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Old 07-16-2013, 07:02 PM   #1
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Anime Expo 2013

I recently attended Anime Expo 2013. This was my second time attending AX. Last year, my primary reason for going was to see Yuki Kajiura and Lisa perform live in concert. This year, my goal was different.

http://www.anime-expo.org/

Over the three years that I've attended Fanime and one year I attend Anime Expo in 2012, I've witnessed extraordinary cosplays. It's mind boggling to learn how much time and energy cosplayers put into making their costumes. They flock from across the world to conventions where they showcase the fruits of their labor. I've admired cosplayers' dedication and hard work. I've always wanted to join there ranks in making a costume and showing it off to crowds, and I did just that this year at Anime Expo 2013.

I've never worked on a costume before, so this was a huge challenge for me. At first, I wanted to do something simple and low budget. However, after watching Henrik Pilerud's amazing Blood Angel Space Marine costume on youtube, my heart was set. I'm a die hard 40k fan and avid player of the table top game. Dressing up as a Space Marine and going to Anime Expo is a perfect union between my two hobbies. Shortly after discovering Henrik's Space Marine costume, I reached out to him over Youtube and later Facebook. He's a wealth of information and freely distribute his files and build pictures. I kept in contact with him through Facebook while working on my costume.


https://www.facebook.com/PilerudsCosplay

I started my costume shortly after college finals. My original plan was to finish it and show it off at Fanime 2013. However, I had only a week to work on it and quickly ran out of time. After Fanime was over, I had a month left to work on my costume before Anime Expo 2013. I worked on and off during the first 3 months of June. I just recently graduated San Jose State university with a B.S. in Software Engineering, so I had to juggle my time between job hunting and costume building. A week came before Anime Expo, I dropped everything and focused everything on completing my costume. I ended up doing a few all nighters and continued working on it through Day 0 of AX.

Day 1 Thursday

After a long night of applying PVA and painting, I finally completed my costume. After 3 hours of sleep, I did some finishing touches and loaded my costume in my car. I left Day 1 of AX in the afternoon and drove from San Jose to Los Angeles in 6 hours. By the time I arrived at AX, badge pick up was closed and so was Dealers Hall. I spent the rest of the evening checking into JW Marriot hotel, getting acquainted with my roommates, and fitting my costume.

Day 2 Friday

I woke up early morning on Day 2 and rush over to AX for badge pick up. Being Day 2, most of the con goers had already picked up their badges on Day 0 and Day 1. It took me a quick ten minutes to pick up my badge and catalog.

 


I spent the remainder of the morning taking pictures of other cosplayers and trying to figure out how I'm going to get my heavy costume inside the convention center. While I was in the South Hall lobby, I noticed Los Angeles Convention Center has parking. An idea lit up in my head and I rushed back to my hotel room. There, I called room service and transported my costume to my car. Around noon, I arrived back at the convention center. To my dismay, I couldn't find parking in the sections that had direct access to the lobby. I settled with parking on the fourth floor of parking garage E, which was outside and across the street from the convention. Parking garage E has an out door walkway, which leads directly to the registration entrance, which leads to the South Hall, a popular location for cosplayers.

My costume is extremely bulky and it's impossible to suit up by myself. I spent some time messaging and calling friends who I knew were attending AX. To my dismay, no one answered or replied back. After taking a deep breath, I decided to ask strangers for help. Fortunately, there were two cosplayers parked a few car lots away who were also suiting up. They happily helped a fellow cosplayer in need.

After suiting up my costume for the first time ever, I slowly made my way to the elevator. I took up the entire space and had to duck to get in. Upon exiting the parking garage, many con goers immediately took notice of my costume. Two of them were professional photographers and took excellent photos, which they later posted on their sites. It felt surreal to finally be able to wear my costume and having people admire it. Unfortunately my luck didn't last. Half way down the walkway between the parking garage and the registration entrance, I experienced a wardrobe malfunction. The screws holding the soles of my shoe to the wooden surface of my platform shoes came apart. I stood there dumbfounded and silently cursed to myself for not spending more time stress fitting. Fortunately I brought tools, which I left in my car. After undressing, I rushed back to my car and brought back spare screws and tools. Once again, strangers and con goers helped me suit up. I love this community! Some of the friendliest people you'll ever find can be found at anime conventions.

