“Anime Expo 2013” – A Long Overdue Convention Report

At long last I have found the time to post my annual Anime Expo 2013 convention report. I hope the old adage “better late than never” applies!


Its 8am Day 1 here. It’ll definitely get more livelier later.

So there I was once again at that one US anime con that occurs every 4th of July weekend out here in Southern California. There was quite a considerable amount of guests at this year’s event that I was very eager to see and meet. But you know, it didn’t look that way for many others in the months prior. Going by the comments on both Facebook and Twitter, those who were planning to attend AX were for the most part disappointed by the early guest line-up. Names like Kaya, Starmarie, Dan (no no, not gonna go there), Ram Rider, etc., were not exactly the big-names we have come to expect from a con who in the past has given us such GoHs as Yuki Kajiura, Kalafina, Megumi Nakajima, and Hatsune Miku. It wasn’t until late May/early June when AX began to reveal real notable figures such as Noizi Ito, Porno Graffitti, Mari Okada, etc. So why wait until the very last minute to announce your most important guests when there are those who have to make travel arrangements and stuff? I don’t know. For me its always been about the GoHs, their panels, and concerts that determine whether I’ll attend a convention or not. I remember someone (mod?) saying on the AX forums that its suppose to be a “social” thing or whatever and that the popularity of the guests shouldn’t matter. I guess to each their own because I can do that any other weekend. This experience is more of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (Miku concert @ Nokia Theater!) and we’re lucky enough to become a part of it. But yeah, what AX should do is try announcing their lineup earlier as they have in the past. There’s no reason to hold back. We’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out next year.

Anyway, I just had to get that out of the way first. Ahem. Now lets begin this image heavy report!


As you walk in you’re greeted by a Panzer III ausf J 1/1 scale replica. Its to promote “Girls und Panzer.” From the pic it looks like the staff guy is admiring it.


Some Fate and Vocaloid figures displayed at a booth inside the dealer’s room. The Mikudayo with lollipop is so creepy I want it.


Madoka figures from GSC. Own all of these~. Will try my hands on figure reviews again very soon.


A mix of Vocaloid and Madoka figs. Definitely plan to preorder that Maiko version Madoka when available.


It would be nice to own all these Nendoroids and Figmas


The Bandai Namco booth where you can play Pirate Warriors 2.


Waited in line to try it out myself. Already platinum’d the import version so I wanted to show off my mad skills *catface*


The Toei Animation shop where they had lots of One Piece goodies. This place was pretty busy with shoppers.


Some merchandise that was sold there. Loved the Shirahoshi design in the back.


More anime designs from the show.


The whole Fishman Island theme was pretty neat.


Here in line at the Aksys Games booth waiting to try out Blazblue Chronophantasma. Console version isn’t even out yet in Japan. But a playable beta version was here for us to try out!


If its fighting game related, you know I’m all over it. This is the Lab Zero Games booth where new Skullgirls character Squigly is playable.


Had to take a pic of this sweet Valentine themed arcade stick.


Same goes for Double.


Man there sure were a lot of food trucks at AX this year. Complete list here. Took a shot of this one because I just loved the name.


A contest was held prior to AX where 50 random people would be selected to attend a special Little Witch Academia fan event. I was lucky enough to be chosen. The whole thing took place on the 3rd floor at the JW Marriott hotel. Along with getting up-close and personal with the staff, we were treated to a short documentary called, “How the Magic Was Created: Little Witch Academia Work Log” — which will also be featured on the Blu-ray release later this year. Let me tell you I really felt the emotion those five young animators felt from their hard work during production. From laughing at their reactions to the workload, to feeling sympathy when they struggled in meeting deadlines, these animators should feel proud of making such an outstanding anime project.

Some of the food that was being offered. I thought the LWA napkins were pretty cute.

Cosplay photo-op time

The Guests


This year was a complete success when it came to getting autographs of my favorite guests. Here I’m in line taking a shot of famous screenwriter Mari Okada.

A shot of P.A. Works’ Nobuhiro Kikuchi.


In line for renowned voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue.


Forgetful me left his phone back at the hotel. So no pics of voice actress Megumi Han. But! Here’s a clip of her from the opening ceremony performing Gon’s (HxH) most famous line from the series. So awesome!


Here I’m in line for singer Aya Ikeda’s autograph session, taking some pics with my phone.


Here is how close I was to the stage for the Aya Ikeda concert.


Thankfully some people manage to record parts of her live for those who weren’t able to be there. Here’s a clip of her singing the opening theme to “Heart Catch Precure.” ハイ!ハイ!


