Anime Expo 2014 – The Pregame Edition

As the July 4th weekend begins to roll around, the rumblings that signal a return into the breach of the North American anime fandom materialize. As usual, I’ll continue to seek out any musical offerings that sate my palate, with varying degrees of success. That said, this year looks more promising than last! Unlike last year, this year’s artists are somewhat relevant to my interests. We don’t have to deal with brand-new idol groups trying to get their footing and instead, get pros who’ve been on the scene long enough to provide serviceable music. There are even a few instrumentalists thrown around for good measure!

So in poring over the schedule, here’s how events are going to shape up on my end over the 4 days of the convention:

Day 1

Surprise! For most of Day 1, I’ll be at work, though that’ll change once the afternoon rolls around and I make an early exit to drive to the Convention Center. I probably won’t have too much to do beyond registration and walking around the Exhibit Hall since I’ll mostly be waiting for the AniPiano2014 concert to start at Club Nokia.

For the curious, AniPiano 2014 is the natural outgrowth of the Attack on Piano concert held in Singapore last year. A fan project at its core, Attack on Piano saw two Youtube pianists, Animenz and TehIshter jam along and deliver some awesome piano arrangements of many anime themes. One of our writers, Jen, enjoyed the musical display and even got the opportunity to interview them, which hinted at more events to come.

That would materialize in AniPiano2014, where TehIshter, along with a few other artists, will be performing at Club Nokia. What the setlist will look like is anyone’s guess, but for now, I’m just excited that anime instrumental concerts stateside run by an independent organization (lots of qualifiers, I know) might actually become a thing. Well, it’s a start at least, and it’s got a lot of ground to make up compared to its video game brethren.

Day 2

Speaking of video game music, Friday will prove to be a bit of an interesting day. The biggest item on the agenda is an interview with cellist Eru Matsumoto during the middle of the day. Eru Matsumoto will be one of the featured artists who’ll perform at AX’s Special Edition of rePlay: Symphony of Heroes video game music concert. In the context of Anime Expo, I’m most interested in seeing how she got involved in this concert series and learn more about where she sees her career going once she leaves Julliard (a world-renowned music school, to put it lightly). Needless to say, I’m excited at this opportunity, since I’ll be expecting more interesting answers than what I might get from interviewing an idol-pop singer!

Beyond that, I am just a wee bit interested in hearing what Director Yutaka Yamamoto (better known as Yamakan) has to say about the anime industry. His work’s fluctuated over the years with anime like Lucky Star, Fractale, and, more recently, Wake Up, Girls. The guy’s got good thoughts, even if his execution falls short at times, and he’s candid enough to make the panel worthwhile.

After that, there’s the Kill la Kill event where I’ll mostly be there for Eir Aoi’s concert. Eir Aoi is one of those artists whose name I recognize (partly because it’s so odd), but whose works I’m just not all that familiar with (mostly because I’ve failed to pay attention to them). Her concert will be a bit of a learning experience for me, so I’ll be going into this with absolutely zero expectations and then just take it from there.

Day 3

Actually a very easy day. There’s nothing going on that really demands my attention, which means I should be able to just wing it with any special event that spontaneously pops up (and that, I’ve noticed, tends to happen a lot at AX). I guess hitting Cosplay Pianist Sonya Belousova’s panel might yield some interesting tidbits, but it’s not terribly urgent if something more interesting rolls down the pipeline.

Maybe this is just a day where I try to meet up with people and get myself into events I have no right being in. Worked for me at Makoto Shinkai’s private event last year!

Day 4

Easy enough. The major event for Sunday will be the rePlay: Symphony of Heroes video game music concert. I’ve been to a few video game music concerts and all have been enjoyable. Although I like to pretend I have a finger close to the pulse of the VGM community, I’ve lost a bit of that connection as far as newer acts are concerned. And rePlay, at least to me, feels pretty new.

Unlike Video Games Live, run by Tommy Tallarico, those many Final Fantasy concert incarnations with Arnie Roth, or even Boston’s Video Game Orchestra, I have no idea who’s behind rePlay or any idea of how well they’ve previously been received. I suppose I’ll be using the next few days to do research, but even then, I’m not sure how much will turn up. The concert, played in a relatively bad venue, will hopefully answer whatever questions I’ll have between now and then.

Compared to Anime Expos in previous years, this convention will be a middle-of-the-road event for me. Not so heavy that I’ll become completely swamped, but not so light where I’m left with a lot of downtime either. The plus side is that even with the downtime, I’ll likely bump into other people I’ve met through the years and so, that alone will give me the opportunity to reconnect and result in yet another memorable AX experience.


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.

5 thoughts on “Anime Expo 2014 – The Pregame Edition

  • July 1, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I’ll be at AX the full four days again this year too =) Strangely my main events this year are tournaments as I plan to attend both the Weiss Schwarz tourney on Day 2 and the Pokemon tourney on Day 4. Other than that, just a few panels, cosplay meetups, and I have a lot of friends to hang out with. I might try for Gen Urobuchi or Yutaka Yamamoto, and perhaps one or two of the Sailor Moon events, but I’ll pass on them if it gets to be too much. I kinda want a chill AX this year =P

    Hope to run into you while I’m there!

  • July 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    You should check out the 21+ lounge…that one group based out of Berkeley will be playing one of those days.

  • July 2, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Yeah I feel like it’s a middle of the road Anime Expo for me as well. I’m really excited about Aoi Eir. I don’t want to get your expectations up but I am a big fan of hers. I actually watched her first live event ever on a webstream…I heard her voice before she even revealed herself in public. She was kind of awkward on that first live stream but she has come really far since then. Anyways have a good time! I’m going to re;play and Anime Piano as well. I’ll probably be wearing a red T-shirt with either a yellow Misaka Mikoto face on it or a red T-shirt with Sakura Kyouko on it and text that says Puella Magi on the front. If you see me, say hi! I haven’t met you in person before.

  • July 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I’ve never been to AX before, looking forward to go one day. I’ve been to VGL, which was an amazing experience (here in Miami, FL). I’ve never heard of rePlay. Please let us know how it was, and your opinions. Thanks!


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