Way To Go, Anime Expo!

This year was my first time attending Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I happened to attend as both a writer for Strawberry Scented Burnout, and as a writer/photographer for SoBiTV Magazine. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Saturday, July 6, so I’m sure there were a lot of costumes and events that I missed during the entire Anime Expo. Apparently in it’s 22nd year (my favorite number, by the way), Anime Expo is the “#1 convention for Anime and Japanese culture in North America.” Not knowing what to expect, my eyes and ears were wide open, ready to absorb everything the convention had to offer. I did, however, know that this convention was going be smaller than the San Diego Comic Con, and larger than San Diego’s Anime Conji.

This guy was hilariously dancing at the front doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This guy was hilariously dancing at the front doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center. I caught him at his resting position.

Upon arriving at Anime Expo, I was bombarded with a multitude of people practically at the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center. I saw cosplayers in their intricate costumes. I heard constant clicks from photographers and their expensive cameras. I felt the heat in the main foyer of the convention center as the summer weather of Los Angeles county was trickling in through the front doors, being worsened by the great amount of people standing around or taking pictures.

Once I entered the fortunately air conditioned Exhibit Hall, I was filled with a sense of comfort. It was an all too familiar setting, as it resembled the San Diego Comic Con. Vendors were sprawled out throughout the space, selling figurines, animes, mangas, etc. Many booths were for popular Japanese brands that I am not all too knowledgeable on. While walking around the Exhibit Hall I couldn’t help but feel a readiness for the upcoming San Diego Comic Con that was to occur a few weeks after Anime Expo. The herds of people walking up and down the aisles, not usually giving way for others, even for those in wheelchairs or strollers. It was a madhouse. One that every veteran convention attendee should be familiar with.

After venturing through the Exhibit Hall, I managed to make a stop in the Entertainment Hall, aka Gaming Hall. It was a massive area filled with computer screens, video game consoles, tabletop games, and arcade games. In addition to all the gaming toys were large backdrops for cosplayers and photographers. I found the backdrops to be quite amusing, even the bedroom backdrop (even if that sort of weirded me out a little). Although, the cherry blossom setup was very pleasing to the eye. I wish I took more pictures there, but my eyes kept roving around and making me want to walk everywhere and not remain static for too long.

One aspect of the Anime Expo that I wish I had been able to watch and explore was the Fashion Show. I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese fashion, especially after visiting a friend in Japan years ago. Japanese fashion involves so many different layers. I love how they mix and match and take the simplest articles of clothing and mix it with other articles to make this grandiose fashion statement. Maybe I’ll get a chance next year to check it out.

Overall, I had a great experience at Anime Expo. I was delighted at the sight of all the costumes/cosplay at the convention. As many people have pointed out, Anime Expo is what the San Diego Comic Con used to be. The only difference between the two now is that Hollywood has infiltrated one but not the other. In my eyes, it’s good and bad. Good that Anime Expo has been able to hold onto it’s intimate setting, but bad that it has not been given the opportunity to expand and reach out to a wider audience. I have a feeling that with time, Hollywood will eventually make a presence at Anime Expo. So enjoy it while you can, for a few years from now it might become as famous and celebrity-packed as the San Diego Comic Con.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Anime Expo. (To view the full album, check out SoBiTV Magazine or their photo album on Facebook here.)

Follow me on Twitter @Duhlissafied
Follow me on Instagram @Duhlissafied
Like me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/duhlissafied)

Late Night Rant: Comic Con Plan of Attack

comic-con-san-diego-hoops-and-yoyo

As Comic Con 2013 approaches, I find myself still scrambling to put together my costumes for each of the days. This is the second year I will be cosplaying and I’m pretty stoked about it. I hope that I am able to put together my costumes on time and I hope that I execute them to my satisfaction. So far I’m thinking of dressing up as Pucca, Vanellope von Schweetz, and a Minion. I haven’t decided what the 4th costume will be yet. =)

Pictured above is one of the highlights of past Comic Cons. Hoops and Yoyo. I love those characters from Hallmark. They crack me up so much. If I see them again this year I definitely want another picture. Haha. If you haven’t seen any of their greeting cards, you’re missing out. Next time you’re in Hallmark check them out. They are too funny.

Anyhoo, I can’t believe I haven’t even taken a look at the schedule yet. I’ve only been keeping up with some of the latest giveaway news, or the celebrity appearances that will either be taking place inside the convention center or even just in the Gaslamp. And don’t even get me started on the plethora of events happening outside of the actual comic con (check it out here). It’s been crazy trying to wrap my mind around everything and plan accordingly.

