Bridging The Gap: Pre-Con Thoughts 2011

 

The second hand is growing louder, and fellow fans from all over are prepping for another go-round of that hallowed ritual that is Anime Expo weekend. For more than a fair share of years, the Independence Day weekend has also been synonymous with several things for me; overwrought preparation, space-making for colleagues & friends, panels, cosplay, meetups, artist alley, extended question and answer sessions, movie premieres exhibit hall hijinks, karaoke, beverages at inhuman prices, disorientation, loss of voice, exhaustion, etc. But this year, it all comes with a twist. And no, I’m not merely speaking of the inclusion of the risky AM2 venture beginning simultaneously a mere 30 miles away. That’s right, for my focus seems to be set in areas perhaps unsurprisingly not as related to anime as some would hope. And yet strangely, 2011 seems to be a full circle affair- if even at an artistic interest level.

For those unfamiliar with my fandom background, it all came round for the long haul after a sibling started bringing anime on VHS home in the late 1980s-early 90s, when at the time, personal interests were largely in the areas of reading, film, and most starkly, music. And we’re talking about being exposed to a world of sound that wasn’t sold at the local K-Mart. Having begun a dabbling in the avant garde, industrial, gothic & punk worlds, this was something of an exploratory period where as much as the sounds implied some not so safe notions, it suddenly felt as if the world had a great deal to offer rather than the usual servings dished out upon tables the mainstream over. It was the beginning of a much more macro vision of the world outside with sonic influences from anywhere including the middle east, jazz mixed with classical, accidental distortion, guitar crunch, pounding beats & enka-like vocals. No limit was the game, and it was nothing short of exciting. This even led to my own personal pursuits & hobbies regarding making music of my own. So it was perhaps this yearning for something new-mixed with a love of classical myth-telling that enamored me to anime in the first place.

Something that perhaps many are tiring of me saying on these pages. But it’s true. Anime to me exists as a sort of hybrid medium that straddles the worlds of the tangible, and the intangible. And just the right mixture can evoke some great catharsis for those willing to dive in. When meshed in the right notation, it can provide a high better than any illicit narco. For me, the Diet, is in that search. It’s that colorful equivalent to spending a few hours in a local used record store, musing over which artists to take a chance on, as well as partake of some old favorites.

So when I look at the events I’m considering for the weekend, perhaps it’s fitting that my core concentration seems to be aligned back into the worlds of musical expression, and the evolutionary possibilities therein.

Kalafina

Seriously. There was no way I was to let this one pass me by. And yet by all means, the younger, more pretentious me would probably have balked at the very idea of a handpicked femals vocalists handling a barrage of pre-packaged,  proto-goth opera tunes complete with glammy guitars. But to be honest, the Kalafina sound has been in the development for years in Kajiura‘s music. In many ways her sound has been the saving grace of many shows, so the very idea of catching this sound in full bloom seems irresistible. While in some respects, there is a part of me that may not be as wild about the more J-pop elements, there is something incredibly evocative about Kalafina that in a way seems like the perfect mix of the last twenty years of my music-loving life. So the live idea is a tiny step into the unknown for one more used to the more rough and tumble live club shows complete with alcohol & unruly front-row anarchy. One shall have to see.

MIKUNOPOLIS (Hatsune Miku LIVE)

Now if the younger me had seen the older me doing this, I believe an ugly split would likely ensue if not for one simple conceit: the real-world proliferation of the ever-inspiring anime concept of the virtual idol. Mesh this with the powerful VOCALOID software platform, and one has a potentially big moment for both the way not only US anime fans regard the music business, but in the very idea of the pop star in itself. Having a few years for YAMAHA’s signature aqua-haired muse to become something of an online legend, so in many ways, the internet phenom has been building up to this moment. And a part of me has been longing for this idea to come to some kind of evolutionary fruition. Now granted, Miku is far from attaining anything resembling a personality, and it is still kind of a downer that we’re essentially watching a projected image moving in sync to a live band. But the very idea that she has made it stateside, and with the promise of exposing even more fans to the phenomenon, as well as the software, and it’s easy to see why I would be excited. Miku is something of an icon for the further democratization of the music industry, and that’s a glowing plus.

