Tag Archives: nycc 2011

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.