Category Archives: New York Anime Festival

New York Anime Festival 2009, Day 0: Cake

The Dave and Buster’s was crowded. Black-attired waitstaff in crisp uniforms nodded professionally at me as I entered, pointing me up to the third floor when I inquired about the event hosted there.

The cake-cutting katana. Photography by Linda Yau.

It was hard to miss – a frothing mass of humanity bumped and jostled at the far end of the room, packed in tight. I could not see the object of their focus, but this had to be it. As I made my way across the room, I gradually discerned that there were at least three different types of people here – businessmen in suits with refined drinks, a casually dressed faction, and a surprisingly large number of fashionably-attired teens.

Continue reading New York Anime Festival 2009, Day 0: Cake

Gundam Creator Tomino @ NYAF

Mobile Suit Gundam celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, and creator Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野 由悠季) was the guest of honor at New York Anime Festival.  Anime Diet recorded his keynote address.

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(Edit, 9-30, 10:13 AM: the progress bar and time are now working. Plus, the video is watermarked, for the convenience of all the video thieves out there.)

Tomino was very dignified throughout his appearance at the convention.  In keeping with his professional demeanor, he made a great effort to be polite.  Even when asked directly, he refused to say anything bad about his experiences working with Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム). It has been widely observed that in the early days, Tezuka’s budget was tight and his deadlines were brutal, which many have speculated may have led to a hostile working environment.  During the Q&A session following his speech, Tomino suggested that anime creation in general creates friction, noting, “If working together with others was easy, I would have produced thirty more works like Gundam.”

Tomino signing a sketch of the R78 Gundam. Photography by Eric M Chu.
Tomino signing a sketch of the R78 Gundam. Photography by Eric M Chu.

In person at his autograph signing, Tomino was charming and playful, joking with fans, posing for pictures, and drawing smiley faces alongside his autographs.  However, his patience was tried by a poor translator, who was unable to keep up with him despite stopping him a few times to request clarifications.  A bit of checking revealed that the translator used for Tomino had prior experience in translation, but almost none in live translation.  The translator apparently wanted the honor of handling the keynote address, and Tomino assented, a decision that he later regretted.  At just over nine minutes into his speech, Tomino’s staff issued a statement that “a proper translation will be available later,” causing a strong reaction from the frustrated audience.

To be fair, Tomino’s discussion became very complex.  I was not able to follow it all myself.  Essentially, his rhetoric went along the lines of, “A picture may be beautiful, but that alone does not make cinema.  A story may be excellent, but it alone does not make cinema.  What is it, then, that elevates work to the level of cinema?  It is only through the synthesis of disparate elements from different creators that cinema is produced.”

It was an attempt by one of Japan’s finest creative minds to give a deep discussion of art, and I truly appreciated being in the presence of a genius willing to share a glimpse of how he viewed his work.

Tomino posing.  Photography by Eric M Chu.
Tomino posing for us. Photography by Eric M Chu.

Do A Cencoroll

Cencoroll premiered in America at the 2009 New York Anime Festival. Contributing editor moritheil was on hand to review it.


Picture unbaked dough. Give it eyes and teeth. This is Cenco, title character of Cencoroll. Along with his human handler, he wreaks havoc on the countryside and transforms into a variety of cool things. The details of his transformation, his battle against other blob monsters, and the involvement of a certain schoolgirl are all integral to the plot. At its core, though, Cencoroll is a primal, visual appeal to the audience via transformation and violence.

Its plot is a simple laundry list of typical Japanese story conventions. Monsters let loose in an urban area, and are attacked by largely ineffectual Japanese self-defense forces. Our heroes are opposed by beings of loose moral character.  Innocents are threatened.  A hero goes out of his way to protect a girl despite knowing that it must be a trap. In the end, a combination of cool under pressure and fiery determination win the day, and it is children who manage to avert disaster and restore balance.

Continue reading Do A Cencoroll

New York Anime Festival 2009 Day 1

NYAF Video, Day 1:

Moritheil‘s liveblog of the New York Anime Festival, Day 0:

