Category Archives: Anime and Manga

SDCC 2017

SDCC was last month, and despite not getting tickets in the first round, I did manage to get a ticket again this year! I debuted a new full cosplay and a new pseudo-cosplay, which was very fun.

Antonio, gem, and I drove down Wednesday after work and had Berkeley Pizza for dinner. It was a short night, because we didn’t get down there early.

Thursday was the first time I wore my Tamatoa (the crab from Moana) cosplay. It was way too hot for it, but I enjoyed wearing it.

We met up with Tram and her friend Christian, and we spent most of the day with them. Maybe they’re good luck, because we got into Hall H for the first time. For reference, usually people line up overnight to get into Hall H. We heard an announcement that Will Smith would be in Hall H, which I just found silly. So what? It’s too late now. Antonio pointed out that maybe they announced it because it wasn’t full. He was exactly right. We walked right into the Netflix panel about Bright and Death Note. Will Smith was on the first half of the panel for Bright, and the whole thing was moderated by Terry Crews. It was pretty cool to be in there with them!

After Hall H, it was time for the Lick King’s Ice Cream Citadel! We got some tasty ice cream and posed with the Lich King! By then I was tired of my Tamatoa costume, so I changed into normal clothes because it was so hot. We had Greek fusion for dinner at Meze, at which we ate the last two years as well.

On Friday I wore my Magikarp Jump cosplay. It wasn’t 100% authentic at all, but it was fun. gem had the idea to use Boomerang for the video. Nice suggestion! We met up with our friends Krista, Kaitlyn, and David. I always run into Krista and Kaitlyn at the coolest places!

This was a day mostly for panels. I saw Robin Hobb: Beyond the Page first followed by Dare to Be Dynamite: Creative Vision with Pierce Brown, an author that gem loves. In the evening we watched a Mega64 panel and the Super Geeked Up Improv show, which was fun, although I wish there was more improv.

My favorite panel was Superstars in Children’s Fiction with Greg Grunberg, Lucas Turnbloom, R. L. Stine, Jarrett J. Krosocka, Jenni Holm, Matt Holm, and Molly Ostertag. We went because we thought it would be fun to see R. L. Stine, but we had no idea that Greg Grunberg, Parkman from Heroes and Wexley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, would be there and is now a children’s fiction author. He was super nice! We chatted with him after the panel, and when I asked to take a photo of him and gem, his son (I think) offered to take one of the three of us.

My favorite part of the panel was when Greg asked R. L. Stine about the future of Goosebumps TV shows or films. R. L. Stine said he couldn’t comment. Greg told him that he’d trade him information about the next Star Wars movies. Too awesome.

gem wore her Woody costume, which was modified since last year. Previously she tried to keep it authenticate. This year it was more interpretive with a dress. I think she rocked it!

On Saturday, Antonio and I snuck in as professionals to skip the line. Yay. gem took some cool photos of me by the water in my Tamatoa costume.

I had to fight Maui of course. Why wasn’t he transforming? “Well, well, well. Little Maui’s having trouble with his look…”

There were a lot of great Moana cosplayers! Thanks to gem for taking so many wonderful photographs 🙂 There are more on my cosplay page.

We went to another tokidoki signing as always where Simone signed my tokidoki x Overwatch notebook. We also chatted with Jaycee, who worked for tokidoki. She remembered us from previous years, and we followed each other on Instagram.

Let’s not talk about waiting in line over an hour for a Star Trek panel but not getting inside. At least I got to chat with some cool people in line!

Kaleigh joined us that night, although we split up for a bit. gem and I hung out while Antonio met with her at the train station. We all met up briefly, but then that evening gem, Antonio, and I went to see the best brothers around, the McElroys! We watched My Brother, My Brother, and Me live in San Diego! It was really fun to see them in person. Too bad we didn’t get to talk to them. I had a question ready to ask, but there weren’t microphones on the balcony where we were sitting unfortunately.

On Sunday I wore a tried-and-true cosplay, Fix-it Felix Jr.! During a panel, I ran into Erin, a Vanelope von Schweetz cosplayer! We took some photos together after the panel. Her car was super amazing!

After chatting with her, we went to a Disneybound panel with Leslie Kay, Kit Leitmeyer, Loni Clark, Neil A. Williams II, and Sara Katz-Scher. It was pretty interesting to hear about how they come up with their outfits.

I ended the convention at the Disney group shoot! It was organized by Robert T Photography, who also took the photo above. You can see more of his photos from the event here on Facebook.

One videographer took video of us for the end of his cosplay music video. I’m in it briefly at the end as I dance around 4:51, but I’m right in front so you can see me clearly, haha!

 

Look how amazing this little Dopey cosplayer was! He seemed to have a great time with the other Disney cosplayers.

Antonio took this photo of me and gem in her Steven Universe cosplay! I think she did a great job with this. A lot of Steven Universe cosplayers carry a ukulele just as a prop, but this cosplayer can actually play it! Yeah!

There are plenty more photos of my Fix-it Felix Jr. cosplay here.

On our way out of San Diego, we stopped at Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate for Russian dinner. This is the khachapuri, which was filled with delicious cheese. Oh my god, I definitely need to eat this again. I also had chanakhi (lamb stew) as my entree.

And for dessert, I had sweet vatrushka with sour cherry and farmer’s cheese. Yum!

Until next year, SDCC!

San Diego Comic-Con 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 was super awesome! It was my first time cosplaying besides wearing my Aquabats costume one day last year, and it was really fun. My favorite part of these conventions has always been looking at the cosplayers and getting photos with them; it’s interesting to participate now. I attended with gem and Antonio as usual. I cosplayed an Aquabat, Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats, and Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph while gem cosplayed Sadness from Inside Out, Woody from Toy Story, and Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph. Here are some of the cosplay highlights! Thursday I wore my Aquabats costume. It made the most sense because I was going to their concert later that night. 19679329421_208dc2019a_o The first photo I was asked to join was this one, shot by Kenneth Yeast. They were posing near me actually! The photographer took a photo of my business card and was nice enough to e-mail me the photos. From left to right, that’s me, @freeddc, @kaitlynfreed, and @lilbelle74 from Instagram. I’ve seen them on Instagram through Aquabats tags and concerts for a while, so it was especially cool to get photos with them. Aquabat and Elsa at SDCC 2015

This is @hollandtayloegedney (Instagram) who won an award this year for her Elsa cosplay. She was really nice, and it was fun talking to her.Aquabat, Finn, and Fionna at SDCC 2015

After I posed with Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time, gem worked her Snapchat magic to turn them into Aquabats!Aquabat versus WalkerWalkers can’t stand the might of an Aquabat.Aquabat, Joker, and Harley at SDCC 2015


I wouldn’t want to be hit with that hammer! Aquabat and Dangerous Pixie Harley Quinn at SDCC 2015
*boink* Ow, my head! Edit: When I first posted this, I didn’t even realize that was Dangerous Pixie!Daredevil and Aquabat at SDCC 2015


I also met my favorite hero, Daredevil! Edit: This is Tony Rios, @EL_LOBO209Aquabat headstand at SDCC 2015
I got in some yoga too.Aquabat crow at SDCC 2015


And a little more. On Friday I cosplayed Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats.Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
While in line for a panel, some Aquabats lined up behind me.Professor Monty Corndog, Woody, and Minions at SDCC 2015


Woody (gem) and I posed with some minions too!

Clay Carmine of Gears of War chainsawed me in the neck! gem performed some Snapchat witchery again. Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats meets Professor Utonium of the Powerpuff Girls!Professor Monty Corndog and Breaking Bad at SDCC 2015


Breaking Despicable? I guess this minion found someone despicable to follow. When I asked for a picture, Jesse said “yeah, bitch.”Professor Monty Corndog of the Aquabats
And here I am with the Aquabats! Professor Monty Corndog is much more obscure than just the Aquabats costume, so I knew no one would really recognize it. Luckily the Bat Commander said, “Professor Monty Corndog… is that you?” It was so worth it to get this photo with them!

