This is actually the first time in…*looks at her calendar* 6 years since I've commuted to AX rather than staying at a hotel. I live about 15 minutes freeway time away from the LACC, so it made more sense to just go back and forth rather than wasting money to stay at a decent hotel that's a mile or more away. But man, staying at a hotel really has made me a bit spoiled about it, though ^^;
Old costumes from previous years. I didn't wear Lacus' blue dress, so I decided to finally wear it after much hunting down for a slight modification I needed for the dress ^^. Next year'll be different, though (that is…if I can go…I'll be graduating from university next year and possibly have a job-job)
Basically carpooled with Kaede for this round and also bummed off of MasterChief and Kevin for a day. I'm not exactly trusted to drive to downtown LA on my lonesome…
And since I carpooled around, there really wasn't much to do on Day 0 except for getting badges (unless you include the witnessing of what seemed like an entire LAPD division quarantining an entire neighborhood on the way to the LACC and the wackiness that was me when we ate at a local udon restaurant). I have to say that registration has become completely reorganized for the better.
This day started off pretty nonchalantly. I was downloading something overnight and my torrent decided to act up on me at 3am, so I didn't get too much sleep (although I had meant to) T_T. The reactions that my parents had when I came down with my blue dress and pink hair were nonetheless priceless ^^. I know I still look funny with pink hair, too.
Kaede and I arrived at the con a little bit past 11:30am. I got a call from Ken (as he was staying at a hotel with friends) and we had a bit of trouble searching around for him once we were at con. Turned out that we were in different halls ^^;;
After finding each other, we waited a while for the exhibit hall to open and for the line to dissipate. Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen, though (it was a rather really long line O_O), but we discovered from looking at the program guide that Artists Alley was nearby so we went there instead. It was there that Ken and I lost Kaede *sweatdrop* But all was well.
I can't tell you how much I was in la-la land at Artists Alley. Sooo many good artists out there, but I didn't have enough money to buy the ones that I wanted! I figured that they'd still be there, so I bought a few pieces of artwork for my brother (Ken splurged on One Piece artwork at the Japanese college booth ^^) before we decided to meet up with Ken's friends at Exhibit Hall/Dealer's Room.
That was where we wandered around for most of the time, checking out booths and seeing what was up (and also getting hunts down to pat; Ken was searching for a 1/144 scale of Meteor from Gundam, his friend a T-shirt, and me for my Saiyuki Reload V. 8 manga ^^).
Can't say that I wasn't too impressed with the Exhibit Hall. Glad that it was like, huge, with plenty of space in between all the aisles and for capturing cosplayers to take pictures of, but much of the stuff around were pretty much the same things. I absolutely loved how much better Artists Alley became, though, having a hall all to its own with Art Show and still have enough room for people to meander in and out with ease. That had to be my favorite spot of the entire con. A little bit after meeting up with one of other Ken's friends was when we split (they wanted to go eat back at their hotel which I couldn't come along since I can't board the shuttles). I got a call from MasterChief in the midst of exploring Exhibit Hall, so I met up with him and Kevin - showing the two of them Artists Alley and finally managing to sit down for the first time in hours. It's a lovely feeling for your feet to finally go "ack, what the heck did you do to us?!? >=(". My Lacus shoes weren't the most comfortable shoes in the world (they were very very deceiving when I bought them) and I could barely stand up when we decided to wander around and head our way to the line for the AMVs.
Since the Nokia Theater policy was no cameras or recording devices, I had to leave one of my bags at bag check (which I had to pay $1…wasn't very happy with the actual portion of paying, though) before joining MasterChief and Kevin in line with other people that we knew. During the line, I also met up with my friend from Japanese class at school - whom I will name as A - where he introduced me to his girlfriend (finally after not having been able to get to meet her previous times ^^;;) - whom I will name as E - and then made a dash back to the place where I was sitting in line.
I was fairly amused when all of us AX congoers were trekking our way to the Nokia theater after getting our tickets and have all those WNBA attendees stare at us with very funny looks in their faces ^^.
The highlight of the night was the AMV contest. We had a minor confrontation with the seating (some our tickets were random even though we got them from the same person >.<) to the point when MasterChief, Kevin and I were talking amongst ourselves to just sit wherever you wanted, since it was obvious that the assigned ticket seating was screwed. They were showing AMVs from those contestants who did not make the final cut as well as some old AMVs which all of us cheered for (like Football and Mitternacht). The highlight movie was from Monty Oum Productions, though, thanks to GameTrailers.com ^^.
If you haven't heard of "Dead Fantasy I" and its sequel "Dead Fantasy II", then I highly suggest you to go to GameTrailers.com to watch them (you can find them on YouTube, too, but the higher quality and ability to download is on GameTrailers). Us geeky Final Fantasy fans cheered for so much. I hope that there's an episode 3 ^^.
