AX 2017 Day 5: What To Think

July 7th, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

Interstate 5 is a long piece of road. The US part is almost 1400 miles, from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. If we added the extra parts (when it crosses into Mexico, it becomes Mexican Federal Highway 1; for Canada, British Columbia Highway 99), that extends things another 1300 miles. Lots of time to think about things as the same scenery passes by.

You never go into these things, thinking “I’m going to be miserable”. I enjoy coming to these events, potentially less for the offerings (I mean, I can get Pop! figures at Hot Topic) and more for the spectacle. Cosplay was scattered, in that there was no dramatic winner in things, but “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid” was a narrow winner. Someone came as a Gundam and that was a feat in and of itself. How much time and effort did they invest in this? And think about the transportation logistics. The weather was amenable as it never got too hot, but the crowds were off the hook. (more…)

AX 2017 Day 4: Wrapping It Up

July 6th, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

We have come to the final day and the schedule looks like it….if I can trust it. There are a ton of viewings of animes that seemed to be plopped out. They found a hole in the schedule and you should be grateful. There were some final panels, but since this is also a get-away day AND the Fourth of July, my mind is focused elsewhere. Besides, I don’t know how to handle “Boruto”. I know, you are thinking, ‘Could it be?” Yes. We are continuing the Naruto Saga, seeing things through the eyes of his son, Boruto. They have taken an interesting tack with it, but I still recall getting torched by ‘Naruto’ with tons of filler episodes, so there is reluctance on my part.

We were able to do an orderly egress from our domicile (I think we may have gotten up a wee earlier than the rest of the folks; there were some late showings of movies the night before) and moved things closer to the LACC for a shot at the Vendor’s Hall. The few people in the check-out line with me were doing the same maneuver, as there was a lot to do and a massive amount of walking from one spot to another, so the Vendor’s Hall was not given its due. (more…)

AX 2017 Day 3: Shoulda Woulda Coulda

July 4th, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

One does not normally see unescorted wood on the streets of LA, but, there you are. I must be more tired than I thought, as I forgot a key element from yesterday, but it works in well with today.

I must have been really tired, as I was sawing my own wood and got out late with the family to a day of frustrations.

I was going to see both “Noragami” and season two start of “My Hero Academia”, but they were shifted away for “Kiznaiver”, which I already have seen. “Full Metal panic” was season one, which I have seen, but was told it would be season 4. I was able to get into the Warner Brothers Japan Anime Panel, but it was mostly letting us know that there would be a third season of “Food Wars!” No offense, dudes, but I already knew that. However, they had the funniest fake news report ever. It was trying to be serious about “Keijo!!!” which is a women’s only sport where they try to push other women off floating land masses, using only their boobs or butts. The man tried to make the Vacuum Butt Cannon sound very scientific and impressive, as it attains speeds of 1250 k/hr (A Jumbo Jet can ‘only’ do 900 k/hr). Hilarious and totally ridiculous. (more…)

AX 2017 Day 2: Strictly Ballroom

July 3rd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

A lot of the problems with yesterday’s crowds were exactly what I thought it was: since a lot of folks could only invest one day to the convention, that was the day. It was just a bummer it was also Day 1. Day 2 was a lot better for the venue, but not for the soul. I ran into something that I call ‘aggressive disinterest’. It began with my bus driver.

I found out that the drop-off location was changed from the slotted area in front to a new spot on Pico, between the buildings. When one of the riders complained about it, the driver was angry about the situation, but the person was just in the way, as if the diatribe was just another function of the job and he could have been easily yelling at a tree. Ditto for the security guards about the area. Something was going on and sidewalks were fenced off or stairwells were blocked. They have a job to do, that is that, but if you need some degree of yelling and screaming to make it more personal, here you go. (more…)

AX 2017 Day 1: Flipping Your Wig

July 2nd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

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Although I was really tired after the long, arduous travel day, I did have one last thought before I drifted off to sleep: if I hit up some of the Day ¼ venues after midnight, could I have gotten in, as it is the ‘next day’? Too sleepy to find out. However, the real next day, I just could not get back to sleep, so I got up early. I explored the hotel to see that they had a bewildering variety of restaurants and snack shops, but I decided against that. I headed out instead to eat elsewhere.

It was an overcast day, but we are in LA. In my neck of the woods, a day like that is cold and cruel; here, it’s merely neutral, but I could get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I wanted to get down early to check out the JW Marriott, as the AX is using it as an off-venue location for the larger showings and panels. I managed to take in a viewing of “Astro Boy”. This is the original anime that I saw when I was a wee sprout back in 1964, so it has been over half a century since I saw it last. And my original thoughts then were still valid now: it is a bad show all the way around. (more…)

AX 2017 Day 0: Days of Future Passed

July 2nd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

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I approach this convention with a great deal of trepidation, as it hasn’t been as smooth as I had hoped for. There was the near-fiasco with the hotel room and the eventual demise of the press pass (it seems I didn’t meet the standards, but they were vague as to what part of it I missed). Then we had the pre-trip prep and that is always chaotic, even though I took three days to pack my bags. It’s not the big stuff (like clothing), but the small stuff (like all your medicines and a bar of soap) that cause the sweats.

And you cannot forget The Trip itself. Now, considering where I am, it isn’t that harsh. OK, driving down Highway 5 may not be the finest experience to encounter (especially when a heat wave and Coalinga merge. Oh, for those who do not know, Coalinga is basically the biggest cow patty in the world. You will smell it long before you see it and it is a misery for both nose and spirit), but some folks are flying in from all over the world and a 12-hour flight is far worse than a 5-hour drive (the wife is a maniac on this). (more…)

Pre-Report #3: “Food” For Thought

June 15th, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

Every step in this odyssey is one that tests your mettle. Can you work the quest and not get felled on Level 3? How bad is that Boss Battle? Do you have enough weapons and potions to resist and persist? So, you have the tickets, you have the room, you have some way of getting down there. So far, so good. Now comes a more difficult aspect of it: food.

Yes, where you are located in the downtown area of Lost Angles, you have three major options.

You can take in those ‘modest’ food chains like Chipotle, Starbucks, Subway or any of the local shops that cater to the crowds that descend upon the Convention Center. They even have people driving around in food trucks and those smaller fry-it-right-there approaches. Seriously, there is something street theater about seeing someone grilling up sausages with all the condiments that go with it at the corner of W Pico Blvd and S Figueroa St. That is sometimes more entertaining than a discussion of yaoi manga.

Or………. (more…)

Pre-Report #2b: Running Out of “Room”

May 22nd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night, gripped by some nameless fear that has you jerking awake, flecked with sweat and short of breath? You have no idea what just went down, but it was Six Degrees of Unpleasantness? Yeah, that was me with getting the hotel accommodations. Except it felt like the 10th Level of Hell and it was a lot of my own doing.

I had initially slogged on getting the room when they opened up on February 15th, as I thought my travel agent friend could cut me a better deal. He could not. He called my on Friday night (that would have been the 17th) to say that inexpensive rooms were miles away and of questionable quality and locations. The hotels I did want were more than my mortgage payment for a month! (more…)

Pre-Report #2a: “Room” to Spare

April 21st, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

As much fun as it is to go to the Anime Expo®, you still need a place at the end of the day to store your swag and get a hot shower and maybe even cop some Zs. I mean, you can’t live on Starbucks and Red Bull for four plus days (well, you can try, but you could die). So, you have to think about accommodations.

One the plus side, the convention is of such a size and import that they can negotiate room deals with a variety of hotels in the area. On the down side, it may still be a bit costly to go.

As of the present date, there are seventeen hotels tethered into this Good Neighbor Program. The two closest ones to the Convention Center, the Ritz-Carlton and the J W Marriot (a mere 1/10 mile away) START at $224 a night. Yes, I know, if you get a bunch of pals to come together and are willing to bunk up, you can drive your personal cost down, but that means having to sleep with people who have differing diurnal/nocturnal schedules and what if you get a person who takes two hour showers and gobbles up all the hot water and clean towels? That’s the kind of guy you smother in their sleep and drop down the elevator shaft. (more…)

Give ‘Em the “AX” – Pre-Report #1

January 23rd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

Well, it’s that time of the season again, making plans to see one of the three biggest anime conventions in the world, The LA Anime Expo® (or ‘AX’). This year promises to be different than in seasons past, but much is still fraught with peril and uncertainty. Getting “Hamilton” tickets wasn’t this bad, but it was bad. I will gladly explain, as that is what I do best.

You have to make the commitment to this well in advance, as you need to be prepared in November to make the first sortie and then, you have to stay on top of things, lest it gets out of hand. This was the year that the daughter was going to be a vendor, but things got away from her (as is usually the case). It is rather intimidating to do this, as you have to mentally prepare for it and have the supplies on hand, so I don’t blame her for uncertainty and doubt. I have a hard enough time selling stuff on eBay, much less the intensity of four days of being in Artist’s Alley (and surviving on Subway sandwiches) while seeing tons of people who mostly glance and walk past or worse, make some kind of snarky comment. (“You’re an artist? You can’t even draw flies!”) So, she’ll be attending as a regular person. I am the one with the interesting tale. (more…)