My final cosplay was Fix-It Felix, Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph, which I did on Saturday and Sunday.

Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015


More Snapchat voodoo from gem. I really love this.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Mario Kart
Here I’m fixing up this kart. Awesome Mario Kart cosplays!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Companion Cube and Chell


I also fixed this adorable Companion Cube while posing with her and Chell.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Maleficent
Speaking of adorable, isn’t this Maleficent just the cutest? I think this was my favorite cosplay of the con. My heart kind of wants to explode.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with Fix-It Felicia


I high-fived Fix-It Felicia!Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 with luchadores
Later I got in a wrestling match.Fix-It Felix, Jr. at SDCC 2015 and the Flash


I even tried to fix the Flash right in the head!

I wasn’t in costume for these, but I saw some cool cosplays while I eating dinner too.Seymour Krelborn at SDCC 2015
Feed me, Seymour! Feed me all night long! Check out that Audrey II!Globo-Gym Purple Cobras at SDCC 2015


I couldn’t resist a photo with the Globo-Gym Purple Cobras!

Woody and Dhalsim
gem even did yoga with Dhalsim!

The Aquabats concert was amazing. Here they performed a cover of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. They also showed a video they’re going to pitch to TV execs to try to get The Aquabats! Super Show! picked up. It showed the MCBC begging a cloaked wizard to help. He reveals himself to be Jack Black, absorbs the Commander’s powers, and transforms into an Aquabat. He agrees to help and talks about how we’re all Aquabats before using his magic to transform a bunch of celebrities into Aquabats, including Weird Al Yankovic, Tony Hawk, and more. It was very cool.

Aquabats Set List


They even signed my set list!

The MCBC
I also met this guy who isn’t wearing a costume because he’s a regular guy. It couldn’t be the Bat Commander. The Bat Commander doesn’t wear normal shirts like that. He was really nice, and he talked with me about getting more involved with the Aquabats. It probably helped that gem gave him a bunch of snacks! And speaking of gem giving snacks, she gave care packages to other people, such as Todd from Toddland. He was super cool. Technically gem got his number!

gem and Allie Brosh


We saw Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. Her panel was moderated by Felicia Day, and it was super great. gem gave Allie some cookies and snacks, and Allie was very appreciative and nice. They hugged and took a photo together. We also saw a panel about Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim. He was very down to Earth and discussed how scary it is that some people identify with parts of his crazy comics.Aquabat and walkers
We ran the Walking Dead Experience, and I did it in my Aquabats costume. It was really fun.

We arrived in Petco Park as survivors, and someone escorted us inside, claiming it’s safe. Of course, walkers showed up, and we had to run. They’re all played by volunteers who couldn’t really hurt us, but I got into it and definitely ran hard and dodged walkers. Eventually we met a second group of survivors who weren’t as friendly. They killed our leader when they found out we didn’t have supplies. Our talks were cut short when walkers approached, and we all had to run again. At the end, they decided to cull the weak. They chose someone from our group to kill, and it ended up being Antonio. They had him kneel as they raised a club to kill him. Luckily for him, walkers arrived once more, and we ran for it. Antonio said that as the walkers arrived, someone (presumably staff) lifted him to ensure he didn’t get trampled. It was so much fun!19648644496_d9eee621fa_o


Let’s see… what else. We ran into Bryan Lackey, a fantastic trumpet player. I know him from Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. He was really friendly and stopped to chat with us for a while before taking a photo and friending us on Facebook!

Spaceship Warlock
We also went to an art exhibit called Super Video Game Land by Anthony Bulcao at the Mission Brewery. He paints scenes from video games and is really talented! He had two painting from Spaceship Warlock, an old adventure game I loved as a kid. I was most excited for those two. He said he wasn’t confident about including them, and that I was the only person who talked to him about them. I’m glad I did!

I also participated (badly) in a kazoo and ukulele play-along, met Rikki Simons, voice of Gir (and more) from Invader Zim, played games at the Nintendo Lounge, and sang along with gem while she played Martian Girl in a line. Such an awesome weekend!

I know they’re not going to read this, but thanks to all the people who asked for photos and appreciated my cosplay – the Aquabats group photo, the jedi, the dude with the swords, and the three or four other people who liked my Aquabats costume, and the Nintendo employee, Quailman, the little Captain America, Ariel (who was excited and wanted a photo after I asked her first), and the other 14 or so people, especially the little kids, who liked my Fix-It Felix, Jr. It made me very happy!

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day BBQ

Memorial Day weekend was pretty packed. In fact, it started before the actual weekend. Duncan and I went to happy hour at Gina’s Pizza Wednesday, which turned into a fun night. While Thursday was a nice day, Friday was busy again. That was Anela’s graduation, which I already talked about in another post.

However, when I got home, I found that my roommates were enjoying some cocktails by the fire pit outside with music. We ran out of wood to burn, so eventually Duncan started finding wood to burn in the garage – a single plank, pieces of old furniture, etc. His sword also made an appearance in an attempt to cut some wood. Not only did that fail, but the sword got damaged.

Memorial Day BBQ

Saturday night we had some people over to hang out. Alex came over, and while Haley didn’t make it, she did send a chocolate pecan pie with him. Delicious!

Memorial Day BBQ

On Sunday I went to Melody’s yoga class, which was fantastic. Later that evening, I met up some friends. Matt, Katie, and Marc were in town from Fremont so we had dinner at Umami Burger and went bowling. I was not very good at bowling, but it was great seeing them! It’s too bad I don’t get to see them more often, but I’ll actually get to see them in a few days when I go up north and stay with them for the weekend!

Memorial Day BBQ

Monday was Memorial Day, so of course we had a barbecue.

Memorial Day BBQ

gem created the jalapeño bacon s’more. Besides being incredibly spicy with all the seeds, it was very good.Memorial Day pinata

Did you see the piñata at the top of the post? Jessica brought a piñata. Heck yeah. We took turns swinging at it with my Anime Expo Yaoi Paddle without any of that spinning around or blindfolding nonsense. To make up for it, we had some rules about how to swing, and we also agreed to all take it easy for the first round so we could all get a chance to hit it.

Memorial Day BBQ

When the loop ripped off his head, we had to attach him through his butt using the hole that’s for stuffing the candy in him.

Memorial Day BBQ

When that tore too, we reattached him again with a sort of makeshift noose from duct tape.

Memorial Day BBQ

gem earned first blood.

Memorial Day BBQ

When the legs were torn from the rest of the body, we decided to burn them.

Memorial Day BBQ

gem had to show off her spoils of war.

Jessica made the candy pour out, and then it was time to collect!

Memorial Day BBQ

Once all the candy was bashed out of it, we roasted the carcass. I felt like a true Greek – a feast and a burning sacrifice.

Oh, but what about the head?

Memorial Day BBQ

Our prize was mounted.

It’s quite fitting for Robot House.

San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Hotel roof view

With San Diego Comic-Con 2013 behind me, I better hurry and talk about it before I forget. It was an amazing convention as usual. I had so much fun. SDCC is a great combination of so many forms of popular culture. I’ll be talking about most parts of the convention here, but I’ve already posted about anything related to video games at Polygons and Pixels. You can also view my photo album on Flickr.

We stayed at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter very close to the convention center itself. There was a bar on the roof called Altitude Sky Lounge that gave a pretty nice view. The photo above was taken there. The bartender and bouncer were both cool, and I had a John Daly and glass of wine. I’d never heard of a John Daly before, and it was delicious. I’ll definitely order them in the future. We enjoyed some conversation, a view of San Diego, and the fire before going downstairs to meet with our friend Mike.

