Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Sunday morning was spent wandering the Artists Alley. I did not buy anything (go go saving) but my companions did. I definitely enjoyed browsing all the artwork though. That's always great. It's great to see Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban being represented in fanart!
I spent the closing hours of the con wandering the exhibit hall but not really buying anything. I'm pretty impressed with my newfound ability to not buy things. One can only hope I do as well during Comic Con.
After the con I had dinner at Tamaya, it's the new ramen place on Main / Las Tunas in Alhambra. I like the variety of dishes, but my ramen was a bit too salty. Still, I get a bit tired of Shinsengumi because you can only get 1 type of broth where at Tamaya you can get 1 of 3 and they have other dishes too.
My group managed to catch a showing of Hancock before calling it a night. I am a huge fan of Will Smith. I've seen him almost all his films including the likes of Wild Wild West. Hancock was throughly mediocre. The first half of this movie is awesome because it's Will Smith performing SuperDickery. The second half...not so much. I didn't like or buy the twist in the 2nd half of the film. Still the acting was good enough. I enjoyed seeing Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman reunited again after their Arrested Development arc.
All in all, I totally enjoyed the first Anime Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Hopefully next year's will be just as awesome!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Saturday morning was spent in line trying to get David Hayter's autograph. It would have ended in disappointment but David Hayter decided to stay 1/2 an hour later so I barely got my autograph. Total time? 2.5 hours, I got to him at like 12:20. Too close! But I do have my MGS3 instruction book signed by Kojima AND David Hayter. Clearly one of my best pieces of fanboy created merchandise yet!
I spent a good time during all 4 days playing BlazBlue, the new fighting game by the team that brought us Guilty Gear. On Saturday I spent like 3+ hours in the console room trying this out. The similarities to Guilty Gear are many, and a comparison between the two is not out of the question despite BlazBlue having 1 less button than Guilty Gear. Faultless Defense, Recovery, Burst, and Roman Cancelling appear to be back, though they have slightly different names and activations due to the change in controls. The characters themselves borrow heavily from GG, with Iron Tegar having Potemkin's throw animations and Ragna the Bloodedge looking like Sol Badguy. It would appear Jin has Johnny's Mist Viper slashes.
I had dinner at The Pantry (yeah it's within easy walking distance)...this time around I had breakfast so things went a lot better. I guess it's hard to mess up eggs and bacon.
The main event for Saturday was Masquerade. First off, the Masquerade actually started on time! (With this and the AMVs starting on time, this was truly a broken AX!) Secondly, it finished well within the allotted time probably because there weren't as many entries this year (or maybe it was capped?).
I enjoyed most of the skits, though there were some lame ones. I think part of the problem is that the participants did not know how to cut their skits down to 2 minutes without losing coherence. (Oh fanboys/fangirls...) I particularly enjoyed the Kenshiro cosplayer. Yeah, his costume was low rent but he put so much guts into his performance! He inspired me with his obviously amateurish martial arts....and he totally won a prize for his performance.
Other good performances and costumes included various Naruto and One Piece sketches (of course) and not one but TWO Odin Sphere skits. I liked how the Mercedes decided to juggle. Classy! There was also some hilariously bad puns told by a Ryu Hayabusa. (What is Spike's favorite brand of paper towels? BOUNTY!)
By far the highlight was seeing the Orange County Anime Meetup group take the stage for a Smash Brothers skit. Oh, and they won BEST IN SHOW (as they should have)! Clearly I can never cosplay again around my friends in this group since they are on a completely different level from me.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday was a nice and relaxed day. I got up early to get in line for David Hayter's panel. It was hilarious and worth the time. He talked a bit about his various voice acting roles through mainly it was a Metal Gear Solid panel. I liked his comment about how in his youth he wanted to be an A-list movie star but as he's grown older he's now content to be a screenwriter and voice actor.
The panel was followed by me lining up for 2 hours to try and get David Hayter's autograph. I didn't make it. (Apparently David Hayter is super popular, who knew?) Thought I got pwn3d, I did manage to take a picture with him. He was nice/kind enough to walk down the line and shake everyone's hand and pose for pictures. I appreciated that.
I spent the next few hours wandering around and spending more time on the exhibit hall floor. I enjoyed playing the Soul Calibur IV demo at BandaiNamco's booth even if there were only 3 playable characters (Mitsurugi, Siegfried, and Hilde).
