Anime Expo 2016, Day 3

25 October 2016

Day 3 was a pretty lazy day; finally got to check out the Dealers Hall in earnest with my friends, looking at drool-worthy goods and double-dipping on, of course, Your Lie in April stuff. xD;

I think this is D.Va from Overwatch, no?

I’m waiting for One Piece to finish before I start it, but I have a feeling it’ll be a very, very long time.

Awesome Ryuuko (Kill la Kill) cosplayer.

I’ve only been able to watch a couple of episodes of Kabaneri, but it’s awesome, just like this Mumei cosplayer! (Incidentally, the character designs for that show were done by none other than Mikimoto Haruhiko, who designed characters for the original Macross and Gunbuster, including waifu Takaya Noriko.)

Having finally finished reading Sailor Moon, I can actually recognize most of these Sailor Scouts! (The manga wasn’t in color so I’m still not 100% sure on of some of them.)

I’ve always liked this Sakura Taisen kit despite not knowing anything about the show, but there’s no way I’d be able to put one together even though it’s already in color!

Some Snow Miku and default Miku Dollfies on display with Senbonzakura Miku!

I don’t usually go for third-party (ie, unofficial) merch, but I was very severely tempted by these epic versions of G1 Transformers Scorponok and the Dinobots! (I’m not really sure how Scorponok would look in his alt modes, though.)

I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of One Punch Man, but it was pretty funny! They had special events at the con but I only really saw a couple of cosplayers from the series.

Day 3 loot, where I finished my sets of three, lol. Why three? Why, one to keep, one to use, and one as backup, of course! Details in the Facebook album!

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 03 Sun: Anime Expo 2016, Day 3

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
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 Anniversaries
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 Itasha
2016 07 04 Mon: Anime Expo 2016 GSC Racing


2015: The Year in Anime

26 July 2016

Here is the final recap post for 2015; the anime I watched!

Started the year off rewatching a couple of films, the first being the third in the series of Puella Magi Madoka Magica films, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika the Movie Part 3: -Rebellion- (劇場版 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ 叛逆の物語). It was fun to rewatch this sequel to the original TV series/two recap movies and even more fun to watch my friends’ reactions to the mindscrew ending!

Image taken from my coverage of the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika the Movie Part 3: -Rebellion- premiere in Hollywood!

Next, I unexpectedly wound up rewatching the anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day The Movie (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。 めんまへの手紙 / A Letter to Menma). While I didn’t cry the first time I saw the film, there was enough distance from the last viewing that I was bawling my eyes out before it ended.

And, yes, I’m still pissed about those letters (which you can read about here) to this day. XP

I continued to revisit old acquaintances through a couple of OVAs, the first of which was the Highschool of the Dead (学園黙示録 HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD) OVA “Drifters of the Dead”. If you thought the main series, which is about highschoolers trying to survive a zombie outbreak, was chock full of fanservice, the OVA pushes it right to the edge of hentai. >/////< The whole thing is pretty much a fantasy/side story/beach episode with no real bearing on the plot. Despite its shortcomings, I actually enjoyed the TV series but since the original work is on an indefinite hiatus, this is prolly the last episode this show will ever release.

Photo of Saeko from the Highschool of the Dead photoshoot I did with Tora-rin.

To be honest, I don’t even remember the Kill la Kill (キルラキル) OVA, but I know I watched it, lol. It was about graduation and closing down the academy and one of the minor characters trying to exact revenge, but honestly I think that plot was the last element that went into creating this over-the-top final visit to Honnouji Academy.

Image of Fight Club Mako from FanimeCon 2014, but you can read my thoughts on the show itself here.

After that, it was time to take the Wayback Machine way back to one of my very first anime, Project A-ko! I’d had the box set sitting on my shelf for literally years and finally decided it was time to crack it open. I’d enjoyed the first A-ko movie when I was younger but never really saw the rest of the entries in the series (save for an unsubbed A-ko 2 and maybe parts of A-ko 3 or A-ko 4).

Project A-ko (プロジェクトA子) came out in the mid-1980s and is a zany fantasy/sci-fi parody film that features tons of in-jokes and homages to other works. I hadn’t watched it a long while and I certainly didn’t know as much about anime then as I do now, so it was like watching it for the first time and it was great fun catching all the things I didn’t remember or notice previously!

The film focuses on three girls named, appropriately, A-ko, B-ko, and C-ko (“Girl A”, “Girl B”, and “Girl C”). A-ko and C-ko are besties but B-ko wants C-ko all to herself so she continually challenges A-ko to increasingly insane battles featuring increasingly insane mecha of her own design. Unfortunately for B-ko, A-ko is ridiculously strong (for reasons alluded to at the end of the film). They ultimately get caught up with aliens who are searching for their long-lost princess and (even more) mayhem ensues. The film features one of my favorite anime soundtracks, which was actually composed by two American musicians (Joey Carbone and Richie Zito) and has English-language songs.

The three sequels, unfortunately, are much weaker. Project A-ko 2: The Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group (プロジェクトA子2 大徳寺財閥の陰謀) is about B-ko’s father and the search for alien technology; Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody (プロジェクトA子3 シンデレララプソディ) features A-ko and B-ko fighting over a boy’s affections; and Project A-ko 4: FINAL (プロジェクトA子 完結篇) sees previously minor character Miss Ayumi (the girls’ teacher) preparing to get married.

The two OVAs, A-ko The VS (A-ko The ヴァーサス), alternatively called Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars or Project A-ko: Grey Side/Blue Side, were also made back in the day, when OVAs were more experimental and tended to be unrelated to the main stories they were offshoots of. In this alternate universe, bounty-hunting partners A-ko and B-ko attempt to save a kidnapped C-ko from space pirates with the help of a weird little alien named Maruten. It has none of the charm of the rest of the series and I wish they would’ve spent the money making an A-ko 5, lol.

I’ve never run across any A-ko cosplayers or even A-ko merchandise besides the English-translated DVDs and comics/graphic novels, so here is a picture from my Back to School sale (items listed in the post are still available, natch)!

I revisited the movie sequel to Tiger & Bunny, Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising-, which still managed to get me in the feels.

Photo from the theatrical screening that you can read about here.

Following that was (finally) something new to me: Hanasaku Iroha (花咲くいろは) aka HanaIro. After picking it up at AX 2013‘s Charity Auction (still seriously wondering why they didn’t get Mari Okada to autograph it as well since she was there to promote it with P.A. Works producer Nobuhiro Kikuchi but that’s just par for the fail course for AX), it sat on my shelf for three years for no particular reason besides my working on Looking for Miku and prolly fear that Okada-sensei would fail to come through. As much as I wanted to like it, this coming-of-age tale of a girl working at her grandmother’s hot spring inn didn’t live up to my favorite Okada-written works (Toradora! and AnoHana).

Loot photo from coverage of Anime Expo 2013, Day 4.

Going back once more to something familiar, I decided to revisit Diebuster (Aim for the Top 2! / トップをねらえ 2!), the sequel to possibly my favorite anime OVA series of all time, Gunbuster. Why didn’t I just rewatch Gunbuster? I have no idea; I think I was just on a break-open-the-shrinkwrap kick, lol. I’d bought the ridiculously expensive single discs even though I’d been incredibly disappointed by the sequel, but having only seen it as a fansub I decided to give it another go with the official release. I’m happy to say that it made all the difference to my enjoyment of the alien invasion show, and I came to appreciate the connections to the original and the expansion of the universe. The included booklets and notes were also a nice extra.

Photo of Diebuster cosplayers from AX13.

Was happy to revisit some old friends on my anime feels trip and also glad to meet some new ones! Feel free to make your recommendations on what I should watch next in the comments below, and check out my Fan Page on Facebook as well as The Vault on Facebook for more of my adventures!

Anime Expo 2015, Day 3

10 November 2015

Got a bit of a late start on Day 3 of Anime Expo but finally managed to properly check out the dealers hall with my friends! Was kind of bummed that I couldn’t see Wagakki Band, especially since I heard that a lot of people left after IA performed, but at least I didn’t have to try to rush back to the hotel before the show.

School Uniform Yoko, from (I think) the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – Otoko Doahou! Hen manga series which puts the characters in modern-day Japan.

Saw this awesome Moemura (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika) working at one of the dealers and had to get some shots!

Shimakaze from Kancolle (Kantai Collection / 艦隊これくしょん), a web browser game that has become an anime, manga, and light novel series.

