Day 3
7/5/1997  The Middle
(as told by the UGAnime mascot, Oni-chan)

Day three of my anime ordeal began at 8:30a.m.  I got my sorry and tired butt out of bed and hotfooted it down to Carl's Jr. after a quick shower.  Feeling totally refreshed I decided to try my luck at the dealers' room line that I was positive had already started.  Sure enough, I was pretty far back, but I made darn sure that I didn't do anything else before I got some much needed shopping done.

 Oni-chan's dream come true!  Anime stuff out the wazoo!

 The dealers' room was incredible!  Everyone from The UCI Bookstore to Paradigm Enterprises had great displays (and even better merchandise).

The first thing that I looked for was a stuffed cabbit. I saw everybody carrying them around yesterday, but I was told time and time again that they all sold out yesterday too.  This Oni was not happy. To get over my self-imposed grief, I decided to spend a lot of the Rossman's money.  So I headed right for huuuuge The UCI Bookstore booth.  They had every CD that was ever made (that had anything to do with Anime)!  It was amaaaaaazing ^_^  I finally got the Giant Robo Episode III, Giant Robo Episode IV, and the Giant Robo Episode VI CD Soundtracks (I already had #V) for a pretty good price despite the fact that "No Haggling" was an unstated rule at this con (bummer, I know).

 A giant Eva poster?!?!  I want to make it mine!  Too bad the guy with the gun thought otherwise.

 I wanted this huge, plastic Eva standup for my cell! It was sooooo cool! I had somebody take a picture of me on my knees, bowing before it, but the photo place screwed it up royally! It was a good picture too :-(

I then skipped along to another booth (I don't remember which one) and bought a whole lotta SM CDs.  I got the Escaflowne 2 and Escaflowne 3 Soundtracks along with some Fushigi Yûgi (or Fushigi Yuugi, whichever) CDs and some Anime's Greatest Hits stuff.  I was on a roll, and I still had a lot of cash left!  I knew that I had to come back when my head wasn't spinning so.  I had to think straight before I blew my dough on one thing, and found something better a little later.  

 I'll take the Chibi-Usa Pretty Power Make-up Kit, and the Urotsokudoji Complete set, please.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Ha-lay-ay-you-jah!!!!!!

It was around 11:30a.m. now, and I quickly ran to the I "B" room to catch the highly anticipated Shamanic Princess part II (I'd heard a lot of cool things about this one!).  It lived up to all the hype (even though I'd missed episode one), with excellent animation and an incredibly cool soundtrack (mental note for second trip to dealers' room).  It was a little confusing, but all in all a decidedly two clawed thumbs up.  And atleast it was subtitled, as the so-called Mega-Premiere of the con was an unsubbed X: the Movie.  Thank God I had already seen it fansubbed before so I knew how badly it blew (X), and therefore I didn't have to waste my time trying to figure the celuloid piece of $#*% out.  But I digress.

After the Princess thingy I headed over to the Nobuteru Yuuki Focus Group.  Now let me straighten your mind up about where I stand on this issue.  I think that X: the Movie sucked (the script was rushed and the audience never got the chance to really care about any of the characters before they were ripped to shreds), but the character designs and the animation were among the best that I had ever seen.  This is why Yuuki rocks.  He made every character that he ever created so recognizable and cool that they still stand out very well in a field so oversaturated with the same old recycled junk.  He reshaped the mold so many times, and each time he outdid himself the time before.  The man is a genius!  I was glad to hear that his pictures of Deedlit and the wolf chick sold for so much at the auction, but I'll get to that later.

Yuuki went on to tell us that despite the high level of fluid animation in X, relatively few people actually worked on the film (not many people were qualified enough to fit his strict standards, someone next to him joked).  He went on to say that the rumors of CLAMP being "difficult" were unfounded as they were very cooperative during the course of the making of the film.

Finally, Yuuki stated some good news for a bunch of Escaflowne Visionaries (Me included):  When he returned to Japan, he would start production of The Vision of Escaflowne the Movie (which would retell the original story much like Macross: DYRL?).  Yuuki is the MAN!