 

https://www.facebook.com/CesarVividPhotography

 

https://www.facebook.com/FlawlessCre...andphotography

By the time I reached the registration entrance, my shoe fell apart again. Drats, just a few hundred feet from the lobby! Once again, I took off my costume and re-screwed my platforms. Every 50 feet, the screws became loose again and I have to undress, re-screw, and re-redress. I realized at this rate, I'll run out of spare screws before I reached the lobby. I had tools and parts that could provide a more permanent fix, but they were all back in my hotel room. With a deep sigh, I decided to not press further and show off my costume in front of the registration entrance.

There was a lot of foot traffic and con goers traveling back and forth between parking garage E and the convention center complimented me on my costume or took pictures. A couple of police officers circled around and pulled up to take pictures of me as well. Half an hour later, my shoulders got numb and I decided to take off my costume. I was about to pack up when I saw an amazing Adeptus Arbite cosplay exit the the registration entrance. The cosplayer turned out be Spif Zaya, who was dressed up as the character Shira Calpurnia from the Warhammer 40k universe. She was really impressed by my Space Marine costume, which is also from the Warhammer 40k universe. To be honest, I found her costume to be more amazing than mine. She used Worbla to create a highly detailed armor suit complete with paint it and weathering. On top of that, she had a shock maw, which lights up! Unfortunately she was busy and had to attend a photo shoot. I promised to wait around and suit up again when she returns.

https://www.facebook.com/Spifzaya

I took this opportunity to transport my costume indoors away from the sun. She returned half an hour later and helped me suit up. After taking a couple pictures (wish I had my camera on me!), we ran into a couple other cosplayers who recognize Spif. After a good twenty minutes of sharing stories, we all departed, heading our own separate ways. I dashed back and forth, transporting my costume in pieces back to my car.

 


I returned back to the convention center and explored dealers hall and took pictures of cosplayers. While in West Hall, I stumbled across a line that was giving away free tickets to the Visual Kei concert. I hadn't plan on going, but they were free tickets to a live concert, can't argue against that. I walked it and was seated in the far back. Right in front of me were rows upon rows of empty seats. Even the sections closest to the front stage weren't completely full. Ha ha wow, I knew Visual Kei wasn't going to be popular at AX, but I didn't expect 80% of the seats to be empty! The concert started late and when it did, I found the music to be mediocre. I left twenty minutes into the concert.

 


For the remainder of the day, I walked around taking pictures and exploring the convention center. I visited the Cosplay Repair Station located in the Gaming Hall. They didn't have any duct tape or super glue, but they did have fat glue sticks. Fortunately I brought my hot glue gun, which was sitting in my hotel room. I returned to my hotel room and reinforced my costume's shoes. After hot gluing the bottom of my shoe to the wooden platform, screw in a metal bracket around the top of the shoe, and wrapping multiple layers of masking tape around the screws to keep them from coming out, my costume shoes was ready. I also fixed my helmet and added a barrel grip to my bolter. Yatta! My costume is fixed and ready for Day 3 of AX!

 


Day 3 Saturday

I woke up early morning on Day 3. I arrived to early to the convention center and found a parking spot in section D, conveniently close to the entrance of South Hall lobby. Most of the information booths, registration, and other areas were still closed at this hour. I messaged my friend Nate and he told me he'll be available to help me suit up around 1:00pm. I spent the remainder of the morning getting my Bolter peace bonded, taking pictures of cosplayers, and exploring the convention.

 


While I was in Dealers Hall, I came across Tsuyoshi Nonaka's booth. Mr. Nonaka is head of PLEX International Design and has worked on toy designs for Power Rangers, Ben 10, Bandai America, and more. He was doing commissions in Dealers Hall with all proceeds going to Japan Earthquake victims. It was a rare opportunity to have someone in the industry do commission. I happily put my name down for a small sketch of an MS-06 Zaku. His assistant collected my payment up front and asked me to return around 4:00pm.

 


 


Around 1:00pm, I meet Nate near the parking garage entrance. He had been busy attending panels and getting signed autographs from AX guests. It took me a while to suit up. Once it costume, I made my way to basement floor of the lobby, which has an elevator with direct access to the main floor lobby. Upon entering, I got mobbed by a lot of people wanting to take pictures. It took me several minutes to reach the elevator. Nate did an excellent job clearing away people and asking them to move aside. My reinforced shoe platforms felt solid without any indications of falling apart. It seems my fixes paid off.

For the next couple of hours, I walked and posed around South Hall lobby to an enormous crowd. All those hours spent working and money spent lead to this point. I felt proud to have finally made it to South Hall lobby and present my costume to thousands of attendees. Mission accomplished!

