Category Archives: New York Anime Festival

NYCC from the Lens of a Photographer

With the abundance of Social networking tools avaliable for people to use and probably get information overloaded over. Anime Diet has been keeping apace with getting the word out. If you noticed on the bottom of posts now, Mike had fixed the share bottoms on the bottom. So here I am going to tout about Anime Diet’s Flickr Account. As an amateur photographer, I often get pictures uploaded onto there.

So Flickr is my preferred social photograph sharing site. I just got the last batch of photographs from Eric M. Chu, who was a photographer at NYCC this year. So between going from panels, to show room. From conversations with Eric, he mentioned having appointments with cosplayers for individual photo shoots. He’s also mentioned seeing Western media ultimately getting the Anime treatment. With how Madhouse has been in anime-fying certain titles, perhaps NYCC would see more Asian influences in the coming years.

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Bunny Rei and Bunny Asuka cosplayers.

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Hi-Chew King.. Mascot for popular Japanese chewy candy at NYCC.

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Ghosbusters Lucy, getting the bishoujo treatment from Kotobukiya.

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Rouge also getting the Bishoujo treatment from Kotobukiya. There’s two versions of her.

So if you happen to follow us through Facebook, Twitter, or your RSS reader, then how about following us through Flickr as well?

Professor Layton Screening at NYCC

For Professor Layton fans in the United States, they are quite well aware that the second DS game, Professor Layton and the Last Spector released on October 17. The release of its movie on DVD Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva by Viz is going to be on a later date at November 8.

At this year’s Comic Com though, 150 attendees got the chance to be present for a “secret” screening of Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, and be a part of a presentation by Nintendo. Why do I call this a “secret” screening, because on the official schedule of New York Comic Con’s events, there was no mention of this surprise screening.

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Since it was a last minute event, it was still popular enough to fill the hallways, and the event staff kept counting to see if they can give the opportunity to more fans to enjoy this film.

Other than the feature film, attendees got the chance to check out a demo of the upcoming DS game, take pictures with Professor Layton cosplayers, and snacked on site-prepared movie theaters goodies arranged at the back of the room.

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A significant theme in the movie.

Professor Layton is a popular DS game that appeals to puzzle or mystery fans. From my experience with the first video game, I actually appreciate its thoughtful story line, filled with puzzles to either stump or satisfy the player. Upon solving these puzzles, the game has a running story plot where players would eventually end the game with unlocking the mystery for the good professor and his trusty sidekick.

Not to give away any detail of the film, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva follows a flashback case that Professor Layton and Luke would find themselves in, dealing with a former student of Professor Layton. The movie reminded me of watching parts of Detective Conan meets Laputa Castle in the Sky with The Phantom of the Opera thrown in.

This movie illustrates a concept of waiting for a popular DS game to eventually make its way into being a featured animated movie. I have some high hopes for Phoenix Wright to eventually get an animated treatment, though the next I heard for it is a live action movie.

Back to Professor Layton though, this is a movie with the target audience as children. However, with the factor that animation movies can also satisfy an older audience, then Level 5 had done a nice job. Also as a follow up to this movie, there is planned to be another animated movie to the Professor Layton series. Before I go off into another tangent for this event/movie review, I happened to have take some images which I have uploaded to Anime Diet’s Flickr account.

Speed Dating at New York Comic Con: A Firsthand Report

Waiting female participants. Photo by Charles Sykes, Associated Press.

 

Our guest correspondent Mary decided to see what it was like to speed date other geeks and nerds at New York Anime Festival/Comic Con. Here’s her exclusive, firsthand report. —Mike

Advertised as a free weekend activity for convention attendees over 18, New York Comic Con brought back speed dating for the second time at this geek-filled con. Since I am single, female, and have never speed dated before, I wanted to try this activity out. So even before the convention began, I registered for the event online at New York Comic Con’s website. It was a quick sign-up where I entered my name, email, age, and the time slot when I wanted to speed date. Afterwards I received a confirmation, and thus it became part of my Comic Con agenda.

After spending an entire day at the Javits Convention Center, I went to the room where the speed dating was held. There was a check-in table, where I was assigned a number for privacy purposes, and handed a paper and pen. The paper was to be my scorecard for this “Sci-Fi” Speed Dating. There were three columns on the score card: the first column was to mark down the corresponding number for the other person, the second was a description of the person, and third was to say yes or no.

The paper of ranking and destiny.

While they were setting up the room, I found myself in line outside with the other female participants, while the males were on the opposite side. It seemed like there were more guys then girls overall, but there were more females who cosplayed than males. (I was one of the few female participants not cosplaying.) The girls were ushered into the room first, where there was a banner on the wall announcing the event’s name: “Sci-Fi Speed Dating.” The chairs were arranged in rows, pairs facing each other. The host had a good sense of humor, and he told the females that if we had any problems with an individual guy to raise an arm as if yawning. That would signal the end of that particular session.

All the pairing were random, as the guys went down the line and sat in the corresponding opposite chairs to the girls. The host called through a bull horn for the guys to move to the next chair when their time was up.

I was number 35, and feeling really nervous. In all I spoke with 22 other guys, for three minute sessions apiece. It was fun, but there were also moments of awkwardness. I distinctly remember that one question I was asked repeatedly was “Why are you attending Comic Con?” Sometimes I asked them the same question back. The responses I got were interesting, though often similar. There were a couple of guys I was interested in, but the three minute “dates” were quite short and superficial. Worse, my time slot was supposed to be two hours (8 to 10 pm on Saturday), but by 9pm, my session was cut abruptly short because they had to close the facility early.

At both ends of the room there were long rectangle tables with blank sheets of loose leaf paper. They were meant for participants to exchange emails with those they were interested in enough to keep in touch, at the end of the session. But while the sessions were entertaining, there seemed to be little possibility for long term romance/relationships to be found from them. Still, having gained some experience from this year’s speed dating, perhaps I’ll be ready for another round next year.

Dismal observations of New York Anime Festival 2011

I have reached a point where I simply can’t refer to New York Anime Festival as just that, when it has become merged into the melting pot of New York Comic Con. Observing from this year and last year’s, the state of New York Anime Festival has been pretty depressing. The Javits may have expanded, but pretty much eeked out the present of the festival as being a smaller event, which was no less small. This year, the only time you saw the familiar logos of the Anime Festival was the banner announcing the location of the event.

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Everything else screamed New York Comic Con…..Come one come all. Comic Con has definitely grabbed the spotlight from the Anime Festival, because even the Japanese guests were merged into the umbrella of Comic Con, from the location of professional companies on Comic Con’s show floor, to how the autograph tickets were presented and where the location of invited Japanese guest panels were held. Contemplating on the future of Anime festival is not as positive. Anime fans though made do with this new reality.

In my opinion, the only great thing about New York Anime Festival on the fourth floor was its Artist Alley with its anime artists, and various relevant regional conventions like Manga Next. Becoming bottle necked into the traffic was not so great, and if you get past the crowds into the area where the Anime Stage was located then you can breath. I heard comparisons of this year’s NYAF being like a Cafeteria and perhaps that was true. Round tables spread out in a convention and you’re only going to want to hang out with your own groups. But with the lure of the NYCC convention floor, is there any other reason why you would stay there for long?  Of course I only was able to attend one panel on Friday. Then on Sunday I was up there for a little bit, taking pictures of the artist alley, which I placed into Flickr.

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Anime Stage was not necessarily the place to sit and enjoy panels as other parts of the Javits. Over the dim of the noise, you had to drag your chairs over to hear the speaker. Programming was pretty dismal, with the maids performing every other hour. I know some friends wrote off the show for good. Since programming was quite bland, it really left no other activity for people to do, other than converge onto the Comic Con show floor below. Can I also point out, that Anime Artist Alley overlooks the show floor, so you can get great shots of the show floor. There are really two feelings that can be felt when you were at those windows… one: outsiders looking in and two: goldfishes in a tank.

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Anime fans are not necessarily all round comic book fans and vice versa. To really enjoy Comic Con and stay sane is to be a comic book fan as well as be a gamer. It does seem to be the natural flow of things in an American culture landscape sans regular travel to Japan. Solely enjoying anime on the soils of East United States only seems to be celebrated in other regional conventions outside of New York City like Anime Next or Anime Boston. Next year if Anime Festival does not get axed or pushed into yet another smaller corner, it is better to Comic Con to hold Anime Festival at the new “hanger” like area that this year’s Comic Con featured the autographs and Kids Area. The space is perhaps wide enough to say that yes, Anime Festival still has a presence at Comic Con.

Conversation with Hiro Mashima at NYAF 2011

Known to American readers as the creator for Rave Master and Fairy Tail, Anime Diet gets the opportunity to interview this Japanese mangaka at New York Anime Festival. Hiro Mashima made time in his busy schedule to be a guest at this year’s Festival. Through the helpful assistance of an interpreter, here’s an 18 minute conversation in an edited transcript. The questions with an asterisk is what I was able to ask Mashima-sensei.

Have you been to the states before?

A few times, San Diego Comic Con, and a few private times.

How do you like it here, and how has it been with the fan’s reactions?

New York fans are very passionate.

What were your influences and what led you to become a mangaka?

Miyazaki Hayao and Toriyama Akira, I am huge fans of both. In particular to Toriyama with Dragon Ball, when I was little, I use to trace and copy their work. Gradually as I did this, I realized I wanted to go pro, so I brought my work to the publishers.

What was your first published work?

Rave Master.

* You’re well known to American readers for your adventure titles, however is there a particular genre that you would like to try in the future?

Love story.

* What is your favorite type of pasta?

Meat sauce. I had it for lunch today.

*If you get the chance, please check out Eataly on 23rd and 5th as a Pasta Heaven.

How much research goes into your current work?

I don’t do a lot of research even though it is on a guild, there’s not a lot I know about European culture. I find that it is better to not know. It is similar to how an American can depict a ninja and there’s a lot more freedom involved that depends on your imagination rather than on prior knowledge.

Would you say that with your new series, you borrow a lot from Asian or Japanese mythology to write about?

Of course, definitely.

With the rise in popularity in the genre of magic and fantasy as an enjoyment for adults, not just for kids, what is your opinion on why Magic has been a genre of interest?

Because it is full of dreams and everyone wishes they can have magic abilities.

What is Plue?

A dog. (laughs)

* In the past you’ve included people that you’ve met in your work, such as Dallas Middaugh and Jason Thompson in Fairy Tail. Would you keep in contact with them, and what made them potential candidates to be drawn?

Dallas is over there, so I do keep in touch with him. (Dallas Middaugh is currently the Publishing Services Director at Random House). I hope to see Jason again, but apparently he is not here.

Dallas had come in the room at this point, and he mentions that he is very happy to see Mashima-sensei, because he’s came back to the States again.

Mashima: He has such a face that is made for manga.

Dallas: It was a tremendous honor to find myself included in a manga. I have been in the industry for 11 years now, so it is a crowning achievement to be included like that.

Mashima: It’s a very small role.

Dallas: But I’ve enjoyed it very much.

So if you find people that would be inspirational, then you would include them in your work?

Definitely. Do you want to be included? (laughs)

What do you hope readers get out of your work? Is there any major themes that you write of in your work?

For Fairy Tail, bond is the biggest theme. The bond between people and the bond between friendships. There are several ways bond is depicted, but this is the driving force in Fairy Tail. I call it a guild, but I would call it a family.

Who is your most complex character? Is there a particular character you like to work with?

I can’t say a lot about this yet, but in volume 24 of Fairy Tail, there is a complex character who will hold the key to the entire story. He’s possibly the most complex character I have drawn.

How far do you plan ahead for your story? Is there an ending for Fairy Tail?

No not at all. Of course there’s a cliff hanger for every episode, but I don’t know what would be happening next.

What is your work schedule like? How long does it take for a chapter of Fairy Tail to be done from start to finish? How many assistants do you have?

I work on a weekly basic, so a week to finish a story. I begin with a meeting first, where the main storyboards for the chapter are discussed over a three day period. I work with five assistants.

* In the work schedule of being a mangaka, what is the most challenging part?

Finding instead of what I want to be depicted, what does the reader what to see is challenging.

Since American and Japanese culture are so different. Do you get worried sometimes on if an idea is misunderstood by the American audience?

I am quite aware of cultural differences, so my intention is to always draw for an international audience. I tend to avoid linguistic Japanese jokes and tend to prefer jokes that cater to an international audience.

Do you have any favorite American show or books you like to read?

I love television dramas like 24 and LOST.

* Do you have influence with how the animation progresses?

It is a case by case process for every mangaka. There are some anime that would not have any influence at all. For me, in Japan with the animation team, I have a balanced harmonious relationship. I can definitely say that when the speech is wrong, I can point it out.

* In regards to the plot of volume 14, which character would have been your choosing for being crowned Miss. Fairy Tail?

Actually in Japan when the chapters were being published, I asked readers to poll who would be their choice. So a ranking was conducted. Juvia was third. Lucy was two, and the winner was Erza.

Some extremely late NYAF 2010 impressions, part 1

First of all, I have to apologize for how late this article is appearing; I became very sick after the convention and recovery has been slow between my day job and other personal commitments.  My name is Jack, better known as StarCreator to some.  I was invited here to share my opinions and experiences at New York Anime Fest 2010.

The Jacob Javitz center.

NYAF 2010 was definitely very unique, in that the parent company decided to combine it with their other, larger event, New York Comic Con.  The difference this made was massive; in the span of a single year, NYAF went from being a small con focused almost exclusively on industry and their musical guests, to a behemoth of a convention encompassing everything from video game demonstrations to independent comic artists, with what was left of NYAF literally under their feet.  The difference is so large, that even though I have been attending anime conventions for the better part of 11 years, the most similar convention to NYAF 2010 I have attended was actually PAX East last year – which makes sense, knowing both conventions are run by the same exhibitions company.

The line to enter the convention Friday morning.

Overall, I’m still not quite sure what to think of the convention.  The two events definitely did not meld together well, and getting around was quite difficult due to the sheer number of attendees crammed into relatively small paths.  The show floor itself, at its worst, was nearly unnavigable; I’m told there were a few dealers selling anime goods in a corner, but I was never able to wade in that far.  In the end, I only made it to about half the number of events in the convention I had intended, as dealing with the large crowd was exhausting and most of New York’s better food options brought me far from the convention center.

While there were some non-anime events that were quite enjoyable, such as seeing some really good StarCraft II matches at the Intel Extreme Masters tournament, I think that as an anime con goer, NYAF was better off when it wasn’t shoehorned into a much larger event.  I still had a great time, but it was in large part due to the company I kept throughout the weekend rather than the events at the convention itself.

In the next part of my NYAF impressions, I’ll take a closer look at the specific events I attended.

NYAF 2010: Spotlight on Chihara Minori Transcript

Minorin posing. Photograph by Eric M. Chu.

If anyone seems quite out of the loop, Minori Chihara, referred to as Minorin by fans, was the featured guest at New York Anime Festival 2010. Fans should know she is a Japanese pop singer as well as a voice actress. She is well known for her portrayal of Yuki Nagato in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Let me just say one thing. A speaker podium was in the way, so there was absolutely no view of her from where I was sitting with @starcreator. I couldn’t even see her facial expressions.  Also there was a policy of no video recording, and no photograph taking until the last ten minutes of the panel.

So while this transcript is not quite like her voice, and based on typing down what her interpreter said, hopefully fans who missed out on this experience would not mind and love her more for it. I also took the liberty of editing, for cohesion.

Hello everyone! Nice to meet you!

Everyone may or may not know this, but this is the very first time Ms. Chihara is in New York, so we’re going to ask her what her impressions are of the city so far?

I arrived yesterday evening, and at first I didn’t feel like this was New York. Was I even in New York? But then I saw all the streets, and nice views, then I finally realized that I am in the city. The view is amazing, so I am really happy to be here.

Has she tried any of the foods or cuisines in the city?

Last night we went to an Italian Restaurant. There’s a really good olive oil there. I ate a lot of bread dipped in olive oil, so that’s what I ate last night. Great bread there too as well. The bread that they served in the airplane was also really good as well. This morning (Friday) I ate a lot of bread as well.

This is not Chihara’s first United States convention, but definitely her first East Coast one; she has previously appeared at Anime Expo. Still how do the cons compare, whether in America or Japan?

This is my second time in the United States, and that was three years ago. I have been to other non-Japan location for events: Los Angeles, Taiwan, and Malaysia and right now New York.

When I do a singing concert in Japan, I see the audience match in dancing, or same color penlights, and it seems so united. So that may be a difference.

When I sing outside of Japan, everyone has different reactions. Cheering styles are different, and it feels very free, so that makes me feel free as well.

[From this part, I am definitely noting how different Western and Asian society is, and Chihara was remarking on it. Japan is definitely a very united in terms of group activities.]

Since [NYAF] is screening The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and her character Yuki Nagato is quite central to the movie, what was Chihara’s impressions or experience with the character, and how the movie was different from the television series?

When I was acting as Yuki for an entire series, there were no expressions or emotions, so that is why I tried so hard to be monotone. This time in the movie, Yuki is a normal girl and this persona is maybe what Yuki wanted to be, so that’s why I tried to find out what Yuki feels like, if  Yuki was a normal girl. There is a great heart that was born inside of her, and as a normal girl—that’s what I wanted to be.

Explain what she feels when she does the voice of Yuki. How does she achieve that monotone, or get into the character?

[There] was a lot of pressure on how I felt, while I was acting this character. So when I was playing Yuki, she is such a popular character, and an ultimate super girl. There are so many difficult Japanese words in my character’s dialogue, and I can’t stutter or slow down and I have to say them real fast. So fitting the pace of her mouth movement was really hard and challenging to work with. It was hard to breathe sometimes.  [Probably to practice and memorize] So I have the script with me all the time, not just when I was home or on the train.

Does she then find herself not forgetting Yuki, that the character is  always with her then?

You’re right, and I always found Yuki at my side.

Can Chihara talk about the song for the movie: her process of making the song, title, and impressions.

The theme for the movie is “Yasashii Boukyaku” [優しい忘却] and the producer for Suzumiya said that with the disappearance of Haruhi, Yuki will be the key/main person. So the producer gave us the initial idea or inspiration for this song. When I got the song, I felt overwhelmed and it made me cry. This song doesn’t even need to have lyrics, just the music already overwhelmed me and that’s what I felt.

Was this then a difficult song to perform because of your emotion?

You are right. So when I recorded this song, which was right after the movie shoot. I could actually hold onto the sentimental feelings of Yuki from the movie, and how I stayed in character even when I was recording the song. I was happy with how the song came out, and afterward I couldn’t even stand. I was so drained as I sat on the floor.

Then I can imagine that fans can’t hardly wait until Chihara performs the song at the concert then.

I am looking forward to singing it for you all.

Before we move onto the fan questions, since New York is well known for music, I am curious if she has any American singers or rock bands that she listens to?

Britney Spears, Aerosmith.[I believe she also said Bon Jovi.]

Fan gift to Minorin!
Collective Fan gift to Minorin. Photograph by Eric M. Chu

The questions after this came from fans.

What was her favorite anime character role and why?

Ahhh the T-shirt is of Yuki… [said Chihara indicating the fan’s shirt] Every character I play, and of course I love every character, but if you insist for me to say who is my favorite – then I would have to say it is Yuki. The reason is because the Yuki character gave me a lot of great opportunities.

As a voice actress, it is hard to get spots, and I also love to sing, but opportunities are few, so this role gave me opportunities. Now I can release albums and expand on the music part of my career. It is a good turning point in my career, so that’s why it is so important in my life.

Already lots of Asian groups are touring the United States, so then are you going to tour the States, because you’re just so awesome. I will purchase your CD’s.

Wow, I am happy. Thank you! Yes that will be pretty awesome to have a concert and tour. That will be pretty great. I will try to keep it up with that. I will try to find an opportunity to come back.

What is it like to work with the cast of Haruhi?

Everyone had a great character, and it was quite exciting to work with this cast. It was great leaning, and opportunity. Especially with Tomokazu Sugita [Kyon]. He had a lot of talents, so I really looked up to him.

A fan then started to talk with Chihara in Japanese. Of course the moderator needed to ask for a question.Chihara complimented the fan on his Japanese. This question is in regards to a role Chihara did in Occult Academy, where it changed drastically from the beginning to the end. So how was her feeling in the transition?

This is the first time, that I did such a role. So it was a very cute and sweet character, yet evil. Is it even okay to talk about the ending of the show? [Fans called out no!] Okay to talk about the character without the ending, I was very surprised to get a villain character, so that’s not spoiling the character. I had a great time with the character.

What was your favorite line to read as Yuki?

The end of it, when the whole world changed…. some people never watched the movie, so are you guys going to watch the movie? I’ll tell you later then.

What other foods in New York do you like to eat, and how is your work as a voice actress?

New York seems to have a lot of great foods, different types of cuisines. Can you recommend anything?

Fans started to shout out foods to eat. “Pizza,” and “cheesecake” were suggestions that Chihara exclaimed about. So she said she definitely wouldn’t mind tasting cheesecake.

My voice acting job is not too busy. I can do it at my own pace, but acting is quite different and not so easy. I have to understand how a character acts and feels. I go on site, and ask questions to experience and understand or learn more. Once the director asks, when I am ready then I try to do it.

Your vocal version of “Haru Haru Yukai” is sung very different, than your normal voice, very pleasant and emotional.  What was your inspiration to sing it like that?

I still remember the recording day, because all the other characters sang, we tried Yuki’s character a lot in tune (with recording). I have to say Yuki doesn’t match, but we talked a lot with the producer, and decided to keep the song.  The song’s feeling is stronger. Let’s keep the song’s flow than focus on thethe character’s voice.

I want to ask about her fan club, its Japanese only right now, but is there a chance for it to be open to international fans?

It’s a management issue, so (interpreter) needs to talk with the management.

For Haruhi episode 6, she sang “Paradise Lost.”  Was that her choice to sing in that particular episode?

Staff decision. The producer asked and I did it.

There are parts in the Haruhi series that were really funny. Was it hard for you to stay in the deadpan serious voice in those scenes?

Difficult, very difficult! Other cast members play around, and have fun in those parts. But to stay in character, I had keep my emotion in check. It was quite frustrating.

How do you practice or practice your voice training, is it difficult?

I have been voice training since my youth. So I still practice every week. Even now I am still taking lessons.

Are there any new anime, or characters that she is working on?

Now there is Yumeiro Pâtissière. My character’s name is Maize. So this week, my character is being aired in Japan. So I was recording at home. When I am in New York, that is when my character is being introduced.

This was the only Minori Chihara panel that I was able to attend. I found online that Chihara Minori has already placed on her blog that she is back in Japan already. This news is courtesy of hashihime’s blog.

X Japan 2010 Concert Recap with some tangents

Venue in lights!

Everyone who reads this blog, should know about X Japan, after all they are trying to make it big in the United States, as they are enormous in Asia. X Japan has one song that was taken as an movie anime theme, “Forever Love” is  CLAMP’s 1996 movie version of X. In fact they are as I like to call, Japanese ‘KISS’ since they are the band credited with popularizing the wave of Visual Kei.

From, Sugizo and Yoshiki’s appearance at Otakon, to them officially debuting at this past summer’s Chicago Lollapalooza. X Japan launched a North American Tour, that had them going from the West Coast, to Canada to Chicago and finally at their last stop in New York on October 10, 2010 at the Roseland Ballroom.

The previous night on October 11, 2010 was also VAMPS 2nd New York concert, where I saw Hyde of La Arc En Ciel for the very first time in concert. FYI, VAMPS is a new band that Hyde is part of, so there was unfortunately no anime song as of yet covered by VAMPS, but I am still as impressed as I was with Hyde. I am guessing if anyone seen my rapid Tweeting, you can see what I was thinking more of… mostly on the various reactions I saw of Hyde. Also there was really cool guitar swinging and head swinging action by K.A.Z.

I was not as familiar with VAMPS music as I was with X Japan’s music, so I really can’t comment on it per se. One thing I can comment on, was how there was actual space to move and breath at Saturday’s concert. But fast forward to the next night.. it was a completely different story all together….

Weekly Biz - Japanese News Paper Scan  - Weekend Concerts
NYCC/NYAF 2010 Weekend's Top Acts

Both concerts were on the Saturday and Sunday of  NYAF/NYCC 2010. This was a concert filled weekend, that probably had music fans like me gasping out “why oh god why.” Mainly, because I was also  also attending the NYAF/NYCC as well. GendoMike, and some other friends can attest to the stress I was feeling last weekend. Prior to the convention, I had already given up going to go see VAMPS in concert, since I knew what a very packed weekend the convention promised to be. But at the very last minute, I was notified that I won concert tickets to see VAMPS. I was at my wits end, thinking about what to do. So I was even contemplating on skipping VAMPS, until a friend pulled me aside and told me to definitely go. I went and certainly enjoyed myself. Hyde was fantastic to look at in person.

Just so many music opportunities to either hit or miss this past weekend. Starcreator, and other friends I know were at Irving Plaza watching Puffy Ami Yumi, Boom Boom Satellites and other acts that were part of the Far East to East Showcase.

Back… back to X Japan Concert though!!!! This is a highly memorable concert experience. Once I heard that they were going to come to New York, for a concert, I literally had my eyes set on news of when to purchase tickets were available. I do believe the venue was sold out. From my cousin’s experiences to the band’s first stop in California, and the continual live tweeting/blog reports from JRockRevolution.com. I was definitely ready to be as what Yoshiki said, “X-ed!”

New York City is definitely a city of many events, and opportunities. However, other than seiyuu, mangaka, or Japanese singers appearances, there is rare opportunity for me to enjoy seeing an actual Japanese concert appearances. To have two rock concert experiences of this nature is like mana from heavens above.

Now back to Saturday night… first thing I got to say, was that right after I came out from the VAMPS concert. I saw the line for the X Japan concert, and learned that some hardcore X Japan fans were waiting since Thursday, which was around the time I picked up my badge for NYCC/NYAF. I quickly took a very short video of the line on Saturday, and uploaded it on Youtube. A friend of mine in Tokyo, told me that her friends were already waiting on line, so I knew some line tidbits. The line was filled with fans of several nationalities, as I tweeted I heard Spanish, Chinese, English, Korean.

By the time Sunday rolled around, the line eventually went to wrap around the city block twice. On that time.. I was walking to the line with another friend at 5:52pm, and we were waiting on the line at 6:04pm. Thankfully at that time, I was only on the second corner slightly, so I was waiting mostly on Broadway, and West 53rd. The Ballroom is on West 52nd. Yoshiki as my other concert going friend told me, loved his fans, so he treated fans to hot chocolate and pizza!

During the concert,I stood on the stage left, and was eventually pushed over to around stage center of the room, there were at least probably 7-8 people that stood before me though. Let me say that for a majority of the concert, I really really hated taller people. They blocked all great views of the stage, so I definitely was watching parts of the concert from between the shoulders of many. Still the excitement of just being in the same room as X Japan!  I can remember how I heard music, the excitement and energy of the crowd.. and how my arms and legs were so sore from when the concert started to the end.I didn’t even realize that Yoshiki threw himself off the stage, for a bit of crowd surfing until my friend told me after the concert.

It was all quite scary for some parts, for the crush of people was quite immense and overwhelming. At moments I felt very claustrophobic.  I have never experienced a mosh pit like this, parts of it felt like a  living roller coaster, trying to keep my balance and not fall. There were times of not being able to breath or even be able to move – due to how much people were crammed in one space. Everyone was fighting to get to the front, I actually saw someone faint, and later I read that people who fainted were brought over to the side. When there was a pause between songs or the crush was particularly overwhelming I heard Japanese fans asking if everyone were all right.

I definitely saw people around me filming the concert with their cameras. I was sadly mistaken when I mention I’ll try to actively tweet, or take much pictures, since the crush of people was that extreme. I feared for my main camera, but I still had my Droid camera, which was running out of battery. I did get some decent cell phone shots though.

At some points during the concert, I noticed that Toshi was trying to prompt the crowd to sing lyrics after him, but I believe everyone was a bit too excited. I definitely knew that I cried when “Endless Rain” was sung, since it is my favorite X Japan song. There was a lot of fans who sang the chorus:

Endless rain, fall on my heart 心の傷い
Let me forget all of the hate, all of the sadness

One really memorable fact, on 10-10-10 was vocalist, Toshi’s 45th birthday, so prior to the show, fans on line were asked to throw confetti, onto the stage and sing “Happy Birthday.” The area where I was, was literally peppered with confetti.

X Japan members are also like a a lot of rock groups, drinking, and spraying water into the overheated crowds. I was ecstatic when I caught the maybe first or second bottle to be thrown off the stage by Toshi. The bottle came flying , I held my hand up, and just caught it. When I told GendoMike about what I caught, he happened to mentioned about another incident with a bottle of water, in this case it was Chihara Minori’s bottle of water. But unlike that incident, that bottle of water is a souvenir on my bookshelf.

Toshi's Bottle
I will never drain/drink or pour you! You contain salaiva DNA! Lucky Catch!

I definitely knew I lost my voice, I had limited speaking from the VAMPS concert the night before, it was further gone when it was the X Japan concert. I can’t imagine how many time I definitely shouted, either lyrics, “X”  or “WE Are X.” As I also mention arms and legs were so very sore, just how many times I threw up my arms?

Still the memories of this concert will remain. I am actually waiting for the new CD that will be out next year. There are some talk on the net, not confirmed about X Japan having a Europe Tour, a second North America Concert Tour, and South America Tour. All this is quite exciting. One last note, actually pretty sad I wasn’t able to get a Concert T-Shirt.. now I can only be on the search for someone/somewhere to sell it. Also if you what to see more pictures from this concert, be sure to check out Anime Diet’s Flickr page.

X Japan’s New York Set List
Jade
Rusty Nail
Silent Jealousy
Drain
-Violin and piano interlude-
Kurenai
Happy Birthday
Born to Be Free
-Drum Solo-
I.V.
X
Endless Rain

Encore
Art of Life
Forever Love (end recording)

NYAF 2010 Mission: Get Chihara Minori autograph!

On Friday of October 8, 2010. I was on a mission to get Chihara Minori’s autograph.. so as a favor for Anime Diet’s own Ray. Chihara is apparently a very very popular seiyuu, a featured guest in this year’s NYAF. In my experience of other than hearing her voice in Saki as the very attractive Tōka Ryūmonbuchi, of which I had nothing official for her to sign, from that desperately second season needed anime. I decided very early on, that there are way too many other things to do while at the convention, and too many other seiyuus to fangirl for. I had to not display an interest, but fan boys totally go gaga over her, so here we go.

Prior to the convention, there was an announcement of three opportunities for autographs.. two are waiting on a line, and the other was to be the first 100 buyers at the Bandai Booth.  Now even with the VIP Chihara Experience package, that was quickly sold out at $150 for 200 fans. There was no guarantee autograph ticket, so one must “fight” then for the right to get her John Hancock.

With  my experience of getting various con autographs.. I didn’t want to chance it, and the early bird gets the worm. I definitely needed to get there early. So, I started at the crack of dawn, woke up at around 5:00-ish after slapping the alarm clock twice. Got on the subway..and started my trek. I thought that Moy as being one of the earliest if not hardcore fanboys. He was at Jacob Javits around 4:30.. He did it twice again.. for Saturday.. so I know that he got four autographed tickets by the end of NYAF this year.

Minori Chihara Autograph ticket
Friday's Golden Ticket!

I was definitely happy with my one ticket. I also did have another ticket, from the Bandai booth, when I went off to purchase an official licensed good for Chihara to sign. Gave that to Starcreator. It was really strange, that there was absolutely no cds of Minorin in the Exhibition Room , that even Kinokuniya didn’t even have any. So I ended up with an exclusive NYAF T-Shirt, comparing with a choice between a DVD set of hers. Figure the T-shirt will be darn more special.

Minori Chihara T-shirt Autograph
Take a long look!

Since the autograph signing was in the middle of the late afternoon when I had panels, I requested my sister, and Eric M. Chu to go and get the autograph/photograph specifically. The shirt was definitely autographed, but unfortunately, there was no photo, because there was way too many fans, and it would take way too long for Chihara to sign. There is also an image of the back of the shirt on Anime Diet’s Flickr, so take a peek there if you’re interested.

New York Anime Festival 2010 Pre-Con event at Kinokuniya -Teasers for next weekend!

NYAF looming in the next five days....

Very very different from last year’s event, this year New York Anime Festival did its pre-con event at Kinokuniya Bookstore. A more subtle event. This event definitely added more fuel to the fires of many convention goers, panelists and press members alike. (I can only say that I am at this time still scheduling.  I am probably going to put the kettle down, but Moritheil will not be at NYAF this year. So you’ll see coverage from me. That’s not too in your face is it? Moritheil will be sorely missed, as bloggers this year is hopefully going to do a more turn out on being a more united group outside of the convention.)

Chihara on the screen

So my journey goes from the first floor past the clock and past a VAMPS sign, and then past this screen – up onto the escalator. My aim is the second floor, where the anime/manga/events/Cafe Zaiya section is.  Kinokuniya a large Japanese chain bookstore, that a store in New York. So I have been a customer/fan for the store for many many years…. back when Ranma 1/2 was starting to get dubbed by Viz. But what the heck am I am I going on a tangent like that for?

Example of Otakuden's works. You know who this is right?

The purpose of today’s Pre-event was to unveil John Arzayus aka otakudenDotCom on Twitter. He is an anime figure photographer, and some samples of his work is on display next to the steps. So if you are in New York at around this time, check out those photos. First time, other than the some other pretty interesting pictures, and the finalists for NYAF did I see figure photography displayed on the walls. [As a amateur figure photographer among a lot of hats. I am flashing a mental thumbs up at that!]

Food Spread

What else occurred at the event.. there was an actual “food buffet” spread, and that was the first time I have ever seen Kinokuniya providing free food like this, when there is Cafe Zaiya on the premises. I got the indication that it was an experiment, so it probably worked.. since nothing drives an event like free food!

Food Spread Crowd

There were teaser performances from both ichiP! (Dance troupe)  and Mario Bueno. (Cosplay performer). They will be appearing as guest of NYAF’s long list.

Mario Bueno

After the Photography and Figure collecting 101 presentation from Otakuden was done, GeekNights‘s Rym and Scott came on, with tips on con survival. They are calling NYAF and NYCC as a mega con, and definitely it is. With so many names, events, panels, so many conflicts at the same bloody time.. let’s just hope with fingers crossed that I won’t get what is known as con exhaustion… that I will be able to cover all the panels I need to go to…. from one end of the convention center to the other.. Jacob Javits is not even as big as Baltimore Convention Center. >_<…

Oh, X Japan’s concert is next weekend, as with VAMPS, as with Puffy AmiYumi…. as with Minori Chihara appearing. There was a raffle at the end, with Chiara’s autograph ticket up for grabs, that I oh so wanted to get.. but poor luck and timing.. hence I lost out.

More images from this event is available on Anime Diet’s Flickr page.  More images is also forthcoming..

As a second pre-con event for NYAF/NYCC, New York City is going to be bracing itself for 40,000+ fans to descend on one convention center…. and the madness starts in about four days.

NYAF Anime Blogger Roundtable

Things were rather hectic at the New York Anime Festival, but bloggers of all stripes made time for an important, self-referential summit.

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NarutakiRT served as MC, while representatives from About.com, Comics Worth Reading, Anime Vice, Anime Almanac, Ani-Gamers, Colony Drop, The Gaming Dungeon, Ogiuemaniax, Reverse Thieves, and Anime wa Bakuhatsu da! held forth. Ed from Vertical also showed up to inject an industry-side perspective.

AKB48 in NYC: Idolmaster Cosplay

Steam rose off the city streets as we partook of a Takoyaki stand a few blocks away from Webster Hall.

“It was a lot like Idolmaster,” fellow anime journalist Omo noted, drawing a parallel to the infamous Japanese game.

“Idolmaster cosplay,” I shot back.

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AKB48, an Akihabara-based idol group, had their US debut at Webster Hall following the New York Anime Festival. While initial enthusiasm for their preview performance was great, the Sunday evening show time coupled with the location – across the city from the convention – thinned the crowd of con attendees considerably. Not to be deterred, AKB48 had cleverly rallied a separate fan base of non-conventiongoers, and a large throng of overwhelmingly middle-aged men clutched email printouts rather than tickets in line.

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