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.
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.)
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.
R6 S9: Will Graham from American TV series Hannibal
R6 S10: Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko no Basuke
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
Some people might see an informative sign about Starbucks extended hours. I see Ala cosplaying Mami. This sign is just too good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Took a quick look at headlines while working. Difficult time getting back to work after reading this. Upset. There is a loong write up for something like this. On both sides. About reality we live in. Etc.
Only thing I'm going to say for now is I'm going to boycott anything from Kojima Productions until this gets corrected. Whatever "corrected" means.
Edit: I am reversing this boycott policy. With all the anime and other entertainment I've seen from Japan it seems like this is "business as usual." I always believed majority of Japanese entertainment industry used this as standard business practice. It's just Kojima posted something that's usually kept private in business meetings.
I don't know how to put this in words. There can be a long philosophical debate about this issue. I never have a problem with character creation. I only have a problem with policies to make characters a certain way. But these 2 concepts are closely associated to each other thus the long philosophical debate about it.
I don't agree with what Kojima said. He has his right to free speech and will have to deal with anything that comes from it.
Ryan is a major influence on the way I write these blogs. Anyone from Giant Bomb community that reads one of these can see the familiar humor. I originally wanted to dedicate this blog post to Ryan like how you would sometimes see them do it in front of a movie. But after going through this material it would not be right to attach Ryan’s name to this post. The stuff I write is bad quality. This is one of the lower quality ones. I will try doing a higher quality dedication but it will take some time. I make these weird motivators to try and get me to do something I set out to do. A new one now is I think Ryan would get a kick out of this.
Anime Expo 2013 was big. Really big. I think conventions see small increases year to year. This was a huge jump in attendance from 2012 to 2013. One sign of the increase in attendance was in the form of how busy it still was on a Sunday. I like crowds. I welcome newcomers. Just remember the rules, etiquettes, and treat people how you would want to be treated.
I try to make each convention I attend its own individual case. For AX 2013, I noticed there were a lot of North American premieres. So that is why I tried to write this blog entry similar to what Screened did with its coverage of the AFI Fest. But as seen below I failed miserably in attending screenings.
AX 2013 was actually my most balanced schedule. I scheduled just the right amount of gatherings, panels, and screenings.
Another year of some great cosplays seen at Anime Expo. My fan pics were really off. I can always rely on videographers and photographers for getting media on cosplays I missed. I missed a few and they did a great job as usual.
(R = Row. There are 9 rows.
S = Seat. Count from left to right. There is maximum of 10 seats across.)
R2 S7. I’m glad this person did this Homura.
R3 S1. From Hetalia series.
R3 S5. I think this is from Hetalia. I was wondering why they were holding this pose in the middle of nowhere with no photographers around. I asked for a picture. I think they were photobombing a picture.
R3 S7. This is blurry but I'm still posting it. I really love this cosplay. I first saw a McDonald’s Joker from tank9’s Otakon video at 0:44. It was great.
R7 S8. Yuki Nagato is my favorite character from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series.
R8 S2. From The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I’m glad people are still cosplaying from this series.
R8 S6. From D.Gray-man series.
R8 S8. C.C. from Code Geass series.
R8 S10. I was so happy when Ayane and Kasumi did this pose.
Picture #6 is Avengers Sailor Scouts. Picture #8 is crossplay gathering.
New to Anime Expo this year were these large pieces of white paper set up each day for people to write or draw on. You check out color markers with your badge. Look at the Persona drawings!
(R = Row. There are 5 rows.
S = Seat. Count from left to right. There is maximum of 10 seats across.)
R1 S3. This was a fashion show. I only saw the performance part.
I’m glad Mega64 was able to make Anime Expo. They had another event in Texas but were still able to squeeze in AX on the fourth of July. Whether faux or real patriotism on display (funny either way) Mega64 entertained as usual and showed some funny videos to be seen later or only at cons.
League of Legends gathering
At Anime Expo 2012, my friend took a picture of a cosplayer. I said, “Oh, Mortal Kombat.” His reply “League of Legends” (It was Akali).
My thought was what the?!? You mean that free to play online only game?!? Why would anyone want to cosplay from that?!?
Oh, btw, at the convention there were people carrying around these thin, black, cylindrical speakers with music playing out of it. I looked all over the guy to try and find the CD player but couldn't find it. I wonder how they did it. Amazing.
I don’t play League of Legends but I am fascinated by it. I’m fascinated by how it became one of the biggest electronic entertainment entities in the world and one of the biggest cosplay scenes. AX2012 got me interested about it and I would occasionally read up information about the game and characters. At Anime Expo 2013, the League of Legends gathering felt like the biggest at the con. As seen in these pictures it was so big they could not fit all the cosplayers onto the stairs for a group photo. They had to separate into two big groups and take turns. It kind of felt like this gathering was bigger in size compared to the usual gigantic Homestuck and Hetalia gatherings. Not the Fanime Homestuck gathering though. That thing was huge. I don’t want to equate size to good or anything like that. This is meant more as a fascinating observation.
It was cool to see developers of the game show up at the gathering. I wonder if they are stunned by all of this. There were also professional League players. I did not who these individuals were but the real LoL fans were excited to see them. Cool. It’s not much different than seeing a fan react to a major league professional athlete.
This panoramic picture is not that good but I wanted to try and show the scale of this gathering.
Days leading up to Anime Expo I started to notice a lot of announcements of North American premieres. I assume the con had premieres in previous years but maybe they decided to highlighted more this year. I don’t necessarily want to watch animes at cons because it is such a time sink. But some of these premieres really grabbed my attention. So for this version of Anime Expo I wanted to write the entire post like a film festival post. It didn’t work out so I had to scrap that plan.
This was a late addition to my schedule. The weekend before Anime Expo to be exact. I added it onto my schedule after I read comments (why did you change from dub to subtitle. I can’t read the subtitles when I’m crying) and an article about the movie. I’m glad I did try to catch this because it taught me the necessity to arrive early for screenings throughout the con.
I have never seen any of Yuasa’s works. I wasn’t a backer of Kick-Heart. But I became deeply fascinated after the statement they made about the difficulty to make original works and for the industry to only produce established brands. A theme all too familiar.
I was really happy Anime Expo got the chance to screen Kick-Heart. I wasn’t a backer so I didn’t know how else I would have seen it. I don’t want to get into the details of the actual content of Kick-Heart. It is an approximate 12 minute animated short. Drawing is art house style. It’s only around 12 minutes so worth taking a chance on when it comes out on digital distribution.
The atmosphere of this screening was magical. We start the screening fairly normal. An introduction of the staff. Some questions. Then the feature presentation. I thought ok, yeah this anime starts out pretty normal. But after 12 minutes and the end of this short. Everyone applauded at the end, through the credits, and then some after that. I wanted to stand up for standing ovation. I didn’t, but 2 people did. My opinion on the crowd reaction is we were so blown away from watching this extremely well executed, to-the-point animated short. Also, mind you that this is an anime fan crowd at an anime convention.
They also screened the backers only behind-the-scenes video. This was a really nice look into the making of the animated short which I hope will be included in the digital package for future viewers. So I have read comments like wow what if they raised the $1 millon level and made it a feature length movie. I don’t know, I really liked this as an animated short format. But that’s just me.
The screening ended with a Q&A where a lot of people got in line for. When this panel was officially over people still wanted to meet the development group so they rushed the table. It was a nice sight to see this natural spontaneity. I stayed a little longer just to soak it all in. This was one of the best moments at Anime Expo 2013.
Blue Exorcist The Movie
The Kick-Heart screening was at 1:30PM and ended around 3:00PM. Blue Exorcist started around 3:30PM. Logically I should have left the Kick-Heart screening earlier but I just could not leave it.
I mostly know about Blue Exorcist from the cosplays. I would wonder wow that is amazing and a description would say Blue Exorcist. I’m guessing of all the premieres at Anime Expo, Blue Exorcist was the most popular.
Just as I arrived, they closed the line because of max capacity. Well, that’s how cons work. It’s a game of giving yourself enough time to attend something and having backup plans if that doesn’t work out.
It was announced before the con that Blue Exorcist will be screened at various cities. I will try to catch it then.
The Garden of Words
This was the one. This English dub premier was the one that made me want to approach 2013’s Anime Expo like a film festival. Like I said, I don’t really want to watch animes at cons because they take up so much time. But take a look at this plot synopsis
“When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino. Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world…”
Whoever wrote this deserves a raise because it got me hook, line, and sinker. This was such an interesting plot idea that was constantly on my mind days before AX. Reminded me a lot of some American moviemakers.
12PM was the Marvel gathering and that ended around 1PM. I wanted to get something to eat so I grabbed an apple from my car and cupcake from My Delight Cupcakery because it was the shortest food truck line. I wanted a full meal but at the same time I was craving chocolate. The double chocolate cupcake was really good. The chocolate did not have that supermarket chocolate taste and the frosting was light and creamy. The frosting was so fluffy it can be easily shifted with the accidental swipe of a convention badge.
I got to the line around 2PM. The movie start time was 3:00PM When I arrived I was already put in the overflow line with a chance of not gaining admittance. I was this close before they shut the door and wouldn’t let anyone else in.
So another missed screening. I was thinking if I could’ve done things differently but I’m glad I did attend the Marvel gathering and had something to eat because my performance and mood takes a nose dive when I’m hungry. Also, the League of Legends gathering was at 4PM so I would’ve had to leave in the middle of the movie. I was not going to miss the League of Legends gathering. I’m sure it will eventually be in the market place so I will watch it then.
Ghost in the Shell ARISE
The masquerade and Ghost in the Shell ARISE were both scheduled for the same time slot on Saturday night. I’m glad the masquerade sold out so that meant I got to watch this. I don’t think this was an official premiere but I really wanted to watch episode 1 ever since they announced this 4 part series.
I thought it was good, 4 out of 5 stars. Though some people in the audience seem to have liked it more than I did. This was a really good 1st episode about life before the Ghost in the Shell we know of. It has plenty of action. I thought the animation was really good which is weird since I read people thought the quality was poor. It was solid. Nothing more, nothing less in my opinion.
Please stay for post credits as Production I.G’s Maki Terashima-Furuta kindly informed us. Production I.G CEO, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, was there and had a few words. The American licensed version is coming out in August. He promised more action in episode 2. You don’t need to but if you want to give me more action mmm sure ok that’s cool.
Ugh! After watching Ghost in the Shell ARISE, I don’t know why I had this slight headache going on. I’m not sure if it was because I only had 1 full meal or from my costume. The part of my costume that was really bothering me throughout the con was wearing a combination of wig, bandanna, and eye patch. My eye patch was mostly in the up/off position but it was squeezing against my head the whole time. Yeah my costume was really getting to me that day.
I decided to skip this screening. Instead I went to my car grabbed my last snacks and rested at the karaoke room. I’m glad I did. I felt better after this.
This was a late addition to the Anime Expo schedule. It appeared on the electronic version of the schedule as something like Mystery NIS screening 12:30AM-1:30AM. So my plan for Saturday night was Ghost in the Shell ARISE, Coppelion Episode 1, mystery screening, and end the night with 1 attempt at karaoke while in costume.
Around 11PM I finally noticed Hanasaku Iroha was written down on the schedule display. I did a search on my phone and while it was highly praised it did not grab my attention at the time. I was getting tired and I was worried more about what would happen on Sunday if I did not get enough sleep. I know I become a wreck if I don’t get enough sleep at cons.
Looking back and all the things that happened I was really disappointed with myself that Saturday night. Everything was perfectly lined up for me. All the screenings were in the same room! But I was just not up to it. A real disappointment. This blog post could have improved with content from that night.
Sunday came around and based on previous cons I attended I expected a more relaxed and light traffic day. I was wrong. It felt just 1 level less of activity than the first 3 days. The exhibit hall was packed the first 3 days so I planned Sunday for some shopping and hall photos. But Sunday was equally crowded as the first 3 days. That’s good. I may not have necessarily been able to do what I planned on but I hope all the vendors and artist alley exhibitors had a good 4 days.
Anime Expo 2013 was the busiest con I attended. My mind was so preoccupied at times I couldn’t tell if I was enjoying the con. Yet, with all that activity I really had nothing to show for. Anime Expo 2013 was also the biggest con I attended. Days after, and looking at everyone else’s work from the con Anime Expo 2013 was a good one. I got to do and experience things I never have before.
-I am disappointed that I only heard an ocarina being played twice on Day 1.
-On 4th of July there was an attendee that said, “Happy Birthday America. Happy belated Birthday Canada.” to some Hetalia cosplayers.
-Hey Aniplex bro you think you’re as big as Robert Smith! You’re not!
The Aniplex panel was going over its time allotment. Aniplex guy wanted more time and try to get the crowd to help him achieve that. AV person nicely told him to wrap it up. His response was …we have a gathering at…. AV person said I will cut off your mic.
This wasn’t as serious as I written it up to be. It went over fine. Both organizations need each other and one should not over step their boundary is what I say.
-Thursday night at video room 4 on the second floor there was a showing of Evangelion 2.0 You Can [Not] Advance. The AX Dance was held in the room directly below. There were moments during the movie where you would hear the thumping EDM from the room below. I didn’t mind. Made the movie better. J/K (I thought this was a funny occurrence.)
-Petree Hall is my favorite. It's big, spacious, and plenty of air conditioning. On Friday evening I went inside Petree Hall to rest. Apparently it was the same time as Japan Film Society's "LA Fight" short film competition. Danny Choo was good as usual as MC. Último Dragón was there.
-gawd! Pick up all your Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear off the floor! (Attack on Titan is the popular anime right now so there were a lot of cosplayers from that series. I was walking around South Hall and there were a bunch of Attack on Titan cosplayers sitting down on the floor. Well, you have to take off that Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear in order to sit down so there were all these props strewn all over the floor. It was a funny sight.)
-Was resting on the steps and these 2 people did the bring lunch from home thing. It looked so good, they had such a nice spread of bread, fillings etc. Bringing food from home is advantageous but you will also need to account for encumbrance when you are walking around the con. I think we were looking at the Warhammer 40K Space Marine cosplayer. Well, he was the only cosplayer around really.
-All you time travelers from the future put out your e-cigarettes. (Noticed there were a lot of them.)
-Also, from the closing ceremony apparently Gurren Lagann, and Casshern are popular. I never would have guessed.
-Many people have said the photo and photo set area were amazing. I agree. I thought everyone involved with this did a wonderful job. I am either way on this returning for next year. On one hand I thought the photo gallery pics were amazing. On the other hand, I’m guessing it takes up a lot of the cosplay photographer’s time while working there. Thus they may not be able to work on their own projects during the con.
All credit goes to this guide for making my costume look good.
There were a few costumes that I liked but did not get recorded media of. One was a lady cosplaying as Barnaby Brooks from Tiger & Bunny series. She was wearing a sash with "No More Heroes" written on it. I actually asked for a picture but my battery went out as I pressed the shutter button.
Another one was this lady cosplaying as Colosuss from X-Men. It was awesome. She wore like a gray body suit you see in ballet and drew in the line segments.
Fanime also had a really good Persona/Atlus scene. I went to the Persona gathering, an Izanami and Fox appeared! That was amazing! I was completely shocked by that. The Fox passed out ema to attendees. I got one of them.
There were a lot of great costumes at Fanime.
Psycho Donuts was at the convention in one of the halls. They made these donuts to look like sushi. I thought they had put chopsticks in it but it was actually 2 strawberry pocky sticks. That was pretty funny. It was good.
So if anyone wondered why I smelled like Orange Ginger it was because I was putting that free lotion on my nose. I had a slight cold going into this con and my nose was looking bad. I had to put that on so I would be less scary looking. It worked. I never thought about those items they put in the hotel bathrooms.
They had some Fanime banners around downtown San Jose. That was really cool. I've only heard about how when San Diego Comic Con is on the area looks like geek city. That is cool. This is my closes experience to something like that.
Production Assistant experience
I got the chance to be a production assistant for a photographer on Friday. If I ever worked in Hollywood I want to be a production assistant because it is the only thing I can do. I always wanted to experience being a PA for personal reasons so this was the closes opportunity I got.
It was really cool to see how the photographer and cosplayer work to get those pictures. A lot of pictures are taken. I was able to see a few on the preview screen. Wow, they were awesome.
I had to hold up a lighting setup. Flash, with that flash umbrella on a steel rod. I'm not strong but I'm not that weak. There were times it was hard to hold that light in position :) I was really hoping that I wouldn't be the one that messed up the photo.
I enjoyed the experience and if I wasn't messing around working on my own silly things I would do it again.
Some other minor stuff from the convention.
Fanime had an outdoor anime night theater. I didn't know that until I came across it. I just wanted to see what was showing but the staff roped me into watching it. I ate my dinner and watched part of Summer Wars. It was interesting. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was the one I was interested in. Have you seen The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya? I've seen the 1st episode and it was amazing. I would like to watch that series if I had more time. There was a Haruhi cosplayer with a sign that said Join the SOS brigade. That was awesome.