Mike lives in San Diego, and we wanted to make sure to hang out with him, choosing to do so on the very first night. He took us to University Heights, which is the area in which he lives. He pointed out a great Mexican restaurant to us, El Zarape. As it turns out, we ate there before leaving Comic-Con last year! Anyways, that’s not where we ate. We went to the Soda & Swine, a fantastic meatball restaurant. It’s connected to Polite Provisions, a bar next door, so I took my meatball sub there to eat. I also had another glass of wine, and then I couldn’t resist an order of more meatballs à la carte as well as a delicious slice of pie. Next Mike took us to a local bar, Small Bar, that’s very popular. It seemed like a cool enough place and definitely more of a dive bar. I didn’t order anything because apparently three drinks is more than enough for me now.

After hanging out at Small Bar for a while, we walked back to Mike’s apartment. We hung out a little bit, and he showed gem his drums. I think I just slept on his couch. After a little bit, and I can’t specify exactly how long, he drove us back to our hotel.

Thursday!

What's on her head?!

The first thing we did on Thursday was head to the exhibit hall, going up and down the aisles to look at everything offered. gem found this nice octopus that was definitely not a hat, but that didn’t stop her. I bought a book called Home for a Bunny. I’m a sucker for children’s books. (Interesting fact: That was the only thing I purchased besides food and drinks at SDCC!)

Bump it!

gem stopped by Kid Robot to work her chalk magic on a huge Dunny!

The first panel we attended was Ode to Nerds, which was about science fiction authors and their relationship to geek and nerd culture. It featured io9’s Charlie Jane Anders as the moderator eith Cory Doctorow, Chuck Palahniuk, Patrick Rothfuss, Austin Grossman, D.C. Pierson, and Robyn Schneider. While I hadn’t heard of most of these people, I definitely knew Chuck Palahniuk. While he was most assuredly interesting, he was also surprisingly reserved. I also didn’t realize at first that Patrick Rothfuss was the moderator of the Spotlight on John Scalzi panel last year. There was mention of the idea of branding yourself online as a writer, and he even mentioned something like, “well we can’t all be John Scalzi.” They discussed the kinds of things you’d expect: you shouldn’t try to brand yourself in a certain way. You should write what you like. You shouldn’t write under the assumption that Hollywood will make a movie of your book.

For lunch we ate at Royal Thai, also in the Gaslamp District. The food was delicious! However, the service wasn’t stellar. They didn’t bring us utensils with our food, and despite asking for it spicy and being told they’d bring us extra hot sauce, we didn’t get any. Regardless, I’d still eat there again. The food was very tasty. I love tom kha kai so very much! Wow, I really want some now. (Spoiler: I’m writing this hungry.)

We also checked out the Goorin Bros. Hat Shop in the Gaslamp District. Apparently it’s a well-known hat shop that gem was excited to visit. Besides a large assortment of hats, they also sold an “official collector’s edition Heisenberg hat & box set.” In other words, Heisenberg’s hat from Breaking Bad. It came in a yellow box with a certificate, Breaking Bad packing paper, and a picture of Heisenberg’s face on the box. It also came with a $200 price tag. Their site states that only 1,895 were created. The store said they had limited quantities and that it was only going to be sold at Comic-Con, but I highly doubt they sold anywhere near that many. It was a cool idea, but I bet it flopped. If it was significantly cheaper, I’d be interested. Or I’d jump at the chance if actor Bryan Cranston, who portrays Walter White, actually wore it!

Soon it was time for another panel, Not Guilty Due to Zombification! Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse. It featured the forensic psychiatrists of Broadcast Thought, H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen R. Kambam, M.D., and Vasilis K. Pozios, M.D., as well as attorney James Daily of Law and the Multiverse and attorney and professor Jeff Trexler. I saw Broadcast Thought last year doing a panel about the Joker and whether he should be accountable for his actions. This panel was similar. They imagined a universe in which a person would begin to show symptoms of becoming a zombie three to five days after being bitten. The symptoms would be minor at first, but after a few hours they’d become a zombie. In this universe, zombification was also curable if treated quickly enough. They discussed the idea of a man who killed the guy with whom his wife was cheating. However, there was reason to believe he was a zombie at the time. Should he be held accountable? He showed some signs earlier, such as being cold, but he walked home, which meant he was coherent. He broke into his home despite having a key, found the man, and killed him.

It was pretty interesting. They discussed a lot of details that I don’t remember now, but the idea was to show how small facts can become the major focus that determines a man innocence or guilt. When the man was cold in the bar, was that because he was cold or was that because was showing early symptoms of becoming a zombie? He was a full zombie when the police arrived, but was he a full zombie when he killed the man? It sounds silly talking about it now, but it was very fascinating and fun.

And then! Dinner! Dinner was so good! It was late, but I wanted to eat anywhere. We found a place called Bolillo Tortas. I ate a milanesa de res torta. Only too late did I realize they also had horchata, the most delicious drink to grace dinner tables anywhere.

Friday!

On Friday we headed back to the exhibit hall to see the rest of the hall. One interesting thing I saw was a booth showing off Two-Headed Cop! There was an interesting clip playing a noir film with a style I liked about a two-headed cop. They didn’t really say anything about it, but I looked it up online later. It appears to be a short film about a half-asian, half-caucasian two-headed cop. I don’t know too much about it, but I’d like to check it out more in the future.

sdcc 2013

We reached the video game section, which included the Ace Attorney photo-op shown above! We also headed to the Nintendo Game Lounge. I won’t talk about the video game things I saw here because I already talked about them at Polygons and Pixels. Check it out there if you’re interesting in the games I played or cosplay I saw.

After hanging out in the fantastic Nintendo Game Lounge we headed to Petco Park to try to get tickets for the Adult Swim Fun House. We waited in line, having a nice chat with the person in line in front of us. We sampled some free coffee drinks, and the line moved quickly. After getting our tickets, we decided to check out what else was happening there at Petco Park.

sdcc 2013

At that point I ran into the Man Without Fear himself, Daredevil! I couldn’t find any Daredevil merchandise, but at least I found a sweet cosplayer! I love Daredevil, so that was exciting.

sdcc 2013

That wasn’t the only interesting person in a costume. Outside the Fun House, I ran into Robot Chicken! It was time for lunch after that. Antonio ordered a burger and an ice cream sandwich, and we split some deep-fried Oreos. gem had crab cakes, and I had a huge, delicious burger.

It was back to the Convention Center after eating for Syfy Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. We could only stay for part of it because we wanted to go to the fun house, but it was very interesting. They gave out copies of A Life Force and Minor Miracles both by Will Eisner. I read Minor Miracles, which was a collection of four short graphic novels. All four were interesting but strange at the same time. They reminded me of Kafka’s literature a bit. I haven’t yet read the other book, but I plan to do so soon.

Adult Swim Fun House

The Adult Swim Fun House was fun as you’d expect. There were a decent number of strange rooms. One room contained a masked performer who required us to reach into one of the many holes in the room before we could leave. They were filled with slime and goo of course. In another room there was a sleeping Santa Claus in a chair next to a box full of gifts. I actually wasn’t sure if he was real. We all took gifts, but then Santa suddenly woke up and jumped at us, startling some people. By the way, my gift was a thermos. In one room a masked performer wordlessly mimed to us to reach into the box he was holding and draw one ticket. Some were blank indicating losers while others indicated that the person won a poster. Antonio and gem each won a poster, but I didn’t.

Another room had a hole in the wall through which we were required to crawl to proceed. It led onto a giant crib in which lied a hairy man dressed only in a diaper shaking a rattle and crying out for his daddy. It was eerie, but I told him it was the best moment of my life. He shook his rattle at me.

I took a photo of my favorite room above. I’d like to say I imagined those cords were deadly lasers, but if that was the case, I would so be dead. That room led to a hall of mirrors which led to three different exits.

