PlayStation Experience 2014

I had a lot of preconceived notions about PlayStation Experience and was I wrong on all of them or what! I though the PlayStation Experience was a great fan convention for anyone interested in video games associated with the PlayStation brand. It offered games to play. Lots of floor space and kiosks for playing with video games. And there was so much to do you could not do them all.

Also, it totally worked putting it at the city of Las Vegas. I didn’t think it would but maybe for this particular event it did. At fan conventions I usually enjoy my time by nerding out on stuff. For this one I had regular fun which was a nice change of pace. I didn’t do anything special and I can’t really put my finger on it. But this experience was different and nice to do something different once in a while.

I heard on the Giant Bombcast that they might be making this a regular thing. That would be some effort. It’s not easy and it might not be profitable. If they do, I would probably come again. For everyone else, if you like video games and you can make it to Vegas I highly recommend it.

Keynote

Whoa, Adam Boyes is going to be the presenter of the keynote!?! I didn’t know that (was this known). That’s awesome!

It was a pleasant surprise to see Adam Boyes presenting the keynote. Adam did such a good job while entertaining at the same time. Adam should be the face of the company. He’s so natural at it. Also, Gio Corsi coming out in a hockey jersey that says Third Party Productions was great. I loved it! Comedy gold.

I really liked this Keynote because I always wanted to attend one of those E3 press conferences. This was the closes thing to it. They even went long like an E3 PlayStation press conference! I was late so I didn’t get to see the beginning. I enjoy seeing trailers, gameplay, and announcements in this format. A few trailers that got my attention were The Forest, Batman Arkham Knight, What Remains of Edith Finch.

The trailer for Wattam was great. Whimsical. Seems like something out of Monty Python.

I haven’t been really following The Order: 1886 but I liked the trailer they showed. I wasn’t expecting rappelling down the side of an airship and all that action. It was like a better version of the movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

So, there was that Final Fantasy VII portion of the keynote. I watched it. Ok. The thing is I’m not up to date with ALL of video games so I missed the joke there. I only learned about it until the Giant Bombcast. I enjoyed the jokes about it.

Y’all saw the Until Dawn demo? That was so much fun watching that. A whole lot of people were screaming run or hide. So awesome. I’m interested in watching more of this game after that.

I hope I’m not forgetting anything else. These weren’t in any particular order.

Exhibit floor

As mentioned earlier a lot of kiosks for people to play games.

Panels

There were panels. I went to some. Thankfully PlayStation recorded and posted a lot of them. I can finally go and watch Word on the Street Battlefield Hardline and some others I missed.

I went to Giant Sparrow Panel it was really interesting. Even though I’m not interested in any of those FromSoftware games but Hidetaka Miyazaki is such a personality. The Actors and Their Voices: Casting Characters was the one I enjoyed the most.

Gallery

The portion below gets a lot like a slice of life anime

Misc. notes

-I liked how my 8am flight Saturday morning were mostly senior citizens. Some people were going to have some fun!

-McCarran International Airport has a series of airport regulations videos. I saw this one and had to stop. I still think it’s funny so it wasn’t because I had been up since 4am. It probably added a few seconds of being late to the con.

-At Vegas, I learned from a cab driver. The rodeo was in town at the Thomas & Mack center and the temperature was going to be like San Diego. It really was! I looked at the weather Friday night and prepared for cold but I didn’t even need any kind of outerwear while outside.

-The National Finals Rodeo is big in Vegas. Like Comic Con being in town big. There were signs all over that had Welcome National Finals Rodeo. I think they might have played more country music. The only other time I seen something like this was Phoenix Comic Con. With the welcome signs all over. I like Westerns so I liked this setting.

-I used the monorail from the MGM to the Venetian. Monorail is very easy, I would recommend it. A lot of cowboys and cowgirls were on it talking about all the stuff they did on a Friday night.

-On Saturday I finally got lunch at BLT Burger at The Mirage. I got the I-80, yes the highway. I was thinking about the BLT since it look like the speciality but I was too hungry. The burger was good. The patty was the highlight it’s like your standard restaurant burger. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I would come back to this place.

It got a bit like Persona 4 or some slice of life anime when people joined me at the next table. The cowgirl really wanted to know how my burger was. Like when it arrived to when I took a bite. I said it was great. Turnabout is fair play so I asked how hers was. She liked hers and the cowboy had a Tex-Mex which was huge. There was some small talk. We ended with that I was here to see a video game convention and they were here from Oklahoma for Hank Williams. This is one of the reasons I love Las Vegas because this is a cosmopolitan town where you can be having lunch with people from Oklahoma.

-I saw a lot of people with bag from the M&M’s store.

-I came this close to eating at Guy Fieri’s place. I didn’t want anything big after having a big lunch. Maybe next time. I want to try a lot of celebrity chef restaurants.

-I ended Saturday night by going to the Bellagio. I wanted to see if I could catch the fountains doing the Tiesto track. Instead, I got Titanic. Well, what can you do. On Sunday night when I was going home I passed by Bellagio and got Fly Me To the Moon. A popular song that has been used in a lot of things including stuff I may not be a fan of. I do give props to Gainax for going outside the box with that one.

-Sunday around noon I had a chance encounter with Geoff Keighley while going to the exhibit floor! And I totally embarrassed myself! I told him I love GTTV. His reply was I wish we were still making that stuff. [Facepalm] He asked me if I watched The Game Awards and I gave him some confusing response (I actually wanted to attend the show). I mentioned other stuff but kept referencing back to Spike TV material. He was such a pro about it.

I genuinely did enjoy all that GTTV stuff. It was video game based entertainment.

-It was a joy to see Troy Baker and his group of friends having fun at a Ghostbusters slot machine.

-Sunday night at McCarran some people were still in party mode while making their way home. At the security line, a lady told her friend “You look drunk.” Her response “I am drunk.” At one of the terminals the destination was to Chicago where there were around 6 to 8 collegiate sports teams. It reminded me of the lobby at Katsucon and Anime Los Angeles. People were yelling save me a seat etc, energy “bouncing off the wall” there. Lastly, this lady was charging her phone while talking loudly about the good times she had with the person on the other end.

I didn’t mind any of this stuff. No one was out of line. I was just wondering how some people were still so energetic while I was completely drained.

Misc. pics

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I went to a Miku concert

When I heard news of a Miku concert that was coming in October this year I didn't think much of it. My thought was I guess fans will like it. I won't be going to it. I don't think there was a singular reason that made me want to go. Bump of Chicken's Ray helped a lot. I'm glad I did go.

I didn't know what to expect at my first Miku concert.

So from a few video clips I seen of Mikunopolis. Miku Expo's live concert had a lot less people and people in costume. That was no problem for me. I was just wondering how I would take this concert from only knowing a few songs.

As the concert started they had an intro video of all the vocaloids that would be performing. Everyone got lots of cheer. People just started screaming for Rin & Len. It was on the same level when they showed Miku's intro. I was not expecting that. The audience exploded when Miku appeared and the first song played. I was not expecting that!

I was blown away by the crowd reaction. I've been to a few mainstream music concerts. The Miku crowd was on par or more so than the mainstream ones. It all depends though. Different concerts different vibes.

During the concert the songs I knew I easily got into. The EDM style songs were also easy to get into. The other songs were ok I'll just go along.

So everyone got 1 free glow stick at the concert. I know of the glow stick cheering thing but I did not know any of the proper procedures. I just followed what the crowd was doing. It's not easy doing my cheering while holding a glow stick. My arms were tired after the concert.

Again I'm glad I got to experience this. Both the music and the fans were amazing.

Miku Expo

The exposition part of Miku Expo was at Los Angeles Center Studios. It was a free admission to dj shows, karaoke, merchandise, and other stuff. One was the Sky Light Theater which was a video projected onto the ceiling. I thought ok for $5 maybe I'll go check it out. I was surprised it sold out on Sunday.

There was a costume contest on Sunday. Actually not a lot of cosplay thoughtout the entire event. Besides the nice costumes one of the interesting part was asking participants what was their favorite vocaloid or song. Eventually I started noting these down. Stop me if you heard of these before. Secret Police. Rolling Girl. Poppippo. I was thinking are these really songs? When I got home I listen to them. Yeah they sure are.

The expo ended with the CEO of Crypton saying a few words and giving out some free items. He said maybe we come back next year. I really enjoyed the concert. The expo was alright.

Misc.

In my opinion, can they do another one? I guess they can but maybe they don't need the expo and only for 1 day. I enjoyed it. The expo was free. I think it can be successful if this is attached to an anime convention. My guess is that they wanted to go out and do their own thing.

While waiting for the concert to start people in front of me had that app where it has a AR vocaloid dancing. They were pointing it at the stage.

I would never wear a public Oculus Rift. Though I think the vocaloid live perfermance is somewhat similiar to what I hear about the Oculus Rift. You need to see the vocaloid live to see that depth. I don't know how they do it but it is not looking at a flat screen.

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A fan's perspective on AX 2014

In the interest of not wasting everyones' time I edited this down as short as possible. I went to Anime Expo this year. It was going along as usual until Friday night where I gave myself food poisoning. Originally, I was going to write this as a full length blog and the food poisoning portion would have ended the coverage of my time at the con. But, like I said I don't want to waste everyones' time anymore so here the edited down version.

Real quick. This year's AX seem the hottest but I know my friends must have attended it where it was in ninety plus degrees. I tried to figure out if it was the a/c or something else but I think the humidity was a factor.

This year the con had an increase in attendance. In my opinion, you'll have a good chunk of those people who are fans of the medium, interested, etc. You might have a few there where high school is out, hey let's go to that thing because I heard it's like SDCC and we have nothing else to do in the summer.

I'm not asking to keep "non-cred" people out, extreme security, or anything crazy like that. When you start getting to a con that size it comes with the territory. Just wanted to state something I felt since last year and something I personally experienced this year.

I think Anime Expo is great in what it does. There sure was a lot to do this year. I will continue to go unless there are reasons for me to not go.

Cosplay

At the pace I was going I don't think I was going to be taking a lot of cosplay fan pics. There are a lot more high quality material out on the internet.

Gallery

Day 0

This was the first time I took a day off to attend a Day 0. I liked it. Even if it was mostly standing in an extremely long line. We had to start going south of the convention center, past two crosswalks to get to the end of pre-reg line. The line had it's plus and minuses but I'm glad I got to experience it.

At one point of the line I saw a guy with a shirt that had R.I.P. Bong Rips. goddamnit!

I lucked out I didn't feel the full brunt of those technical difficulties. I never really had a problem with AX's lines. There are thousands of people. It got to be more fun near the end of the line because everyone was excited of getting close to the entrance.

Mega64

As long as Mega64 continues to go to AX I will continue to go their panel. Always entertaining.

Koshimizu & Yuzuki panel

Ok this part I'm not going to edit down so if you're not interested you can fast forward this part.

There are highlights to any con. Everyone has their own. The Koshimizu & Yuzuki panel was one of the highlights of this year's Anime Expo. It started out weird enough. Day Zero felt like Day 1 and Day 1 felt like Day 2. But on the morning of the Day 1 I was just looking through some headlines. I was on Crunchyroll and there was a post about the Trigger panel. Basically, it was along the lines of please come to our panel it won't be like the straight laced Aniplex Industry panel in the morning.

I usually won't fall for those ploys but Trigger was relatively new and I wondered what they had in store. Plus, I had that time open so why not.

For some reason, I kept thinking the Trigger panel was at Petree Hall. But when I went there it was the Kill la Kill panel. There seem to be excitement building for this panel at the entrance so I decided to check it out and I could always leave and go to the correct room.

This was actually the Ami Koshimizu & Ryoka Yuzuki voice actor panel and I'm glad I stumbled onto it. I have watched Kill la Kill. I think around first five episodes then I stopped. I don't think this anime is for me. I did continue to follow the show through Pinchuk's write up on Anime Vice and I watched that last episode months later.

KlK, not really for me. But after this panel, ok you know what I will give it another shot when their next season starts. Also, I became a fan of these two now.

The panel was entertaining and informative. The most obvious but also seem a little rude on our part was assuming they would behave like the characters in the anime. It was a lively panel with discussions about characters, production process, fan requests etc. I was hoping some of the fan requests would have been denied by executive decision (you know those ones that get boo'd at SDCC). But the two completely did them which reminded me of a joke/scenario in WataMote.

I'm sorry I'm not getting much into detail and just writing a lot of gibberish. I think there was video taken but I don't know if that's official or not. Hopefully some form of it gets out to the public. This panel was a blast.

Day 2

I went to the Sentai Filmworks Industry panel in the morning. I already own two titles they licensed with a third in the upcoming form of WataMote.

The panel was fine. I got to learn popular titles I never heard of.

Sword Art Online II Premiere Event

The Sword Art Online II announce trailer on New Year's day was a stunner. I watched it more than once and couldn't believe they would go in that direction. When AX was going to have this event I marked it down on my schedule. This was the one I would wait hours for. Apparently so did everyone else.

I knew SAO was popular but I wasn't expecting this. I think they started letting people line up around 4:45pm - 5:00pm. I took these pictures around 5:30pm. This was for an event that would start at 7pm.

I don't think you can tell from these pictures but in the first pic there is an entire block of people lining up by the building. The second picture is also outside and where I was lining up. The third picture is the line started outside and went back inside. It was probably going to circle the venue Petree Hall. The line got capped and people were told to disperse. Cool to see this happened.

Misc. note

On Day 1 I stepped outside of West Hall just to get a little breather. Some people were exiting too. There was this Japanese group, maybe they were guests of honor? That lady was really amused when a space egyptian cosplayer came from behind and walked past everyone. Maybe because it was around 7pm but she was having a nice giggle out of it. Beerus just did a double take and continued walking. I don't think it was malicious. I think she actually wanted a picture because they all started going through their stuff looking for something.

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Phoenix Comicon 2014

I've wanted to visit Arizona ever since I started going to these fan conventions. I have visited Arizona when I was younger but now I'm older and technically know what I'm doing. Phoenix Comicon seem like a good enough reason to visit the state.

The thing I noticed about PCC was it offers a lot of variety compare to the pop culture conventions I've been to. Whether you’re into movies, comics, anime, or video games this con has it covered. The other thing I noticed was this is probably the largest attendance convention I attended. It never felt crowded except for your expected area of crowds. Phoenix can comic con with the rest of them. Phoenix has been a nice host city and I will have to look for time to attend another of this state’s event.

Cosplay

I usually don’t setup much for this section but this one I unfortunately will. There’s not much in this cosplay fan pics section because I arrived at a tired state. That and any con always wears me out. The plan was to hopefully get home by Friday night around 8pm and wake up at 5am Saturday. What happened instead was doing overtime till 10pm(it could’ve gone even longer, I decided to throw in the towel) got home around 11pm and sleeping around 12am. Waking up at 5am didn’t help. So did the very unusual long 6am security line at the airport.

Alright already! Get to the pics!

I expected to miss my flight but I decided to run the gate anyways. I LeBron’d(cramping), got to hear my name called on the P.A. system for the first time as I got to the gate and somehow made the flight. Yeah, that stress didn’t help much. Here are some fan pics from Phoenix Comiccon. There are many out there this is a very small sample of it.

Wait wait also on Monday I was limping around work because both my feet hurt.

Ok already!

I really wanted to get the light rail station background with this Free! Iwatobi Swim Club cosplayer. But, I had just stepped off of the PHX Sky Train and as mentioned before my mental state was not all there. I thought it would have looked really cool if I had pulled it off. Cool to see a lot of the train riders were attendees.

One of the most pleasant surprises was seeing this classic Solid Snake.

This Halo costume, the mom was telling the other parent she had to spend so much time hot gluing and making that costume. Way to go mom!

Gallery

I heard about Majerle’s restaurant back when Charles Barkley played for the Phoenix Suns. I’m glad I got to see it.

I am a fan of Kevin Johnson so it was really cool to see this picture at Carl’s Jr which was attached to US Airways arena.

I think Chase Field is one of the most interesting ballparks in America. I think it may be one of the first baseball stadiums located right in the middle of a downtown. I would have liked to spend more time looking at it but as usual with a con your time is really limited. Hey, I didn’t know Ditka’s was a thing. That’s cool.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t get as many night shots as I wanted. Looking at the few that I got it looked cool. This didn’t happen because I decided to stay at the con’s airport hotel. My main reason was that I thought I could get a lot pics coming into the convention center and I never stayed at a con's airport hotel before. I originally planned to go back to the con once I got to my room. But I was so worn out I decided to go with the flow and not go back. This experience help with what I’m going to do in the future.

Ok as the Brad Shoemaker would say. I’m calling it! Phoenix Convention Center has the best food of all convention centers. Ok, with convention center I’m not expecting much from it’s food court. It doesn’t wow me, it does what it is suppose to do.

For Saturday night dinner I was thinking about getting the pizza or spaghetti and meatballs. The guy in front of me got pasta so I decided to get that too. Pasta! First off I really liked this because it wasn’t scorching temperature hot. It was under a heat lamp, which doesn’t bother me, served at the right warm temperature. I got dunked in the face by flavor town! The pasta was nice with a light sauce that wasn't too tangy and the meatballs were so tasty. I was going to faint at how good this was. In my opinion I would order this at a restaurant.

For Sunday breakfast I decided to go to Tortilla’s because it was the most convenient. I ordered the veggie quesadilla thinking it was the lightest. The quesadilla was fine. I ain’t no food blogger but I did watch that Ratatouille and learned sauces are important. That mild sauce was excellent! The flavor was really unique and had a more tomato taste to it.