As for the finalists, I give my props to all the people who gave all their efforts to creating a nifty AMV for us audience to watch and vote for. It was extremely hard to choose which one to win, especially in the Drama and Action categories. The highlight AMV for me was "Bustin'" which went to the Ghost Busters theme and to the FF7 Compliation in the Comedy category (although the one with Hajime no Ippo and the Rocky theme music was awesome as well; I don't know Haruhi well enough to fully understand "The Harassment of Kyon", though it was fairly amusing ^^).
After the final video for the AMTv category, I made a dash back to get my bag - which was a good thing because when I finally got it about 30 minutes later, there was a huge line behind me that extended from the point of the bag check to goodness knows where it ended. The LACC security looked so overwhelmed and the AX staff also had to help out with the huge line.
Props to the new person in charge of the AMV contest. Not only did we start on time, we also got out earlier than expected; and shockingly everything ran smoothly.
Took of my wig and shoes (gave MasterChief a second shock because my head was back to normal; first shock was when he saw me in the pink wig ^^), and headed out with MasterChief and Kevin to Denny's and gas. We then went to Kaede's house and waited for her to come back so that the two can go to sleep (I felt really bad T_T).
I was so disappointed with myself at the end of the day. I only took a total of 15 pictures, 12 of them cosplay T_T. Happy that I got pictures taken of me from other people and commented about my dress, though (I care less about my horrid wig; that thing's getting scrapped and replaced when I decide to revive Lacus again). Apparently I was one of two Lacus cosplayers throughout the entire day. O_O (and I almost missed getting one picture taken of me because I didn't react to someone shouting "Lacus!" while going to Artists Alley and Ken and Kaede did ^^;;;)
I had meant to go to the David Hayter panel this day. However, my exhausted body decided otherwise >.<. I woke up pretty early, but talking to Kaede's family and resting up and whatnot (more or less exhaustion on my part), totally forgot the time to leave. Plus, I had to stop by at my own house to get a different shirt because my current Lacus dress (this time the original white one from Seed) and was given food by parents (yay!) before leaving. We arrived I believe around the same time as Day 1, but Kaede and I didn't time how long it took to go from my house to the LACC via inside streets (inside streets for the win! It ain't as scary as people think it is in the daytime).
Kaede had to go back and get something, so we were separated for a good portion of the time. My feet weren't as well prepared as it was the day before, so I had to fight through the scabs on my legs and the stiffness my right foot had (it sucks to be flat-footed T_T). I bought more artwork, though, and discovered MasterChief, Kevin, and some other people I knew from high school in what I found out to be the really really long line that was the David Hayter autograph session. O_O
That was when I decided: you know what? Sorry, oniisan, I can't wait in line that long to get your present signed for you.
I ran into a Yzak cosplayer (we waved happily to each other), which was really cool ^^.
I went to the Exhibit Hall (and took more pictures of cosplayers, determined to get more) and bought La Corda D'Oro manga at one of the few booths that decided that all their manga would be 20% off retail price. Then headed towards the area where the Masquerade Ball instruction would be (Ken and I had decided to take a shot at the dance instruction), waiting for Ken and his friends to come out from the Yoko Ishida/Jyukai concert.
As for the actual dance instruction session itself…let's just say that I love watching ballroom dancing, but can't dance for the life of me T_T (although it was fun learning…makes me want to take a dance class at school on my final semester). I felt really bad that I couldn't get it like Ken could, and the areas that we always were at seemed to be too cramped (we did run into a few couples while at it, too). I did meet a new at-con friend (we were determined to fight through our confusion from the instruction) although we were separated as soon as the waltz instruction was over.
There was absolutely no way would Ken and I take the swing instruction, so we decided to head to Artists Alley. On the way, the same Yzak cosplayer whom I waved to in Artists Alley stopped us for a picture. Then another person came up to the three of us to take another picture. And Ken and I were like "O_O uh, we just wanted to go to the Artists Alley…". That was fun - just spontaneously creating a mini crowd for a few minutes.
After much more wandering around, I called Kaede to see where she was at. Turned out that she had just entered Artists Alley and decided to find us (I wasn't that hard to spot with a fraying pink wig) - attacked from behind, too (well, sorta, but I kinda figured that she would do so ^^). After that, Ken, his friends and I split up and I wandered around with Kaede. We really didn't have much of anywhere to go, so I decided to sit down near the exit of Artists Alley and told her to eat (since she didn't eat too much, either) while we rested. That was when we ran into another HS acquaintance (well, more Kaede's than mine, lol; I know him through the Anime club that we used to run in HS) - whom I will deem as Chris - and offered him to hang out with us, too.
We eventually migrated down to the lobby of the South Hall because I had thought that Artists Alley was going to close soon (my bad on my part) and eventually tried to create a mini doodling group. It's been sooo long since I've drawn so my art quality's gone down a whooo~le lot (which I am sad about). Juunanagou ran into us (he was a volunteer), though I didn't quite recognize him since he cut his hair >.< (it took me some time staring at him and go "I've seen him somewhere…I think….")