 

https://www.facebook.com/DavannSreyPhotography

Around 2:30pm, Nate had to leave for another appointment. Around 3:30, my shoulders and arms were getting numb and I slowly made it back to my car. I ran into a group of con goers in the parking garage who helped get out of costume. After packing everything up and changing, I went up stairs to Mr. Nonaka's booth in the dealers hall. He had completed my commission ahead of schedule. I was extremely impressed by his work. He did a fantastic job sketching and shading MS-06 Zaku. He also signed his name on top and wrote "To Timothy". I took a couple of pictures of him with the Zaku sketch and took it back to my car.

 

https://www.facebook.com/TsuyoshiNonakaZ

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-P...66853353382624

I rushed outside of West Hall to where the League of Legends cosplay meet up was happening. There was a huge showing of League cosplayers this year with stars from Esports and Riot employees. I was amazed by the number of high quality League of Legend cosplayers that show up. I met a few game designers and developers from Riot and they impressed to see the characters they worked on coming to life. Rivington the Third, a game commentator, was there handing out cards that unlocked two game characters plus two free skins.

 


 


 


After the League of Legends cosplay meet up, I dropped by the Gaming Hall to see how the Warhammer 40,000 table top tournament was going. I recognized a few players and said hi to Reece, the guy running the tournament. I didn't plan on hauling my costume all the way from South Hall to West Hall, but I did bring my Bolter as a sample of Space Marine costume. The staff running the tournament were impressed.

 

http://www.frontlinegaming.org/

 


I made my way to Club Nokia theater for the Porno Graffiti concert. It was a challenge finding its location. I ran into a couple of friends and they informed me that no cameras were allowed. Fortunately the JW Marriot was just down the street. I walked back to my hotel room, dropped my stuff off, and returned back to Club Nokia theater. By then, the line was already moving. Wow were they serious. They had security check bags and everyone had to walk through metal detectors. Once inside, I found my seat on balcony. The audience chanted "PORNO, PORNO, PORNO!" I laughed so hard. You wouldn't here this at any other concert.

 


A few minutes later, the concert finally started. Porno Graffiti put on a good performance. They played several songs including a few anime classics such as 'Melissa' from Full Metal Alchemist and 'Lonely Night' from Great Teacher Onizuka! Despite being an older J-Rock group, the quality of the musics hasn't decay. They sound better live than any pre-recorded songs.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the encore. I had twenty minutes to run back to my hotel room, pick up my camera, and return to the convention center of Cosplay Masquerade. I was ten minutes late, but I didn't miss much. Prior to the masquerade, there were a lot of talks of how the tickets immediately sold out and people asking around. I was surprised to find many of the seats weren't filled. I guess a lot of people purchased tickets in advance but decided not to show, which is a shame. I was fortunate to purchase a seat in the front section.

This was my first year attending Cosplay Masquerade at Anime Expo. They did a splendid job organizing this event. Each skit was accompanied by pre-recorded video clip of the cosplayers. The two MC's did an excellent job introducing each participant and keeping the audience entertained. There were a couple technical glitches, but they were quickly fixed. A several memorable skits includes Antique Warriors rendition of I'll Make a Man Out of You' from Mulan, Kamen Rider, Rose of Versailles, and a soda machine skit by Godly Team Cosplay. There was also a couple well made armored costumes including Vanquish, actual full metal FMA costumes, and Final Fantasy Judges. At the end of the Masquerade, the judges handed out many award and prizes. There was also a special announcement where a guy proposed to his girl friend, who was wearing a female Kakashi costume. She said yes! I had a blast at this year's Cosplay Masquerade. It's definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

 


 


Day 4 Sunday

It's sad waking up knowing this was the last day of the convention. I got up early to pack my belongings. I bid my farewells to my roommates and loaded my stuff in my car. I spent the remainder of the day taking pictures and looking for last minute deals inside Dealers Hall. While I was there, I got see Yaya Han at her booth dressed as Chun Li. I purchased a print, which she signed. I also met Jessica Nigri dressed in her Fem Goku costume.

 

https://www.facebook.com/yayacosplay

 


 

https://www.facebook.com/JessicaNigriOfficalPhotography

I wrapped up my day with a final round trip around the convention center. I left around noon, hoping to leave early enough not to get stuck in traffic. While driving back, I reflected on the wonderful past few days at Anime Expo.

 


While my trip did have a couple of drawbacks such as missing Day 1 and costume malfunctions on Day 2, my experience overall was positive. I was able to meet many people who shared my passion in loving anime culture. I got to experience what it's like to be a cosplayer. I also collected many memorabilia through taking pictures of cosplayers, purchasing signed commission and prints, and attending a concert. Thank you Anime Expo 2013 for the wonderful experience!

