Time to Get AXed: Anime Expo 2007
|By far one of the largest collections of animé and video game enthusiasts its side of the Mississippi, Anime Expo has long been a haven for fanatics to meet, discuss their favorite forms of media, and embarrass themselves with hideous cosplay. That's why this Haven was there to witness the madness and bring you the Square side of things.|
Anime Expo 2007 attendees might have been surprised to find an official Square Enix presence on the show floor. They might have been even more surprised to find that it was entirely dedicated to Final Fantasy XI. Yes, as discerned from the moderately attractive Mithra booth babes, Square Enix had decided that the best use of its time would be to peddle the one product which its fanbase had already passed over years ago.
On approach, one would find a banner advertising FFXI and its latest expansion, Wings of the Goddess, only to be ambushed by a Mithra girl offering trial CDs. For free? Nonsense. A ten day FFXI trial came at a price of $3 and included a free easel. Alternatively, the booth was selling easels at $3, which came with free coasters. Perspective matters.
Free fans (the kind you wave, not the kind you beat back with a stick) were also available, featuring a url which linked to a short online survey enabling entry into a sweepstakes whose grand prize is to be a several-of-a-kind Alienware PC. Other methods of prize-winning included bringing a photograph of a Final Fantasy cosplayer to the booth or participating in a trivia contest; both allowed opportunities to spin the prize wheel for free hardware or even a copy of FFXI (oh, goodie).
The trivia contest, an exercise in hilarity, consisted of bringing no fewer than six contestants up to answer three questions regarding the franchise. The first, which seemed to cover the largest scope of games, did a fair job of testing general Final Fantasy knowledge. This question, of course, was a warm-up and counted for nothing. The second question pertained to one of Square Enix’s more recent titles, drawing on mundane details to offer winners a prize ticket. The last question was based on a clip of an FFXI battle—the entire battle, which was terribly dull (as though to suggest the contents of what the booth was attempting to advertise) displayed attack names as they were activated. If your focus and short-term memory were good enough, you might be able to answer correctly for another prize ticket. At this point, you will likely redeem your tickets, and spin the wheel to collect absolutely nothing, go home, and cry yourself to a bitter, swag-less sleep. Greetings from the Square Enix booth.
Nevertheless, Final Fantasy fans were able to purchase Square Enix products from various vendors around the exhibition hall to satisfy their consumerist lusts. From posters, to figures, to Buster Swords, there were various items on sale for relatively reasonable prices. Standard Anime Expo fare.
On a slightly less related note, Gonzo animé Romeo X Juliet, scored by prominent Square Enix composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, made its American debut at Anime Expo 2007. Two subtitled episodes were played for the event and series executive producer Daisuke Gomi was on hand to preside over the event and raffle off a collection of prizes, whereupon rabid fans attacked the walls, tearing off posters and slinking away with them into the night.
Altogether, it was an exciting event--one which any video game or animé fan must attend at least once a lifetime: a holy pilgrimage for the nerd inside us all.
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