(NOTE: I'm going to be talking about some stuff that may not make sense to you if you know nothing about anime or fighting games, so I apologize if none of this makes a lick of sense. . . but then again, why would you click on this post anyways?)
Truth be told: I had no intentions of being at Anime Expo this year.
Despite people assuming that I'm a huge "otaku" since Dissect My Brain is in a "manga" style, most anime made after 2000 just seems to not connect with me, so I'm not what someone would call a "dedicated fan" of the genre.
I had been going on and off since 2001, meaning that I've been at this event for the majority of summers spanning over a decade now. Every year, something always seemed to happen that ruins my overall enjoyment.
However, once news got out that the "godfather of Mega Man" Keiji Inafune was going to be at the event this year, I decided on going. My brother, Jon, had a free hotel room near the convention center, and one of my close friends, Gerald, would be staying with us, and would help out with the expenses.
I figured with all the stars aligned and we're all pretty much older, responsible lions, I figured not much could go wrong with this event.
So here it is. Here's a quick, "random notes" edition of Anime Expo for The Moon Jelly House of Fun this year.
DAY ZERO - REGISTRATION DAY
- Anime Expo was having some technical difficulties, so there was delays in registration. We were in line for over 5 hours. To those familiar with the geography, the line went from the front of the LA Convention Center and actually had to be expanded to other side of the street. Gerald, Jon and I were underneath the 10 freeway for a long time. Made various skateboard trips to get food and mind-numbing entertainment.
- Found my old MP3 player and didn't realize that I had deleted most of what was on it. I listened to these albums on repeat:
* Ugly Duckling - "Fresh Mode."
* Elliott Smith - "Elliott Smith" (Self-titled.)
* The Hives - "Veni Vidi Vicious"
* The Flaming Lips - "At War With the Mystics"
* Hospitality - "Hospitality" (Self-titled.)
* Evangelion 2.0 "YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE" OST (Discs 1 & 2)
* The Strokes - "Is This It?"
- Went to Little Tokyo right after. Had a curry and beer at Kouraku. Afterwards, played some games at the barcade, EightyTwo. My kind of night, to be honest.
- Went to the NiS America panel. Never won a raffle before in my entire life, and I finally did. The prize was a poorly received video game on a console I don't own: "Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection." From my understanding, the game is a spinoff of an rpg series. In this game, you take one of a selectable cast of girls, and lead them into pop idol stardom. Weird concept for a videogame, but obviously not the weirdest. I'd be willing to try it out if I had the means.
- Walked the dealer hall and bought nothing.
- Ate at Manna Korean BBBQ for dinner. It's a classier joint than the other kbbbq places I go to, but I'll admit that my favorite thing was the mountain of potato salad. I thought it was kind of funny that they have this giant screen that automatically displays any tweets posted to their twitter account. None of it is screened. You can post all sorts of crazy things to @mannakoreanbbq, and it would show up on a display monitor.
- I got asked quite a bit about the Moon Jelly House of Fun, "Background Character" T-shirt. I probably should've done the smart thing and printed some of these to sell, but I sadly didn't.
- Went to a manga workshop. Eiji Otsuka was the professor. He's a very knowledgable guy who learned all he could from Shotaro Ishinomori, who is one of the most credible names in regards to Japanese comics. He's more in-line with the theory that comics should be cinematic, and as such, the writers/artists should treat themselves more like a filmmaker. If I were taking his class in Japan, he'd expect I'd have done 500 pages in three to four months. (Yeah, that's not going to happen.) Also, as a project for his students, he actually makes them storyboard their work, draw out their work as a finalized comic page, and lastly, has the students film their work. Crazy stuff!
- I got around to playing Guilty Gear Xrd, and naturally I played as my favorite character in the series: the anchor-wielding, dolphin-summoning May. In my opinion, Guilty Gear was the last of the what I consider to be the "golden age of fighting games," and May is the last great charge character. I got paired to play a "Best of 3" with some really awkward guy. Not much to say about playing Guilty Gear Xrd; it's definitely a Guilty Gear game. It feels a bit slower, and May's new sweep attack seemed to mess up any semblance of what I used to do in previous Guilty Gear games. Regardless, I beat my opponent decisively via high-definition dolphin attacks.
- Ate at Smashburger. Pretty awesome burger, but my favorite part? They seriously take less than 5 minutes to make a burger that's of so much better quality from other similar burger joints.
