(Note: Much of my coverage of Anime Expo this year is on behalf of Original Sound Version. So over the next few days, my concert report of the May’n/Megumi Nakajima concert will be written and posted over there to accompany my report of the MELL Concert that has already been posted. The same will go for the information I gleaned out of May’n and Megumi Nakajima’s press conference. I will write shorter versions here though for people who don’t have the time to read through all the text, so you can look forward to that!)
With that out of the way, Anime Expo this year was a blast from start to finish. I started that Friday by bumbling my way into my colleague Kylaran at the Nihon Review and Benu at Anime Genesis and things just took off from there. Most of that day was spent scurrying around from one event to the next without really having much in the way of downtime, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Through it all, I experienced two amazing concerts, one that was just phenomenal and the other of which was just amazing, got a chance to hear what May’n and Megumi Nakajima had to say about the work they’re doing, where they’re looking to go and not go with their careers, and what they thought about their experience in coming over to America and performing before a group of Western anime fans. Needless to say, this left me drained by the time the day ended. After all, two concerts in one day? It’s a good kind of tired though and the only thing I really wish I’d done better was make sure the camera I was using had full batteries before I attended the concerts!
Saturday was mostly reserved for “me time” so I could kind of enjoy the convention at a slower pace. Given my bent towards Megumi Nakajima, I did drop by her panel and stayed for about half of it where I got to hear her do things like sing that “Chou Jikuu Hanten Nyan Nyan” jingle from Macross Frontier and say a random line from Kampfer. I also stumbled upon the tail end of a Minami Kuribayashi concert right in the Exhibit Hall hosted by Manga Gamer. There was also a press panel session with Eri Kitamura and Horie Yui, and I managed to ask one lame question about Horie Yui’s involvement with the seiyuu group Aice5, but the response she gave was sort of what I had expected. I guess that means Sphere will be the seiyuu group to beat for now.
Much of the material covered during that session is more relevant to stuff that the Nihon Review covers anyhow, so do look forward to Kylaran’s report of the event.
And meetups! The world was a much smaller place than I realized as I met Auden Sorlie and Chris Ling, both of whom also write for Original Sound Version and the latter of whom knows Akira from the Nihon Review. Really kind of strange to know that the network is that tight to say the least, and I’d have to say that both of them were pretty chill and we had a lot of fun trading stories back and forth about things ranging from the state of OSV to strange occurrences at a MangaGamer dinner. Also hoping a meeting with a developer over at GoldfishProductions will bear fruit, and if nothing else, I’ve never met a bigger AKB48 fan. Finally, the Anime Diet guys, Mike, Ray, and Rome were also very fun to talk to and I’m looking forward to their videos and interviews. The ones that they’ve posted have been really fun and informative.
The highlight of Saturday was, of course, the big meetup where Shinmaru of UNMEI KAIHEN, Mystlord of THAT Anime Blog, Yumeka from Mainichi Anime Yume, and a crossdressing Keine (CCY) from Mega Megane Moe. No Omo until we were on the way back to the convention hall from dinner though, so my hope of meeting him face to face for longer than 2 minutes has yet to happen. That we all know each other to some degree through online interactions helped make it easier to get the conversation going and it’s great that the people there were really chill and awesome. Also learned a lot by just listening to their perspectives ranging from Touhou to various eroge, to even venturing into Sankaku Complex (don’t ask how we segued into that tangent). With all the enjoyment I got out of it, it looks like I have something to look forward to next year when AX rolls around!
Obligatory loot section. Given that this site’s raison d’etre is on anime music, you could almost say that this shopping trip was kind of a failure. Half the CDs I purchased were VGM CDs though I suppose you could count Yoko Kanno’s Napple Tale soundtrack as tangentially related. I also decided to take the plunge and grab Saki’s soundtrack. Though I wasn’t that fond of it, it’s still good enough to warrant a few listens here and there. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s second soundtrack is more of on a whim; I’d already gotten the first one and was disappointed in how that sounded, but I do hear the second one is better. If Akira Senju’s compositions for FMA: Brotherhood represents a lower bound in the quality of his work, I’ll take it. Finally, getting my hands on the Gundam SEED Destiny orchestral disc is a bonus. I loved the heck out of the first Symphony SEED album, and though I have no emotional ties to the Gundam SEED franchise, Toshihiko Sahashi wins me over every time. Moreso if it’s played by the London Symphony Orchestra. Additions to the review queue? You bet!
That’s about it. This experience was really over the top, making it the best Anime Expo experience I’ve had to date. It’d be crazy to expect any future incarnation of this convention to reach the heights it did this year, but we can hope. And even if it doesn’t, the people I can look forward to meeting for years to come will give me a good reason to seriously ponder going even if the guest list is blah.