One of these days, I’m going to blog about having gone to Comic Con. One of these days. Lol Anyway, July 2nd through 5th was Anime Expo 2015! This year has been the third time I’ve attended the event and I can honestly say, it’s been the best one yet!
I bought our 4 day badges over a month early and made sure I had those days off from work, and it was definitely worth it! I’ve learned from previous experiences that it’s never a good idea to pick up your badge on Day 1. Very, very bad idea. We waited for over 2 hours under blistering heat and nearly passed out from heat exhaustion the first time we did AX back in 2013. Never again. This year, we picked up our badges on the evening of Day 0. There was still a line but we only had to wait for about 5 to 10 minutes at the most, and no sweltering heat either! Just the lovely cool summer breeze and moonlight shining down on us. There were a good amount of people wandering around too, so I didn’t feel too nervous being in Downtown.
They also handed out tote bags filled with goodies: a fan, Anime Expo booklet, a Dragon Ball Z dragon ball phone charm… thing?, and a Summoners War card with a special code. This was also the first time I actually purchased 4 day badges for Anime Expo. In previous years, my sister and I have only gone for one day, or got free passes. It wasn’t so bad though; our passes looked way better and felt more legit than the paper name badges we got last time. Lol
I had never been inside the LA Convention Center so late at night, so it was really strange seeing it relatively empty that evening. It’s amazing how different the place looks without all the people crowding the lobby, walkways, and halls. As we were exiting the building after badge pick-up, I managed to take some pictures.
And that’s basically all I did on Day 0 of Anime Expo. Pick up my badge. It went pretty well; I think I’ll do that every year from now on.
I’ll admit, since it was so easy to pick up our badges the night before, I really didn’t feel like it was necessary to arrive early on the first official day. My sister and I usually spend most of our time in the Exhibition Hall anyway, and it wasn’t going to open until noon, so I took my time. Okay, maybe I took a little too much time because we ended up arriving around 3pm and the Exhibition Hall was closing at 6pm that day. Oops. It was alright though because we usually get tired after just two hours of walking around the Hall, plus it was only the first day.
Before I go through with the rest of this recap, I’m sure most of you guys reading this aren’t familiar with otome (they’re basically visual novels geared towards a female audience where you get to choose which romance you want to read about, and they’re usually in the first-person perspective of a female protagonist) or even knew that I was addicted to them. Well, it started about a year and a half ago when I discovered my first otome through a recommendation on Facebook, which happened to be Voltage Inc.’s game Dreamy Days in West Tokyo. Long story short: I got curious, played the free stories, got addicted, and the rest is history.
The first booths I went to were, of course, my otome booths. 😉 I saw the Shall We Date area first and stopped by to pick up free posters; show some love to my favorite Ninja Assassin character, Soji; and take a few pictures in their photo-op areas. They had a cute small stage where you could take pictures with chibi cardboard standees of some of their characters and Soji was the background. They had small props too! I just had to stop and take a picture.
They also had a second, smaller, photo-op area on the opposite side which was a coffin. I don’t play that many of Shall We Date’s games, so I wasn’t too sure which game it was from.
But I did take a photo in it anyway! And I look super lame and weird, but oh well.
Like last year, they had a board that depicted several of their characters where people could show their favorite character some love by placing a heart-shaped sticker on them. Of course I placed one on Soji. Hehe And it was nice to see throughout the days that he received the most hearts on his row by the end of AX!
After that, I excitedly made my way across to the Voltage Inc. booth, which was my main reason for even coming to Anime Expo! They were right across from each other, which I found strange considering they were so far apart last year. Maybe that’s why that area was always so crowded? Their booth was decorated in the theme of My Forged Wedding: Party (not sure why they specified the free Party version exactly) so the center of their booth was a chapel, and there were small tables set up with fake desserts and everything was just adorable and I loved it.
