Tag Archives: Anime Expo 2009

Conventional Wisdom: A Reflection on Congoing (Part 1)

Three Vignettes

2007, Long Beach Convention Center.

There is a man named Matt dressed as a Wii remote standing in front of me and my linemate Steve. We are waiting for the possibility of getting an autograph from Hirano Aya, and we’ve been waiting for two hours already. My new Panasonic video camera and its cigarette microphone are out for fan interviews: they were a great way to pass the time. I sometimes forget to press and hold down the “mic” button to ensure that Mr. Wiimote’s voice is picked up by the external mic and not the camera’s weak built-in one. The sound fades in and out abruptly in the footage. Despite some misgivings, I decide to leave it as is when I edit it, backed by the music of the Pillows. His enthusiasm and uniqueness more than made up for the lack of technical quality. After all, I wasn’t press or anyone from the “real media,” as I called it at the end of my last video that year. I was just trying to record my thoughts and feelings of being at an anime convention.

None of us ever got that autograph, of course.

Unreleased footage from AX 2009

2009, LA Convention Center.

I am sitting against the wall across from Petree Hall, cradling a borrowed video camera. We had just finished our joint panel, the Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour, which was fun, and flawed, and draining. The thought occurred to me that I should be out with my microphone in hand, interviewing the cosplayers for the video diary. But I barely had enough energy to lift my head, let alone summon the courage to talk to a stranger dressed up like Prinny, or Pedobear.

I turned the lens toward the passing crowd, pressed “record,” and said a few words into the microphone—I can’t remember exactly what. When I looked through my video archives to look for it, it was nowhere to be found. It was probably recorded over, replaced by footage that I never ended up releasing. There was no video diary that year, and there hasn’t been since.

This video was actually shot before the vignette that folllows, but it shows the spirit at work in it.

2010, LA Convention Center.

Five of us are hanging out in the press lounge on the next-to-last day of the convention. We are busy reviewing the footage captured both by the HD camera and Ray’s Sony Bloggie, as well as the pictures taken by the new DSLR. There are close ups of singers and cosplayers, footage of fan interviews and guest of honor interviews from the junket. Dan walks in after covering the Funimation industry panel and announces that he has gotten in touch with industry reps to get review copies. Jeremy has just finished his first review in a while, something which is a delight and a surprise. We fill the whole table, and we are the loudest in an otherwise quiet press lounge.

I lean back in my chair, watching ourselves sit and stand and pace about, the tools of our trade and all its wires scattered about the surface. I can’t help but grin. Soon it would be time for the Masquerade, which was held in the Nokia Theater that evening. The theater staff confiscate the Leatherman on my keychain. The costumes were nice but the skits still suck.


Do I congratulate ourselves too much there? Very well, I congratulate ourselves. How could I not, when all of these wonderful people that I’m privileged to work with here have accomplished so much? They are why there’s anything here at all, and why we’ve gone even further since that moment of glory described above.

This series is a personal look at my years of convention-going, though, an attempt to distill the experiences of the past several years into something like a coherent statement. The vignettes were chosen to suggest the broad evolution of my “coverage” of conventions, from random video diaries to formal press. But while they were milestones, they don’t tell the whole story either: the endless Skype planning meetings, the hurried dinners at Denny’s before LA Live was built, the dramas that sometimes broke out, and the exhausted birthday toasts at the ESPN Sports Bar after a long day’s work. Because, now, conventions are work. Fulfilling work, but intense and sleep-depriving work, so that readers all over the world can catch a glimpse of what fans and guests alike are doing in the name of Japanese animation and manga.

It’s work, but most of all, it’s fun. There have been many lows as well as highs, but that core has always remained: I do this because I enjoy it. So the pursuit of happiness through anime convention coverage, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way, are the topics I’ll be writing about over the next week to close this summer’s con season.

Next time: Full Court Press, or, what it means for a blogger to be considered a member of the media

Interview: Trigun Staff (Yasuhiro Nightow, Satoshi Nishimura)

Finally, another video! (And there will be more to come.) This is our junket interview with the manga artist and director of Trigun at Anime Expo’s press junket. They mostly talk about the upcoming Trigun movie, though there was some madness at the end that was well worth preserving. Check it out!

A Personal Reflection: AX, Comic-Con, and What We’re Here For


I wrote this on the train home from San Diego, at the conclusion of Comic-Con 2009. For me, this is the end of the con season; I don’t anticipate going to New York Anime Festival this year and it’s up in the air if I will return to Pacific Media Expo. Before I flood y’all with videos, I’d like to take stock of what the last month or so has been like for me as editor of Anime Diet, and as an avid con-going fan of anime.

