Category Archives: Conventions and Concerts


I probably left my AX2023 writeup in the trash somewhere, and between then and now was a very fun AWA2023, but let’s not let it get in the way. Million Live’s 10th tour part 3 in Fukuoka just commands my mind right now, so thus the needs to get it written down.

Yes, it’s Next Life O’Clock.

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Anirevo 2023 Summer: Wrap

After being teased about great seiyuu guests earlier in the year, Anirevo comes through with Itou Miku, Ohashi Ayaka, and Machico along with veteran Morita Masakazu. Their big summer event delivers on top with Animusix concert and Hololive shenanigans.

For those who have been to the big anime event at Vancity, it’s likely old news for you, but this kind of sleepy con is actually the ideal hybrid of Western con culture with Asian sensibilities. Yes, it’s run by Chinese people, but I think they’ve done a good job overall. First off there’s appropriate tiering to better monetize the smaller demo of con goers and keep things cheap enough for the masses. What’s more amusing to me was while waiting out in line to get in on an early Sunday morning, two clear-eyed Japanese tourists was wondering about the anime event and the nearby cosplayers in display, and wanted to go. It’s that kind of an Asian-cosmopolitan mix. Just random Asians of all types walking around the waterfront on a sunny Sunday…

The 3-day event starts in the morning where people linecon to get their badges. With premiere I was able to get around this and line up for a nice spot during opening ceremony, while meeting up with friends from nearby and afar alike. I also ended up working for much of Friday morning and didn’t get back to the con until late in the day. I guess I also went out to eat with some friends at Richmond since nothing on the schedule was particularly a big draw. I guess this was the day I could have met Takadera-san again but it just didn’t work out time-wise.

Morita was suppose to have a photo and autograph session on Friday, but those were cancelled due to some issue on his end, probably related to his physical condition. He was able to make it to the Friday evening panel which I was able to catch. It’s all good stuff. At the time we were hoping to use those sessions to figure out how the con will deal with line control and photo sessions for the rest of the weekend, because the rules and setup are different this year.

Since I sat out of the Hololive stuff, I ended up having an early supper with friends who weren’t going, and a later dinner with friends who did. At the end I felt pretty tired after all the walking, working, and socializing…and having to wake up early for Eastern time work activities. It does make waking up early on Saturday easy? I also went to Richmond for a late lunch, which might make things more tiring (but more fulfilling).

Somehow when the big day came, we got down to the premiere line nice and early, and was easily in the first group to go in. We also had pretty good positioning thanks to the splurge on hotel. For some reason, Anirevo decided to schedule the 3 female seiyuu photo and sign sessions at the same time, so unless you have premiere you can’t really hop them. There were various issues with the premiere lines for those sessions, but I was about to get 4 out of the max of 5 Saturday gets, so I considered that good enough.

The Saturday concert was, well, very delayed due to technical issues from the 2 Vtuber openers. It was just real-time karaoke streams, but one of them were unable completely to do anything, and the other one had 3 songs, one which suffered from audio sync issues.

The other half of the show features Hasshi, Mikku, and Machico in that order, each performing just 3 songs. Set list here:

Anirevo, I hope you got your money’s worth, because this concert was so, so short! That said I am pretty happy with what was in the concert, so maybe it’s okay that each only performed THREE songs. I don’t mind paying more if the concert was longer, but I also flew in cross-country mainly for this so your mileage will vary. If there was a silver lining, it was that it was easy to go all out for all 9 (or 9.5) songs, since it was so short. It was about 45 minutes for the 3, including the encore.

We spent a few hours camping (since before 2pm) for a show that was suppose to start at 7 but didn’t really start until 7:45. OK maybe it was more than just a few hours, now that I wrote it down… It was good social time with friends who flew in, and a few who didn’t. We mostly got front row seats, and even the friends who were non-premiere had decent seats. That said the room wasn’t full, maybe 80%? Or less? Still we had a huge room this year, twice as large as prior years for Anirevo main event, so that was probably fine.

I’m also super glad we got Wagamama Mirror Heart because some of us were there mainly for that song, or it’s a big reason. It was special to see Hego and get that 1-on-1 treatment. She was pretty much exactly what you would expect, and in 10 years in, her answers to the Q&A (mostly straight-laced) are as solid as they come. If anything it’s a tad too rehearsed, but maybe we just don’t ask really good questions.

