Privileges: the NYAF Wrapup Post, Part 2 (EXCLUSIVE ANIBLOGGER PHOTOS INSIDE)

L to R: DS, JPMeyer, Hinano--and my hand
L to R: DS, JPMeyer, Hinano--and my hand

In which the blogmen (and woman) cometh; and when Rie comes to town, there’s no stopping the Diet from getting first class footage.

Day 2

I wondered how I should enter the anime blogger panel room to introduce myself. I’m normally a pretty reserved and even shy person most of the time, but have developed a bit of a theatrical personality in the podcast and from taking preaching classes–and it was the latter that won as I, with Young in tow, strode forth and announced “I’m from Anime Diet and I’m here to help!” It was 12:15 and I was surprised to see JPMeyer, Hinano, and DS already all set up behind their microphones and a few people in the audience already. We were not given nearly this amount of advance time for our AX panel, and we had a much more complex setup!

Now you know what they look like--an Anime Diet scoop
Now you know what they look like--an Anime Diet scoop

The blogger panel went well–the complete video, which we filmed, should be up very soon–and eventually lots of people asked good questions. (Q&A always takes a bit of time to warm up in my experience, and this was no different.) For me, I first heard JP and Hinano’s voices on the Anime Nano podcast, so it was cool to finally match up what for me were familiar voices with faces. That’s probably what inspired my own end-of-panel question: if whether they would ever do that sort of thing again! (You can hear them on an episode of CalAggie’s podcast as guests, actually…) I’ve said this before but the banter on the Anime Nano Podcast was one of the main inspirations for Anime Diet Radio, and the blog itself was originally intended as a mere support to the podcast.

I also met Omo and Moy, who were sitting in the front next to Young and me. I ended up interviewing both Moy and JP/Hinano/DS afterwards, which I plan to include on the panel video as bonuses and will appear on the Day 2 video diary (coming tomorrow). We all planned to go out to eat dinner later, though, in the end, it was only the panelists and me.

From NYAF 2008 Photos

The afternoon was slow by comparison. I ducked in briefly to see the AMV Contest, but as I said on the Twitter, I’m always disappointed and lack the patience to sit through tons of drama and action videos to get to the ones I find worth watching–comedy. I hadn’t sat there long before Hinano called us all out for dinner, and I had no interest in staying for another 2 hours. I ended up walking and talking with JP, Hinano, and DS halfway across Manhattan to K-town for some Korean BBQ. There was way too much meat for me that evening! We chatted about not-just-anime subjects as well as blogger gossip which I will not reveal here. :) (DS posted a picture of what one of our dishes looked like here.)

I'd like to teach the world to sing
I'd like to teach the world to sing

Everyone else decided not to go back to the con for the masquerade (because of the threat of “con stank,” as Hinano memorably put it–a term I am going to be using from now on due to its extreme appropriateness), so I left by myself, taking the bus back to the convention center. And not a moment too soon, it turns out…because it was time for the Rie Tanaka mini-concert. By then, Young had ducked out to go spend time with family, so I was alone with his precious HD camera, which treated me well when I entered the Anime News Network Theater and discovered that not only was I in the front due to my VIP pass–benefit 1–but that even when someone attempted to stop me from filming, a mere flash of my press badge let me go–benefit 2. I managed to capture the entire concert uncut, from the moment she walked up on stage to the point where she disappeared behind the side curtain. Miraculously, I kept my hand steady most of the time even though I didn’t even have the tripod set up then, and used all the skill I could muster from two years of filming church bands to get some shot variations, slow pans, and slow zooms.

Rie sings Lacus Clyne's torch song
Rie sings Lacus Clyne

It paid off. It’s the best closeup footage I’ve ever taken for Anime Diet. You will see it tomorrow in the video diary.

The Masquerade proper began, with “Uncle Yo” MCing. Unlike the MCs at Anime Expo, the man, a standup comedian, is actually funny most of the time. He knew what he was talking about in his anime references and had a great sense of timing. AX needs to hire him. The skits and costumes themselves were of quite high quality, I must say–especially the costumes. It’s no wonder, given that the US delegation to the World Cosplay Summit is decided here. I remember looking at the pair who were eventually declared the winners and saying–now that is fine craftsmanship. Very well sewn, detailed dresses with good texture. The skits are, as always, hit or miss, though the misses were not nearly as embarassing as some I’ve sat through at other big cons.

Team Cosplay USA
Team Cosplay USA

Perhaps the biggest wonder of all is that they ended on time. As everyone snapped photos of the various winners on stage, I slipped out, filled with the thrill of having captured some of Rie’s lovely musical performance (she can definitely sing for real, unlike many seiyuu). Stay tuned, because it’s not going to stay private for long.

Tomorrow: Day 3, and some concluding thoughts on the experience.

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