that night things got weird in the Karaoke room. The annual Gong Show was going down. If your dumb as my friends I'll explain that a gong show is not a show where they play gongs. Yes, some of my friends are that stupid and thought it was a literal gong show. A gong show is where judges hit a gong when there sick of a  contestant and end that contestants act act. The point of this gong show was to be the best at being the worst.

There were many.

           I saw Zombie girls eating someone while singing in a cutesy voice. A pickachu costume wearing air head who kept laughing through a song. Pedo Bear dancing with Strawberry Shortcake. Many, many horrible things. The prizes were even more horrible as many people donated Yaoi as the prize. I can't really explain why I watched the whole show in the way you can't look away from a disaster unfolding in front of you.

Day 4

This is the shortest day of the convention. Not that much happens. I looked over any place I missed.
I found this in the arcade machine area which had all the old favorites from Metal Slug to Street Fighter and the new ones like Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. It was strange Capcom had no presence this year when they just show a early version of Tasunoko at the last AX.

Anyway I  found this strange as Hell arcade game. It's a terrible send up to buddy cop movies and bad cop shows. The voice actos talk in English and do a terrible job. The best part is the insane gameplay because you hardly shoot you punch your enemeis. That's right it's areal beat-em up. You deck out gang members.

Her's some footage. The game is priceless I hope it can be bough over here or ported to the Wii or something.

 Checking out the card game room or the home console/pc  video game room I realized once again Anime Expo has something for everyone. I enedend my day watching live action Japanese movies. There's so much to do. I'm glad I could go for four days, but I wanted more.