Anime Expo 2016: Day 2

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Day 2 has only just wrapped up, but by the time we got home it had felt like years passed between the morning and evening. Unlike yesterday, we actually set out today to accomplish a few goals and attend an event or two. The armor was becoming worn, but Day 1 had orientated us well enough to the Expo that we now knew how best to operate through the ever-ebbing ocean of people at the ‘con.

P1190160Had to make some emergency repairs to the Barbatos armor the night before as we always do – just a few small splits among the foam, nothing we couldn’t solve with hot glue.

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Brought an extra party member with us today – it’s honestly nice having more friends around so they can share the responsibility of looking after my partner in the armor while I was able to roam a bit and enjoy bits like the Exhibit Hall without having to worry about handling a robot.

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Found a more inconspicuous site for suit-up today to avoid the awkward situation of having people anxiously stand by for photos.

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Ready to rock.

P1190185Amusingly enough, because we suited up on the third floor, we had to take the escalators down because the suit doesn’t respond well to climbing stairs…but then the escalator to the second floor was broken and had effectively become stairs. So we had to hunt around for a nearby elevator to make our way down.

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Gundams in an elevator.

Some really cool cosplays as always.

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This guy killed it. When the ‘con food is too expensive to you just have to bring your own grill and meat.

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Fellow armored suit – though from a more western franchise.

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Squaring off against the deadly Mario Japan. Everybody knows that maces are vastly superior in sheer weapon power compared to naginatas though.

Exhibit Hall is overwhelming as always – we can take endless photos for all four days and still not repeat-post any items and also still not cover everything.

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As cool as everything here is though…I find myself almost bored by the endless sea of Animu merch. I guess because I’m not really hunting for anything in particular I’m kind of just flitting around and half-glancing at the items for sale.

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I will say this though – I’m kind of in the mood for a custom kit that’s not Gundam. Something fresh and foreign like a super robot would make for a cool project.

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I’m unfamiliar with almost every other super robot franchise though, so I’m literally just picking at any unfamiliar boxes and seeing if I like the designs. From what was available at the Exhibit Hall, there wasn’t much that caught my attention.

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This behemoth of a kit from the Super Robot Wars Original Generation series caught my eye though – it actually looks surprisingly simple and swole, and I think it would make for a really fun gold/blue/white/red typical super robot custom build. I doubt I’ll end up that amount of cash on it though, especially when I still have two unbuilt custom kits waiting in the backlog.

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So I mentioned yesterday that I was really looking forward to Day 2 for the Gundam cosplay meetups. There’s nothing quite like getting together with cosplayers who love a franchise and series just as much as you to pour effort into cosplay for it.

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Unfortunately, while there were two meetups scheduled (one that read Zeon Gathering and the other for Gundam), we only managed to drop by during the Zeon meetup to find tumbleweeds. Apparently that one had fallen through, but the Gundam meetup later actually happened, though we were unable to make it.

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That’s not to say we didn’t end up meeting one or two fellow franchise cosplayers though. It’s us from Year One!

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Char!

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More Char!

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Had to make a pit-stop at the cosplay repair center again for some small touch-ups. While we made all the major adjustments last night in the garage, some bits of the armor still decided to split at the seams.

P1190357These were all minor issues – stuff like the fabric on the pipe bunching  out a little because the rear wasn’t completely secured in. Thankfully there were basically no structural issues – merely cosmetic touch-ups.

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The awkward thing was that when we visited the cosplay repair center, they had glue guns that accepted mini-glue sticks…but only full-size glue sticks. We tried sticking the thing in the thing – it doesn’t work. As such we had to get innovative – as the glue gun warmed up, we used the hot tip to melt the full-size stick and basically weld our armor back together. While primitive and far from ideal, it actually worked.

One guy even came up to us and asked us for glue, but after explaining that we were in the same predicament as he was, we went on to describe our glue-welding method and it seemed to blow his mind, to the point where he ran back at light speed to his friends to share the new discovery.

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Being that we dressed up as a Gundam, it would make sense for us to attend a Gundam/Sunrise/Bandai panel wouldn’t it? As luck would have it, there happened to be one today that promised new exclusive news about upcoming series and model kit announcements. We of course made our way over as soon as we could.

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At first we had gotten the panel room wrong, so by the time we found it we were already ten minutes late. Thankfully though, the line was so backed up that it was still outside, and the event staff allowed us to get in line. As the line started moving forward and the panel filled though, a good chunk of us somehow got left behind as they informed us that the panel was full with no more available seating. This comes even after they’ve been keeping count of the number of people in line too.

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Unfortunately, not even the power of the Barbatos Gundam itself in the flesh could sway the event staff, as no more room simply meant no more room. My partner and I were devastated – how much of an injustice is it for an actual Gundam not to be able to attend the Gundam panel?

P1190361Alas, there wasn’t much we could do about it, so my comrade and I resolved to arrive at least two hours early for the Gundam Thunderbolt panel tomorrow – I’ve already seen the series though he hasn’t, but at this point it’s more of a matter of repentance and redemption of pride than the panel content.