Default and Snow Miku Dollfies on display.

Nui from Kill La Kill. Very impressed with her hair, haha.

Later in the evening, my friends and I headed back to the convention center to take photos of their Wreck-It Ralph cosplays in the photo set area only to find that the entire space was closed for a private shoot. 😛 We did run into a bunch of other cool cosplayers, though; here are my friends with Darkwing Duck!

Ran into my friend Miss Steak from Enix Remix and friend.

Nendo 500! Every Nendoroid to date, including some exceedingly rare ones, was on display. (Cheated a little since the exhibit was closed when we arrived and this is from Day 4.)

Light Side (Fix-It Felix) and Dark Side (Harley Quinn), lol.

Shenron from Dragon Ball was the main attraction in South Hall.

You can only see this crossover at AX! … and maybe Disneyland, lol.

I’m told these are Steve’s parents Rose and Greg from the animated series Steven Universe.

One episode of Binan Kokou Chikyuu Seifuku-bu Love! (Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! / 美男高校地球防衛部Love!) was about all I needed to watch, lol.

One episode of Yowamushi Pedal (Weakling Pedal / 弱虫ペダル), on the other hand, was not enough!

An easy-going yet fun-filled day that mainly consisted of hanging out and catching up with friends!

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! 😀

2015 07 04 Sat: Anime Expo 2015, Day 3

Full Coverage of Anime Expo 2015:

Anime Expo 2015, Days 0-2
Anime Expo 2015, Day 3
Anime Expo 2015, Day 4

2014: The Year in Anime

06 May 2015

Been dealing with a dead hard drive and no internet so I apologize for being bad with the updates. DX Luckily I didn’t lose as much as I did the last time a hard drive failed (you’d think I would’ve learned my lesson by now) but I still lost some critical files (including ones related to Looking for Miku) as well as photos and videos from more recent events (such as Anison USA).

Anyway, I never did finish my recap series for 2014, so here is the final installment: anime I watched in 2014!

First up was the second season of YuruYuri (ゆるゆり), also known as YuruYuri♪♪. It’s a show about the members of a middle school Amusement Club as well as the members of the Student Council. The cast is female, the humor is slapstick, and the yuri is strong. Toshinou Kyouuuuuuko!

Although my friend Kazumi has talked about cosplaying from this show, I don’t have any photos related to it, so here is a picture from my Back to School sale (items listed are still available, natch)!

Soon after wrapping on Looking for Miku in January, I caught two features at the Downtown Independent, the first of which was Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. (aka Evangelion: The New Movie: Q / ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:Q). Long-time readers will know that I’m not much for the original series, but I actually rather enjoyed Evangelion 2.0 (mainly due to the addition of new waifu Mari Illustrious Makinami) so I went to check it out. While the opening battle sequence of the new film was quite impressive and I was intrigued by the new battle-hardened versions of Misato and Asuka, the story shifted back to Shinji, Rei, and Kaworu and things quickly went downhill from there. There’s still a lot of ground to cover and only one more film to do it with; we’ll see how it goes.

Image of Cherry-Jelly‘s Risa and Taka from my post covering the screenings of Eva 3.0 and the next film.

The following evening was the movie version of Anohana, which is one of my favorite series. Unfortunately, the whole thing with the letters to Menma (which you can read about in the original post) really affected my enjoyment of the viewing — so much so that my normally feelful self didn’t tear up even once during it. (I did rewatch it about a week ago and it wound up having a much more pronounced effect that time.)

I’ve only ever seen one Anohana cosplayer in person, and it was at AX13!

Next up was Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (翠星のガルガンティア). Be honest: how many of you had never even heard that word before this series? This sci-fi adventure series, written by Madoka Magica writer Urobuchi Gen, is about a space pilot who crash lands on a water planet and eventually learns about its mysterious past. For a show from Gen the Butcher, it was surprisingly light on the angst, but still managed to say a few things about technology and blind adherence to ideology. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with season 2.

No cosplayers or loots from this series in my collection, but since it was a show with girls and robots (wait, isn’t that pretty much every anime?), here is a photo from my Girls & Robots sale!

I managed to attend the movie sequel Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising- due to the invite of a fellow blogging friend. Tiger & Bunny (タイガー&バニー) is one of those shows I had no real expectations for and wound up enjoying much more than I’d anticipated. This film is no different, as it managed to hit all the right notes with its storytelling, and it was a lively viewing as the predominantly female audience was very appreciative when their favorite heroes appeared on-screen. xD

Photo of a Lunatic cosplayer from my post covering the screening.

After that, it was time to check out the ridiculously popular series Kill la Kill (キルラキル)! This over-the-top action romp is everything you’d expect from the makers of Gurren Lagann, pumped up to the Nth-degree — More humor! More fanservice! More beatdowns! More everything! … except the heart. For some reason, while I did thoroughly enjoy the show and its frenetic insanity, it didn’t resonate with me the way Gurren Lagann did. I can’t even remember if the last episode managed to wrench any tears from me, while Gurren Lagann had me bawling from, like, the last five episodes (I get teary just reading their recaps, lol). I think in the effort to top themselves, they managed to super-size everything but the feels.

This Mako cosplayer was one of the last ones I caught at FanimeCon 2014!

I took a break from anime for a bit to focus on editing Looking for Miku, but after I returned from FanimeCon, I kind of got on a Shinkai Makoto kick. First up was 5 Centimeters Per Second (秒速5センチメートル), a 2007 film that’s broken up into three parts. Each of the segments features a boy named Touno Takaki in different stages of his life, from adolescence to adulthood, and how his first love affects him. It’s a visually stunning film, but I don’t think it really moved me like I expected it to.

Nothing from this film in my archives, but since trains figure prominently in it, here’s a photo of one of San Jose‘s metrorails!

Voices of a Distant Star (ほしのこえ) is one I’d been meaning to watch for ages (the manga has also been sitting on my shelf for several years). This was Shinkai’s first project and it was pretty much a one-man show (he and his fiancée at the time even did the voices themselves). My interest was primarily due to the premise, which was of a literally long-distance relationship between a young couple living worlds apart who communicate by text message. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that one of my favorite anime series, if not my most favorite series, is Gunbuster, which also explores the effects of time dilation and interstellar travel on people and relationships. Given that, I was excited to watch this short OVA. I tried to enjoy it, but for some reason I think the execution fell short of my expectations. The ending, especially, seemed a bit too pat for my liking.

No photos related to this OVA, either, so here’s a shot of the iconic starship Enterprise from my visit to Washington, DC, several years ago.

By this point I was seriously wondering why there was so much hype around Shinkai’s works, but then again I’ve never been one to embrace popular opinion (eg, never been much of a fan of Miyazaki Hayao’s films or Star Wars). So, it was with some trepidation that I watched The Place Promised in Our Early Days (雲のむこう、約束の場所). This full-length feature about a high school trio, a mysterious tower, and alternate universes would’ve been better served as a series, I think. There were many things that could’ve used a deeper explanation and the ambitious attempt at a more complex plot only managed to yield a confusing and convoluted story. Shinkai’s go-to theme of lost love makes yet another appearance here, but this time it only feels forced.

Photo from an alternate universe in which Suzumiya Haruhi (Aoi Mizuno) gets to read manga in the middle of the street, lol.

Having made it so far, I figured I might as well finish off Shinkai’s standalone works canon with Children Who Chase Lost Voices (aka Children Who Chase Stars or Journey to Agartha / 星を追う子ども). This feature definitely felt more like a traditional Ghibli-style film, which is either good or bad depending on your preference. Even though it’s filled with strange creatures and takes place mostly in an alternate world, there’s plenty of action and adventure coupled with a solid through-line, making it a lot more mainstream than Shinkai’s other more experimental (and slower-paced) works. Once again, there is the requisite theme of lost love, and this time it resonated with me a bit more. It’s still hard to say if I really enjoyed it, but I did like it better than his other films. Whether or not I’ll take a chance on his series Garden of Words now that I’m familiar with his style is another matter entirely.

Voice Actress Cristina Vee seems to have lost her voice (and maybe even her head D: ) in this shot from Ninja-Con 2013!

There was a pretty good gap afterwards since my boy Jack Bauer was back in action and putting holes in British folks on Fox’s 24: Live Another Day, but after the ambiguous finale, I watched Yuyushiki (ゆゆ式). A light and fluffy show that’s often laugh-out-loud funny, this slice-of-life comedy is about three girls (whose names all begin with “Yu”) who join their school’s Data Processing Club.