Also met up with A&E, and A introduced me to his Japanese friend, Jun-san. Can't say that I was slightly thrown back when he spoke to me in Japanese (and I replied back somewhat coherently). He said that my Japanese was very good, but I personally think I need a lot more practice (and get myself tossed into Japan to get better). Tried to bring Kaede into the fray, but of course that backfired >.<
One strange thing was that my panic began after Jun-san left to walk around some more (my feet hurt too much to do more walking and I was busy drawing). My brain works in very strange ways….
Went home with Kaede at around 6ish since there really wasn't anything to do and we were lamenting that we did not have the luxury of staying at a hotel like previous years >.<. Watched a fairly interesting documentary about the world's population and Lions for Lambs - both pretty good. The only thing I remember after that was being knocked out as soon as I hit the futon.
Woke up about ½ an hour earlier than what I was accustomed to, but I felt a little bit better than the day before (although when I tried to point my toes, they felt really really sore). After much debate, Kaede's brother took Kaede's place (she had to work on an essay for her summer class) and we were dropped off at the LACC after making another pit stop at my house (the parents wanted me to bring more food…yummy fried rice XD). My phone was beginning to die, and Kaede's brother's phone accidentally fell out of his pocket and into Kaede's car, so we designated that the Artists Alley was a place to meet each other up in about an hour.
I was in my Soi Fong outfit without the wig because I decided that it was too hot to wear the wig and then attach the braids and my hair was very much like Soi Fong's except that it was a little longer and brown. But then my excuse was "I am Soi Fong just after she had received the notice that she would replace Yoruichi-sama as 2nd Division captain and leader of the Secret Mobile Forces" ^^;;.
While wandering around Artists Alley, I discovered MasterChief and company again, where there was yet another huge line for another David Hayter autograph session. Master didn't get his autograph the day before, so he was determined to get it on this day.
I needed to find the Bleach gathering, and initially decided to tag along with MasterChief and Kevin around the con while asking the info booth where the gathering was at (I had no idea what LA Stairs Site #1, #2, and #3 meant…the map wasn't on Cosplay.com anymore >.<). But before leaving Artists Alley…
MasterChief: What's that crowd? (exits) Oh.
Me: Huh? What? (also exits) OH.
Volunteer staff: Yep.
The most awesome Heartless Sora (KH) I've ever seen was in a corner, surrounded by the crowd.
The info booth didn't know where the Bleach gathering was at, either, but the staff member (who was really nice) suggested to go to the West Hall area outside to see if I could find it. On the way, I ran into a Matsumoto cosplayer (Lazy Kitsune is her name) who was also looking for the gathering and so we decided to search for it together - hence, I lost track of MasterChief and Kevin. Other Bleach cosplayers who were hanging around both the South and West Halls guided us to where it was at.
Initially upon arriving at the designated area we were like "hey, there's not too many people yet" until we finally reached the top of the stairs and looked down and were like O_O. Lots and lots of cosplayers were already there, and since it was hot, Lazy Kitsune and I grabbed a spot in the shade near the trees and the sidewalk. We also ran into an elderly Kyoraku and Nanao couple (they were soo cute ^^) while we waited for the gathering to start. Randomly took pictures of other Bleach cosplayers and I discovered the benefits of my new camera whose zoom was much better than my old one. After much waiting, the gathering started, and the picture extravaganza began.
Overall, the gathering was very well-organized and fun. My only annoyance was the people who were like "take off your badge!" when it came to taking pictures separately by division then by group. I understand the importance of having a good picture of cosplay without having the convention badge to "ruin" it, but I personally don't quite care if said-cosplayer is wearing their badge or not. A lot of those who had to take off their badges for the pictures it seemed were very much new to cosplay, so I thought it a bit, well, rude to all of a sudden shout immensely at a person to take off their badge for the pictures when they don't know that.
I then had to run back to meet Kaede's brother at Artists Alley. We actually sat down and talked there for a little while before deciding for one last run to Exhibit Hall to get some things for family (me some manga for my cousin and Kaede's brother a foxtail for her). After the final run, I called Kaede to pick us up and we waited outside the West Hall, witnessing the FMA gathering and talking some more.
I had a family emergency to attend to, and thus I couldn't go to Masquerade nor to the final day of AX. =(
Overall, the LACC is as I expected - pretty awesome. I didn't think it was too crowded on Day 1 and 2, but on Day 3, the population looked like it had exploded…was a little bit scary. Hopefully next year, a hotel, and an awesome cosplay that I am debating on entering into the costume contest for Masquerade (since it's going to take me, literally, the entire year to work on it). What is it? Hmmm…that's a secret ^^. (well, until I post it up before AX09 begins…)