This was from the huke/GSC panel. Yes he actually came out looking like that for the entire time he was there at AX.


He also provided us with a live drawing session, demonstrating the different techniques he uses. Panel video found here.


In the pit area for the Porno Graffitti concert (sorry no video allowed) at Club Nokia. This was the place to be. These guys performed such an amazing show. They had the entire audience clapping along with their music, pumping their fists, jumping up and down, and even laughing during their MC segments. The live was so full of energy that I’ll definitely never forget anytime soon. Only thing I regret is not bringing a towel.


Porno Graffitti from the Opening Ceremony.


This is from the Skullgirls panel with producer MikeZ and company. Been supporting this game since Day 1 and appreciate all the positive feedback the project has been receiving over the years.


Classic trailer that was shown at panel. Love hearing all the fans in the room.

Autographs


Did I mention it was a good year for autographs? Received over 20 signatures this time around. Here I have Porno Graffitti’s 8th studio album “Trigger” signed by the band.


MegaHouse’s Gon Freecss PVC figure signed by Megumi Han. ジャンケングー!!


Max Factory’s Black Rock Shooter figma signed by huke.


Shikishi signed by Nobuhiro Kikuchi.


“episode 2” album signed by Aya Ikeda. Um um, when meeting her I managed to shake her hand twice. I’m not even sure how that happen. But not complaining~


My Nameko fan signed by Vocaloid producers KagomeP, buzzG, Dixie Flatline, UtataP, and illustrator Wogura. You’re probably saying,”WUT?” Well its all I had with me because I had no idea they were having an autograph session the day before their panel. But hey I got to meet my hero KagomeP. When I showed him the fan his exact works were, “you like Nameko?! I like Nameko toooo~!” Dixie Flatline said, “Nameko looks really macho.”


EP of Yuki Kaai’s “innocent girl” signed by producer KagomeP. I got this autograph after the “Mirai no Neiro” Vocaloid panel was over. I met up with him downstairs where we got to chat together a bit. He told me how seeing the CD brought back a lot of good memories and how it was one of his proudest works. Since all I had was a pen (a pricey one at that) on me, he used that to sign the single. But he forgot to give it back! Its cool though if he keeps it. We already follow each other on Twitter, so there’s no words to describe just how awesome this man really is.


My copy of “SRW 2ndOG” game signed by Kazuhiko Inoue. He does the voice of Yanglong so I had to get him to sign it. This game was easily my pick for most favorite of 2012. Looking forward to Masoukishin III later this summer.


“Kodomo no Jikan” anime artbook signed by screenwriter Mari Okada. I asked her since the manga just recently ended if there were any plans for a new OVA. She said there isn’t anything planned but would love to work on the series again in the future. One can only hope!


“Guren” was one of the early Noizi Ito’s artbooks I owned that I just had to get signed at AX.


And here it is signed by the great Noizi Ito herself. This was not an easy signature to get at all. Believe me. But she was very sweet to come and visit us. No pics were allowed unfortunately.


Ah these next ones were received on the final day of AX. The Skullgirls cast were nice enough to arrive and hold their own autograph session at the Lab Zero booth. This is a Valentine poster signed by her voice actress Laura Post.


“Tell me where it hurts~”


Filia poster signed by her voice actress Christine Marie Cabanos.


I always play Filia with her Miku color scheme on


My favorite Skullgirl of all. This is a Peacock poster signed by her voice actress Sarah Williams.


Gotta love that sig.


Parasoul poster not signed because Erin Fitzgerald was unfortunately not there. Maybe she was there later I don’t know. But one day I’ll get her to sign it.


This limited edition poster was sold for charity where some proceeds would benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Here is mine signed by MikeZ (producer), Kinuko (Art Designer), Joshua Tomar (announcer), Rich Brown (Big Band VA), Cristina Vee (Cerebella VA), Christine Marie Cabanos (Filia VA), Sarah Williams (Peacock VA), Laura Post (Valentine VA), and Lauren Landa (Squigly VA)

Merchandise


Time for some merch. Believe it or not I didn’t get that many figures this year. Because most of what the dealers had on sale I already own! No joke. Last I checked I had over 600 figures in my collection. Which makes me realize, I really need to start reviewing some. Will work on that. Anyway here are 3 nendoroids — Maiko version Madoka, Yukata version Miku, and Sakura version Miku — that were sold at the GSC booth.


Here’s a lovely Oreimo tapestry sold at the Aniplex booth. The quality of the fabric is really top notch.


Another really nice Madoka tapestry sold at the Aniplex booth. I believe both of these were limited edition.