For those who have never experienced an anime convention, I highly recommend you visit at least one. It’s fun intermingling with other people who are just as passionate about anime, manga, and the Japanese culture.

Thank you for reading my report.

LINK TO ALL MY PICTURES OF COSPLAYERS

LINK TO MY COSTUME BUILD PICTURES
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: Anime Expo 2013

I'm still not at a point where I'll return to AnimeExpo, but glad you had a good time. That's quite a hefty cosplay project for your first one. I'm horrible at prop making, but glad you were able to get the hang of it. Seemed like you had a lot of fun!
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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Re: Anime Expo 2013

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Originally Posted by Kanashimi View Post
I'm still not at a point where I'll return to AnimeExpo, but glad you had a good time. That's quite a hefty cosplay project for your first one. I'm horrible at prop making, but glad you were able to get the hang of it. Seemed like you had a lot of fun!
Thanks Kana!

Yeah, I was ambitious in my first cosplay project. In hindsight, I should have started with something easy like Mass Effect armor before I tackle a full armored costume. I wouldn't have completed this costume in time if it weren't for Henrik Pilerud's advice and build pictures. Word of advice to anyone cosplaying for the very first time, don't do what I did. Start small and let experience build on itself!

I'm also terrible at prop making, but Pepakura Designer software makes it really easy for a novice. It doesn't take a lot of tools to build a foam costume. The structure support and joints however requires basic knowledge of physics and use of metal brackets, washers, nuts, and screws. Nothing complex really.

Anime Expo's attendance annually increases by the thousands, so if you don't like crowded conventions or long lines for events, AX wouldn't suit your taste. It is annoying that Masquerade and concerts were charged individually and parking for the convention center increased from $5 to $20. However, I can see why given how much it costs to rent out LACC and Club Nokia. South Hall was also closed after hours (reduce rent?). Only staff or those who needed to access the parking garages were permitted. Lack of air conditioning in South Hall was also a problen, but that's due to the large crowd's combined body heat being too much for the lobby's cooling system to handle.

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Old 07-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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Re: Anime Expo 2013

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Anime Expo's attendance annually increases by the thousands, so if you don't like crowded conventions or long lines for events, AX wouldn't suit your taste. It is annoying that Masquerade and concerts were charged individually and parking for the convention center increased from $5 to $20. However, I can see why given how much it costs to rent out LACC and Club Nokia. South Hall was also closed after hours (reduce rent?). Only staff or those who needed to access the parking garages were permitted. Lack of air conditioning in South Hall was also a problen, but that's due to the large crowd's combined body heat being too much for the lobby's cooling system to handle.

-SaiQ
To be fair, when we go to a convention, it's as press. If we have in the same month E3 (in the same area) as well as several other conventions around the US then it gets hard to justify the pure cost. Not only are you fighting with other media outlets, but you're also under harsher policies in terms of photography or videography. I don't deny they're a great place to get news scoops, but there's a lot of other conventions at the time with big-named guests as well.

So from that standpoint it's really difficult to justify the cost of travel for three people, hotel for close to a week (in an area we were just at), etc. We've gone as 91.8 The Fan three times before, but it's just taken a backseat overall.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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Re: Anime Expo 2013

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So from that standpoint it's really difficult to justify the cost of travel for three people, hotel for close to a week (in an area we were just at), etc. We've gone as 91.8 The Fan three times before, but it's just taken a backseat overall.
Fortunately you have 918thefan members like me who'll go to these conventions and report what they see.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:20 PM   #6
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Fortunately you have 918thefan members like me who'll go to these conventions and report what they see.
Which is always a plus! I do like to hear what's going on regardless. So thank you for this really thought out reviews. :)
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:38 PM   #7
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Re: Anime Expo 2013

Wow, great write up!! Thanks for sharing!

I've been on and off about going to Anime Expo (mostly because it's so far for me).

Hope to make it out there some day. I'd probably bankrupt myself at the artist alley and dealers hall! XD
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:00 PM   #8
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Re: Anime Expo 2013

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Wow, great write up!! Thanks for sharing!

I've been on and off about going to Anime Expo (mostly because it's so far for me).

Hope to make it out there some day. I'd probably bankrupt myself at the artist alley and dealers hall! XD
It's definitely worth going once just for the experience.

Dealers Hall is always jammed pack with multiple dealers and the artist alley is squeezed in the back. This year they moved few autograph session lines to the Gaming Hall, which reduces congestion inside Dealers Hall. I wouldn't suggest bankrupting yourself unless it's a "must have" limited edition item such as Tsuyoshi Nonaka's Zaku commission.
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