Anime Expo 2017/Anisong World Matsuri

This past week(end) I traveled to Los Angeles for AX2017 and more importantly the Anison World Matsuri event at AX. In line with my previous posts I’ll just recount my time there as I don’t think I can do it much justice in any other way.

I originally did not intend on attending AX2017 because I’d already decided I wanted to go to Japan instead to see Sphere. However, due to the fact that AX is known for announcing guests really late, and the AWM line-up being something I really wanted to see (particularly Garnidelia, Cinderella Girls, and Walkure) I decided to scramble all resources I could to attend. I was lucky enough to obtain VIP tickets for both AWM events thanks to the efforts and help of a lot cool and awesome people. (@jonjonaug, @yggdrizzle, @shinikenshi, @orobleRL). I’d also planned on attending the Ajikan concert on July 2nd and Neon District on July 3rd but I’ll say right now that I did not go to either so I won’t touch on that.

The events I did attend were:

I left for LA on the morning of the 29th, standard fare travel. As usual flying fucks me up so I had a fun time making my connection. Arrived to LAX around 1pm local time. Spent like 2 hrs getting through immigration and customs and another hour making it to my hotel in downtown LA due to ridiculous traffic that day. Once I checked in I went out with jonjon for lunch/dinner in Little Tokyo we went to a Hakata Ramen restaurant named Shinsengumi, it was pretty good but it was not as good as the place I went to with Dad Southrop in Ikebukuro. I will say I did appreciate the gentle pricetag of the meal. the only time this would happen in LA. Afterwards I dragged us to a Yakiniku place nearby because I wanted to meet my good friend @Disgaeamad and met with a bunch of people from HPT including Kuro who I last met in Japan about a month prior and Chuck (@exciel_co_log) who I hadn’t met in person before. He’s a really awesome and welcoming guy who I wish I’d talked to more during my time in LA.

Afterwards we just went back to the hotel and met up with Yggdrizzle since he was rooming with us that night. Friday was pretty uneventful for most of the day. Went to pick up some stuff at the convention center and whatnot and met with Alex (another friend rooming with us). Afterwards I spent most of the afternoon running some errands but I was able to pick up callbooks from almost every group that offered them… with the exception of the Walkure one which ran out in like 10 minutes. I also met a fair amount of people I only knew from twitter before like my koroazu bro Shizu (@ShizuGivingsDay) and bbb (@bobbierob) who were distributing the Konomin callbooks.

Anisong World Matsuri 2017: Japan Kawaii Live (please use a better name lol)

I guess this was the main event of AX for me and most of the people I knew attending, I was able to get a VIP ticket for this thanks to jonjon and Yggdrizzle. Our seats for the event were unreal, practically stageside. I doubt I’ll ever have seats this good again, especially in Japan (koroazu lives being an exception). I got there at about 5:30 and had to wait in line at the VIP entrance since security was a little slow. I ran into Sam on the way there and we waited in line to get in for a good 25 minutes. After getting in I proceeded find my seat and went out to buy like 2 liters of water at the concession stand in the MS Theater lobby, it was expensive but worth it (about $5 per 600 ml bottle).

Not a good picture but my seat was godlike, only two rows ahead of me. Basically like all of HPT was in the rows in front of us which was amusing.

Let’s get this out of the way, Wake Up, Girls! (WUG) were my personal MVP because while I knew most of their songs I didn’t expect their live performance to be this incredible. My event ranking ended up looking like:

  1. WUG
  2. Walkure
  3. Cinderella Girls
  4. Aqours

That said Walkure was also fucking incredible as well, so 1st and 2nd are basically a tie. I’m only giving it to WUG for the surprise factor.

Cinderella Girls [Ruru (Jougasaki Mika), Yukinco (Futaba Anzu), Reichama (Moroboshi Kirari), Moyo (Akagi Miria), Iidashi (Hayami Kanade), Assamu (Miyamoto Frederica] :

They’re kinda the reason I decided to attend AX since I love IM@S and I wanted to attend their first live in the west. The lineup was extremely good with lots of fan favorites in the west. I personally enjoyed their performance a lot, especially their MC and Talk segments (having Ruru and Moyo re-enact that one scene from ep 17 of dereani killed me irl). Their setlist was pretty safe as it was all group songs that appeared in dereani with the exception of Yes! Party Time!!. I will admit I was a little disappointed there weren’t any solo or unit songs (or a medley of them) since everyone who was present has really strong solo/unit songs (I would have killed to see あんずのうた live). But overall it was pretty solid and I really really hope they come back in the future if AX/AWM/The Powers That Be allow for it.