P1190362The panel incident demotivated us so hard even our armor lost the will to live and gave in, despite earlier repairs.

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I think one of the things that sets us apart from a lot of the other armor cosplays is our armor’s constant paint chipping. Everybody else’s always looks pristine, but ours actually sustains (fairly) realistic battle damage as the days go on.

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My cameraman got himself a decent figure haul today. I’d personally never pay over $100 for a figure anymore, especially one that isn’t at least 1/6 scale, but I suppose it’s different strokes for different folks.

P1190365P1190364When he couldn’t find any Black Rock Shooter figures so he had to settle for a Figma Chariot.

As much as I say I want something non-Gundam to change things up a bit, I can’t help but admit that the 1/100 Iron Blooded Orphans line looks really nice. I’m extremely tempted to pick up a Barbatos, but it wouldn’t quite fit anywhere in my current collection, and it isn’t special enough to serve as a single centerpiece like the earlier Super Robot Wars OG model was.

P1190381I never really brought into the Hi-Res model hype. I personally think it tries too hard to look extreme and redesigned – moreso than the standard Metal Build. Seeing it here next to the standard 1/100 NG kits just reaffirms that assessment.

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Anime Expo exclusive kits at the Bluefin booth. I was never a fan of clear color kits, and the rest are simple color swaps that I could do at home with the base kit and some paint. Not a fan of the RG Wing Zero Pearl Finish either – it’s a bit of a tacky, toy-ish pearl.

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And as usual, the Gundam Builders World Cup is being hosted here this year – with a surprisingly low amount of entries so far.

This isn’t all of them, but a good amount of them are pretty well done this year. I think a quarter are actually from the Those Gundam Guys group.

P1190392Hey! The Graze that won the Pro category at the last Robo Toy Fest. I wonder if he ever got his prize certificate, because I sure didn’t…

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Personally this MG Zeong blew me away the most. I’m no GBWC judge, but it’s the winner in my eyes.

I submitted my Burning Vice Gundam last year at Anime Expo, but probably won’t submit anything this year since I haven’t done any special custom kits since. I’ve been planning on getting started on a new one, but it takes quite some time and investment. The deadline isn’t until tomorrow at 12pm to submit an entry though, so I might just grab one of my All Gundam Project kits and throw it in for the heck of it – I hate entering contests I have no chances of winning, but at the same time there’s nothing to lose here.

P1190400It’s been a long day already, especially with our souls crushed by that Sunrise Gundam booth fiasco, but after the Exhibit Hall closed at 6 we decided to make our way over to the Entertainment Hall.

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There were mostly professional gaming tournaments taking place here, but thankfully there was still enough space for us to set down and chill out for a while.

There were a few small exhibits in this hall, chalk full of interesting things like a full history of Anime Expo and an art wall where people could doodle their own creations to leave for others.

Ironically I think I enjoyed this section the most – Good Smile Racing had a section in the Entertainment Hall dedicated to Itasha cars – basically cars covered with anime girls and graphics.

P1190453As much as I have to say I’d probably never actually do this to my own car, it’s still really cool to see. Some were done better than others, I think, but these guys go all out.

Almost each car had a plethora of merch and memorabilia featuring its selected character. Several had body pillows strapped into the passenger seats – an excellent way to get past carpool lane regulations. Cops can’t say shit when she’s actually your waifu, right?

P1190536I can and definetly do respect the money and work put into these cars – in fact I don’t think I’ve ever recognized so many high-end Volks Racing wheels in one place before.

P1190451Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled by the last event I attended here at the LA Convention Center though – the LA Auto Show really gave my definition of “show car” a makeover. Compared to those pristine picture perfect garage queens seen at that actual auto show, these cars are very clearly, for the most part, probably daily driven. Regular wear and tear can be seen just about everywhere, with hints of daily dust and even curb rash on too many wheels.

P1190529A lot of these cars included some very meta humor on their bodies, including the Fit shown here which had a giant “chill out, I’m slow” decal plastered under its rear wing. The Itasha style I think is definitely a very particular and niche preference, and given how cancerous the car community is all these guys would instantly be put under the “ricer” umbrella, but I personally think it has its own unique charm.

I wish I could appreciate bikes. I realized only as I was leaving the exhibit that I had unconsciously completely steered around all the bikes on display and basically blocked them out of my vision in favor of the cars.

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Good Smile Racing’s mascot is – you guessed it – Hatsune Miku. Apparently every year she goes through a redesign and is officially a variant named Racing Miku.

The statues honestly look gorgeous – I guess that’s what happens when a company renowned for its merchandise quality also happens to be sponsoring a racing team and designing its own mascots. I’ve been way too close to actually purchasing a Racing Miku before – though I think I’ll be able to continue holding myself back.

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Anyway, I suppose now we’re officially halfway through AX 2016. It’s felt like the longest day ever so far, but overall it ended up actually being pretty fun, since we’ve basically explored the whole convention now, despite the hiccups I mentioned above. Tomorrow we’re determined to meet our goals – even if we have to bludgeon innocent attendees aside with our mace to get to our destination and make it to the Gundam panel we’ll do it.

Read on the rest of the Expo:

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4

 

 

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