Anime Expo Masquerade
The Masquerade contest is one of the highlights of any Anime convention.  It's where you see some of the finest and
most elaborate costumes at the convention, as well as some very entertaining stage performances.  I love
photographing it.  It's not easy.  I end up getting more horrible pictures than good ones.  The lighting is horrible.  
People on stage are moving quickly.  Audience member's heads are in the way.  There are big monitor speakers on
the stage that obstruct you view.  It's a recipe for disaster from a photographer's point of view.  But, I always get the
most satisfaction from photographing things that are difficult.

However, this photo gallery shouldn't exist.  I commute to Anime Expo every day.  I go home every night to put my
photographs onto my computer.  Things changed for people like me in 2003, with Anime Expo's creation of a voucher
system that gave attendees who stayed at official convention hotels better seating than those who commuted or
stayed at other hotels.  Because I love photographing the Masquerade and because I have a lot of friends who
participate in it, I did whatever I could to get the best seat I could possibly get.  Before the days of vouchers,
everybody was eligible to get tickets for the best seats.  You had to camp out on the sidewalk overnight to get them,
but it was worth it for those who love the event.  It's something that I gladly did.  Before 1999, there was no ticket
system at all, and getting seats was even more of an ordeal.

I was disappointed that Anime Expo elected to use a similar ticketing system this year.  Combined with the fact that
the auditorium that was used for the show is very inadequate.  Sure, it seats over 5,000 people, but most of the
audience can't see the stage at all and are stuck watching video screens.  I was very angry to see that Anime Expo
had failed to improve the viewing conditions from the previous year.  For most of the audience, it's almost pointless
to be there.

More than anything else, it is the voucher system that it making me give up going to Anime Expo.  I don't want to go
to a convention that will put such a restriction on me.  I love attending the Masquerade, but if the best seat that I can
get is a mediocre one, I'd rather stay home.  The only reason that I get into the auditorium and get a decent seat is
because I have friends who are willing to help me out and I am eternally grateful.  But, I don't think it should be that
way.  I should be able to get a good seat on my own and so should anybody else no matter where they stay during
the convention.

So, as you look through this section of my website, please remember, these photographs don't exist if it weren't for
my generous friends.  If I had to get my tickets the normal way, I would have been sitting in the back of the
auditorium, simply because I'm a commuter.

Until Anime Expo can develop a ticketing system that is fair to everybody, I won't spend another dime on an Anime
Expo membership.