Another year, another convention. However, Anime Expo marks a very important occasion for me. This marks the second year I have gone, and if you've been following my blogs, you may even remember that Anime Expo 2011 was the very first convention I went to and blogged about. Last time I went alone and at the last minute, but this time, I planned my attendance earlier, and ended up taking some friends along for the trip.
The most significant event that occurred during Anime Expo, or rather, because of it, is that I met up with fellow GiantBomb member. He came all the way from Texas to attend, and I fulfilled the role of driving him around town. He even met a couple of my closest friends in his stay, and it was a bit surreal to have a friend I've known exclusively through the internet meet people I've known since my childhood. Those two aspects of my life do not tend to overlap, but Esrever and and my other friends got along very well.
Last weekend, Esrever, a friend of mine named Mario, and I went to the con on both Saturday and Sunday. We saw a few panels, walked around the exhibit hall, attended a concert or two, and took photographs of many, many cosplayers. We got their at about 8am on Saturday, and, to my surprise, went through the pre-registration line quickly enough to make it to the Aksys Games panel, which started at 9am. The Aksys staff revealed that Virtue's Last Reward will have a watch similar to the 999 one as a preorder bonus, that 999 would get a reprint with a new cover, and that they were currently in the works of dubbing a Virtue's Last Reward OVA, which will posted online.
The second half of the panel was reserved for questions, and possibly the most hilarious thing I witnessed at AX 2012 was when the first person that got on the microphone asked if Aksys was planning on localizing Persona 4 Arena. What made that question even more amazing was the frustrated response from one of the panelists about how often he's been asked that by fans. Another fan asked about the explanation behind the Japanese title, Good People Die and the localization, Virtue's Last Reward, to which we were told that the Japanese title had two meanings, and thus tried to come up with an English equivalent during the localization that best fit with the spirit of the original title. Other panel highlights included Esrever getting up on the microphone and expressing his love of Noel Vermillion, and an Aksys staff member telling us about a how he once heard that BlazBlue's story was originally written as an RPG, which explains a lot, actually. After the panel was over, we were given VLR water bottles and a JRPG poster that I'm pretty sure gave me a paper cut.
Most of our experience consisted of exploring the convention areas, especially the Exhibit Hall. Unfortunately, the guide book we got at the entrance just isn't very helpful. Panels and workshops that were printed in the schedule were sometimes canceled, and the book listed what artists could be found at Artist Alley, but didn't show where the artists were located. If there was a specific artist you were looking for, you either had to look up where to find him or her online, or walk around through every table until you do. Eventually, I found the table with a couple of the Katawa Shoujo artists, and randomly decided to pick up the art book they were selling. I told the artist responsible for Hanako's path that I first heard about the Visual Novel through a community blog on GiantBomb, and it got a little awkward when she said she wasn't familiar with the site.
There was also the Cosplayer Nation panel, which showcased some interviews of an upcoming film about cosplayer culture. It's still in production, and the panel was mostly a discussion about the project's origins and goal. Finally, there was the Yuki Kajiura concert, which I went out of curiosity more than anything else. I don't follow her music, and honestly, that might be why I felt really indifferent to it. The concert started later than scheduled, and I was really exhausted by then. It did make me think about the people who write about these conventions for a living, and how much endurance you need for it.
That just about wraps up our Saturday. By conversing with Esrever and Mario, I got the impression that they enjoyed the convention more than I did. It was new experience for them, after all. We were debating about whether or not to attend the EgoRaptor panel, but it started at 11:00pm, so we decided to just call it a night.
Tune in next time for an update about Sunday's event!