As an added bonus:

AX Idol favorite, Stephanie Yanez is also to be performing alongside two other pals at both shows!

In a move that has only made life all the more surreal, Yanez recently teamed-up with local favorite, Po Lo(a cool guitarist, and buddy that seems to pop up everywhere. Any Ken Tanaka fans out there?) & the schizodelic electronic stylings of the one and only NVR-NDR. To describe NVR-NDR is near-impossible, even for me. Just imagine if your local arcade suffered an overdose of DJ Sharpnel & 8-Bit daydreams, and exploded, leaving nothing more than Amiga-pixeled clouds capable of causing some inexplicable fits of hallucinatory dancing. This project is also known for creating the Combo Attack podcast’s theme music, by the way. Handling both conventions, this unique trio is bound to make a fascinating splash this weekend. And in preparation, one may need protective gear.

Now it wouldn’t be Anime Expo if I didn’t indulge in the weekend’s primary attraction. And judging by the current schedule, it looks like I may be able to make a run to check out the Izumi Matsumoto panel if all goes well. Personally speaking, this is what this weekend has always been about. Whether it is to meet friends from around the world, to cosplay the latest icons, see some great new stuff (New Last Exile?- I so wish..), or just enjoy the company of a legion with similar passions, it can’t be denied that this is the core time to give thanks to those who have imbued us with so much. With both AX & AM2 on the path, things are guaranteed to be challenging- but perhaps this is the kind of test that fans need right about now.

Manga Industry Panel with Vertical Inc. at Anime NEXT

I don’t believe I have ever made it a secret that I am a Vertical Inc. supporter. As a publisher, Vertical is a pretty small imprint, but they publish not just graphic novels, but have gone into other areas such as fiction, cookbooks, puzzle books etc. So as a publisher, Vertical doesn’t make it out to as much conventions. SO it was VERY cool that they were at Anime NEXT this past weekend. Ed Chavez (@vertical_Ed) spoke about what were the future publications properties expected for later this year and early next. So here are my notes.

  • Black Jack is finally back on schedule, going to be finished at 17 volumes within this year or so. The last volume is in consideration of a special cover.
  • Chi’s Sweet Home volume 6 would be out in the fall, but Mr. Chavez definitely made a plug that was dear to me, he spoke about similarity with Aria‘s cat world. In volume 8 which is the current volume from Japan, there is an essay from Mr. Chavez himself of Vertical’s American success story with this pint size cash cat. So with the manga still ongoing, Ms. Konami who is the author of Chi, may or may not put Vertical’s staff in the background in later volumes.
  • Vertical is expanding into Children’s books, they spoke about publication for a children’s book of On the See Saw Bridge about a hare and a fox stuck on the ends of a tilting see saw.
  • The Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka is a retelling to Ayako, will be out by August 16.
  • Velveteen & Mandala by Jiro Matsumoto is a dark tale of zombie comedy, between two girls who are in charge of dealing with corpses dropped from a plane. Out around August 23.
  • Drops of God by Tadashi Agi, is an influential title that is being translated. Its interest extend beyond the manga/anime as a draw for the wine/food enthusiasts. Volume 1 would be out by Sept 13. There are currently 28 volumes in Japan, with the story still ongoing.
  • Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka will be release in a two part-er.  Where they would be re-translated from Kodansha bilingual edition. There is going to be 30 additional pages specifically from Tezuka Productions, so this is going to be a special release from Vertical.
  • No Longer Human by Usamaru Furuya. Street date for volume 1 is Sept 27, volume 2 is Nov 22. Volume 3 is Jan, 2012 and is the current latest version in Japan.
  • GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) This is Mr. Chavez’s own love, since he is an Onizuka fan. Vertical would be finishing the prequel that Tokyopop never finished, so they would be continuing where Tokyopop left off. If sales are great for this, then re-release for the earlier volumes is a given.
  • Twin Spica Volume 12 is last volume and out March 2012.
  • Dorororo volume 4 by Osamu Tezuka is going to be released entirely and repackaged within an omnibus format.
  • Vertical is coming out with one more Sudoku book, and it is with Borders closing that has impacted this publisher only with their puzzle book publications.
  • Enma the Immortal by Fumi Nakamura is a Golden Elephant award winner, that the trade paperback will be out on April 2012. Comic is adapted by Dark Horse.
  • City of Refuge by Kenzo Kitakata’s date keeps on being pushed back. It is a hard boiled detective tale.
  • A Caring Man by Akira Arai is a suspense thriller that also won The Golden Elephant Award. Print copies was avaliable at the convention and will be avaliable in ebook format as well as print retail distribution around July.
  • Cinema Cafeteria by Nami iijima. This is the  next cookbook on film foods recipes.

