One of the things I always loved about Vegas before I even lived there and was just going for vacational purposes, is Anime Vegas. It's the biggest anime con in Vegas held once a year usually every Labor Day weekend though lately it's also been held during Veteran's Day weekend. It's been held at the Cashman Center most often than not, but it has also been held at the Renaissance Hotel (including this year) and the Alexis Park Hotel. It's organized by Richard Stott, a dude that pays out of his pocket year after year to make it happen. I know the con has had its ups and downs throughout the years, but regardless we have him to thank for his efforts to keep it going.
Rich Stott, the man that makes it happen. He actually has a panel at the end of each con called the 'Bitch at Rich' session where people can complain about what sucked about the con so that he can hopefully improve it the following year.
Anime Vegas 2006 was the first con we attended, which was super awesome and got Johnny and I into Cosplaying as Dragonball Z characters (sort off, we wore our full costumes the following year) and got to meet Sonny Straight (the voice of Krillin/DBZ and Maes Hughes/FMA), and got buy a Death Note for autographs.
Yep, I went as far as shave my head to be Krillin in Anime Vegas 2010. I don't do that anymore so I guess you can call me Goku. Photo was taken by Lan Moore.
Over the years we have met and spoken to several anime and videogame related VA's including JOHNNY YONG BOSCH (voice of Ichigo from Bleach and was Adam the 2nd Black Power Ranger from the original series), LAURA BAILEY (voice of Lust from FMA, Crayon Shin Chan and Chun Li from the recent SF4 games), TRAVIS WILLINGHAM (voice of Mustang from FMA, Guile from the SF4 series and Cell from DBZ Kai), COLEEN CLINKENBEARD (voice of Rose and Hawkeye from FMA, Kid Trunks from DBZ and Gohan from DBZ Kai), BRAD SWAILE (Light Yagami from Death Note and Jin Kazama from SF X Tekken), CHRIS SABAT ( voice of Vegeta and Piccolo from DBZ and Kuabara from Yu Yu Hakusho), VIC MIGNOGNA (voice of Edward Elric from FMA and Brolly from the DBZ movies) and TARA STRONG (Raven from Teen Titans, Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw and Harley Quinn from Batman Arkham City) to name a few. Some like Laura and Johnny are regulars, only missing a con or two for whatever reason, and hey recently Laura married Travis, so that's kinda cool. We even had JASON DAVID FRANK, the original Green and White Power Ranger at one of the cons.
Me posing with Colleen Clinkenbeard, voice of Lt. Hawkeye from FMA and Kid Trunks from DBZ
The cons also has Japanese musical guests ranging from solo singers to groups. We've had several like Miley Yamamoto, Momoi Halko, Red Bacteria Vaccuum and Yumi Matsuzawa (I got to hear her sing Chikyugi, the opening theme from Saint Seiya Hades Saga. It was so EPIC). Seeing Yumi and Miley sing Cruel Angel's Thesis (opening theme from Neon Genesis Evangelein) as a duet was simply orgasmic.
Me again with the girls form Red Bacteria Vaccuum.
Other than that the con has a lot of cool panels to talk with the VAs or discuss a specific game or anime, dealers to buy all sorts of anime and manga related goodies, a masquerade ball for dancing formally, normal dancing as well, and gaming to test your skills against other fighters, which sometimes included video game tournaments. The main thing for us was meeting most of our best and closest friends at the con, many of which you have already have seen on Video Game Masters, including Lan Moore, Pikachika, Erika, GirXDolly, Sweet Pete (AKA Tyranee) and WiccaDarko among many others. Some started out as just people we'd continue to run into con after con, but after a while they become people we'd actually hang out with. There's no better place than an anime con to meet new friends with the same interests. And hey, the con is also the place where we get to meet several people that are actually fans of the VGM show, as well as our coverage of the cons from previous years. And that's all kinds of cool.
Our gang at the end of AV 2012. My older outfit was seeing its final days, so Pikachika was awesome enough to make me a whole new DBZ gi for that year. I still thank her for doing this for me.
