The year of sweat. Temperatures of the desert and the humidity of the coast brewed some of the toastiest weather I’ve ever experienced. It even prevented me from wearing the cosplay I wanted to wear on Sunday. I wore it for a total of 10 minutes and when I called it quits, it peeled off of me like another layer of skin!
….was that TMI? Or relatable? Both?
Even with the weather, that did not stop people from having a great time at Anime Expo 2018! The line control regarding everything was so much smoother than previous years. Getting in and out of the convention center, and waiting for anything that required a line seemed to flow much better than before. Even with that being said, I agree with many others that this convention should consider an attendance cap. Even with the line control, the newly added badge scan checkpoints, and sending the badges out through the mail, the sheer amount of people just walking inside was a bit daunting. I was constantly apologizing to people for bumping into them, and some people who bumped into me and didn’t seem to be phased.
The exhibit hall is always buzzing with excitement, even if you are in the very back. There were lots of great game or anime demos at all the big entertainment booths, and sometimes cosplay models to keep the party going. We were also able to meet with the creator of Harvest Moon, Yasuhiro Wada, to talk about his upcoming game Little Dragon’s Café. Be sure to check out our interview since he was so passionate and joyful! Additionally, we stopped by Klab Games booth and shared our enthusiasm for the Bleach Brave Souls mobile game. Happy third year anniversary! Going further back lead to my favorite anime/J-fashion fashion favorites such as Creators Guild and ANIMETRASHSWAG. Also, I was finally able to meet Game Grumps editors who have their own YouTube channel, SuperMega. Matt and Ryan were so kind. While I was shy and wanted to say more, I’m glad I met them and they signed my badge with cute angry faces!
Even with the sheer amount of people, cosplayers were still getting plenty of photoshoots and gatherings were still able to take place. I was able to attend the Tales of gathering on Saturday and we all braved the heat to meet up for our love for the Tales of series. Bandai Namco even showed up which was pretty neat! The best picture taken was of course of Guy getting picked on by every female character that showed up. I’m still smiling stupidly about that one! Viva Tales of! Alongside formal gatherings, individual photo shoots were happening everywhere you turned. When photographers showed me previews of the shot, there wasn’t a single other person in the frame. With almost 110,000 people at the convention, color me more than impressed!
Escaping the heat and after visiting bomb food trucks (the vegan chicken food truck was awesome and had fantastic customer service!), we decided to visit some panels in the JW Marriott. So thankful the line situation was similar to the convention center, so we didn’t wait long at all. The editors of the Sailor Moon manga (both Japanese and English) were in attendance and gave Sailor Moon fans some hype for upcoming projects. Their highlights included gorgeous artbooks (I need them all, this is far beyond a want at this point), and possible U.S. visits for the musical and orchestral concert had my excitement soaring. I’ve attended a few classical concerts of the music from series and it’s always such a joy to be a fan. They said the fans have to demand it, so let’s put the power of fandom together and bring some shows to the U.S.!
Immediately after the Sailor Moon panel was a live drawing panel with some of the artists from Studio Trigger, my personal favorite anime studio, while they answered questions from fans. One artist drew a character from Darling in the Franxx and Sushio, the character designer from Kill La Kill, drew an exciting scene with a few characters. Nonon and Satsuki were included, so nice to see my wives being drawn before my eyes! He also showed us his nipples before he began, in character and everything! They said they wanted to be blunt as possible, in Trigger fashion. The best answer was someone asking about how they felt their characters being drawn in suggestive doujins. The answer was something to the extent of “We can’t promote it obviously, but we don’t hate it.” And with a smug shrug. Love it.
The final panel we were able to attend (and actually the last panel of the convention) was a behind the scenes look with the character designers Eisuke Ogura (The King of Fighters) and Takehito Harada (Disgaea). It was held in a much smaller room than the Trigger panel, so it felt very personal. Each designer had a much different personality from the other, but they have been friends for a while and each admitted they wanted to work in each other’s field of work. It was a real wholesome moment. After asking where their inspiration came from, they are just nerds, too, since they get their inspiration from anime and manga.
While the artist alley and Kantia Hall have much better air circulation than they had the first year they were placed in a parking garage, I still don’t like the placement. The walkways in the artist alley barely increased in size and it was almost impossible to get through. This also led to poor air circulation and frustrated convention goers. The lighting also gives a slightly stressful, bleak feeling while you are in there. Despite the odds, the artists made it work, and we were also able to stop by Anime Pls’ kick off event at Anime Expo. Congrats! I love the variety of the apparel they kicked off with, and I’m eyeing that All Might backpack and I’m not even a student at the moment. I’ll find a use for it, no matter what! Plus Ultra!
Check out some amazing Anime Expo 2018 cosplay photos here!