To put it briefly: Anime Expo 2009 was more about work, and Comic Con was more about fun.

Note: this is not really a review of the conventions as conventions, of which there is plenty to talk about out separately. You can find out more about that in the forthcoming videos. This is more about what the cons felt like subjectively.

Continue reading A Personal Reflection: AX, Comic-Con, and What We’re Here For

AX 2009 Junket Interview: Hiroyuki Imaishi and Atsushi Nishigori of Gurren Lagann

Here is the first video from AX I’m releasing! Tomorrow will be the interview with the Trigun folks. It’s our junket interview with Hiroyuki Imaishi and Atsushi Nishigori, the director and character designer of Gurren Lagann.

The way I’ve set this one up is to superimpose the translator’s audio over the original audio, similar to the way it’s done on the nightly news. It really makes the video move much more quickly rather than keeping all the parts where I speak, the translator translators, the interviewee responds in Japanese, etc. So this is a nice, short, and snappy 4.5 minutes long.

Also, for the first time, I’ve decided to start releasing these vids on our podcast channel. So all of you podcast subscribers–you’re getting a special treat. Thanks for subscribing!

Anime Diet Radio Episode 38: The “Come to Our Panel and Buy Our Zine” AX Extra Special Episode


This is not only just the new episode of Anime Diet Radio–it’s a final pitch to come to our AX Events: the Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour TOMORROW at 9 AM, LP3 (live stream available), and to buy our zine at Artists Alley table D24! In the Roundtable we talk a bit of the work and process that went into making it all happen. But there’s still time to actually go and check it out. So come–and if you can’t come, watch the live stream, on this very website!

There are also a few news items–about otaku bride preferences, the Evangelion 3rd movie, and Lucky Star uniforms in a real town in a real school. But all that isn’t as important as to drive home the point that we want to see you at our panel tomorrow morning! And buy our zine!

Show Order

  • (00:00-00:05:38) Intro
  • (05:39-10:01) News 1: Lucky Star Uniforms in Saitama Prefecture
  • (10:02-19:18) News 2: Who Otaku Want to Marry
  • (19:19-28:07) News 3: Evangelion 3.0 Title Announced, “Q Quickening”
  • (28:08-33:55) Mailbag
  • (33:56-48:02) Roundtable about Our Zine and Panel
  • (48:03-end) Conclusion

Show Notes

  • OP, ED from Haruhi Suzumiya S2
  • All the news items are from Anime News Network: news 1 here [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-06-25/group-discusses-lucky-star-uniforms-to-boost-local-tourism], news 2 here [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=118861], news 3 here [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-06-27/3rd-eva-remake-film-to-be-titled-q-quickening].

AX 2009, Day 0: Behind-the-Scenes From the Cameraman’s Perspective

Why is one of the first posts from AX from the cameraman? Because I do not have to edit the pictures, that is why. We start off this pictorial tour from the LA convention center. We made a mistake and parked really far away from the press junket. So here is a picture of glorious AX.

Beautiful building and sign
Beautiful building and sign

In the pressroom, we ran into our good friend Benu. This is Mike and Benu waiting for the interviews to start.

Mike and Benu waiting oh the waiting
Mike and Benu waiting oh the waiting

The room is ridiculously hot. Also apparently, Benu is not legit press, because he got rejected from interviewing a band for not being a “true professional press” person. That band is not that classy.

Now we waited for about 2 hours before our interviews started, and this is already after being about an hour late.

Here, Mike is reading over the Anime Diet Zine–buy it from table D24 in Artist Alley. I wrote an article for it, a very funny article, I am thinking. The zine was a group effort by all of us, and it was really fun.

Mike reading the Zine, go buy it and find out why it is so good.
Mike reading the Zine, go buy it and find out why it is so good.

Here, Jeremy is writing questions for his interview with the folks from Trigun. They were really fun. One of them told us he needed to go on a diet–and I suggested an anime diet. Today Mike and Jeremy traded doing interviews. When the videos get edited and posted watch them. We loved working with everyone.

Jeremy preparing questions
Jeremy preparing questions

Mike and Jeremy would camp outside of the hotel rooms for the interviews. They were prepared with good questions. The thing I was most concerned with was backlighting. I wanted people to be able to see the faces of whom we interviewed. It was a little funny because we were hanging out in the hallways waiting for the magic to happen.

Mike and Jeremy waiting for an interview.
Mike and Jeremy waiting for an interview.

The last picture is of the members of our panel, the Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour. Come out this Saturday at 9 o’clock to see one of the most amazing panels ever. It will be an experience for all of us.

