Wednesday, July 5, 2017

AX 2017


Once again, I've attended Anime Expo over the 4th of July weekend. This year, a Pre-Show Night with various activities was added on the eve of the convention.

We arrived at the L.A. Convention Center on Day 0 to pick up our badges and attend the Pre-Show. The line was pretty short, and moved rapidly so we were able to get our badges in probably under 10 minutes.

The queue to get into the Convention Center was not too bad, but I was held up a bit as a security team leader decided to use my cosplay prop as an example to explain to the screeners about what was allowable into the hall.

Once inside, I went to change into one of my maid uniforms. I was planning on trying out some poses with a nifty prop nodachi I modified to represent Konpaku Youmu's sword, Roukanken (楼観剣).


I was going to dress as Youmu the following day for a Touhou cosplay gathering, but hadn't figured out what poses I could do that would look good.

A surprising number of people asked me to pose for pictures, and it dawned on me that in all the time that I've been doing cosplay, I actually had very few pictures of myself dressed up and posing at conventions, so when the lady at the Cospix booth asked me to pose for them, I did.

I'll probably regret this, but below are a couple of pictures of my cosplay.

Yours truly

大根足 (-。-;)

On Day 1, we arrived early even though we already had our badges because of all the trouble we had finding parking last year.

A huge line formed for getting into the Exhibit Hall, but not wanting to be part of the waves of people flooding into the main hall, we went to the Artist's Alley instead, and wandered through the lightly trafficked hall in leisurely comfort.


In the morning we had entered the Convention Center through the parking garage entrance, but by noon, the crowds outside had grown very large, and they were only allowing access through the main doors.


I heard that some people had to wait four or more hours to get their badges, which seemed on par with last year. Certainly the line looked similar, with people in a winding queue along Figueroa from Pico to Venice and around the corner down Venice and back.


Even with badges, people had to queue again to get into the Convention Center. Luckily, we knew of alternative routes, and were able to bypass the lines to get in.

Anyway, the following are some pictures from the Touhou gathering.





I didn't like the way I looked in my Youmu cosplay. There might be some not so bad pictures of me out there, but I had wanted to shed about 10 pounds in the months prior to AX, but I wasn't able to do it.

In any event, I don't think I'll stray from meidofuku again (or maybe I'll stay away from outfits that look better on those with a narrow silhouette).

I skipped Day 2 because of other commitments, but went back on Day 3 to see the Fujino Omori panel. There were no photos allowed during the panel, and I couldn't find any pictures of Omori to add to this post, but I guess that's not too surprising since he came off as rather shy.

A special signing event was announced, so I bought a copy of Sword Oratoria for him to sign.



Omori seems like a very humble person, and he got all flustered when I greeted him during the signing and addressed him as "sensei".

The following are some pictures of cars from the Itasha Alliance.







Saw this car driving down Figueroa.

The most I can do toward having an itasha.

The following are some of the cosplay pictures I took.

Kotori, Rin, and Nico with LED skirts
(the lighting effect isn't captured by the picture)

Essradi as Celestia Ludenburg

Asuna, ALO ver.

Sinon, ALO ver.

Saber, Fate/Extra and Fate/Grand Order

Maid Saber and Jeanne d'Arc

Tohru

Card Captor Sakura

2B

Remilia Scarlet

???

Chaika Trabant

Mr. Data

The Dark Knight watching over the con

Though there was not much in the way of guests or panels that interested me this year, I still had a good time. I met and talked with a lot of great people, and was able to avoid many of the problems that I ran into last year. I'm looking forward to next year.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kemono Friends


Kemono Friends is a show that is underrated in the US, but has exploded in popularity in Japan. Many people dropped the show after the first episode because of what they considered to be bad 3DCG and poor voice acting, but I did not notice these things at all (maybe watching so many Touhou MMD videos has caused me to automatically filter out various technical deficiencies to focus mainly on the actual story and characters).

At みみどしま, Kastel seems to think that the Kemono Friends phenomenon is due to the story having a "lack of content" — that is to say there is not a lot of overt exposition so the story becomes kind of open-source, resulting in the formation of a community that generated a lot of fan-wank which catapulted the show to popularity.

I'm not sure if I buy this theory, since I liked the show immediately, and did not look to see what was happening in the fandom until rather late. I'd like to think that the popularity was due to the simple and genuine nature of the show as described at ANIME NOW! and the message of kindness and acceptance described at METAculture GURASHII.

In fact, the story reminds me a lot of Planetarian, except the naive Kaban-chan starts out with the kindness that only develops over time in the hardened and jaded Kuzuya. I only hope that Kemono Friends will not end on the melancholy note that Planetarian concluded with.

Currently, there is a set of prize figures from FuRyu available for the show that I really want, but they are rather difficult to come by.


With the prices of these Chobirume Petit figures ranging from US$60 to over US$100 for a complete set, I'll probably wait until the July re-release to buy the figures.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

NekoPara


NekoPara (ネコぱら) is a visual novel series developed by NEKO Works and published by Sekai Project. The character designer is Sayori (さより), who also produced a bit of Touhou related artwork in the past.

The franchise only appeared on my radar because of the petit figures that were announced at the Sekai booth during AX2016. I pre-ordered the set and finally received it earlier this week.

The figures stand on cat-shaped stands, and are comparable in size to Nendoroid Petits.


Vanilla and Chocola

Shigure and Azuki

Cinnamon and Milk

Coconut and Maple

Along with the order, I received a signed NekoPara shikishi, and a Steam code for NekoPara Vol. 1.



I'm not sure when I'll get around to playing the game, but I did go ahead and back the Kickstarter for the NekoPara OVA.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

±0

Just saw the first episode of the Saki live action adaptation, and thought it was okay. The production value is decent, and the actresses are all cute, but the mahjong is literally watching real-life mahjong.

Which is to say that the actresses' motions are unable to achieve the fluidity and sureness that is possible with animation. However, when Saki actually manifests her mahjong powers, the special effects are pretty good.

Another problem is that the way the actresses announce their winning hands is often stilted, and not as practiced and natural as that of the voice actresses in the anime.

I think that the selection for the music used during the scenes where the girls play mahjong should have been different. A piece with slower, more measured tempo would have probably worked better with the pace of the scenes.

Kiyosumi High School

Kazekoshi Girls' High School

Tsuruga Academy

Ryuumonbuchi High School

So far the story remains largely similar to the anime. Kyoutarou was written out of the live action version, but I guess that's only expected, since no real human could be allowed to be the sole male member of this Saki cast without suffering some sort of cosmic retribution.


As far as petit style figures from Saki go, the only ones I own (and am aware of) came with the limited special edition Saki Portable PSP Game.



The figures are on the tall side, and even though Yuuki looks to be somewhat shorter than Saki and Nodoka, the difference is not as noticeable as in the original artwork.


We should expect to see Saki and Nodoka in these meido-fuku in episode 3 of the live action series.


I'll close with a demotivational poster that speaks to how fair and equitable the universe is.