I honestly didn't think that'd I'd actually come back here. Times have been a little bit tough and I took the year off from cosplay and AX in order to find a job in this economy. Never did I think that I would be going back to AX after hearing how bad it was the previous year, but AX manages to pull off a number of guests that caught my eye and so this was much a last minute decision on my part.

I only went for a day, on Saturday, and instead of going with friends, I went with the family which consisted of my brother, sister-in-law and cousin. My brother and sister-in-law had been to AX in 2005, but this was a first for my cousin and I really wanted to get her a taste of what AX was all about. Just going on Saturday, after a year off, gave me a who~le lot of memories of previous years and I couldn't believe how much I missed the con atmosphere.

Since I was the most experienced of the group in regards to going to AX (haha), I had to give a lot of pointers to my family. I originally didn't plan on cosplaying, but after looking at the first 2 days worth of cosplay photos out there, I couldn't resist ^^. So I threw back together my Hinata outfit from Naruto to run around in.

Pre-reg was a LOT different than what I remembered in 2008. I'm not sure why everything was moved to the South Hall, but luckily since my cousin and I came early enough to get our badges, not a lot of time was lost since everything was just beginning to open. Plus the lines were moving really well and the AX staff there at reg were really nice since I didn't get my badge printed out initially. ^^;; Once badges were retrieved, we weren't exactly sure what to do as Exhibit Hall hadn't opened, but my cosplay instincts began to kick in and walked around to any cosplayer that I could recognize to take pictures (and thus making my family tag along with me ^^;;; ). My bro and sis-in-law weren't exactly sure how to ask for cosplayers' pictures....all you gotta do is run up to them when they look like they're not busy and ask, right? =)

Our main goal of the day was to somehow get into the SOPHIA concert and see Beni, who was the opening act. Luckily for us, SOPHIA tickets were not sold out and actually the AX staff were giving away a whole bunch of unsold tickets to anyone who wanted to go and so we got free tickets XD. Beni is an absoutely wonderful singer who is on the rise in Japan, and I recommend anyone to listen to her stuff. Her style is a mixture of Japanese hip-hop and R&B, but the songs can easily get stuck in your head.

After some pictures were taken, I took a look at the map (the program guide usually included in the bag ran out, but luckily my sis-in-law had hers as she came the day before) and off we trekked to my favorite place in any anime convention, Artist Alley. I took note of some booths I wanted to go to later on and since Exhibit Hall was connected, we decided to move over to Exhibit Hall since I wanted to get some manga and my cousin also wanted to spend on some stuff as well. Artist Alley was definitely like the "secret entrance" to get into Exhibit Hall while the crowd was still big. My brother and sis-in-law had gotten a little tired of walking around with me and my cousin, so they went over to an empty table to sit while we continued to shop. I knew that Exhibit Hall was huge, but I can't tell you how many times we saw a booth of interest to return to and could never find it again until 20 minutes of wandering around the aisles >.< Oh well, the exercise was good ^^.

Once we were semi-satisfied with what we got (I got some Kuroshitsuji and Vampire Knight manga and some fanart from Artist Alley, while my cousin managed to snag Honey's bunny from Ouran) and dropped off our bags at the bag check-in ($5 for dropping off your bag for 4 hours? Meh, it was expensive, but I wouldn't have been able to bring in my backpack anyway because we had food in there >.<), we headed over to the Nokia Theatre to see Beni. At first it was assigned seating, but we were told by the Nokia theatre staff that if it didn't fill up, we could move up closer. And lo and behold, it did ^^. We were about 3 rows away from front row, perfect to see Beni up-close! XD

As usual by AX standards, her mini-concert started late, but it was so worth it. Beni sounds a lot better live than in her music recordings and what was also really cool was that she was born in SoCal! =O Beni is half Japanese, half American and she's also bilingual in both Japanese and English (although her mannerisms were very Japanese, which I thought was a bit amusing). We were a small crowd (the biggest group was the SOPHIA fan club) and unusually tame (for American concert standards ^^;), but her mini-concert was awesome and I hope she had a good time as we had listening to her sing. She really does have an awesome voice.

