Anime Expo 2011 and Japan 2011: Pregame

Going to Anime Expo and Japan was something I planned to do for a long time now and after many months (you could also say years), this epic trip is about to start. So, I wanted to write a few thoughts about both.

Anime Expo 2011

Anime Expo was a convention I really wanted to go to, even in high school. The problem was that I didn’t have any money. I also didn’t have anyone to go with, though money was the number 1 factor here.

Now as we all know, my first convention was New York Anime Festival 2008. Before that, I didn’t have anyone to go with so I couldn’t get myself to go to a convention. Though I only went for a day, it was a great first convention for me, since I met someone new and I was able to go with friends. I went to two more conventions with those friends (Mokucon 2008, AnimeNEXT 2009). I started going alone in 2009 (NYAF 2009) since those friends were busy and they started loosing interest. I also started cosplaying that same time. It was still great, but I know it would have been even better if I were able to go with friends. This trend continued until recently (AnimeNEXT 2011), so being the shy, timid person I am, I was determined to make new otaku friends since a majority of my friends are not otaku (or don’t even watch anime). How would I start doing that? Well, I started by joining the Anime Expo Forum.  (Actually, my original reason for joining was to try to suggest that AX have a speed dating event, which is not happening). Unlike the other forums I’m in, I’m more active in this forum. Next thing I did was get a hotel room with people I don’t know, which I’m going to be doing. Then, I started planning a meet and greet of people that are going alone to AX, which is looking good so far. They say that you need to take action if you want something to happen, so I’m doing things that I would have never done before.

So, what are my goals in Anime Expo. Well, my main goal is to have fun. I’ll be at Mikunopolis, the AX Masquerade, etc. I also hope to make new friends. (I also do hope I can get an otaku girlfriend that likes to cosplay (and will cosplay Chrome Dokuro), but we all know that’s probably not going to happen). I’ll be posting stuff on Twitter throughout AX, but as for the blog, that’ll have to wait until after AX, since I’m expecting to be busy the whole time.

Japan

The second portion of my trip (actually, more like my third or fourth part) is going to Japan. Since I was able to make a little bit of money, I decided to go to Japan. This is something I planned since last year. Originally, I was planning to go on a tour, but then that devastating earthquake and tsunami happened. That tour was cancelled and my trip was in jeopardy. But, against the advice of some people, I’m still going. Before I talk more about my trip, let me say a few words about what is going on right now.

It is my assumption that a majority of people outside Japan think that Japan is just a small island maybe 50 miles diameter with everyone living in Tokyo. However, just the island of Honshu (biggest island in Japan) is 750 miles from north tip to south tip. The devastation is mostly confined to the coast of Tohoku (north of Tokyo). Most of Japan is still open for business, despite what the foreign news might show. They’re even trying to get people to visit Japan, which they wouldn’t be doing if they couldn’t. About the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, I don’t deny that this is something to overlook. This is a serious problem and of course you should not go near that area. But the problem is that many people think that all of Japan is radiated. Not true. The amount of radiation in Tokyo (or even Sendai, which is even closer) is at par and sometimes lower than in New York City. Another thing: Tokyo is over 125 miles away from Fukushima Dai-ichi. Kiev (capital of Ukraine) is only 60 miles away from Chernobyl. The US State Department advises people to avoid the area 50-miles from the plant. So to summarize, a majority of Japan is safe to go to and you should go to help out the economy. Hey, even Lady Gaga is there right now.

Now about my trip, I will be arriving on Tanabata and I will be staying in Tokyo, except when I tour the Kansai region and when I go to Tohoku. What will I do? I’ll go to Akihabara and other otaku areas (including going to the AnoHana secret base and trying special foods made for the FMA movie). I’ll be vising some of the shrines. I’ll be watching the FMA movie, baseball games, etc. I’ll be doing everything, including helping out the Japanese economy. In fact, I’m going to be volunteering in Tohoku before I go back, helping out in the devastated areas.

I’ll be posting daily updates when I’m there (hopefully) and I’ll show that you can go to Japan without any worries.

I’m excited for this trip and I’m glad that I’ll actually be helping out for part of the trip.

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Anime Saimoe Tournament 2011 – An early look

Saimoe has not started yet, but since it is about time for Saimoe 2011, I will go through several characters and shows that can (or cannot) push through in this tournament. First, let’s look at veterans that will not be in this tournament:

Nanoha and Fate are very important characters in this tournament. Nanoha was the winner of 2005 and Fate was the runner-up of 2006. They haven’t been doing very well since their wins, but they’re going to have to wait another year if they want to recapture the title since they did not make an appearance this year. Maybe in 2012 or 2013 depending on when the second movie comes out.