Yeah, Phoenix Convention Center food court. They know what’s up.

So I had to see a few panels to try and experience everything Phoenix Comicon had to offer. One panel was about managing a comedy writer’s room. I thought it was good to see how organization is in an all volunteer comedy show. One interesting bit I’ll write down here is they said instead of “no” or “but” use “what if”. So one writer’s original pitch going through this process and grows into a funny sketch.

The last panel I went to was about Star Trek Continues. I heard about this project before and thought that’s cool but just never went to watch. The usual not enough time for everything. The panel was good and informative of what their about. They showed their latest episode and they do a really high quality job. They have got all the sights and sounds nailed down. It is pretty much like watching new episodes from the original series. Disclaimer, it’s obviously not the original cast but I think they do a fine job of making their own thing based off of this material. If you are a fan of the original series and you like fan films it is worth checking out at least one of their episodes.

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Misc. pics from Final Fantasy X/X2 HD launch

Square Enix held an event at the Nucleus Gallery for the launch of Final Fantasy X/X2 HD. This is an event where I have actually played the game. Was tempted to play X-2 last year but don't have the time. I thought the event went really well.

High quality images can be seen at Nucleus Galley's site

http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/pieces/424

http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/exhibition/424

One line was to enter the gallery. One line was to buy products. Both were understandably long.

At one point, Yusuke Naora went outside to the line to greet people and have pictures taken. That was cool.

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Katsucon 2014

I was never interested in Katsucon when I first heard about the convention. But for unknown reasons I was really excited about it in 2013. As in excessively looking at Katsucon’s website weeks leading up to the convention. A convention that I was not going to be present at. But I still enjoyed it. I thought the 2013 version of Katsucon was amazing from all the media I viewed.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend 2014 Katsucon but I started feeling off a few days before the con. I don’t know what it was, the snow storm, earth’s rotation or what. But came Friday I was headed toward the Washington D.C. area for an anime convention I wavered on. But, all my weirdness left immediately when I arrived at the lobby that Friday night. Yeah, this was anime fan convention and I could feel the energy in the air.

That lobby was loud, vibrant, filled with cosplayers and attendees. When I checked-in the staff asked if it was my first time. I said yes, I’m a little shell shocked. His response was that I came at a good time. I had to be careful with how long I was in the convention area because I was feeling amped and wanted to do everything. Considering that past few out-of-town cons I attended where I was just laying in bed wide awake my first night in.

I spent the rest of the con trying to get acclimated to the site and doing the fan convention thing. I don’t know why but this con just wore me out. I was still feeling fatigued days after the con. Still a really good experience though. I really liked Katsucon and I hope I can make it back next year. You east coast folks have something really special with this Katsucon. Everyone should go at least once or try to go every year.

Cosplay

These are only a few of the cool costumes I saw at Katsucon. There were a lot of costumes I did see but didn't get a picture. There were also quite a few I missed and only saw after the con. This con I was upset with myself for not taking higher quality pictures. There are pictures that I would've have liked it to have better focus, white balance, lighting, etc. This is why I take fan pics and not a professional photographer. I can't get that consistently high quality of pics.

There were a very few, where I lucked out and the pictures came out great. During the con I thought oh maybe that pic went ok. When I got home to sit down and look through them, those very few just blew me away at how well they came out. Thank goodness the S90 was compensating for my lack of skills during those shots.

(R = Row. There are 7 rows. S = Seat. Count from left to right. There is maximum of 10 seats across.)

  • R1 S5: Belle from Amercian TV series Once Upon a Time
  • R2 S2: Robin was working at the Exhibitor registration desk. I think she said it would've been cool if the baby was in costume too.
    At 2012 Anime Los Angeles I saw a Sebastian Michaelis working at the information desk. That was perfect! I wanted a picture and decided to come back later for it. By then shifts had changed. I always been trying to get the help desk shot since.
  • R3 S4: Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon
  • R4 S9: Eren Jäger, Titan form. Attack on Titan
  • R5 S3: Sinon from Sword Art Online II
  • R6 S9: Will Graham from American TV series Hannibal
  • R6 S10: Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko no Basuke

Gallery

A lot of these are very touristy and from someone who lives at place where it doesn't snow. I'm disappointed with myself for not taking hall photos showing lots of people. I would have like to show how big the convention was.

That first airport pic was from St. Louis stop on the way to D.C.

I've had $12 fried rice when I lived at Norther California. High cost of living. I understand, I did not reorder that item again. This. I am not going to pay that. Hey, free-market capitalism y'all.

I asked photographer and Cardcaptor Sakura cosplayer if I could take a behind-the-scene pic. I liked it.

I wanted to at least see one World Cosplay Summit event.

The last airport pic was at Houston Hobby Airport. I liked that Pappas Burger sign. Texas seem nice. I hope to make it to A-Kon convention one day.

Misc.

I realistically could only take 1 day off work for Katsucon so that's why I came in on a Friday night. I'm sad that peoples' flight got cancelled on Thursday. Thankfully a few people were still coming in on a Friday night or else I would've been lost. I exited Reagan National to take a shuttle to the hotel. I told a driver I needed to get to Gaylord National. He pointed me to a direction and said it's over there, blue and white, hurry up you can still catch it.

I had no idea what he was talking about but decided to jog in that direction. Luckily, I saw a cosplayer who was just getting into a blue and white Gaylord National branded shuttle. This attendee was a cosplayer from Florida. She was a costume maker and her friend introduced her to cosplay convention scene. She was wearing something from Doctor Who which her response to a lot of people was yes, I'm going to military ball. Unfortunately, her airline lost her luggage so the only costumes she had was what she wore and a costume from Frozen.

The second attendee we picked up was a guy from Detroit. Like the rest, his flight got cancelled on Thursday. There was actual thought of making the drive but he did get a flight and here he was. He is down with the new Doctor.

The last person we picked up was a lady who came from North Carolina. So like Brad Shoemaker! But with an accent. That was cool. I haven't heard an accent in person since probably middle school. I don't know if she was splitting a table or was helping out but she was talking about her friend had already setup at artist alley. She had the Bryan Singer's X-Men Rouge hair streak going on. That was pretty cool.

The shuttle ride to the con was pretty cool.

The first part of Saturday was drizzling. Props to all the cosplayers who had to walk through that to get to the convention center. I was walking outside in normal clothes during the morning and it was rough.

I don't know if it was fatigue or dehydration but Saturday afternoon I got dizzy for a second there. It's not like I shook anybody's hand (hopefully some people will get this). I don't know how that could happen because I wasn't doing much and I drank plenty of water. That never happened before. This con I've never been this tired before. I was still pretty drained till like Wednesday.

There was an Izanami there! Yes that version! Her group was outside walking towards the convention center. I was walking towards the retail/shopping district of National Harbor. I was hoping to catch up to her when I got back when I was finished whatever I was doing. Sadly I did not. But, it's still cool that someone did that cosplay.

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2013 Movies

Sorry, this list should have gone up while I was actually still in 2013 but life got busy so I had to postpone it till now. I use to knock people for not getting their list posted on time or not at all. I think I finally understand why this happens now. Looking back on 2013 I almost forgot that I did not watch any movie until A Good Day to Die Hard in February. So I don’t know what that says about the quality of movies of 2013. Maybe it’s that thing Rorie and Alex said that January is a dumping ground for movies. That early part of 2013 I did not feel compelled to go watch any movies. Actually, I didn’t really intend to go watch A Good Day to Die Hard so who knows how long I would’ve gone without watching a movie in early 2013.

I did like some movies in 2013. Before I get to the list just want to mention a few that didn’t make it.

I thought Gary Whitta’s After Earth was a completely fine movie. Man, critics, what do they know?!! I thought it was a really good adventure movie worth the full price of admission.

I’m not a fan of almost anything involving Superman but I thought Man of Steel was really good. I thought the Nolans' touch really made this movie. Apologies, if it was the other way around and it was mostly Zack Snyder’s input. I am a Zack Snyder fan.

What was so interesting about The Wolverine was Darren Aronofsky original involvement with it. Throughout the movie I was thinking yeah this totally does feel like it would be a comic book based movie directed by Darren Aronofsky. Or I could be completely delusional. I thought this movie was good. Definitely better than the first one. I was wondering if The Wolverine could have been better but after some thought this was probably as good as it was going to get. And hey, fanboy San Diego Comic Con yelping out loud moment during the end credits huh. Huh! You know what I’m talking about. (The other guy started it, I just followed suit. Yeah that end credits was pretty awesome.)

The Wolf of Wall Street or also known as someone gave Martin Scorsese a blank check and he took advantage of that. I really like movies about corporate finance a subject I will never be good at but very fascinating. Boiler Room, Wall Street. Really good at giving me nuggets of Wall Street knowledge but still a Hollywood movie. I thought The Wolf of Wall Street would be like those but it was more of a Hollywood movie than the previous mentioned. I’m still glad I saw it but this movie was definitely a little odd. I think the spin is this is what a Scorsese comedy would looks like. I’m a Martin Scorsese fan. I haven’t seen all his movies but I have enjoyed most of his works. If you’re a Scorsese fan you should watch it to see how it compares to all his other movies. And yes Matthew McConaughey was great.

2013 Top 10 Movies

1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie -Rebellion-

So you want me to be objective about this movie? You want me to be unbiased and write a critical review of this movie? Well you can’t! Sorry everyone, I have drank the kool aid and am in deep with this movie. So if you want objectivity do not come here.

I am a giant Madoka Magica fan. This is a franchise I will actually buy merchandise for. So yes like how some of those Star Wars fans that decorate their life with merchandise. Yes, the original Madoka Magica TV series material was that good!

I came to the Madoka Magica series late. I finally knew what Madoka Magica was about in 2012 by way of the movie version. That movie just floored me. I was glad that a new movie would be would be coming in 2013. There is no way that anything can touch the original material. I did have some fears of how this new material would turn out but in the end was just glad that us fans would be getting new Madoka Magica material.

I purposely did not want to read any reviews about this movie before writing this post. I accidently read a little bit because I thought the article was about something else and immediately had to back button out of that (the author had written a little review in the opening paragraph). I do not want to get into a war of words with reviewers that criticised this movie. You can call the first hour of -Rebellion- whatever you want. Some people call it fanservice. Whatever. I call it the most joy I had in a movie viewing experience in 2013. I’m not going to get into all of it nor do I want to give spoilers. But during that first hour, and that magical girl transformation sequence, of the entire team, with that Yuki Kajiura score. omg, omg, ooomg, omgggg, AHHHHH!, AHHHHH!, AHHHHH!, hnnnggggg... Stick a fork in me. I was done.

I was so eager for new Madoka Magica material that I was just happy to see all this new material from this development group. All the familiar faces, with a few new ones, just new stuff man from this universe. Ok so maybe I didn’t really understand the plot. There’s plenty of movies made in Hollywood I didn’t get. When I was watching Michael Mann’s Miami Vice I didn’t know what was going on. And when I exited the theater with everyone else some kid said he didn’t know what was going on too. His adult compatriot said you need to be faster and keep up with the movie. So yeah, it’s just my fault that I wasn’t able to be fast enough to keep up with this movie.

They say a lot of things can be taken from watching movies. The movie-going experience is one of them. I got to watch -Rebellion- on the Saturday of opening weekend. I go to cons and there is an offseason which I do like because it gives everyone a chance for rest and relaxation. I do like the offseason but I will miss the scene a little. The -Rebellion- movie-going experience gave a little of that con experience back. It was in the atmosphere. I was with a bunch of people who were fans of the series watching a new movie from this development group.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie -Rebellion- was the movie I enjoyed the most in 2013. I love this movie and there’s nothing any critic can say to make me not love it.

2. Her

I actually didn’t hear about Her until 2013. The movie was sold as a man falls in love with his OS directed by Spike Jonze. I liked that concept and I like Spike Jonze. I thought yeah this movie looks like it will be good. It exceeded my expectations. Spike Jonze wrote a wonderful universe and did an excellent job directing this movie. I really don’t want to give any kind of spoilers to this movie so this will be a little ambiguous.

One of the thing I liked was Samantha was never given any kind of human form. What I mean is I think Cortana is great but I’m glad there was never a hologram or desktop humanoid icon representation of Samantha.

The other thing was this movie/concept did not try to be something it wasn’t. Sorry yeah this is one of those ambiguous stuff.

I do have a lot of favorite scenes/moments in this movie. Oh sorry I don’t really want to spoil much of that. Um that scene where Theodore and Samantha was talking outside. Oh, the one when Samantha was talking to that little kid. Excellent job on that scene Spike Jonze. It’s what I would have expected an OS to be like. And that one with Amy (Amy Adams). Yes, that one you know what I’m talking about.

The characters were well written and performed by the cast. Joaquin Phoenix fit this role perfectly. Scarlett Johansson did an excellent job voice acting Samantha. Her is a beautifully written, directed, cinematic movie.

3. Star Trek Into Darkness

For a while Into Darkness was my number one movie and I thought it might stay up there. But this was a summer movie and that is way too early in the movie season for that kind of talk. I think most people, Trekkies included, liked what J.J. Abrams has done with the Star Trek franchise. I personally think he has done an excellent job.

But with Star Trek Into Darkness a lot of people have said it took a step backward or has regressed. People have also said it was a little fanservice-y. I don’t know what these people are talking about. I thought this movie was completely fine. It might not have been as good as Abrams first Star Trek but it was still good. The only thing I can say is its ending. Alex mention this movie ends conveniently and I think that is the best way to describe it. Also, there was that scene before the ending. I’m a more of a Star Trek than Star Wars person and I’m a little more emotional now in my older age. When that scene happened I thought this is alternate universe Star Trek and got whole a lot emotional that can be visible by people sitting around me in that theater. But then this movie went the route it took and… we get this ending… and… that was that. I guess great job on that scene J.J. Abrams?

I thought about it more after the movie and came to the conclusion well it’s about the same thing as the original movie series and Hollywood being Hollywood there was no way that could happen even if this was alternate universe Star Trek.

But overall I still really like Star Trek Into Darkness. A lot of it was really good. I really like that warp trail when the Enterprise goes into warp. I think the next one may be the last of these and I think it will be a good stopping point for this alternate universe Star Trek. I do hope there are new Star Trek material in the works.

4. Captain Phillips

I was wowed when I first saw the trailer of Captain Phillips. Trailer was really well made, and movie was directed by Paul Greengrass. Hey I know that guy! Seem like he would be the perfect director for this movie. Yeah, I’ll go watch this.

But then I started getting a little weird. Like most based on real life movies it will involve different viewpoints, politics, or lawsuits outside of the movie. After reading a LA Times article about the stuff surrounding this movie I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t see it. When the movie came out a friend did post this is a good movie with an excellent job done by Tom Hanks. So I thought about that and you know how Vinny jokes about “Get your politics out of my video games.”

I’m glad I did finally decide to go watch this movie. Captain Phillips has a runtime of 133 minutes. It did not even feel that long. This movie is an excellent thriller that captivated me from beginning to end. Also, the acting job by Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi was outstanding. It was a little funny when this movie came out and how it somewhat relates a little to the job I’m in now. I also really like that line Tom Hanks was saying about there’s 50 people competing for 1 job. This movie did make me want to go see United 93 was all about.

5. Thor: The Dark World

What the heck?!? Why is Thor here?!? And why is it so high on my list?!? Man, believe me I was wondering that myself. I can’t even remember why I went to go watch this movie because I originally had not plan on watching it. But I am sure glad I did.

So my view on comic book based movies is this. X-Men 1 and X-Men 2 were finally the comic book movies that were good. Then, in my opinion, Iron Man 1, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight were the only comic book based movies that were amazing. So yeah, I didn’t think The Avengers was all that. These other comic book movies were high quality movies that did not grab my interest.

I may not put Thor: The Dark World in that amazing category. But I would put it 1 level below that. It is better than all the other non-amazing comic book movies out there. Also considering I thought the first Thor was really average how good this movie turn out really perplex me.

Thor: The Dark World is just this really good adventure movie when you take away high expectations that comes with a Marvel comics branded movie. It was really fun just watching the adventure these characters went on from beginning to end.

The actors did a wonderful job in this movie. I was never on the Tom Hiddleston Loki hype train. I completely saw and enjoyed it in this one. Also, let me talk about that Kat Dennings. Wow! She did an excellent job playing the side character Darcy Lewis. Again, the cast did a great job on this one.

So yeah, I can’t figure out why I enjoyed this movie so much. But it is what it is. I guess I have to go watch that Captain America movie now.

6. Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is one of those movies I really wanted to watch once I heard about it. This would be around Battleship, how Peter Berg was working on this one as his next film. I thought The Kingdom was alright. I liked Battleship in an ironic, non-ironic way if that makes any sense.

This movie yeah it was really good. I don’t know why I do not have much to say about it though. It was a high-quality, well directed movie based on real life events. Yes, another movie that had politics attached to it. There wasn’t any of that in the movie.

I know I’m getting a little more senile but I thought there was a clarity and sharpness to the cinematography that I haven’t seen in other movies. I thought that was cool. The attention to detail was a highlight in this movie. I thought Peter Berg did a nice job of balancing the true events and a Hollywood movie.

7. Only God Forgives

A lot of pundits said this movie was bad. A lot of experts said Nicolas Winding Refn did a misstep with this movie. Well, these PROfessionals are completely wrong. What do they know? You are suppose to watch this movie at night. That’s why you PROfessionals didn’t enjoy it. That’s science fact.

I actually didn’t have much interest in Only God Forgives when my friends were excitedly posting this movie’s trailer. It’s weird that I think they took a turn on this movie while I in turn thought this movie was really good. My opinion is that too many people were expecting another Drive but this is more of a Valhalla Rising. When you can get into that mindset then I think you can enjoy Only God Forgives. This movies has good pacing, excellent cinematography and score. I stayed at the end credits because I wanted to hear that score.

I’m sort of joking with the night thing. The only showing I was able to see was at around 8pm. It felt like that matched with the movie as crazy as it sounds.

8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

So what you don’t know is that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey came really close to making the top 10 of my 2012 movie list. That’s a little crazy considering that I’m not a fan of the sword and sorcery genre and I didn’t think much of any of the Lord of the Rings movies. I thought LotR were high quality but just didn’t grab my interest.

I don’t know why I liked The Hobbit more than LotR. They do say that The Hobbit is more of a children’s book. Hmm, I have like a grade school education so that kinda makes sense.

I like these Hobbit movies because it is that adventure aspect of it. It is also the interaction of this band of dwarves and hobbit that are a highlight of this movie. Watching this movie I do think about the general D&D and LotR rules about the dwarves class and think yeah they are suppose to have these class characteristics.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is just a really good adventure movie to watch.

9. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I loved the first Hunger Games movie. I thought it was magical. Well, I thought Catching Fire was a really high quality movie. It just didn’t grab me as it did in the first one. I mean this movie showed why this is a blockbuster franchise. Everything was bigger. I think with a bigger budget they were able to do show how big the universe is in The Hunger Games. Catching Fire is also the top grossing movie of 2013. I did not know that, completely appropriate.

It was nice to see these characters again but also to go through the somewhat same tournament again. I don’t know about that. I’m guessing that was in the book too. It was cool how that character acknowledged we won this so we shouldn’t have to be doing this. Also, how it felt like it was becoming more of a science fiction movie towards the end.

I don’t want my low ranking of Catching Fire to lessen the quality of this movie. It is on my list so that means I did like it.

10. Gravity

This movie is on over 400 critic’s list. Great. I contributed to part of that problem.

That is a lot of lists.

When the trailer for Gravity came out I didn’t even bother to see it. There was a lot of buzz about it that kinda made me think I would not like it. When I saw the trailer it felt like it was one of those movies that trailer really well but the actual movie didn’t live up to its potential. For example, Battle: Los Angeles, Tron Legacy (I liked it), The Hurt Locker, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, etc. Just movies that seem like softball home runs but turn out not so well.

But actually Gravity was really good. First, they did an excellent job on crafting the setting and scenery. All that outer space stuff was so beautiful to look at. You add this well human drama into it that made it a complete movie. Sandra Bullock had an excellent performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. All that science fiction stuff didn’t bother me. I wasn’t even paying attention to that stuff.

The 2013 must see award.

WataMote

I know this is a movie website and I should be sticking to movies but I just had to put this one in. WateMote is a TV anime series that came out around July of 2013. I think I some banner ads for it but I usually never pay attention to those things. Then dejavudea’s channel mentioned WataMote as number 3 of the top 5 anime of 2013. She describe it best and sold me on how different this anime was.

She was right this is one of the most different animes I have seen. The writing is so good on this series. Yes those inner monologues really make it. I like how she has this voice talking to people she know and this voice when’s she’s talking to strangers. They written some hilarious fantasies for Tomoko and there are some referential humor in the series. I don’t know all the animes out there but I did get one of them and I definitely got the Haruhi Suzumiya one. Another treat was during one of the end credits there was a Hatsune Miku cover of an old Jpop song. My first reaction was, is that Hatsune Miku? Is that a Whiteberry song? After searching online, yes there were.

There are a lot of great scenes and moments in this series that one has to see for themselves if they are interested. I would say at least watch the scenes before and the title card sequence itself of episode 1. At least you can say you know what that is about.

I was searching if there are any merchandise associated with this series and there’s not much. There is this figurine. The thumbnail on that post is in reference to episode 4.

WataMote is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in recent times. It has made others things I watched a little less. I’m trying not to say that in a bad way. WataMote has had an effect close to Madoka Magica. This is why I have to give WataMote the 2013 must see award.

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Anime Los Angeles 2014

Anime Los Angeles was a blast this year. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun.

I used to be a Mark Cuban fan. Back then he had his own reality tv show called The Benefactor. One of the things mentioned on the show was he gets so busy he needs to be forced to go out and have some fun.

I guess I kinda feel like ALA was that this year. Just go out, not think about stuff, and have a good time. It felt great and everyone can use that once in a while.

Here are some pictures from the con. Also, there were a lot of amazing cosplayers I didn’t get a picture of at the con.

This 2014 version of ALA shows why this is one of the best conventions around.

Cosplay

(R = Row. There are 6 rows. S = Seat. Count from left to right. There is maximum of 10 seats across.)

  • R1 S1: From the anime series Free! ALA is one of those cons with a pool. I really wanted to get at least 1 Free! pic with the pool as a backdrop.
  • R1 S9: Mephisto and Amaimon from Blue Exorcist.
  • R2 S2: Tom Pinchuk and Sam Weller from Anime Vice. Anime Vice?!? I never went to that site back then. I now go there once a week. Crazy.
  • R2 S5: Sebastian from Black Butler.
  • R2 S6: Crona from Soul Eater.
  • R2 S9: Tau Empire Fire Warrior
  • R3 S1: Fuu cosplaying San, Commander-K cosplaying T.O.P and Joe from Panda Cubed panel Kpop Battle Royal.
  • R4 S6: Death the Kid from Soul Eater.
  • R5 S3: Tomoko and Yū from WataMote. You don’t know how happy I was when I saw this. It would probably make more sense if I had posted my 2013 movies list on time. This was Sunday at artist alley. I asked Tomoko for a picture she said I have a Yū! We walk past a few tables and took this picture. That was great.
  • R5 S5: Strider
  • R6 S1: American McGee’s Alice
  • R6 S10: From Homestuck. This person told me the character has something to do with Tomb Raider. Sorry, I forgot.

