For some people, Anime Expo was simply Line Con, where much of the majority of time was spent interacting with other fans, but in long lines, waiting for one delayed panel event to begin or for the chance to meet an elusive guest and obtain a photo op or, better yet, an autograph. For me, this year’s incarnation of Anime Expo was more of a Board Game Con. Making the drive out to Los Angeles for three subsequent days’ worth of anime conning, only to spend a large chunk of that time playing board games doesn’t seem like a prudent use of time or gasoline, but I assure you it was fun and definitely worthwhile. Certainly better than what I had expected at any rate, if my AX Pregame was of any indication.
Part of that preconception was the timing and content. This year’s Anime Expo comes on the heels of a perfect storm of events, both from personal matters that left me fretting more often than not and from the events that don’t quite pander to my tendencies. So if I looked slightly distracted and not totally focused on the convention compared to usual, well, now you have a hint as to why.
Nevertheless, there were many positives to take away from the whole affair. The Aya Ikeda x CARAT concert featured an act worthy of triggering bemusing musical memetry that will be difficult to forget, especially if I ever find myself at a club, staring at a DJ. I’m sure Yu will have a lot more to say about that. Afterwards, I succeeded in meeting up with Cart Drivers Shinmaru and Inushinde along with a good helping of R1CK_D0M and Toastcrust for dinner at ye olde Pantry (and brought with it a chance to catch up with TheSadeee). Tanto Cuore then became the order of the evening with Desu ex Machina dudes kevo and Usny joining us. I had a strong showing, what with my love building and chambering efforts bearing enough fruit for me to win the coveted, prestigious King of Maids award, much to kevo’s dismay, thereby ending the day on a high note.
The next day was one of panels, and though I was late and failed to catch Mari Okada, I was able to get into the Kick-Heart panel and verify that my funding efforts were worth every single penny. Noizi Ito’s panel, on the other hand, was pretty general and decent, though the only black spot on that panel was the shoddy translator. Oh well. At least I was able to bump into Yumeka and eternal, if nothing else. Without much else to do, I was able to meet up with ashye and pointblanket for yet another rousing round of board gaming. That night’s fare consisted of The Speicherstadt, with its hefty dose of economic intrigue that’s best described as a more intense, no-holds-barred 7 Wonders (really!). Our 2v2 game of Innovation turned out to be a wash for my side though, since the draws were less than favorable and my inexperience clearly showed.
My final day was a lot more interesting than what I would have expected. I didn’t plan on doing anything more than hitting up the Porno Graffiti concert later in the evening. But as I wandered around the Exhibit Hall, I did get a chance to catch Makoto Shinkai on the Crunchyroll stage where Keith Kawamura doing his thing, asking him questions and all that. It was interesting enough and I thought to see if I could somehow get into the Shinkai Meet and Greet at Lounge 21 which I succeeded in doing, with no small amount of help from Omonomono.
The event at Lounge 21 effectively turned into an autograph session, and boy, was I unprepared, what with no shikishi boards in sight. Thankfully, there were free posters lying about and had him sign one of those. I also got a good reaction out of him when I mentioned the name of someone we both knew in common (< 6 degrees of separation, folks!) and that was a great feeling with which to leave the session.
After that, it was Porno Graffiti. I joined folks including eternal and Kurotsuki to wait for the concert to start, and when it did, I began scribbling away. Expect that report out sometime this week, but the short of it is that I had a great time. Exhausted from the concert, I opted to go home instead of engage in more board gaming, and ended my convention experience a day early, using that extra day to do more Animusic Tourney stuff.
People who’ve actually read previous convention reports will know I’m not a big spender, and like years previous, I didn’t go all-out in acquiring material goods. Getting the Attack on Titan Soundtrack at a reasonable price was a no-brainer, but I was most pleased with the acquisition of a Recettear t-shirt. Seriously, how awesome is that? My only regret is not bargaining with the retailer a bit longer, just to keep in with the spirit of the game. Also, what’s with Aniplex and Kinokuniya selling anime soundtracks as though the Yen/Dollar conversion ratio is 70yen -> $1 USD? Get with the times, people!
So yeah. Detox? Most certainly. Quick… thoughts? Probably not.