Anime Expo

Anime Expo (AX) is the largest anime convention in the US.  The main events include the Masquerade cosplay show, AX Idol (an anime-themed version of American Idol) and concerts by musical guests from Japan.  There are also industry panels with anime/manga companies like Bandai, ADV, and CMX, as well workshops on how to draw, cook, use Photoshop, etc.  They also have screenings of anime and films, as well as a huge exhibit hall filled with vendors selling anime, manga, and related merchandise. 

This was my 3rd time attending AX.  This was definitely the best AX I’ve attended.  My major complaint about the previous AX’s were poor logistics — no parking near the convention center and too much waiting in line because the ticketing was inefficient and disorganized.  This year was a lot better though, even though there were probably 50,000 attendees.  The Long Beach Convention Center had plenty of parking and we didn’t have to wait in line for any of the main events because we got advance tix.  The musical guests and main events were a lot better this time too.

Here’s me & Eddy at AX Day 1.  I didn’t cosplay this time, but someone was selling green cat ears that matched my green dress, so I bought those and put them on.  I wore a yukata on the second day, which is Japanese summer kimono worn traditionally at matsuri, or festivals.  A surprising number of people were wearing yukata at AX.

First we went to an Anna Tsuchiya concert.  Anna Tsuchiya is a half-Japanese, half-American model / actress / singer.  She has a good voice, was great in the film “Kamikaze Girls” and has been on magazine covers many times — a true triple threat.  She does hard rock & punk music and was surprisingly good live.  She’s known to anime fans because she sang some of the songs from the anime Nana.

Here’s a video from one of her live concerts in Japan.  Skip to 0:45 to see her.  She’s the blond chick in torn up clothing. 

The other big act playing at AX was S.K.I.N, a newly formed J-rock supergroup consisting of Gackt, Yoshiki from X-Japan, Sugizo from Luna Sea and Miyavi from Due Le Quartz.  All the band members are pretty famous in their own right, especially Gackt and Yoshiki.  Gackt was the vocalist for Malice Mizer and went on to have a pretty successful solo career after leaving the group.  Yoshiki was the drummer for X-Japan.  When X-Japan’s lead signer committed suicide, several obsessed fans also committed suicide.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the S.K.I.N. concert because it happened the day before we arrived in LA.

Here’s a pic of Gackt.  He’s really pretty — like a girl’s head stuck on a guy’s body.  The abs look totally airbrushed.

We also went to a couple of art workshops — “How to Color with Copic Markers “and “Coloring and Screentoning in Photoshop 101”.  The Copic workshop was pretty useless, but I learned a lot from the Photoshop one.  I finally learned what Channels are for!  The person teaching the Photoshop workshop was Christina Strain, a colorist for Marvel who works on Mary Jane and Runaways.

Here’s some of her artwork from Ultimate X-Men.

Also saw the premiere of a cheesy, poorly edited, low-budget reality show about cosplaying.  It sucked.  But here’s the trailer anyways, in case you are interested in seeing crappy TV.

The other event we went to was the Masquerade, where the best cosplayers come onstage and perform a skit and show off their costumes.  I didn’t understand 80% of the skits because they referenced anime I’d never seen or video games i’d never played, but it was still kind of fun to watch.  The best part of the Masquerade was the highly entertaiing halftime show, a 30-minute performance by a wushu & breakdancing group.  The theme was Ninjas vs. Pirates.  It was basically Kakashi and all the Naruto characters fighting Captain Jack Sparrow and the characters from One Piece.  There were lots of hilarious parts, like Naruto ripping off his shirt to the delight of the thousand fangirls in the audience, and a spoof of the “This is Sparta” line from 300 with Kakashi kicking a bunch of pirates into an abyss.

Here’s the trailer for the Ninjas vs. Pirates show.

Last but not least, I took lots of photos of cosplayers.  Cosplayers are one of my favorite parts of anime conventions. One thing I noticed this year is that there were a lot more hot girls cosplaying than I’d ever seen before.  Here are some of my pics.

Pikachu from Pokemon, but in fishnets and a mini skirt.

Ayanami Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion.  Apparently they’re making 3 new Eva movies!

3 versions of Asuka from Ayanami Rei.

Yuna from Final Fantasy X-2

The best Nana I have ever seen. She really looks like the manga character.

Amane Misa from Death Note

A character from Tekken, I think.

Rociel and Metatron from Angel Sanctuary. 

Cute girl from a series I don’t recognize.

Scantily-clad chick with a bow & arrow from another series I don’t recognize

Girl with wings.  Don’t know the series.

A Gothic Lolita chick.

Another Gothic Lolita chick.

Elegant Gothic Lolita.

Girl with a guitar, maybe from a video game.

An ANBU from Naruto and a scantily clad girl from unknown series.

Girl with enormous wings.

Guy with enormous wings.

Spike from Cowboy Bebop and a leather-clad girl from unknown series.