Sorry but I had to keep those cute napkins. Also there was a black LWA t-shirt I got but forgot to include it in the picture.


Skullgirls 8-ball plush. Its being surrounded by some Jubei plushies which were given away for free to Premier holders when the dealer room was first opened.


An awesome BBCP poster they had at the Aksys booth.


If you were at the Aksys booth and saw this Platinum/Valkenhayn 7-foot banner there passing by, well its now hanging in my room. I was just lucky enough to win it. If you recall in 2011 I won an “Arcana Heart 3” banner from the same booth. Both look so awesome hanging on my walls right now~. However someone earlier won the Rachel Alucard banner that I really wanted. They didn’t even show up on the final day of AX to pick it up. I don’t know who you are, but if you’re reading this, you better take good care of her! I know I would’ve *sadface*

Closing Words

You know now that I think about it, this AX was actually better than last year’s. I mean I got to get a decent amount of exclusive items, meet a lot of incredible guests, and lose myself in two amazing concerts. Sure there were periods of having to wait in line for 2-3 hours under the scorching hot sun for those autographs, but it was so worth it in the end.

Well I had fun and am fortunate enough to share my experience on the blog. Will next year’s con deliver as much as this year’s? Not worrying about that too much now. All I want to do really is sit back and rewatch Aya Ikeda’s Precure Medley performance one more time. That nostalgia~

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26 thoughts on ““Anime Expo 2013” – A Long Overdue Convention Report”

  1. Glad to hear you had a good time =)

    Heh, I’m one of those people who doesn’t care too much about what guests come to AX and I go to the con for two reasons mostly, 1) getting exclusive goodies in the Exhibit Hall, 2) meeting up with friends. I have a lot of friends I don’t get to see any time but at AX, like friends who live far away and even in other states. So that’s an important factor to me. Like you probably read in my coverage post, I’m only willing to sacrifice hours in line for guests I especially like, which isn’t that many. Before Noizi Ito this year, the last time I got guest autographs was AX 2008 XD

    I agree that they took a while to announce all the guests. You brought up a good point about people having to make travel plans, so they really shouldn’t wait so long XP

    It’s awesome you got chosen for that exclusive Little Witch Academia event =D I didn’t even know they had such a thing. Personally I wasn’t big on LWA when I watched it, but I certainly respect it and it’s cool they got to promote it at the con =D

    Nice goodies you bought too. Wow, 600 figures! Do you have a separate room in the house where you keep all your stuff? ‘Cause I’m sure by now you have no room on your walls for those new posters, and probably not 600 figures either XD

  2. Does anyone know the illustrator of the mascot mecha girl with the white swimsuit shown in the first picture above? I like the art man.

  3. Thanks for the summary. I’ll keep a copy of it to remind myself some of things I saw. :)

    I was at the Little Witches Academia event the Marriott as well. That was a very impressive documentary. I’m really looking forward to that BD disc. I also took a bunch of those cute napkins. I also just signed up for the Kickstarter. It’ll feel odd spending $100 on August 7th for something that won’t show up until April 2015, but, after seeing that documentary, I really want to show some visible support to this effort.

    How difficult did you find it to get those autographs? I’ve given up on getting them years ago because I seem to spend too much time in those lines with a good chance of getting no autographs at all. At least a few in the dealer’s room was easy to get when you buy something, but, the main guess looked too difficult.

    Lastly I found the Premire Pass to be very useful to get into crowded panels. Unfortunately the price for it seems to go up a lot every year.

  4. Not a convention person, but holy fuck seeing Ore no Imouto poster and P.A.Works attending those conventions made me jump! Fffff …. I do not want to waste money on this! NO!

  5. As a staff member, I don’t get much time to enjoy the convention, but it’s not like I don’t enjoy staffing. Anyway, due to sheer number and activity at AX, I didn’t attend a single panel nor concert, like I’ve done every year. I had Aya Ikeda tickets, but decided to work more :P

    All in all, I enjoyed AX and still got some shopping done. Even without Japan Video Games being there to sell me their Pokemon Center Pokedolls, I still spent quite a bit (darn NISA and FUNimation goodies).

    *sigh* I had to bite the bullet and pre-order The Guiding Fate Paradox LE PS3 game from NIS America to get Noizi Itou’s autograph. Still happy I got the autograph though.

  6. oh thank you so much!
    Been wondering about it for weeks!

    ah, so it’s related to Danny’s…no wonder the style looks familiar.

  7. Same I also had to preorder Fate Paradox for the signature. Don’t know anything about the game except for the main angel making a dlc cameo in Disgaea D2 lol.