I can't remember which night but I was at the gaming hall around 12AM. Since, I lost my badge I can only stay on the outside. I was like "Why does it sound like a basketball gym in here?" It was all the people playing the DDR style games.
There was a PC game at this hall. My guess title was Irrim(?) But it was like a Star Trek simulator. You need like about 5 PCs and each one is a station like Engineering, Helms, weapons, etc. Their setup had the captain standing in the middle and asking for stuff onscreen. Like display the tactial map onscreen, telling helm to go there etc. It was really interesting.
Sunday morning I was at the convention center walkway going to restroom. I passed by a group a lady goes I don't know. Let's follow Big Boss.
My response was But I'm going to the restroom.
Her response, Let's follow Big Boss anyway you won't see us.
It's that con thing where around the last days we are all tired. Thank you to all the attendees that made this con.
The 2013 version of Fanime was an experience. Life isn't about guaranteed happiness. The con had positives and negatives. As more days has passed I'm glad I had this as an experience.
Anime Conji is an anime convention that takes place in sunny San Diego, California. Well, it was overcast on the day I went but it was your usual anime convention. I don’t mean that in a negative way, I thought the convention was fine. Just that it was pretty much everything you expect from an anime convention.
I was busy working on other stuff but I didn’t know I was that preoccupied. Kind of makes me wonder if I should still put a blog up if I don’t have that much material about it.
(I typed some descriptive comments into the pictures. Not all of them though. I don't want people to have to click through every picture. I might have to come up with a system to show comments. Maybe go back to my old system. I don't know why I have a hard time with the Giant Bomb image gallery tool.)
- One of my favorites about anime conventions is representation of alternative fashion scene. I did see one at WonderCon. If you are a fan they represent at anime conventions.
- What happened to the Code Geass cosplay gathering? Also, what happened to the Model building contest? I needed those because I’m not talented enough to come up with content on my own. It happens.
- Cosplay photos I missed. There was a genderbend group of Sailor Moon. All the Sailor Scouts were males (some did not shave their beards). Tuxedo Kamen was a lady. There was a Homestuck cosplayer that had a flag of Nicolas Cage’s face on it. She was wearing it like a cape.
- I think around 3pm they had Djs playing music in the patio near Registration. I think the loud music playing over speakers actually worked for this convention. Made it more upbeat. Though, I think it can only work for this particular convention and the way it is setup and location.
- Anime Conji used flat screen monitors to display event programming. I thought it was nice but another one of those I think can only work with this convention.
- There was a wedding that coincided with the convention. The hotel must have told the couple about the Anime Conji event taking place on that day. I had no problem with a wedding being held at the same place. Hopefully Anime Conji did not ruin their wedding.
- Had the nicest conversation with a staffer while going down the elevator at the Regency Tower.
We stopped at a floor Pokemon Men Ash exited and an audible “Oh my!” could be heard.
Goku(staff) said something along the lines of “… already step out of the elevator and something happens.” I responded they are so funny I love what they do. Goku, “… yeah [real name] and [real name] are great. Goku then explains how his costume is breaking apart and needs go back to his room and fix it. We reach his floor and bid each other adieu.
- At the Regency Tower while everyone was waiting to take the elevator up a gentleman showed up with a rice cooker. I know people go to cons with their own food to save costs but this was next level. he was bringing it to the Press Lounge at the top floor.
I was going to applaud and post a screenshot of the WonderCon website where it had a nice explanation about why the convention has been in Anaheim the last 2 years and how they’re trying to get back. It’s not there anymore. Ookaay?
I’ve always known WonderCon as a Northern California convention. Reading the convention program it seems Comic-Con International will be trying to make 2 conventions WonderCon San Francisco and WonderCon Anaheim. Well, I guess good luck with that.
I only attended Sunday and one of my constant thoughts was “I hope Tony is here. I hope Tony is here.” Tony from Comic Vine was there! With a bonus of Norm Chan from Tested!
I forgot which year it was but it’s been a tradition since to visit Tested during San Diego Comic-Con. To wait for Norm to upload all his day’s work onto the site.
I was busy doing other stuff so I’m glad I can flake and lazily just post all of Tony's and Norm's works here. They are good anyways so it's worth mentioning
See all of Comic Vine’s fine work here. Most links should be on this page.