Anime Expo 2016, Day 1: KimiUso Ver.

27 September 2016

I don’t remember when I heard that Arakawa Naoshi, the creator of Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘 / Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso aka KimiUso), would be a Guest of Honor at this year’s Anime Expo, but having just finished watching Your lie in April (no idea why they only capitalize the “lie” in the manga title and not the anime title, even though the show uses the hashtag #YLiA) back in May, I was filled with great excitement (due to my love for the anime) and great dread (due to AX’s penchant for buggering things up nicely).

Well, I’m happy to report that, overall, KimiUso Con went rather smoothly! I was surprised by the efficient handling of the autograph session I attended (as opposed to the last one I went to at AX13) and was REALLY surprised that they actually had some con-exclusive merchandise for sale, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Of course, I don’t usually pay as much attention to other shows as I did for YLiA, but most of the AX “exclusives” that I’ve come across are things that you can get directly from Japan or things that are just available at con first and become widely available later (like Nendoroids).

This time, though, Arakawa-sensei did some original art for AX so there was an exclusive shirt and shikishi! Too bad Anime Expo didn’t auction off the original art since I totally would’ve bid on it (I’m sure it “somehow” made its way onto one of the walls in their offices), but at least I got some cool loots!

Kotobukiya had the exclusive shirt and the Kodansha Comics HUB booth on the other side had a huge display featuring waifu Kao-chan!

Plenty of art from KimiUso was on display, including this original manga spread!

After doing my shopping, I popped across the aisle to Aniplex USA​‘s A-1 Pictures​ Exhibit.

The exhibit was kind of small but pretty interesting; they had several of these displays set up for different productions. The monitors cycled scenes created from the genga (animation drawings) below.

So here we are, back at the Kodansha Comics HUB, where they were running the Your Lie in April Quest, a texting scavenger hunt! The first 1000 participants of the day got a tote bag and the 10 fastest finishers got a free copy of volume 1!

At the finish was the tote bag you got for participating, as well as the shikishi they gave you if you showed them a copy of the manga. I was told I had a good time so I was hopeful I’d win a copy of the manga, but there were so many dirty, filthy cheaters that I don’t think Kodansha will be doing a time-based hunt again any time soon.😛 If you’re reading this, Kodansha, the photos in the Facebook album are proof that I actually did the hunt!

After all that running around, I was finally able to slow it down a bit and take in some of the con. I ran into Nagato, my waifu from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, so I had her hold my Japanese copy of YLiA volume 1, fufufu.

Loots from Day 1! (Yes, despite not buying much/anything the last few AXes, I actually went full Konata Izumi from Lucky Star and spent so much money that each day gets its own loot pic!) Details in my Facebook album!

Anyway, the primary missions on Day 1 were to get Arakawa-sensei’s autograph (and to give him the crappy fan letter I wrote) and to get as much loot as I could find, so mission accomplished! There’ll be another post for Day 1 with the non-YLiA photos, and the YLiA stuff from the rest of the weekend will appear in the posts for the other days, so be sure to check them out, too!

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010!😀

2016 07 01 Fri: Anime Expo 2016, Day 1: KimiUso Ver.

Full Coverage of Anime Expo 2016:

2016 07 01 Fri: Anime Expo 2016, Day 1: KimiUso Ver.
2016 07 01 Fri: Anime Expo 2016, Day 1: Standard Ver.
2016 07 02 Sat: Anime Expo 2016, Day 2
2016 07 03 Sun: Anime Expo 2016, Day 3
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016, Day 4

The Little Mermaid in Concert: Photos [2016]

20 September 2016

When I first heard about The Little Mermaid in Concert Live to Film, the first show had already sold out and they were adding a second show. The evening that tickets went on sale, I asked some friends if they’d be interested in going, and when they said yes, I went online to book tickets — and of course, they were already down to single seats. Well, when they added a third show, this time with the original voice of Ariel (and Disney Legend) Jodi Benson, even though it was going to be on a Monday night, I made sure to camp out by my computer so we could get tickets!

Even though I ducked out of work early, Ursula did everything in her power to keep me and my friends from getting there.😛 Besides the typical rush hour traffic, Hollywood Boulevard was closed in preparation for the red carpet premiere of Warcraft (lol) the next day.

After we finally parked (valet, no less, since there wasn’t any other choice), we found the massive line of people waiting for the “Bowl Bus” that would shuttle us from Hollywood & Highland to the Hollywood Bowl. Cramming onto the packed bus (and standing in the aisle, natch), we took almost a FULL HOUR to make the 1.2 mile trip.

As we approached the entrance, the monitors by the box office taunted us with their live feed of the event, which had already wrapped the Costume Contest, the Opening Show (featuring Brad Kane, the singing voice of Aladdin, and Susan Egan, Broadway’s Belle) and was well into the film itself. (I did run into friends Red Velvet Cosplay and veveisme after the show, though.)

We finally made it through the joke of a bag check at the entrance and found our seats right after Ariel and Flounder’s onscreen introduction (the chase scene through the shipwreck with Glut, the shark), so we had missed “Fathoms Below” and Daughters of Triton”.😦

We settled into our seats, which were actually not that bad, although they were still just benches in the section we were in. Even though no cameras were allowed, everyone was using their cellphones so I pulled out mine as well. Never to do anything halfway, especially for mai waifu Ariel, I made sure to not only take pictures but to run some video as well as audio.😄 Please excuse the crap quality of my captures.

As songs came up in the film, the screens would go dark and the emcee would introduce the performer(s) and the song. Then, the film (or work-in-progress/behind-the-scenes footage for songs from the Broadway musical) would play on the smaller screens while the main screen showcased the performer(s). The cast for the night included original Ariel Jodi Benson, Rebel Wilson as Ursula, Broadway’s Tituss Burgess reprising his role as Sebastian, Darren Criss (above) as Prince Eric, Broadway’s Norm Lewis reprising his role as King Triton, Joshua Colley as Flounder, and John Stamos as Chef Louis. Not really sure how they filled some of those roles, but I especially enjoyed Stamos on “Les Poissons”.

Appropriately, there were fireworks and a focus on the violinist during the “Jig” sequence (although it wasn’t actually billed violinist Sandy Cameron), and after the literal show-stopper “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (immediately before the 15-minute intermission), I made a dash down to one of the concession booths. They’d already sold out of some items and when we went back after the show even more stuff was gone so I was glad I was able to get a few things.

I got back to my seat right as the second half started, and eventually the film ended to much applause and fireworks. However, there was one more surprise left — an encore by Jodi Benson! She said a few words about being part of the Disney family for 30 years before singing “Disneyland” from the musical Smile, which was also written by The Little Mermaid‘s lyricist Howard Ashman. After one final cast rendition of “Under the Sea“, the lights came up and it was time to go.

On the way out, we stopped at the merchandise booth again so my friends could shop, but things were selling out so fast that the clerks were selling them off the displays, lol. All the Snapshot Stops were already being dismantled (rhetorical question: how were they expecting people to use the Snapshot Stops if no cameras were allowed?), although there was a private party for Walt Disney Records’ 60th Anniversary (sponsored by H2O+ Beauty) underway.

Well, anything worth doing is never easy, but despite all the obstacles, my friends and I all had a great time. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again soon (and with fewer problems XP ). While I did get videos of all the songs we were present for, I only uploaded three of them to my YouTube Channel since they’ll prolly get taken down at some point anyway, lol.

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook, check out the three videos on my YouTube Channel, and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010!😀

2016 06 06 Mon: The Little Mermaid in Concert Live to Film

Full Coverage of The Little Mermaid in Concert [2016]:

The Little Mermaid in Concert: Videos [2016]
The Little Mermaid in Concert: Photos [2016]

The Little Mermaid in Concert: Videos [2016]

13 September 2016

Haven’t uploaded any event videos to my YouTube Channel in ages, so there are three from The Little Mermaid in Concert Live to Film, which took place at the Hollywood Bowl back in June.

Here’s the first video in the playlist, “Part of Your World”; you can see the others on YouTube. Blog post coming next week!

In the meantime, check out my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010!😀

Full Coverage of The Little Mermaid in Concert [2016]:

The Little Mermaid in Concert: Videos [2016]
The Little Mermaid in Concert: Photos [2016]

Little Tokyo Adventures II [2016]

30 August 2016

I can’t believe that for all the times I’ve gone to Korean barbecue at Manna in Little Tokyo, I haven’t posted about it before!

Before the meat is done, there’s the buffet bar where you can fill up on other things like fried rice and gyoza!

I was actually trying to get a picture of the US Bank building lit in purple in honor of Prince, but nature somehow managed a better tribute.

Fairytale Boutique‘s old space got taken over by Anime Jungle. This is their fourth store!

Also, I went to Teishokuya of Tokyo (better known as T.O.T) for the first time. I ordered the grilled chicken, which arrived with some unexpected sides! Did not expect this to be American-style, lol.

