July has thoroughly sucked for me, at least after Anime Expo. My wife, whose job looked questionable is now officially unemployed. My daughter, who was always a bit different, has now been officially diagnosed with a learning disability. Work… well I shouldn’t be specific but I’ll say that a month ago I liked my job as much as I’ve ever liked any job I’ve had. Things have pretty much taken a complete 180. Morale is really tanking. And the cherry on top? On Monday some jackass rear-ends me on the way home from work. My sweet Acura TSX is in the shop and I’m driving a POS Hyundai Sonata (sorry if that’s what you drive).
So anyway, let’s talk about the good part of the month, Anime Expo.
This was my third AX and I wanted to really experience the Expo, instead of just showing up without much of a plan. Last year I kind of stumbled into a panel by some of the creators of Gundam 00 and it turned out to be one of the most interesting things I did. So, I spent some time online trying to figure out what the various panels were about and who the guests of honor were. I was happy to see several voice actors from Macross Frontier would be there so I marked them on my to-do list. I also wanted to see Gundam Unicorn and Evangelion 1.01 again and also catch some other anime I’d heard of but not seen.
I wasn’t actually that successful. On day one I went to the Gundam panel, and was going to stick around that hall to see May’n, the singing voice of Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier, but had to meet my brothers-in-law since it was their first AX. Once we got to the exhibit hall they ditched, so I wish I had stayed to see May’n. I never saw my brothers-in-law again all weekend, but then again they don’t have cell phones, so how was I going to find them? They’re anti-social anyway…
Since it was day one I had to perform the day one ritual of unpacking the models. I didn’t really have anything new to bring since I had spent so much time on the house but I brought several built models to the Bluefin booth to help them fill it up until the models in the normal AX contest were moved to the Bluefin Booth Saturday night. It turned out that Bluefin had a bunch of HUGE display cases made so there was plenty of room for my models, Clem’s models, Angel’s models, the contest models, and a bunch of display figures and models put together by the Bluefin staff. I got to know Bruce from Bluefin pretty well since he was there to help me unpack and pack up my models and we both were judges in the Bandai contest. I set up my kits and debated about putting my Gundam Hangar into the contest. It’s an old kit and I felt a little wrong about entering it since it wasn’t a current work. Then again, it had never been entered in a Bandai contest (BAKUC or the World Cup) so I guess it would have been fair game. But I ended up judging and removed my model from the contest. I also added my Zeong to the Gundam Bar, which got a lot of good reaction from the crowd.
Bringing my models for Bluefin was a great experience since it got them a lot of attention being right in the middle of the hall in those gorgeous display booths. A lot more people saw them than they would have in the contest, which is in the back corner of the Exhibit Hall. All the kits on display generated more interest in the hobby and more sales for Bluefin, so it was a win-win.
In the top row of this picture are four of the models I brought:
I was very happy to see that Blue Fin had the 1/100 NG Cherudims on sale for $20 each. I’ve had this idea for this kit ever since I got the little 1/144 kit at the Christmas build gathering. I was going to get them on sale from HLJ during one of their no-shipping sales, but I was camping that weekend and couldn’t order. So I picked up 2 Cherudims. I’ve already snapped and almost finished mods to my Super Cherudim. It has been a great kit to work on, nice and simple. Here it is snapped:
While at the Hall I also picked up a Ghost In The Shell T-Shirt with the Laughing Man on it. I get a T-Shirt every year, so next year I’ll have one for every day.
I went to the Robotech marathon and watched an episode for nostalgia’s sake and then dropped in for a bit at the Robotech panel. Robotech really got me into anime although I’ve kind of become less of a Robotech fan and more of a Macross fan over the years. The highlight was seeing the voice actress who voiced Minmei and Richard Epcar who voiced Ben Dixon, but who I immediately recognized as the English voice of Batou from GITS. He also does the voice of bout every fourth person you meet in Fallout 3.
I spent the rest of the day just hanging out and catching up with Clem (Gamerabaenre), Angel and his wife Nikki, John (Sid’Ricel), Travis (Lycantivis), Brandon (bhop), Scott (wtf is his screen name?), V (King Voe), Xavier (Derringer) Shoe Yin (Samus Aran in cosplay) and Manny (or at least his models) plus some other people. I don’t remember who exactly I hung out with on which days… sue me, I’m old.