  • 11:44 Attention New Yorkers: Moritheil walks among you. #nyaf #
  • 12:19 @misuzulive Wow, how far are you driving to come to #NYAF? (Cars. NYC. Brave soul!) #
  • 12:22 Tonight we dine in . . . Hell’s Kitchen? #nyaf #
  • 12:55 Darnit, people in the hotel lobby are talking about plans to meeet with @animevice and I can’t place them! Who are youuuu #nyaf #
  • 13:40 @s0nified hahaha, where precisely are you? #nyaf right? #
  • 13:41 @hisuiRT I’m sure they were going to! One of them nodded at me and I smiled back but they didn’t say anything. Awkward otaku silence! #
  • 13:42 @narutakiRT I’m a little shaky on the chronology involved. Are you going to the preparty as well, or just the movie? #
  • 13:46 @animemiz Let me know if you’re about :) #
  • 13:47 @omonomono So, we meet again! :P #
  • 13:48 @s0nified This just goes to show – no place is safe! :P #
  • 13:48 Ni-pah, Yaan, Au, Fuwa-Fuwa (#NYAF) #
  • 13:55 Nobody draw! RT @petertatara: 40,000 officers on the street because of the UN. I’m running an event filled with kids with swords. #nyaf #
  • 13:57 @AA_TheHaisho That’s the spirit! :P #
  • 14:04 @VamptVo Hey, are you in town today? Going to the preparty or anything? Doing dinner? :D #
  • 14:07 @VamptVo Understandable. I’ll see you tomorrow, then, probably :) #
  • 14:21 @narutakiRT I see. I’m going to the party; I’ll see how tired I am after and decide if I can stay awake for the movie :) #
  • 14:33 @omonomono Cool. I’ll look for you when I get there. #
  • 14:49 I’m wearing jeans and a shirt with rainbow afterimages. You can talk to me. Really. #nyaf #
  • 15:05 Guy in a suit just started chatting me up. nothing to do w/anime. I’m too approachable! #
  • 16:08 delicious cake is delicious. #nyaf #
  • 16:13 w/ @omonomono, @animemiz, @kransomwastaken. #
  • 17:37 Rapid search for Yui Makino merch: failed. Trying the dealer room tomorrow. #nyaf #
  • 17:39 Fabled NY bookstores, you have let me down. #

Moritheil‘s liveblog of the New York Anime Festival, Day 1:

  • 05:49 #NYAF weather: 63 F now, 41 F tonight. Can you believe that?! #
  • 05:54 I heard 6 AM. RT @OutOfTimeProd: The #NYAF autograph ticket line for Yoshiyuki Tomino begun at 7am, maybe earlier. Signing is at 7pm. #
  • 06:01 #NYAF #followfriday @princetrunks @ronaldhennessy @petertatara @jlhls @omonomono @debaoki @vamptvo @s0nified @hisuiRT @narutakiRT @PatzPrime #
  • 06:14 Bandai’s PR guy is staying at the same hotel as me. Huh. #nyaf #
  • 08:44 You will know me by my tachikoma shirt! #
  • 08:45 Hanging out w/ @sbrblurb. Come say hi! #
  • 09:02 Number of compliments on my @jlist shirt: 3 #nyaf #
  • 09:04 Cosplayers! Come forth! My camera is ready! #nyaf #
  • 09:22 Just met @Yuricon, who dropped tantalizing hints about the next Yuricon. #
  • 09:25 Note @sbrblurb is wearing a pedobear getup. It’s easy to spot us! #nyaf #
  • 09:56 Had a hilarious conversation with @animealmanac about the finer points of bathroom photography. #nyaf #
  • 09:57 Dealer’s room is setting up. Took video but can’t get in yet. #nyaf #
  • 11:00 Just saw an MTV agent try to recruit some cosplay girls. #nyaf #
  • 11:29 Shook hands with @mpinto prior to his panel. Ganbatte! #nyaf #
  • 11:31 #nyaf @animevice arrived fashionably late – just on time for her own panel. #
  • 11:33 Correction: that fine gentleman is @michaelpinto. Ganbatte! #nyaf #
  • 12:45 Interesting advice from @animevice. Now for Tokyopop. #nyaf #
  • 12:47 @debaoki I’ve heard good things about Chorus. :) #
  • 13:03 @edsizemore whoops, just saw your tweet. I guess you know what I look like now :) #
  • 13:05 OK, why are we at #nyaf looking at clips from SDCC? Is this a metajoke, Tokyopop? #
  • 13:06 #nyaf #
  • 13:11 Haha, 1 out of 50 ppl recognized the Joss Wheadon film Tokyopop is adapting to manga. #nyaf #
  • 13:18 Nice catch by @debaoki as to who published what manga. #
  • 13:20 “Not just boobs, MILK coming out of boobs!” Oh, Tokyopop. #nyaf #
  • 13:37 Audience member just called out Tokyopop on declining amounts of Japanese content. #
  • 13:42 Hey neat, I won a shirt. Full disclosure! #
  • 13:44 Tokyopop is now 20% non-Japanese content. #nyaf #
  • 14:17 In the giant blogger katamari ball by Tomino. #nyaf #
  • 14:23 Tomino moved to bigger room; line chaos ensues. #nyaf #
  • 14:25 Tomino has struck a victory pose. The crowd is roaring in approval. #nyaf #
  • 15:19 Tomino conducted himself with great dignity and gave a high-level speech. #nyaf #
  • 17:07 Tomino is the man. Nodded in approval, posed for a photo. #nyaf #
  • 17:09 #nyaf Met the @hinano / @jpmeyer gattai. w/ @vamptvo and 17 other bloggers for Cencoroll. #
  • 17:14 Too many bloggers to list them all. @wildarmsheero rocking the Strike Witches gear. @starcreator w/@wootshirt. #nyaf #
  • 18:46 Cencoroll was very neat. Very condensed. #nyaf #
  • 18:51 @mightyatom That WAS you! I wasn’t sure. #
  • 20:52 @mightyatom I was with a ton of bloggers outside Cencoroll, and I was like – that hair! It’s her! I yelled at you but you didn’t respond :/ #
  • 20:54 @mightyatom Then I thought, “Maybe I just didn’t get a good look; it could have been someone else.” You were moving pretty quickly. #
  • 22:49 #NYAF 2009 Karaoke Showdown! #
  • 22:58 @mightyatom Holy crap, you missed Tomino? Well, I have some HD video for you. #