Be sure to try these spots the next time you’re in Little Tokyo!

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010!😀

2016 04 23 Sat/05 14 Sat: Little Tokyo Adventures II

Benihana and The Cheesecake Factory [2016]

23 August 2016

Once in a while, my boss takes me out to lunch and this time he felt like going to Benihana. I haven’t been to Benihana in ages and free lunch is free, so who am I to say no?😀

Benihana is a restaurant chain that was founded in New York in 1964 that specializes in Japanese teppanyaki cuisine. Now, there are Benihana restaurants all over the world — just don’t try to look for them in Japan, lol.

The main appeal of going to Benihana is the performance put on by the teppanyaki chef as s/he prepares your meal on the steel grill in front of you at your table. I’m sure they must get a lot of training to be able to do all the neat knife and flame tricks without injuring themselves!

So this is how much Ramune you actually get in one of those $3 bottles. ^^;

Vegetable fried rice comes with all of the lunch entrees, which is why that heart is so big (you’re seated with other guests, usually 8 to a table).

After we had lunch, we popped next door to grab some dessert at The Cheesecake Factory — another restaurant chain you won’t be able to find in Japan. (However, the first one in Asia opened this year in Shanghai Disney Resort’s Disneytown complex.)

These were taken on my fixed focus cell phone, so excuse the terrible quality. ^^;

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010!😀

2016 04 22 Fri: Benihana and The Cheesecake Factory

Wurstküche and The Pie Hole [2016]

16 August 2016

Every time my friends and I go to The Pie Hole, we see the line in front of Wurstküche and talk about trying it some time. Well, that time finally arrived!

Really, Wurstküche is pretty much just a bar that also happens to serve exotic sausages with atypical meats such as duck, rabbit, lamb, and rattlesnake. You also get to choose from four different toppings, but only the first two are free.

Once you place your order, you make your way into the back room, which is dark and loud and not at all conducive to conversation. Some of the benches in the middle have butcher’s paper that you can draw on while waiting for the waitperson to bring you your food (it’s in the Arts District, after all).

My friend tried one of the draft beers while we waited in line and enjoyed it immensely, but the consensus was that Pink’s is much better in terms of not only flavor but price and ambience. Wurstküche was worth trying once, though!

Afterwards, we popped across the street for some dessert from The Pie Hole.

I guess it was just meant to be a gastronomically unfulfilling night, as my selection, the Cereal Killer Cheesecake, also wound up being quite disappointing.

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and be sure to Like The Vault on Facebook, where I’m finally caught up through 2010!😀

2016 04 02 Sat: Wurstküche and The Pie Hole

LEGO/Building Blocks Events [2016]

09 August 2016

It’s been a while since I promoted something that wasn’t one of my own projects (like Looking for Miku, my short film, or Tomo Neko, the maid cafe I was a board member of), and this isn’t a promotion per se. However, since there a couple of similarly-themed events coming up, I wanted to put in my two cents. (All photos from my previous coverage of Brick Boutique.)

I recently received a Groupon offer for an event called Brick Fest Live. I had previously reached out to them since I’d wanted to cover one of their events and help them promote. Little did I know that what I thought would be a private message to their info email would be posted to their public forum, without notice or disclaimer. Pretty shady, if you ask me. Additionally, they closed the “support ticket” without response or even telling me. Wow, how professional! /sarcasm

The Groupon offer I got for Brick Fest Live gives you the privilege of paying “only” $20 to play with Legos for just four hours (regular price of $35). Seriously? What a ripoff! Brick Fest Live is obviously one of those organizations that only care about your money.

I’d rather go to Brick Boutique, which happens at the same exact convention center, where you can do the same thing ALL DAY for only $7 ($12 if you want the early bird entry ticket and FREE if you show up after 4pm). Not only is it cheaper for a longer experience, you also get admission to Robo Toy Fest at the same time! You can’t beat that!

Brick Boutique has all sorts of vendors selling Lego kits both old and new. They also have a building contest and, of course, a FREE building pit where you could take home your creation when you’re done — for FREE! They even have special guests, like voice actors from the Lego video games and designers from Power Rangers!

Forget that lame ripoff Brick Fest Live; if you want to get your Lego fix, go to Brick Boutique instead! The next Brick Boutique will be in October 2016.

There’s plenty of coverage of Brick Boutique in the Archives! Also, check out my Fan Page on Facebook as well as The Vault on Facebook for more of my adventures!

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