Whew! That was a really hard Saturday night/Sunday morning. The daughter really wanted to hit up the gaming room, so she got in at 3 am. Now, our hotel is about a block-plus away from the shuttle point, but I did not want her walking in a relatively safe area at that time, so she wakes me up to come retrieve her. That’s what a father does, even though it rumples my sleep. Well, she got in so late that I went to my early Sunday panels alone, permitting her to sleep….until noon!??!
I ventured out early, as I really wanted to grab that Admiral’s Guide to KanColle (Kantei Collection). Now, I am working on a review for this series, but it’s basically girls as battleships. I thought they would be taking about the series, but they talked about the online game. Well……..This was an odd panel, as the person who knew about the game was trapped in Phoenix AZ, so we communicated by Bluetooth. Too bad that it was a bit of a snoozer, as the person did not really explain how the game really worked. He was more focused on how you get in to play this game, even though it is Japan only, and not what steps you need to defeat your enemy. I ended up bailing on the end of it.
The next panel was an Ouran High School Q & A. But, instead of having Scott Peters or Mary Evans talking about the show as an expert, it was full, true cosplay, as it was Tamaki or Honey Sempai up there, in costume and character, answering questions from the ‘commoners’. A lot of this depended on audience participation, but they kept it crisp and lively. I just never could come up with a question for them. A real fear was someone asking a really inappropriate question, but it was kept on the up-and-up. There were some really good audience interactions and even if the panel didn’t nail it all the time, they were very good and knew their stuff.
I took a break for a late breakfast, as I really had to force myself awake to get to the locale, as I spent most of the day in the Hotel Venue. The interesting panel was one on why there isn’t more manga in comic stores. Being a kind of Catch -22 (they don’t have it, as you don’t ask about it, but you don’t ask about it, as they don’t have it) is a partial answer, but the problems are far larger, including publishers who don’t know what they have, distributors that do a crap job of getting product to the stores in a timely manner, an inability to reorder when it is a popular title, small stores that cannot order in the quantities that they would like, having to guess if a title will do well three months in advance, the dreaded dead inventory (stuff that doesn’t sell), rotten publisher discounts (compared to DC and Marvel, it’s really poor, like 25%) and physical quality of the product. He showed pictures of how well the distribution company boxed up the merchandise and it was dreadful. Not even the Post Office was that bad and you wonder why the distribution company is still in business with such a slovenly attitude and approach to things (well, it’s all greed).
I stayed in the room for the next panel on Post-Con Depression. This is a genuine condition and first-time goers really get it: that sensation of sadness when you leave the con. I know the reasons for it, in that you haven’t been eating well or sleeping well and you have really over-extended your body, so when it all catches up with you, you get flattened. Besides, no job will be as exciting as compared to the con. Still, I have to give chops to Fanime! for offering this panel. It was very well attended.
I decided to test out some anime and caught an older show, “Cat’s Eye”. It tells the tale of three sisters who are stealing back their missing father’s collection of rare items (usually jewelry, but artwork as well) and the struggles of a detective to arrest them for it. It was done in an older anime style, potentially the one people think of when you say ‘anime’. There is something about the style that seems so archaic, compared to the more modern shows, and how flat it all is, despite being from the late 70s or early 80s (hang gliders, aerobic exercising, roller skates, those kinds of trends). This show was being re-released and I debated as to whether or not I wanted to see it, I had an opportunity to do so. But I just could not get around the artwork. This will be a tough sell for me
I then entered the realm of video games with “Cringeworthy Game Cutscenes”. Coming from the earlier days of gaming, that 16-bit time, it was all off: bad voice acting, strange art direction, well-off visuals (he’s talking, but his mouth is not moving!), it’s a wonder the gaming industry survived with all of this wretchedness. There was a Donkey Kong rip-off game that the narrative when by so fast, it was also hard to see that words were broken up in such a bizarre manner as to render the text almost unintelligible. Cheap is cheap for a reason, dude. Look, I went to the voice acting audition and I was cuffed for being ‘too hammy’, but some of these guys were truly the whole hog. Could you play up the stereotypes even harder?
I was curious as to why there was so much improve at the convention. If it was anime-based (like the cancelled event ‘Whose Anime is it Anyway?’), it makes sense, but this was straight-out improve from Fully Unscripted, a three person group. They weren’t bad (as I spent six years with an improve group), but they were not as on the ball as they needed to be. Also, the room they were in was huge and they may have gotten swallowed up by that. You do need a better intimacy with this and you can when you are playing in 25% of the room, but the sound goes into the remaining 75%.
The really bad panel was Weird Manga, and that was badly named. Weird, in my book, is something else. The best I could come up with was now-deceased underground cartoonist Rory Hayes, but no one knows of him. This was stuff that was disturbing and violent and off-kilter from potentially deranged minds. The ‘weird’ part was how it got printed in the first place. Personally, you never want your bio to read that you started out doing hentai, went to violent hentai and ended up doing violent lolicon hentai. Not going to get you too many jobs. The other bad part was the presentation. Although the panel knew their stuff, they did not present it well, so you are trying to puzzle out what you are looking at, as you lack both an overall reference as to what you are seeing as well as what it is being presented to you. I did not think they chose the best examples of the art and really let us view it, to take this all in and try to understand how it got published. But there appears to be a huge market for it.
This was followed by The Worst Ever, but it was basically a Gripe Fest, as to why people disliked certain shows, characters and storylines and you got up there to complain that you hated Orahime, as she was so completely worthless. It’s just that it got tiring to hear people vent about things for rather thin reasons, like you hate Naruto because he’s a blowhard. I thought that WAS the point of his character.
Something else that was up on the overall agenda was the Black and White Ball. Well, I don’t dance. My daughter went to it and said that it was overall a lot of fun, but that some of the guys there did not know how to dance and were probably so panicked as to having to be asked to dance (if you don’t dance, why go dance?), so that when it was over, he fled in fear, pushing her to the floor. Not a real gentleman, for sure. Yes, holding someone close you don’t know to dance is a challenge, but you face it will grace, not grease.
The night ended on a strange note when the cops showed up (not for me. Do you think I’m that kind of miscreant?) Four police cars, an ambulance and the EMT for a guy who was freaking out. The concern we had was did he have an actual situation, or was he showboating for us to see? (Getting cuffed: not a good sign. Hollering to the world about your situation: also not a good sign). This delayed the buses getting to us and a rather late arrival to the hotel room to sleep off an up-and-down day and night.
And with tomorrow being a partial, the real debate is what to honestly do for the Final Day.