Anime Expo 2011 Detox and Brief Thoughts

Anime Expo this year mostly saw me on my feet as I dashed from one event to the next. There wasn’t much in the way of downtime and by the time the convention was over (for me at least; technically, July 4th is the final day), I’ve found myself utterly exhausted, drained, and facing a whole lot of posts I’ll need to put together over the next few days. Would I do it again in a heartbeat? HECK YES!

As they say, meeting up with people you’ve corresponded with over the internet is the most fun part of an anime convention. Not only do you get the joy of putting a name to a face, the social barriers are greatly reduced, and so, things never really feel that awkward when they otherwise might be. The turnout was pretty huge too. In addition to the regulars like Mike, Rome, Jeremy, and Dan of Anime Diet, Kylaran, Shinmaru, Yumeka, Jan Suzukawa, Mystlord, Benu, and Canon2D, we were joined by the likes of eternal, kevo’, the duo from Borderline Hikkikomori, Toastcrust, Fangzhao, and calaggie and we were even able to re-enact the Madoka fanboy wars which got amusingly heated at times. Also managed to catch omo a few times too! And, of course, I was able to meet up with Jayson Napolitano over at Original Sound Version. Jeez, that’s a ludicrously long list of names and it sure made it difficult to go anywhere without bumping into someone I know.

The hectic whirlwind that was Anime Expo means a lot of material that I’ll be churning out over the next few days, but for those who want a quick rundown, here’s a few brief shots/reactions I had on a day-to-day basis after the jump:

Day 0:

  • Maon Kurosaki seems really new to this whole press interview thing, which might not be a surprise given that she’s only transitioned into releasing music recently (September 2010). Until then, she had been a singer/live performer at the Akihabara club Dear Stage.
  • During the Nirgilis interview, I was caught with my pants down when it turned out that their producer was Hirofumi Iwanaga, the same guy who worked with Rasmus Faber on his Platina Jazz stuff. Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared for that encounter and he came across as being a nice, but busy guy. Still thrilling all the same and I expressed how much I/we enjoyed those jazz arrangements and the only thought I have now is how I’d like to be able to sit down with him longer for a chat.
  • I’ve discovered I probably prefer interviewing producers than artists themselves. They’re the ones that drive much of the process and we don’t really get to see that side nearly enough. They also probably have more interesting things to say (more relevant to my interests at least).

Day 1:

  • Kalafina panel was the first order of the day and that was a bit of a letdown (for reasons that I shall reveal in a later post!). Part of it does involve the level of control the management puts on them though. “A bit” is also a key phrase since I did learn quite a few other things.
  • Nirgilis concert was a half and half sort of deal.
  • Arrived late for the Name That Anime Tune contest. I think that had Shinmaru and I arrived on time, we could have been able to do well for ourselves. Alas, we were forced to play as armchair contestants. Still fun though (especially when the contestants couldn’t identify the Gao Gai Gar theme! I mean, they practically say the name of the show in the lyrics! Hilarity ensues).

Day 2:

  • Miku conference was very informative and I took a healthy set of notes. I really disagree with their execution and marketing plan, but I’ll save that for another post (probably will collaborate with Kylaran on this one).
  • Maon panel was pretty decent and I learned a bit more about her. Some of those PVs they showed offered a nice amount of fanservice in the form of Maon cosplaying various characters.
  • Kalafina concert, like Nirgilis, was a bit of half and half. It also made me wonder about the inverse relationship between the quality of choreography/audience interaction and the quality of the vocals.
  • There was also that Mikunopolis concert that mostly left me baffled/befuddled. Mostly because I’m not quite sure how this concert report will shape up. It doesn’t help that I don’t know most of the songs that played either, so I’ll be hunting online for a setlist over the next few days.

Day 3:

  • My panel was good-not-great. The presentation was marred by video issues and some hefty foot-in-mouth disease when my mouth started going on autopilot during “Mezame” (I do know the difference between a violin and a guitar! Honest!). But the feedback I got back was generally positive and it gives me something to build on for next year (Doing presentations is a skill I really need to polish).
  • Nirgilis panel was pretty solid and the qualities they showed on stage transferred to the panel room. They’re nice, funny, and laid-back and seem to be more open than any of the other musical artists who came to AX this year. You can totally tell since their producer wasn’t sitting next to them, casting a steely eye over would-be question askers.
  • The Maon concert might have been the best concert of Anime Expo if you looked at it from a holistic view. The quality was fairly even on the musical and performance aspects and that made it a great experience. Also, it might have been the only show where I was happy with the footage I took (a Flip is fine for some occasions, but don’t rely on it for zooming too far).

