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Anime la Expo (Part 3)

These posts are so overdue, haha… ha…

Day 3

Day 3 is the main Kill la Kill cosplay gathering event! The cosplay gathering is at 4pm, so I finally had time to run around the rest of the convention. First stop is the Aniplex booth, to look at Sushio’s finished drawing:

Aaaaand it’s back in cosplay we go. Because my costume is relatively simple to put on (no tentacle arms), I used the extra time I had to finish assembling another bunny.

With that said, Sanageyama managed to finish his costume after pulling another all-nighter, so we actually have everyone now!! We walked to the convention center with Nonon playing background music from her speakers. It felt pretty epic. Here’s a janky photo of all of us, together for the first time:

Out of the 86,000 people who went to Anime Expo this year, we ran into the exact one who found my bunny!! What are the chances of that happening?!
Afterwards, we abused the fact that Nonon had working speakers on her shoulders to play Caramelldansen. We actually got a pretty good group of cosplayers and random people to join us in dancing! Another Mako showed up and informed us that we’re at the wrong spot for the cosplay meet (oops), so we followed her to the gathering. On the way, our group slowly started collecting other Kill la Kill cosplayers…

Anyhow, the gathering was pretty great. There were so many Kill la Kill cosplayers! Some of them had really impressive costumes, too. The workmanship an love put into these clothes are absolutely incredible…!
Because it was hot out, we ended up leaving a bit early to get in the proto-line for the line for the Studio Trigger panel. Just when we’re about settled down and rest, some familiar people walked through the door… It was Sushio and Nakashima!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! I ran up to them, handed them the two bunnies, and then ran off. I hope I didn’t freak them out too much!

[ ] LOST
With that, it’s time for LineCon.

The staff decided to deal with the proto-line with the words "the line starts here", and the following stamped resulted in a human density so high that I, stuck in the front-ish of the line, literally could not move an inch. This is an hour before the panel starts, by the way. I ended up making friends with my line-neighbor, a student from UC Berkeley who ran both the Japanese Culture Society and the Anime Club during his high school days, via our shared bad habit of singing anime songs when bored. This eventually resulted in a karaoke of the Pokemon theme song, with random line strangers.

The panel was a free-for-all Q&A session with Nakashima, Sushio, and Toba. The Kill la Kill staff still seemed very surprised at how popular their show is in the US! Frankly, I’m surprised, too. Kill la Kill is basically 90% hard-to-translate Japanese puns, cultural references, and subversions of common tropes in anime and manga. I’d imagine that this show would be very hard to get into if you haven’t watched a lot of anime before, but, well, evidently not.

Highlights from the panel:

  • Nakashima and director Imaishi just put all their favorite things into Kill la Kill without thinking about market trends and whatnot. They were actually all really worried that it wouldn’t do well.

  • To the question of "which characters would you most like to see as a couple?", Sushio answered "Sushio x Mako!" (Nakashima casually dodged the question)
  • Nakashima: "All the Kill la Kill characters are pretty easy to write, because they all have a few screws loose in their heads, just like the director and me…" Sushio: "If you go to our studio, you’ll see screws that’s fallen out of people’s heads all over the floor."
  • Regarding the choice of having all the leads in female in Kill la Kill, Nakashima noted that the old fighting manga from the 70’s that inspired Kill la Kill all had male protagonists. However, while he was writing the show, he thought that Kill la Kill wouldn’t have worked with a male protagonist; women would be just as aggressive and willing to fight as the guys. As such, he deliberately wrote all the male characters to be in support roles, while female characters took the lead. I asked them for some discarded Kill la Kill ideas — my favorite of which is where the two pieces of living school uniforms meet in the laundromat. Also, Nakashima complimented Iori on their cosplay! We left the con in a bit of a daze. Dinner was burgers at the Counter, a fancy build-your-own burger restaurant. We ate it with our new-found friend from UC Berkeley, and he gave us some tips on LineCon.

I think today was a pretty good day.

[ ] LOST[x] WON

Chengyi L