Local club has a blast at Anime Expo
WHILE I WAS convalescing at home after a midmonth, midmajor cold -- thus explaining my absence from this space last week -- I received an e-mail from Kell Komatsubara.
Kell is the president of local anime club Oahu Anime Explorer, which meets at least once a month for anime screenings and karaoke frivolity. The group went to Los Angeles earlier this month to attend Anime Expo (AX), the nation's largest anime convention, and he was wondering if I'd be interested in running a piece he wrote about participating in a skit during the cosplay Masquerade.
It's a good piece and one I certainly wouldn't want to chop up in this limited space, so I'd encourage anyone to check it out at tinyurl.com/5pjkod.
When Kell learned I was sick, though, he offered to write a column in my absence. I wanted to massage it a bit for more casual fans and readers -- hence why this didn't appear last week -- but here it is:
This year's installment of Anime Expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, attracted 43,000 people over four days (July 3 to 6).
Some of our club members were with us, and by 8 a.m. they were out of the hotel and we didn't see them back until around 2 a.m. the next day. Even when they did return, another hour was spent deciding which panel, video or concert was on tomorrow's list. One of them fell in love with the Nokia Theatre (the site adjacent to the convention center where live concerts, the Masquerade, the anime music video contest and other main events were staged) and told me, "There are NO BAD SEATS IN THE HOUSE!" Did anyone get any sleep that week?
Things like the Battle of the Bands, featuring Japanese rock bands GaGaalinG and LM.C, teased us before we could see the Shokotan concert. (Shoko "Shokotan" Nakagawa is a Japanese idol singer.)
In between all the panels and concerts, trips to the dealers hall and artist alley were mandatory! I'm sure if you didn't have $500 or more, you'd be kicking yourself in the butt. Also, there were 24-hour video rooms for the anime "vampires" to hang out in after midnight.
If you were into big-name "seiyuu" (voice actors), you couldn't go wrong with Toshihiko Seki's panel. (Seki is best known for his roles as Duo Maxwell in "Gundam Wing" and Iruka in "Naruto.")
Finally, no anime convention is complete without cosplay. Everywhere you turned, you saw cosplayers enjoying the convention and doing their favorite poses for eager camera people in the halls and courtyard of the convention center.
If you go to Los Angeles during the Fourth of July weekend in 2009, make sure you stop by AX. You'll be glad you did ...
Coming next week
Jason here again ... Thanks, Kell. For those of you who might not have the time or the money to go to AX, there's always Kawaii Kon, the local anime convention. Next week I'll have the first details about Kawaii Kon 2009, including its first confirmed guest ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao