Monthly Archives: May 2014

Con Season 2014

I just want to make some notes before my scrambled thoughts leak out of one ear as OFA and LLSIF cram down my other. First of all, this past week I did something that would be unthinkable if you talked to me 8  years ago: back-to-back anime conventions. Why? Because there are guests I wanted to see, who came from Japan.

It’s a sort of vindictive kind of a feeling. It’s like when your favorite anime gets licensed and you buy it. Except this is like the “Better than Aniplex” version where the cost is less and the product is even better than the Japanese version. This is why Hanamaru Cluster mobilized; you simply get opportunities that you can’t get with the guests anywhere else, that these Japanese fans would “reverse-import” the experience by going abroad. Anyway, you see it and you buy it. You buy it hard. You image macro Fry throwing money on the screen. You pre-order as soon as you can. You get excited about it. That’s what happens.

Of course, what’s also amazing is the meeting-of-fandom aspect. I’m not huge on fandom but I recognize the effect it has on me, my habits, and what I do. I helped do a WUG dinner with Japanese WUGners, and you can read about the two dinners we had at Anime North over at Exciel’s. I should drop a big shoutout to him for organizing and putting all those Anime North things together. It’s thankless, kind of like how ACEN and Anime North themselves are huge labors of love that’s largely thankless but are powerful enablers.

Dang, the WUG-chans are sure cute.

There aren’t really any conventions like American/Canadian cons in Japan. This is possibly why when I read Kelt’s Japanamerica book it resonated a lot; this is sort of cultural appropriation and mutation that go back and forth. What that means, at least in a practical way, is that we can improve on what other countries do and everyone can share in every which new form that this culture gets reorganized or rearranged. It’s like I can fly to Japan to watch a badass concert, or Babymetal can tour with the best of metal in the UK and Canada. Or Japan Expo can branch into other European destinations and the US. I don’t know, it’s all weird.

Just like how a bunch of North American Ps can talk to Mari Nakamura (the gothloli clothing designer quoted in Exciel’s blog post) who then talk to us about producer culture, and this is not just Canadian or oversea producer culture, but all producer culture.

One thing the guys behind the Anime North nonsense (HPT) worry about is that as ocean-hopping wotas we probably skew their perceptions of US/CAN fans. And no doubt I played a role in that too. I am pretty sure I needlessly impressed one particular WUGner because I said I recognized that Tomo Sakurai has a sister that is also a seiyuu; this is super vague recollection I’m working on. It already is a weird year for cons for me. I will attend my fifth anime con next week with Anime Next; I think I aim to attend 5 cons at most last year, and barely broke into 6. For 2014, after AnimeNext I am scheduled for at least AX, Otakon and AWA. And I went to Japan earlier this year too. That’s nuts. If I drop an AUSA or NYCC in there, that would blow my mind again. And that feels too close, too much like punishment. It’s great punishment but nonetheless.

Maybe I should go work for a company that sends people to anime cons…

Anime North 2014: Wrap

Day Three of Anime North is just like Day Two, just minus the brunch and more casual. Most of the JP Ps went back to their hotels after closing ceremony was over; Harami and Mai both attended that event, and that ended at 7pm. Most cons don’t end this late, for a weekend-type con. We ended up eating at a tex mex place down the road and it turned out a lot more affordable and about as delicious. It was also a little bit of an acrobatic act; originally it was a dinner with just some local Ps and the HPT guys, but some JP guys wanted to tag along so the party size changed from 13 to 26 and back to 16. I again tipped well.

Did I mention that on Saturday’s off-kai at the local steakhouse chain (it’s not as upscale as, say, Ruth Chris’s) we did RE@DY? We were able to get a whole corner of the place to ourselves and a few JP Ps went off on it.

After hanging out with all these new-found Ps, it was kind of moving. By day three we were sufficiently bonded with some JP Producers that we had a tough goodbye at the parking lot. We came back to the hotel and did more calls and lightstick waving. Hacked the hotel TV so we can watch 8th live. Remember the glamours AI LIKE HAMBURGER routine.

And this is how Anime North feels like a 4-day con even if it’s just 3 days long. On Monday we got up at a reasonable hour and walked around Niagara Falls. It’s always fun to see the largest watering hole on earth.

Yukari puppet

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Anime North 2014: Day 0-2

Well, the party ditched us, so we’re at the hotel typing up the con report and what not. That’s the bad news.

That and I didn’t get a Harami autograph on day 2, which is not too bad because the good news is that so far everything else at the con has gone according to plan. This means we had a great time at the offkai talking to some gents from Japan who really like Harami.

Harami sure played it like an idol, which is okay given that has become somewhat expected of her, who announced her first solo live and what not.

Exciel-P has got the charisma and enough organization powers to pull things together. I did what little I can to pitch in, and Paranda is baller as usual. Moy made a good tsukkomi partner. FirstP brings us back to earth with his student-like attitude about the world.

So far Anime North is proving its status as third crowded, and unlike last week’s Anime Central the whole affair feels distinctly international, and not just because there are more than 30 JP Ps here (or maybe better put as Hanamaru Cluster) because it’s gotten “so bad” that the Ps here are talking about how they are kind of ruining AN for the locals who also love Harami.

The brunch experience is tops, and I recommend it again for any AN goer next year.

This also marks the second cosplay I did, back to back cons… Man.

Roll with the best

PS. Mai Goto is like a cuter Chiwa Saito lol.

Anime Central 2014: Wrap

So the hotel I stayed at had paid-for wireless, but we didn’t feel like it. I suppose if I didn’t lug my laptop around I could’ve left it there to set up internet sharing, but screw that. It also means no mid-con update posts.


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Anime Central 2014: Day 0


I’m actually not at the con yet, but I figured there are notes I can share.

First off, ACEN is the third largest con last year in US and Canada. That’s really impressive. This also means if you didn’t book a hotel room way ahead, it’s real hard to get a room. Unlike AX or Otakon, the area near the con is not exactly the most pedestrian friendly either. Somehow we got rooms. It’ll be a little crammed but it’s not too bad. It might also be a hike, but I’ll live. The last time I visited ACEN was 2005 so I expect everything to change greatly, including the crowding.

Second, WUG is here courtesy of Crunchyroll. They’ll be rolling all their autograph sessions at their booth. Details can be found here. And here. Bottom of that post also has a list of events at the con for WUG and Yamakan/Hiro-san.

Acen guest guy camps the forum well, so it’s cool. JP WUGners are coming as mentioned.

Angela landed and will have goods. They have a booth autograph in addition of the ACEN ones. Details in the link. Good, I like goods.

I’ll be draining LPs and rocking out my 3DS streetpass games while bouncing between scheduled conflicts. Yeah. This is also the first time doing Press for ACEN, and I vaguely remember some issues they had with Press, which explains why their Press process is kind of horrific.

I mean, I think I’m going to miss all the Final Fantasy chamber music stuff. Terrible.