NYAF 2009 – Day 1 – the VIP Powers do Nothing!

So there would have been some live twittering today if it wasn’t for the fact apparently T-mobile sucks around the Javits Center! Reception has been fine everywhere else as far as I can tell, but it was pretty touch and go while at Javits; if I didn’t happen to run into Omo as soon as I got there, it would have been a pain trying to find him and others otherwise!

Since I am already complaining, I guess I may as well get the rest of them out of the way first huh? Really my only other major complaint is that having the VIP Pass does jack versus last year. Seriously. Omo will vouch as well, but last year if you had a VIP Pass (which btw, was like $50 cheaper too) you were essentially king. Front row guaranteed at basically all major (guest) panels, tickets to some/all (depending on the package) autograph sessions, etc. Maybe this will change tomorrow since that’ll be the most important for me but overall this year’s VIP Pass access privileges stink. It seems getting a Press Pass, which is apparently insanely easy to do, would have been better as privileges seem about the same (but cheaper/free with Press Pass).

Actually, now getting my thoughts vaguely together right now at 1:30AM there’s one another complaint I have, which is more in regards to Yui Makino’s autograph sessions. Unlike last year, which really involved blood, sweat, and tears to get any given guest autograph ticket, at least Yui Makino’s is cake. Even if you miss getting it during the initial handouts during the mornings, you can simply buy her latest CD single for $12 which comes with an autograph ticket. Understandably if I just did regular admission, that would be a god send. Plus it’s nice that they’re giving her fans as many chances as possible to get an autograph… but gosh darn it, I wanted to feel special since I spent a lot on VIP to get the extras (tickets included) ahead of time! I guess, however, at the end of the day I’m just really disappointed with VIP in general and can only pray it’ll get better over the weekend.

Now on the actual convention itself, it was pretty low-key today. Then again usually the first day, especially if they fall on a weekday, are generally slow. Arrived on-site around 1PM and after running into Omo literally as I walked in, met up with starcreator, Alex D, and wah.

With a good sized group now together, we explored NYAF to see what they had to offer this year as well as get our various stuff (VIP extras, misc tickets, etc) together. I won’t go into what’s really new with NYAF since unless you’ve been to previous ones, it won’t really matter but I will say it’s a bit more spacious if anything else. After a bit of exploring and the others buying random stuff (artbooks and CDs. Apparently one booth had it if you bought any 2 CDs, one of them by Lia, you would automatically get an autograph postcard of sorts by her), we headed to Opening Ceremonies which lasted all of five minutes with it ending with Tomino cutting the opening red ribbon.

Bored out of our minds with a lot of free time to kill, we all pretty much just roamed around running into random bloggers (RT and SDS for example) throughout the day. Also had random er… “deep” conversations with wah recording at various points for a future podcast, which I can only say will be bad blackmail in the future! Eventually we settled down at one point to check out FUNimation’s panel which didn’t off much in news for myself, although I guess them releasing Initial D the correct way is nice enough.

More random roaming abound, we eventually got some lunch at the always awesome Go Go Curry before heading to Tomino’s keynote panel. And before I forget, wah and I bonded a bit as he gave me random pointers for when I head to Japan as well as all of us hearing about his plans to signup for JET so he could go back to the land of the rising hentais.

Wah induced joking aside, after lunch we headed back to the convention to only see the Tomino line snaking through most of the con! Unfortunately VIP Pass Power did jack as it’s only useful for any main events in one hall but thankfully, other anibloggers were already in the front of the line (including moritheil of animediet) so… yea ^^;; I won’t go into details but all I can say is NYAF semi-failed as they eventually needed to move Tomino’s panel to the main events hall but at least we still got decent seats at the end. On the actual panel, Tomino was a very cool guy (surprisingly enough) and gave a nice keynote speech similar to one he gave a few months back (can’t find the link off bat). Also at the end of the panel, he was kind enough to do a few quick handshakes and photos op as well, which was something I never expected given his colorful internet history. Honestly the only bad parts of the panel was NYAF’s part as apart from the line issue, the initially translator they had for Tomino sucked. Like I could have done as good if not slightly better job than him. Talking to Omo and the others afterwards, I did find out Tomino has a slightly different way of speaking that makes normal translation a little bit different but when Tomino himself makes jokes about the translator, you know something is off. Thankfully the two other translators they had did perfectly fine and took over at various parts.

I believe after Tomino’s panel, more random wandering and running into other bloggers occurred until Cencoroll’s premiere at 9PM. Oh, we did check out aniplex’s panel which was pretty much nothing altough they had a really cool PV for Garden of Sinners that Sony specifically made. So at least that was something. Also I believe Alex D went to Tomino’s autograph line inbetween to get his Zeta Gundam Boxset box signed, which looked really nice when he showed us. I believe we ran into animemiz then as well since she was getting Tomino’s signature too.

Anyway, while waiting on the correct line (whoa they actually split it off to normal and VIP/Press lines) chilling back with everyone for Cencoroll, JP & Hinano dropped by as they were running to the AMVs. Probably the quickest “hi and by” I’ve seen in awhile, they later on said Hinano’s AMV will probably not win as they even admit there was 1-2 better ones in her category. I think when you self admit to giving your own AMV a pity vote, you know your chances aren’t good ^^;;

After the quick meet and greet by the the two, we eventually got let in for Cencoroll. Some technical difficulties aside, the short 30 minutes was pretty good IMHO considering one person did it. No real major plot but it was something if ever fleshed out, could turn out to be a good anime. Really the only disappointment was them not letting the audience hear the awesome ED song “LOVE & ROLL” by supercell, which I play daily. I will say, though, it wasn’t totally their fault since they had the Cosplay Variety Show on literally right after Cencoroll plus they were already running a bit late as is. I believe you’ll be able to hear more thoughts on this by myself, Omo, and wah once wah puts up his podcast on this as well.

With Cencoroll done, it pretty much wrapped up the night for the majority of us. Although all of us being guys and starving to death, there was no way we were going to leave without getting some food! With that in mind, we ended up going to the much famed street carts off of 53rd and 6th. Been awhile since I had them I believe, but god oh god they’re still as fricking awesome as I vaguely remember!

Stomachs full, the group I was with finally parted ways as we prepared ourselves for Day 2 and what craziness it may bring. Overall, as I mentioned earlier, Day 1 was pretty low key with the usual ups and downs you’ll find at any con. Obviously for myself, the whole VIP thing is kind of annoying but we’ll see how that plays out over the weekend. Otherwise it was great seeing old and new faces again with the highlight being spending some quality time with the infamous wah himself (and not wanting to kill myself afterward either)!

For Day 2, it’s pretty all about Yui Makino for the most part. Plus trying to check out AKB48 and JP & Hinano’s panels as well. And even though VIP should allow me to walk in and get good seating for Yui’s concert at least, I ain’t taking any chances and am heading out there for 9-10AM to ensure I get some front row action! If anything else, at least with two autograph session tickets, I should theoretically not have any issues getting my Undine CD and probably photoset (which I picked up as well as with her latest CD single that NYAF’s booth were selling) signed as long as I follow my usual strategies. i.e. get there at least 1 hour early, camp, and forgo eating as needed. I’ll also have to cut in/out of Tomino’s and AKB48’s panels to get the autographs but since I’m not a huge fan of either, no real big deal for me.

Since it’s like 2:30AM now and I need to get up in about 5 hours, I think that will be it for now so look forward to my Day 2 post hopefully in the next 24 hours!


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