Adult Swim Fun House

One exit mimicked being born! Another led to a cage in which you’d need to sing before being allowed to leave. I found my way a steep incline and a rope. After climbing, I was at the top of a big slide. I decided to roll down it. Funny? No, stupid. I scraped my arm and didn’t notice until a few minutes later that I was bleeding. Sucks for me, but also gross for the people who came down after me when there was a bit of my blood on the slide. Now that we were done, Antonio and gem collected their posters from a man who decided to give me one too. I’d be more excited, but they were actually kind of lame. Still, I put it up in my cubicle. It has a picture of a weird man in front of a bunch of stars with the words “Adult Swim Fun House.”

Saturday!

We started off Saturday by heading back to the Nintendo Game Lounge in an effort to earn Mario and Luigi hats. You got them for playing Super Mario 3D World, but they were out the previous day. Having earned them (and playing Just Dance 2014 again), we went to breakfast. We ate an amazing breakfast buffet at Marina Kitchen. I had an omelette, multiple kinds of bacon, sausage, half of a waffle, oatmeal, and half of a bagel. As you might conclude, it wasn’t a good weekend of my diet, but the breakfast was delicious. The omelette maker also mentioned in Spanish that white people can’t decide and are too picky about food. Thanks to Antonio for translating. Of note, some other Spanish speaking staff at another location made fun of white people because only white people cosplay.

The Scarlet Witch

At Comic-Con I saw someone dressed as the Scarlet Witch. It was a good costume, but every time she posed, one particular photographer got in the way.

Inspector Gadget

I also ran into Inspector Gadget! If you don’t Inspector Gadget, you’re a fool!

I wanted to see the Star Wars vs. Serenity panel so lined up early. Antonio and gem went to the bathroom, so I waited in line. Right after they left, the line moved, and I found myself in the preceding panel, We Are BOOM! BOOM! Studios is a comics publisher, and their panel consisted of founder and CEO Ross Richie, editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon, and vice president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik. It wasn’t very interesting, and sadly hardly anyone left after the panel. I’m pretty sure everyone was in that panel just to see Star Wars vs. Serenity.

The Star Wars vs. Serenity panel was about Dark Horse comics, and it wasn’t really versus. However, it was incredibly interesting! Luckily Antonio and gem made it into the panel, and while we sat in the back, at least we were there. The panel consisted (according to the programming guide) of PR director Jeremy Atkins, editor-in-chief Scott Allie, “Dark Horse resident Jedi” Randy Stradley, and others. I really enjoyed the panel. There were two main things they discussed, one related to each intellectual property.

First, they pitched Whedon the idea of a monthly Serenity comic, but he thought it would water down the property. He wants to continue building that universe, but he only wants to create graphic novels when there’s a good story to tell. That’s a fantastic idea, and I commend him for it. There are more graphic novels planned, and Whedon just gave the go-ahead to create a story taking place after the film. They weren’t giving out many details about the graphic novel, but it will take place very shortly after the film. It sounds like Zoe will still be pregnant, and it’ll be dealing with the fact that the crew of the Serenity are now very highly wanted criminals.

The other interesting announcement was regarding Star Wars. There’s a new graphic novel titled The Star Wars based on George Lucas’ original script for the first movie. While it’s true that it must have had problems because it was changed drastically before filming, the graphic novel still sounds incredibly exciting and interesting. It’ll be a fascinating look at Star Wars history. Anakin and Leia appear to be nearly the same age. As far as I can tell, Darth Vader and Anakin are different people. In place of a Death Star is a Space Fortress. Star Destroyers still look the same but are far smaller; they’re two person fighters. The capital of the Empire is Alderaan. R2-D2 talks. I think the aspect about which I’m most excited is that in place of Obi-wan Kenobi’s role, Luke is actually a Jedi general who is rumored to be over two years old and is a veteran of many battles. It’s comes out in September, and I’m very excited to read it.

We stayed for the next panel as well – How to Get a Job in the Video Game Industry. I’m not particularly looking to do that, but it was still interesting. The panel consisted of Capcom senior director of creative services Francis Mao with a group of people in a variety of roles at Capcom. I thought Mao’s story of breaking into the industry was pretty funny. When he was a teenager he bought a game and received a free issue of Game Pro. The magazine advertised a contest to draw your favorite video game character. He created what he considered a really awesome air-brushed graphic involving multiple characters. He sent it to the magazine and promptly forgot about it. A few weeks later he received a call from the magazine. He was excited and asked, “did I win?” They replied, at least according to him, “no, you idiot. It was a contest for kids, you know, with crayons. But we did love your artwork and were wondering if you’d like to do some paid work for us.” Now keep in mind that I’m paraphrasing here, and he’s probably embellished the story. However, I’m sure he used the phrase “no, you idiot,” and he definitely mentioned the crayons.

They gave a few general tips that I think can apply to many things. Be willing to work for free for the experience and contacts. Network as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to try. Say you can do it, and then work to learn it, even if you’re not sure you can do it.

I think the thing people forget about industries that are idolized like the games industry is that they usually don’t pay as well as comparable jobs. I want to do something I really enjoy and make a difference, yes. But I also care about my well-being and the well-being of my future family. Salary, benefits, 401k all matter. I love video games, and I can purchase them thanks to my nice salary. I really wish one of these panels would tell us how much these people make!

We killed a little time after the panel before gem asked us to go watch a movie they were screening called Warm Bodies, apparently a zombie romance flick. I didn’t expect much out of it but thought it’d be fun. I absolutely loved it. Some of the effects were a little less than totally realistic, and it was definitely corny, but it was great, a ten out of ten. Without giving too much of the story away, the film takes place in a universe in which there’s one known human city left. It’s surrounded by a large wall, and life inside is generally decent. They have electronics, power, plumbing, and a clean environment. Outside the wall are hordes of zombies. Warm Bodies is narrated by a zombie that seems to be cognizant of what he is. It opens with him thinking about his life, complaining about how he moves so slow, and mentioning that his best friend is a guy that sits next to him while they groan back and forth. When he meets a young girl named Juliet he falls in love with her and slowly becomes more human. If you like zombies at all, I’d really recommend watching it!

Delicious Ice Cream Sandwich

What’s next after a great zombie movie? A delicious ice cream sandwich from Crunch Time, right across the street from our hotel. We had no idea it was going to be so huge. You could choose from a variety of ice cream flavors layered between two cookies, either chocolate chip or brownie. We chose one brownie cookie and one chocolate chip cookie with butter pecan ice cream. We even had a heath bar chopped into the ice cream. We split it three ways, and it was super tasty. Another unhealthy treat!

At some point I picked up two free, promotional comics. I don’t remember exactly when, but I’ll just mention them now. One was Ip Man: The Grandmaster of Kung Fu, apparently based on a movie of the same (or similar) name. I didn’t care for it. It wasn’t interesting, the art wasn’t particularly great, and the plot kept changing suddenly. The other was Vikings, published by Zenescope and created in conjunction with the History Channel. I think it’s promoting a new TV show about vikings. It suffered from the same problems as the other comic. I guess that’s why they were free.

It was beginning to get late, but it was also the last night at Comic-Con, so we headed back to the Convention Center to watch anime. First, we saw most of an episode of Mayo Chiki. Okay, this is sound weird, but it is anime. It’s about a young man who is afraid of girls and gets nose bleeds whenever a girl touches him. He accidentally discovers that a butler he knows is actually a girl pretending to be a man. Somehow he gets entangled in the personal lives of Subaru, the butler, and Kanade, her mistress. In this particular episode there was some sort of crazy hoax kidnapping. It was odd.

Next we caught the ending of an episode of Dirty Pair Flash. The two women are police officers or detectives or something, and they deal with criminals. Maybe. The art is terrible, and I think the show is mostly an excuse to show off their breasts. I didn’t care for it.

