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Anime Expo 2009
Con Sketching

by Evan Miller,

Con Sketching: AX DAYS 2 and 3

A bit of a trunctuated report for DAYS two and three. As you can see, I spent half the day at panels and the other half trying to get out of the stomach of some large-ass fire flower in a pipe. Could be worse though; I'm not being choked by a giant tongue like this guy:


The Media Circus

The area surrounding the convention feels all the more surreal this year. Is it the weird cosplayers? Not exactly: it's the large media presence you see here. The memorial service for Michael Jackson is happening right next to the convention center on Tuesday, and although that's still DAYS away, TV crews and news vans have been lining the block near Staples Center since late Thursday. Police have blocked the street in front of the center as a security measure, which has actually helped the convention: with the street blocked, fans have one less lane of traffic to cross. Personally, I'm just thankful they didn't have the memorial during the convention.

Speaking of distractions...

It was pretty hard to miss this walking north on Figueroa Street from the LACC. They look good, but I still think they scream "WRITE FAN FICTION ABOUT ME."

The Hall

It feels inaccurate to call it the "Exhibit Hall"; the gigantic event hall that holds both exhibitor booths, dealers, and the Artist Alley looks more like something you would see at a smaller event. Reflecting just which industries are making a profit these DAYS, some of the biggest booths in the hall belonged to game companies such as NIS America (the Disgaea series) and Atlus (Persona). The booths held large public events, but none of the noise they generated rivaled that of the Crunchyroll booth, which featured a stage show that involved fans yelling the company name loudly, over and over again. No word yet as to whether this behavior will inspire the creation of a Crunchyroll cult, but they'll face stiff competition from those people that dance in the hallway.

Quote of the Day

"Wow, how American!"

- Anonymous Japanese reporter in the press line
after seeing a cosplayer sporting a dreadlocks

Oh yeah...

If you're looking for Spiderman, he's in the LACC Men's room. Just FYI.

That just about wraps it up. A whole new batch of cosplay photos can be found below - enjoy!

It feels a little surreal that it's already time for Anime Expo again. There's a lot of hyperactivity everywhere, cosplayers can be seen all over downtown LA, and it seems as if all of anime fandom has already squared off into their respective cliques and taken to the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

For me, the realization that things had finally started set in this morning when I was standing in the coffee line at Starbucks. To my right, someone pulled out a can of spray deodorant, and proceeded to spray himself in the face. Sure, it would have been better used if he had sprayed his armpits, but hey - at least he's trying.

Let's talk con, shall we?

Before things got started...

Aside from the gigantic banner overlooking the Pasadena Freeway, AX is promoting the convention with a few "less traditional" methods. The flags that usually adorn the lightposts around convention centers aren't there, but for some reason, AX has posted a bunch of huge ad posters at bus stops around downtown. I'm not quite sure what the target market is here - although it seems like a waste, maybe some stressed out accountant commuting to Van Nuys will see the poster and decide to show up for some anime and dancing in the hallway with cosplayers.

If that guy showed up on Wednesday, however, he may have changed his mind. According to all accounts, registration lines (which were pretty fast last year) were moving at a snail's pace, and some fans ended up waiting over three hours to get their badge. One step forward, two steps back...

Around the floor

The convention's first day saw bigger crowds than usual, if the crowding in the hallways was any indication. Moi de Moix Mois dex Mouse Moid en Mousse a totally awesome visual- kei J-rock band put on a great show, which some fans called the best concert Expo has hosted in years. While the high attendance and positive feedback is good news, the dwindling number of industry booths in the event hall was noticed by even the most casual fans. There are very few big displays on the event floor, and it seems like they moved the Artist's Alley into one side of the hall to make things feel fuller. Whether this will change for 2010 is yet to be seen, but when the fans can notice that kind of a drop off, it becomes a whole lot tougher to ignore the problems this industry is having.

Back to the topic of crowds, I seriously wonder if the Westin Boneventure was ready for what you're seeing here: a line of people stretching halfway around the hotel's massive center lobby waiting to enter the dance. No word on how the dance went, but I have to say that the sight of the line alone had me worried if the dance would swallow the hotel whole and move on to claim other victims (although visualizing that actually happening is a little entertaining).

Quote of the Day

"I have a question for you: you all like Boy's Love and Yaoi THAT much?"

- Yun Kouga, Manga creator
asking the audience a question after she fielded two questions about yaoi-esque themes in her series Loveless

And finally...

Let's give a warm round of applause to this Totoro here. It's... a big square, fuzzy, angry looking thing. Although I applaud the efforts of the cosplayer, this Totoro kind of makes me fear for my life. I wonder what kind of catbus he rides...

Below are some other cosplay photos I've taken in the hall. I'll be adding more throughout the weekend, so check back for updates. We'll see you on day 2!

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