The co-founder of last year's rocky Japan Expo 1st Impact talks about all the dramatic changes to this year's event, what went wrong last time and what to expect from this year's show at the San Mateo Event Center.
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Weird Stuff Episode IV: A New Hope
by Zac Bertschy on Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:31 pm
Well, it’s the last day of the show, so that means this is the final installment of Weird Stuff. Let’s get right to it!
Sunday is usually the last day of the convention, and one time-honored tradition con attendees always adhere to is celebrating the final day of the show by not coming at all. Here you can see said celebration already taking place in the exhibit hall.
One of many goth clothing booths on the dealer’s floor, this one is called “Timeless Trends”, presumably because goth fashion has not changed in any discernable way since 1982 or so.
D3 Publisher, distributor of fine products like Naruto: Path of the Ultimate Hokage Battle Ninja Academy Strike Force 3, which everyone is saying is WAY better than Naruto: Path of the Ultimate Hokage Battle Ninja Academy Strike Force 2.
You know what I love? STAR WARS
YEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH THAT’S RIGHT, STAR WARS
I LOVE STAR WARS SO DAMN MUCH I WANT TO SEE STAR WARS COSPLAY AT AN ANIME CONVENTION
SO HEY THANK GOD FOR THESE GUYS
The manga library. I find the concept of the manga library funny; pay $60 to get into an anime convention, and then proceed to sit in a quiet room and read a book with a bunch of other loitering teens. One thing’s for sure: the AX manga library perfectly captures the feeling of walking through the manga aisle at Borders.
God damn, Jackie Dosai freaking loved Coconut Bubble Sex Cosplay.
Me, I just love Coconut Bubble Sex. Google it, but not at work.
This is an increasing trend that frankly disturbs the crap out of me. Cat ears are one thing, but the fox tails are taking it too far. We can’t let the furry menace invade our culture any further than it already has. This is a few dangerous steps away from fursuits with conveniently placed flaps being acceptable at anime conventions. We can’t let that happen, people.
These people had gathered together for the sole reason of singing “What Is Love” and showboating in the hallway. Groups of people collectively attention whoring has also become incredibly popular at anime conventions. Here’s a tip for anyone considering doing something like this in the future: don’t. Please.
This guy isn’t actually cosplaying as anything, he just raided a Hot Topic and then came to the convention. There were a surprising number of people who appeared to do the same thing.
These booths selling replica swords are at every convention in the country and they always crack me up. Hey kids! Here’s your chance to be “that guy” with the cheeseball replica swords mounted on the wall and a kimono secretly kept in the closet, praying every night to one day obtain a kawaii Japanese waifu who could don the garment on “special occasions” and massage your back while you watch Kanon.
And finally, this is the Anime News Network booth. We used it as a makeshift workstation, in effect turning ourselves into an odd zoo exhibition where people could view real live editors at work. Here, we see lovely and talented Evan Miller on the left, transcribing an interview. That happy fella on the right is Justin Sevakis, who just recently gave painful birth to our newborn video player and is still wiping the placenta off. And that laptop in the corner left there? Why, that’s the laptop THIS VERY BLOG WAS WRITTEN ON!
Yeah, that’s right. I just blew your mind right now.
Welp, that about does it for Weird Stuff I Saw at Anime Expo 2008. In spite of all my asinine mockery, this convention was sincerely one of the best-organized and most professionally run cons I’ve attended in my long years doing what I do. We all know last year’s AX was a mess, but this year proves that they really pulled their crap together and put on a great show. Of course there were hiccups – there always are – but in my estimation, AX 2008 restored the convention’s reputation.
Also there were a lot of silly nerds doing stupid crap there. See you next year!
Weird Stuff III: Inferior Third Sequel
by Zac Bertschy on Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:40 pm
It’s that time again!
This is the AX tabletop gaming room. Walking past it is a real gamble; it is obviously the stinkiest room in the convention center. It is believed by some that this room is the source of 95 percent of the unpleasant whiff that is plaguing certain areas of the con this year. A peek inside reveals its inhabitants: proud though they are, people who come to anime conventions to play Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering are unquestionably the nerdiest among us.
A giant pack of dudes in matching dance-team style tee-shirts decided that they wanted to display their amazing backflips and jump kicks and breakdancing moves right in the god damn middle of a crowded exhibit hall intersection in the middle of the busiest day of the weekend.
It’s not enough to showboat your backflipping skills in public, you have to ensure everyone watches by being a gigantic inconvenience.
Attendee registration: $60.
Convention Center Lunch: $17.
The chance to try on a hat worn by countless sweaty otaku who may or may not have contagious scalp problems: Priceless.
I guess this is kinda like those glass-walled sex shows they have in Amsterdam, except instead of European hookers it’s a bunch of nerds playing Dragonforce on Rock Band.
I know which one I’d pay to see!
This is the line for the David Hayter autograph session, wherein the famous voice actor will use approximately 2 gallons of Purell.
