14 July 2015

Con Report: Anime Expo 2015

Hellooo!! Late late late again, but I've finally finished my AX 2015 con report. Enjoy!!

DAY 0

After I pulled an all-nighter finishing up cosplays, Michael (@elfinsert) and I headed out to the airport at 4AM for our 6AM flight! Everything went super smoothly, and our ticketer was kind enough to let me shift some things around in my luggage because I was over by a few lbs lol (when am I not?).... Our ticketer informed us that our flight had been overbooked, and asked if we were willing to take the next available flight for a voucher (!!). We wouldn't find out if we qualified until we got to the gate, so we made our way over.
We got to ride the airport lightrail to our gate!
We were super early for our flight, so we chilled around and chatted, charging our phones. This plane was so cute!
We were waiting and waiting and waiting for an employee to get to the kiosk, when it turned out that we were at the wrong gate, and our actual gate was the next one over @__@!!! So we lost the opportunity for a free $400 on our next flight :'( oh well... there were quite a bit of passengers also going to Anime Expo, so it was fun listening to them talk excitedly about the con hahaha.

The entire flight I was falling in and out of sleep, and I couldn't keep my head from bobbing around the whole way over >< I probably looked really weird but I was so sleepy HAHAHAHA. 

It turned out for the better that we didn't take the next available flight, because our flight was late in landing... and our oversize luggage carrying our swords was nowhere to be found?!?! A lot of other people couldn't find their luggage, and the whole thing was a huge mess. Finally after an hour Michael gets a call from an employee, telling him where all the oversize luggage was (in a dark corner at the farthest end of the baggage claim....), and we could breathe easy again.
Safe and sound! sobbb. And my sandwich.

Our plans to call an uber were foiled, as ubers aren't allowed within the LAX vicinity... which I was warned previously, but I had no idea what that actually meant. There's a GPS barrier in the app that doesn't allow certain ubers to be called near LAX, so we took a shuttle instead. There was a discount online so it worked out great! But by the time we got to the hotel, it was time to check-in.
Al and Kevin playing smash!!
Michael and I had to get our badges from Henry (@genjitsu) later tonight, so we decided to make a Ralphs run with everyone for snacks, water, food, etc etc ^^
There was a printing error with badges, so Michael got to be a mahou shoujo for the weekend, haha!

The rest of the night was roomie bonding, cosplay working, and scary movies >< >< >< >< I say I hate scary movies, but I'm the type that gets distracted by the TV, so I ended up watching most of the movie and scaring everyone else bc I'd scream. LOL sorry.....................

DAY 1

First day of the con!! Woooo!! Everyone was busy this morning getting ready, running around helping each other put on their makeup/costumes hahaha! Not even half-way through Day 1, and our hotel starts smelling like "spicy butthole" (Al's words)...... next time I think we'll have to ban spicy ramen from being eaten inside the room LOL....
Brandon's first cosplay ever!! Which made me so happy because Shin-ah is my favorite character from Akatsuki no Yona TToTT ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I headed over to my first volunteer shift -- which was the Kawasumi Ayako panel! There was a lot of congestion at the con, and it was hard to move fast in my costume ><
The Unlimited Saber Works volunteers! From left to right: Ashley as Alter Saber, me as Saber Lily armor ver., Binkx as default Saber armor ver., and Emi as Fate/Zero Saber! Photo by Everon! Everyone was so sweet and shared tips/stories about making their costumes! I learned so much ;^;

We escorted Kawasumi Ayako, who has been the voice of Saber for nearly a decade, to her seat on stage and got to enjoy the panel from backstage. She was a very beautiful and gentle person, and was so excited to see all of our cosplays up close! I felt really honored to be part of this experience ;;
All of us together with Kawasumi-san! Thank you @hikaruufo for the photo!

After the panel, we all headed to her autograph session! I was really nervous on my first day, but I hope I was able to help out as much as I could ^^;
Helping out with the line! I met Yeu here, who was my Saber Lily (10th Anniversary) twin ^^!! Thank you Cao Cao's Bizarre Adventure for the photo!!

I was told to "do something else with (my) hands!" but I couldn't think of anything without my sword... 

