Back in Anime Expo 2002, I had my 18th birthday. I thought I should celebrate it again while all my SoCal and NorCal friends are in the same space. We went to California Pizza Kitchen for the get together. CPK was being really tough with us getting a table to accommodate a large group of people. The fire alarm didn't help much. We had several late comers and there was hardly any more room to accommodate, but the important thing is that our friends went out of their way to wish me a Happy Birthday. It means a lot to me that despite you guys didn't stay for dinner, you still stopped by!

There were many hijinks. Carolyn brought her Seb (CP El). Unfortunately, she couldn't get him to cosplay as Gin Ichimaru, but he still made for cute photos with Cosette as Momo Hinamori. Carolyn also gave me shoes for Cosette. Otherwise, it was a great dinner. Diana and Tom said it best when the best part of an anime convention is sitting down and having a filling meal at a delicious restaurant. I couldn't agree more.

Masquerade was starting pretty soon. Masquerade was set in the Long Beach Arena, home to many Disney on Ice's of my childhood and the Long Beach Ice Dogs. Masquerade started as we were being seated. I took notes as Tom filmed the event. We could have been backstage, but we wanted to see Masquerade the way it's meant to be seen - as a live show. It was a very sweet set up. I liked how the screens to the side covered the acts from different angles and showed cosplayers up close. This was very nice for walk ons like Queen Esther (Trinity Blood) and Ultima (Final Fantasy 12) because you can really see the detail in the craftsmanship.

Highlights of Masquerade included Death Note: The Musical set to music from The Producers. Happy Hellsing showed us a brighter, fluffier side of the anime horror series. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon graced the stage with a full cast. D. Gray Man was another musical entrant using music from Spamalot ("Bring Out Your Dead"). IDOLM@STER brought the audience a cutesy dance routine. Tom and I's personal favorite was the Death Note Mahna Mahna in which Raito pulls out apple puppets and messes around with Ryuk's mind. Otherwise, the Masquerade stage was full of fine performances.

One audience highlight during a delay was when everyone took their cell phones out and started waving them like lighters. It felt like being in a planetarium. It was a very pretty sight, actually.

Finally, there was the halftime show. Ninjas versus Pirates. It was a 45 minute or so one act piece about the ninjas and pirates rivalry to the key of 300. It poked fun at One Piece, Naruto, and Pirates of the Caribbean. It was an audience favorite. Normally, we're used to seeing anime music videos and martial arts demonstrations during halftime, but this piece had it all... except the anime music videos.

Finally, it was time to announce the winners. Unfortunately, the deadline for the theater closure and evacuation was drawing quickly so the MCs were in a rush. While they were announcing winners from all of the cosplay events, Tom was still manning the camera and I was jotting down notes as fast as I could but not fast enough. The show was over, it was 11:08PM, Tom and I had to leave to go back to my place. The guy still had to pack for his flight the very next day.    

Pictures are copyright by Traveling Valentine. If we took your picture, feel free to use it on your site or cosplay gallery. If you want me to remove something, kindly email me. While you're here, do sign the guestbook. This site was brought to you by the font Alako Bold.