Miscellany:

  • I bumped into Nirgilis at pretty much all the Club Nokia concerts I went to. Should have used their panel as an opportunity to ask them what they thought of Kalafina, but it didn’t occur to me until after that panel had ended.
  • The only concert that I have the setlist to is Kalafina (of the artists who came, I’m most familiar with their works). I’m flying blind for Mikunopolis, Nirgilis, and Maon Kurosaki though, so hopefully someone will post those up soon.
  • I really need to practice my verbal communication skills a lot more.

That’s about the scope of it. Met old friends, made contact with new folks, had a great (if tiring) time. I’m also wondering what sort of economic impact has befallen Kinokuniya since they didn’t have their usual bargain bin for soundtracks/other CDs this year, which means I can’t share what sorts of filthy lucre I was able to purchase because I didn’t buy anything. Them’s the breaks I guess.

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

27 thoughts on “Anime Expo 2011 Detox and Brief Thoughts

  • July 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm
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    I’m pretty glad that you had fun… While it’s not feasible for me to fly out to California considering I’m still a college student… I will probably take a shot for an Anime Convention on the east coast next year before the supposed world ending, which I don’t believe in.

    Anyways, I’m interested on the subsequent experience you have to share.

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm
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    Nice write-up. I’ve been going to AX for awhile but I’ve never really interacted much with the people (other than the occasional cosplay snapshot or random conversation here and there). I should really do more to actively involve myself in the meetups because that seems to be a really fun part of AX that I’ve been missing out on.

    Here is the Mikunopolis set list: http://mikubook.com/setlist/mikunopolis I found it on Miku’s facebook page.

    One thing I noticed is that #14, “Migikata No Chou” is not the right version on that set list. They actually played the Len version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6B5ym-e8x8

    I noticed this because it’s currently my favorite Vocaloid song by a large margin. ^____^

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm
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    Busybody-particle it looks! Great to know you had a fun time at least. Out of curiosity, do you think anyone taped your panel or have some recorded version of it? I’d love to hear it. :3

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm
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    Nice to see you this year again! We definitely had fun. As for the questions about taping, Shinmaru taped it, but it’s missing the last bit. I had my video camera, I should have done it too…argh. It’s ok.

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm
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    Sounds like you had a lot of fun (so wish I could have been there.) I’m guessing the Kajiura panel would have been a great learning experience for you.

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm
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    “the inverse relationship between the quality of choreography/audience interaction and the quality of the vocals.”

    Can you expand a bit on that?

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm
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    Probably the fact that artists who engage the audience tend to sound like crap and those who sound good tend to be unbelievably stiff and boring to watch. I’ve had more experience of the latter though, cause they’re easier to sit through than the former. XD

    And I really like the sound of the Name the Anime Tune Contest! But seriously, can’t guess the Gao Gai Gar theme? I’ve heard it only once, and till now I can’t forget the the shouting. XD I can only assume those there are the younger generation? Cause that sound doesn’t like it was recent…

    Reply
  • July 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm
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    Sounds like you had an interesting time.. hehe.. I say the same thing about the East coast cons I attend, and I’ll be the same as what you would say in doing it in a heartbeat. Just remember con survival.. ^_^

    Reply
    • July 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm
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      @chikorita157
      Ah, money, the eternal issue. But yes, one thing I’ve learned is that it kinda sucks to be going to a convention alone unless you’re a social butterfly or something, so do make sure to have some meetup plans or whatnot. It’s one way to get a lot of mileage out of the convention experience if the events like concerts and panels aren’t enough to catch your interest.

      But yeah, I should have the first of four (!!) concert reports out in a few days!

      @ObsidianGT
      Definitely! That list might make it look like I’m some sort of social butterfly, but rest assured that I’m not! Most of them are just people I know online and it’s great just to be able to meet and really interface in real life.

      Also, thanks for those links. I’m also wondering whether the one listed for #15 is a translation of “Meltdown” because that’s what I’m most familiar with it being called?

      @Rhythmroo
      Who’d have thought that going to 4 panels/concerts/other events each day could be so draining? I guess it doesn’t help that I had that panel to run too. As Mike mentioned below, we did record most of it except the last 5 minutes. I kinda know how I’ll be rectifying that though, so stay tuned!

