And of course, it's always during busy times like this that I want to be reporting on our big long trips. It makes sense, when you think about it, since we wouldn't be quite so busy if we hadn't taken the trip. But anyway, on to the reporting!
Day Zero was pretty uneventful, fortunately. Of course we were pretty nervous about taking the taxi and getting checked in and oh my gosh I hope we didn't forget anything and all that stuff. But we got into our room with just about no problems, and then it was time to figure out how to get to the convention center to get registered. We figured we'd probably just have to suck it up and walk. So we ate some of the snacks we bought at the train station (I realized I was going to need to break a twenty to pay the taxi driver), and then set out.
When we got to the front of the hotel, we noticed some people walking back toward us, carrying the familiar AX goodie bags. So we asked them if they had just walked all the way, and they replied in the affirmative, so off we went. We decided not to cosplay, because I was still pretty nervous about everything, and that was a mile through downtown Los Angeles. We saw other cosplayers, though, and the more we walked, the more I was like, "Dude, what was my problem?" So next year we'll be in costume again.
After a while, we finally made it to the convention center, and found the line for industry registration. For some reason the line always moves super super slow until it's our turn, then they hand us our badges and goodie bags in seconds and we're on our way. But while we were waiting, we noticed Translator Guy there talking to one of the registration staff, and when he started to leave, we said hi, so he came over and we talked for a little bit, mostly about his new concert-size ukulele, and why we were in the industry line.
Our goodie bags had some crazy awesome stuff in them. I'm not sure if regular attendees get the same stuff as industry attendees, but I think probably not, because we got stuff like visors and Nerf balls and little paper stand thingies that also hold paper clips and AX pens. We didn't see anybody wearing any visors, but we wore ours! We ended up having to go to guest services to get our badges reprinted, because the ones we had only mentioned three out of the four days of the con, but it turned out to be a good thing we did, because while we were at it, we went to check out all the booths in the back of the registration hall. They were for the people who hadn't preregistered, and they were decorated all fancy and forest-like, with kodama and stuff from Princess Mononoke. It was pretty awesome, and when we saw how much effort they'd gone through, we knew this convention was going to be a good one.
Instead of hanging around the convention center and trying to make friends, we headed back to our hotel and got some work done. And then we went to sleep in anticipation of meeting Toshihiko Seki the next day.
After changing into our Goku and Hakkai costumes, our first order of business was finding the Opening Ceremonies. We got in line across from a big group of Japanese people (probably students from NEEC), and one of them asked for our picture! Yay! It was pretty funny after that, listening to them point out the other cosplayers they saw. We also listened to the guys in line behind us talking about how AX has really gone downhill since they first started coming in 2006. Oy. Some people have been like, "I don't even know who any of these guests are!" and we have to suppress the urge to grab them by the shoulders and start shaking them, yelling, "YOU DON'T KNOW WHO TOSHIHIKO SEKI IS!!!?" But anyway.
We were seated eventually. We were still pretty tired because we're weaklings, but we did notice when a small Japanese lady walked out dressed as Kenshin (of Rurouni fame, of course). Something seemed kind of familiar about her, so I looked more closely, and lo and behold, it was Shouko Nakagawa herself, and she was very adorable. She went and sat down, and we stared very closely at the door she came from. It felt like kind of a long time before... he came out. And we were like, "There he is there he is, it's him it's him!" And he walked very casually across the theater to his seat in the audience.
The ceremonies took forever to get started, but they were pretty fun when they did. The NEEC students came on, at which point I was like, "This can't wait until after they introduce the guests?" But they showed us their student-made clip of Akiba Samurai, which was made of awesome, so it was all good. And then they finally started announcing the guests. But the MC just wouldn't stop talking. I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, you love David Hayter, now GET ON WITH IT!!!" Of course Toshihiko Seki was last. It was really interesting when they announced him though, because he walked up while they showed the clip reel of some of the stuff he's done, and he stopped before he got to his seat and put his hand to his chin like he was thinking. I don't know what he was thinking about, but I suspect he was trying to figure out the English he wanted to say. When he got his chance to talk, he asked everybody if they knew Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing, and then he did the line... oh, what line was it? The one about how anyone who sees him will die or something? (I know, what kind of a fan doesn't remember something like that? Oy.) Then he asked if everybody knew Mousse from Ranma 1/2, and he gave us a bit of Mousse as a duck. It was awesome. I seriously used up just about all the energy I had for the entire week just screaming and clapping for Seki-san, so when they went back to announce the guest that the MC accidentally skipped, I felt really bad because I just couldn't make a sound.
At the end of the ceremonies, they had Seki-san draw the first eye in the daruma, and then it was time for us to rush over to the line for his panel. We had some friends who had rushed over there before the ceremonies ended (right after Seki-san gave his comments), and they let us wait in line with them. We can be terrible moochers sometimes. Of course there were other Saiyuki cosplayers in the line, and one of them had full demon Goku with his shirt ripped open and his youkai marking showing (a la Reload volume 7), and I was like, "Aww..." and our friends were like, "Yeah, but you're cuter. And I'm not just saying that." And I was very evil because I said to myself, "Yeah, I agree." But that other Goku did look very awesome. Very awesome. (We actually got a picture of her later.)
Aaaand the actual contents of the panel will have to wait until tomorrow, because we still have work to do!
Today I'm thankful for AX visors, friends who will let us cut in line with them (though I realize this should not be made a habit), the AX shuttle service, the camaraderie of people at AX, and oh my goodness we got to see Toshihiko Seki in person!