Finally, we watched Needless Shorts. At least, that’s what the programming guide called it, but I was an am kind of confused. I saw an anime that didn’t include “Shorts” in the title screens at all but were short, five minute (or so) episodes. It was about a young man named Cruz Schild who transfers to an all girls school to try to find his sister. To do so, he has to pretend to be a girl. There’s a lot of hilarity and a bit of fanservice. When I tried to look up the anime later, I could only find mention that Needless is an anime set in the future after World War III. Tokyo is destroyed, and people who live in the crater have gained powers. At this point, I’m thinking I’m reading about the wrong anime. But then I see the name “Cruz Schild.” Antonio mentioned that before the show actually started, he saw someone go into the extras menu. He thought that maybe we were watching an extra. This made me realize that Needless Shorts was probably referring to short episodes based on Needless and not needing to wear less shorts like we originally thought. It wasn’t until just now (as I was writing this post) that I found a page at Anime Planet that mentions an anime related to Needless, Needless: The Secret of Saint Lily Academy (DVD Special). It all makes sense, and I’m actually interested in watching it now!

Sunday!

Pirate Ship

Sunday was the last day of Comic-Con. We started the day by getting in line for Hall H where there was to be a Breaking Bad panel. I grabbed this photo of a pirate ship while in line. Antonio’s not up-to-date on the show, so we suggested he leave so as to not spoil it for himself. We had a good time talking to the person in line behind us, Adam. He mentioned that while he was trying to find the end of the line, the line was also moving, and it would have been easy for him to sneak and cut in line. He said he realized later, “if you want to see Walter White, you have to be Walter White.” I reminded him that bad things happen when you decide to break bad. We also discussed food quite a bit. His girlfriend managed a restaurant called Sea and Smoke that sounded good. He also mentioned two other restaurants he recommended, Barley Mash and Urban Solace, as well as a restaurant in Orange County he recommended called Mr. A’s. Sadly, we didn’t end up eating at any of them. We also mentioned Soda & Swine and Small Bar, and he was familiar with both!

While we were in line, there were people standing near the lines with signs declaring us sinners and telling us to save ourselves through Jesus. I’m never quite sure why those people believe Comic-Con attendees to be sinners. Anyways, two interesting things happened. First, someone took it upon himself to lead us in song to drown them out. This included the Pokemon theme song. A girl continued the idea with some Journey. We sang Queen as well! Second, some people cosplayed as the people with signs. However, these signs said a variety of things such as “Bring back that show I like” and “Galactus is nigh!” They were pretty funny, and they followed around the other people with signs, driving them away. That was nice!

The time the panel was supposed to start came and went, and we were still in line. However, they also told us that the panel was delayed. We weren’t sure how long to stay. A half hour after the scheduled start time, gem and I decided to leave. Just as we were leaving they came out to announce that the hall was full and that the panel had started. We walked near the front of the line anyways to ask how long the people at the front, who still weren’t inside mind you, had been in line. It was 11:45 or so at the time, and they had been in line since 6:30 AM. That’s crazy.

After finding Antonio, we went back to Bolillo Tortas for lunch again. This time I actually got horchata, oh, and a torta too. I had a decent torta ahogada, but I actually liked the milanesa de res torta more. However, gem got an order of chilaquiles that we all shared, and that was absolutely amazing. So good!

sdcc 2013

The Nintendo Game Lounge was going to do a group photo of fans at 2:00, so we thought we might be able to make it over there. We were just slightly too late, but I did run into Quail Man and Woody! Totally worth it. After that, we decided to try to see Neil Gaiman at a panel. We waited in line for 45 minutes or so, but we didn’t make it into the panel. At that point we decided to call it a day and head home.

Duck Dynasty

As we were walking down the sidewalk outside the Convention Center, I saw this group of people – Duck Dynasty cosplayers! I don’t watch the show, but my stepdad does, so I had to grab a photo! It’s amazing to think that such a wide variety of interests are represented at Comic-Con! Finding interesting cosplay that was so different than most of the other things I saw over the convention was the perfect way to end the convention. With that, our vacation ended!

A boxing penguin who loves a high school girl: Tuxedo Gin

Tuxedo Gin

How could you go wrong with a manga about a boxing penguin who’s in love with a high school girl? You can’t of course. I’m pretty sure I picked up Tuxedo Gin Vol. 1 years ago at Anime Expo. I bought a bunch of volumes 1 of things so I could try different mangas. My logic was a little peculiar I suppose. However, I just got around to reading this.

Ginji, a young man just breaking into professional boxing meets a girl, Minako, falls in love with her, and then gets killed – a tale as old as time. A guardian angel gives him a chance to be put back into his body, but he has to first live through a reincarnation as a penguin, Gin, and he can’t try to kill himself as a penguin either. Luckily for him, he winds up with Minako, and she loves penguins.

From there it pans out like you’d expect if you read manga or watch anime: there are some awkward scenes as she reveals herself in front of the Gin. Better yet, Gin puts his boxing skills to the test as a penguin. It’s funny in a stereotypical way, although usually in this type of story there’s the lingering chance that the girl will reciprocate feelings. That can’t really happen with Gin a penguin. In addition, some of the panels are a little hard to understand graphically. I’ll be reading a little more I think but won’t make it a priority.

AX Days Two, Three, and Four

Day Two
The second day of Anime Expo was relatively uneventful. The first thing we actually did was go to M Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse in Koreatown in LA. Edward wanted to join us and use our hotel room, so taking us out to eat was his payment. It was a fantastic restaurant. Like the other Brazilian steakhouse at which I’ve eaten, various meats are brought around the room and offered to you. It’s all you can eat, and you pick on a per-meat-basis if you’d like a piece.

 
As for the actual Expo itself, we didn’t have a lot plan. We walked around a bit looking at cosplay, spent some time in the Exhibit Hall, and read in the Manga Lounge. We went to the laser show, but it was kind of boring. AX staff were also passing out tickets to the MELL concert. It seems they were having trouble filling the audience (as usual). We said we weren’t interested because of the laser show, but they gave us tickets anyways. It’s lucky they gave them to us even though we didn’t want them; we went to the concert after getting bored of the laser show. MELL is a techno/trace inspired rock singer, and the concert was a lot of fun. Juan, a friend who was with us, got removed for taking photographs, but they allowed him to come back after confirming that he deleted the photos.
Day Three
The third day was packed full of events! In the morning, gem and I went to a panel on creating steampunk characters. The emphasis was on creating characters to cosplay so it talked about making the props. It was a lot of fun! The panel was hosted by the League of S.T.E.A.M., which is a group that does live performances and webcasts of a steampunk verson of Ghostbusters. They had a lot of cool props, including a plunger gun that actually worked (after building up pressure for what seemed like forever – something that’s actually cool since it’s steampunk) and a gun that launches a net.
I guess I forgot to mention what happened on the way to the panel. I was eating a banana nut muffin that tasted a little strange. It had the taste of bread, bananas, nuts, and… dental adhesive. How strange. Then I noticed that my crown fell off. After the panel I cleaned everything as best I could and popped the crown back on my tooth. It seems to be staying pretty well, so I’m going to wait until Wednesday when I’m more free to go see the dentist. It should be relatively easy to adhere again. After that was all taken of I ran into Jennifer Damm cosplaying Princess Peach! That was pretty fun!
Next we went to Chibi Masquerade. It seems that Masquerade is an event for cosplay skits and is a competition. Chibi Masquerade isn’t a competition and accepts anyone in costume. It’s like a training ground for Masquerade. It was really fun! Some people had lines and dialog, other groups danced, and some just came on stage quickly to show off their costumes. Two cute little boys dressed as characters from Naruto fought on stage for example. Tuxedo Mask gave a monologue about being divorced from Sailor Moon and living with his brother. He was hoping to meet someone new and gave out what I assume is his actual phone number. Also, War Machine got on stage! His costume was amazing! It had a shoulder-mounted gun that really moved and the glowing core.
Next we went to AX Idol. We got there an hour or hour and a half early, which kind of sucked because the show started late. Idol was as the Nokia Plaza in LA Live so we wanted to get there early due to limited seating. Jennifer and her friend ended up running into us there and sat with us. gem noticed someone sitting near us in a fleece panda sweater. She wondered who would buy such a thing, then realized that Linh-Nam did, and then realized that it was Linh-Nam! We talked a little, and I met his girlfriend, but then the show started. AX Idol opened with a song by the host’s band, and then Idol itself started. It was a great show! I really, really enjoyed it. Then we went down to see Last Comic Standing. As usual, Last Comic Standing was very funny. I saw a lot of returning comics, including Soap, who made it into the finals. Unfortunately he lost to other person in the finals. Luckily though most of comedians were great.
Day Four
We woke up on the fourth day to find that the power was out in our bathroom. This made taking showers and going to the bathroom more difficult. We took turns going to the bathroom with the door wide open and the rest of us waiting outside the hotel room. Edward the only person who didn’t shower the previous night, so he was the only person who needed to shower. He just left the door open a bit and took off his clothes after closing the shower curtain.
The last day was much less crowded. Edward and I went to an anime podcasting panel that gave tips on podcasting hosted by Anime-Genesis. It was short but fun, and we got free t-shirts! Although we went to get tips because we want to start a gaming podcast, I think I’ll also check out the Anime-Genesis podcast. Afterwards we spent a little time in the Manga Lounge and Exhibit Hall. I read the first volume of Cheeky Angel, a manga about a boy who wishes to be the manliest man but gets turned into the womanliest woman. It was pretty amusing. In the Exhibit Hall I got a sweet Sonic tshirt and a cool Shy Guy tshirt. Yay!
We left as the Exhibit Hall closed and went to Orochon Ramen like we do every year! I had a tasty miso-based soup with egg and tofu! Yum yum! And then we went home! Yay!