      @Mike
      And thanks for the feedback/guidance. I see every year as a sort of building process and you and the rest of the Anime Diet crew have done a lot to help make that foundation (as press and presentation) more solid.

      @Sorrow-kun
      Be careful what you wish for! Kylaran, Shinmaru, and I were talking up the possibilities of starting a “Bring Sorrow-kun to Anime Expo” fund :3

      And yeah, that Kajiura panel was quite educational! I’m not sure whether the audience got more out of that or whether I learned how to present better from that experience.

      @crowind
      Jen’s response pretty much nailed it. Granted, it’s not always true since I thought Maon Kurosaki fared well on both counts.

      @Jen
      The Name that Anime Tune was fun and I love silly trivia games like that. And you should have seen the look on the host’s face when they weren’t able to identify Gao Gai Gar. It’s as if he was saying “really now?” while trying hard not to facepalm. Also, the game format worked in my favor since I can name the anime based on song, but I wouldn’t necessarily be able to name the title of the song. My mind is forgetful that way.

      @animemiz
      I really should try to hit the east coast con circuit at some point. That’ll probably happen once they announce some super awesome musical guest that I just cannot ignore. Something on the order of a Nana Mizuki or Lia perhaps.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm
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    Wow you got a footage of the Kurosaki Maon concert ? I was there ! I will not forget the once in a lifetime opportunity of watching her live. Is it possible for you to share the footage you got of her ? Thanks !

    Reply
  • July 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm
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    Thanks for a great panel! You did a wonderful job discussing how Kajiura’s music conveys themes in anime. I already loved her music but now I appreciate it more ^_^

    Reply
    • July 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm
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      @Mark Joseph
      Yup, I’ve got some decent footage out of it all and I’ll be posting it to my youtube account within a week, so you’ll be able to watch it. Just hang on tight!

      @Yumeka
      Thanks! It’s gratifying to know that even seasoned anime fans can get something out of that panel. This sort of encouragement definitely gives me the confidence to do another one next year!

      Reply
  • July 6, 2011 at 3:32 am
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    but even thought you were drained out, you enjoyed it right =)
    that is so great, you met with so many people!

    Reply
  • July 6, 2011 at 11:12 am
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    we were joined by the likes of

    the likes of

    bah! Maybe not last year, but I was there two years ago! I’m a regular, I swear!

    I agree with you on the Nirgilis panel. The band was great, the translator was cool, and the host guy was kind of lame but whatever. I really liked the panel. Especially when so many Nichijou fans showed up out of nowhere (including Yuka!).

    Also, are you in college/out of college/what major are you? I dragged my friends along with me to your panel, and they wanted to know. I also want to know. Out with it!

    Reply
  • July 6, 2011 at 11:15 am
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    Yuki*

    Ugh. I hate making one-letter typos that make me look stupid.

    On a side note, it seems that most people are making multiple posts about AX. Is this the norm or something? I just typed one gigantic, 2700-word-long one.

    Reply
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  • July 8, 2011 at 12:09 am
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    Wow, looks like you had a really eventful AX! The concerts are the only thing I can relate to since I was at our booth most of the time.

    I enjoyed the Maon concert the most and thought it was easily the best concert at AX this year. We were really hyped up to go to the Mikunopolis concert since the ones in Japan looked pretty impressive online, but we couldn’t see anything during the concert. It was really disappointing, and I think the people watching it on stream got a better experience than me.

    Reply
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  • July 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm
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    @Fabrice
    Very enjoyable! I’d love to do this all over again even if I was as tired as I was!

    @fangzhao
    The Oprah snafu during the Nirgilis shall remain legendary. Also, any further questions for the great, somewhat-wizened zzeroparticle about life and career choices? :3

    @Reltair
    Well, it was pretty awesome meeting you at your booth. Hope sales went well on your end. As for the Miku concert, I was lucky in that my vantage point provided plenty of good opportunities to see Miku really clearly. The technology was definitely very impressive! The only place where the live concert beat the stream was in the acoustics.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2011 at 12:19 am
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    I’ll be sure to cheer for you next year if you get a panel again. Maybe it’ll ease up the tension :D…who am I kidding orz.

    Practice makes perfect as they say 😛 I rage at Sony for taking down part 5 of your panel series on Youtube.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm
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    @Seinime
    I’ll find some way to get part 5 recorded and put up. No silly farce of copyright enforcement can stop me!

    Also, I’ll hold you to that first part!

    Reply
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