Not sure if it was much of a grand finale--the last day of AX tends to be pretty laid back. But it was a finale, in that it was the end.
I'm not sure exactly why, but we decided Goku and Hakkai were going to be our costumes for the last day. Maybe because we hadn't started a day as those two, except for Day 0, which doesn't count. So we got dressed and headed out to the character designers' panel.
The panel was a little slow to start, but once these guys got talking, they talked a lot. It was only the character designer for Death Note and the One Piece guy, but there was a lot of interesting discussion. Now if only I could remember it. One guy asked about computers in animation, and both of them agreed that it can't really compare to what you can do with hand-drawn art. They also concluded that it would be a long time before computers would take their jobs. The One Piece guy would ask questions back to the attendees, and since this one happened to work in computers, he asked if it was actually a possibility to recreate a human with a computer. The computer guy said that in all honesty, if it is possible, it would take a very very long time. At the current stage, they can't even simulate a human hand accurately, because there are too many things about what makes people work that they just don't understand yet. It reminded me of Halloween Town in Kingdom Hearts.
Another question was asked about what media the artists like to draw in when they're not "working." The One Piece guy is always working, but the Death Note guy said he loves using pencils. He loves it so much, he said, that he wishes there was some way to animate pencil drawings without losing the feel of them. I don't remember if it was that question or the computer one that led to the discussion about how, with computers, you lose the effect created when all the cels are painted by hand and sometimes the colors shift throughout the scene because of it. They both agreed that it would be nice to recapture that, but I think it's fine to have the colors stay uniform. I think it can be distracting sometimes when the colors change like that.
After the panel, it was back to the dealers' room to see what last day deals we could get. It being the last day, we had a mission! We wanted to buy Tide-Line Blue DVDs and more Pocky. The Tide-Line Blue DVDs were sitting next to the Gundam Seed Destiny DVDs, which looked up at us and tempted us with shiny shiny covers, but we weren't sure how much money we wanted to spend (Destiny is a looong series), so we continued to wander as we mulled things over. In our search for the booth that sold us Pocky, we found ourselves once again at the Square-Enix booth. Athena was still feeling unsure about taking the Final Fantasy XI PC pack, so she read the rules, which stated that if two marbles came out, they're supposed to put them pack in and you're supposed to try again. So then she was really unsure, and we figured, since they weren't very busy any more, it couldn't hurt to talk to one of the guys there who would have a better idea of what was going on. We'd gone this long without FF11, after all, and we could probably trade our X-Box version, too. So we went to the guy and told him the situation, and he said, "Consider it your good fortune." So now we have the PC version without feeling guilty about it, and we can probably trade the X-Box version for something really neat. Unless somebody out there has an X-Box and would like to strike a deal.
At one point, we walked by a booth selling manga as a guy was setting out something with Kingdom Hearts on it. It turned out to be an adorable little calendar, with pictures drawn by the guy who does the manga. They were so cute, and the back had a little address booky thing, with some of the spaces filled in with information for Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku, and that was just too awesome. So, to make the most of our money, we decided to see if they had any DVDs we wanted, too, and they had some of The Law of Ueki! They had lots of it, actually, but we only bought two volumes.
We also found a place selling Ouran school badges, and were faced with another quandary when we were told the yellow ones were anime version, and the purple ones were manga version. We wanted to get them, of course, because eventually we do want to cosplay Hikaru and Kaoru, but we couldn't decide which ones to get. It just so happened there was a Honey cosplayer nearby, so Athena went to check which version she had, and it was anime. We came to the conclusion that most of the Host Club cosplay we'd do would probably be anime-based anyway (still liking that Cheshire Cat idea), so that's what we went with. Although now Athena mentions it, if we'd gotten the manga versions, we probably would have had a much easier time with wig styles. Epimetheus.
We ran into our former AX group, who asked if we were going to Disneyland, and we told them, once again, that we had no way of getting there. Our current theory as to why they didn't offer to help (since they were going to Disneyland, and obviously were going to get there somehow) is that they wanted to use us as backup transportation in case some of them wanted to leave early and others didn't. But it could just be that they didn't have room. Or they secretly hate us. Either way, we already had our train tickets for Tuesday, so extending our stay until Wednesday would just have been silly.
I don't remember at what point we decided we'd better get out of there, but we did. Our mission to obtain more Pocky was a failure, as the booth we were sure had sold it to us before didn't seem to have any anymore. So we headed over to the Bandai booth and got our Tide-Line Blue (we were strong, resisting GSD, and all the grab bags that were taunting us with their shiny surprisey goodness, but we did get two volumes of Tide-Line Blue), and made our way out of there, happy with our new DVDs of shiny anime that make us very very happy and yet everyone else seems to have negative interest in watching. Sad.
Speaking of weird anime we watch that no one else seems to know about! Before we left, we ran into a Shimon cosplayer from Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann! And she said there was a whole group! And when we asked if there was a Kamina, she said there were two! *dies* We did forget to ask if the cosplayers were male or female, but man, if they were hot guys... Ah well.