A~n~y~w~a~y, once the mini-concert was done and SOPHIA's concert was about to begin, we got out of there ^^;;; Apparently a lot of other people in the crowd (with the exception of SOPHIA's fan club) had the same opinion, which I thought was bit amusing. I felt a bit sorry for SOPHIA, who was supposed to be the main show, and I would've stayed to watch them if it wasn't for the fact that I did a YouTube search before I left for AX to hear what they were all about..... <------ish a bit picky when it comes to live performances

Since it was about lunchtime and we had some time before her autograph session, off we went back (after stopping a few times to take pictures) to Artist Alley to sit down and eat the lunch I brought with us. By then, the Saturday crowd really got bigger. I knew that it was going to happen, since everyone who was working Thursday and Friday would be coming, but I hadn't expected for it to be that crowded >.< It was back to the normal sardine movement in between the aisles for both Artist Alley and Exhibit Hall T__T

My cousin and I wanted to do a bit more shopping, so my brother and sis-in-law left us to wait for the autograph session. After buying some more stuff in Exhibit Hall (I finally found someone who was selling La Corda D'Oro and got the final Tifa Lockheart action figure to match my Cloud figure I already had and my cousin, after searching some 30 minutes or so for the booth that sold it, a Hamtaro backpack), I wanted to take my cousin to see the Chibi Masquerade since we probably wouldn't have been able to watch the actual Masquerade later that evening. It had already started after we got out of Beni's mini-concert, but I thought we would be able to make it in time. Never did I realize that Chibi Masquerade was all the way across the LACC from Exhibit Hall.

So, we only made it to the last 2 acts T_T.

Walking back to Artist Alley to get some more fanart and some souvenirs, my cousin and I met up with my brother and sis-in-law again to wait for Beni's autograph session. She had one yesterday after her panel, too, but my brother and sis-in-law waited for me and my cousin to come so that we can all have her autograph ^^. Since there wasn't any merchandise that we could get (which was very odd since most GoHs have something selling somewhere, right? The only place that was selling was the Kinokuniya booth, but her CDs were like $40), my brother and sis-in-law had this nifty idea of printing out her photoshoots and having her sign her own photos =) She was so amused when she saw them, and I guess one of her management team asked how we got them ^^. After her autograph session, we went home.

I would've stayed and let my cousin see what Masquerade was all about, and as always there were tons of other things that I wanted her to experience but I'll leave that to next year =)

Gallery for Saturday is at the bottom. It's not as much as I wanted it to be, but oh well ^^;;

**Things that I regret not doing**
- Spending more time in Artist Alley to buy more artwork, but it was too crowded
- Completely forgetting about the Konishi and Nakajima guest panels
- Missing the AMV Contest replay
- Missing Chibi Masquerade
- Not printing out a list of cosplay gatherings for Saturday to run to
- Not going all four days

Ran Shuuei and Li Koyuu
(Saiunkoku Monogatari)
Before Exhibit Hall opened...
Rinoa, Dead Fantasy version (FF8)
Silent Hill nurse (she was also walking like them, too!)
Not sure...yet....
So cute!
Kurogane and Princess Tomoyo
(Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles)
Roxas vs...George W. Bush?
Shadow Roxas form
Ciel Phantomhive, lolita infiltrate version ^^ (Kuroshitsuji)
South Hall lobby in the morning....
Not sure which Gundam series this is from...
The original Gundam guarding the Gundam booth ^^
Hello Kitty miniature dessert set
Hello Kitty miniature bento set
Taokaku and the Prince's relatives (BlazBlue and Katamari Darmacy)
There's a person inside there! =O
For the MGS fans out there....
Me as Hinata
My brother was playing around with the camera, I guess?
...Yeah, he was probably playing with the camera
R2D2 rolling about
(Star Wars)
South Hall lobby in the afternoon O_o;;
Not sure where she's from, but it was an awesome outfit ^^
Lelou-- er...Zero, rather
(Code Geass)
Yumiero Patissiere group
2nd seal Sasuke and uber Kyuubi Naruto
Mah stash of stuff ^^
Beni's autograph!
AX Programming guide

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