With my shifts over for the day, I headed over to the Aniplex booth to meet up with Michael for dinner! The ACP Aldnoah.zero volunteers were so cool and seemed really nice!!
LAWWWW!!!!! and Yona poster in the BG!! ahhh!!
Went to Live Basil Pizza at Nokia Plaza for some pizzaaaaa! It was.... okay! LOL The wait was way too long though ;=; we ended up eating in the hotel room and watching more youtube videos with everyone.

Later that night we made another Ralphs run for some cosplay repair supplies and more food!

DAY 2

Today was the big Fate Stay/Night Gathering at the Aniplex booth!! There was no line at the Jogasaki food truck so I got my one! my only! sushi burrito!!!
Resting in a hallway.... it was so good, as always.

I wasn't able to take any photos of anything because my gloves don't have touch sensors, so a lot of these photos were taken by other people ><!! These next gathering photos were taken by Everon!!
Sabersss!
Big big big gathering!! There's me in the front! :D

A CRAZY THING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE GATHERING was the photographer from yesterday came over to us and each gave us Saber volunteers a Petanko Saber fig. ;___; AS GIFTS TO US FOR COSPLAYING SABER. I was so moved and at a loss for words, it was such a kind gesture and really, really meant a lot to all of us! Thank you so much Kami from Cao Cao's Bizarre Adventure for the gift ><!! We'll all cherish them!!

After doing some mini-games post-photo ops, the Unlimited Saber Works girls headed out to get our photos taken with Cesar (@kagu)! By this time my shoes were killing my feet, and I was almost in tears Q__Q I think it shows in my photos but I tried so hard to keep a neutral face TT__TT!!

This is my absolute favorite photo of my costume so far! Thank you so much Cesar ;__;!!
with my Saber Lily twin, Yeu! ccc: I think this was when I was wincing from the pain ahhhh //// I'm so sorry TT TT
My "Yearbook photo" hahahaha!

Cesar was very kind to let me limp back with him to my hotel ;o; we chatted about photography and cons we usually go to, and it turned out he's a friend of my friends Angie, Devin, and Mike lol!!! Super super small world. I met up with Al and Vicky and we headed up to the hotel room to rest. ^^
My first nendo ever! ;=; thank you again Kami.

After changing out of Saber Lily, I got dressed to go walk around with everyone at the con, but then I fell asleep... for a few hours ;____; when I woke up my friends were out, so I went to clean up my makeup when I heard the door open. It was Michael lol!!! So we both went out to eat dinner with his friend Jack, but everything was closed.... so I bought a danger dog outside the hotel, and we ate cup of noodles and hung out in the hotel room. I would later very much regret that danger dog.

"A MOUSE?!" was the quote of the night. 

DAY 3

This morning a particularly funny scene happened between Brandon and I. After I finished brushing my teeth, Brandon stops me in the small hallway and looks at me gravely. He doesn't say anything for a few seconds and I'm starting to worry. Finally, he says one line: "My stomach hurts." Realizing instantly what he meant, I said (a bit too loudly) "YOU CAN'T DO THAT IN HERE!" It was all those spicy instant ramen bowls. Of course. The smell of spicy butthole lingering in the air, I started BBC Sherlock analyzing where the nearest possible bathroom was in the hotel. Thankfully, the lobby floor has bathrooms. So our room was spared from an even spicier hell. Honestly though I felt his pain, and I mean this literally, because of that danger dog from last night. Every year I don't learn. And next year will be no different. Danger dogs: 5, Me: 0.

Anyways....

Crisis averted, today was the Unlimited Blade Works special event with ufoable + concert with Mashiro Ayano and Aimer! I accidentally showed up very early................... so I met with Henry and relaxed a bit until everyone arrived. 

As the attendees were filing into the event hall, we handed out the Limited Edition acrylic signboards that came with every ticket. ^^ It was exclusively drawn for this event!
Here's what it looks like~

While handing out the signboards, I got a lot of compliments about my costume, which made me really happy but also flustered hahaha.. there were some people who even stopped walking just to say "thank you Saber!!" and that really warmed my heart Q__Q. I was thinking "maybe this is how character mascots feel at Disneyland," and I couldn't stop smiling the whole time -- everyone was so kind and sweet (I wouldn't make a very good default or alter Saber lol!!!). 