I left the panel very excited.  This was cool news indeed.  I even thought about sharing the news with UGAnime when/if I returned.  Every Anime Geek deserved to know this!  I celebrated my excitement by rewatching Escaflowne #5 and #6 in the California Room while I shouted out characters' lines and what was going to happen a few seconds before it actually did on screen^_^  I'm a baaaaaaad lil' Oni.

Next I had to check out the Key: the Metal Idol panel.  Shibahara (voice of Miho) had just arrived and both she and creator Sato answered fans' most pressing questions about Key and her quest for friends (something the average fanboy needs to quest for too).

 Shibahara laughs it up while Sato sits silent

A fan just asked Shibahara if she'd ever go out with Sato or any other fan boy.

They answered lots of questions about the series including one about D's humanity.  It turns out that, yes, he is human, and that Hiroaki Sato thought that all Americans look that way.  Funny.  He went on to say that the originally scheduled 13 episodes of Key were made into 15 (maybe more) with episodes 14 and 15 being 95 minutes each!  Wow, I can't wait!  He then went on to tell the story of how Key creation was based solely on dumb luck (and to the generousity of Pony Canyon and Studio Peirrot) as nobody thought that Key would ever sell.  Whoever claimed that decision makers were smart, huh?

Shibahara basically sat still and when questioned what she wanted to do next, she replied that she wanted to go to Disney Land. Cute.  Oh well, at least she put on a great show at the Cosplay that night.

At around 4 o'clock I went back down to my fave little greasy joint and stocked up on burgers and fries.  I even had some mini chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  Even they were muy oishii.  Unbelievable.  The other fast food places better hope that Carl's never goes cross country, or they're outta luck and business.

I went back to the Hilton and checked out the dealers' room again.  I found two incredible wall scrolls that I had never seen before or since that I just had to have!  I had no idea how I would possibly transport them home (there was no way they would fit in the suitcase with the body), but I had to have them.  I was actually able to haggle the man down to both of them for $35 (down from $20 each) and I was a happy Oni once again.  One scroll was of Lum-chan inside a cafe with Moroboshi, Mendo and the Storm Troopers gazing in, and the other was the main picture of Giant Robo Episode VI with Kenji blocking Daisaku from getting slashed with Ginrei and the Magnificent Ten in the background. A work of art to say the very least. I also bought a few more SM CDs. What the hey, I thought, It's only the Rossman's money.

I quickly dropped my stuff off in my room and went down to be the first in line for the Cosplay.  I was sorely mistaken.  Close to three hours early for the show and the line already went out the door.  This reeeeeeally sucked.  The Hawaiian girl cut in line behind me (I was finally able to pay her back) and we talked fandom for a loooooong time.  I told her all about Evangelion (even the movies Death and Rebirth [End of Evangelion was not yet released]), and Escaflowne (I even spoiled the last episode for her.  My bad), and she told me all about all things cute and cuddly wuddly, which I liked by the way.  I needed to keep my head open to things other than mecha.  

Soon the line wrapped totally around the huge parking garage behind the hotel and everybody was getting sick off the Smog Monster's fumes.  Where was Godzilla when we needed him?

After three hours of waiting, we finally began to move (very loud cheering was heard).  As we snaked around the vacant lot behind the Hilton like the line for Space Mountain, I saw that some of the Cosplayers were practicing their martial arts moves on each other in Fists of Fury action on the other side of the hotel.  Cool!  I think that Ryoga won.  

 Go on, Genma!  Hit 'em with your stick!

 Ranma and Co know how to get down!

After the brawl, I asked the nearest Con Volunteer if we would get into the Main Room as far up as we were up in line.  His reply was unintelligible. Something about "caribou in summer deserts".  I just nodded and grinned as we stepped back into the cool, air-conditioned hotel again.  My friend and I were some of the last ones who made it into the Main Theater, the rest of the line would have to view it on video-feed in the next room, if at all.  I just laughed about it to myself......well, okay, maybe it was outloud, but everybody else in the room was laughing with me.

Finally, after half an hour of waiting semi patiently in our seats, it began.  First the judges were introduced.  Trish Ledoux got "booed"!  It took a good five minutes for the unprintable negative remarks to stop.  Trish just smiled and took it.  Then they were ready to begin.  Now this would take too long if I were to go skit by skit, so I'll just give you guys a rundown of the winners (which were the only decent ones anyway).

