Con Report: Another Anime Convention 2014


Hey all, I’d usually start this post off with me saying why I haven’t made a post in forever.  I’m lazy.  Plus Arleigh forgot to remind me when I’m at home.  Plus again, I have been working my ass off for the most part this year.  But, I figure I started to feel bad about not posting much considering how much Arleigh is paying me.  And then I realized that I’m not being paid anything, so I stopped feeling so bad.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about my adventures at Another Anime Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire during the weekend of October 17-19.  Arleigh and I have attended 5 conventions together, 3 Anime Bostons and 2 Anime Expos in LA.  But there’s still many conventions that I attend solo, even though it’s incredibly expensive.  So, whenever I can, I try and go with someone like Arleigh.  However, small local conventions are just not something that I’d call him out from the wrong coast out to the right coast, especially since both of us are pretty much exclusively interested in Japanese guests.  Small, local conventions on the east coast are not going to get any Japanese guests ever. Anime Boston barely gets any, and they bring in well over 20,000 people.  Another Anime Convention is lucky to get 4,000 people.  But you know what?  The location works so well for that.  The convention is held in the convention center of the Manchester Radisson and even though the attendance is only between 3000 and 4000, it makes it feel every bit as busy as Anime Boston.  Not anywhere near Anime Expo or Otakon, but that’s not a bad thing, because both those conventions are stupidly crowded.

This particular convention has a lot going for it.  For one thing, even though I said it’s nowhere near an AB, since it’s a much smaller venue, it certainly feels every bit as big.  At no time will it take you longer than 10 minutes to get from one end of the convention center to the other, but that’s something that can only be truly appreciated with a smaller convention like this.

So what does this convention have going for it anyways?  Well, let’s say for a moment that you’re a fan of English dubs.  If you want to meet certain dub actors, then this is the place to do it without a doubt.  If English dub actors were my thing, I’d have been able to get several autographs no problem.  Now, even thought it’s a smaller convention, it still would normally be as tough to get an autograph as any convention.  However, AAC does something that I would encourage other larger conventions to do.  And to an extent Anime Expo does this as well.  What I’m talking about is that for an extra upcharge, one can essentially buy extra perks.  Basically for $50 extra, you get a free t-shirt, unlimited line skips (yes, any line, at any time, every time any and every day.  But there are maybe 3 events total over the course of the weekend that that would actually be an issue for), front of line access to guest autographs.  Basically, the perks are there to lord it over the cheap ass normals.  Did I do such?  Oh hell yeah.  If I saw a huge line for a panel, even if I didn’t give half a shit about the panel, I jumped the line just because I could, and I knew I was taking a closer seat away from some skinflint.

Now, Arleigh and I typically go to panels hosted by the Japanese guests and/or panels done by industry, such as your Funimations, Sentai Filmworks, Aniplex of America, or Viz Media.  With none of those industry members present at a small convention like this, I had to go into it with a much different mindset.  And you know what?  I still managed to have a ton of fun and still couldn’t see everything I wanted to.  What I did was take part in things that are in even the giant conventions, but we just never had time for.  For example, I actually went and watched the entire AMV contest, including voting on my favorites.  Because I am always ready to pass the buck, I long ago gave Arleigh the list of AMV winners, so instead of me posting them all, I’d hate to take away future AMV of the Day posts.  Buck officially passed.

One thing I can’t very well pass off to anyone else is the very fundamental thing of cosplay.  I’ll admit, I went into this thinking that the cosplay would be mediocre at best.  I grossly underestimated the dedication of anime fans.  Possibly due to the fact that there were less people around and so those that were there really stepped up their game, there was a big percentage of high class cosplay.  Alright, admittedly there were the predictables like Kill la Kill, and Attack on Titan, which has now become the new Bleach and Naruto, but if there’s quality, then repeatablity doesn’t much matter.  So, for right now, I’d like to regale you with pictures I took during my trip there.  Admittedly, I don’t always know what I took a picture of, but if I don’t know there’s two reasons why I took the picture.  Either the costume is cool looking, or the model is very hot. I’d say it’s up to you to decide, but screw that, I’ll tell you what I thought.

DSC00110First off, we have a Little Mac cosplay.  This is near and dear to me because I have previously cosplayed as King Hippo.  Obviously King Hippo is a million times better, but hey, Little Mac is still pretty cool.

DSC00111Pretty decent Zach (seriously, the proper contraction of Zachary is Zack.  Enough with this lazy bullcrap) Galaphanakis.  Frankly, I’ve never seen any of the movies, but even I can recognize somewhat famous movie scenes.

DSC00112No idea what this is.  Looks pretty elaborate though, so I reward people that take the effort to make a decent costume even if they obviously can’t pull it off.

DSC00113My hotel room faced out to the courtyard.  As I was up in my room taking a break, I happened to see this Sailor Pluto take a seat. I immediately headed out to try and catch her.  Again, due to it being a small convention, the elevators weren’t crazy busy, so I was able to get out there and get her picture.  If she doesn’t look crazy hot, then that’s due to my poor photography skills and not her own natural hotness.

DSC00114The first of a few Kill la Kill cosplay photos.

DSC00115May Chang from Full Metal Alchemist.  The charm point is the panda in her hair.  I love when people take the time to bring out the small details like that.

DSC00116More KlK cosplay.  Is this the last?  Probably not.  I mean, it was only the hottest anime property in the last year, so obviously no one would ever want to cosplay as it.

