Let's see how far I get before I decide I'm too tired to go on.
For some bizarre reason, we ended up waking up at six-thirty. In my case it was probably nerves, and in Athena's case it was probably the cat. Normally we would have just gone back to bed, but we had to make sure we got Host Club 13 downloaded and watched before we left. So we read our scriptures and then turned on the computer... only to find that Host Club 13 still hadn't been posted yet. Sad.
So we ate breakfast and stuff, did a little more last-minute packing, and finally, at about seven-thirty, we got to start downloading Host Club. This really has nothing to do with AX, but it was a totally awesome episode, and we're thinking of cosplaying Cheshire Cats A & B at Disneyland next year.
At some point we put on our Amiboshi and Suboshi costumes to wear to the convention. Sure it was the day before, but registration was open, so...
Our anime buddy showed up a little before ten, we got everything packed in her car, said goodbye to the kitties, and set out. We brought a CD player so we could listen to anime music on the way there, but our anime buddy is crazy and likes the radio, so we alternated. It was during that trip that I realized that, if it's not blaring country music, I don't necessarily hate the radio. It was kind of funny though, because about the time we really hit traffic, we were listening to the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack and our anime buddy slowed the car down right as some boss music started playing.
I guess you had to be there. In my head.
We got to the Marriott at about four-ish, and after taking all our luggage to our room and taking a short break, we headed down to get our badge holders. While walking back and forth between the hotel room and the parking lot, we discovered that most of the more common AX hang-out spots weren't going to be AX hang-out spots this year, because the nearby rooms had been rented out for a gay and lesbian convention. I caught one guy saying, "You know it was a bad idea to have the gay and lesbian convention at the same time as AX, because the cosplayers are just going to show them up."
After we got our badge holders from the industry/press/exhibitor/whathaveyou line that was longer than the almost non-existent pre-registration line from which our anime buddy retrieved her badge holder, we headed out to the convention center hall to get our bearings. And there, lying on the floor, was Nekozawa-sempai! We could tell he was hardcore because we could see he had the Ouran uniform on under his cloak, unlike the other Nekozawa cosplayers we saw later. But alas, we had left the camera in the hotel room. I asked him if he shouldn't be hiding in a dark corner somewhere, and he pulled his hood further down over his eyes.
So we went back to our room and got the camera, then wandered around to see if there was anything to see. We found Nekozawa-sempai again, this time sans-robe (I like talking all smart!), but he still had his puppet (I do know its name, just not its spelling), which he threatened us with in a picture. All pictures are in our anime buddy's camera, so there won't be any posting until we get copies.
There wasn't a whole lot more to see, except for the first wave of about a million KH2 cosplayers and a pretty good Vash, so we headed back to our room to kill time until bedtime. It wasn't until I was about to take a shower that I noticed that the car ride had given my right arm a sunburn. It was kind of neat, because, since Suboshi has those weird arm thingies, it was just on my hand and near my elbow. But I was planning on cosplaying some girly girls, so I was a little annoyed. Still, it's good to have some color in my arms.
Saturday morning was weird, first of all, because AX has never started on a Saturday before, and it's odd to be watching Saturday morning cartoons while getting ready for the opening ceremonies. We got dressed in our Risa and Riku outfits, chosen partly because they're so easy to put on, and headed out with our anime buddy to wait in line for the opening ceremonies.
While we were looking for the end of the line, we saw a guy come up the escalator dressed as Ginji, and we were like, "Heh, maybe we should have worn our GetBackers costumes today," in a "Haha, whatever," kind of way. And then Juubei came walking down the hall.
For clarification, for those who are unfamiliar with GetBackers, Ban (whom Athena would be cosplaying later) and Ginji are the two main characters, and Juubei is like the best friend (or boyfriend, if you want to go there) of Kadzuki (whom I would be cosplaying later). Hence the d'oh moment, especially because I don't think we've ever met a Juubei before.
Anyway, still looking for the end of the line, we ran into Spike, I think is her more popular name. I don't know if people will be upset if I use their real names on LJ, so we'll just stick with that. She remembered us better than we remembered her, and was kind enough to let us wait in line with her. We eventually got into the event hall, and while we were waiting for everyone to finish seating, the students from the Nippon Engineering College (a school in Japan for practically anyone who wants to go into the anime industry) came in. There were more than two hundred of them, and three of them had the most amazing Turks costumes (I say their costumes were amazing, but really the only way to show up other cosplayers as Turks is to have superior wigs, and wow, did they have superior wigs). They were Elena, Reno, and some guy we figure is from Before Crisis, since we didn't recognize the hairstyle.