    JVG yeah that’s who was missing. I try to buy their pokedolls as well :)

  8. I liked how their new policy with autographs were this year. You just had to show up really early to get a voucher ticket with a number that saves your spot in line. Of course it helps having the Premier pass since your group is first to enter the Exhibit Hall on all four days. That helped in getting those autographs a lot compared to years past.

    Yeah the price increase for Premier is ridiculous. If it reflects the increase in attendance overall then fine, but why cut our discount renewal from 20% to 10% as well. Still I’m glad I was able to reserve mine before it sold out.

  9. Yes I actually have a separate room that’s holding all my stuff atm lol. When I get a bigger place, I’ll have everything displayed all nice in a glass case =)

    Wow sounds like AX is a big reunion for you and your friends. Are these friends from highschool and/or college? So nice how you’re still keeping in touch with everyone.

    So you weren’t big on LWA? Well it was a one shot so there’s plenty of room to develop the story further in the future. Or perhaps the overall setting isn’t to your liking =P

  10. LOL, I can still display most of my good stuff in my room (though I’ve had to put some posters and other stuff away). I still love my house but it would be cool to get a bigger place one day to display everything the way I want XD

    The friends I see at AX are mostly from college, like my UCI anime club or from classes. They live in different parts of CA and we all have busy lives, so it’s hard to find time to get together. So AX is the one time of year we’re in the same location and can set aside time to meet up (though even then we can’t always spend as much time together as we want). And then there are the friends and bloggers I’ve met online that come from out of state. It’s fun meeting online friends in real life =)

    I actually wrote my full thoughts on LWA on the post before the AX one. But yeah, I certainly think it has potential if there are more episodes XD

  11. amazing work :D

    and wow 600 figures??!? how do you do it? O__O

    it was really nice to see Megami Han there! didn’t know she was the daughter of a famous voice actor(sorry not familiar with Keiko Han T__T)

    even though i wasn’t able to back up Little Witch Academia, i already plan on buying the BD day 1 just for being extremely hard work and making this happen ^^

    btw do you bring figures to get it signed(and if you do, don’t you need tons of bags to pick up?) or do you just buy the ones that are in the convention and let them sign whoever is the guests for that product?

  12. The figures I plan to have signed I already own before going to the con. I have a separate luggage just for that. Since my hotel room is a 5 minute walk from the venue, I could just drop off my stuff there easily. It would be a real drag having to carry all that merchandise with me throughout the day lol.

    Glad to hear you’re supporting LWA =)

  13. Premier for 2014 sold out already? Glad I bought mine then.

    Hearing that there were 61,000 unique attendees this year (of which I wonder how many were free to industry, etc.), maybe they are on to something. Given this year’s guest list, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the numbers actually went down slightly.

    Given what you say about how autographs were handled this year, I think I’ll make a greater effort in getting more next year. Might bring some merchandise to get signed, etc.

    Lastly, I think I need to look into better ways to stay informed during the con itself. The suggest app, tweeter feeds, etc., did not work out at all. It’s amazing how little I got done this year, despite being at the con for very long hours and having tickets and premiere access to reduce line waits.

  14. I’m so jealous you got to meet Dixie Flatline. He is literally my hero…
    Also huke O_O
    I need to try to make it out to AX one of these years.

  15. This was only my 2nd trip to AX (my first being a couple years ago to see Miku). I went mostly because Master Huke was there this year, and I am such a BRS fanboy I just had to make the trip. Was a bit disappointed there weren’t more BRS cosplays this year, since both Huke and Mari Okada (the scriptwriter for the TV series) were both there. Somebody told me there were a ton more BRS cosplays last year, which
    really sucks for me if it is true. Still, it was great seeing the
    “Girls und Panzer” promo complete with tank, and all the “Shingeki no Kyojin” cosplayers, and eating some real Japanese food in Little Tokyo on my last day there. Man, I need to brush up on my Japanese so I can more easily converse with more of the industry guests that come there
    like all the super cool Vocaloid producers. Found the special Miku performance with the sombrero at one of the vocaloid panels somewhat bewildering and amusing at the same time (at one point I joked to myself that maybe I should’ve found that offensive, but of course nah it was goofy if not cheesy fun). Wonder if I can afford to make the trip out there 2 years in a row.

  16. I know what you mean. The sudden decline in BRS cosplayers left me wondering why when we had Huke this year. So much SnK cosplay instead, as expected lol.

  17. Hmm lets just say its in the teaching field lol. I don’t make much but what I do have I use towards my hobbies. I just love increasing my collection as much as I can :)

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