Saturday is usually the busiest day for an anime convention. Not all of the venues can take advantage of a Monday holiday (like Fanime! can), and since some folks can’t take off the whole run of it, they usually invest it all in one day. And if you have a Sunday to recover before heading back to the grind on Monday, there you have it. It’s just that EVERYONE showed up.
We had protesters. The first ones were the Religionists. They come to these venues to complain long and loud how these people are engaged in idolatry, as they dress up like Luffy or Edward Elric or Sailor Moon and have forsaken the Lord. The problem is they are not going to get a lot of folks on their side when they stand on their soapbox, waggling a sign at me and bray (and I quote) “If you have ever lied, stolen or looked with lust at someone, God sees you as a lying, thieving, adulterer-at-heart and hell is just because God is holy!” So I’m going to hell because I sold my immortal soul to Naruto? Like that idiot would know what to do with it?
Adding to the fun were a huge throng of people against Monsanto and they were doing a four corner march (you kinda clog up an intersection by walking around a given corner), waggling their signs. It was a bit better of a cause, as this was directed against a corporation. Lots of folks on that one, but they got co-opted by some hangers-on, waggling THEIR signs that were against the secret alliance between the US and Israel that hoped to bring instability to the Middle East, thus bringing to fruition the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Oh, and Monsanto kills bees. Well, it didn’t undermine my efforts for Day 2.
One panel I wanted to get to was Anime: Spirituality and You, but I was sawing lumber late and missed out on that. I was more tired than I thought. I did manage to grab a showing of “Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie” (review on that later), but the guy who was running it had no idea how to eject the disc (yes! They were using physical disks and none of this Cloud nonsense) and start the next film. He conceded that there were still a lot of these goofy glitches afoot, here and at other viewing rooms. Logistics, logistics, logistics.
After that, the real fun began.
We (as my daughter was doing tag-along) went to the Mythbusters: Anime Edition panel, where these two physicists (yup, they both had degrees in physics) analyzed certain events in anime and asked “Real or busted?” These guys (whose named I neglected to write down and forgot) were hysterical, as they explained how physics worked in general, showed the complicated formulae that defined it, told us to forget the formulae but showed us then what it all meant. They took apart High School of the Dead, Scientific Railgun, No Game No Life and some Gundam show where the robot punched out a black hole (“It’s a FRIGGIN’ black hole!!!”). An hour was far too short for these guys as science was never so entertaining.
I then went in for an anime voice audition session, where we had Christopher Smith (Luke Skywalker) and Cindy Robinson (Skyrim) tell us how they got started and gave us ALL a chance to audition. I took Tiger from “Tiger and Bunny”. “A bit too hammy.” I really could have used a genuinely angry guy, as I could have gone off the page with that, but they kept things moving along and it was very lively. You should take advantage of something like this at your next convention. Even if you get turned down, it’s with a lot of other people in the same situation, so it’s all OK.
OK, I then went to an anime game show and holy crap, I would have exploded. They had 15 people on stage and by the first pass, there were 11 wrong answers. Questions like “What is the designation of the Enterprise in ‘The Next Generation’ series? “What is the name of Kirito’s sword in ‘Sword Art Online’?” “Who pilots the orange Kataphrakt in ‘Aldnoah.Zero’?” left a lot of folks in the dust, both onstage and in audience. I left, just because I didn’t know anything and I felt inadequate. And I review anime. Shouldn’t I know more? Should I?
I was able to get into Little Kuriboh Unabridged with Dan Green, as he had a triple snake line of people. If you have ever seen “Yu-Gi-Oh Unabridged”, you know what I am talking about and that guy was phenominal! He was Marek and it was a meeting of the Evil Society and he wanted plans to defeat the Pharaoh, so everyone in the audience came up with some really rotten plans. That guy reminded me of Greg Proops, not only with his ability to hold the audience spellbound, but the ease is which he shifted from one character voice to another. It was just him and a mic and his nimble wit. He was also quite well versed in a truck load of media and social references, so he was never at a loss for words unless it was intentional.
As you have noticed so far, there was not much anime watching on the agenda. As I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to go in when the bulk of the offerings you have seen, reviewed and, in some cases, own. One person noted, “Why watch anime at an anime convention?” It is a good point. What with Hulu, Crunchyroll, Anime Season.com, Xfinity on Demand and Adult Swim, you CAN find it anywhere and at your convenience. However, if I have never seen a show and I have an open hour, I’ll try and grab it. Or maybe play Mr. Sudoku. Yes, there was a guy who walked about with a huge Sudoku on his back. People played about five or so minutes, letting it turn into a huge community effort.
After dinner, I was going to take in “Who Anime Is It Anyway?” and it is exactly what you think it is, but it got cancelled or altered or delayed, so I took in “Magikarp: A History”. Yes, one of the most worthless Pokemon around (THE worst goes to Porygon), the level of wild enthusiasm was off the hook….so to speak. I did learn that there were some special cards that gave Magikarp better attacks, but for the most part, it is Splash and Flail. How it ever gets to become Gyrados is anyone’s guess, but we had a ballroom full of people, hooting and hollering and stamping their feet like it was a Lady Gaga concert.
I was bound and determined to get into the Project-H hentai panel. The last time I actually got into a hentai panel or offering of any caliber was two years ago, at Anime Expo, to see…Project-H! Since I had a dull time, I planted myself in line in a good spot. Good thing I did, as it was another turn-away show. I also sat near the mic, so I could participate in Q&A and get a prize. These guys in the audience were maniacs! When the moderator forgot a title that a particular artist had done, they filled that void right away. Project H and Digital Manga were showcasing their upcoming titles. What they do is import the more popular titles from Japan (which I assume is based on sales), translate them and letter in the new dialogue and present them to all. The odd thing was when they said what the titles were, they also let you know the ‘activities’ that were in it, like ‘group intercourse’, which is the tamest of the descriptions that I can give, Can you think it? Well, they do it.
The big thing they are working on is the Hentai Convention, which, needless to say, is a tough sell in anyone’s book. They are having a hentai festival at AX this year and, for two days, will be there, selling their offering in discounted bundles and you have a chance to get an autograph session with one of the artist/authors. He’s very eccentric or demanding and will only entertain 50 people (or less, if he could) and will do this only twice. These folks will take what they can, but they have been talking about the convention for at least two years. They also lost out on a lottery for booth space and do not have a direct presence on the vendor’s floor, although some of the other manga dealers are selling their wares, just not in the scope and breadth as Project-H would prefer.
I had to pass on the first giveaway test, which was ‘give me your best orgasm’. The line was 50 people long! Yes, it was mostly men, but there was a good woman contingent, both for the little contest and in the room. What got to me is the ladies supported the stereotype. I have seen a lot of animes (“The Electric Town’s Bookstore” was the latest) where it showed that girls like Yaoi or, as they say, Boy Love manga. Guess what? ALL the ladies, including the moderator, enjoy Boy Love manga. One giveaway was a manga about cross-dressing boys. Now, I asked my question (as I was first at the mic and they were running out of prizes) and I got a copy of “Velvet Kiss, Part 2”. My question?
I had an opportunity to review hentai for them, but I guess I didn’t measure up and I fell short. It’s been two years, so could I do it and did they still need reviewers? Why would I review hentai? Anime hentai is different than manga hentai and it’s still a review. I may end up falling short again, but it’s worth a chance, right? Right? Well, send them an inquiry and let’s see what happens. But they do not send out the manga; it’s all digital. Yeah, have the wife stumble across that, she’ll love that!
As I was waiting for the shuttle bus to take me back to the hotel, I saw a guy in the plaza across the way doing fire dancing with two double-ended lit fire sticks. It looked marvelous against the darkness. It was a nice way to end a rather better day at the convention. On to sleep and a hectic (read as early rise) Day #3.