Everyone came to get their picture while we waited for the ceremonies to start, including a group of three characters cosplaying, according to Spike's brother, Death Note. Of course, Death Note being immensely popular in Japan, now it was their turn to have everyone take pictures of them, as all the NEEC students wanted their picture. They were standing there for like twenty minutes.
The ceremonies finally began, and they were pretty much the same as always, only they didn't have little video montages of the GoH's works like they had in the past, which was kind of sad. They announced that Romi Park couldn't make it after all, which was really depressing, because she was the guest we were most excited about. We almost didn't go to Seiji Mizushima's panel because of it (theirs was to be a joint panel), but he was so cute when he introduced himself that we went anyway.
Laura Bailey was the first guest announced, and we later found out that she's roommates with one of the special guests from last year, which is probably why the tradition of guests spinning around when they came up on stage was continued from last year. I don't know why it's such an annoying tradition to us, but it probably has a lot to do with it being started by dub actors.
This year they drew the eye into the daruma before the ceremonies were officially over, which was really weird. Then they called up the NEEC students to do a voiceover demonstration, and they used human mic stands again, which I think is completely adorable. Akira Kamiya, who's in charge of all the voice acting students, couldn't make it this year, though.
Oh! That reminds me. When Toru Furuya introduced himself, he had a list of quotes from all his characters that he read in Japanese and then had the audience guess which character it was. It was really obvious with Kyosuke from Kimagure Orange Road, because the quote was basically Kyosuke's profile, including name. It was pretty fun. So then, Takumi Yamazaki, who's like Akira Kamiya's second-in-command and happens to have played Ferio in Rayearth, gave one of Ferio's lines, but it ended too shortly and abruptly for us to know the right time to cheer. I felt kind of bad, but he laughed it off and said maybe he should have acted out some Saint Seiya lines with Furuya-san.
CLAMP of course was not at the opening ceremonies, and instead of City of Hope, their charity was Children's Hospital of Orange County, which was kind of a surprise.
After the ceremonies, we went to see if we could get tickets to the Meet the Guests Reception. First we checked the merchandising booth, because that's where they always end up, but they didn't know anything yet, so we went and asked at an info booth, and they said they'd have them around noon. While we were walking around trying to figure everything out, we ran into Juubei again, and we told him we'd be Ban and Kadzuki later and he said he'd keep an eye out. (Yes, it was a guy dressed as Juubei!)
Brief non-con-report note: The Beast's Castle music (normal, not even battle mode) in KH2 is called Waltz of the Damned. Are they allowed to use that kind of language?
So we came to the conclusion that it was not yet time to get tickets for the reception, and we still had time before the Mizushima panel, so we thought we might try and take a peek at the dealers' room. Of course, it was the time of day when the line was forever long, so we just started from where we were and followed along to see if we could at least make it to where it switched back and started actually heading into the dealers' room instead of away, but when we saw it went out past the arena, we decided to head over to Mizushima-san's panel (after checking again to see if we could get tickets to the Meet the Guests Reception). It was really fun though, naming all the cosplayers we passed by. And there was a guy who was dressed as Robin from Teen Titans. Normally we don't like the whole "non-anime character at an anime convention" cosplay, but dang it, he was Robin! So we got a picture.
The Mizushima panel was pretty awesome. Of course "pretty awesome" is what I use to describe just about everything at AX. He was wearing the FullMetal Alchemist bracelet that Vic Mignogna gave him at the opening ceremonies, and we thought of asking in highly honorific Japanese if we might see it (buresuretto o haiken sasete itadakemasu ka?), but first we weren't bold enough, and then we forgot. But we did get a picture of us with him at the end. Someone's question was if he would like some Pocky, and he said he would, so she gave him a box. Then someone else's question was if she could have some Pocky, so he gave her a stick. It was cute.
He's a lot like us in that when he's talking about a series, he'll list all the really cool people who work on it. The story guy for FullMetal Alchemist is currently working with him on his new project, Oh! Edo Rocket, for example. He got the animation staff to work really hard to make a trailer for the series that would make its world premiere at AX, which we got to see at his panel. It was awesome, because it's like, "In the Edo era... wait, you Americans won't know what that means. You know about Ninja Scroll, right? It takes place at the same time as that." We later found out that the narration was done by Kouichi Yamadera, who's like the most famous and highly-paid voice actor in Japan. Definitely looking forward to the series. I mean, hello, it's the director and story guy from FullMetal Alchemist!
Another cute note, his interpreter kept saying "FullMetal Archemist." It was adorable.
