Anime Expo 2015 DAY.ZERO

If you read my post about last year’s event you’d know how it ended on a lackluster note, with me even questioning whether I’d even attend this year’s convention. Well, I’m here now! Here are a few reasons why…

Panels

Dating the undead!! Ex-NIS America guys are making an RPG!!: The name says it all, mang. Dungeon-crawling, zombies and visual novel? Right up my alley! The studio behind the game, Mr. Tired Media, launched the Kickstarter campaign with a video explaining more:

Turning Your Touhou Fandom into a Career:  I’m not a Touhou fan, but I’m curious as to what “career” the panelists have in mind. Figures, plushies and doujin are the only Touhou merch I only ever see. I don’t know, but I don’t think these products producing lucrative careers. Eh, why the hell not? The fanbase is still large enough to pull in a U.S. convention for the third year in a row.

Manga & Anime Go to Hollywood!: I attended a similar Hollywood-meets-anime panel a few years back, and it was as awkward as it sounds. The Q&A was pretty much fans asking the panelist why Hollywood adaptations always suck, and I’d expect as much from this one, but then I read an article; Hey, Hollywood Producers: Anime Expo Says It Has Your Next Big Project. I don’t expect any big reveal, but maybe they have something going on. Sure, Hollywood as a reputation among anime fans for turning their favorite series into garbage, but maybe they have a plan this time around! And from what I’ve heard Edge of Tomorrow wasn’t half bad, either. (Oh, and you have to love the self-boost the SPJA CEO gives this year’s AX attendance, meanwhile completely not addressing this issue from last year.)

TOKYOPOP <3 AX 2015: (…Guh) So, who remembers Tokyopop? Who could forget the super awkward America’s Great Otaku? I couldn’t sit through it myself, but how about Tokyopop’s CEO Stu Levy and the documentary he directed Pray for Japan? Well, dig out those Tokyopop obituaries and burn ’em, ’cause Stu and the crew are back, baby! Personally, I wasn’t much of a fan or a hater, but I am curious for what they have in store, and then ask the inevitable, “…why?”

Sekai Project Industry Panel with Isuna Hasekura: These dudes blew me mind at last year’s AX panel and continued to blitzkrieg it with a variety of visual novels released since then. This is the quickest I’ve seen any company grow within a span of a year and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store. Also, as the panel title implies, creator of Spice and Wolf and writer for World End Economica will be there. (Which of the two can I complete in less than 24 hours before I leave for L.A. tomorrow?)

Events/Concerts

After last year’s hollow showcase of events, Anime Expo chucked out the goods this years– and they’re all pretty exciting. Really, it’s as if the curators read my blog comments and said “We got you, fam.”

μ’s→NEXT LoveLive! 2014~ENDLESS PARADE~: What’s the next best thing when a group can’t make an appearance for a concert? Have a screening of one! I don’t understand the hubbub of these series. I like the series, but goddamn. As for the screening, it’s a ticketed event, but you get some goodies and a glow stick, so enjoy the calls from the fans yelling at a huge screen. I will be plastered for this. Oh, and as a reminder, the dates for the U.S. screening of the Love Live! movie are listed here. See you there, too!

AX presents MCZ with Special Guest KISS at Microsoft Theater: I know almost nothing about Momoiro Clover Z (pronounced “zed,” you Americans!), but I am a huge fan of KISS! Not quite KISS army level, but they rock, and if μ’s think they’re badass enough to cosplay as them then that just seals the deal, man.

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What brings Momoiro and KISS together together at last? Well, on top of selling the hell out of their name, KISS aren’t strangers to rock fans in Japan; selling out concerts in Budokan Hall and even promoting themselves with fellow merch monster Hello Kitty, but this marks the first time they collaborated with another band-er, idol group. Why Momoiro, though? Passing the sex, drugs and rock & roll torch to the next generation, perhaps? In any case, I’ll be seeing them together at the Microsoft Theater on July 2. Dose KISS have color coordinated glow sticks for each member?
Anamanaguchi And Special Guest Headliner: I was little iffy about this one. Don’t get me wrong. Anamanaguchi create some fantastic music. When I heard they were performing during Anime Expo I thought, finally, I can see them live. It was when I actually looked at their live concert footage on YouTube that I started to get cold feet:
I’m a dick, I know! But man, when I pay 30 bucks to see a live act perform I want to see more than just them starring at their feet. The flashing lights and anime girl hologram is cool and all, but I appreciate when artists show that they’re feeling what the audience is feeling, you know? Then again, I love shoegaze music and, well, they call it shoegazing for a reason and Anamanaguchi does a hell of a lot more than that by comparison. What pushed me over was the “special guest headliner” that was promoted with the event. Since anime streaming service Crunchyroll was presenting the event and asked fans who this surprise guest could be, I made the best educated guess I could muster:

 I finally figured, what the hell, I’ll take the nosebleed seats. If the concert turns out to be awesome I’ll at least get good ambiance at the back of Microsoft Theater. If not, I can take solace that I didn’t pay that much and hope the bar is nearby. If you want to get drunk and watch a cool act (?) on July 3, grab you tickets here!
Cool Japan Festival featuring WagakkiBand & IA: Can’t get enough them Vocaloids,, man, I tell ya! I’m not as familiar with IA as much as her Vocaloid counterparts, though. All I know is I preordered a rhythm game on the PS Vita featuring her music over a year and a half ago and it keeps getting pushed back. That aside, I’m always down for hologram concerts with lasers. Wagakkiband also looks like a cool group and I’m always down to rock out to a shamisenNo better way to celebrate Independence Day!

NISA’s Dood Quest (Booth #911): NISA are the stars every year as far as game company appearances. Seeing fellow attendees still wearing Prinny hats reminds me of good times, I’ll tell ya. This year, NISA are doing a scavenger hunt. I’m not good at these ’cause I get distracted easily, but this should be fun and easy since Prinnies are not hard to miss.

This is just the surface of what I’m looking forward to seeing this year at AX (laying out my plans here would take me a whole day to write up, and I haven’t even looked at everything that’s going on yet!). I’ll write a post post-con of what goes down, but feel free to feel my sweaty and smelly weeaboo con experience vicariously through my Twitter account.