Anime Expo was absolutely amazing! I want to go back again when funds allow T-T.
Its completely different from Anime North and Otakuthon because its corporate. Most of the panels (actually, almost all) are hosted by industry guests. Most panels are about new shows in the industry, both north american and Japanese from distributors like Funimation (NA) and Aniplex (JP). Panels seem more like a Q and A instead of an intimate discussion format that I'm used to in AN and Otakuthon. We went to 2 anime viewings, ICE and Gundam Unicorn. ICE is a movie about some weird sci-fi lesbian society (I'm not kidding! should I mention that everyone falls in love with the main character?). Gundam Unicorn is extremely well animated. Too bad we didn't stay long in the Gundam showing. Its painful listening to dub.
One of the highlights of AX for me was its dealer's room/artists alley. I wish i had a week to explore the place. At AN and Otakuthon, an afternoon is enough to see what's being distributed. I think we took more pictures of products in the dealers room than anywhere else in this con. Alot of distributors from Japan came to sell their wares. We have some of the major Goth-loli labels like Baby the Stars Shine Bright, H. Naoto, Moi Meme Moitie as well as Altelier Pierrot. Bandai also had a space. Their display case of Gundam models attracted alot of fanboys (and myself). Some of the pieces displayed are amazing! I imagine that they would cost at least as much as a volks dollfie.
The Copics marker line also came. All professional manga artists use Copics. I really regret not buying their blender refill... and a couple of flesh tone makers (they are pretty hard to come by). So cheap! prices are around 3-4$ a marker and refill (they price at 7.95 each marker in Montreal). They also sold a light board! its great for inking! I had 2 pairs of boots and 4 sets of cosplays, 3 wigs as well as 2 large make-up bags packed full for the trip (oh and clothes). It was impossible to buy those and bring it back... regret, regret.
All con, I was was actually on the look-out for Japanese artbooks and magazines. I did find a really nice hard cover Cosmode for 6$ (so happy! It looked about 30$ to me not 6$!) and really really gorgeous linage 2 art book as well as a Gundam design artbook (the sheer genius that went into the designs! at the price of 60USD *le sigh*). it was the last day of the con when we had no money left. I'm kinda ashamed to admit that I did want (and still do) to buy a loli mag. It's so pretty! But the price was 23$. *sigh* maybe it was a good thing someone bought it the next day we went back to make a final decision to buy it.
Another surprise for us was the amount of great steampunk dealers. They had great one of a kind goggles and leather hats as well as clothing, accessories and beautiful jewelry. Too bad we couldn't buy some goggles and glass ware (no place to fit in luggage without damaging it). I did get several business cards. There is a seller who sold a corset which caught my heart. maybe it was a good thing it wasn't my size. AT ALL.
The last 5 minutes of the dealers hall proved a great discovery. Custom made Kuroshituji jackets (essentially very beautiful lacy Victorian). The seamstress/designer is so great she makes them look like real everyday wear instead of cosplay. I'm so sad that she's not going back to AX since she has such a bad location to sell her stuff. It was at the end of the Hall to the side. Most people (like us) already spent all our money by the time we get to her stand. The con's dealers room is so huge that its really unfair the sellers like her. Her stuff is awesome and at the right price range. She also studied in textiles (I believe) and alot of the lace are original designs by herself. She also makes her own textile blends to suit the overall look and texture of the outfit. Alot of her stuff is actually sold in Japan since its so high quality. Here's the link if anyone's interested.http://starrypetals.com
She takes commissions for outfits. Even steam punk ones, if given the details. I was so impressed, I got an ama loli outfit from her >.>.
So the final haul for me at the dealers were:
Cosmode glamor edition hard cover
Blue Hair facinator
Blue mini loli-ish hat
Ama loli outfit (arrrg noooo..... cannot go down that road. For now its in C's possession cause it fits her perfectly and I need to lose weight. I also still need to pay her back for it)
Short blond wig
Altelier Pierrot loli skirt (ouch that one cost ... alot. Not sure she'd be happy for me to mention the price here)
Velvet steel boned corset (so worth the price. and no shipping!)
(artists alley, cosplayers/cosplaying, amv contest, MASQUERADE!)