Same could be said of Mikku, although there was slightly less anticipation to her songs than her photo sessions and Q&A. I’m just glad someone asked about Anyuri and Mikku dragged Natsukawa into the answer. Otherwise, Mikku really kept her answers on point and short, which help go through more questions than the others.

Machico was a bit more giggly and fun in her Q&As, but otherwise the formerly-Horipro answered similiarly.

Other than the lining-up being different, the autograph session this year differed that you can only get a shikishi signed (and they charge you $20) versus your badge (free). No personal items is kinda the compromise we had but I think this was OK. No photo tickets, but the spirit of the photo booth this year wasn’t really different than prior, just that the demand is higher. So high, in fact, on Sunday the printer ran out of ink and paper.

Yeah I looped a lot. This is what a friend did for Itou Miku:

I didn’t do much better… I mean if the photo booth for Miku on Sunday ran out of people to shoot and there were no line left 30 minutes into a 60-minute session, what were you suppose to do? Nothing?

We stayed at the Pan Pacific using Amex FHR, and it was pretty okay. The hotel’s main clients are cruise goers who need to hang around Vancouver without going far, as it’s literally part of the terminal. It’s got 5 star service in a 4 star accommodation, in a way, so it was more for us the ability to use the lounge, and be literally the closest hotel to the entrance of the con. Vancouver hotels in August are sky high in price so we split many ways to make it affordable. Maybe next time we’ll stay at another similar hotel in the vicinity.

The guests also wrote about their trip. Miku about the whale, Machico about the lobster they ate? Hasshi said something. I did this thing that Machico has confirmed delivery. We could not have been finished with it without your help.

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Otakon 2023: Wrap

What an Otakon was this year. I got some insider look at how the sausage was made this year, so at first I was a little apprehensive. But it turned out this year was actually better than the usual years because the seiyuu guests came through big time.

There were actually 5 JP voice talents at this con, so that’s already above-average. There were two of them actually older than me, so props to Otakon for catering to its boomers I guess? One of them was Ikezawa Haruna, who is best described as literary princess as seiyuu-turned-SF purveyor. She also writes her own SF and more importantly, came up with a very welcoming way to describe some of the key cultural notions that she represents, so to be able to present them in a very brand-ambassador-y way. It’s clear to me that she has put a lot of thought into the world of voice acting and SF lit. She embodies two things that I am interested in (RIP Haikasoru), in one package.

The panels Ikezawa presented were a lot of fun. The SF lit panel was cohosted with Jim Vowles, the long time Otakon chair/GR dude. Nobody really brought up SF lit when Ikezawa was just asking it from the crowd, which struck me as humorous. But she was mindful and had statements on things like generative AI, labor, and the concept of kawaii. She is a voracious reader it seems, so she name dropped her recommended Seiun award winners during the SF lit panel. She even namedropped Haikasoru and how it died, lol. There was just so much I want to actually discuss with her with SF, despite how poorly-read I am.

In her kawaii panel, Ikezawa explored the concept of kawaii and about character creation from a seiyuu-voicing-mascot point of view, which was also refreshingly rare. It’s not just a biographic perspective, but it was discussed kind of like an academic-abstract style with real life examples and audience interaction. Only if my law school profs were cute seiyuus kind of vibe?

I think just her content made Otakon for me. Otakon was always more of a cerebral con versus the average anime con, with creators who geek out their own stuff. More over, its Japanese guests had consistently delivered really high quality content on this. Just ask anyone who went to Kawamori’s panels, for example. So Otakon was a great fit for Ikezawa I think. On Sunday Ikezawa also cohosted a dubbing-around-the-world panel with MX dub legend Mario Castañeda and FFXIV’s Alisaie CV Bethan Walker from the UK. That one was more normal, off-the-cuff, but for those of us not familiar with dubbing in other countries, it was definitely enriching.

The other senior Japanese voice actor, Iwao Junko, talked about her life experiences. Unfortunately I was only able to go to her panel on Sunday but it was her telling her story from the start to today. She gave us a nice present by singing the lullaby from Card Captor Sakura and it was just quite amazing for an early-Sunday-morning Otakon panel. I also talked about the one thing she dropped about Shine Post here. If I hadn’t have to work on Friday I probably could have went to her other panels, unfortunately.

The voice actor fun times continued with TMS’s crew. They brought over the editor for the manga and two seiyuu from the upcoming anime adaptation of the Four Knights of the Apocalypse, which is the sequel to the Seven Deadly Sins. Having to see us horse out with Nakamura Kanna was just delightful and I am floored that I got something signed. Somehow this also meant we went to all of TMS’s presentations, which was, I guess, fine, and I took some very basic notes here.