On day 2 I went to the Megumi Nakajima and May’n concert at the Nokia Theater. Megumi Nakajima was the voice talent of Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier. They were joined by surprise guest Yoko Kanno (Yoko Kanno entry on Wikipedia ), a famous anime music composer. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the whole concert because that’s not the kind of music I listen to, but when they performed the main theme song from Macross Frontier it was very cool, so it was worth going. Where else would you see something like that?
After meandering a bit, I went and caught an episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. After that I was “recruited” along with Angel to help Clem clear out the Exhibit Hall. That mainly required me to walk around and do nothing and then hang on with Angel to the back of the electric vehicle while Clem drove us around. Good thing us Mexicans are good at piling into the backs of cars.
Once Clem was free of his duties we went to Clem’s model building panel and Clem racially abused me while Angel and I put up with some over-enthusiastic over-chatty Gunpla fans who will remain nameless. I just wanted to sit and relax and snap together my Cherudim.
On day 3 I went to the Megumi Nakjima panel. My plan was to get a ticket for the autograph session, pick up one of the special edition Ranka Lee Valkyrie kits and have her sign it ( http://www.hlj.com/product/BAN960420 ). By the time I got my act together, the line was huge and they weren’t letting anyone else in. There was a second session but it conflicted with the model contest judging. So I saved $60 by not buying that kit…
Ranka Lee Cosplayer (left):
I was also going to see Katsuyuki Konishi who voiced Ozma Lee in Macross Frontier and Kamina in Gurren Lagann, but it also conflicted with judging. I was also going to see the Premiere of Gundam Unicorn, but… judging. I was also going to see Evangelion 1.01 again, but… yeah. I pretty much lost the second half of Saturday to judging and a good chunk of time Sunday to answering questions about judging.
So I went to Clem’s Saturday build panel but left early to start judging the Anime Expo contest. There were 31 entries. It was great that the contest is growing but MAN it took a LONG time to judge them all. And when I was all done… Clem grabs me and hauls me over to the Bluefin booth to judge the Bandai Gundam World Cup. I did about four hours of consecutive judging between the two contests and by the end my brain was fried.
The Best of Show winner of the Anime Expo contest was the same guy (whose name is Vinh IIRC) who won an airbrush and compressor two years ago through a raffle of all the entrants. He brought in a snapped together Cerberus from Gundam SEED and people didn’t really think he’d put the airbrush to good use. The next year (last year) he entered a nicely-built MG Aile Strike Gundam. This year he brought an intricate resin figure of Saber from Fate Stay Night and it was pretty much flawless.
In the Bandai contest, Mitch won with his really beautiful GP03S…
but Manny also cleaned up. He brought 3 models and won prizes with all three, here is his Akatsuki which I think also won a prize in the AX contetst:
Sunday, the last day, I popped in and watched a Lupin III movie. I’ve never seen anything Lupin III and really enjoyed its utter ridiculousness (and once again heard the voice of Richard Epcar). Then it was time for the Sunday day 4 ritual, pack the models up. This ended up taking forever since I spent a ton of time at the Bluefin booth just answering questions from many contestants about what place they came in and what they won and why I chose this model over that one and giving out lots of constructive criticism. The cool part was that Steve who runs Bluefin came and thanked me for bringing my models and helping judge and told me to pick out something for myself (SWEET!). So, after debating if it was too much I picked up a MG Wing Gundam.
Once I finally packed up my stuff, and picked up the complete Haruhi on DVD (I thought I might get my wife to watch it, and we’re about ¾ of the way through it), I decided I was done. I skipped Clem’s Sunday panel, which was fine with me since I don’t really build resin. I went home and went off to celebrate 4th of July.
Ahhh… those were the good old days.
I haven’t organized all my pics from Anime Expo for easy web viewing, but since I gave them to Gamerabanre and he combined them with his on his AX pictures page, I’ll just give the link for you to follow:
Gamerabaenre’s AX 2010 Picture Post (With My Pictures on the Bottom)
Click the link above for more AX pics!