Day Zero and Day One

Day Zero
I was pretty on Day Zero. I only slept for three and a half hours, and then we had to buy a bunch of snacks with Antonio. When we got down to LA, we parked in his staff parking and went in search of his badge. The people he expected to have his badge didn’t because Antonio told them he wasn’t going to come Day Zero.
gem and I line up for our badges, and it took about three hours. They couldn’t find her information but then printed hers anyways after she showed her email confirmation. Later we came back at night so that Antonio could get his badge at the staff meeting. gem and I sat down in some chairs while Antonio was in his meeting. It ended around 11:30, and when we went to leave, the doors were all locked. LACC staff were confused and kept asking us how we got inside. They seem surprised to find out that we came in the main entrance two hours earlier. They just locked up without checking the upper levels or saying anything. Idiots.
Our hotel room’s really small, but the hotel’s location is great. It’s a 10-15 minute walk from the LACC, is right next to an IHOP and Subway, and is one block from a Ralph’s. Plus we filled our room with snacks!
Day One
Yesterday we started our day by getting AMV contest tickets. I expected it to be annoying, but we waited in line for less than a minute. After we got our tickets, I went to the Manag Cafe and read the first volume of the Sunwell Trilogy and a bit of FLCL. Then we checked out the Exhibition Hall and met Ann. We also checked out the arcade and the table-top gaming room. I doubt I’ll play, but it was pretty cool!
The AMV Contest was longer than I would have liked as usual. However, I thought the AMVs were really good. I had a great time. The best part was Edward. He showed up late on Day One and got his ticket separately from us. Because he wanted to sit with us, he offered the guy sitting next to us $15 to switch tickets. Surprisingly the guy said okay, swapped and left. Then I noticed that the guy didn’t go to place that Edward’s seat was located. Edward checked the ticket and found out that the guy’s ticket was for a seat far from us. He was just sitting there. It was hilarious. He tried to pay off the girl that showed up for the seat. She seemed interested, but her friends wouldn’t let her. Edward sat alone.

Anime Expo 2010

Anime Expo is less than a week away! We check in next Wednesday and the expo is Thursday through Sunday! I’m sure we’re gonna have a great time. I’m not really sure how ticketing works for everything though. Things are kind of confusing on the site. I guess that’s usual for AX though. They’re always incredibly disorganized, and it gets worse every year. I really want to see Last Comic Standing and AX Idol. I’m not as interested in the AMV contest as everyone else, but it’s fun, and I know my friends want to see it too. I don’t know what exactly I’m most looking excited about. I think it’s just the atmosphere and seeing people in cosplay. At E3 there was lots of cool stuff to see, but I constantly had to rush around. It’ll be nice to have things to do without having to be in a hurry.
And this year I think I’ll meet my goal of not spending any money! Sadly it’s because I don’t have any!

Day 4, The End

After waking up early and packing, I headed to open autographs to try for a third time to get Ishiwatari’s and Mori’s autographs. It took a few hours, but I finally got heir autographs! Very cool!
Then we walked around the exhibit hall a bit. I bought an adorable little robot figure with big, puppy dog eyes and a small moogle figure. We also said hi to Lily!
Next we tried to see the Zelda: Mythbusters panal, but the line was huge so we left. Then w tried to go to Orochon Raman in Little Tokyo. At first we went to the wrong place, but now we’re here! Lunch in just a few short minutes!
It was very tasty! It was in a different plaza though so we came to Mikawaya for mochi! It’s a very nice place. I ordered 5 mochis, and the staff gave me a sixth for free!

Day 3

Today we lined up in the stand-by line for AX Idol around 10. It was a complete mess. When they passed out tickets, one guy went down each side of the line in parallel. Some of us got tickets from one and from the other. Went I went to correct that, the guys told us that there wasn’t any assigned seating. Well, that was a lie. Long story short, I got pretty mad and argued quite a bit, including arguing on behalf of some girl who wasn’t even with me. They said if we wanted to sit together, we could move to the back. Well, if it’s AX’s fault, they should make it right not penalize us for it. Main Events staff claimed that the problem was Tocketing’s not their problem. Regardless, eventually the staffer found someone who needed gem’s ticket and had the ticket gem needed so they switched.
AX Idol was very entertaining! I wish there was something more to say, but I didn’t take any recordings or remember any names. Pictochat was also very fun this year! AX Idol never disappoints!
Next I hurried over to line up for Ishiwatari and Mori’s autographs again. After two hours, guess what? No autograph! I guess I gotta come to open autographs tomorrow.
Next we went to get sushi, but it was too expensive and hardly had anything to choose from so we went to Lawry’s Carvery. Delicious!
Then it was off to the Manga Cafe! I read Midori Days Volumes 1 and 2. I loved the anime and had read the first volume already. I need to finish the manga sometime. Next I moved on to the first volume of FLCL. I couldn’t even tell who was talking. I should have watched the anime first. I didn’t realize Gainax made it. I should follow their work more closely. Lastly I read about half of the first volume of Gocha Gocha. It’s about a guy who’s friends with a girl who goes away for te summer. When she comes back, he finds that he’s in love with her, but she now has a split personality. Normally she’s the normal we’re-friends-but-I’m-always-mean-to-you girl, but her other personality is very erotic. It seems pretty awesome so far!
Now we’re in Last Comic Standing, and I’ve already seen a couple comics from last year. Soap came up and was pretty funny! He finished his bit without getting boo’ed off and only insulted fat people of AX a little!
Wow, the second half was great. Last Comic Standing was just amazing this year. Usually each half has a winner, and the two winners compete in the final round. This time there was an improv yo-momma duel to decid the winner of the second half who then won againt the first half’s winner in the final round. It got even better this year!

Day 2

Today I first went to the Ishiwatari (creator of Guilty Gear and composer of BlazBlue) and Mori (director of BlazBlue) focus panel. It was pretty interesting! Ishiwatari said he used American metal band references a bunch just because he loved the music. He also said that a lot of games had a cute girl character, and to be different he wanted to have a cute transexual girl. Despite this being out of the ordinary, the fans loved her.
Afterwards I headed to the Exhibit Hall to purchase Guilty Gear XX ^ Core Plus for Wii and BlazBlue Collector’s Edition for PS3 for $85. That’s actually a pretty great price surprisingly. I then rushed to the Ishiwatari and Mori autograph session. I stood in lone for a while but didn’t make it. There’s a session tomorrow, but it’s during AX Idol so I can’t go. Hopefully they’re at the open autograph session Sunday.
We had some lunch at a fish grill. I had a cashew chicken salad that was very tasty. Then we met up with Justina and Larysa! I bought some cards from William’s friend Lily.
Then after hangin around the Exhibit Hall for a while we lined up at 6:45 in the priority line for ticket holders for the AMV contest. Line’s were strange. Despite checking tickets at the door, they also check tickets before getting in line. Also, Collin had been in line since 3 (4 hours before seating and 6 hours before the show starting). Instead of giving out tickets, thy were just going to ivetickets to them as thy enter when the show’s about to start. That means they get to sit there for 6 hours before sitting inside for 3 hours to watch the contest. Sort of fucked up.
They didn’t actually let us in until 7:30, but now it’s 8:08 and I’ve been watching AMVs that didn’t become finalists for over a half hour! They already showed Dead Fantasy I & II; Dead Fantasy III will premiere soon!
Turns out it was Dead Fantasy III through V. They were shorter than usual but still cool.
For action AMV, I voted for The Good Ship Lifestyle, featuring the song by the same name by Chumbawumba and One Piece. For drama I voted for an FLCL AMV set to Story of a Girl. For comedy I liked a video that was a spoof of the news from the movie Starship Troopers. Finally for pro I voted for Dance Dance Celebration!
We got out at 11:45 but didn’t make it to our room until 1:30. The line was super long for the bus. Then there were so many people waiting for the 9 elevators (3 less than tere were supposed to be due to them being out of service) that it took a really long time. We took the escalators to a different floor and then caught an elevator going down before it filled I up. The only problem was the vomit in the back! One girl who really wanted to gt to her room said she didn’t mind standing in it because as someone who works on a farm, she’s stood in worse. Oh, an she wasn’t wearing shoes! Anyways, that’s pretty dumb because standing in something gross outside on a farm is different than tracking vomit through a hotel.
Anyways, it’s time to go enjoy Day 3!

Day 1

I decided not to go to Opening Ceremonies today, so I woke up around 9:30 and headed down. While walking around a little I saw some interesting cosplay, including a Zangief! It was funny! I also saw a spy disguised as a pyro!
I tried lining up for Artist Alley, but Anime Expo staff were pretty confused so we went to watch an episode of Emma: A Victorian Romance. It wasn’t amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it.
Next we went to the AMV 101 panel. Outside we saw Collin and linked up with his group before going in. I didn’t realize it was two hours long though, so I left after about 15 minutes.
Then it was exhibition hall time! First I checked out Artist Alley! I got an NES controller charm for my DSi! I also bought mechafetus’ new art book and met Persona-sama from Select Button. It was fun, and the book’s pretty awesome. It’s filled with weird people pouring guts out, topless, pixelated girls, and even a penis ejaculating rainbows! I also bought a t-shirt from another booth – It shows a Mage casing with a cast bar and a caption saying something along the lines of “Don’t interrupt me; I’m casting.”
Next it was food time! Nachos and tacos in the convention center! Now I’m in line for Imaishi and Nishigori! Nishigori was an animator of NGE! The line gave me time to look at mechafetus’ awesome art book and to update this entry!
While waiting for the panel, I found that my DSi froze and the battery was just about drained. Sucks.
It’s just Q&A, and all the questions are about Gurren Lagann. I wanted to hear about NGE! And I haven’t seem Gurren Lagann yet; spoilers! Spoilers everywhere!
Okay, after the panel I got a ticket for autographs, but I ended up not going. I didn’t have anything forhem to sign (and didn’t really care that much). Antonio and I tried toxins some manga that wasn’t yaoi; it took a while. Then Antonio went to line up for the Gurren Lagann movie. I was alone for an hour because William and gemma were in a clay sculpting thing. I bough Aoi House Omnibusses 1 and 2. I had the first issue last year and really enjoyed it! I also bought Battle Club volume 1. It’s about wrestling and stars a bunch of scantily clad women (one of whom has a penis) with a lot of comedy and mature fan service.
I also bought some adult dating games from jlist. Cosplay Fetish Academy is a normal dating sim in which “reality had changed around us, and these sexy uniforms and othe costumes were now completely normal!” I also bought Lightning Warrior Raidy, an adult dungeon crawler. You can fight sexy enemies and rescue sexy prisoners! They threw in two free DVD non-adult interactive fiction games, Hourglass of Summer and The Society of a Witch. They also gave out complementary tissue, haha!
Now we have four hours to kill before the jlist panel on dating sims!
Well, we were too lazy for that panel. We stayed in the hotel and went to Korean B.B.Q. Plus for dinner. Tasty! Now I’m going to read manga a little before going to bed. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Day 0 Night

Found a restaurant called Olive Branch in the Bonaventure. We got a gyro, hummus, chicken, rice, salad, and sprite for $18. Then I hung out in the room looking through the schedule and watching a tv show called Burn Notice on USA. It was interesting. Before bed I put everything that looked interesting to me in my phone’s calendar. Ready to go!

Day 0

Got to the Bonaventure around 1:00. They let us check in despite our check-in time being 3:00. Hung out in the room and acted pervy towards William for a while. AX registration started at 3:00, but we got there around 3:30. The line was huge and in the sun. Apparently the computers were down. Ethan said something got unplugged. We played Contact (verbal game, not DS) the whole time. So much fun!
Got badges by 5:30 or so and then had to wait in line for AMV tickets until 7:30. We had to pick up William’s ticket for him because he was too good for us! (He met friends for dinner.) The guy in front of me asked the three girls from the AniMaid Cafe for hugs. He actually wants to pay $25 to have dinner and play games with girls dressed as maids. Food better be good.