Turned out a fellow trainer that we hung out at the con with was really into Narita Top Road, and here we were. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that seeing all the interaction we had with Nakamura, and, more over, the anticipation to it as the days leading up to the con, was a big source of joy at and surrounding the event. At the same time, Nakamura is still a newbie seiyuu. I don’t know how many characters Nakamura has played, nor how many times had she interacted with fans to this degree, I only hope we have given her some good memories to take home with.

Having to work the day job one out of the 3 days at Otakon does crib a lot of my exposure. I missed out on the creative team on the Quints anime, and I missed seeing Watari again this year. I also somehow missed out on the Yaiba concert, probably because I had to find time to eat dinner between all the things.

I even almost missed all the Kawamori/Macross stuff, but I did get to sit in on his panel with Aramaki for a while, and it’s more or less what you’d expect. Even the Q&A was pretty okay. On the Macross note, I did buy some Big West authorized Macross Delta stuff. I mean, what merch are even there to buy for Delta? I got a Mylene badge, a Walkure badge, a VF31 pin and both YF19 pins.

I was able to drop by in Idolspace, which is Otakon’s ever-slightly-better indie idol content track. This year they had even more programs than ever and shows lasted into the night. There was even a separate idol show. This Phoebe person seems, I don’t know, amusing. Got to see also a friend belting it out. The Aniwaza folks which are a wotagei group were doing degen stuff at the Idolspace also. Feels like that area is just full of that “stuff.” How do you articulate that chikaidol-driven wota stuff versus the normal music things you see at otaku events?

I also got to see some rare guys like Dave, the usual suspects working autographs and GR, and LOL this guy–

Joke aside, it was a rich Otakon experience, the convention did its best to not get in my way after things started. Worries like how TMS might block us from getting Uma autographs melted away in the sheer force of opportunity. Even autographs were super smooth and not super crowded versus prior years for some reason.

There were plenty of time to hang out with friends too, we had time to spend with Sujay which was amusingly unexpected. It all made me warm up for that same party-with-friends vibe that I hope we can recreate in Vancouver in a few weeks. I really appreciate all the folks I got to hung out with.

On a more personal note, I probably got more random loot shipped to me home over the weekend than I got from Otakon dealers. It was pretty crowded but the room was laid out very well and spread out, so it didn’t feel bad. Artist Alley also wasn’t too bad. I did walk it this time and it wasn’t bad, just nothing jumped out at me, no more than the occasional bunny Karin from Blue Archive would. Still I probably spent like, $100, between the one collapsible penlight from YeahLights, the con shirt, and at the Macross booth.

PS. Foods. We went back to the Cuba joint down the street on Sunday and did not really take any pics, sorry. Inflation sure was a thing. Also spent and ate more at the Dignitary just because it’s so convenient.

The real culinary expedition was at Busboys and Poets, which is a solid soul food chain by most means. I guess it’s suppose to be more African-inspired? The fried chicken was very solid.

PPS. Yeah I also have an AX post coming up soon as I finish watching ML10th act 2 I guess.

Otakon 2023: Day 0

I’m so behind on the news cycle in that I basically didn’t comb my usual news sources for about a month and an half, but I had gotten back to this. Anyways, going to be Otakon this weekend and taking it easy.

The main draw this year will be not just the usual set of creators, also whatever Macross news that’s going to get out this year. I’m glad there’s at least a con that draws Kawamori to it every so often. Somehow, Watari also returns.

I’m probably going to see if I can get to see Haruna Ikezawa somehow. She is not only a fairly established seiyuu for a while, but also now a SF author. I’m actually not sure if she does that much dubbing these days, but the 00s were dotted with her voice.

I mean she was a regular cast member on Marimite! There are four more seiyuu showing up at Otakon, three of them are fairly unknown and the other is, uh, Iwao Junko. Junko Iwao makes her return to the East Coast. I’ve seen her a couple times now but please go see her at Otakon too, this veteran seiyuu is a lot of fun to see in person.

As for the other three, one of them is only really known for her role as Narita Top Road from the Road to the Top Umamusume Youtube anime–Kanna Nakamura. Only that Nakamura and fellow newbie Shou Komura are here on behalf of the new Seven Deadly Sins anime. Also, Runa Katagiri is with Kia Asamiya (or whatever his other anime staff name) to promote Asamiya’s new project. Guess I’ll try to pop out and see.

