One cannot address Anime Expo 2010 without the behind the scenes fiasco that occured prior to showtime. Volumes of pages of the fiasco can be read on Cosplay.com's Anime Expo Problems thread. The fiasco lead to doubts if Anime Expo will be succesful this year. Facebook groups in protest of the new management started popping up. Not to mention that events of the past were scrapped from programming (ie: ballroom dancing, SPJA awards, arcade, attendee gripe session, etc). Not to mention, the rise of a four day pass from the usual $50 to 2010's $85 at the door price tag. My deal breaker was the additional shuttle fee of $40. Had Anime Expo charged for shuttle service, I would not have gone. However, staff made 11th hour changes prior to convention to fit the needs of the attendees. Shuttles were free if one had a four day pass and the arcade returned (many thanks to help from Arcade Infinity).
On day zero, I did my usual Zero Hour Vlog talking about my feelings going into my 12th consecutive Anime Expo.
Right after I recorded the vlog, I recieved a call from Stan (Plastic Joint). Stan needed help with his interview with famed otaku blogger, Danny Choo. I was not expecting to attend on Day Zero, but it was an excuse to check out the convention before the show started. Unfortunately, Stan was five minutes late to his interview with Mr. Choo. There was some miscommunication whether if this was a press junket or an interview session with the guests of honor. I was caught off guard when I found out the interviews were 15 minutes, but because this was a press junket, 15 minutes is more than ample time to talk to the guests. Press had to provide their own translators. While the press junket system was new to Anime Expo, I still prefer press conference format; one hour of Q&A with the guest and the press.
Since registration would not be open until the late afternoon, Stan and I went to the Los Angeles Fabric District. For our out of state readers, the fabric district is a cosplayer's dream come true. I was able to find what I needed for a Rei Hino (Sailor Moon) project for $8 (4 yards of polycotton). Stan and I spent some time looking through the shops for future cosplay projects. If you are local to the Los Angeles area, or just dropping by, I highly reccomend visiting the Los Angeles fabric district for your cosplay needs. You may be coming home with a second suitcase full of fabric.
For lunch, Stan and I went to the ESPN Sports Zone right on LA Live. We decided to share an appetizer; a plate of cheese fries. The nice thing was that we were in a nice air conditioned restaurant and we could watch the Giants and Dodgers game while we ate. It was very relaxing and refreshing. ESPN Sports Zone became my number one spot for food with friends during the holiday weekend.
Stan and I picked up our press badges and we went around to explore our groundings. Because not much was going on Day Zero, I spent time in the pre-registration line with my buddies. Anime Expo's nickname is "Line Con." People were waiting since noon to be the first to grab their membership badges for the weekend. Some have reported to wait four hours in line, while others reported getting their badge in less than an hour. Otherwise, the line on Day Zero was still long, but it made for great socializing with other attendees.
The other Anime Expo service that was available on Day Zero was the Anime Expo merchindise booth. I liked that Anime Expo had more variety of products this year. I saw a few outfits for infants that would have been perfect for a friend of mine who brought her infant to con. There were more t-shirts themed for 2010. Interesting to note that most of the t-shirts read, "Anime Expo 2010: Los Angeles." However, my favorite piece of Anime Expo paraphenelia would be the plushies of the mascots.
This sign illustrates that Anime Expo was charging priority seating for certain main events.
The halls were practically empty on Day Zero. It was nice to see the Los Angeles Convention Center before otakus would pour through the halls.
Originally priced at $100, Stan wanted to check out the AKB48 meet and greet. On Day Zero, Anime Expo was raffling off free tickets. Unfortunately, Stan and I did not win the meet and greet tickets.
A few cosplayers showed up on Day Zero.
Another highlight of Day Zero was finding pocky dealers at the convention center. They were selling pocky for a $1.
Another Anime Expo was fast approaching. Day Zero was rather relaxing and I was able to get most things done. It was unfortunate that Anime Expo does not do press conferences like other anime conventions, but we were able to get a feel of what the holiday weekend was going to be like.
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