Shoujo Kakumei Utena.

4 different versions of Link from Legend of Zelda.

A large gathering of characters from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya doing the dance from the ending theme of the anime.

A gathering of Bleach characters, except for the guy on the left who is dressed up as Jesus (?!).

Rock Lee and some girl holding a Gloomy Bear.

L, Ryuk and Misa from Death Note.  The Ryuk is pretty awesome.

Trigun characters.

Scary triangle head guy from Silent Hill.

Gundam!

Optimus Prime from the Transformers.

Military guy from some video game I don’t recognize.  Halo maybe?

Grr from Invader Zim.  Not really anime, but he was so cute!  I love Grr.

Random blue animal / tree thing? I have no idea what this is from.

If you look closely, the guy on stage is a summoning stone from The World of Warcraft! The emcees didn’t seem to recognize what he was, so they just called him “Rock”.  He was with a bunch of World of Warcraft characters.

Ninja doing a backflip.  It’s hard to see because his black costume blends in with the crowd standing behind him, but he’s suspended in mid-air.  He did at least 5 backflips in a row.  Crazy!

Yikes, that was the longest post I’ve ever written.  Thanks if you read this far down.

34 comments ↓

#1 MutsuriOtaku on 07.04.07 at 6:46 pm

Maaaan, I wish I could have made it out…and I could have tried to get you guys some hook ups..well, let’s see how next year turns out…BTW, my AX network’s telling me that supposedly Jim Lee (awesome Batman artist…I know you’re a big fan…) was seen doing a Naruto cosplay with his kids (he was Azuma and his daughter was Sakura )  I trust that you can get the Google machine cranking and get me some pics!!!

Strange little story, but as for your mention of X-Japan…my sempai just moved into a new place in Moto-Azabu, huge place and actually quite cheap…because it was Hide’s old apartment and where he committed E by AEA (…do not make me define that on your guestbook…)…I personally couldn’t stay in a place like that, but he appears to be cool to raise his family and new-born kid there…

#2 ZhangHan on 07.05.07 at 4:25 am

I am ashamed for you!!!

THat leather clad girl with spike was Julia, the love of his life!

that transformer is not optimus prime, he is a decepticon called soundwave

that military guy is from Wolf’s Rain

Those Links are from Legend of Zelda: Crystal Chronicles

#3 MasterCKO on 07.05.07 at 9:24 am

haha, more character corrections for you.

The ninja girl that you say is from Tekken is from Street Fighter 3. Her name is Ibuki. I told you this when I was looking at your pix.

The guy with enormous wings is the one from Tekken. It’s Devil Jin. Again, I told you that. Gosh, Jess, do you ever listen to me?!?! 8^P

Looks like good times, though.

#4 macpea10 on 07.06.07 at 5:34 am

the green dude was my favorite!  so cute!!

#5 spamchang on 07.25.07 at 12:23 am

yeah…that wasn’t optimus prime.  what zhanghan said.  a friend of mine went dressed as starscream, but he didn’t make a helmet.  i think he ran out of time since he started the costume only after quals finished.  very nice pika-ette, great reinterpretation =P

#6 Mitch Motors on 12.16.07 at 2:11 pm

Hey! Just found your blog by chance when looking for a Trigun picture.
I believe the blue tree/animal thing is supposed to be the forest spirit from Princess Mononoke.
Cheers, Mitch

#7 PhantomRose on 01.03.08 at 7:46 pm

hey…I have to say that the leather clad girl next to the Spike cosplayer is Julia from Cowboy Bebop. Just wanted you to let you know XD

#8 GothicAlice on 01.09.08 at 3:40 am

Umm… The chick with the guitar is Princess Ai from the manga Princess Ai… Love the pics by the way. ^^

#9 jim on 01.11.08 at 9:31 am

and plus the “girl” with huge wings is in fact a guy dressed up as vincent from final fantasy 7…

#10 jim on 01.11.08 at 9:32 am

and the guy with huge wings is jin kazama from tekken when he becomes devil jin…

#11 natsu on 01.11.08 at 11:13 am

I think a girl next to Spike is JULIA.
JULIA is a character of Cowboy Bebop too.
She is a lover of Spike.

#12 audinnymali on 01.15.08 at 5:41 am

Make peace, not war!

#13 watson on 01.25.08 at 10:02 pm

“The Military guy” is a special forces op from Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigrade. Required material, kids.

#14 Elaine on 01.29.08 at 11:39 pm

yea just looking at the cosplays pretty sweet!! and thats awesome that u got to see anna tsuchiya!! heres a link of mine and this girl that i met at Anime North in NANA cosplay if u want to take a look :D im the taller one XD p.s. where was the convention that these pictures were taken??

#15 skatterkat on 02.11.08 at 1:15 pm

“scantily clad girl from unknown series”

Methinkies it’s Rikku from FFX-2 in her Berserker outfit. Nice pics btw!

#16 Kao on 02.11.08 at 4:28 pm

“some girl holding a Gloomy Bear” is Eureka, from Eureka seveN. Gotta love that show.

#17 Yu -dono on 02.28.08 at 7:13 pm

Well, I just saw your pictures from the con and me and a friend wanted your permission to put some in our cosplay website. If you don’t mind of couse^^ please e-mail me ok?

#18 Sakura Kit on 04.06.08 at 3:25 pm

i love the cosplay especially the Yuna one

#19 me on 04.09.08 at 7:02 am

This one

http://lh6.google.com/jesskah/RofeYJZus3I/AAAAAAAAAEI/9l80hm-Akdc/IMG_4321.jpg?imgmax=400

is Vincent from FF VII

;)

Regards

#20 Nat on 04.18.08 at 10:58 am

nice pics!
ah, just a comment…the white hair girl in black dress in not a gothic lolita, is a cosplayer too (and a good one) of Kurai, from Angel Sanctuary ^^

#21 Eric on 04.27.08 at 5:46 pm

Hey Jessy! My name’s Eric Pudalov; I’m working on becoming a freelance writer at the moment, and I just recently wrote a review on Cowboy Bebop for http://www.associatedcontent.com.

I didn’t want to use a copyrighted image from the show, but is it cool if I submit one of your pictures of the cosplayers dressed as Spike and Julia?

Anyways, cool site – keep it up. L8r.

#22 SlayerCBS730 on 02.07.09 at 1:24 am

Wow, I was really surprised at the amount of mislabeled pics in this post…especially from staples like Jin Roh and Princess Mononoke!

And that’s definitely a Jin Roh costume, although it’s not good. My husband has one that kills the one in the pic, and I do the companion costume of Kei.

#23 marysol on 05.20.09 at 7:27 am

loved your post!!!
i wish i could go to an anime convention.

#24 urLAME on 07.29.09 at 7:32 am

how can you not know who most of these characters are?? O.o I MEAN JULIA!?!?!YOU DON’T KNOW WHO JULIA IS!!??wtf yo? you FAIL…epic..

#25 Rallan on 12.14.09 at 2:42 pm

That’s not Optimus Prime. That’s Sound Wave, you fucking dumb ass. Hurry up and edit your shit or you’ll never hear the end of it.

#26 AyatoPryde on 07.03.10 at 6:43 pm

The guy with the gun is actually a character from the anime movie Jin Roh.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin-Roh) It was originally a manga by Mamoru Oshii but he helped make a live action series that started with the movie Stray Dog and had 2 sequels to it if i am not mistaken. A very good series and if you are a fan of Oshii’s then I would highly recommend it.

#27 Samantha Parkington on 07.04.10 at 1:27 pm

I’m not trying to be rude, I just would like to point this out. Many people tell me to “PISS OFF CUZ UR JUST JEALOUS CUZ I IZ BETTER GOSURORI DAN U!!!!!!” when I say this.

The three girls you labeled as “Gothic Lolita” aren’t Gothic Lolita at all. The first one’s skirt is much too short to be a Lolita (Lolita skirts come at the knees), the second one is actually a dark bride or an aristocrat because Gothic Lolita clothing are not gowns- they are knee-length dresses inspired by the Victorian-era and the Roccoco period (And NO in those times, nothing was meant to be revealing and I am NOT just showing off- as one girl pointed out in a forum somewhere else). The third girl’s outfit is very pretty but she isn’t a Lolita- she is a maid and maid shouldn’t be grouped in with Lolita since they are completly different things. Maid is not a subcategory of Lolita and has never been. I am just trying to help those who have misconceptions about the fashion since nothing is supposed to be sexy/gowns/maid uniform.

The last two are very very pretty just not Lolitas. And the first one would be much better if she had a longer skirt.

#28 unicorn gundam on 08.29.10 at 7:58 am

This gundam serie is the best. I cannot overlook my very first time watching Gundam Wing then know about japan mobile suit gundam. Hope to possess additional excellent gundam serie in the future

#29 pokemon white version on 09.04.10 at 10:41 pm

love robots in basic, esp gundam mobile suit. Gundam is actually a piece of arts, why do they look so detail. Japanese are sure incredible.

#30 pokemon white version on 09.04.10 at 11:07 pm

love robots in normal, esp gundam mobile suit. Gundam is truly a piece of arts, why do they look so detail. Japanese are certain amazing.

#31 熱水器 on 10.11.10 at 8:45 pm

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#32 wind blast download on 11.14.10 at 8:04 am

I’m overcome by the concept, the technology, the fitting-it-in around the rest of every thing else I need to do as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer in my company

#33 Rema Attridge on 02.12.11 at 8:35 pm

I’m aware of this already, but still there was clearly several useful bits which finalized the image for me personally, regards!

#34 Nigger Yuna on 09.17.13 at 5:57 pm

Yuna isn’t a NIGGER.

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