IM@S Still Cleans Me Up

There’s not much else to say on my part. Words probably could describe how I feel today and how I felt back when in February, but this means so much to so many and it was executed so well that it says all that I wanted to say.

Oh, I guess at least I can attribute.

For those who are new, let’s just say that back in Feb there was a great IM@S live event and I was able to attend. In many ways it was possibly one of the most moving attempt at mix media marketing ever, and one of the best anime/game event ever. It was also a great concert on its own. Now we can relive it on Blu-ray comes October 22nd. There was a live stream earlier today that I clipped and put on the ‘tubes and you can look at the samples above.

Housekeeping: IM@S SSA Cleanup

Lots of stuff to talk about but mainly I just want to publicly point out that all the people who contributed money to our SSA flower and book deal should’ve gotten their stuff in the mail by now or already received them (months ago for most of you). Maybe better put I am kind of putting it to rest now that the last thing I had to mail out is in the mail.

A big thank you to all who helped us through the whole thing. A big thank you to those who helped me through the whole thing!

In other news, IM@S 9th is in a couple weeks and things are ramping up. Friday brings a surprise announcement that they don’t want fans to send flowers to the Tokyo and Nagoya venues. Probably because they are like “wait we’ll get too many flowers and there won’t be any room for people” or some such. We are planning to do something flower-based so it’s a curveball to our plans that we’ll have to work around.

Today also is the day that Tenso (popular Japanese proxy) received my IM@S Movie pop stand. The shipping was about what I expected; the boxes are like 97cm in length and 80cm some in width, so it’s quite large. Some Ps ordering multiple are paying hundreds in shipping, so hopefully when we get the stuff in time for some photo OP!

Gnashing Teeth on North American Anime Con Guests Announcing

It’s about three weeks to Otakon, and Otakon still has one guest to announce for their Sunday music showcase. For those of you unfamiliar with North America’s second largest anime convention (boasting probably close to 35000 unique attendees for this year), in recent years Otakon employed their main events each day in this way: Friday night features a concert, Saturday night features the masquerade, and Sunday afternoon the second concert. For the 20th Otakon they did things differently by doing a concert on Saturday instead of Friday so they can reinstate the MST3K event that Otakon used to do, but that was just for last year. Also, it made renting the Baltimore’s First Mariner Arena more feasible.

Again, it’s about three weeks to Otakon. As mentioned before ALTIMA is Otakon’s Friday guest. We have no idea who will be for Sunday yet. Three weeks is a magical period of time because of how the airline industry works. Booking too close to the date of the event and you will be paying out of your nose, and there are rarely any deals closer than 21 days prior. That’s not to mention availability of flights. So yeah, good luck, west coast bros.

The great thing about Otakon is that the management knows this. In fact it’s not just them. Knowing however is only half the battle. It is all too common with multi-party negotiations though, that if working with these third parties things invariably can get drawn out and delayed. Japan will take its time. There might be something unexpected that delay the process, who knows. What makes Otakon slightly better, in my estimates, compared to others, is how they work to avoid these issues that comes with the process. Because knowing means you can try to mitigate these external factors. Emphasis here is try.

Because, let’s face it, these things happen all the time. I’m grateful for the opportunities these large or mid-size cons provide, to make a concerted effort and bring over Japanese guests who worked on anime or what not. But in the end it’s these little things that distinguishes a great con from just a good con. It’s the difference between being able to meet one hardcore JP fan at the con versus a dozen of them. It’s the difference between going to a con or not going to a con for me, if it’s not a con already on my agenda that year.

As someone who had a jolly time hanging out with said JP fans at AN and Acen this year, it makes a difference to me. I guess it’s just something that can’t be helped. But is it? I think it can, even if it is very difficult. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the enjoyment of fans going to a con directly hinges on the competencies of the con management. I’m just numerating a clear example of it. Some things might matter more or less to some people. Some might not matter at all to just about no one. I wonder if you’ve got a group of experienced con managers (like Otakon has in the past few years), this is one way they can iteratively level-up how they run a con and squeeze that last drop of enjoyment from the whole endeavor. And since JP guests cost so much resources to bring over, why not maximize the experience for the fans who enjoy the guests? Go all the way.

But then again you still have the situation we’re seeing today. It’s three weeks till Otakon. Do you know where your guests are?

PS. On the flip side, Otakon hotel cancellation deadline is Friday, so if they announce the music guest Thursday and it’s a hit for you, you might have a shot at getting hotel space. Hotel space is likely not the most important item for attendees, but it’s probably second most important for a lot of people.

Aldnoah.Zero Wins Round One

I haven’t sampled everything this summer season but I think I’m at a point where I can comfortably say I’m ready to take my picks and go on. Part of this is thanks to not having to worry about 2 noitaminA shows, because of the double-length Psycho-Pass rerun. Part of this also has to do with how FUNimation’s picks this season whiffs everything except The One Show Every Season They License That I Must Watch, so there isn’t any chaff like Daimidaler or Soul Eater Not where the fact that I have negotiate their services put enough of a strain on my attention span that I end up dropping them. [Free S2 completely whiffs at episode 1. It turned into K-ON except with guys and...sorry. Give me some Koushien story please. Oh, there's Tokyo ESP I suppose, which is in limbo but...]