Even though I do own a figure from the show, I haven’t done a loot post in quite a while (hmm, future update perhaps?), so here is another one of my favorite data processors, Nagato Yuki, from the Suzumiya Haruhi Race Queen photoshoot I did at AX13.

It was back to Looking for Miku for the next while as I met with cast to do ADR but I was finally able to check out anime again with imouto during my family’s vacation as we watched one of my favorites, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (aka Tokikake [Toki wo Kakeru Shōjo] / 時をかける少女). Even though my sister was frustrated by the two leads, I still found the film fun and enchanting on my third viewing.

That photo from PMX 2012 isn’t really a spoiler anymore, is it?

One more lengthy gap followed until the end of the year for my now annual marathon viewings. First was an encore of Yuyushiki, which imouto enjoyed, before subjecting her to the bawlfest known as Angel Beats! (エンジェルビーツ!), one of my favorites from last year. Imouto enjoyed this comedy/drama/thriller/mystery series (which you can read more about in last year’s post) and even kept the episodes for later viewing (with, I expect, drier eyes).

Photo of Nobuhiro Kikuchi, one of the masterminds behind the series, taken at AX13.

Even though I wasn’t able to watch very many anime (and even though some of what I did watch were repeats/recaps/redos), it was good to finally check out some that I’d heard so much about! I’m sure there were others (could’ve sworn I watched the Highschool of the Dead and Kill la Kill OVAs also at some point) but since my memory is terrible, I’ll prolly have to revise this post eventually. Feel free to make your recommendations on what I should watch next or to tell me why I have bad taste for hating on Makoto Shinkai in the comments below, and check out my Fan Page on Facebook as well as The Vault on Facebook for more of my adventures!

FanimeCon 2014, Days 2-4

01 July 2014

Here is the second post covering the remaining days of FanimeCon 2014!

Most of Day 2 was spent checking out the Dealers Hall and tagging along with Sojian-senpai as he shot with It’s Itsuka and her friends… twice! Look for those albums coming soon.

I’m not sure if this was a DC vs Capcom group. I thought it was supposed to be Marvel vs Capcom?

So many pretty Ariel arts! ♥

View from the catwalk at The Fairmont. Finally went back to Bijan for the first time since my first photoshoot with Aoi Mizuno and shyot way back in 2011! :O

As expected, there were a crapton of Kill la Kill (キルラキル) cosplayers this con! Here are the Nudist Beach vers. of Inumuta Houka, Jakuzure Nonon, Kiryuuin Satsuki, Gamagouri Ira, and two(?) Mikisugi Aikurous!

Ran into this Ariel at the beginning of Day 3! Day 3 was Black & White Ball, so after spending most of the afternoon with my lovely friend Luna Lovely I had to run all the way back to the DoubleTree to get ready before spending the evening with many nattily dressed otaku.

This steampunk-inspired Sailor Moon group was super awesome!

Twenty years of Fanime!

First Akuma Homura I’ve ever seen and the first Madokami I’ve seen in a while!

The last day is always a short one, but oddly enough I wound up taking the most pictures at con on Day 4! :3a

Having recently finished Kill la Kill, I was happy to actually recognize so many cosplays from this wildly popular show. Was able to snag Matoi Ryuuko as she was running to a photoshoot!

Mankanshoku Mako was taking a break but she was kind enough to let me take a couple of shots. I love Mako Fight Club President ver.’s brass knuckles!

Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan.

Quick peek at the new fixture/sculpture that replaced the pool/fountain.

While FanimeCon fell short for me this year for reasons both related and unrelated to the con itself, I still got to hang out with my friends, meet some new people, and (re)learn some important life lessons. Hopefully the rest of the year’s cons go more smoothly!

See the full album on my Fan Page on Facebook and check out The Vault on Facebook, where I’ve been posting events from 2009! 😀

2014 05 24-05 26 Sat-Mon: FanimeCon 2014, Days 2-4

Full Coverage of FanimeCon 2014:

FanimeCon/Clockwork Alchemy 2014, Days 0-1
FanimeCon 2014, Days 2-4
Princess Jellyfish Photoshoot
Fate/Zero Photoshoot

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