As for Anime Vegas 2013... wow.. this was the con that almost didn't happen. Somewhere along the way, the place they originally had booked up decided to back out, so the con was pushed back from it's original August 31st date to some time unknown. That's right, for people that actually pre-registered and are out of town and already booked their flights, the opening date for Anime Vegas was unknown and that ruined everything for them. And not only that, but noone really knew where it was going to be held or who was going to be there. Finally it was revealed to be at the Renaissance Hotel once again and for this very weekend of November 1st through November 3rd.
Random pic at one of the panels at Anime Vegas 2013, taken by Johnny Rodriguez
So far reviews for this year's con have been pretty mediocre. The con was, considering the circumstances of course, pretty rushed and it seems the guest VAs are mostly the same people that come year after year without any specific awesome outstanding special guests. Although the singer Momoi Halko was here this year and it seems Johnny enjoyed her concert immensely. The con is almost over, since as of right now it is upon Day Three. Johnny is still lurking around, so if you happen to see him, ask to pose in a pic with him and we'll be sure to add it in a future VGM episode during the ending credits screens.
Keep your eyes open for this Android 17. Pose next to him and we'll put the pic on one of our episodes. Or you can cameo in one of his videos as he also reviews Anime Vegas 2013.
Let's see how this year wraps up. There's one day to go and we'll soon see Johnny's videos of all 3 days as well as his official review, so stay tuned to his channel to get all the coverage. I'm sorry I couldn't make it, and I'm also sorry the con seems rather sucky this year, but hey, Anime Vegas is what you make of it. At least you can hang out with your friends, possibly meet new ones and have fun regardless. Let's see how it goes next year.
Let's see what wild and crazy stuff will happen next year. Get set for Anime Vegas 2014.
Here's Johnny's channel. His AV2013 videos should be up throughout the week once the con is over. I wasn't able to attend this year, but who knows what next year will hold for us? Hopefully it will be a lot better organized. I never had reason to distrust them before, but I have to say I'd be nervous when booking a flight to Vegas since now I know the risk of changing the date of the con exists.
To end this article here are a few highlights for me at some of the cons, though I might not remember exactly which year it took place.
ANIME VEGAS 2006- Having Mike McFarland and Laura Bailey have a funny convo as Master Roshi and Lust. And also the fact that it was my very first anime con.ANIME VEGAS 2007- Doing a Voice Over scene at one of Chris Sabat's panels. I was going for a Casey Jones/Clint Eastwood voice. ANIME VEGAS 2008- First time the con was at a hotel rather than a convention center (Renaissance Hotel) so it was an extra kick for me to see all the guests react to all these random Cosplayers walking all over the place.ANIME VEGAS 2009- Meeting Brad Swaile and having his autograph my Death Note wallscroll. Also entering a Street Fighter 4 tournament without having played the game and making it to the second round.ANIME VEGAS 2010- As corny as it sounds, it rocks that this is the year where we actually met and become better friends with Sweet Pete, Lan Moore, Pikachika and the rest of what would be the VGM crew.ANIME VEGAS 2011- Joining some friends for the Hard Rock Cafe outside. I also won a Banzai Arcade shirt in a contest where I had to survive a segment of Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II.ANIME VEGAS 2012- I had Paige by my side, and again, that Yumi and Miley duet was orgasmic.
Here's a Triple Kame Hame Ha to wrap up my memories of Anime Vegas for now.
And just to wrap this up with a nice red bow, here are the three other Anime Cons I've been to. Note that I'm referring to Anime Cons, not comic cons or whatever kind of con you'd consider Steel City Con to be.
FANNATIKU FEST 5 AT ST. GEORGE UTAH
Me hangin with Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku from Dragonball Z!!!
Me with Lisle Wilkerson, the voice of Nina Williams, Christie Monteiro and Sarah Bryant. She's cameod in some episodes of VGM before. She is super cool and you can usually play Tekken games against her in the cons she's in.
Me with Joanie Brosas, up and coming supermodel with her own Facebook fanpage. It's also worth mentioning that I ran into Lisle again at this con and she was nice enough to give me a second interview.
Only time will tell if I'll be able to make it to Anime Vegas 2014 or not.... or what other kinds of Anime Cons I might attend out there. Keep reading to find out!