Con Report: Anime Expo 2016
I did it. I went to Anime Expo.
I wasn’t sure what to expect other than being the biggest anime con in the US, but wow. Flying from Chicago all the way to LA was totally worth it. AX has so much to offer. Acen’s got nothing on this.
Here are some of my highlights:
- Anisong World Matsuri concert. This event lasted for 4 hours. That’s the longest concert I’ve ever attended. I was skeptical at first since this consists of multiple artists on the same stage which would mean, possibly no support/background band. But surprisingly and thankfully, there was one! What a well done job they done. Full props to them for memorizing all those songs and enduring 4 hours of performance. This entire concert was held at the Microsoft Theater. My favorite lineups were T.M.Revolution, Aoi Eir, and (shockingly) Jam Project. Hearing Aoi Eir again in its rightfully deserved performance was a treat for me because her Acen concert was lacking the background band making it feel less authentic by using pre-recorded garbage. T.M.R was just intense. His songs were the gateway for Japanese music for me. It was kinda odd to hear the Valvrave OP songs without Nana Mizuki being present, so her pre-recorded parts came in. Jam Project, a band I never cared for, actually gave a performance worth the hype. One Punch Man OP was among the set list as well as some Super Robot Wars songs.
- The premiere of Makoto Shinkai’s new anime film, your name. What a lovely, exquisite film. Within the first 5 min, I was hooked by the heavenly visuals. The lighting and the color gradients, oh my gawd… I forgot this guy is the master of scenery porn. Aside from that, the execution on the premise is well done. While some typical cliches are used, the timing on those felt refreshing. Unlike Shinkai’s previous works, this one isn’t depressing or melancholic throughout. There’s a decent balance of comedy, sadness, and crowd pleasing moments that makes this movie standout more than his previous ones. The audience in this premiere were very respectful and reacted at the most appropriate moments. The man himself was at the front stage before the showing and afterwards. Little that we knew, Shinkai was actually walking around the room observing our reactions to the movie. I can’t wait for the bluray release, it’s a day one buy for me. If there’s a theater showing locally, I’m game.
- Animation industry panels. Rather than seeing publisher industry panels all the time, it’s like a breath of fresh air seeing the source of the shows. Due to conflicting schedules, Production IG and Studio Trigger were the only ones I could attend. IG was very underwhelming since there was only one host and a GitS live action producer as a guest. Trigger though had legit animators there which was awesome. Their live drawing sessions was interesting to watch.
- Exhibit hall and artist alley was mind blowingly huge. It will take 2-3 con visits to conquer it all.
- So much to do in all 4 days.
- So many cosplays.
- Lines were decently organized.
And low for the low points:
- Missed some panels due to “full room.” The Sunrise Gundam panel line was cut off because of that and yet, taking a peek at the room, they had so much space in the back that could fit at least 60 more people.
- So many schedule conflicts. This has got to be the worst. So many panels to go to, however so many collisions.
- Overwhelming crowd. I almost passed out from claustrophobia. This also made things difficult for me use my camera to film various things.
- No mail in badges, really?
- Annoying fangirls (and fanboys?) at the Tales of Zestiria anime premiere.
I’m very tempted to go next year now that they announced it’s going to be 5 day convention. However, special guests are still the main deciding factor. This con is a must for all anime fans, at least once in a lifetime.