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Here at RocketNews24, we often send our English-speaking staff out to cover events and places of interest related to Japanese animation and movies. This week, though, we’re pulling a 180 by sending one of our Japanese language reporters, Yoshio, to Comic-Con in San Diego.

Yoshio completed Phase One of his mission with no problems by successfully flying the 10 hours from Tokyo to California. Next on his list of objectives: a blow-by-blow report of Comic-Con’s preview night.

1. I hopped in the car early and drove to the San Diego Convention Center, which meant I arrived with plenty of time left to stare at the parking lot and its total lack of any empty spaces.

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2. From the driver’s seat, I spent the next hour-plus appreciating the architecture of downtown San Diego/searching for a place to park, which I eventually found in a lot charging 25 bucks.

3. After completing the epic journey from my far-off parking space to the Convention Center entrance, I waited in line for 20 minutes to get my entrance badge.

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4. Finally inside, I started by walking around the outer edge of the convention floor, where I was excited and a little honored to see how big the followings are in America for titles like Sailor Moon, Naruto, and One Piece.

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5. Really, the venue is so huge I didn’t know what to check out first!

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6. I spotted this crazy line stretching from the Bandai booth, but it was so long I had no idea what everyone was waiting for.

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7. A few minutes later, the Bandai staff made some kind of announcement, which got the fans at their booth all agitated. Whatever that line was for, I guess they ran out.

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8. There was no way I wasn’t stopping to take a picture of this awesome Darth Vader car.

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9. Since I’d worked up a thirst, I headed over to the refreshment stand and got myself a Coke. It really hit the spot, but at $4 a pop, I think I’m going to stock up on cheap drinks from the grocery store and bring them with me tomorrow.

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10. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about a few of the cosplayers that I found positively enchanting.

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11. Iron Man may not have had his own personalized ride like Lord Vader, but these figures were cool enough to warrant a photo session of their own.

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12. I was all psyched to play some Super Smash Bros., but before I could get to the front of the line, nature called and I had to drop out. But at least I didn’t get beat!

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13. The trim and toned Wii Fit Trainer was looking as good as some of the booth girls.

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14. My feet were starting to get tired, so I sat down on the ground for a second on the edge of the exhibit space. Right away, a staffer told me to stand up. Who says being a comic fan means not getting any exercise?

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15. After two hours of hanging out in the hall, I bought my first piece of merch: this mask which I’m taking back to Japan as a souvenir for one of RocketNews24’s pro wrestling-loving editors.

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16. Preview Night shuts down at 9 p.m. As I left the Convention Center I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so when I got back to my friend’s house where I’m staying, I ordered a pizza from Papa John’s.

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17. While enjoying a slice, I reminded myself that Comic-Con was just getting started, but I’ll do my best!

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▼ Darth Invader attracting a crowd

▼ Star Wars

From all of us back in Japan, otsukaresama Yoshio! Good luck and sweet dreams. Sweet, pizza-induced dreams.

Photos © RocketNews24