Given the terrible state of my PTOs this year I will probably have to work at Otakon for a day, but again, just going to take it kind of easy where I could. Otakon this year boasts a big guest list though so I think there’ll be something to do every day.

PS. When will I get time to watch ML10th Act-2…? I think I still need to watch Uma 5th Wish somehow before this weekend…

PPS. A former version of this article omitted some seiyuu and I regretfully apologize.

Anime Expo 2023: Day -1

May and June were big travel months and I was out of the house for weeks at a time. Still, looks like I’m going to Anime Expo. If anything I hope I get to hang out with some friends, that’s my main win.

I’ll take a minute to jot down some logistical stuff just to remind myself how much goes on at AX every year, and how you just can’t see everything. Maybe it’s good that I am not going to care for a lot of these. Also, a lot of the stuff in is going to be me refreshing the departure situation at EWR as that’s the airport that I typically fly out of, and currently it’s suffering from a long cascading series of delays from last weekend. The hotel strike, at least, is not on my worrying list.

Programming: Panels and such. I’ll highlight the ones I might go to.

Day 0:

Teddy, Waipa, James Landino, feat. DDK.
Summer Kickoff party Grand Star Jazz Club, formerly known as the Anime Expo Kickoff Party but got D/C’d into a name change.

Day 1:

  • Opening Ceremony, 10:30 Main Events: Not going but there’s going to be some band (Asterism) playing there, hmm.
  • COLORFUL STAGE, 11:00 Petree: Featuring Tomori Kusunoki and Hinata Sato, about the hot mobile game of vocaloid characters
  • Kafka Asagiri Panel, 11:00 JW-Platinum: Bunko Stray Dog’s creator seems pretty interesting, but probably not going.
  • Zom 100 Preview, 12:30 Petree: It’s the next hit anime I guess.
  • Pompo screening with director Takayuki Hirao, 1:00 403 AB: Special film with a special creator, no bueno for me though.
  • Trigger new title announcement & Dungeon Meshi sneak peek: 1:45 Main Events: You know the drill, gonna be fun with this crew and Dungeon Meshi will be good stuff. Sayaka Sembongi and Kentaro Kumagai probably will be there too.
  • Bandai Namco Industry Panel, 2:00 408 AB: To feature special guests…
  • MAPPA Panel, 3:00 JW-Platinum: Should be fun with some news
  • Netflix’s anime panel, 3:15 Main Events: special guests and more. Finally get to see Maruyama after all this time maybe? Good lineup.
  • Magus Bride S2 panel, 3:30 408 AB: creators talk good stuff.
  • Bannam Showcase 2023 panel, 4:30 Petree: Trailers I think.
  • Obey Me! stage, 4:30 JW-Platinum: Not going but should be lit.
  • Spy x Family with Eguchi, 5:00 Main Events: Speaks for itself.
  • Love Live panel, 6:00 JW-Platinum: Featuring Kobayashi, Sagara and Date. Not a concert, right?
  • Fate/strange Fake panel: 7:00 Main Events
  • Mashle Panel, 8:00 Petree: Kobayashi and Aleks Le
  • SMT30th LIVE: Band of Shadows, 8:00 The Novo
  • Nonstop V, 8:30 JW-Diamond, Vtuber concert

Day 2:

  • Twisted Wonderland Feat. Hanae and Kobayashi, 10:00 Main Events
  • Manga Publishing Roundtable, 10:00 402 AB: Manga peeps talk, should be cool with some higher ups and Ed there.
  • Fuji TV’s +Ultra Panel, 10:00 403 AB: Yoko Taro and others
  • Mappa x Crunchyroll, 11:30 JW-Platinum
  • The Art and Mediums of Storytelling, 1:00 JW-Platinum, Featuring Yoko Taro, Seshita, and more.
  • Undead Unluck panel, 1:30 Main Events, with Hanae and Moe Kahara
  • LazuLight talk show and performance, 1:30 JW-Diamond
  • Mecha-Ude ep1 screening, 2:30 404 AB: I backed this anime, but probably won’t go LOL.
  • Yoshitaka Amano Panel, 2:40 Petree: The same old.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen panel, 3:00 Main Events: Special guests! Who?
  • GBF panel, 3:00 408 AB: Featuring Cygame’s Fukuhara and Yasuyuki Kaji
  • Conversation with Yoshiki, 3:45 Petree.
  • Demon Slayers Event, 4:30 Main Events: Featuring Hanae and Kawanishi
  • Like a Dragon panel, 5:30 Petree: Takaya Kuroda, woo. Yong Yea. Sega’s Hiroyuki Sakamoto.
  • FGO 6th Anniversary x Type-Moon panel, 7:00 Petree. Kawasumi, Takahashi, Akabane! A must see for me.
  • AX Summer Fest, 7:00 The Novo: It conflicts, but this lineup is really good.

