Feeling that fall convention slump? While summer is known as prime con season for all the big conventions, it can be disorienting with the industry driven events. Not to mention the enormous crowds that flood nearly every corner of the city. Fall and winter are known as time to unwind and to attend smaller, more fan-oriented conventions. After thirteen years since its inception, Pacific Media Expo is still going strong with no signs of slowing down.
This year saw an amazing array of guests and some of the convention’s trademark events, including the swap meet, the fashion show, musical performances, and martial arts competitions. The general swap meet and the fashion swap meet were stormed by hungry shoppers who craved those deals on coveted merchandise.
Easy local parking, easy access to public transportation, and plenty of affordable food makes PMX the most relaxing con of this season. Despite some hiccups with an overlapping event as well as the difficulties of the convention’s split halls, the staff of PMX remained gracious and organized as always. Blame the split convention architecture for the sparse look of wandering cosplayers and con-goers. Overall, that worked better for the con experience because there was never a problem of overcrowding unlike other cons. It also gave plenty of space for outdoor and hallway cosplay shots. Notably, cosplayers of popular anime Yuri on Ice!!! took solace in the Pasadena skating rink conveniently located next door, showing off their ice skating skills.
APA features two of this year’s most memorable highlights from Pacific Media Expo 2016.
Musical Guest: Hitomi
President of @home maid café, fashion designer of Seventeen Kiss and member of dance unit Team Junko, Hitomi came all the way to Pasadena to perform for all attendees on Friday night. Even though her style of cute singing and dancing might not appeal to everyone, her energy certainly did. Not only did she sing and dance, she demonstrated her prowess as a multi-talented entertainer by mixing in a mini-talk show and constantly interacting with the faithful crowd. Everyone has played rock, paper, scissors before, but not in the special @home café way. The lucky four who managed to beat Hitomi in the game won exclusive file folders signed by her.
During her panel, Hitomi provided a PowerPoint presentation on maid cafe culture in Japan to educate and describe what her job is like. The only maid cafes in America are temporary ones tied to conventions whereas they are an industry in Japan. She also shared some of the realities that maids face. As a twelve year veteran as a maid, though “forever seventeen,” Hitomi’s experience is impressive and inspiring.
Normally, people would just write maid cafes off as demeaning and just another part-time job for people who are desperate for money. In reality, it’s a form of escapism into a happy, cheerful world away where maids provide a momentary vacation away from the stresses of life. Hitomi explained to the audience that the reason why she decided to keep working as a maid was because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else that would be as fun or enjoyable. Her ability to remain calm in the face of sometimes frightening customers or even graciously turning down inappropriate requests moved the hearts of people who previously had reservations about maid cafes. Each new maid goes through an extensive training period where they learn to provide above and beyond customer service. In regards to what maids do when met with an unruly customer, the maids simply point the customer to a male “fairy” in the corner who would kindly help them.
As the convention’s most popular event, the fashion show drew in so many people that latecomers had to stand in the back. Not only were the models and brands well-coordinated, but the playlist worked in cycles where classical music accompanied Lolita brands while street fashion jived to EDM music. Special guest Hitomi modeled for headlining brand Juliette et Justine in an adorable blouse and jumper skirt accompanied by a bunny ear headpiece. This year’s list of participating brands were a mix of large commercial brands to local indie brands: Juliette et Justine, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates, Fickle Wish, Omo Cat, Haenul, Lief, Mossbadger, Belladonna, Mulberry Chronicles, Rosenmarchen, and Swan Heart. Check out our photos from the fashion show below!
For more PMX 2016 coverage, check out our interviews below with some of this year’s guests!
PMX 2016 with Lolita fashion designer Mari Nakamura
PMX 2016 with director and designer Masashi Kudo
PMX 2016 with director and producer Mamoru Yokota