Anime Expo 2008

I just got back from Anime Expo in Los Angeles, and it was great! This year I went to the opening ceremony, the AMV contest, AX Idol, a signing by NIS character designers, a NIS America panel, Last Comic Standing, a David Hayter panel, a David Hayter signing, Whose Line Is It Anime?, and the closing ceremony. And I spent less than $50 on merchandise!
We stayed at the Omni hotel, which was only a few minutes away from the convention center via shuttle. Shuttles were free for us. The hotel was very nice, especially at 60 degrees the whole time, but I lost my extra battery for my camera. I’m pretty sure it was dead (broken dead) so it wasn’t a big loss. Antonio said he may have lost boxers and jeans. Duncan, who was in a different room, lost a pair of glasses. Justin, also in the other room, lost a pair of boxers as well. That doesn’t just seem like coincidence. Are the cleaning people stealing things? Together with the fact that there was a used tampon in between the mattress and box-spring of Justin’s bed (they got a free upgrade for that), I’m not sure I’d want to stay there again despite it seeming very nice.
This was the first year that I went to the opening ceremony. It was fun, but not too terribly exciting. I did mingle quite a bit with The World Ends With You, although it took me days to realize that the reason why I couldn’t see other players was because I was using the PAL version.
The AMV contest was quite long, but a lot of fun. There are definitely some AMVs I’d like to look up and watch some more, and they made me more interested in a few anime series. None of my choices won, but oh well.
AX Idol was really awesome. Last year I thought it was really boring, but this year, almost every contestant had a lot of talent. Half of the people were competing in voice acting, and the other half were singing. It was really amazing. One guy, who had his head shaved except for a short triangle-shaped mohawk, sang Rain, from Cowboy Bebop. I have a nice picture of him courtesy of “JUB” via Pictochat!
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Last Comic Standing is a stand-up competition. It was funny and very enjoyable, but some of the “comedians” were quite bad. A lot of them told jokes like “I’m a minority…it’s hard to like anime when you’re Black and/or Hispanic, food stamps, Home Depot etc.” I’m glad these people can joke around with their own culture’s negative stereotypes, but seriously, enough. The two finalists were also pretty bad >_>. I guess the audience was stupid because they’re the ones were judging. There were judges there to comment, but they didn’t choose the winners. Do you know who the coolest judge was? Man-Faye! It was awesome seeing him! Whose Line Is It Anime? is an improv show in which everything is anime themed. Terribly bad. It did make me miss Live Nude People that much more though.
We hung out at the NIS booth a bit, and I got my picture taken with a giant Prinny! Phoenix was funny as always too. I bought a Disgaea picture and got autographs from two different character designers that work at NIS. I also went to a NIS panel where they talked about Disgaea 3 and A Witch’s Tale, their new upcoming games.
I also went to a David Hayter panel. He was the voice of Lupin in Lupin the Third, the voice of Snake in the MGS series, and the screenplay writer of X-Men. It was really entertaining. I tried getting his autograph at multiple sessions but kept not making them. Finally on the last day, I managed to get his autograph.
I also went to the closing ceremony, and it was pretty boring. We did go to Little Tokyo to eat though, where the food was delicious!
I can’t wait for next year!

Summer Recap

  • Life
    • rode bikes with gem in Shoreline Village twice
    • listened to Squadcast podcast
    • listened to Half Hour Power Hour podcast
    • many lunches with gem
    • hung out with gem at El Camino a lot
    • napping with gem at parks
    • sushi with gem
    • Cuban food with gem
    • watched The Tempest with gem
    • Hung out with Chris, Melissa, and Alyson
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Chris, Melissa, Alyson, Herbert, and Herbert’s friend
    • Hung out with Herbert
    • Hung out with Christine and Linh-Nam
    • Santa Monica with gem
    • Weeding at my mom’s
    • War of the Worlds with Mom, Pete, and James
    • Cuban food with Mom and Pete
    • LAN party at William’s with William, Linh-Nam, Chris, Russell, Kamal, Lawrence
    • Disneyland with gem, Mayra, Mayra’s date Dennis
    • Disneyland with Herbert, David, Mike, Genevieve, Chris, Denise, and Denise’s cousin Ryan
    • Saw Elon Gold at the Irvine Improv with gem
    • Hung out at gem’s Irvine house with her
    • Played GunBound with gem
    • Signed James up for gmail and taught him to use it
    • Signed James up for GunBound and taught him to play it
    • Signed James up at MySpace and taught him to use it
    • Read at a park on Santa Fe with gem
    • Read and ate at a park in Signal Hill with gem
    • Went to Boomer’s with Gian, Cheryl, Christine Kang, Allison, William, and Linh-Nam
    • Went to Guppy Tea House with William, Linh-Nam, Cheryl, and Gian and ran into David, VJ, Ronelyn, and Anthony
    • Went to Hollywood with gem
    • Ran into Camille at Taco Bell
    • Lots more shopping and hanging out with gem!
    • Went to Vegas with my aunt, uncle, and cousins to visit my grandparents
    • Took pictures at Signal Hill at night with gem
    • Ate curry that gem made me!
    • Helped gem at her house, had dinner with Russell and Lauren, visited Andy, Vince and Chris, visited Mom, Pete, and Rocky
    • Went to a pet store with gem. Browsed for a while. gem bought dog treats and a pig ear for Nina (she liked them) and a pink collar for the cat (looks cute on her)
    • Got new kitten
    • Made dinner with gem for Andy, Chris, Stef, Alex
  • Gaming
    • played Kingdom Hearts
    • completed Destroy All Humans!
    • completed Final Fantasy II (US)
    • played a lot of the Sims 2
    • completed River City Ransom in normal mode
    • played a lot of GunBound, ranking up three times (single wood hammer -> double metal axe)
    • Started playing MapleStory, getting to level 13 Magician
    • Beat Dark Alliance in Extreme
  • Anime
    • Trigun
    • FF7: Advent Children
    • FF7: Last Order
  • TV
    • Firefly
  • Literature
    • Venus on the Half-Shell
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Short)
    • The Standard Book of Spells (Short)
    • The Wizard’s Handbook (Short)
    • The Princess Bride
  • Movies
    • H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (2005/I)
    • Oldboy (2003)
    • White Noise (2005)
    • Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
    • Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
    • The Butterfly Effect (2004)
    • Blue Crush (2002)
    • War of the Worlds (2005)
    • Soldier (1998)
    • Fantasia/2000 (1999)
    • The Animatrix (2003)
    • The Notebook (2004)
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
    • The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
    • Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (2004)
    • American Beauty (1999)

Gravitation OVA

The Gravitation OVA was crap compared to the main series. It doesn’t really fit with the rest of the series, the animation isn’t as good, and it didn’t really make as much sense (some translation errors, probably). I believe it was made before the series so it worked well to give a taste of the series, I guess. It just… I dunno… oh well.

Aishiteru ze Baby through 19

A new character, Miki, was introduced at the end of episode 17. It was a good time to do so. She spices up the show by adding a new bit of drama. There are a lot of different characters and sub-plots now, and thoe show is able to adequately support all. Episode 19 ends with a cliff-hanger. Now I wait for 20.

Gravitation

Gravitation is a really good series. It’s about a young man named Shuichi who’s in a new band called Bad Luck. While in a park, Shuichi drops a piece of paper with the lyrics to one of his songs on it. A man picks them up and tells Shuichi that they’re horrible. Shuichi learns that his name is Yuki and falls in love with him. There are a lot of twists of plot and emotion, and it’s surprising how many people are connected to each other.
The style of the show is very fun. It’s very serious sometimes, but also switches to a cartoonish style for parts. Shuichi and Ryuichi both act cute and childish at times, which is very amusing. Characters wear bunny, dog, luggage, cans and many other types of costumes. Very strange. Character development for Shuichi and Yuki is good. Most other characters don’t actually develop, but information about them is released that’s vital to the plot.
The ending is a little ambiguous, and parts of the plot move too fast. In one episode Shuichi falls in love, realizes he’s in love, realizes it’s okay to love a male, and kisses Yuki. Nevertheless, the show is very good.

Aishiteru ze Baby 13

I thought this was a great episode. It moved the plot a bit and was very touching. The Kokoro subplot was hardly touched, but from the preview it seems that she’s showing jealousy and will confront Kippei in episode 14. This episode, Yuzuyu’s mother returns. I won’t say what happens, but rest assured that her return does not bring about the end of the series. I’m still very pleased with this show, and I hope it doesn’t end for a while. Of course, I hope it doesn’t run out of material for a while, too.

Trigun Volume 1

This manga was longer than most at 357 pages. I enjoyed it, but I think I would have been confused had I not seen most of the anime. Major elements of the plot are revealed much earlier in the manga than in the series, which I like. A lot of the panels seem a little difficult to follow in my opinion. Perhaps if I had slowed down, it would have made more sense, but I guess it wasn’t needed because I had seen the series. I’m definitely going to be reading the next volume.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Volume 1

This manga was created after the seriers, and from what I understand, has not yet been completed. The graphics are excellent and have a lot of detail. The story goes pretty in-depth, and parts of the plot are more obvious in the manga than the anime. It’s stuck pretty close to the anime, although some things are different, and more details have been slipped in like I said. The writers probably didn’t want people quite as confused when reading the manga as viewers of the series were. NGE has been very good so far.