This is Part 3: Azur Lane of my series of blog posts covering my 5-day experience at Anime Expo 2019.
Make sure to also check out Part 1: General and Part 2: Fate
It’s been a while since I’ve written an anime convention blog post (since AX2016, I’ve just been creating Flickr albums for every event I attend, writing a short Facebook blurb, and calling it good) but due to the higher-than-normal number of photos I took this year, I decided to go ahead and write one. Another reason for this was that this year’s AX experience was a bit different than past ones.
First off, there was no Anisong Matsuri this year, which was arguably the biggest draw for me to the convention after losing my voice screaming like a fangirl at TM Revolution at AX2016. Rumors say this was due to mismanagement mishaps on the AX organizational committee that resulted in the failed booking the Microsoft Theatre. This supposedly led to a chain of impacts, one of which included the disastrous day 1 LineCon experience. Aniplex also last-minute announced a bunch of their panels and events, resulting in a bunch of scheduling conflicts. Volks USA also no-showed this year (apparently due to staffing issues), cancelling both their booth and panel. This combined with schedule conflicts lead me to decide (for the first time in a long time) not to bring Arcueid with me, resulting in no Dollfie Dream photos this year. And with the clusterfuck that was the schedule, I decided that the focus of this AX would instead be on the community: making new friends and meeting old ones, attending cosplay photoshoots, and taking lots of photos.
Selfie with beautiful SPCats cosplayers Tasha and Doremi
Selfie with cosplayer NatsumiLouise in her adorable TamamoCat meido cosplay
The second thing that was different about this year’s AX was the Fate photoshoots (which, as a hardcore TYPE-MOON fan, I am obligated to always attend). Due to some scheduling stupidity on AX’s side, an individual photographer was allowed to schedule not one but two Fate photoshoots despite having a history of no-shows to photoshoots she scheduled in previous years and also despite the fact that there was a well established Anime Expo TYPE-MOON/Fate Gathering Facebook group that usually organizes this particular photoshoot. Attempts to contact this photographer to coordinate turned out fruitless (it seems she just wanted the title of “being in charge” without actually putting in any of the work) and the AX staff point of contact chose to stick with their “first come first serve” policy. The result was the group having to schedule a third Fate photoshoot and formulate a backup plan for the first two expected no-shows just to make sure no Fate cosplayers would be left hanging. One way or another, I ended up volunteering to help out with this photoshoot coordination efforts, which was a new experience to me as I had only previously participated as an attendee that was part of the crowd. I also, as a last minute whimsical decision, went ahead and created a life-sized stand of Sasaki Kojirou. I was originally thinking of creating a cardboard cut-out like in the Carnival Phantasm scene I was referencing but I realized that a roll-up banner poster + stand would be far more durable and re-usable in future anime conventions. This AX would be his debut appearance, hopefully the first of many. Long live Regend, savior of France!
… but only briefly, for he is quickly joined by many friends!
The third and biggest thing to me about this year was that this was the first North American anime convention that game publisher Yostar would be attending. Yostar is the North American publishers of the popular shipwaifu mobile game Azur Lane that I am currently playing (and really enjoying). I had previously cosplayed as an Azur Lane Shikikan (commander) at Sakura-con 2019 as my backup cosplay (my original cosplay plan of Lord Grim from King’s Avatar didn’t get finished in time) and I usually have a policy of only wearing cosplays once. But when I heard Yostar was attending, my Shikikan backup cosplay suddenly became my main cosplay (with an upgrade of a nice pair of swag sunglasses). Of course I wouldn’t be the only one thinking of attending in Azur Lane cosplay. The number of AL cosplayers at Sakura-con earlier this year was pretty small but I knew there’d be plenty at AX (plus a photoshoot and planned dinner with other AL players on Discord) so I was definitely looking forward to taking many pics.
Swaggity swag, Shikikan Keripo is in town!
Sandy Cult AL Discord crew is here
The following is the third and last part of my 3-part blog post covering my AX2019 experience. It’s a pretty long post so I’ve included anchor links to the various sections below. Links to all the Flickr albums and the other two parts of the AX2019 blog posts can be found in the Links section at the end. Happy reading!
– Pre-con Prep
– Yostar & IdeaFactory Booths
– Kancolle x Azur Lane Photoshoot
– Discord Meetup
As mentioned in the intro, I went to AX cosplayed as an Azur Lane Shikikan carrying around a Unicorn dakimakura. The cosplay turned out to be surprisingly popular and I was stopped many times while walking around for photos (far more than I have at other conventions at least). The Unicorn daki was probably a big part of it though…
R-18 popular side of the Unicorn daki, censored with “DESTROY MODE” red duct tape, a reference to the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. And because Unicorn is actually not a good girl
For those who want their own Uniporn daki, you can order one online at Cuddly Octopus (I custom-ordered mine to show the safe version on one side and the R-18 version on the other xD)
The costume itself was pretty simple. Literally a Navy Officer halloween costume bought off Amazon, a pair of shades, and self-made pins of the Azur Lane JP/EN logos (thanks again Intern-kun for getting me the high res versions of these images).
For Anime Expo, however, I decided to upgrade the outfit with a proper pair of Deal-with-it/swag glasses, also bought off Amazon. Since this was the first Azur Lane cosplay photoshoot, however, I wanted to make it a special memory for all the attendees like I did back in AX2016’s Fate photoshoot with handing out hand-made custom FGO cards to commemorate the FGO NA launch. And so, to commemorate the Azur Lane EN launch, I brought to AX with me six full boxes of these swag glasses to hand out to fellow fans.
