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:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.