Best of Show - Z-RAM Bytes the Dust.  Pretty gay skit.  That little girl from Rayearth somehow ripped out Zeiram's guts and he dies.  Ja-right!

Best Before and After - Chibi Usa and Black Lady.  For all you baka people out there who only know Sailor Moon from the first 65 episodes of the DIC production, it was Reeny and Evil Grown up Reeny.  Okay?

Best Couples Costuming - Ginrei and Genya. No skit, but pretty cool costumes.

 Children of VonVogler

 Is Genya dreamy, or is it just this lil' Oni?

Best Group Construction - Rayearth Gang.  Great costumes, but a lame-o skit.  Get a writer!

 Get a haircut, little boy!

 Lot's of boys were hollering when the red-head in the skimpy outfit walked down the aisle.  Ecchi!  Put some clothes on, honey!

Best Ensemble Performance wic Excellent Pratfalls - Ranma Cast.  They were great!  Ryoga welcomed us to AX 92, Akane introduced us to a girl's best friend (the giant mallet), Ranma got beaten up Takahashi style, and Genma got turned into a panda.  Hoo-ah!

 Sledg-A-Matic ActionEverybody now, let's beat the caca outta Ranma!

 Holy frijoles!  They beat up Ranma because he was talking like a Viz dub!

Best Couples Performance - Lina Inverse and Gourry.  A little silly, but aren't we all?

 Gourry looks as dorky as ever.

Lina or Rina?  Who cares.  She knows that Dragon Spell attack thingy, doesn't she?

Best Character Continuity - The Three Lights.  If I was a guy I'd say "Bring it on baby!!! Whoooooooo mama!"  But I'm not.

 Hubba hubba!

I thought that all otaku were fat and ugly.  What's up with that?

Special Two Years in the Making - Uncanny Resemblance Award - Gendo Ikari.  I actually had my picture taken with him before I knew it was only a costume.  Kind of makes me feel sorry for him after I punched him in the gut and kicked him when he was on the ground after I scolded him for only using Rei as an object.  She's a human being, dammit!!  A human being!


 His skit was so cool!  All he did was sit still on the stage (like above) for 60 straight seconds (like the pause between Asuka and Rei in #22, and Shinji and Kaworu in #24).  He rocked the Casbah!

Special Prize - Best On-Stage Marriage Proposal at AX 1997 - Jean and Nadia.  Everybody with a heart (yes, even me) got tears in their eyes when she said "Yes!".  A touching scene at an anime con beyond getting a good deal on an Escaflowne Art Book?  Who'd have thunk it?

 Wow!  Jean actually bagged Nadia.  And King didn't even try to stop him!

 Jean pops the question and surprises everyone (especially Nadia who previously only thought that Marie, Grandis, Samson and Hanson were lying when they told her that Jean liked her).

Most Gratuitous Use of the Pope in a Skit - Lupin III and Gang.  Jigen and Goemon were caught smuggling in boot-legged CDs at the con by Zenigata (Hey! I like SMs!), who called in the Pope to see if they were innocent or not.  It was actually really funny.  Cheesy, but funny.

 Jigen and Goemon go free?! Jus thow stupid is Zenigata?...Oh yeah.  Never mind.

I don't think Miyazaki directed this one, but I'm not sure.

The rest of the Judges Awards went to Isamu Daison (cool flight suit), St. Tail (lame-o), and Deedlit (very cool).

 The whole crew in their best Calvin Klein pose.

 Everybody look over here! No! No! Over here! No, over here!!!!
Nice Calvin Klein pose, people.

During the time that the judges were deciding, we got a special treat in the form of a mini-concert performed by Chiyako Shibahara!!!!  She rocked, and everybody applauded for several minutes after she was done.  That was such a cool deal!

 Oooh baby!  You rock my world!

This picture is used only with permission by Viz......I swear! Trust me, I know somebody.

