As with every year, Anime Expo 2004 was planned and put together nicely. We stayed at the Anaheim Marriott instead of the Hilton; a decision we regretted later, but I’ll get to that later. The trip down was fast and fun, with lots of music and people sleeping in the car while I had to stay awake and stay the course. We left at 5am, got to Coalinga around 8am, had breakfast, departed around 9:30am and got to Anaheim at 1:30pm where we checked in and then unpacked. Okay, I unpacked while everyone else relaxed. This year, I was part of Project 760’s booth, so I hooked up with Ray and Jesse and we went down to the Exhibit Hall to find out booth and find out where all the badges were going to be. The best part about being part of a booth that doesn’t sell anything except pre-registrations is that there are no real boxes or major parts of the booth that need to be driven up to the back of the Hall and unloaded using Teamsters. It was a big banner, two boxes of fliers, and Jon’s sound system so they wouldn’t get bored. The cool part was that I didn’t have to stand in line to get my badges at all. I had to wait while they got the computers up and running, but once they jumped that hurdle, it was smooth for the exhibitors. I even got my attendee badges at the same time, since they offered, and so I walked up to the room with everyone’s badges (I paid for all of them way beforehand and they happened to be under my name) and they were shocked as they did not have to wait in the pre-reg line for the first time ever. It was nice 🙂 Thank you AX Reg staff! 🙂 So, Todd, Teri, and Tenkawa were all really happy they didn’t have to move at all, because we intended to go see Spider-Man 2 on Thursday night.

Luckily, I did not have to hang out at the booth too much, except for maybe an hour a day. No, my real job at AX was to try and get some corporate support for JTAF2. As the Director of Marketing, I took a couple of meetings, pressed flesh and gave out business cards, while also picking up quite a collection of my own. I literally got my business cards hours before I left for AX, which was a good thing. Jesse was nervous, he had Ray print cards out using his computer printer 😛 The ones I had done at Kinko’s were much better looking, and I love it when things look perfect. We sat down with Geneon and Viz, got ignored by Bandai and ADV, were greeted very politely by AnimEigo and Funimation… but I think Viz and Geneon are going to be the two companies that get on board with us. I’m hoping to have some decent co-branding in the near future, so we don’t have to worry about major parts of the publication stuff (good for me, I don’t have to create them).

Everyone had a lot of fun this weekend; it was like the party that never ended. I got a little bit of that rush I had back in 1996, when I first attended AX and stayed at the Marriott. However, I don’t know what happened between 96 when it ruled and 2004 when it sucked. First, the room was tiny. TINY. Sure, it had two full beds (not the two queens I was told I would get), but there was barely two full feet from the edge of the bed to the TV and not a whole lot of space between the beds and the window. We had a balcony, but it faced southern Anaheim and so no fireworks viewing whatsoever. The mattresses looked like they belonged at a summer camp; thin, zipped together to make a full-size. Though the pillows and comforters were pretty cool, they were both down. Unlike last year at the Hilton, however, four people barely fit comfortably in the room. I don’t know.. but add to the fact that room service sucked ass, the food was never cooked right, and the requests I made for a low-numbered floor, a view of Disneyland and the ACC, and even the second room went ignored… and you bet your ass I’m booking the Hilton next year for sure. Never again.

Anyway, I’ll be writing up a more detailed day-by-day account later.