After surviving the dealers' room, first we had lunch, and then we went to the charity auction. We love going to the auction just to see what's there and how much it goes for. This year, because of the whole water bottle thing last year (it's kind of far down; sorry), as soon the guy started the auction and asked where he should begin, people started shouting, "Water bottle!!" The auctioneer was like, "Are we really gonna do this again? Okay, fine, how about this? The shirt off my back, starting at $5." (I'm guessing on the $5; the first bid was $15 anyway.) He goes on and says, "For your information, this is an Armani Exchange shirt, only worn once."
The bidding got to $30 really fast, and he's like, "I'm making more than for the water already," but it died there. So he's like, "Come on, I paid more for this shirt than you're getting it for. $30? $30 going once... $30 going twice... $30 third and final time..." There was a pause, and then, "Okay, time to get out the big guns." He took off the button-down shirt he had on over the t-shirt and turned around to reveal signatures from Oreskaband, Eisaku Inoue (One Piece guy), and... I think it was Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, but I don't remember for sure, and maybe a few more. And then the shirt went for $200. Once it had been sold, he took it off, revealing another shirt, identical to the first, but without signatures. "I come prepared," he said. He also commented that we got the silliness out of the way early (which was a partial lie, because they also auctioned off an AX pimp stick), and he didn't expect to have to do that until later.
There wasn't a whole lot especially unique about the rest of the auction, except that we noticed anything that wasn't a sketch donated by Inoue-san was signed and sketched on. I don't know if he just really liked drawing One Piece characters or if the discussion at the Meet the Guests Reception had anything to do with it. We also noticed that no one at AX was ever willing to pay more than $200 for a t-shirt, regardless of who may have signed or worn it.
Oh! Now I remember! There was... oh what was it? I think it was a limited edition AX poster, signed by everyone but the SOS Brigade. It was the second poster in the set, so we were surprised the bidding was going so high for it; we think it might have been the Sanji sketch instead of the Zorro one. It was awesome though, because one of the bidders was the main sound guy, so he was referred to as The Voice from Above. But the other bidder was pretty competitive, and at one point, he bid $666. The auctioneer stopped him and picked up the devil Hello Kitty that Chiaki Ishikawa had donated, and said, "That bid is supposed to go for this." The poster went for something like $750, but the Hello Kitty, alas, only went for $333.
After the auction, we came to the closing ceremonies. The auctioneer slipped once and said they would be the opening ceremonies, and tried to cover up by saying he wanted the whole thing to start again! But that would probably kill him. So anyway, all the guests came out and said goodbye, except for the ones that had to leave early. This year, there was a new feature in that they had all the guests who couldn't make it to the closing ceremonies film a goodbye to the attendees. Except for Aya Hirano for some reason, but she had the other members of the SOS Brigade there to make up for her. The SPJA chair came out and read all the stats--about 44,000 attendees, about $24,000 raised for charity (we've seen it get up to $75,000; where's the love, people?). Then she said AX would be in Los Angeles next year. This has us a little afraid for our lives, but we have spent time in downtown LA, so we'll just see how it goes.
And then they filled in the other eye on the daruma and AX was officially over. It was a very sad feeling this year, AX being over. Setsunai describes it very well. I think AX itself is one of our best friends, and it's hard to have to leave for a year, even if it's also hard to take all that time off and run around all over the place finding panels and cosplay gatherings.
There was a Coldstone's across the street from the convention center, so the idea was to get ice cream and then hit a movie. But the movie theater was on the second level of the outdoor shopping area, so we wanted to make sure we knew how to find it first, and we checked the show times while we were there. The movie we wanted to see was Ratatouille, which happened to be starting in fifteen minutes, so we went to that first. It was a good movie and a great distraction from the sadness of AX being over, but once it was over, it all came back. And then Coldstone's was closed. So, sad and dejected, we made our way back to the hotel.
On the way there, we happened to run into Translator Guy and a friend of his. He asked us how we liked the con, and said he thought it wasn't as good this year. We had had a great time regardless of the quality of the con itself, but we do kind of have to agree that it wasn't as good this year. We blamed some of the problems on Long Beach, so there was a discussion about that. Apparently the Shriners still have Anaheim for next year, but then they go off to New Orleans, so hopefully we'll be back home in '09. Translator Guy mentioned that the LA convention center isn't in a very good area, and his friend said they probably thought it would be okay because they have E3 there every year and there haven't been any problems with that. Translator Guy wasn't convinced, and pointed out that AX has more of a night life than E3.
Eventually we made it back to our hotel, and that's where I broke down. We packed all our things so we would be ready to go the next day, and then played some Band Brothers before going to bed. The ride home was pretty uneventful, but when we got back we found out we'd won the early bird drawing for rent, so we get $25 off next month! This is the first time we've paid rent early since last AX, so it was pretty surprising. Last weekend really was a good weekend for random prize giveaways for us.
And thus concludes our AX2007 adventures. Now we're just glad to be back, but a little rushed because we still haven't decided whether or not we're going to Otakon. What with the being sick of traveling and the expensive July airfare, we're thinking maybe we'll pass. And then we can have Dad and his wife come to Disneyland later on, when airfare is cheaper, and we can all see each other then. But we're still in negotiations. And I should stop dwelling on that because it makes me tired and it's Sunday. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled LiveJournal ramblings tomorrow.
Today I'm thankful for it being cooler today, honest copies of FF11, auction silliness, Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille, and shiny Tide-Line Blue DVDs.