I think this year I’ll actually be more of a roamer. No more waiting in long lines for chances to breath celebrities’ air in panels. I’m just going to enjoy the madness and maybe even take pictures and just hangout. I might even check out the late night parties and see what they have to offer. So if you see some doe-eyed or anxious-looking Asian girl walking around the streets of downtown or the aisles of the convention center, that could quite possibly be me (or about 1,000 other Asian girls). Don’t laugh and don’t call the cops. I’ll be fine. =)

Follow me on Twitter @Duhlissafied for random postings during Comic Con or special updates I get throughout the day from Twitter feeds I follow.

COMIC-CON countdown: Get your head right.

..That’s NOT what I meant..but I support you all the way if it falls into your lap. >_<

Since Comic-Con is a week away, I thought I’d help you step your Comic-Con Cosplay game up a notch. If you’re tired of wearing heavy, itchy wigs..or wanna show you are KING/QUEEN cosplayer of ALL cosplayers..I’ve got your back. Whether it’s just for the weekend or longer, you won’t regret this most awesome decision to have fun with this. I’m hooked.

For the past 8 months, I’ve been on this crazy neon hair journey. The past week I definitely stepped it up. I went from bleaching the bottom 2/3 of my hair and coloring it to going all out and finally bleaching EVERYTHING. This post will give you a starting point if this is something you ever consider doing..whether you decide to do it today or 10 months from now. Stop reading now if you have no intention of doing this..but if you’re interested, a lengthy post shall follow. The Evolution:

MOST important things people won’t tell you:

  • COCONUT OIL: This will protect your hair in so many ways. Put 2-3TBS it in a plastic bowl and brush it onto your hair hours prior to bleaching. Leave it on when you apply the bleach.
  • ORANGE HAIR is only good for Red and Bright Pink Hair Colors. Everything else: BLONDE. Trust me. I dyed purple over orange and ended up with…BROWN hair…
  • MIX SOME WHITE CONDITIONER into your dye to make it stretch farther or lighten the color a bit. Get more for your money and condition your bleached hair all at once.

So, you’re ready for this journey? Now, where to start? What Brands? Help?!

Let me tell you, I’ve spent way too much money learning this on my own..so..just TRUST ME here, okay. Go walk your little self to Sally Beauty Supply or go order this stuff online. DO NOT think you’re going to find your blonde hair in a box. Unless you’re already a fortunate one with lighter hair. If you have dark hair, just skip it all together. If you try to do this from a box, you’ll need at least 3 or 4 boxes of Feria Extreme Platinum to get anywhere close..and that’s already 4 times more than you need to spend.

Step 1: Get some Loreal Quick Blue Bleach Powder! BEST I have tried. It’s about $5 for one packet or $15 for a bucket. You’ll need 2 packets if you’re doing your entire head and have long hair. An Alternative is getting a blonde hi-lift box dye and adding some bleach powder to it to intensify lift.

Step 2: Bottle of 30 Vol Peroxide Developer. Get the cream version. Nothing higher than 30 volume..your hair is already getting mistreated enough w/ the bleach. It’s about $4.

Step 3: Toning color, like Wella Color Charm Toner..or a cheap, boxed blonde dye to get the brass out. Or you can use some Purple shampoo to gradually tone it down!

Step 4: Pick your poison. This is probably the most irritating part of the journey. “What brand of color do I get..?!” Save yourself the trouble and please just DON’T buy the Beyond the Zone brand stuff..seriously. Stop. Right. Now.

  • TEAL/TURQUOISE: For that BRIGHT Hatsune Miku teal, use NRage Twisted TealManic Panic Atomic Turquoise falls closer to the greenish side.
  • NEON PINK: for the BRIGHTEST of BRIGHT, HIGHLIGHTER PINK-bright hair..Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink. For a less intense bright pink, ION BRIGHTS in Magenta is awesome.
  • FUCHSIA & PURPLES: the ION BRIGHTS in Fuchsia is pretty close to pink with a hint of purple. ION BRIGHTS in Purple is a fairly darker purple than other brands. Mix Hot Hot Pink and some Atomic Turquoise for a bright purple! That’s usually what I do.

NRage Demi-Permanent dyes last quite a while. Seriously. Taking all the teal out of my hair was a daunting task. Usually turquoise colors like the Manic Panic brand come out so easily (too easily) within a couple weeks. I did everything in the world to try to strip it from my hair and it just wouldn’t go. Took bleaching it to finally do this. So..that’s hot strong this color is.

Manic Panic: Best consistency overall and widest variety of colors if you don’t intend on mixing any colors yourself…but fades faster than any other color.

Ion Brights: Awesome color if you know how to manipulate the formula correctly. Straight from the tube, it seriously has the consistency of dried out acrylic paint. To solve this and get the most out of these colors, squeeze them out into a plastic container and add small amounts of conditioner into it and mix it with a small spoon until it get’s smooth. After that, it’s AMAZING to work with.