(Note to future copycats: bulk-order these from AliExpress instead of from Amazon and do so early – you’ll save yourself quite a bit of money)
Yostar & IdeaFactory Booths:
The bulk of my non-photoshoot time was actually spent just wandering around in between the Yostar and IdeaFactory booths taking photos of AL cosplayers as well as getting my own photo taken of.
At the IdeaFactory booth was the star of the show, the Azur Lane themed Lamborghini on display.
Had to take a few photo with it (but we had to stand behind the dividers of course)
Also at the booth were (official) Akashi and Enterprise cosplayers
Akashi is secretly GreenTeaNeko in disguise!
Kaga cosplayer hanging around near the booth
Her sister Akagi quickly found her
There was also official Cleveland and Sandy cosplayers at the booth at other times of the day.
They were both pretty hyped when I gave the two of them each a pair of swag glasses – the Sandy cosplayer immediately recognized the meme and was fully in character xD
(also gave the Akashi and Enterprise pairs later when I saw them again)
It’s an Ayanami! Ayaya intensifies~
Meanwhile, at the Yostar booth, I found Intern-kun…
Keripo x Intern-kun? Ship it!
Bismarck: pride of a nation, a beast made of steel
On the other side of the Yostar’s Azur Lane booth was a booth for Nekoparaiten, the new mobile game Yostar’s working on. Its not related at all to Azur Lane, but catgirls xD
(there’s also a pretty high chance that when the game comes out I might play it instead of Azur Lane… we’ll see :P)
Also met up with NatsumiLouise again, but this time in her Kaga cosplay
KanColle x Azur Lane Photoshoot
(Day 2, 2:00pm)
Due to the hangover I had from drinking too much on an empty stomache on day 1, I ended up oversleeping and arriving a few minutes late to the KanColle x Azur Lane photoshoot. Much to my unpleasant surprise, the photoshoot started early and was being super rushed through, so it was actually close to wrapping up when I arrived even though I had arrived only 7 minutes behind the scheduled start time. The reason behind this was apparently due to some schedule conflict with some voice actor event (again, damn you Anime Expo for being shitty at scheduling things ahead of time and fking up all our photoshoot times!). As a result, I wasn’t able to get many photos, nor was I able to join in any of the photos (except one Azur Lane group photo which I couldn’t get a pic of since everything was being super, super rushed), nor was I able to hand out the swag glasses like I had originally planned to. Kinda sad and disappointed about this still but oh well, c’est la vie. To make up for it I ended up just chasing down most of the Azur Lane cosplayers at the shoot and taking individual shots of them + selfies with them.
KanColle vs Azur Lane (clearly one side has a bit more representation than the other… but that’s what happens when one get an official English release and the other doesn’t xD)
Takao class sister (Takao, Atago, Maya, Choukai)
Qipao-skin Unicorn (this is actually our lovely Azur Lane Discord and Azur Lane Wiki team member Kawaakari)
Not an Azur Lane cosplay but a pretty badass KanColle Nagato
(personally though I still prefer Azur Lane’s Loligato more :P)
While wandering around after the photoshoot I also ran across this group of Azur Lane cosplayers – IJN power!
Aside from the photoshoot and hanging around the Yostar and IdeaFactory booths, I had also planned to meet up with and join the Azur Lane Discord crew in KBBQ dinner. It was our first time meeting and I really didn’t know anyone at all nor did anyone really know me (unlike the Fate gathering where at least a few people recognized by name from TYPE-MOON related stuff I’ve done in the past). Despite that, we still had a nice and enjoyable KBBQ dinner and I got my soju fix for the weekend. I was supposed to go grab some Long Island Ice Teas with a couple of the Discorders (cause, you know, Long Island xD) but ended up not getting around to it cause of scheduling. Oh well, next time for sure!
All in total, 30 people showed up to the KBBQ dinner at TGI Korean BBQ! It was apparently enough for them to give us the entire top floor to ourselves
Sitting down and waiting for the meat. Apparently the table I was seated with mostly all knew each other (something to do with all either involved in the wiki team or friends of members of the wiki team) but everyone was plenty friendly and I got to listen in on some
juicy fun not-so-pleasant past drama stories xD
The meat arrives! But more importantly, so does the soju!
Somehow or other, I ended up being the main meat flipper for our table. Little did they know it was my first time doing so cause every other time I go to KBBQ someone else volunteers to do it. Presumingly I did things alright cause no one complained at least xD
In addition to the KBBQ, we also had a last minute Discord meetup at the Yostar booth on the last day to take a group photo
Fun fact: We couldn’t hunt down Intern-kun for the photo but one of the other Yostar staff was volunteered to stand in as “Fake Intern-kun” xD
I tried to also include myself in a selfie but failed pretty miserably with just the top of my head plus a blurry back photo xD
While everyone was gathered, I also gave the “Indy-chan KAWAII!” meme shout-out an attempt. Unfortunately it failed xD
(click thumbnail to view video)
And that wraps up Part 3 of my three-part Anime Expo 2019 blog posts. Make sure to check out the other two parts via the links below. Thanks for reading!
Blog posts: Part 1: General | Part 2: Fate | Part 3: Azur Lane
Flickr galleries: General | Nendoroids | Cosplayers | Fate | Azur Lane | Shikikan | Sasaki Kojirou