Ni-pah, Yaan, Au, Fuwa-Fuwa (NYAF)

Anime Diet East will be spreading its banner and once again making the sacred pilgrimage to New York for the New York Anime Festival. Oddly enough, the only set items on the schedule are the Del Ray pre-party, the Yui Makino concert, and a certain karaoke gathering for those of exceptionally refined taste and articulation.

Not a recommended way to travel.
Not a recommended way to travel.

Liveblogging will occur via Twitter.  Expect incriminating photos.

The Unholy Union of Anime and Comics?


This bombshell piece of news comes courtesy of Anime News Network:

The event organizers at Reed Exhibitions have confirmed on Thursday that New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival will share the same weekend and location next year. Both events will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan on October 8-10, 2010. While the two events will have separate guest rosters and programming schedules, they will share a common show floor and one ticket price. Each ticket will give an attendee access to both events.

Mike’s Take: I had a great time at New York Anime Festival 2008, which, in my experience, was the best-run convention I’ve attended thus far. It’s no surprise, given that it’s run by a group that actually knows how to run professional exhibitions and, at least when I went, sure knows how to give press a good shot.

This news, however, is quite bold and is almost like a big social experiment. Unlike San Diego Comic Con, which this seems to almost be intentionally rivaling, it seems Reed Exhibitions still wants to make a distinction between the anime-related events and the comics-related events. While there’s one dealer hall, and one ticket, everything else is relatively segregated. I’m not sure why they decided to do this: while I know that the fandom for American geek properties and anime/manga overlap less than one might think (based on my Comic Con experiences), SDCC always got by without any separation. Could we see a virtual “war” between otakus and non-otakus, somewhat similar to the divide at this year’s SDCC between Twilight fangirls and the rest of the geeks? (“Scream if you think Twilight ruined Comic Con!” as a memorable sign put it.) In particular, I’m thinking of competition for large halls and other main events, as well as dealer hall space, which is considerably smaller at Jacob Javits compared to San Diego.

However, I just hope that the great treatment that I received at NYAF in 2008–and that hopefully we will be getting this year–is not going to change with the introduction of many more people. (NYCC had 75,000 attendees last year, so a combined convention with NYAF would have almost 100,000.) More than any other group I’d trust Reed Exhibitions to pull it off, but sometimes scale gets the better of things. Who knows. I just want my press badge and VIP ticket with the guaranteed signing–and all the greatest footage from the front row. :)

NYAF Video Diary, Day 2

Here’s day 2 of Anime Diet’s coverage for New York Anime Festival. Here you can see highlights of the blogging panel (y’all have already seen the uncut, full version–but Youtube hasn’t!), but, more importantly, highlights of Rie Tanaka’s mini-concert. Plus, of course, there are the usual interviews with fans and bloggers alike.

The HD version, with questions subtitled, version of the blogger panel is forthcoming next, as well as Day 3–where I present highlights of the Rie Tanaka panel.

NYAF Anime Blogger Panel: the Video

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EDIT: This is a relatively hi-res Flash version above. I still can’t figure out why it won’t let you skip ahead easily. If that won’t work for you, for now, you can also download the video directly from my account (500 MB).

Also, omo has provided a transcript, for those who prefer to read rather than to watch.

This is it, folks: the video you’ve all been waiting for: JPMeyer, Hinano, and DS live in the flesh! This panl is all about how to start an anime blog, with plenty of Q&A from the audience–plus a bonus interview with Omo and the panel three afterwards! Recorded by myself and my erstwhile cameraman, Young Lee, the man with the HD camera. Many thanks to him for providing the equipment. (You should check out his website, too; he’s a budding filmmaker himself, which is why his equipment is full of awesome.)

This is the Veoh version, which offers a 500 MB downloadable version if you visit its page. The downloadable version is actually almost HD (960×544). I am working on a real HD version (1280×720) which will be available for download from thi website, probably via BitTorrent. Stay tuned; I will announce it when it’s available!

Thanks to the panelists for the opportunity. I hope I get to do something like this again!

Privileges: the NYAF Wrapup Post, Part 1

Rie's signature--one of many fruits of this con
Rie's signature--one of many fruits of this con

I attended the New York Anime Festival as a deeply privileged man: the holder of both press and, courtesy of my website partner Ray, VIP passes. I was also deeply privileged to meet so many of you, my colleagues on the East Coast in anime blogging, and to spend time eating with you all. All of you made this a wonderful con experience for me and some of the best footage and coverage for Anime Diet ever. Thanks.

Now that the Oscar speech is over, let’s expand on the experience a bit. (No pics yet; I can’t get them off my camera until I go back home. As I write this, I’m still stuck in New York because I missed my bus.)

Continue reading Privileges: the NYAF Wrapup Post, Part 1

(Late) Rie Tanaka Panel Liveblog

I came 5 minutes late due to subway lateness–but thank God for taxis.

11:18 AM: Which role was hardest to play? Lacus Clyne. She didn’t feel the character was quite so realistic, because she’s not so emotional–“not so expressive”–always had to be gentle and nice, with not so much emotional variation.

11:21 AM: So many people are trying to ask questions in Japanese! She just did a Suigintou voice though.

11:21 AM: Rie poses US a question: who plays video games? Practically everyone raises his or her hand. Internet games? Nearly everyone keeps their hand up. “There is no life without video games.” She also asks how do you stop yourself from playing when you have work to do? “Sheer force of will,” one audience member says. Rie giggles, claps her hands.

11:24 AM: she notes that doing voices for games is more demanding, because she has to read through much more material at once. “Feel like I’m an addict of the game.” Playing games on the train “makes me feel like I’m in heaven.”

11;25 AM: What is her favorite moment in Bianci (sp?) The wedding. Makes her feel very “girly.”

11:27 AM: Someone says “Aishteru!”

11:28 AM: Any future roles as Lacus Clyne? She doesn’t know.

11:30 AM: Can’t hear the question. Something abotu Gundam Seed. Someone just gave her a gift. Plus she just gave everyone a chance to take a picture with the gift. More people are presenting gifts. THE MOST LIBERAL MANAGEMENT EVAR

11:34 AM: Yomi reminds her of the way people get obsessed with dieting. “It was really cute.”

11:34 AM: (Her): Who’s a fan of Azumanga Daioh? Chobits? Gundam Seed? The last gets the most cheers. She is also looking for Lacus cosplayers.

11:36 AM: Someone asks a question about Kara no Kyoukai (yay!!!). Did she enjoy her role? Very heavy character and story (of course!) First time she played such a sad, tragic character (Kirie: an enemy of Shiki. I think this was movie 3?)

11:39 AM: Sing something for us? Which one? Anything? She sings the Lacus song from last night (song #3). This is on tape. She really CAN sing, too.

11:42 AM; More guests. She’s asking to stand up to do rock-paper-scissors. this is for prizes, including cds. I lose round 1.

11:44 AM: Panel over. I didn’t get any questions in. But I do have good footage from the front row.

NYAF Video Diary – Day 1

(If the video isn’t available yet, please wait a few minutes for it to go up. Youtube is still processing it as of this time.)

Here’s day 1 of our New York Anime Festival video diary! This one includes a few clips from the Funimation panel, some of the stranger and more interesting sights in the dealer room and the hallway, and of course 4 interviews with fans.

This is but a prelude, however, to the footage from Days 2 and 3–coming as soon as tonight. We’ve got exclusive Rie Tanaka footage, the Anime Blogger panel, and other exclusives which helped to make this, footagewise, one of the best cons we’ve attended. Stay tuned!