What a day! This year’s Anime Expo is definitely bigger in terms of Guests of Honor, and main events have gotten upgrades!
Christian and I started off with the Opening Ceremonies in the Nokia Theatre, which had most of the Guests of Honor taking the stage and introducing themselves, starting with Danny Choo in his popular stormtrooper outfit, popping and locking in front of thousands of attendees. I don’t blame him for not being able to dance as smoothly because of that armor! Other guests included the entire cast of AKB48, Kyle Hebert, MELL, SOPHIA, and Shinichi Watanabe. All-star cast.
My personal favorite, May’n, took the stage as well and introduced herself. For you Macross Frontier fans, she does the singing voice of Sheryl Nome. She also had a panel later that day, and we got to hear her wonderful Kansai dialect, as well as hear some things about her career – she used to be comfortable singing in a lower tone until Kanno Yoko expressed interest in her higher singing voice – wow!
Interesting to me this year was that the Nokia Plaza was actually utilized for special outdoor summer-festival-esque concerts, dance parties, and voice dubbing activities. Among the artists performing on stage was RSP, who are most recently known for their involvement with two BLEACH ending songs. They make such a great duo!
On our way back from lunch, Christian and I ran into a Vanille cosplayer. Right before we took her picture, she kept cursing about how hungry she was and needed to find a decent Subway around the area. Nothing like a vulgar Final Fantasy character in need of popular American fast food!
Inside the exhibit hall was much less activity than I’d initially expected. In place of most major publishers were typical merchandise vendors. I was really most impressed by they many pieces of art I found in the Artist Alley, but this year’s exhibiting had been noticeably tuned down – not surprising given the state of the economy and the impact it’s had on this industry. I remember reading several articles online about the state of the industry, and the hall is definitely proving grounds for those writers.
Outside the exhibit hall, I was a little disappointed by the turnout of cosplayers, only to remember that Day 1 is just what it is – Day 1. I’m sure there will be higher attendance going into the weekend, which I’ll be observing later this afternoon, so hopefully I’ll be able to take lots more pictures! At the least, most of the cosplayers that I ran into really put extra effort into making their characters come to life, which is something few and far between most times.
And of course, there were humorous cosplay scenarios that I personally enjoy the most when it comes to conventions like these. Come on, Snake getting handled by a RPG? Darth Maul on his knees at the mercy of a magical girl? Classic.
In addition to the Anime Music Video Contest later in the evening, which really should be its own article, Day 1 proved to be a great success. I’m sure there was more stuff to talk about, so I might go back and mention those in the final recap towards the end of the convention.
Next up for Day 2 is May’n and Megumi Nakajima’s concert, some interesting panels by TOKYOPOP and Geneon Entertainment, more cosplay, and probably a few other main events that I can’t think of right now. So until next time, stay tuned for Day 2 highlights!