WUG:

I was really blindsided by them because while I thought the songs I’d listened to before were pretty good. I had no idea they were gonna be this good live. Every single member of WUG surprised me with how intense their choreo was and how good their singing is live too. I will admit some of it is a blur now because I was so surprised but I specifically remember Tachiagare and Koi? De Ai? De Boukun Desu! being really heckin’ great. I will refrain from talking about favorites out of fear of being stabbed by the wugchan lickers.

Intermission:

Basically just took the time to drink some water and recharge. At this point I noticed there were two water bottles on stage so I knew Walkure was next.

Walkure (Junna and Minoringo):

WELCOME TO WALKURE WORLD

 

Holy shit Walkure started out strong with Koi! Halation The War which gave me chills irl when the intro started playing. I absolutely loved all their songs while watching Macross Delta and seeing this live was just another experience. This was followed by motherfucking Ikenai Borderline. At this point I was almost beheaded by Kuro because his Walkure blade broke and hit me in the head. Afterwards they had a pretty great MC and both Junna and Minoringo were relieved to see that people actually knew their songs (fair concern, Macross Delta still isn’t available legally in the west) and also tried to do most of their MC in English but were still surprised that people generally understood them when speaking Japanese. (This was a recurring theme for like basically every MC in both concerts).

Afterwards they went even harder with Bokura no Senjou and Ichido Dake no Koi Nara at which point Kuro once again almost killed me with his blade one last time to make sure. After those two songs they had one last MC where Minoringo got the audience to do the chorus for Rune ga Pikatto Hikattara like a million times because she was so happy everyone knew the song followed by the song which again was great because the audience followed along with the furi for it.

Aqours:

I’ll keep it brief, I was decently surprised by them. I don’t really know their songs and I was pretty tired but I tried as best as I could to follow along with the calls and stuff. They weren’t bad at all but also not entirely my cup of tea. People definitely went hard on the yakkai calls during their set. First time I experienced a house tiger and MIX at a live.

 

Finally all the performers came out to give their thanks to the audience and generally just say goodbye. With the exception of Junna because of japanese labor laws (I dunno how this works).

 

Afterwards I tried to find where the HECK the VIP only event was happening and managed to find it only to get owned by MS Theater staff and having to wait like 20 minutes to go downstairs for it. I didn’t really know what to say so I pretty much just waved back at the performers because I’m bad. It was still pretty great because Yukinco paid attention to me but in general they were pretty happy to see all the fans heading to see them.

After finally getting out of the MS Theater I met up with more HPT people and checked in for the Off and then I found my bro Shizu and we talked about how good koro is for a bit. Also this happened:

Offkai itself was pretty good, lots of people having fun and whatnot. Unfortunately I was super dead so I spent most of my time sitting down in the lounge with some HPT people. I got to talk to Ryan for a bit which was great. I do regret being a little quiet during it but the live killed me that day.

Afterwards I made the mistake of trying to sleep instead of just going to line up for autographs. I paid the price when I arrived around 7am at the autograph line and was on the fourth loop of it. I completely missed out on any chances of getting priority tickets for any artist I would have liked but took the gamble, waited like 3 hrs and got a standby ticket for Garnidelia since they were my first choice.

Near the end of the line I learned there were secret WUG autograph tix being given away the the avex booth but due to the autograph line starting to move like 45 minutes late by the time I made it to the exhibit hall even with my OP AX badge they had sold out like 2 or 3 people ahead of me.

Afterwards I headed to Kentia Hall to wait for the Garnidelia signing to start. I was a little scared since I was Standby 27. But they were actually super efficient about it and basically everyone with a ticket got their stuff signed. When my turn came I was a little nervous so I pretty much just said I was a big fan and I know namedropping’s a little uncool but mentioned my other koro bro Esh, since they know him and their reaction was pretty great (particularly Maria’s). I wanted to mention seeing them at SSA in Japan but I was too nervous/excited to attempt to form that kind of sentence so I basically just thanked them for being great afterwards.