Then we checked to see what the seating situation was like for the CLAMP panel, and were told we had to wait in the standby line downstairs. So on our way there, we finally got tickets to the Meet the Guests Reception. Then we went to the CLAMP panel standby line, which we dubbed "the Line for the People Who Didn't Care Enough." There we hung out with the guys in front of us, who told us about their trip to Japan where they went to one of those maid cafes, where the girls dress all cute and stuff, and how they tried to charge the guys more because they didn't speak Japanese, which was also a problem because they couldn't play games with the maid girls. And they're all thinking, as were we because we watch too much of the wrong anime, that these "games" were something dirty, but the guy who knew the most Japanese finally convinced them to let him go to the back room where all the games were, and they were all playing stuff like Uno and Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Then we were found by the girl whom we met at the industry reception last year. She was an intern at TokyoPop and is now working there. She told us that one of the titles we translated back in October and never heard from again has been cleared for production and will actually be released eventually. She also told us the details of the craziness that was going on with the managing editors, aka our bosses. See, old old boss left to get married, then old new boss was filling in while they looked for someone to do it officially. Then they found new new boss, and he was going to be the official boss, until one day he left in the afternoon and never came back. So now old new boss is the boss.
This story caused some concern for me, because there was some talk of new new boss going to work for a competitor, and we heard something last year about TokyoPop not liking their people working for competitors. And here we were thinking of handing our card to Viz. So we became even more shy about handing out business cards. This didn't matter on Saturday, though, because we never made it into the dealers' room.
Despite being in the Line of People Who Didn't Care Enough, we did make it into the CLAMP panel, which was pretty interesting. They had a video thingie about the worldwide phenomenon of CLAMP manga, and then they showed us pictures of their studio and them working, and then they answered some questions. I don't really remember much of the question-answer thing, except that Mokona draws all the women in xxxHOLiC and Nekoi draws all the men. And that one of them doodles a lot and then throws the drawings away, so another one will take the doodles out of the trash and post them on the website.
After the CLAMP panel, we headed over to the NEEC voiceover workshop thingie. The clip they did voiceovers for this year was an original done by one (or some?) of the NEEC animation students, about a snowball battle. It was pretty awesome, and I saw it so many times I think I have it memorized, but it's really just not the same unless you see it.
But the Japanese students were the cutest ever! There was one girl who was walking between rows, and whenever she had to climb over someone, she would do a little hop as she put her hands together, then bow to say "excuse me." It was so adorable!!
After the workshop, all the students said thank you to all the American attendees, so to show off our Japanese, we said "Otsukare-sama," and a bunch of the Japanese guys were like, "Oooohhh," and we felt special.
At some point during our day, we saw a guy dressed as Mickey in his black hooded coat, so after taking a break in our room for a bit, we put on our Donald and Goofy costumes and went in search of the King. Our search led us to see the beginning of anime Singled Out, which we didn't watch all of because we spotted another Mickey cosplayer outside the door. She was hanging out with a Sora and Riku from KH1, but the beauty of it is that Donald and Goofy costumes work for all KH games, and basically we had a Chain of Memories group. It was pretty awesome, except that Riku was way too easily distracted, and therefore not paying attention.
At another point, we spotted a Host Club group that had the entire club except! for Hikaru and Kaoru. We were sad that we couldn't join them, but we figured it was better for everyone that we weren't muttering about wannabe Hitachiin twins.
At yet another point during this, we ran into a Takuto from Full Moon o Sagashite, and an Izumi who happened to be passing by at almost the same time, so we dragged them together and made them pose. It was pretty awesome. We gave Takuto our card so he could e-mail us and ask for pictures, which he's already done.
We headed outside in search of more cosplayers to take pictures of and spotted the Hamburglar, who's actually a cousin of our friend (some of you may remember the friend we made a white mage robe for last year?) and decided to go say hi. He was talking to a KH2 Setzer, and right about the time we said hi, a KH2 Seifer and his posse walked up. So we took a picture of the posse, and then only Setzer had a Struggle bat, so we decided it would be awesome to have Setze and Seifer pose as if Setzer had just beaten Seifer in a Struggle battle. They posed beautifully, and then we had them switch so Seifer could win, and that, too, was awesome.
When we retired to the hotel, we weren't quite ready to call it a night, so I suggested we turn on Cartoon Network and see if FullMetal Alchemist was on. Lo and behold it was just starting. So we watched the dubbed episode, and fortunately it was a flashback episode, which meant none of the characters that would make us go, "He really sucks as..." talked much.
And those are the first two days, but I've been typing for an hour and a half now, so I think it's time to stop. Also...
Miyu Irino singing Under the Sea is the cutest thing ever! And, since there are a lot of Naruto fans out there, I want to point out that the voice of Orochimaru is the Japanese dub voice of Ursula.
Tonight I'm thankful for AX, an awesome day at Disneyland, the KH2 soundtrack, making it home safely, and kitties still being alive when we got here.