The event was absolutely amazing. It was really awesome watching Sudo livedrawing during the event!! Everyone who attended got to watch the English dub premier, as well as a musical performance by Mashiro Ayano and Aimer. After talking with friends who got to go to the event, we all revealed that most, if not all of us, cried a bit during Aimer's performance... there's something about her way of singing that really pulls out a lot of emotion in you ;o;. 

The completed live drawing by Tomonori Sudo! (c/o @gurrenlagging)

After the event ended, we all headed over to the autograph session! The line was insaneee!
Playing good cop and bad cop! hahaha. I handled the ticket stubs, while Zac kept the line organized. It was fun making small chitchat with people in the line while we all waited ^^ and it was cool seeing what everyone wanted to get signed. Thank you Eve for the photo again!

Full body shot!!

Being the last shift of the con for me, I was sad that I probably wouldn't get to see everyone I met for a long time. It was great getting to know everyone this weekend, and I hope we can all stay in touch!

With the autograph session over, all shifts were done for the day and the weekend (for me)! It was time to eat, eat, eat! We got changed out of our costumes, then into casual clothes and met up with Imari and Wayne to head over to Little Tokyo!!

Both Michael and I had never been to Shin-Sen-Gumi before, and we were really craving ramen, so it was a huge treat to be able to go! Thank you for the ride!!
The curry bomb looked like a round poop
Left to right: Wayne, Imari, Michael and I! Thank you for taking us out to Shin-Sen-Gumi!! It was delicious!!
What I got ♥ ♥ ♥!!! I was beginning to get sick at this point, and I eat very slow, so I had to take the rest to-go >< hehehehe. I also took an order of tonkatsu back to the hotel room (which... I wouldn't order again ;; ahahaha...)

Got changed into cheongsam Kotori to join Ellen (@chikokuda) and Kayla (@kairos) for a photoshoot in Nokia Plaza! Michael was gracious enough to be our photographer after he was done getting his photos taken as Kirito ^^
Umi and Makiii ♥ ♥ ♥
Kiritooooo!!!

I'm not sure what I was doing here... but I have t-rex arms LOL
For the most part we took thug idol selfies.....
I'm really not good at it as you can see LOL
so I gave up AHAHAHAHAHA
We got stopped a few times to get our picture taken, some of them random drunk people accidentally finding their way over here hahaha ^^;;;
trying to get a good shot without being blinded by the huge screens in the back LOL

Some solo shots next~ Michael and I tagteamed a bit with these next ones.
some much less serious shots again hahaha
instagrammin' instajammin'

a random Tom Nook/Ekko cosplayer appeared! LOL! So I took a shot of him.
selfieeees!

more selfieeees!

with photographer-kun Michael!! 
Photographer pose!

Al and Vicky also shot us for their AX 2015 con coverage video, which you can watch below! ^^



That's it for Day 3! We were all exhaustedddd.

DAY 4

Last day of the con! I woke up feeling incredibly sick >< Slight chills, lots of nausea, you name it... today I was supposed to cosplay Futaba with Ruri as Touma (;__; ♥ ♥ ♥) but unfortunately the thought of being in front of cameras and in cosplay while feeling nauseous made me very nervous... so we both decided to save the cosplay for another con since we both weren't feeling well ;; I don't think I'll ever get used to 4-day cons....

Since I was volunteering (and when I wasn't, resting/sleeping) all 3 previous days, my friends and I walked around the dealer's hall checking everything out!!

Ran into Harumi on our way to check-out of our room!!!! She offered me a popsicle that one of her friends was trying to get rid a bag's worth of, and when I tried to open the wrapping my popsicle shot out of the bag and skidded across the lobby floor........ I was so embarrassed...................... Harumi was really sweet and was able to get me another one, but the damage was done... I'm so sorry. LOL

After Michael and I dropped off our luggage in our friends' room, we all headed to the con to check out the dealer's hall!

Aside from AA, top priority on my list of booths to see was the Rilakkuma booth TT____TT!!! 
What my room would look like if given lots of money and a collector's heart HAHAHAHAHA. I was so in love with everything here ♥ ♥ ♥!!

