Adventures at AX 2014

Anime Expo. It’s a tad late, but after being blitzed for 4 days and having to dive into work, I lost track of time! (my apologies)

All I can say is: PHEW.

It was my first big convention and man was it c r o w d e d. I knew that Anime was popular here in the US, and a lot of people drove/flew out to visit, but because of the lack of ticket-capping, it was an endless sea of people.  Day 1 wasn’t so bad.  I was a little too ambitious in wanting to see the sights, do some shopping and visit all of the panels on my schedule [app] and as each timer went off, 10 minutes prior to each event, I just got more and more tired of having to run back and forth and eventually get lost in the depths of the Los Angeles Convention Center.  I would be the one to plan one event in one hall and the following in the farther hall, only to have to double back to the first area to stand in line for 3 hours in the heat for something that only lasted an hour. But it was still worth it.  Actually, one of the lines I got into was about 4 hours in the sun and I made it into the Sword Art Online II premiere.  The seating for my vision impaired self was a little frustrating; It was subtitled so I didn’t get to see the entire thing, but over all, it was pretty cool to say I attended a premiere event for a favorite Anime. 🙂

Tony Oliver and David Vincent during the AIVA panel

I sat through panels with A-1 Pictures with a couple of the producers, a few panels with Funimation and finally got to see the Adventures in Voice Acting workshop.  Tony Oliver was our host and David Vincent (known for playing Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez in BLEACH) was our featured guest, with casting director Mami Okada also hanging out in the room.  David is apparently voicing Senketsu in another new favorite of mine, Kill La Kill. I’m finishing up my first go with KLK with the Japanese voice actors, and honestly I cannot wait to hear the English dub! (Now, before all you Anime-Heads out there go crazy, I stand on the border with this one. I don’t discriminate! I watch both! As an aspiring VA, I definitely support the dubs though.)  Adventures in Voice Acting gave me some insight to how the actors work: It’s all about timing, understanding the voices especially the pre-voiced ones from Japan, and listening to constructive criticisms from your director/coach.  There’s more to it, and even though I was too shy to raise my hand when they called for volunteers, I still learned a lot and can’t wait to attend the next. That being said, I actually decided to dive into the line for the AIVA auditions for Magi… there was a line to get into a line to get a number, and as I stood in a front with a pair I had just met — we talked about getting over our nerves and just diving in…they cut off the line.   Just my luck! Oh well, better preparation and luck for future opps!

Visiting AX was a really good way to get exposed to various titles.  Yes, there’s your Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist, Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan, Death NoteSailor Moon, Miyazaki films, etc… but it also opened my eyes to the ones like Oreimo, Free!, Idolmaster, Aldnoah ZeroMagi, Durarara, the upcoming Ninja Slayer and the new Fate Stay Night! Some of these titles may old news to some of you diehards, but for me they’ve been brought to light and I am stoked to watch them.

One of my favorite panels has to be with the English cast of Sword Art Online. We had Bryce Papenbrook (Kirito), Kirk Thornton (Klein), Sarah Williams (Lisbeth) and Patrick Seitz (Agil) … and they had improv, bloopers and some fun stories to tell about dubbing one of the most popular anime out there.  They all seemed like they loved what they were doing, and had fun connecting with their fans. It was a blast!

Sajin Komamura
Captain #7 of the 13 (Bleach)

The cosplay was incredible! I saw some of the most beautiful, twisted, bizarre and creative cosplayers out there.  It even inspired me to figure out who I could ‘pull off’ and make my costume for future events.  You could tell that there was a lot of thought and hard work put into most of the costumes of the con-attendees, and I also want to give some formal props to the men that were crosplaying — especially the ones who dared to brave the con in heels!

Vic Mignogna

…Then there was VIC MIGNOGNA who is just inspiring in person as he is on screen.  Vic had an inspiring message for all of us, after an hour of sitting in and having a one-on-one(crowd) moment with him. Sure, he sang Let It Go which remains to be heard in and out of my head continuously since the con ended… *shakes fist* but it made the experience all that memorable.  The Q&A session felt more like an intimate conversation with the industries uber-humble superstar, that is Vic Mignogna. I was absolutely blown away by how he interacted with everyone, and made them feel like family.

It’s sad to say that I missed out on Matt Mercer’s panel and autograph session, but getting to see him *le sigh* was pretty fantastic. He’s voiced Leon Kennedy in the Resident Evil series among many many many other things.  Other super cool sightings included: Erin Fitzgerald (Chie from Persona 4), abec (artist for Sword Art Online light novel series) and Eir Aoi (J-Pop artist, known for singing the title theme to Kill La Kill)…

7-yr-old creator of “CHESS”
 Symana Symanski during our brief interview

A tremendous shout out to TinyTales (The creators of “CHESS”)! To the young Symana Symanski, her mother Natalie, as well as Jessica Boston Fuller and Emily Weinberger — congratulations on your launch and successful sales at Anime Expo. I hope you guys continue to sell some of this wonderful story because it deserves to be read/seen!  If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t have made it out to visit Anime Expo, and for that…I am so very grateful! Thank you!!!  Tiny Tales has also launched their Kickstarter project for Volume 2 of their series, so please stop by and donate towards this amazing project! Click Here for the Kickstarter!

Also, I’m pleased to announce my involvement with The Chronomage Chronicles, a game in development with phail-safe interactive.  Myself and [IC Amanda] will be helping with the theme music for the game! The game just underwent a facelift, and it is looking fantastic! Follow the game on Facebook for details on how you, the gamer, can help with its development!

Overall, it was quite the experience, and that’s putting it lightly. I learned a lot for my first huge convention and here’s to hoping it was not my last.  Now. I have a ton of new things in my Hulu queue to keep me busy for quite some time…and then some. 😉

I’ll have a video up soon, stay tuned!

-K

CHECK OUT THESE LINKS:
The Chronomage ChroniclesFacebook

Tiny Tales / Chess Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter!

Follow me on twitter! @MsKrysD
playersincontrol.com / @playersinctrl / IG: playersinctrl / Facebook
WTFGamersOnly.com / @wtfgamersonly / IG: WTFGamersOnly / Facebook
all photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy S5

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