Anime-Expo Day One (Part One)

First, thanks to Brian for helping me get press credentials!  I missed a few panels today that were press & industry only but that's my own fault for not thinking of this earlier.  In the meantime, I did have a really great time checking things out and making my own schedule.

Since Gia at a Geek by any other name really sets the standard of news-blogging from conventions I'm not even going to try to duplicate her work.  (Although if I hear first-hand about a great manga license you know I won't be able to keep my mouth shut).  Instead I'm going to blog my experiences and general impressions of the event.  (And please forgive any typoes, I'd rather just get this out before I go back for more programming tonight!)

So I finally made it to one of these things early enough to witness the opening ceremonies.  And, you know, what?  It really kinda rocked.  Nothing amazing happened but in general you could feel the real love the fans have anime itself and anime culture.  I was told by two long-time AX-goers that this was probably the best guest line-up they'd ever had.  I think it speaks volumes about the commitment these folks have to anime that he was impressed by the fact almost all the guests of honor actually worked in the Japanese anime industry (only one GoH wasn't from Japan).

My favorite part was hearing from the students and teacher from Nippon Engineering College (where apparently one can get a degree in animation as well as voice acting).  All told something like 150 students from Japan traveled to be here and put together workshops at Anime Expo.  They showed a hysterically funny parody of Eva done by the students and had the voice students do the voices on the spot.  The whole thing was a riot (and for the record the anime was called "Akiba Samurai" and it it did a damn fine job of making fun of Eva's entire set-up.  I would SO buy that if it ever is commercially released). 

Another interesting fact -- most of the Japanese guests of honor were here to promote their latest work (sometimes not even released yet in Japan).  I'm just fascinated how these professionals are attempting to building an international fanbase right from the start, on the assumption that one day all these titles will be licensed (or on the hopes they buy the R2/Japanese DVDs when they are released?  Either way works I suppose....)

After Opening Ceremonies let out I went to a panel held by deviantArt about how to be a successful on-line artists (they handed out kickass laynards that glow in the dark).  I never really thought much about DeviantArt as a social community but it was clear the people who run it care very much about the world-wide community they created.  The crowd of around 60 or so were mostly comprised of amateur artists who take their artistic creations seriously *but in the best way possible*.   In general, beyond the usual advice of studying artistic techniques (both in the real word and through digital art programs like photoshop), they also encouraged artists to talk to each other and support each other (although I don't know if the panel would have used the word "support"). 

After that panel I made the mistake of the going to the Exhibit Hall (which I call "the place where you buy shit" because that is actually much more accurate than the title they gave it).   I spent maybe an hour in there?  I'll probably go back because gosh darn it I would like to buy some anime for once and I can't seem to find what I want (I want the first season of Emma Victorian Romance but haven't found it at anyone's table.)

Otherwise it was manga, manga, manga all the time (for me.  For some people it was all about buying weaponry which is disturbing on many levels for this chick):

First, Aurora Publishing rocks because half of downtown LA now has shopping bags with a very, girly image of the heroine of Walkin' Butterfly on it (at least I'm pretty sure that is who she is supposed to be) courtesy of the publisher.  I feel bad opting out of buying the LuvLuv titles (I haven't heard good things about them and they tend to be short stories which can be a mixed bag in general).  Instead, I picked up two of their yaoi titles -- Yakuza in Love 2, Kiss all the Boys 2.  Go Shiuko Kano, go!    

When I finally found the Media Blasters booth, instead of porn (wow, they certainly have a lot of porn don't they?) I managed to snag the second volume of the comedy Fujoshi Rumi (basically it follows the trials and tribulations of a young man who falls for a yaoi fan-girl and can't really see herself as a normal girl who can fall in love with the opposite sex.  In her daydreams about the guy she always turns herself into a guy as well to be able to imagine kissing and touching him.  Yaoi has hard-wired her to think life's like a bl manga.  (Which also reminds me that I was interviewed today by a graduate student doing work on yaoi.  My responses kind of sucked because he did the interview with me right on the sidewalk while I was waiting in the Opening Ceremonies line.  Sorry fellow grad student!  Hope you get people who can be more articulate than me!  (or at least people who hadn't been up since o'dark o'clock due to a time change imbalance). 

I did end up buying some discount manga for DMP of all people...(it wasn't even their manga brand, guess they must have picked it up somewhere?) and ended up with Romance Papa vol 1 (laugh about that title all you want but I have really enjoyed the author's other title, Click, both published by Netcomics) and it was only three dollars.  And also a 5 dollar copy of Happy Mania.  Oh Moyoco Anno, why can't everything be by you?  And oh yes, the "Pop Japan Travel Guide" for one dollar, which must means it is crap but I mostly bought it for novelty purposes, not because I care if it is well done.

As promised I did pick up "Adventures in Voice Acting" put out by Bang Zoom! Entertainment and I think the guy thought it was a little whack in the head to want it so badly (he was very nice though).

Disappointments?  CMX and Go! Comi.  Nothing much seems to happening at those booths.  Which is a shame because I really adore a lot of the manga these people put out.  I'll try to make it to their industry panels because a lackluster booth could mean awesome license announcments!  (Yes, even disappointments can have silver linings at this con).

Surprises?  The Ouran Host Club held next (in?) the Funimation booth on some real serious carpet (don't ask me what non-serious carpet is like but whoa, this carpet was very...carpet-y.  It felt luxurious just walking through there for gosh's sake.  Didn't have time to sit down to be waited on, perhaps another day.

Now there is a break in my schedule as I am writing this from the hotel and get my press credentials in order (Brian rocks so much, thank you!). 

Tonight's plan?

Attend the panel on Anime & Manga in Academia and see if I can manage to stay awake the AMV awards.

Catch you all on the flip side with more info on those events!

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