- Went to the JesuOtaku panel titled: "Review Anime and Get Internet Famous." To give you some context, I have seen some of her reviews on "That Guy With the Glasses," but I would be lying if I said I had seen the majority of what she had done. She's always has a well-thought, well-spoken opinion on things, which, even if you don't agree with her, you can see where her logic comes from. I do prefer her later, current style which is more journalistic. Her older videos had skits and cosplay, which definitely should be commended for the effort, but at the same time, it didn't seem to mesh well with the serious, analytical approach she would take to dissecting shows. (Of course, this is just my opinion.)
But moving on, I actually ran into her at the dealer hall before going to her panel. . . or should I say, she ran into me? (Literally. She wasn't looking and bumped into my skateboard.) At the panel, she spoke very honestly about the whole experience of "internet fame," and how it seemed to be working for awhile, but now, the whole idea of being an internet reviewer is not feasible due to over saturation and the money just simply not being there. She spoke a lot about Internet creepers, and it really just made me feel for her. Some of the stuff people have said to her is downright despicable, and I commend her for being a strong individual.
Overall, after giving so many cautionary tales, she ended on a high note, encouraging everyone to do something because they're passionate for it, and not for the fame and wealth. I will say that one of my complaints about the panel was that she allowed some mic time for amateur reviewers to briefly talk about their aspirations and goals as a reviewer, and these reviewers seemed more interested in getting themselves over, that some of them ate up time in a way that I thought was very disrespectful.
- I will probably have to talk about Keiji Inafune in full length some other time, but today, was more or less dedicated to him. To give you guys some context, one of the very first video games I ever owned was Mega Man on the Nintendo. When I started drawing as a kid, I would draw nothing but Mega Man related things. I can credit Mega Man as being a big part of my childhood, and as one of many things that kickstarted this imagination of mine that would lead on to the guy you see to day.
So needless to say, meeting Keiji Inafune was sort of a big deal for me. When I got to meet him, I handed him this warped, damaged copy of Mega Man. It's the same one that I've owned since I was a kid. Before he starts writing, I tell him: "This was my very first video game. It survived my house blowing up. Thank you so much for everything." The translator tells him my comment, and he smiles.
I really have a lot more to say here, but I'll leave it at that for now. We later go on to his panel, and got to witness firsthand the announcement that his new game, Mighty No. 9, is going to be made into an animated series.
- Went to CWF. (Cosplay Wrestling Federation.) It's an interesting concept in which cosplayers trade their best disses to each other. The only problem? The event is PG, it's late night, and the moderators didn't seem to be doing their job well. (They seriously let some of these terrible promo guys go on for 20 minutes just talking on the mic.) I feel the event has potential, but didn't quite have that great of a showing as it should have.
- Went to the Dark Horse Panel for Evangelion manga. I am excited that they announced that Tony Takezaki's Neon Genesis Evangelion is going to the be translated and brought over to the states. Takezaki does such a great job of capturing Sadamoto's iconic art style that it just adds to the comedy presented in this parody series. I can't want to get my hands on this next year.
A couple of the guys from Megas 64 joined a Dark Horse representative, and the three of them conducted a rather intelligent discussion on the latest and polarizing Evangelion movie. I watched it last year, so my memory of it wasn't as fresh, but definitely I feel I will have to watch it again after seeing this panel. The three guys seems to have a lot of faith that the final movie in the series will nicely wrap up everything, but we'll just have to see when it comes out. (I'm particularly concerned about Mari. I love everything else about the rebuild movies, except her. She just feels like the "Jar Jar Binks" of these new movies.)
- Wrapped up the day by picking up some free stuff at the dealer hall.
- People can make or break an event for me. Again, some of the human beings at this event make me very uncomfortable, but overall, I had a good time at this con.
- I'll admit: as a single male, I noticed some attractive girls, but of course, I'm a gentlemen and have no plans on being THAT creepy older guy. I was actually skating on day three when these two drunk girls were stumbling home. They had the brilliant plan of all getting on my skateboard to go where they needed to. They got home all right, and even though they were boozing, they seriously looked like a pair of sixteen year olds.
- I thought about cosplaying, but then I realized [a] it's way too hot, and [b] I'm really not that deprived of attention. I'm not saying all cosplayers are attention whores, 'cause their not. A lot of them are highly dedicated artists to their craft, and a lot are even just super fans to characters. However, of course, let's not deny that the converse of this actually does exist.
- Gerald and I were playing a game in which we gain points for each time we run into someone at the convention that we did not want to. The game ended in a tie.