Gallery

  • Some people might see an informative sign about Starbucks extended hours. I see Ala cosplaying Mami. This sign is just too good.
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Otakon Vegas 2014

Otakon Vegas is an anime and Asia pop culture convention created by Otakon. Otakon made this a smaller con as their first foray on the western part of the United States.

I thought the convention was fine. This was my first out of state con it was a good learning experience overall.

Yeah, sorry, didn't take much photos. I could've at least taken more hall photos. I hate for this to be an excuse but I had a difficult time getting sleep for day of the con. I am really off when I don't get enough sleep.

Cosplay

Gallery

Originally, I was going to write some long-winded old man War has changed blog post about my Otakon Vegas trip. But after getting more rest days after the con Vegas is totally fine. When I was a little kid I loved Las Vegas. The usual glitz was cool but what really got me was all the video games and buffets. A lot of things have changed since then. Vegas had to transform itself to survive the current times. I'm not the target audience for Vegas anymore but that's ok. What was awesome was seeing all the young folks, tourists, families etc. there with big smiles and enjoy themselves.

I'll be going back to Vegas. I don't know when. I do know I want to go to at least 1 Star Trek convention and I hear there is this AniMegaCon and others.

Las Vegas

Jeff Gerstmann School of Journalism says important stuff at the top. Least important stuff towards the bottom. Here are some "boring" pics from around Las Vegas that I enjoyed.

Some minor notes.

It was interesting seeing Las Vegas during the weekend before CES. I always wanted to go see it as a kid when they still did video game stuff. I got a small glimpse of what CES is in its current form.

I think it's near impossible to see all the sites in Vegas even in a week. I originally wanted to see a bunch of hotels like MGM, Excalibur, Circus Circus etc. But actually being there I was barely going to get enough time so I just stuck to the hotels near where I stayed at.

I also originally wanted to go to at least 1 celebrity chef restaurant. I think they're great. But most I could not find them until it was already too late. I felt very old and confused when I was at Vegas.

So the bag of bathroom supplies pic was probably some sort of miscommunication. The housekeeping staff asked if I needed house service. I did not but did need to report something else. About 10 minutes later a staff came and said here's your refresher. A bag of supplies and stack of towels. Umm, this wasn't what I needed but ok I took it. I left it there when I checked out. I didn't need it.

That crepe is Forest crepe with sunny side up at Aria's Jean Philippe. This picture was taken on a Sunday. I originally saw this on Saturday after midnight. A lady had just received her order and when I saw it I was just blown back and thought OMG what is that! I really wanted to ask that lady if I could take a picture of it. I could not do that so I went back the next day to order it myself. This cafe did not have a lot of seating so I asked this nice couple if I could use a small portion of their table. There was enough space and I didn't mind standing. (Do you know how many hours I sit at my work now?) I think they were foodies. They had a bunch of food souvenirs, I forgot what they were eating but they did had this 3 sandwich thing in an artistic container. The guy asked me if my crepe was chocolate. I replied no, my guess was the crepe was some kind of whole grain batter. I recommend this dish, it is very tasty.

So that crepe was the only luxurious thing I ate that weekend. On Saturday, I ate at Earl of Sandwich for breakfast, lunch(it was the most convenient) and came this close to eating there for dinner. I felt really weird if that was the only place I ate at for the entire day. I decided to go for the McD salad because that was the only thing nearby my tired and hungry mind can come up with. See how much I ate there, I got bags in small, medium, and large.

There were a lot of Auburn fans wearing Auburn apparel at Vegas. I only saw a little Florida State fans. I just wondered if this was a stop along the way to Pasadena on Monday. I think I saw some with their luggage on Sunday.

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Misc. other pics from 2013 AFI Fest

I really enjoyed reading Screened’s blog posts on AFI Fest. I wanted to do my own take on the AFI Fest but a lot of busy happenings got the best of me so I didn’t do much. Here are some miscellaneous pictures from this movie festival.

Even though I had a very limited experience with the festival I thought AFI Fest was really well run. I went on a Sunday and maybe it was during that 2PM part of the day but all I had to wait was around 10 minutes to get tickets. I was so busy looking through the schedules and stuff I didn’t even realize I was about to enter the ticket box office.

I didn’t get to see any movies because the 6PM movie I choose was already “sold out.” My second choice would have been A Conversation with Steve McQueen but I just assumed it was sold out and left the ticketing desk. Yes, they had a bunch of forms there for you to fill out what are the movies you want to see and they’ll go through to check what’s available. So that’s what all those papers were for.

I think “day of” tickets are free. I’ll have a better idea next year as I will take a closer look at the online ticketing procedures. The other thing I noticed people were lining up for a movie 3 hours before start time. I’ve heard of the 1 or 2 hours but never 3 hour before. I think of the world of my fellow con attendees but hey how about a little less complaints or something crazy like ...standing in line so long and we don’t get in do we get something out of it. Hey it is what it is man.

Thursday was last day of the festival. I actually got off work on my normally scheduled hour and wanted to make one last attempt to get some pics. I'm not interested in the partying with celebrities but I really enjoy taking scenic behind-the-scenes pics. To capture the sense of the environment. Screened's blog posts did a wonderful job on that.

I was hoping there was some kind of closing ceremony opened to the public but there wasn’t any. Instead it was Hollywood Blvd. reduced to 1 lane outside of the Hollywood & Highland area on a usual busy Thursday night. That Giant Bombcast sure helped a lot sitting through that traffic.

This was November 14 so that meant Playstation 4 day on the 15th. I wanted to cover it but the major events were in San Francisco and New York. I wanted to at least look at some lines along the way home but there was some major highway traffic cleanup that I had to take a long detour. I think the last line I saw was at a Target. It was for the Wii or was it for black Friday stuff. I can’t even remember.

Overall, an overall nice experience. I would recommend people to give AFI Fest a try.

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