Unlike the Shall We Date booth though, Voltage had a bunch of merchandise for sale – for the first time ever! In the weeks prior to AX they were announcing what would be on sale and how much would each item cost. They had character key chains, postcard sets, chibi character pins, and even large wall scroll posters. I wanted them ALL. But I have bills to pay and a family to help support, so I couldn’t get them all. At least not all in one go. Sadness. Voltage really needs to open an online store so I can gradually collect merchandise from them. Lol
My first purchase was all five postcard sets – each set was from a different game (Kissed by the Baddest Bidder, Star Crossed Myth, My Forged Wedding, Scandal in the Spotlight, and Enchanted in the Moonlight) and each one had five character cards. I was so relieved that they still had all of them in stock because by the time I got there, Scorpio’s (from Star Crossed Myth) wall scroll was already sold out! Surprising, considering each scroll was $90! (Ouch.) I also purchased three key chains (Yamato from MFW, Kyohei from SITS, and Scorpio from SCM) and one character pin. Getting the character pin I wanted was tricky because it was in gacha form, so I couldn’t choose which pin I got. After paying for a pin, they had you stick your hand inside a box they had on the counter that was filled with hand-sized plastic gacha balls. They were different colors – yellow, red, black – and each had a character pin in it. The colors didn’t matter because it was all completely random. I was so tempted to keep trying, but since it was only the first day I didn’t want to spend all my money at once, so I only bought one and got Wilfred from Be My Princess. Damn. The only character pin I wanted was Yamato so I was disappointed, but there were still other chances to get him later. For my entire purchase I also received a large bag that had Scandal in the Spotlight on one side and Seduced in the Sleepless City on the other. I’ve never played the latter game but I was super excited to have something from SITS! Especially since Kyohei was in the front.
They were also giving out free stuff: a SITS poster after you took their survey and guidebooks (thin booklets, really) for anyone who passed by. If you agreed to sign up early for their new upcoming game you received a fan, and if you participated in their download campaign where you showed proof that you downloaded certain apps of theirs, you received a small sticker set. I was a little disappointed with how small the stickers were because they made them seem so large when they first introduced the campaign online. Oh well, at least they have some of my top 5 favorite guys and they were free. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to put them though because there’s no way I’m actually going to use them as a sticker.
All the way on the left side of their booth, next to the chapel in the corner was a “photography corner”. They had a window that had Saeki (My Forged Wedding) positioned in the typical kabe-don pose, and people could come up and take pictures there. Some would angle themselves so it would look as if he’s actually tilting their chin up, and others just messed around and had fun with it, striking different poses there. Haha I thought I would be too short to take a picture there (that’s usually the issue wherever I am) but, surprisingly, if I tip-toed I could do it too! He’s not my favorite character though so I didn’t care much, but I did take a picture there just for fun. It’s too embarrassing to post though, so you’re going to have to be satisfied with just a photo of the corner Saek’s in. Haha
What really set Voltage’s booth apart from Shall We Date, and everything else for that matter (and this was probably my favorite thing about their booth, besides the merchandise) was their photo shoot area that featured three handsome models. Not cardboard characters, but live models that would pose and take photos with you. I knew they did this back in Japan for an expo and thought it was so cool how they did it. It was designed after their app Kissed by the Baddest Bidder (probably my #1 favorite from them) and after standing inside a cage, one of the models would let the person out and then they would get kabe-donned. Haha It was so amusing to watch; I couldn’t believe they brought it to Anime Expo! So, of course, I took the opportunity to try it out.
What? It was free, the guys were cute, and it was fun.
Okay, so this is how it worked: Once I got to the front, the lady showed me their book that depicted the choices of poses I could choose from. They had three main poses: 1) he kneels and kisses your hand; 2) you and he hold a frame up that says “I got married at AX!” and have rings on your fingers connected by the “red string of fate”; and 3) you two make a heart with your hands while holding up small signs that read “Mr.” and “Mrs.”. They were all so adorable I didn’t know which one to do first! I ended up choosing the hand-kiss one for my first photo. Then she asked me to choose a model (only David and Andrew were there at the moment) or if I wanted both. I figured, why not both? Both is good.