Through out the whole contest, the people next to me and I were holding up signs for the people on stage to see.  For the tubby Sailor Stars who aparently didn't get made fun of enough at school we held up a giant cardboard sign that said "Put it back on!!!!!"  And for the really dumb Kiyone (who didn't even have green hair) we held up signs with a "2.5" and "3.2" to show her just how bad she sucked.  Soon the "booing" began, though.  I'm telling you now that I did not start that, nor did I participate in it!  But I sure as hell did laugh at it.  When some of the really painful Fushigi Yuugi skits came on (there were at least five) people would just moan and scream in pain.  The FY skits didn't even have a plot other than "Oh no. Miyaka is in China. Let's take her to Tomahome."  The costumes even sucked!  

As a public anouncement to all you future Cosplayers out there: Please make your costume at least look like the costume that it is supposed to be.  The point is not  to make us guess, okay?  Good.

After that was over, we were awarded with a special screening of Danzig's Satanika video (which they hope to make into a three volume OAV).  The animation was really good, but it made no sense what-so-ever.  It goes something like this:  This angry naked chick fights another angry naked chick and things explode.  Not that there's anything wrong with that (the club would have loved it), it's just that there was nothing else to it.

After that, everybody had a half an hour to get ready for the Music Video Awards.  My contacts were bothering me (Yes! I do wear contacts. Did you think that this gold color was natural?) so I had to take them out.  I got back down to International Ballroom B and saw the end of Powerdolls.  It didn't fly my kite any.

Then the Music Videos started.  They are always my favorite part of any convention.  I got a fifth row seat that rocked, especially after I ate the head of the tall guy who sat in front of me (the bum had lice! I was flossing for weeks!).  The con people told us that we (the con goers) would judge the best in each category this year.  That news made everybody cheer and shout.  It was a cool idea, and it seemed to work.  My only complaint was that the Speed Racer video didn't win overall best of show....but I'm getting ahead of myself now.

For the Comedy Category we had a Macho Men video set to various macho men shows and movies.  It made me laugh a little.  Then we had another Village People song, YMCA, set to Street Fighter the TV series.  I was really laughing hard.  It was well timed as a lot of the scenes were set inside a gym.  Very funny.

After a real lame-o finalé, the comedy section was over.  I was amazed that there were only three entries into the category, but I found out just a bit later that some of the action and romance ones were very funny too.

Next came the Action Category.  A really cool Macross Movie video, and a bunch of forgettable ones came up next.  Everybody was ready to crown the Macross one the king when the Emperor showed up in the form of Going the Distance set to Speed Racer.  This was the perfect video.  Perfectly timed, perfect quality (i.e. it wasn't fuzzy in the least), and it was the perfect song.  It was glorious.  The entire audience chanted enough after it was done to play it again, and they did ^_^  It was unanimously voted the winner.

Then came the Drama Category.  Not too bad, but slow.  A very nice piece set to Magnetic Rose from Memories beat out another Macross Movie video for this title.  It was a close call.  The funny thing was that only one or two scenes were used in both Macross music videos.  Very strange.

And finally, the Romance Category.  The usual Sailor Moon stuff.  Then a Rayearth video.  And then came the grand finalé of the whole show.  Don't Talk Just Kiss set to every show under the sun (even Animaniacs, Freakazoid, and Pinky and the Brain had small cameos).  While I admit that it was funny, it did not come anywhere close to the Speed Racer song.  A whole lot of the audience agreed and a run-off for Best of Show was held.  Both videos were shown again and then we were asked to voice who we thought should win it.  When he asked for Going the Distance, I screamed and shouted while I bit people to get them to scream and shout even louder.  Then he asked for Don't Talk Just Kiss......It won, dammit!  

I was pissed for a while, but after the contest they showed some pretty cool stuff like winners of past years' music video contests and this really neat-o amatuer movie done entirely in 3-D computer graphics.  It rocked!  After that just about everybody left to go to Midnight Madness.  I was curious as to what it was, so I checked it out.  Nothing but Tentacles....Bummer.  I mean, I could see that any time I wanted to at a UGAnime meeting!  I didn't want to waste my valuable vacation time watching it here.  So instead I went up to my smelly room and watched some unsubbed AXTV until 2 o'clock.  Then I went nighty-night.  

I had finished the second day of Anime Expo 1997, and boy was I tired

 Day 1: 7/3/1997 The Arrival
 Day 2: 7/4/1997 The Beginning
 Day 3: 7/5/1997 The Middle
 Day 4: 7/6/1997 The End
 Day 5: 7/7/1997 The Return

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