This handsome sign is positioned next to the stairs leading down to the arcade; they have a green screen and a camera set up. It’s kinda like those kiosks they have at Disneyland where you can have you and your spouse’s heads superimposed over Star Wars movie posters, except this is about 5,000 times dorkier than that, which is really saying something.
Figured I’d provide some evidence to back up my last claim there.
I think I can decipher what this guy’s thought process was:
“Hm. I know people look silly playing Dance Dance Revolution, but how I can I break the barrier from looking silly to looking completely ridiculous? Wait, I know! I’ll wear this intensely goofy anime hat! EUREKA!”
To be fair though this guy was really good at DDR so he can probably afford to look a little extra silly.
Weird Stuff 2: The Reckoning
by Zac Bertschy on Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:00 pm
Okay, here we are, Weird Stuff I Saw At Anime Expo: Day Two.
I am finding real difficulty in believing that someone took a look at this artwork and decided it was not only good enough for public display but to also spend the money to make the banner and then pay the union guys to hang it in the convention hall. Seriously.
Then again, I shouldn’t throw stones; our banner looks like it needs to be taken through a car wash and flat-ironed.
This is the throng of people waiting to get into Bang Zoom’s ridiculously popular voice acting workshop panel, which incidentally was right after my own “how to review anime” panel. This photo was taken before my panel started.
And here we have an example of how many people actually want to wake up at 10am on a holiday Friday to listen to some jerk ramble about the best way to write about cartoons. Hint: it’s not many.
This is Funimation’s “Ouran Host Club” where you sit with a bunch of cosplayers pretending to be people who are pretending to like you. Here they are presumably discussing why Funimation’s Ouran release is taking so damn long.
This is the booth with the guy who screams YOOOWWWWWWW-EEEEEEEEE! and sells those godforsaken Yaoi paddles teenage girls run around smacking eachother with. If you ever find yourself annoyed by yaoi fandom, surely this guy shares some of the blame.
Hey everyone, spot the HUGE TYPO!
Weird Stuff I Saw At Anime Expo 2008
by Zac Bertschy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:03 pm
Hi, this blog is for cataloging all the weird, offbeat or stupid stuff I'll see at Anime Expo 2008. Anime conventions are full of weird and stupid stuff that never gets reported, so you're through the looking glass now, people.
This year they're offering shuttle buses to take people back and forth from the ridiculously large LA Convention Center to the 10 convention hotels and points beyond, and so far it's working remarkably well, unless you consider that boarding one of these buses means you're crammed in shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of teenagers wearing cat ears rickrolling the bus at the top of their precious little lungs.
This is the back of the head of a very large man wearing one of those little gothic lolita top hats. Note to everyone considering wearing one of these hats: everyone looks silly in them. A really hot girl wearing one of these things is guaranteed to be at least 30 percent less hot as a result.
Friends don't let friends wear these stupid hats.
LOL THE CAKE IS A LIE LOL STILL ALIVE WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE AHAHHA CAKE IS A LIEEEEEE
Never before have I seen a really good video game instantly chewed up and spat out as a bunch of lame tired catchphrases.
I don't know what the Cylon mask is about.
A helpful note to aspiring press: if you want people in the industry to take you seriously, do not wear a Bleach hat covered in anime pins. They will laugh at you.
Look, it's the manga event of the year! Everyone's waiting for it, frothing at the mouth, tearing their hair out!
Wait, what the hell is "07-Ghost"?
SIGN OF THE TIMES #1:
This is the Deviantart booth, covered in expensive plasma screens, displaying the delightful furry anime Star Trek – Lord of the Rings slash fanart people submit to the site. It is a surprisingly decadent booth, one of the larger booths on the floor, for a website like Deviantart.
Meanwhile, this is the ADV booth. This photo was taken during initial setup, so I have to assume they don’t have everything set up yet, but it’s a far cry from what the big extravagant booths they used to have.
We’ll see what happens from here.
by Zac Bertschy on Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:20 pm
This weekend is Anime Expo, the country's biggest (and, in my opinion, best) anime convention; it also marks the 7th time I've been to one of these things, since the first one I attended in 1999.
There's something really special about the first time you attend a convention as a fan - the feeling that you finally found where everyone else like you has been. AX99 was the first and only anime convention I ever attended just as a fan; I went with my college anime club and had saved up around a thousand bucks just to blow on merchandise in the dealer's room. I waited in long lines to watch the 35mm movie premieres, see the Masquerade and the Music Video competition.. it was all so thrilling and fresh.
The year after that I attended as press with Anime News Network... and since then, AX has been a working weekend for me. I think the last time I actually bought something in a dealer's room was in 2002; I don't attend the Masquerade anymore, nor the music video competition. Expo is all about panels and interviews and con reports and securing exclusives and after-hours parties. My hobby became my job, and I had to shelve the notion of being a "fan" so I could become a professional.
Still, every 4th of July weekend, I stop being so jaded and cyncial for a few days and try to remember what it was like back when all I had to do at the convention was have a good time. To this day, going to Anime Expo is a little bit like going home... even if I'm working 12-hour days.
If you're attending this year and it's your first time, soak it all in. You'll only have this experience once.
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