And this was the outcome!
Isn’t it just adorable!? The guys were very professional and total gentlemen, but I was still ridiculously nervous and embarrassed. Haha Afterwards I realized how much I was blushing and ended up having to fan my face and leave the booth for a while. I found out later on in the day that they had a “secret” pose that they didn’t show to everybody, and if you guessed kabe-don, you are correct. Their secret pose was the infamous kabe-don pose. I had never done anything even remotely similar to this before, and my face was already super red just from the first photo I did, so I couldn’t even convince myself to do the kabe-don that day.
Instead, I wandered around the exhibit hall with my sister and casually perused through the other booths. Along the way, I stumbled upon the Viz booth where they had Sailor Moon cosplayers doing surveys. If you completed their survey you received a Sailor Moon poster! I’ve been a fan of Sailor Moon since I was a child so it was necessary to get one.
I also saw Rilakkuma! It was so. Freaking. Adorable. And SO difficult to get a photo with! So I just took pictures of it.
And that’s pretty much where Day 1 ended for us.
I was at home. We skipped Day 2. Lol
First thing on the agenda? Head straight to the Voltage booth and take pictures with the character standees. Haha We stayed home the previous day but I saw that Voltage had posted pictures of their new additions to their booth: character standees for Yamato (MFW), Eisuke (KBTBB), and Kyohei (SITS)! I was hoping they would keep them up for the rest of the convention because I NEEDED pictures with Yamato and Kyohei. I took one with Eisuke too, but I would’ve liked it better if it was Soryu. And if they were selling them, I’d have probably tried to buy Yamato. Haha But then I’d have no idea how he’d fit into my room…
I also tried the gacha several times again, trying to get Yamato and failing each time. So sad. I also didn’t win the My Forged Wedding fanbook that they were raffling off everyday. Three tries, and five raffle tickets but still no fanbook. 😦 Now that was even more depressing. But on a happier note, I went to take more pictures with the guys! Haha Andrew even remembered me and it totally caught me off guard, but I thought that was really awesome of him.
Wondering where you can find these guys? Well, they all have Instagrams! Feel free to follow. 🙂
Andrew – https://instagram.com/rorodreww/
I was going to take more pictures but I didn’t want to seem like I was stalking the Voltage booth (pssh, I was. I totally was.) and my sister was getting bored. So, we left the Exhibition Hall to explore the rest of the Expo and ended up in the… South Hall? I don’t even remember which one it was. It was just the really spacious one with all the games in it. We walked around, saw a really cool Professor Oak cosplayer (really wish I got a video or even photo of him), and found a bunch of chibi anime figures on display. I took closeup pictures of my favorites!
After looking around for about ten to fifteen minutes, we got bored and decided to go back to the Exhibition Hall then found this pretty glowing tree!
It had necklaces themed after several fandoms. I saw some from Once Upon a Time, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, The Hunger Games, and was even pleasantly surprised to see some from The Mortal Instruments! I wanted to get one since most of them were only $15 but none of them really caught my attention, except for this Dark Swan dagger necklace. I thought it was really cool because the next season hasn’t even started but there already was a necklace with Emma as the Dark One. But then I looked online and saw that it was slightly cheaper and looked exactly the same, so I decided not to get it since it was readily available online.
After leaving that booth we continued to wander around, but just as we were making our way down one aisle, I caught a glimpse of something and quickly turned around. It was a booth with tons of anime prints and posters, and what caught my eye was a poster of Tokiya from Uta Prince No Sama. I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time I wondered why I didn’t expect it. I quickly made a beeline for the booth. Oh no. Haha
It was so bad; I ended up getting four prints and one glittery poster. All of them featuring my favorite Starish member, of course! My poor wallet…
But now I have so many beautiful pictures of Tokiya on my wall! ❤ After, I went back to the Voltage booth to try my luck at the gacha again. I still kept failing and was just about to give up hope of ever getting a Yamato pin, but then I figured why not have my sister try? She can be surprisingly lucky. So I bought two more chances (just in case) and had my sister pick from the box. She got Yamato on her first try. *happy tears* I was so happy I literally glomped her with all of the Voltage employees watching and yelled, “Oh my god, YES! Thank you!!!” They laughed happily for me. Haha
With a Yamato pin now in my possession, I completed my to-buy list from the Voltage booth! I felt so accomplished. Before leaving I decided to drop by the photo-op area again, but found three different guys standing inside the chapel.
