Here’s our interview with Masahiro Ando, a animation director key animator on Jin-Roh, storyboard artist for Full Metal Alchemist, and the new director of the feature film Sword of the Stranger. This was held on the day of the press junket, July 2. We got this interview literally two minutes after we walked into the press waiting room, and I was a bit nervous and talky, as a result :) Plus, you can only see me in the reflection in the mirror! Subsequent interviews have better camera angles.
Jeremy got an exclusive interview with the winner of this year’s AX Idol, Pamela Moss! Pamela is a singer in Makenai, a Japanese cover band out of Burbank. They are members of Anime Souffle, the anime club Jeremy and I belong to, and we are excited that someone who we know would win such a high accolade. Jeremy talked to her immediately after the show on Friday night.
The video quality is a bit rougher as it was shot on a digital still camera, and in portrait mode–the video had to be flipped to become right-side up, hence the black bars on the sides. Enjoy, nevertheless!
Well, the con’s over, we’re home, and things will slowly start getting back to the usual mix of reviews, commentary, and podcasts. After we get all our video up, of course!
If you saw last year’s video diaries, you might remember my parting message was “May AX 2008 be sweeter.” It was. It was much, much better run than last year: lines no more than an hour. (Even registration lines.) Events starting on time. Staff who worked double overtime, like the ones at our panel, to make sure everything worked. Was it perfect? No–we could have used more advance info about photography and video rules for various events, rather than last minute changes announced in an ad-hoc way. But compared to last year, AX have redeemed themselves in my eyes. And that’s not just because I got press and managed to get most of the interviews and autographs that I wanted. :) They really seemed to have turned a corner, and my talking to lots of people have confirmed that impression. They realized it was do or die.
It’s thus very pleasing that they have just announced that they will be returning to the LA Convention Center next year. I couldn’t be happier–the venue was wonderful, providing enough space for everyone (I rarely felt all that crowded), with helpful and courteous staff that didn’t jerk around the AX volunteers like Long Beach did, and while there was some skimpiness with regard to audio for our panel, the volunteers totally came through for us. Plus, there was good accessibility with hotel shuttles and places to eat nearby. It was reachable by LA’s very limited Metro, of all things. And I only lived 30 minutes away or so. :)
My hopes for next year include even bigger guests that I can interview :), and maybe by then I’ll have better camera equipment too. But in either case, it was a great con, and we’ve got some great videos and coverage lined up for you, including a number of exclusive talks with not only the guests of honor but also the winners of AX Idol and the Masquerade. So stay tuned, as coverage isn’t quite over yet–there’s tons to get through still. I simply was too tired most evenings to put together videos like I did last year almost on the fly. But they will be coming out for all of you to enjoy.
Once again, thanks to the AX staff for a great show, and thanks to everyone out there who came out to our panel. It was awesome, and you’ll see why soon!
…or at least I got her to hold up a sign saying so at the autograph session! (I also got signatures from the president of Studio Bones, one of my favorite studios.)
Her concert was awesome–the woman can actually sing and has real stage presence–and those costumes, man. Especially when she came out as Rei and sang “Cruel Angel’s Thesis.” This may sound like heresy, but I think she also did a version of “Hare Hare Yukai” at least as good as Hirano Aya at AX last year.
More reports forthcoming in the next few days, as I finish editing the piles of video I’ve collected. Day 1’s video diary is almost complete, with the panel from Day 2 forthcoming and masquerade news on Day 3. Tomorrow is the last day, and is going to mostly devoted to the dealer room.
AX seems so much better run this year than last, and I may actually go to the convention feedback session tomorrow morning…to praise them. Never thought that’d happen, did you?
Thanks to everyone who came out to our panel tonight. (Shout out to CalAggie and IcyStorm–you know you were there!) We were scrambling to get things done at the very last minute and you supported us with your laughter, applause, and cheers. The panel was a huge success and you all helped made it happen.
Full, uncut video will appear very soon. Ramen Revolution also came out with a professional, two-camera crew and so that means we will probably be on TV very soon! It was amazing.
Thanks again, everyone. See you on Day 3 tomorrow for the Shokotan concert!
4:04 PM: Bandai panel begins. But Gaia Online folks let in before us.
4:05 PM: Freedom, part of their “Honneamise” line (replaces Bandai Visual USA). Trailer playing.
4:08 PM: Code Geass trailer. S1 DVD, pt 1, on August 5th 2008.
4:12 PM: Lucky Star trailer. I’ve seen it before. Computer freezes afterwards.
4:15 PM: Ghost Slayers Ayashi trailer.
4:19 PM: Toward the Terra trailer.
4:22 PM: Girl Who Leapt Through Time trailer. I love, love, love this movie of course. Nov 18th DVD release.
4:25 PM: Gundam Seed Destiny, reformulated into 4 OVAs.
4:28 PM: The snipppet of the Aika trailer has in huge red letters “THIS ANIME IS NOT FOR CHILDREN!”
4:29 PM: Rocket Girls trailer. Is this like a Japan Space Agency recruiting video?
4:31 PM: Gundam 00 trailer. Except it doesn’t play, and is taken over by the Gurren Lagann trailer! Except it freezes, too. So what else is new?
4:33 PM: Still waiting for the computer to work. It’s a Dell laptop running on Vista. Why am I not surprised?
4:34 PM: Finally working. Gundam 00 trailer. Nov 17 on Sci-Fi Channel!
4:37 PM: Gurren Lagann trailer. Also to be broadcast on Sci-Fi Channel.
4:40 PM: GitS 2 re-release. I already own the original Dreamworks DVD.
4:41 PM: Sword of the Stranger, which I saw a chunk of before the panel.
4:44 PM: New manga announcement: Tokikake manga, an adapatation of the film. Not the original manga based on the original novel.
4:45 PM: New license: Hayate no Gotoku! Well, at least most of Season 1 was worthwhile…
4:47 PM: That’s it; Q&A.
Sorry for the slight delay on this one–there were some technical problems in converting it to a Youtube-suitable format. It is set on Day 0, the day of the official AX press junket–where every organization gets brief private interviews (in the case of Shokotan, group interviews). We interviewed Masahiro Ando, Akemi Takada, and Shokotan. For all of them, I ran out of questions by the end of the interview!
This video focuses on the experience of the day, and doesn’t include the actual audio from the interviews. That will be forthcoming over the next few days, whenever I have the time.
Remember that video? Well, according to the Anime News Network, Anime Expo is implementing significant changes to the way they handle lines. Here’s the details:
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the parent company of Anime Expo (AX), has announced that it has hired a third-party company to oversee registration starting in 2008. Experient’s services will include a dedicated pre-registration site with group and hotel reservation options, a scannable confirmation form for quicker on-site processing of pre-registered attendees, 60 manned and 40 self-registration stations, and on-site and on-call support from Experient’s personnel.
Mike’s Take: I have just one thing to say:
WHAT. TOOK. YOU. SO. LONG????
Seriously. They say first impressions are everything and when one’s first impression of AX is that impossibly long line as documented above–especially for people like me who were pre-registered–and it turns out to be all too typical, too, you do not come away with the greatest con experiences. I was heartily amused by the rejoinder comment in the article here, too:
Attendees have complained about waiting in registration lines for up to three hours or longer in recent years.
[Raises hand.] Yup. Oh yes.
Now just do the same thing for the main events and concerts and you’ll be golden. I wonder how long the lines will be now. If they’re less than an hour that’s already a massive improvement. This site has some Secret Plans (c) for AX 2008 so we’ll be on the scene like we were this year to see whether this is worth anything.