Afterwards I headed back to the hotel to eat something quick and sleep before the live. Unfortunately my being extremely dead resulted in missing out in a lunch opportunity with Chika, my Aneki. I was pretty bummed about it since I only get like one chance a year to hang out. (unfortunately 0 this year) I then passed out for like 4 hrs before the live. Managed to make it in time to buy a drink and get to my seat. View wasn’t as good as the previous day but also nothing to complain about.

Anisong World Matsuri 2017: Japan Super Live

[Konomi Suzuki, Mashiro Ayano, Garnidelia, Ali Project, Minori Chihara, Angela]

I was still pretty dead from the last day and a half or so but it was an incredible concert either way. Favs include Konomin, Garni and Angela. I won’t rank these other than Ali Project being boring as fuck stop this shit.

Highlights:

  • Cruel Angel’s Thesis with Konomin and Angela
  • All of Konomin’s set
  • Garnidelia
  • Mashiron x Garni Sorariro Days
  • Dis walking out during Ali Project
  • Minorin making everyone die
  • Angela being hilarious
  • シドニア
  • fripSide
  • Dogeza a Traditional Japanese Greeting
  • Konomin’s hands being Very Soft.

After the live I went immediately to the VIP event to avoid the lines again. I was pretty much at the front of the line waiting for the artists. I got to high five the entire line up and I got to tell Maria and Toku that Garnidelia owns. Did I mention Konomin has Very Soft Hands?

Afterwards I met up with people again and ended up going to Yardhouse for food with a few people including Kuro, Dis, Altered and Kei (to whom I never introduced myself to because I was too shy and was too far away on the table ;_;). That was a fun dinner experience. We were eventually joined by Minh as well. We stayed pretty much until last call. Afterwards at least I was able to sleep for a while mostly.

To be honest I don’t really remember Sunday other than I slept like 75% of the day because I was so exhausted from the previous 3 days. I ended up missing the Ajikan concert because I was so tired. Jonjon got me a shirt from it anyway because he’s a cool dude.

Monday was pretty uneventful mostly just hung around Yggdrizzle’s exhibitor booth and walked around the exhibit hall. I took a little time to talk to some friends at other booths since I basically didn’t see them all weekend. After exhibit hall closed me and Ygg met up with more HPT folks for dinner at the carvery and eventually went back to the JW and just hung around for a bit. Afterwards I just went back and finished packing and slept in preparation for my flight the following day.

Tuesday was once again the return to real life. Once again it heckin’ sucked. LAX is the worst airport in the universe.

Odds and ends:

  • I really wish I could have seen people more but DTLA is impossible to find people in because it takes forever to get anywhere.
  • I regret not talking to people more when hanging out because everyone was so welcoming and I wasn’t the most talkative.
  • HPT is a bunch of incredibly cool people and I’m happy I got to meet a lot of them even if briefly at times.
  • AWM is the best thing to ever happen to AX
  • People actually recognized my Koroazu shirt!!! Which I guess shouldn’t surprise me given the amount of eventers at AX this year.

Shoutouts:

  • Jonjon: Thank you for letting me room with you after bailing in like march. Also for the VIP tickets.
  • Yggdrizzle: For the tickets as well as holding the merch I wanted. Also covering my ass for dinner on Monday.
  • HPT: For being incredibly cool and welcoming even if I was very awkward during the week. You’re all awesome.
  • Dis: For being a god damn legend.
  • Kuro: Being extremely welcoming and awesome as usual.
  • Shizu: For being my Koro bro and hanging out before the Offkai
  • Shini/Rob: For helping me out with the VIP ticket for the Japan Super Live
  • And everyone I met at AX that might have not been mentioned in this post. You’re all hella cool and I hope I can see you in Japan or next year at AX.

AX itself as a convention is a clusterfuck that I do not wish on anyone. However AWM is great and I hope I can justify and be able to attend next year.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this AX good despite how dead I was all weekend.


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