"JUST DO IT!" The Great Anime Expo of 2015
It is an annual excitement now when the 7th month of the year comes rolling around. I slowly lug together some clothes and toiletries for the week, charge the DSLR and urgently finish up the remaining series of Spring. It is at this point that I set my alarm for deathly early, then prepare to head out to Los Angeles for Anime Expo. Yes, I may not have made any schedules this year, but I was there without doubt, and I may have scored my best and worst year at Anime Expo at the same time. Before the confusion sinks in too far, shall we begin with the coverage?
Sleep is for the weak. JUST DO IT!
An amazingly overused term at the expo this year was Shia LeBeouf's famous "JUST DO IT!" meme that had recently been mixed into several anime scenes by Toonami. As much as I dislike overused memes, I personally found Shia's little standup bit hilarious at the time, and seeing basically everyone enjoying it together at the con really didn't bother me one bit.
But are we here to talk about memes? No! You're here to listen to me complain about the destruction of my sleep schedule during this con. It all started Day 0, when I had to drag my weary head out of bed at 3 AM to get to the airport early before my flight. This was only the beginning of the slumber devastation.
The sleep schedule, then. Apparently Anime Expo doesn't like seeing people get a healthy dose of rest. Autographs this year followed a one ticket policy that opened at 8 AM. If you haven't experienced Anime Expo before, 8 AM sounds lovely. Wake up around 7, take a shower and a nice short walk into the lineup. Welcome to lineup hell. Day to day, each guest of honour only had 75 guaranteed autographs per day, plus 50 that they might get to if they move quickly enough. As such, people starting stacking the 8 AM line at around 3 AM. Sleep was much less important to me than the opportunities to meet incredible guests that create the media I continue to enjoy over and over, I set my alarm to 3 AM and assured myself I would get in line like all of the other early birds. To make matters more difficult, the emergency place I was staying at was a good half hour drive out- I also had to account for this additional lost time. During the 4 nights and 5 days, I got less sleep than one standard night back at home. Yes, it was that bad.
Improvements to ticketing, but not lineups
Stress got to some higher-up convention staff members early. One simple complaint I heard spoken at one of the staffers resulted in him walking away, mouthing off as if he had just confronted someone who had murdered his whole family. Later, this same guy came out pulling big chunks out of his tin of chewing tobacco and biting at it like it was beef jerky. This frustration presented itself again for the "lineup" to Tomoyo Kurosawa's panel, where another staffer in black threatened to start ripping badges if people wouldn't leave the area. Lines were very hit and miss this year for sure.
However, ticketing to grab your pass was frighteningly simple. There was literally no line when we arrived, and an insanely quick scan of my Eventbrite ticket on my Apple Watch scored me my badge and tote bag. It was very different to my first year, where we literally stood outside in the blazing sun for 4+ hours, waiting to scan in QR codes from really old smartphones. Congrats to the organizers for sorting this process and saving many people from potential heat exhaustion.
Bring less funds, come home with more
Yeah, I don't know how it happened either. I swore to myself that I wouldn't bring back a ton of stuff just jammed into my bags, but ultimately I arrived back in Canada with boatloads of stuff. To keep my promise as well as finally gaining the opportunity to find souvenirs for a couple people I'm quite associated with on a frequent basis. Strangely, I took much less war funds this year as well, but I came back with more worthwhile stuff. I'm going to chalk it up to smarter spending on valuables that I know I'll be keeping for a long, long time. Without further delay, let me open up the gallery to my treasures this year!
CLANNAD 10th Year Anniversary Art Book
THE ROLLING GIRLS Theme Song Collection CD
Na-Ga ART WORKS ~rindou~
Little Witch Academia Creator's Sketchbook
Hibike! Euphonium and the KyoAni/PonyCan booths
The Industrial Revolution
Of course, it wouldn't be an Anime Expo without meeting up with guests that work hard to bring us more incredible anime series and anything related to such. The industry is a well-oiled machine, and we all thank you for the amazing work in bringing new entertainment to us season after season. Unfortunately, photos were very tightly shut off this year, so snapshots of other guests like Kurosawa Tomoyo, Yumiri Hanamori and Hinoe Itaru are non-existent.
Cosplay was not in the books this year
Every year I like to look out for nice cosplay from series I've enjoyed, but this year a combination of a lack of extra time with the fact that I didn't see much cosplay from series I haven't snapped at previous cons, I opted to keep the camera in my bag a lot of the time. There's a grand total of 3 photos I got this year (I know, I'm sorry! >.<), but it was a difficult year with all of the additional lines. Hope you enjoy!
And this is where I'll conclude Anime Expo 2015! Naturally, there was a lot more to the convention like watching the Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade debut, sitting in on Hinoue Itaru's live drawing panel, both the Hibike! Euphonium and Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru panels featuring Tomoyo Kurosawa. The panels were so tightly bunched together that it was impossible to see all of them. Going back to the deathly early lineups for autographs as well, sleep was basically non-existent.
I also received a lot more stuff during the convention, but the most valuable items have been shown here. Plus, a number of these I'm sending away, so I'd like to keep the surprise while I can. Next year, I hope they really work something incredible in for their big 25 year anniversary. Once again, Hanazawa Kana? Please, mighty gods?