Once you bleached and have decided, work it into your hair however you want and leave it for a few hours or even overnight. Cover it with plastic or a plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out and apply some heat if you’d like. Wash it out w/ cold water, and don’t expect it to run completely clear. Dry your hair right away. I’d advise a designated “Color Towel” for your hair because it’s going to run every time you wash your hair. If you want to use warm water, wash it as fast you can, rinse the shampoo out, run it quickly under cold water then apply conditioner to stop the color from running further.

With SSB’s own at his 26th Birthday Bash in LA with my BRIGHT HAIR!

I wish you all the best of luck on your journey. Get creative. I used different gradients to have fun with. But most importantly, have fun. I love my hair–whether or not anyone else feels the same doesn’t matter to me at all.

WonderCon 2013

March 30, 2013, 3:30 AM, I awake to start a long day in Anaheim for WonderCon. My camera was ready to go, along with my DSi and PSP in case I needed them. By 4:45, my brother and I were out the door and heading up the freeway towards Anaheim.

We arrived at 6:15 and parked. Had to go all the way around the convention center to find the line for professional registration. Obtained my pass at around 8:30 and soon after walked to a nearby 7-11 to pick up some Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. Walked back to the fountain area outside of the convention center and watched as more people started to appear and checking out the food trucks parked nearby.

Outside the Anaheim Convention Center...

Outside the Anaheim Convention Center…

By 9:30, I had my camera out and ready to go…and that’s when I started taking pictures…

Soon after I started taking pictures, the exhibit hall opens and I decided to head in…

As with any convention celebrating the popular arts, there’s plenty to be purchased…

Plushies...

Plushies…

Cosplay items...

Cosplay items…

Toys...

Toys…

Let's not forget about comic books...

Let’s not forget about comic books…

There was definitely a lot to see and do…

For me, the one thing that stuck out the most was none other than the playable DuckTales Remastered demo at the CAPCOM booth…

IMG_3256

DuckTales Remastered

I had a chance to play the demo and it plays just like the original NES game. The original voice actors are in the game as well, though I have to admit Uncle Scrooge and the Beagle Boys don’t sound the way they used to… I was able to record a little bit a footage of the game play, which you can see below…

The best part of the day was running into a small crowd at a booth, only to see that Grant Imahara from MythBusters was there chatting with a guy at the booth!

Grant from MythBusters at WonderCon...

Grant from MythBusters at WonderCon…

And now, without further delay, I present the cosplayers that were found throughout the day (not including those already shown above)…

Before I knew it, 6:30 PM was fast approaching and it was time to head home, especially since I was only able to make it to this convention for just one day…

One last look...

One last look…

Food trucks...

Food trucks…

Random tree shot...

Random tree shot…

Overall, it was a nice change of pace from what Comic-Con has become. Much easier to get into, halls not overcrowded, no other events taking place simultaneously. However, WonderCon did sell out two out of the three days, so it is getting up there with Comic-Con. Parking wasn’t too much of an issue, but I did hate the fact that I had to walk all the way around the convention center just to get to the registration area. Other than that, there weren’t any other major issues.

And to top it all off, I survived the whole day on nothing more than a two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. The reason for this is simple. Having lost my job just two weeks prior, money became an issue. There was only enough money for gas to make it to Anaheim and back and parking. My brother and I ended up spending only $5 for soda the entire time at WonderCon. It was a rather tough thing to do, but it was better than spending the day at home staring at my laptop…

If WonderCon ends up in Anaheim again, I may attend, hopefully under much better circumstances…

Next up, Anime Conji…

Anime Conji 2012

I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I’ll get over it…

Anyway, Anime Conji was this past weekend. I was surprised that half of Team Mixed Nuts was staff for the convention…and I was only a program participant… I had to laugh when I somehow got enlisted as a volunteer, but that was short lived as the person requesting volunteers only need one person. Despite the ridiculous weather (and almost getting swept off my feet from the strong winds), I managed to take a few pics of cosplayers from around the dealer’s room and the registration area. Check it out…

More pictures to follow…

On Sunday, members of Team Mixed Nuts (myself included) were part of the web comics panel that was moderated by Hector, the con chair himself.

All went well, but I usually hate having to speak in front of a crowd (I think my voice reflected that).

Next post, more pics… Until then, I have to dump over 32 GB of data off of my brother’s camera… (>_<);;

Anime Conji: Day 2

ITS TIME FOR ANIME CONJI 2012! I’m posting live from the beautiful and quant Town and Country Resort. The weather is cold and damp but the air is still filled with excitment and surprisingly less body odor than last year.

What happens when you gather a bunch of nerds, nerdy girls, and geeks from all over California in one place? Well, cosplay, for one thing. Hard to know which started first but the idea is to make yourself as much like a character as possible, both in appearance and in the way you act and interact with others. Not exactly my kind of scene but it’s nice to be in the company of people who just don’t give a fuck about what you think of them. I love that.

Wondering who that handsome gent is in all the pictures? thats my buddy Mark M.

-Justin