Monthly Archives: June 2023

Anime Expo 2023: Day -1

May and June were big travel months and I was out of the house for weeks at a time. Still, looks like I’m going to Anime Expo. If anything I hope I get to hang out with some friends, that’s my main win.

I’ll take a minute to jot down some logistical stuff just to remind myself how much goes on at AX every year, and how you just can’t see everything. Maybe it’s good that I am not going to care for a lot of these. Also, a lot of the stuff in is going to be me refreshing the departure situation at EWR as that’s the airport that I typically fly out of, and currently it’s suffering from a long cascading series of delays from last weekend. The hotel strike, at least, is not on my worrying list.

Programming: Panels and such. I’ll highlight the ones I might go to.

Day 0:

Teddy, Waipa, James Landino, feat. DDK.
Summer Kickoff party Grand Star Jazz Club, formerly known as the Anime Expo Kickoff Party but got D/C’d into a name change.

Day 1:

  • Opening Ceremony, 10:30 Main Events: Not going but there’s going to be some band (Asterism) playing there, hmm.
  • COLORFUL STAGE, 11:00 Petree: Featuring Tomori Kusunoki and Hinata Sato, about the hot mobile game of vocaloid characters
  • Kafka Asagiri Panel, 11:00 JW-Platinum: Bunko Stray Dog’s creator seems pretty interesting, but probably not going.
  • Zom 100 Preview, 12:30 Petree: It’s the next hit anime I guess.
  • Pompo screening with director Takayuki Hirao, 1:00 403 AB: Special film with a special creator, no bueno for me though.
  • Trigger new title announcement & Dungeon Meshi sneak peek: 1:45 Main Events: You know the drill, gonna be fun with this crew and Dungeon Meshi will be good stuff. Sayaka Sembongi and Kentaro Kumagai probably will be there too.
  • Bandai Namco Industry Panel, 2:00 408 AB: To feature special guests…
  • MAPPA Panel, 3:00 JW-Platinum: Should be fun with some news
  • Netflix’s anime panel, 3:15 Main Events: special guests and more. Finally get to see Maruyama after all this time maybe? Good lineup.
  • Magus Bride S2 panel, 3:30 408 AB: creators talk good stuff.
  • Bannam Showcase 2023 panel, 4:30 Petree: Trailers I think.
  • Obey Me! stage, 4:30 JW-Platinum: Not going but should be lit.
  • Spy x Family with Eguchi, 5:00 Main Events: Speaks for itself.
  • Love Live panel, 6:00 JW-Platinum: Featuring Kobayashi, Sagara and Date. Not a concert, right?
  • Fate/strange Fake panel: 7:00 Main Events
  • Mashle Panel, 8:00 Petree: Kobayashi and Aleks Le
  • SMT30th LIVE: Band of Shadows, 8:00 The Novo
  • Nonstop V, 8:30 JW-Diamond, Vtuber concert

Day 2:

  • Twisted Wonderland Feat. Hanae and Kobayashi, 10:00 Main Events
  • Manga Publishing Roundtable, 10:00 402 AB: Manga peeps talk, should be cool with some higher ups and Ed there.
  • Fuji TV’s +Ultra Panel, 10:00 403 AB: Yoko Taro and others
  • Mappa x Crunchyroll, 11:30 JW-Platinum
  • The Art and Mediums of Storytelling, 1:00 JW-Platinum, Featuring Yoko Taro, Seshita, and more.
  • Undead Unluck panel, 1:30 Main Events, with Hanae and Moe Kahara
  • LazuLight talk show and performance, 1:30 JW-Diamond
  • Mecha-Ude ep1 screening, 2:30 404 AB: I backed this anime, but probably won’t go LOL.
  • Yoshitaka Amano Panel, 2:40 Petree: The same old.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen panel, 3:00 Main Events: Special guests! Who?
  • GBF panel, 3:00 408 AB: Featuring Cygame’s Fukuhara and Yasuyuki Kaji
  • Conversation with Yoshiki, 3:45 Petree.
  • Demon Slayers Event, 4:30 Main Events: Featuring Hanae and Kawanishi
  • Like a Dragon panel, 5:30 Petree: Takaya Kuroda, woo. Yong Yea. Sega’s Hiroyuki Sakamoto.
  • FGO 6th Anniversary x Type-Moon panel, 7:00 Petree. Kawasumi, Takahashi, Akabane! A must see for me.
  • AX Summer Fest, 7:00 The Novo: It conflicts, but this lineup is really good.

Day 3:

  • Kenshin Premiere, 10:00 Main Events: Featuring Rieri and Soma Saito. Dang, even him?
  • Wit Studio Panel,10:00 JW-Platinum: Could be interesting if they announce some news here.
  • Aniplex x A-1 Pictures panel, 11:30 Petree
  • Bushiroad, 11:30 JW-Platinum
  • The First Slam Dunk screening, 12:00 Main Events: Great movie go see it on 7/28 when it comes out in US and Canada folks.
  • King Records Panel, 12:00 511: I hear some people I know is going to show up.
  • Denpa Books and Kuma, 1:30 404 AB
  • AniWaves 2, 4:20 The Queensberry: See details here. Friends throwing a party.
  • AX Cinema Nights Presents, 5:30 411: Peter is here lol
  • Gridman Universe, 6:00 JW-Diamond: I really want to see this…ahhh.
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of a Sister Venturing Out, 6:30 JW-Platinum
  • Neon District, 8:00 Main Events: Not even the Novo… but Shaq! And Taku! But they cancelled the guests I actually wanted to see so I am torn for sure.
  • Projekt Melody, 9:00 JW-Diamond: Vaguely interested in this story.
  • Denpasoft Panel, 9:00 402 AB
  • Geekboat World Tour, 9:00 411: this is the sekrit Trigger panel (after dark).