It’s easy to see why I take a liking to Aldnoah.Zero. It’s got the rich SF background, it takes plot progression seriously, with a lot of mind paid to tension and emotional response. Amamiya Sora is icing on the cake (I think she’s getting hype specially in P circles, but also in general now). Ohara drives a mecha? When’s the last time that happened? Wait, don’t tell me Sidonia. Well the real reason is it pushed all my Nadesico buttons.

At any rate, that’s just the prereq. Butch lays it on thick Gargantia-style here with the setup. This time it’s a lot more palatable as someone who at least got to episode 5 of Senkou no Night Raid. Joking aside, there’s enough to the series that I want to see how the setting and theme play out. The pacing/plot being enjoyable enough is what keeps me awake, I guess.

Ami looking like Ami from Million Lewd. Million Live I mean.

Speaking of which, I was surprised Hamayamata keeps me awake because it’s pretty dull other than the eye-jabbingly prismatic visuals. I mean that in the best possible way. I rewatched episode one a couple times and it just looked so hyperrealistic in that fancy, let-us-pour-all-the-filters kind of way that it feels out of place. I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy Yaya being not-Kaya and Hana being from scenic New Jersey, though. Can’t wait for Nu’s character. More seriously, it channels a little of Chihayafuru in the feels, and I can’t wait to see what that means in a dance…club sense.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Akame ga Kill, but I did. Another Amamiya Sora show! But this one is clearly a notch down. Could be fun if it has more of a setting to play off of.

I want to like Argevollen, but it is turning out to be the perfect foil to 08th MS Team. As if you ever wanted to see an example of a crap squad mecha anime, there you go. At least do us the favor and make the main character as chill as the ones from Gunparade March or something. Really wanted to like it but it is basically in every way a subset of shows like Aldnoah.Zero … or Sidonia. Minus the KOTOKO.

Glasslip…Satojun takes on Nagiasu? I don’t know what to expect but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the hell out of it. That said, so far it’s a little snoozy. The whole super power bit is a little vague. It’s okay to get started this quickly but I wish we had a little more time to get comfy with the cast first.

Locodol is another show that I thought would be trash but is turning out pretty okay. Kind of wish we can swap Naru from Hanayamata with the protagonist here. I would probably dig this show a lot more if it was as long as Yama no Susume 2. It’s not, which means now it has to have some kind of plot to carry over 15 minutes.

Nozaki-kun is like the shoujo anime that isn’t. I can’t really say I like it because the humor doesn’t work for me as much, but it helps that the MCs are both tsukkomi. Maybe girls like that? Anyways while the concept is intriguing it is pressing all the wrong buttons for me. Can’t fault it for pressing buttons but maybe it’s just not for me.

Rail Wars is the one show this season where I like everything except the actual story here. I love the depiction of faux-real world Tokyo Station or the Japanese attitude about customer service. I like how there are real trains in the anime, down to the last bolt or screw. Unfortunately the rest is sort of bad. Bad in a way where I’d rather go and rewatch parts of Tenchi Muyo? I guess.

Ao Haru Ride is going to be pretty cool in that we finally get Mayayan in a proper shoujo protagonist role. She deserves it. I wish I can say more than that though; just not my kind of thing and when I watch shows like this I get all old fogie like, “Why can’t shows today be like Karekano good”? Maybe this Otaking rant has something in the making of.

Sabagebu is okay. I watched one episode and it was largely forgettable, but it’ll probably be fun enough to keep me up to 3.

I want to try one episode of Love Stage but I’m not that bored yet. Bladedancer could be interesting, and it doesn’t have that “yet another Nobunaga thing” stigma attached, so I might try that at some point.

The new Encouragement of Climb anime is great, but I feel it’s too long.

I watched the Tokyo Zombie live action movie some years back. It was a riot. I hope Tokyo Ghoul is at least around the same level. Somehow I doubt it.

I looked at the 2ch matome posts for Momo Kyun Sword. I had enough.

How can I go back to OFA at this rate? Hopefully by dropping half of the above. I still have 4 more idols to unlock!

PS. None of this really shakes the fact that Zankyou no Terror might still be the best show of the season, but so far there’s not enough data to make that call. Rather than calling it a win for Aldnoah, it’s more like a personal victory for Aldnoah that it did not crash and burn in the pack before it thinned out. It’s almost like watching NASCAR for the car crashes.

PPS. I’m sure to watch more show not mentioned thus far this season. I also owe myself a Puchimas catch-up after my Sidonia catch-up.

PPPS. I’m digging Cap’n Earth a lot more since they switched gears with exploring all the other designer children stuff. ED2 is awesome. Ace is slowing down as expected; finally getting to see baldie pitch should lift spirits. And I omitted the other continuations that I’ll surely catch too, like Illya and Ai Mai Mii… Goes to show how great Encouragement of Climb is.

Anime Expo 2014: Wrap

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was great that I had a blast at AX, but this is probably the worst AX that I’ve attended, and probably the worst AX in a long while. And given AX’s reputation for the screw, that says a lot.

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