David, Andrew, and Tyson had left for the day so they placed Kyohei, Yamato, and Eisuke inside to take their place. I’ll admit, I was really excited to take a photo with them. Haha But I kind of wish they let us choose! I didn’t really want Eisuke there. Oh well. I’ll just focus on my two favorites on the left. Haha There wasn’t much to do after that so we just left, but before we did I manage to find and get a quick selfie with the Shall We Date bus!
My agenda for the fourth and final day of AX was to do the Sailor Moon scavenger hunt, get a photo with Rilakkuma, and take more pictures at the Voltage booth. We arrived really early and managed to make it to the Viz booth in time for the Sailor Moon scavenger hunt. I received my mission card and tiara and then I was off!
My instructions for the first two missions were to find Sailor Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus. I found them easily enough and received a Luna and Artemis pin for locating them. The final mission was a little annoying because I just couldn’t find Sailor Pluto! Thanks to a guy who had completed the scavenger hunt already, I found Sailor Pluto at the Hulu booth. She gave me a Time Key pin and after returning to Sailor Moon and Chibiusa at the Viz booth, I received my prize! It was a Sailor Moon lanyard. After the trouble I went through looking for Pluto (my feet were aching and I was tired already) I was a little underwhelmed, but it was a cute lanyard and I don’t regret participating in the hunt.
While I was on my mission though, I realized how easily I can get distracted, just like in video games! Haha Horrible. I would make an awful heroine. First, I saw that Rilakkuma was about to come out for pictures, so I just HAD to get my photo right then and there. Who knew if I would have the chance to later on?
And since that booth was so close to the Voltage booth (and because I was searching EVERYWHERE in the Exhibition Hall for Sailor Pluto) I couldn’t help but pass by. And ended up getting more pictures taken. Lol
I also managed to gather enough courage to do the kabe-don pose. I had been trying to convince myself to do it for the entire duration of AX, and since it was the last day I just kind of went “Ah, screw it” and did it. David was a total professional but I was just standing there trying not to freak out, giggling like an idiot because I felt so nervous and awkward. xD; (Maybe I should’ve just covered my face? Haha) I hadn’t realized how intimidating a kabe-don really is until the last moment. Lol Afterwards, David asked if I was okay and I just nodded while looking at the ground, unable to look at him anymore, and said, “Uh yeah… uh huh.” Sorry for being a weirdo, David. Lol But I like how our picture came out!
We finished my agenda fairly early (there was still about three hours left of Anime Expo) so we just hung around the Voltage booth. I kept debating whether or not I should buy the mini tote bag for KBTBB but couldn’t think of a practical use for it. One of the employees at the booth suggested using it as a lunch bag but I have sturdier lunch bags at home, and WHY would you risk getting such a cute (and ridiculously expensive) bag dirty? In the end, I decided against getting it because it was just too small to do anything with besides pining it to my wall. At this point, the only thing they had left for sale were key chains and the mini tote bags.
I also met a new friend there! I recognized her from this otome Facebook group I’m in so I decided to ask and say hi. We hung out and chatted a bit, then, at her suggestion, we ended up taking pictures with Andrew and Tyson. Haha That was really fun. When there was only about fifteen minutes left until the Exhibition Hall closed, I got back in line one last time. This time, all the guys were there. 🙂
And that concluded our time at Anime Expo 2015! It was the first time I had been so involved with the convention (normally we’re more passive and just peruse the booths) and it was all thanks to Voltage. Thanks for the awesome time and I can’t wait for next year!