Day 4:

  • Horimiya: The Missing Pieces panel, 10:30 408 AB: Featuring Kouki Uchiyama and director Ishihama (oh welcome back).
  • CyberConnect2 panel, 12:00 408 AB
  • Charity Auction, 1:30 Community Stage
  • Fake Star Constellations vol. 4, 7:00 1720: BPM15Q, D-yama, DJ Wildparty…what a lineup. Bad venue I guess but it is what it is.

Day 5…DDK, Teddy and Fake Type. If anyone’s still here.

Con Autographs: these are the ticketed ones they give out in the morning at 8am, this time at the plaza out front by near where the ticketing and buses are. The actual signing area is by the Artist Alley in Kentia Hall. BTW Pixiv has a booth at the AA? There are other autograph chances depending on what if you look. Just the ones that got my interest below.

  • Day 1: Sasara Sekine(???)
  • Day 2: Takayuki Hirao, Masakazu Morita, Kotaro Takata, Kentaro Kumagai, Sayaka Sembongi
  • Day 3: Kotaro Takata, Co Shu Nie, Trigger (Sushio, Koyama, Otsuka, Wakabashi, Imaishi), Mecha-Ude, DDK, Masakazu Morita, Kamierabi (Jin, Seshita, Ohkubo)

Dealers/Exhibit Hall/Entertainment Hall:

Kadokawa giving away swag at their big booth. I want that Clear Bookmark Set from My Happy Marriage…

Entertainment Hall E-16 is GBF Relink play stations.

GSC, Aniplex, Hoyoverse, BN, Yostar, Cygames, Bushiroad all have presence at the E-hall.

In the main hall, CR, Aniplex, GSC, Altus/Sega will take big chunks of the front. BN and Gundam Base are also there, probably along with giant Luffy and some Naruto thing. Cygames, Bushiroad, Toho, a couple Kadokawa outposts, round out the big guys. A row of tier 2 booths are just behind that, then it gets into the normal dealer room stuff.

Community Stage schedule.

Linking the plain jane Kotaku list here if you want to see the basic stuff, like all the premieres I ignored. Here’s a list of guests…not sure if complete. Exhibitor list here.

With so much going on Anime Expo is an exercise in dropping what I can’t do. There are only a few things I really want to see, so I will probably stick to my guns on those. More over, I am going to LA to see the folks I haven’t seen since COVID, on the west coast. I hope everyone is doing well!

For those of you going, god speed, good luck, and I wish you the best in dealing with AX.

Framing IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls U149

As I was watching the final episode of U149, I thought back to how a lot of the core concepts of Cinderella Girls come down to pretty silly, bare-bones ideas but taken to the extremely-real. To use a metaphor, when the fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a horse carriage in the Disney rendition of Cinderella, it was literally a pumpkin that morphed magically and gained the functions of a carriage. When you think of the tomboy 5th grader, maybe you can conjure up Haru. When you think of a gal 5th grader, maybe you can conjure up Risa. These acts of speaking into reality through the power of imagination is underneath all of that.

Much of this show is about fleshing out not just these character ideas, but depicting the unreal origins of these ideas with the reality of what the IDOLM@STER brand is about: idol production and all that jazz. It both sells that fantasy but it still have to tip the hat to all of the rest underneath, to use the madly-peddling swan metaphor. What’s also unreal, in the sense that this is an anime about the following topic, is that children signed under a major idol agency are child laborers. Granted, this is probably the kind people don’t look down upon in general (although many still do), but playing heavily on the “child vs adult” themes (Arisu is the child idol who wants to be an adult but is too childish to do so, in a nutshell.) all of those comes into play. It is a weird feeling to think of U149 in those terms, yet every time these kids bump into those types of workplace problems, it’s hard to not think of it.

So many scenes in the series, we see the U149 Producer working hard, putting his money towards his charges, not to mention spending all his time working for their projects. The U149 Producer displays plenty of childishness as depicted by societal norms, but is overall quite a normal adult dealing with the usual adult problems (in a work setting). He is the foil for the U149 idols.

It gets amusing and a bit confusing because the children themselves also take care of each other. One of them produces costumes, another cooks well. Some of them demonstrate emotional maturity and others have leadership skills. Some are stronger than others. In as much as U149 is a team or a unit, in demonstrating a satisfactory level of respect, or attractiveness, the kids also loses some of what makes kids kids I think.

Maybe that is why I really enjoy this aspect when Miria brings that standard kid-energy and that shadow of fear underneath her steel-woman-child visage during the live stream. Miria episodes are all so good because there’s this obvious internal conflict in which she out-matures it.

But as it were, why do people dote over Arisu…? Rhetorically, yes, I get it, I’m just saying every bratty snot in the 3rd Division has a surprising amount of inner qualities that makes them admirable as people. Maybe those qualities also make (at least some of) them attractive as idols, but it would be safe to say it is quite too early for that for the majority of them.

PS. Ever since COVID, Cinderella Girls shows all use smart/digital tickets. It means for oversea Producers, getting tickets require jumping a different set of hoops than before. It also means it’s harder than ever to proxy. Yet we see them draw in these paper tickets into the show and it just make me shake my head in disbelief. Go on, magical anime about little kids who tries to sing, dance, and behave like amusing little things. This is also amusing (in a not-so-great way).