The lightwood shelves were a beautiful touch, everything was so cute and well-thought-of ;o;

Gudetamaaaa!! I think everyone at AX fell in love with this little eggy. (myself included, a thousand times over)
There was a gudetama you could pose with that moved too!!!

While waiting to meet up with everyone else again, I ran into Mike-chan and Julia!!!!!!! I miss them so much. :(( It was so great catching up with them briefly, but we all had to go our separate ways again! ahh! ;o;

Next we walked around checking out all the figures! 
Hoozuki nendo ♥ ♥ ♥ 

CUTIE FIRST YEARS ♥ ♥ ♥!!!

 Imari (and so many of my Voltage/shoujo-loving friends LOL!) kept telling me how cute the Voltage booth was, so I had to go. I really like playing otome games -- my favorite from Voltage's series so far is Kajima Yuta from MFW.
kyaaa!! ♥ ♥
this was so embarrassing to do because people were walking by and watching AHAHAHAHAHA. BUT I SAID I'D DO IT. SO NO SHAME GAME.

I hear someone shout my name as I'm done taking this photo..... and see Friskie and Pebble from our Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun group last AX!!! 
I'm running into all my friends the last day of con TT__TT!! So nice but also so sad!

After browsing AA for awhile, we decided to get lunch!
JOGASAKI SQUAD

The Namco booth had a full Naruto display AHHHH!!! ♥___♥!!!

tryina lowkey fangirl....
Took a break to sit down and ended up being directly above Al and Vicky, who were also sitting down LOL!! We had fun texting and snapping pictures at each other. also saw Ruri!! ;^; Ellen and Kayla had to leave, so Michael and I headed back to our hotel to meet up with our friends to eat~

For dinner we went with Imari and Eve to LT again to get some korean food and mochi ice cream!!
gyozaaa!
bibimbap!
banchan~
it was soooooooooooooooooooooooooo goodddd!!!
*o*

Next was mochi ice cream which was soooo good!!! My favorite was the coffee flavored ones~~ we met back up with other ACP folks and chatted for awhile. It was really nice to relax ^^

Michael and I had originally planned to bum the night out either at the hotel lobby or airport, but Imari and Eve encouraged us to stay in their room until our shuttle to LAX ;o; seriously so so so kind... we were really grateful sobbb. I got to gush with Imari about otome games HEHEHEHEHE. I made a list of ones to DL and play through....

DAY 5

Woke up at 2AM to wait for our 3(??)AM shuttle @@ a new demon raid for CC started up so we killed time playing that~

waiting in the lobbyyyy

Our shuttle ride was.... adventurous to say the least, because we were overbooked?! there weren't enough seats for all of us, so we had to squish together to make room for an extra person ><;;;; Michael was headed to TX to stay with his family for a few weeks, and he was on a different terminal, so we parted ways!

Getting to my gate was pretty uneventful, save for having to shift things around in my luggage again for being over the weight limit LOL;;;. But no extra fee once again! ^^ I fell asleep on the plane.. again.... and got picked up at the airport!

Came home to my bb crying and circling my feet and falling over onto the carpet! I missed youuuuuuuu!!! ♥ ♥

I was very worried that our props would get damaged on their way to and from LA, but thankfully the TSA gods spared us lowly weebs.... safe and sound once more!

My small collection of signed props is growing *^*!! I'd love to get my other swords signed too.. especially Kurikara!!

I finally got the korilakkuma kigu I've always wanted ;___; seriously been wanting this particular one for 4 years... but I wanted to buy it directly from the Rilakkuma booth. It's sooo soft!!
Autographs from ufotable ^^
Gifts/purchases from Jin, Kaela, Misu, Kae, Ling, and Littlereddo ;0; !! AND AHH THE YUTA POSTCARD FROM IMARI Q___Q TYSM!!!!
Close-up of the charms I got!!! Rikki gifted me that Suga pin ♥!


Hope you enjoyed this year's AX con report! Once again, thank you to American Cosplay Paradise and Aniplex for the awesome opportunity to be a volunteer! I had so much fun, made a ton of friends, and it really opened up my eyes to a new way of enjoying cons AND cosplay.

Artists to check out!!




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