Anime Expo 2016: Day 1

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Last year I said I wouldn’t be coming back – that I was done with AX because it wasn’t quite as enjoyable anymore. I obviously lied. Back for another annual show, though I’d be lying again if I said my main motivation for coming at all wasn’t because I co-built a suit of Gundam armor to show off at the ‘con.

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As I mentioned in our Final Form post on the Barbatos armor, we barely met the deadline and got everything officially fitted the morning of the ‘con. First thing upon waking up was making a final Home Depot run because we forgot some conduit to run through the arms.

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We all picked up our badges the day before on Day 0, but there was even a line just to get into the doors this year. Apparently attendance grows exponentially each year – as such there were no shortages of complaints about the event staff and general Expo organization, but we didn’t experience any problems waiting in lines or anything.

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Starting with the suit-up as soon as we got through the doors.

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Praise be that nothing actually broke in transit – as usual we carried the armor via giant black trash bags, with the exception of a few particularly delicate pieces like the helmet which had to be carried by hand.

P1180924Time to find out if this particular suit will stand up to the rigors of convention travel and attendance.

P1180926Our buddy who crafted our wooden shoe supports for the armor also cosplayed as Mugen from Samurai Champloo. Props to him for crafting his own sword out of scratch instead of just buying a pre-made one online.

P1180910First thing that draws the eye upon entering the main hall is the absolutely massive Vajra display promoting God Eater.

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Barely entered the ‘con and I think I’ve already found my favorite cosplays. Too perfect.

We actually didn’t pay much attention to the panel events today – after suit-up we basically wandered around just taking in the ‘con while hunting down other awesome cosplayers for picture ops.

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Feels good to get so many photo requests for your work. Downside is that we move at a snail’s pace as always, since we have to stop every few feet for an op.

Serious shout-out to all our fellow armored cosplayers – it was the coolest thing checking out people with similar work to ours and noting all the differences and stylistic choices they made versus what we chose to do. There’ll be an official Gundam cosplay meet tomorrow during the second day too so hopefully we’ll get pictures with more.

Contrary to our usual habits, we didn’t actually pay much attention to the Exhibit Hall today. While we did spend a good amount of time wandering around in there, my partner’s armor makes it a bit difficult to actually get close and check out any merch in the vendor stands.

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Dropped by Hobby Link Japan to say hello as well – we were lucky enough to get a feature from them last year on their Gunpla TV, though sadly enough no such luck this year. The guys were very chill and actually remembered us from the past three years though – feels good to make an impression.

P1190084As I mentioned above it was crazy crowded this year – so much so that I think we had more difficulty moving around the Exhibit Hall this year despite having a smaller armor (and no giant funnels) unlike last year.

So much cool cosplay, as always. Disappointing that there were so few mecha costumes, but I’m super looking forward to tomorrow’s Gundam meetup where we’ll (hopefully) get to meet more.

P1190110Only de-armored him once for a lunch break. It’s no secret that it’s absolutely exhausting wearing a full foam/cardboard suit around for 7+ hours, so we had to let him get a little air now and again.

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We actually ran into a few hiccups as the day progressed – a few bits of armor were coming apart at the seams and an elastic band or two snapped, but thankfully that’s why there’s a Cosplay Repair Station at the ‘con.

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Trekked all the way to the Entertainment Hall just to get some hot glue access and fix a few bits. The nice thing is that we actually walked out of there with a fully rebuilt armor in only about 20 minutes – unlike Year Two where we basically spent the entire ‘con in there trying to put everything back together as it fell to shambles.

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Met a Biscuit! (Spoilers) Rest in peace brother, never forgotten.

P1190050The main problem we found with the armor so far is the helmet – my partner basically sweats an ocean on his brow when wearing the thing, and his breath will fog up the clear visor inside, obstructing vision significantly. As a result, we have to regularly strip him of his helm to provide ventilation.

We know there are ways around this problem, including methods that involve covering the interior eyepieces with a film of soap and water to prevent fogging, but there’s really no working around him sweating constantly and turning the inside of the helm into a soggy mess.

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All told I guess it’s fair to say that we actually didn’t do much today – we went in with the intention of using Day 1 as just a day to walk around and showcase the armor and soak in the completeness of the project. It was fun meeting quite a few people who expressed interest in the suit, so tomorrow we’ll probably get back to our usual shenanigans and explore the Exhibit Hall a bit more thoroughly as well as attend a few panels and cosplay meetups.

Read on the rest of the Expo:

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

 

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