AX 22 Post-Thoughts #6 – That’s Entertainment

August 27th, 2022 in Anime Expo 2022, Rants by

In years past, I avoided the Entertainment Hall, as I felt it was just a place to go to play customizable card games. I could not think of anything more wasteful than to purchase a four-day pass and then, come into this location and play Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon non-stop. Why buy such an expensive pass? I know you can find a card room of sorts closer to where you live (up in my neck of the woods, it’s Black Diamond Games), where you can do all of this, and perhaps WarHammer 9000 or whatever it’s called (“It’s over 9000!”) and not shell out that caliber of money you would to be at an Expo. But I was drawn in for other reasons.

I went to a panel for the Disney Twisted–Wonderland game, where the villains from the Disney movies were the theme for the ‘houses’ of this academy. It’s like Harry Potter, but it’s a School for Villains. The ONLY reason I went into there is that I wanted to get a snap of an Ariel photo (yes, I am not only a hopeless Arielholic, I am also OG, coming up to her back in September of 1989).

So, I went in to see things, as I was between events. Now, as I had originally surmised, there was a ton of CCGs going on. If you looked at your Expo guide, you had a chance to learn how to play these certain games, as many of the companies would let you play the games there (the “My Hero Academia” one was a hot item) to try and get you hooked. The company that makes Yu-Gi-Oh had a massive display of at least new cards coming out over the next year, or perhaps ALL the cards available (it was a huge location.) There were also arcade games (courtesy of Round 1) and eGaming tables, so you could try your hand at, say, Mortal Combat or something like it. But there was a whole lot more.

So, all the major players were there (Aniplex, Konami, BanDai, BushiRoad. Even Studio Ghibli made an appearance.) But this was also the place to go to if you needed to do a CosPlay repair, so you have a safe harbor to make the necessary fixes to your costume without having to do it on the main floor of the main building. Wig askew? Props not cooperating? Things shifting that shouldn’t be shifting? They had all that you might need for your pit stop, with at least a big enough table to do it, and secluded, so you didn’t ruin the fantasy.

What got my attention were the CosPlay sets. Like as noted above (this is the “Apocalypse” set), there were a variety of classic anime locations (the classroom, the rooftop of the school, the subway car, a bedroom, perhaps the Cherry Blossom Festival) where you could inject yourself, in your cosplay persona, to give yourself a sense of verisimilitude to what it is you were doing. And they were very popular, as each display had people waiting to go in.

My biggest beef with the hall is that it felt like they tried to cram in as much as they could, so it reduced the amount of space for traffic flow to the point that you felt like you were at the whim of whatever the crowd wanted to go and do and see. All the gaming venues had long lines snaking about. All of the CosPlay sets had long lines snaking about. All of the booths had long lines snaking about. It wasn’t to the point of being claustrophobic, but you certainly felt the crush of humanity all about you. I certainly do not feel I was able to see all that I wanted to see, but I was tired from rubbing shoulders (and other body parts) with the population of Fresno in a confined space.

I was glad to get free from that, but I did come away with a better appreciation as to what goes on in that location. Just not when the hall first opens, as the rush to get in is akin to the dam breaking, and it went on for some time, watching humanity surge in, to be first in line for whatever tickled your fancy. Gunpla? Really?

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