Crunchyroll Expo and MAGWest – Day 2

GraphiteHelix was tired yesterday after being at con for almost 12 hours. Now it’s my turn to be tired _(:3 」∠ )_

I woke up at around 7am, took a quick shower, and cooked me a hot pocket as a quick breakfast, mostly because I had to leave right away for this particular reason:

Picking up autograph tickets at Crunchyroll Expo

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The autograph hall from my vantage point in the line

I got to the convention center at around 8:20, 10 minutes before they started letting the people in line pick up their autograph tickets. I was roughly 8 rows into the queue, which was roughly half of the hall, and I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get the tickets I wanted before I went up there (I wanted to get autographs from Caitlin Glass and Max Mittelman today).

As the queue approached my row, I realized that another 6-7 rows came in after us, which slowly gave me some relief in actually getting the tickets that I wanted. I asked one of the staffers to see how the ticket pile was, and it turns out there was still more than plenty to go around. I swiftly asked for tickets for the aforementioned guests and went on my merry way.

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AUTOGRAPH TICKET GET

At MAGWest in the rest of the morning

As I visited the gaming room again, I noticed a few changes to the lineup:

  • Beatstream was now running Beatstream Animtrive
  • Pop’n Music was now running Pop’n Music eclale
  • THE☆Bishi Bashi managed to get “online” play working
  • One of the candy cabs had a version of Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move that was themed after Azumanga Daioh
  • Another one of the candy cabs had Street Fighter the Movie (the game) running

Since I came in relatively early (at around 9AM), the gaming room was barely filled with people that weren’t staff, which gave me an opportunity to mess around with some of the games without having to wait. Specifically, I had a game of Azumanga Daioh Puzzle Bobble, Groove Coaster 2, Pop’n Music eclale, Beatstream Animtrive, Jubeat (which I found out was running Qubell), and the first Crackin’ DJ.

(A few brief thoughts on Animtrive: while it did add some assist features that attempt to add some telegraphing to an already topsy turvy game, the aesthetics and the design decisions felt a bit cheap to me, at least in comparison to the first Beatstream. For starters, the game focuses all of the visual design on the bottom half, which is understandable considering that all of the action happens on the bottom screen, but it also means that the top screen is just filled with emptiness. The mascot character, Bisco, also feels a bit cheaply downgraded as well, losing the mouth flaps and animation frames in favor of small tweens, which makes the game lose the charm it once had in the first version, in my view.)

After a while, I went to the indies section (which was currently empty save for a couple of setups, the SJSU Game Dev Club cabinets included) and worked a little bit on the redevelopment of my video game, Prismic Shift. At around 11, I also took a little liberty in turning on the arcade cabinets before the actual volunteer watchers arrived (they actually did arrive moments after I turned on two of the three cabinets that were there). I played a few more arcade games like Arkanoid and Pop’n Music before heading over to the Crunchyroll Expo section for the next hour or so.

At Crunchyroll Expo in the early afternoon

In preparation for Caitlin Glass’s autograph session later on in the day, I headed to the artist alley first thing I arrived in search of characters that I knew she voiced (or at least series that she’s voiced in like Love Live [Maki Nishikino], Show By Rock! [Retoree], New Game! [Umiko], and so on). I think I went through all of the artist alley at least two or three times with little to no luck, though there’s so much in the artist alley that sometimes I just ended up getting lost in what I was looking for to begin with ( ゚Д゚)

During my trek, I found a vendor who was selling a shirt that said “I took a good poop today.” I found the shirt pretty entertaining, though out of respect of the artist, I didn’t take a picture of the shirt at the event, but you can find the shirt design in an artist alley shot on their instagram (it’s on the far left).

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Social media, contact, and store details of the “I took a good poop today” artist

Later on, I also found the artist of the Crunchyroll-Hime comics (I can spot this hamburger’s iconic hand-drawn font from a mile away). I actually asked about the absence of Crunchyroll-Hime comics on the website, in which I learned that there’s a bug in Crunchyroll’s manga uploading mechanism, and that the rest of the comics would be uploaded once that was resolved. In terms of their works for sale, they had a few meme comic prints, as well as some stand-alone character prints, one of which was a NicoMaki print. I made a mental note of this before heading off to the exhibit hall for a bit.

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No, really, they actually credit themselves as a hamburger in their about section

Since I had plenty of time to kill before a panel that I wanted to visit (Funimation Faves), I took another round through the exhibit hall. A few things I noticed on my second day around:

  • Funimation’s booth was still relatively empty, but they did have a photo booth serving My Hero Academia frames
  • I found the Bandai Namco booth, where they were currently showing beta builds of the latest Gundam Versus (now localized in ENGLISH), a new edition of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth titled Hacker’s Memory, and Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time (which is actually due out next year). I got a few pieces of swag from the booth, and the booth vendors seemed pretty hype
  • Kinokuniya brought out some Love Live! Sunshine!! CDs for their CD lineup, though Kinmirai Happy End was nowhere to be found
  • There were FOUR anime cars in the exhibit hall compared to the TWO that I saw yesterday
  • I found a vendor that had a good amount of Sentai Filmworks and Funimation’s physical catalogue, Blu-Rays included; sadly I was short on money, so I just window shopped a bit

Most of my time in the exhibit hall was window shopping anyhow, since I only had roughly 30-something bucks to spend for the day (a good amount to be spent on food and prints for signing).