Another important franchise in this tournament is Hayate no Gotoku. Nagi was the runner-up in 2007 and 2010 and Hina-chan, who some people consider as a top contender in Saimoe, always seems to get screwed somewhere in the tournament. Unfortunately, they too will have to wait another year to get their revenge. The Hayate(/Negima) movie is coming two months too late for this tournament, so they are not eligible in this tournament.

Saki has been an annoying force for many contenders in this tournament. Unlike Negima, which has lots of girls but few contenders that advance, Saki has lots of girls and many contenders that advance. They managed to get 2 girls in the quarterfinals for the past two years and managed to even get 4 girls in the Elite 8 in 2009. Well, they won’t have a chance this year since it’s been over a year (almost two) since the anime showed. They’ll have to wait until the next season starts (yes, it was announced several days ago).

Now this last one is a little weird for me to put, but Toradora’s Aisaka Taiga was the winner of the 2009 tournament. She didn’t get a chance to defend her title last year since Toradora didn’t show last year. However, in one episode of Ookami-san (which is eligible this year), Taiga-chan, Ami, and Minorin made a surprise cameo. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be enough for eligibility. I might be wrong. If she is not eligible, she’ll need her older self, Ookami Ryouko-chan, to do well. (UPDATE 7/19: Actually, I just noticed that they are eligible. Their official entry is “The student called ___-san”)

Now on to anime and characters that matter this year. First, let me talk about this year’s veterans (underlined shows are shows with at least one character that I think could possibly win the tournament):

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Wondering Len: AnimeNEXT 2011 (Day 2)

So, another good day at AnimeNEXT. I went early cosplaying as an alternative version of Kagamine Len (I was kind surprised when one person knew who I was), got a drawing of Yuki-nyan (Kore wa Zombie desu ka?) that I commissioned an artist to draw yesterday (which I’m really happy about), and took lots of pictures. One costume I liked was the creeper from Minecraft. Some people even hugged it because as we all know, you should hug a creeper whenever you see one. Luckily, it didn’t explode. One regret that I have is that I wish I was able to take a picture of Chrome-nyan that I saw in an alternative costume. I should have just taken that picture when I saw her in the Reborn panel.

Waiting in the masquerade line was ridiculous. The line was extremely long, even an hour (or actually much longer than that from where I was) before they started seating. I was standing outside, next to Orimura Ichika (IS <Infinite Stratos>). I was planning to cosplay him in several months during NYAF and I was a little surprised that someone actually cosplayed him, especially since I rarely see anyone cosplaying characters from anime of the previous season. For example, I didn’t see anyone cosplaying as someone from Angel Beats! during NYAF/NYCC 2010, despite the fact that it had been over for several months and was really popular. Other characters from the previous anime season that I saw were Kaname Madoka  and Kyubey (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) and Haruna (Zombie).

The masquerade wasn’t very great, but the day was still great. I saw more people this year then I did last year, I think. I don’t know yet if I’ll be returning tomorrow, but these past two days were great. Seeing how good AnimeNEXT was, I think Anime Expo is going to be EPIC!

Tales of the Wondering Half-Elf: AnimeNEXT 2011 (Tales of Photo Shoot)

When I headed to AnimeNEXT today, I planned to just walk around, take pictures, etc. I had no idea that there would be a “Tales of” photo shoot. Keep in mind that I don’t go on the AnimeNEXT forums (maybe I should, considering that I go on the Anime Expo forums). So, after embarrassing myself (not really) in karaoke, I was walking and was told by someone that recognized me that where was a “Tales of” photo shoot, so I went to the Red Dock. Well, here are some pictures from that:

Yep, I’m Genis Sage (nekomimi mode). That was a good surprise, but next time, I’ll make sure to look at the forums to make sure I don’t miss something.

Tales of the Wondering Half-Elf: AnimeNEXT 2011 (Day 1)

After many months of nothingness, the first anime convention in my calendar (and also the closest one from my house) is here! It also marks the start of my month (and a week) of awesomeness which will take me to one (or two) more conventions and Japan. I got a figure, a small nendoroid, and some other things, making sure to wait until I get to Japan to do my real spending. I kind of embarrassed myself in karaoke singing Sexy Sexy (Ghost Stories ED), watched some anime, and went to a panel. I also managed to take some pictures while cosplaying Genis Sage.  I was also cosplaying Genis yesterday while getting my pass. The weirdest thing: I got more recognition as Genis Sage here than I did during NYAF/NYCC last year. I also managed to get into a Tales of group photo shoot, which I will talk about in the next post. So for now, here are some pics from Day 1: