Later on Friday, I decided to dress up as Naru (Love Hina) in honor of Yui Horie's guest appearance at Anime Expo. Yui Horie was the voice actress for Naru in the anime series. Her panel was schedule for 4PM on Friday. However, due to a few complications in our scheduling, we were not able to make it. We did speak to Matt and Ryan (California Conventions Blog) about their experience at the Yui Horie panel. The voice actress was half an hour late to her panel. Petree Hall was filled to capacity, and otaku started to "bum rush" to her autograph session. The autograph session ended abprutly when Yui Horie had leave for a meeting.
Jared and I returned to the convention center area for the Fighting Generation gathering. We ran into a few of our friends at that gathering. We also briefly stopped by the Durarara gathering.
At 6PM, Craig was hosting the Anime Expo Ballroom gathering. Because Anime Expo cancelled their annual ballroom dance, a few ballroom afficiandos decided to start their own mini gathering. Avianna, Mark, and Craig were teaching lessons; how to lead and how to follow. A few people, myself included, contributed music. The gathering took place in the open air corridor outside of West Hall. A few of the chefs at the Galaxy Cafe were amused by our gathering and got excited when we played Japanese cover of "Lambada" by Akemi Ishii. The purpose of the gathering was for fans of ballroom dancing to get together to create our own ballroom dance.
We had a variety of different ballroom dance styles available to dance to: west coast and east coast swing, club two step, argentine tango, waltz, cha cha, fox trot, etc. Mark brought plenty of anime themed ballroom dance music.
We had a small turn out. I did like that the gathering took place while there were hardly any main events going on. The area was clear enough for ballroom dancing. I really hope that Craig and Mark continue on this tradition and that eventually, Anime Expo will bring back the ballroom dance. Craig and Mark and more than willing to help bring it back again. On Thursday evening, Jared and I ended up swinging at Point Moorea, the hotel's bar. We thought if Anime Expo rented out a club or a hotel's bar that was within a decent distance, it would be a nice venue for a ballroom dance.
As the dance ended, I took photos of my new Naru cosplay. Throughout Friday, I was asked how I styled the wig for Naru. I used Tristen Citrine's user friendly tutorial.
Friday night still had plenty of cosplayers running around the convention center.
Craig, Jared, and I stopped by the arcade to check it out. I do not usually play arcade games, but it is always fun to watch people play Dance Dance Revolution and Para Para Paradise. It was nice of Anime Expo to bring back the arcade at the 11th hour. The arcade was located in the West Hall concourse. It reminded Craig and I of how Fanime used to run the arcade; it did not have a closed room, but it was out in the open so that people can watch people play. The open air arcade also did not have the typical fanboy funk either.
While the night was winding down, people from the MELL concert were leaving the Nokia theater. Craig, Jared, and I went to ESPN Sports Zone for a late night snack. We ordered an appetizer full of nachos and shared it among the three of us.
Nokia Plaza was also a nice place for photos. This was the first time Anime Expo used Nokia Plaza for events. They could not use the plaza last year because of Michael Jackson's memorial service. Nokia Plaza really lit up the nightlife. I loved the trees with the blue lights. It was almost like a mini Times Square. People felt safe around the plaza because the area is full of security and LAPD officers. This plaza is a great addition to Anime Expo because it highlights the Los Angeles nightlife. Not to mention, the dances were being held in Club Nokia.
Jared had to leave for the night. I went back to the Wilshire Grand with Craig. For the rest of the night, we were just hanging out in the hotel room recounting what happened during the day and watching whatever was on television. The convention was only at the midway point. Two more days to go.
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