I finally got to work a shift at the booth that hires con attendees to work retail for $10/hour in credit. I've never worked retail before in my life (spoiled I know) and let me just say I'm fairly terrible at it. From restocking to figuring out what went where and doing basic arithmetic, I was totally mediocre as an employee. The experience was humbling but I totally built character. I ended up using my store credit to purchase Dan-Doh!! because I have a hunch that the series isn't going to be reprinted anytime soon and will be hard to find.
Friday evening saw us eating at Harbor Cafe, the cafe that replaced Regent Cafe. It's pretty much the same place but the menu isn't as extensive...but I think the quality of each individual dish has gone up.
After dinner my group saw WALL-E. This film RULES. It really is an awesome love story; the fact that the romance is between two robots is irrelevant. The movie had a great mix of emotion/drama and humor. I also liked the fact that it wasn't overly preachy. Pixar rules...I even liked the short before the film. So much magical dickery!
Friday, July 11, 2008
This was the first day of the con. I enjoyed the fact that the venue this year was the Los Angeles Convention Center. The place was definitely spacious enough to accommodate everyone and never felt crowded. I suppose one downside to this is that it seemed there weren't that many people cosplaying though that is probably not the case. It was just that attendees were more spread out. Also, ticketed seating made event seating easy; no more queuing for HOURS just to get a ticket!
After picking up my pass in a record 5 minutes, I spent some time in the exhibit hall wandering around but not buying anything. I found Alteil, which is an online CCG. It's definitely an interesting concept and the game is popular in Japan so who knows, maybe it can gain some traction here. The underlying system seems simple yet complex enough to be fun.
We had dinner at The Pantry and I made the mistake of not ordering breakfast yet again. (When will I ever learn?) The less said about this meal the better.
Thursday's main evening event was the Anime Music Video contest. The videos this year were a good mix, there wasn't too much Lucky Star or Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I enjoyed the Gurren Lagan video with Be a Man from Mulan even if it belonged in the comedy category rather than the action one.
You can view a list of the winners here. My votes matched up with all the winners save for the drama (I'm not a James Blunt fan) and comedy categories. I threw my vote away on a Gundam 0083 comedy video, but whatever I enjoyed it and felt it was original. I love it when people take a non-comedic series like Gundam 0083 or Berserk and turn it into a comedy video. Of course this Haruhi video won the comedy category as well as Best Of Show, which is par for the course. (I can think of only 1-2 times where the Best Of Show was NOT from the comedy category.)
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
This was a fairly mild night. I finished watching Dexter Season 1 while doing my laundry. The series reminds me of a live action Death Note. There are a lot of similarities between Light and Dexter, and they both have ridiculously homo-erotic relationships with their rivals too. (Light has L and Dexter has the Ice Truck Killer). All in all I enjoyed this season and am looking forward to getting season 2 on DVD.
I played Azusa Greens Country Club in the afternoon. My front 9 was terrible but I made up for it on the back 9, almost breaking 50. My game was totally pw3nd by sand bunkers. Those things easily accounted for 5+ strokes. I will have to figure out how to deal with these obstacles someday....
I spent the evening eating dinner at Twohey's. It seems like I'm here quite often, probably because it's close to where one of my friends lives. They also have something for everyone though I think I would rather go to an Asian cafe if we are going to "satisfy everyone" route.
I caught an evening showing of Wanted after dinner. The film was good but not great. However, it was much better than the comic, though this isn't a hard feat. The comic has such a terrible ending that any sort of mediocre ending (which the film has) would be better.
I looked at a bunch more apartments/condos/houses with my sister. Unfortunately we only found one really good place. We're applying for this place, hopefully we get it as I feel it has just about everything we're looking for. Admittedly the kitchen is not that big but I don't think that's a huge deal because neither of us are hardcore chefs. There are also parking issues but honestly neither of us have guests over that often.
I treated my sister and her boyfriend to lunch at JJ Cafe which was followed by some Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. It was fun role playing a bit even our party is teetering on the edge of collapse due to conflicting personalities and alignments. (All this despite no one being evil.)
I had dinner at Diner on Main. I enjoyed their turkey meatloaf and tapioca pudding. The pudding had way too much gelatin in it but for some reason I still enjoyed the texture. It was odd but delicious.