Chi at Vertical Table

Now I mentioned that Vertical were also at the dealer’s room. Where I spent a good portion of my time and money at, when I was at the convention itself. Take a look at my favorite fictional feline kitteh. So if you purchase enough books, from them they give you a great/cool/very sturdy/seemingly weight proof tote bag. (It was sold out by Saturday.) It is a manga lover must have… perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but yes I am on my second one, and so far they have survived the amount of weight I put in them.

Lycee Light Club Cosplay

I wish I was able to get a better image of this cosplayer from the Lychee Light Club, but alas I have this. She was pretty surprised that I was able to recognize her, but I definitely counted my luck on finding a manga character cosplay among the sea of anime cosplayers.

I was speaking recently to a friend, and he mentions not being able to find Vertical books at big name bookstores, if that is the case then. You can ask your bookstore to order the book, or go online for it. They are distributed by Random House. Or if you do as I do, find and corner them at conventions. Vertical is to my knowledge at American Library Association, Otakon, San Diego Comic Con, and New York Anime Festival. So I imagine be sure to say hi to Ed, and talk with him!

Through Older Lenses: Megazone 23 Part One

 

Is maturity the bane of otakudom? Can one retain the same love for something years after life has added on the experience, and insight capable of seeing through much of what made it exciting in the first place? For those who have followed The Analog Diaries thus far, many have seen that a great bulk of material that drew me to the anime & manga arts were awash in the heyday of the OVA. Having been inundated by the form throughout the latter 80s thru the 90s, I have experienced a fair deluge of shows, and series that while far from masterful, helped create the admirer that I grew up to become. Being already a youth weaned on looking at the Reagan era with a bit of sourness no doubt brought upon by growing up in a family not as fortunate as so many in the trickle-down pathway, various artistic, and literary influences were already making waves in this once innocent mind.

So perhaps anime came at the right place at the right time. A dash of rogueishness to set the embers to a glowing high, and a sense of dare to raise those flames beyond control. Much like the burgeoning new music culture forming from the ashes of punk & noise, there was something immediately attractive to the anime artform when it was willing to be more than anything the west could conjure. And as in any art, all it takes is a byte, a mention, a whisper in the ear, or a song to send it all home.

It was more than mere escape, it was a thumb to the eye of caution in a media sphere fraught with zeroes and ones.

What I hope to introduce within Through Older Lenses, is an expansion beyond merely Bridging The Gap, and tackling influential works contrasting both my youthful, and current points of view.

As a first title to make mention of, I’m going to go head to head with an oft remembered, if not wholly loved first installment of an OVA series that has maintained perhaps a greater amount of influence than some are willing to admit: The Noboru Ishiguro directed Megazone 23 Part One!

 


Again, while this was in no way anything more than a stepping stone in anime history’s days before OVAs truly took off with Bubblegum Crisis, the life behind this strange title has made more than it’s fair share of waves in international fandom as (inexplicably, save for the involvement of several Macross key staff) Robotech:The Movie, as well as a briefly released VHS version via Streamline Pictures back in that company’s latter days. As mentioned previously, the Megazone 23 project started as a television series pitch under the name Omega City(as well as various monikers), which was inevitably scrapped after head sponsors pulled out mid-production.

But the pedigree behind the project is almost a who’s who of late 70s- early 80s pioneers such as Toshihiro Hirano, Ichiro Itano, & Shinji Aramaki during the burgeoning days of Artmic. All in the name of telling a tale of Tokyo awakening to a revelation that the Bubble-decade’s sunny skies, colorful clothing, and endless shopping was merely a facade concocted by a hyper-aware AI system in the hopes of lulling what remains of humanity into a happy dream. A humanity on the brink after generations of infighting that has left the populace in a perpetuated fiction, hiding an ultimate secret; that Tokyo itself is within one level of a monolithic space vessel 500 years after the remnants’ endless warring left Earth uninhabitable. Through the eyes of biker-teen Shogo Yahagi, his friends, and would-be love interest, Yui Takanaka, twist upon twist threatens to undo the fabric of Japan’s happy, yet suddenly fragile reality. And all this as the lives of Yui’s roommates take steps into following their dreams within this already volatile web of notions. With Mai, her longing to become backup singer to the era’s top idol singer & tv personality, Eve Tokimausuri, and Tomomi, hard at work guerilla-filming her very own science fiction masterwork. Streets are alive, the music heats up, as this initial outing culminates in a strangely potent finale as the truth is revealed, casualties are felt on all sides, and the moral quagmire concerning the future of the human race reaches critical mass.

 

 

Youthful Pull:

So what was it that intially drew me to this? Quite simple, actually. The unrepentantly 80s design aesthetic was an instant win for me, being one of a generation who had grown up on Macross via Robotech, and my instant recognition of the visual stylings at play here was massive. The images of both the Garland, and EVE were enough to sucker me in. Even as the look, and animation seems crude by modern standards, there was something instantly tangible and bizarre in the presentation that sealed away any doubt that I would miss this project.

 

 

Reflections Of Youth:

Being wholly frank, I loved what I saw, even if it didn’t make a lick of sense. And back then, it hardly mattered as I had already long accepted that OVAs were something of a grab bag of disparate ideas, often not cohesive enough to fully justify a continuing series. And despite knowing that the series was resumed years later, with an almost entirely different creative team, there was something inherently right about what this series’ initial outing was suggesting. It probably didn’t hurt that only a few years later did Hollywood flirt with a similar premise in the guise of the fiendishly fun, They Live (1988) where the sleeping populace were being manipulated by an alien force masquerading as the rich and powerful, and amassing many into their cult of submission in the name of interplanetary domination. It was a Streets Of Fire-infused take on Plato’s The Cave that while mired in enough 80s cheese to block an entire state’s plumbing systems, had enough cool factor & attitude to make for a fun afternoon. Again, the excitement here being a product of just being in love with the idiosyncracies of the project’s world, its wildly paranoid world view, and most importantly; the music. Few anime tracks of the 80s has the emotive power of Senaka Goshi Ni Sentimentaru, all while a young Shiro Sagisu let’s loose throughout the series. Even as it has a thing or two to say about the time it was released, it also became a surreal embodiment of it.

 

Through Older Lenses:

Upon watching this first chapter again recently, several things began to stand out that while tangible, never seemed to gel properly in my mind before. The first of which is how the show’s cast continues to act, regardless of what Shogo has uncovered while on the run with the show’s hopelessly tacked-on transforming mecha/motorcycle, The Garland. And it is in the means by which these characters either mildly shrug off the incredulous story of them living within an elaborate fiction, all the while tending to their lives, looking to either be a part of the contemporary entertainment industry, which can be considered a business of fictions in itself. Something about this connects in ways that even the oft-rumored Hollywood progeny of this series, The Matrix never did. While the main character, Neo grapples with the revelation of living in a whole new reality, he never seems to care one bit about the world he’s left behind. Something that begs some interesting questions regarding human behavior. Especially human behavior within a sprawling metropolis, while the world changes dramatically around them. There’s something very L.A. about what the kids of Megazone 23 are doing amidst all the intrigue. Characters continue to act selfishly, even irrationally to the point of sexual hysteria it seems, which is an interesting take on what has now become something of a cinematic science fiction cliche, “The world within the world”. And yet it in many ways makes a great deal of sense for a decade drunk on media success, Coca-Cola nightmares, and SONY Walkman dreams. Even if it is a dream, it’s still lights years more attractive than what’s “out there”.

Another thing that comes to mind about what makes it all work despite how patchwork this “compilation film” functions, is the almost bizarre visual juxtaposition it plays on the viewer. While Yasuomi Umetsu, and crew revamped the series to strong effect in the second chapter/film, there is almost something sly & sneaky about such dark left-field notions placed within an anime so alive with color, and adorned with many a Haruhiko Mikimoto & Toshihiro Hirano Macross-era beauty. Also telling that Ishiguro and company were hard at work on this right off the heels of Do You Remember Love? It might imply a growing distrust of all the success and artifice that was consuming Japanese culture at the time. Not that the anime industry was ever seeing too much of this, save for more eyeball-straining work. At least for this blogger, art is at its most exciting when it is calling out social norms that many don’t seem to bring up as often as some should. Something about the early moments of the film with its wanton shopping, breakdancing, and garish fashion that is almost contradicted by the uptempo-yet-saddened tones of Kumi Miyasato‘s song playing over them. As if it is preparing the viewer to look back at all of this fondly, because none of it is real.

Also worth noting while we’re talking Matrix here; the concept behind a military cover-up, and the role of the relentless officer, BD is something that I had always preferred to be the natural outcome for that film series. The concept that the AI that has created this illusion is in it only for “evil” purposes never rings true, and seeing this concept presented as it is here makes for a much more believable reason. This also leaves the door open for the story to illustrate that after all is said and done, humanity’s greatest enemy has been, and always will be itself. Philosophically, this just makes more sense, and is dramatically more interesting. Now the fact that Megazone 23 never goes all the way with this is a missed opportunity, but I appreciate that it is there. (again, something that is in many ways remedied in Part 2)

So after so many years of having this as something of a personal touchstone title, does it hold up any compared to how I saw it years ago? In many ways, yes and no. The fact that the footage was culled from a scrapped TV production makes for some seriously confused storytelling, and incessant pacing issues muddle things a bit. Not to mention more than a few baffling character beats. It’s a bumpy watch these days to be completely honest. And yet despite all of these problems, it’s all about the attitude, the presentation, and the show’s overall place in the zeitgeist that make for an interesting prototype of a film, rather than a successful one. But it takes some rather big risks for what it is, and how many shows these days can that be said?

 

Fan Panels and LARP-ing at Anime NEXT

As with any convention, there are panels to be experienced and downtime expected. Fan Panels and LARP were all held at the Double Tree Hotel. There was a consistent steady stream of people going in and out of the hotel from the convention center for this 24 hour anime con. I was able to get to panels on Friday and Saturday, so this is a summation of what I was able to go and see.

Prior to the convention, calls for panel submissions is made. Panelist submit topics they feel enthusiastic about, and then if accepted, they are given time slots to present their panels. There may be some panels where the technology didn’t match the panelists exception, but luckily I wasn’t in a room that had an issue. Mainly my issue was size and space. So at the fan panels, since there was a room occupation limit, con staff were at the door to cap how much people were allowed in the room. There were some panels that literally had more people than the size of the room.  *cough* Charles Dunbar panels pack rooms. *cough*

Investigating Detective Anime was done by Kate (@narutakiRT) and Al (@hisuiRT) of Reverse Thieves, who for an hour discussed about detective anime genre and how it is quite popular in Japan, but possibly marketed badly in the United States. This is a developing panel, so I am pretty sure Reverse Thieves would be putting it on again. So they introduced plenty of titles, some of which are licensed and others are not. Titles mention were:

Detective Conan, Kindachi Case Files, Gosick, Sherlock Hound, Monster, Paprika, Denno Coil, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Death Note, (Higurashi) When They Cry, Patlabor, and Daughter of 20 Faces

Got to say, for how many years Detective Conan/Case Closed has been going on, that it sounds like a regular soap opera. It is very popular with some friends, but somehow the manga doesn’t grab me. I definitely recommend Daughter of 20 Faces, Paprika, Denno Coil, and Ghost in the Shell to see. I myself would want to go and check out Sherlock Hound and Gosick.

Kowai: Ghosts Yokai and Fear in Japan is from Charles Dunbar (@studyofanime). He provides his bibliography here for interested readers. This is one of three spinoff panel from his Dead Like Us: Shinigami, Death Lore and Japanese Media at Anime Boston. He pretty much went on for two hours talking and presenting this panel. So crowds at Anime Next was his guinea pig/test crowd for his new panels. Charles have proved to be a charismatic speaker, and definitely his panels are never to be missed. So far the only panel I have never seen of Charles is his Miyazaki one, of which I would hope to one day see.  

Satoshi Kon Tribute: Truth From Fiction

Evan Minato (@VamptVo) from Ani-Gamers hosted this panel. This was a slight repeat panel for me, since I saw another incarnation of it at Anime Boston, however Evan really handled this panel quite well. I, as well as many anime watchers are generally fans for Kon’s movies, so it was entertaining to see quirks of Kon in his movie. I noticed there was a lot more references to Paranoia Agent in this panel. Kon in life had loved backgrounds so, if you watch his movies, please notice the background since that was how he got started initially. In August later this year, would be one year since his passing.

animenext sat (7 of 60)

Fandom & Criticism: The Art of Active Viewing was a panel collaboration between Ani-Gamers and Reverse Thieves. So on the panel was Al (Reverse Thieves), Poetic Ink (Ani-Gamers), and Evan Minato (Ani-Gamers) and this was a snappy semi-intense discussion on what it is to be a fan and also be a critic. So film critics don’t need to apply, just being a fan and having an opinion can be used.

International Game of Telephone is from Abby and Charles Dunbar. I expected this to be something different. Instead, I was treated to an interesting panel that talks about syncretism, between Japan and United States. Where the flow and exchange of information is as fast as dialing someone’s phone number.  An interesting comparison made is how Firefly from Joss Whedon can be considered an American remake of Outlaw Star. How the internet has made exchanges faster and more fluid, so instead of crying copyright foul, Tezuka would probably have felt honored that his work Kimba, got copied in The Lion King.

So where does LARP at Anime NEXT for me comes in? I actually hung around with Charles between some panels. I ran into him at the most random times at the Double Tree. So waiting for Charles, I found myself at the LARP area. Live action role play, and I have seen this group before at Anime NEXT, they are a lively bunch with pretty rich imagination. The process as I imagine is this, you notify the LARP group prior to the convention for on which character you would like to play, and then at convention, get assigned roles and missions. The time spent LARP-ing is possibly up to the convention goer, and as I spoke with one LARP-er, he mentions how fun it is to get his physical body into performing roles of a character. So if you want to LARP, make sure you know of a character’s personality and story in depth.

Main Events at Anime NEXT, a recap of the large scale events.

Concerts, panels, human chess, fashion show, what could happen at the Main Events Arena. Well pretty much what I just listed before, this was the space allotted for the main events and draws of this weekend convention. Before I say anything more, the photos I placed on a minor delay is live on Flickr.

So on Friday, I was at Main Events for three events, starting with the Opening Ceremonies. It was late. Possibly due to waiting for guests to arrive. Waiting though, treated the people waiting with a repeating slideshow of Anime Next pictures from last year’s convention. So the full cast of invited guests weren’t there, but this is a chance to see the appearance of already arrived guests. The Japanese guests were all present though, so watching for the appearance of Satoru Nakamura, Mix Speakers, etc. weren’t as much of an issue. There was a good amount of American voice actors though, and the only one I was slightly interested in was Tom Wayland, since his appearance at Anime Boston was quite entertaining. He wasn’t here though, so from the image above, you see that Bill Rogers went and impersonated him.

Nakamura Satoru panel

The next panel that I was at was a Production I.G. panel, that had the appearance of animation director Nakamura Satoru and episode director Kakimoto Kodai. Nakamura Satoru spoke about briefly about Higurashi no Eden, but quickly turned it around for the audience to talk. These are notes from what I took on my iPad.

  • So there is going to be more Ghost in the Shell from Production I.G. but as with typical Japanese industry, the animators can’t talk.
  • Nakamura likes the Honey and Clover age feel for Higurashi no Eden.
  • In Ghost in the Shell what was his favorite scene that he has worked with? In the second Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex series, with Motoko’s past.
  • Can he in a nutshell, talk about his work as an animator? When animators know of the scenario, the animators starts to work on what can happen, and from the view of the observer, the camera angel pans out.

Other posts that would be mentioning this panel are: Reverse Thieves, About.com, JLHLS

Mix Speakers Concert

Mix Speakers

I happen to enjoy listening to new music, but yes I have to comment that the acoustics were horrible for this venue. I couldn’t hear anything. Either that or I blame it on the fact that I forgot to bring my earplugs with me for the weekend. Press had photo dibs on the first three songs. Since I was already running to another panel, I had to bid adieu to this visual kei band. They also had interesting concert goods, I spent the entire weekend thinking about getting the keitai strap for this band, since it was quite cute. But on the aspect of believing it would leave an eternal Halloween impression, I had to not get it. The images I have of the concert though are live on flickr.

Sixh Fashion Show

Sixh Fashion Show

Urban fashion is quite popular these days. So on Saturday, this was my first fashion show I made my way to. It was quite entertaining. The fashion goods were quite expensive, though very cute though. I was seriously tempted, since Sixh has a cat theme. So as you can see Vic Mignogna himself was also dolled up to be a model on the runway. More images of the show is at Flickr.

Human Chess

Human Cosplay Chess

Since I missed Cosplay chess at other convention, on Sunday I made myself to Main Events for my last run around. In a cosplay theme of Might vs. Magic, the game was played quite defensively. The game ended to be a draw, but I believe Might’s King got too annoyed, and end up killing the other side.

Check out Anime Diet’s Flickr or even Facebook to see what photos I took for this event.

Summation of Anime NEXT 2011

This past weekend I was at Anime Next around Somerset, New Jersey. They were celebrating their tenth anniversary, so I was happy to represent Anime Diet there. This was not my first time at Anime NEXT, and if I can say anything NEXT was my first convention going experience a couple of years ago. This is a regional convention that attracts people from PA, CT, MA, NY, and other locations as far as even Canada, or other parts of the world.

I was able to keep track of my events and schedule for this via several ways. One was to rely on the Guidebook app, on my Android. This is an app similar to the Conventionist. Another was to rely on a pdf, that I had on my ipad. That for me proved to me more readily accessible. Another was to keep up with the twitter hashtag for #an2011, since this was official Anime Next usage. Another even more different way of accessing events, was to keep abreast of friends at the con, and see what they were up to.

The layout of this convention was pretty simple. Events were held at the Garden State Exhibition Center, and not just one hotel, but several. I wasn’t staying at the Doubletree, which was the con hotel. Main Events, Artist Alley, Dealer’s room, Registration were all at the Exhibition center. Panels, LARP, Tabletop gaming, manga library were held at the Double Tree Hotel. Video gaming was held at the Holiday Inn, and video screenings were held at another building known as the Training Center. Cosplay photo shoots were held all around the convention, and there was a dunking tank for charity. Did I leave anything out?

There was even a shuttle for convention goers to go out for fast food eats, unless you did as I did, which was staying at the hotel area to eat. There was certainly activities aplenty, so I didn’t expect people to get really bored unless they were not really into this type of entertainment. Granted there is bound to be some downtime if you are waiting, but if you have friends with you, then that does let the convention time go by faster.

I am still in the midst of writing for Anime NEXT coverage, so definitely expect some more posts.

Next year’s Anime NEXT for 2012, would be happening on June 8-10, so keep that on your calender if you want to go. Also if you want to check out Anime NEXT’s sister con then that is Manga NEXT which is happening on Oct 29-31, later this year.

Check out Anime Diet’s Flickr or even Facebook to see what photos I took for this event. (On Flickr, I placed events photos, and on Facebook, cosplayer shots.)

Mix Speakers at Anime Next 2011

At a convention, there is an opportunity to explore new music, and Mix Speakers. Hearing from their MySpace page, they music seems J-poppish. But this groups is a visual kei rock group, so my impressions of them will be further cemented this weekend. They are known for their monster and fantasy look, so outside of the concert they’re having tonight, they are also having a photo shoot, of that I am quite curious about.  This is all at Anime NEXT 2011.

So expect more of my thoughts and snippets from my twitter, and the under the hashtag of #an2011.