Day 3:

  • Kenshin Premiere, 10:00 Main Events: Featuring Rieri and Soma Saito. Dang, even him?
  • Wit Studio Panel,10:00 JW-Platinum: Could be interesting if they announce some news here.
  • Aniplex x A-1 Pictures panel, 11:30 Petree
  • Bushiroad, 11:30 JW-Platinum
  • The First Slam Dunk screening, 12:00 Main Events: Great movie go see it on 7/28 when it comes out in US and Canada folks.
  • King Records Panel, 12:00 511: I hear some people I know is going to show up.
  • Denpa Books and Kuma, 1:30 404 AB
  • AniWaves 2, 4:20 The Queensberry: See details here. Friends throwing a party.
  • AX Cinema Nights Presents, 5:30 411: Peter is here lol
  • Gridman Universe, 6:00 JW-Diamond: I really want to see this…ahhh.
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of a Sister Venturing Out, 6:30 JW-Platinum
  • Neon District, 8:00 Main Events: Not even the Novo… but Shaq! And Taku! But they cancelled the guests I actually wanted to see so I am torn for sure.
  • Projekt Melody, 9:00 JW-Diamond: Vaguely interested in this story.
  • Denpasoft Panel, 9:00 402 AB
  • Geekboat World Tour, 9:00 411: this is the sekrit Trigger panel (after dark).

Day 4:

  • Horimiya: The Missing Pieces panel, 10:30 408 AB: Featuring Kouki Uchiyama and director Ishihama (oh welcome back).
  • CyberConnect2 panel, 12:00 408 AB
  • Charity Auction, 1:30 Community Stage
  • Fake Star Constellations vol. 4, 7:00 1720: BPM15Q, D-yama, DJ Wildparty…what a lineup. Bad venue I guess but it is what it is.

Day 5…DDK, Teddy and Fake Type. If anyone’s still here.

Con Autographs: these are the ticketed ones they give out in the morning at 8am, this time at the plaza out front by near where the ticketing and buses are. The actual signing area is by the Artist Alley in Kentia Hall. BTW Pixiv has a booth at the AA? There are other autograph chances depending on what if you look. Just the ones that got my interest below.

  • Day 1: Sasara Sekine(???)
  • Day 2: Takayuki Hirao, Masakazu Morita, Kotaro Takata, Kentaro Kumagai, Sayaka Sembongi
  • Day 3: Kotaro Takata, Co Shu Nie, Trigger (Sushio, Koyama, Otsuka, Wakabashi, Imaishi), Mecha-Ude, DDK, Masakazu Morita, Kamierabi (Jin, Seshita, Ohkubo)

Dealers/Exhibit Hall/Entertainment Hall:

Kadokawa giving away swag at their big booth. I want that Clear Bookmark Set from My Happy Marriage…

Entertainment Hall E-16 is GBF Relink play stations.

GSC, Aniplex, Hoyoverse, BN, Yostar, Cygames, Bushiroad all have presence at the E-hall.

In the main hall, CR, Aniplex, GSC, Altus/Sega will take big chunks of the front. BN and Gundam Base are also there, probably along with giant Luffy and some Naruto thing. Cygames, Bushiroad, Toho, a couple Kadokawa outposts, round out the big guys. A row of tier 2 booths are just behind that, then it gets into the normal dealer room stuff.

Community Stage schedule.

Linking the plain jane Kotaku list here if you want to see the basic stuff, like all the premieres I ignored. Here’s a list of guests…not sure if complete. Exhibitor list here.

With so much going on Anime Expo is an exercise in dropping what I can’t do. There are only a few things I really want to see, so I will probably stick to my guns on those. More over, I am going to LA to see the folks I haven’t seen since COVID, on the west coast. I hope everyone is doing well!

For those of you going, god speed, good luck, and I wish you the best in dealing with AX.