The Indecent Crew
The Indecent Crew

Mike’s Official AX Schedule

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Time for another schedule, everyone! Where am I going to be at the con?

You’ll notice no time given for seating times at main events. That’s because I’m press, baby, and I can get tickets in advance. You’ll also notice no industry panels. That’s because the main reason to go to industry panels–lots of licensing announcements–that heyday is long gone since last year. I feel no need to liveblog anything anymore along those lines.

Day 0 – Wednesday
This is the Press Junket, where we are going to interview as many guests of honor as possible! Stay tuned for videos–if they let us have them.

Day 1 – Thursday
2:30 PM-5:30 PM: AX Idol Voice Acting Auditions
I’ve got a good friend who is trying out the VA part of AX Idol, and I’ll be filming her performance. If she’s a finalist, I’ll be at the main AX Idol competition too.

I should note that I most likely won’t be staying for the whole thing.

9:00 PM-12:00 AM: Battle of the Bands
This is to support our friends and panel guests Makenai, who are performing in this. Again, I may not stay for the whole thing.

Day 2 – Friday
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Morning Musume Concert
Hey, I’m interviewing them. I might as well go to their concert! Cross fingers to get at least photographs as press. (Fat chance.)

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Takashi Okazaki Panel
This is the creator of Afro Samurai. I saw him last year at Comic Con on a panel with Samuel L. Jackson–let’s see how he is without all that star power beside him. :)

9:00 PM – 12:00 AM: AMV Contest
I really, really hope I can stay long enough to watch the comedy section.

Day 3 – Saturday
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: The Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour
Our panel. Y’all better be there. Because we sure will. Oh yes, we will. Find out more here, and look at all the prizes we’ll be giving away at How A Girl Figures.

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: AX Idol Finals
If my friend gets in, I’ll be there to cheer her on! If not, I’ll be going to…

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM: Aniblogger Meetup
Icystorm‘s organizing this one, and I should be able to go if I’m not at AX Idol! (I’ll let you know ASAP when this is certain, Icy.) It’ll be good to meet y’all.

8:00 PM – 12:00 AM: Masquerade
The yearly tradition lives on. Let’s see what this year’s meme is! (We had Caramelldansen, 300, and Hare Hare Yukai in previous years.)

Day 4 – Sunday
Most likely, I’m not really going to be there. Other staff may be, however, particularly for the Robot Chicken panel. We tried to get into their panel at Comic Con last year, but failed.

That’s it! If you’re around, come and meet me. This is, of course, subject to change. Follow me on Twitter for up to the minute info.

For Sale at AX Artists’ Alley D24: The Anime Diet Fanzine


I’m pleased to introduce a milestone for us here at Anime Diet: we’ll be selling a special fanzine at the Anime Expo 2009 Artists’ Alley this year! This magazine is the work of the entire Anime Diet staff and a large number of local artists, and it has all the spirit of your favorite blog and podcast compressed into 20 full color pages. It’s got games, comics, articles and, as a special treat, bonus exclusive material on the web for all purchasers!

So–if you’d like to support this website, come check us out at Artist Alley table D24, say hi to us, and buy a copy of our zine! See you there.

AX 2009: Heck Yeah, We Have a Panel

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The Date–July 4, 2009
The Time–9:00 AM
The Place–LP3 (LACC 411), Anime Expo 2009
The Event–The Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour!

And if that doesn’t convince you to come, let Dancing Queen’s promo persuade you to show up bright and early on Independence Day.

If you can’t make it to AX this year, have no fear. We will have a live Internet stream of our show, right here in this space. There may even be prizes just for you Net watchers, too. You’re not going to be left out this year!

The Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour: so exposed, it’s indecent.

Our AX Panel: the Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour! (9 AM, July 4th, LP3)


Attention, everyone: we have a panel again this year, teaming up once again with Anime Genesis and, for the first time, How A Girl Figures! Together, we are the Indecent Otaku Comedy Hour, and we are here to rock your early morning convention world!

This year, we’re planning an even bigger show than last year’s panel. We’ve got great prizes donated by our kind sponsors. We’ve got a special musical guest, the great anime cover band Makenai (starring AX Idol 2008, Pamela Moss). We’ve got videos. And, of course, we have all the usual blogger antics from Ray, Jeremy, and myself along with Benu and Dancing Queen.

We’re at 9 AM Saturday, July 4th, in LP3 (LACC 411)–the same room as last year. AX has just posted their official schedule for Saturday and you’ll see us at the top! We look forward to packing out the theater again and hope to see you all there.