Afterwards, I headed over to Funimation Faves where the panel was late to start due to technical difficulties (apparently video playback was finnicky), and most of the panel was just Funimation pointing out their favorite picks, including but not limited to My Hero Academia, A Centaur’s Life, Assassination Classroom, Outlaw Star, Dragon Ball Super, and Nichijou (My Ordinary Life). It was an alright panel, but it was more plugging their favorites with some random giveaway opportunities in-between.

Back to MAGWest briefly in the afternoon

After the panel, I headed back to the MAGWest side, passing by a group of food trucks outside with already long lines forming up (I didn’t get a glimpse of what food trucks were there). There, I played some more arcade games (I actually ended up creating a new account on the TGM cabinet, though I didn’t play enough to actually affect anything on my profile), and a few console games while I was waiting a bit on my net friends to show up.

I used this opportunity to grab some quick grub at the hotel that MAGWest was being held at. I got myself some chicken tenders for $6.50…and it was pretty dry and slightly hard to eat ( ゚^゚) Once my net friends did arrive, I did the honors of handing over a small mini-trophy to the overall winner of a music making competition that happened throughout last month and this month. I told my net friends about the autograph sessions, and then I headed off back to the Crunchyroll Expo side once more.

At Crunchyroll Expo in the late afternoon

I went back to the artist alley again to actually find a stand-alone Maki print, but a few laps around the area, I was still out of luck in that regard. I went back to Kata’s table and actually asked for the NicoMaki print (which was $15). Kata had left the table for a while, so one of their friends ran things for a bit; I told them to relay the message back to Kata about me buying the NicoMaki print since they caught on with my struggles of finding a suitable print for Caitlin Glass.

Once I got the print, I made my way to the pre-line to the autograph hall (I was relatively close to the opening of the hall, so I was definitely not gonna wait long for Caitlin’s autograph). I worked a little more on my game a bit once I got in and settled in the autograph line, charging my phone through my laptop as I worked. As the time approached 4PM (which was when Caitlin’s autograph session started), I switched from working on my game to watching the latest episode of New Game!!, emphasizing Umiko’s lines in anticipation for Caitlin’s signature. She didn’t really have much time to do autographs, so the staff actually prepared sticky notes for us to make it easier for Caitlin to spell people’s names right. She DID have time to have pictures taken, though, and I did just that, as well as complimented her latest role as Umiko before I headed off (she loves working with the role just as much as I love hearing it).

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The other thing is that now I have to find another opportunity to get Erica Mendez’s autograph again :c

After the autograph session, I went back into the exhibit hall to do some more window shopping and actually check out Bandai Namco’s booth; I played a little bit of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -Hacker’s Memory- despite being in line for Gundam Versus (for what it’s worth, Cyber Sleuth was open, so I just slid my way into place). The gameplay incorporated territory control objectives alongside turn-based battles against the opposing team. The demo only allowed time for one mission, so I just played the easier mission to get the ropes of how things worked and controlled.

During my stay at the exhibit hall, one of my friends ChunandRice ran into me as he, too, was roaming the hall on his own. I showed off my autograph from Caitlin, and we mingled for a little while before I eventually parted ways for the Max Mittelman autograph signing at 5:30PM (though before that, one of my net friends called me over just to tell me how hype he was for his Fruit of Grisaia 3D frame he bought at the exhibit hall wow).

I was roughly in the same circumstances as Caitlin’s autograph session where I was relatively close to Max Mittelman; I busted out my Nintendo Switch this time around and played a few games of Puyo Puyo Tetris, continuing the trend of playing the characters they voice not unlike what I did with Erica Mendez’s autograph session back at Fanime. I also ran into another one of my friends DangerProngs who was in line for Kore Yamazaki’s autograph session. We talked a bit about Puyo Puyo Tetris and the Nintendo Switch before my line started going.

Unlike Monica Rial yesterday and Caitlin Glass today, apparently Max Mittelman charges $10 to get a picture with him. I decided to bite the bullet with the rest of my money and pay the picture fee for prosperity’s sake; thankfully there’s no additional fee to get the autograph (I had Max Mittelman sign my Puyo Puyo Tetris cover which was already signed by Erica Mendez back at Fanime).

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Two signatures down, 2-4 more to go 😮

Slow descent at MAGWest in the evening

After my autograph session with Max Mittelman, I made my way back to MAGWest once again where I ran into yet another one of my friends Kitaru and his girlfriend Chronatsu at a corner outside the hotel. We also mingled briefly before heading off to do our own things, and once I got into the gaming room at MAGWest, the tiredness was starting to hit me real hard. Coupled with the fact that I literally have no more spending money for the weekend, I was just idle for the last hour or so that I was here.

I ran into one of the coordinators of MAGWest who goes by DARE, and I told him a bit about me redeveloping Prismic Shift, as well as my plans to have the game “blend in with the locals” (i.e. have the game showcased in the arcade section instead of the indies section). After a brief mingle, I just left myself to browse the Undertale page on TV Tropes while I let my phone charge for a bit. Once I got it back to at least 30%, I made my way back to the convention center parking garage and called it a day.

The adventure continues and ends tomorrow, and I’m dead broke in terms of spending money (still gotta survive the next two weeks with only 75 bucks). If I do come back tomorrow, it’ll be mostly at MAGWest with maaaaaybe some Crunchyroll panels if there are any that interest me. Oh, and have some cosplay and exhibit hall pics.

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