DSC00117Again, I dunno, probably some video game.  If it’s familiar to you, then sure, you know the game.  Either way, she’s pretty nice to look at, no?

DSC00118Another that I’m not really certain of, but she’s showing her panties for everyone to see.  Do you honestly expect someone with the username of pantsukudasai (panties please) to not immediately see this and need to take a picture?  My picture does not do her justice.  Very hot.  If you’re her and you’re reading this, color me surprised.  What are the odds?  You’re also some anonymous pervert on the internet who likes looking at attractive women in cosplay.

DSC00119Like I said before, one of the most overdone cosplay in recent times is Attack on Titan.  So if you want to stand out to me, the best way to do it isn’t to be one of a million Potato Girls, nor one of three million Levis, or the same number of Mikasas.  No, if you want to stand out, be like this one and be a half eaten Marco.  Brilliant!

DSC00120No doubt this will be done often in the next several conventions, but SAO II (Gun Gale Online) Kirito was a novelty at the time, so I was surprised to see anyone with this costume already.

DSC00121From Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, I can’t resist a Rika.

DSC00122Another rare male cosplayer.  Most Sir Crocodile cosplayers don’t bother with the cigar.  If you don’t go with the cigar, then what the hell is the point?  Seriously, to anyone that’s considering it, at the very least buy a cheap cigar.  Oh no, you’ll have to spend a day with tobacco on your lip.  You’re not gonna get cancer from one goddamn day.  Stop being a cop out bitch.  Go with realism.

DSC00123Generally I don’t take pictures of non anime properties, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Batman and Catwoman.

DSC00124The girls here spent the entire weekend making chalk art.  All in all, I can’t help but be impressed.

DSC00125 DSC00126Frozen is pretty much the most popular movie in America and the rest of the world.  It’s the top selling BD in Japan as well.  It’s a shame that there wasn’t snow on the ground, but on the other hand if it was that kind of cold out I probably wouldn’t have gotten these pictures in the courtyard.

DSC00127Again, keeping it all very topical, we have a cosplay of Luffy, or Lucy.  Honestly, I don’t think people truly appreciate what cosplayers like this do.  Most people aren’t reading the manga as it comes out, so the fact that someone gets a current arc cosplay made up is pretty impressive.

DSC00128Not the greatest of any one of the Honnouji Academy group, it’s just not often that you see them all grouped together.

DSC00129Again, I usually don’t pay any mind to non anime cosplay, but here we have Bob Ross. If you don’t know who Bob Ross is, then you are a grade A moron.  Perhaps it’s not nice to insult the readership, but come on, anyone that’s at least been in college should know who the hell Bob Ross is.

DSC00130Pretty good looking Mami.  Know what would have made her look better?  No head.  Ooops, spoilers.

DSC00131My goddamn unicorn! If that doesn’t make sense, then please hear my story.  First off, a unicorn refers to something that if you don’t have pics, it didn’t happen.  The backstory to all this goes as such.  I saw this girl while I was having breakfast, heading down to an area where there is only on way to go.  I didn’t sweat it, because I figured small convention, only one access point, I should easily find her and get her picture.  After eating, during which she definitely did not come back that way, I headed down there to find her.  I got distracted because I saw the barrel of that gun and figured I had her, but it turned out I was chasing down a Seras Victoria cosplayer.  Then later in the day, as I was on the second floor waiting for a panel to open, I saw her walk by on the first floor.  I rushed down to the first floor, heading to the direction that she was walking.  Amazingly, I could not find her.  Again, this is a small convention, with a basically small floor area.  Finally, I saw her while I was on the same floor as her and got this picture.  FYI, she’s Sinon from Sword Art Online II.  Again, it’s a fairly new show, so I’m amazed that there is a great quality cosplay as this so soon.  Plus, I’m very impressed that she didn’t go running to security when I told her that I had been hunting her down all day.  Yes, I used those exact terms.  Thank you Sinon for not getting me arrested.  Also, I never saw her again the rest of the day, so I’m glad I was able to get a picture of this unicorn and turn her into reality.

DSC00132Not the greatest I’ve ever seen, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen any Rinoa cosplay that it’s almost fresh again.

DSC00133Finishing off the day, and the weekend, we have Shiro from No Game, No Life.  This same girl was busy doing a professional shoot earlier in the day.  I suppose I could have just shot a picture, but that’s not how I roll.  Believe it or not, a guy whose username is begging to see panties does have morals.  Luckily for me, I saw her later on in the day.  During the photoshoot, she was wearing a crown.  I think I got the better picture with her wearing panties on her head, which is actually canon in the show.

(To note, every picture taken here was done with the full permission of the person whose picture was being taken.  If for whatever reason you have changed your mind and do not like the way your picture has been taken, contact me and I will take it down, no complaints or questions asked.)

So, with all that said and done, more has been said than done.  But really, while I wouldn’t say break the bank and fly across country to attend, if you find yourself in the Northeast and hear that Another Anime Convention is gonna be going on that weekend, by all means fish out the $50, plus whatever your hotel costs, and you’ll find yourself having a great time!

AMV of the Day: Otaku Paradise


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It’s the 4th of July Weekend and one of the things I’ve gotten used to these past couple years is that it means Anime Expo has come around once more. While I don’t have the anime convention experience as pantsukudasai56 it is still a event that I’ve gotten used to attending once a year when possible.

The latest “AMV of the Day” arrives just in time for the largest North American anime convention held every 4th of July weekend in Los Angeles. Not to say that the other anime conventions around the country are nothing to sneeze at, but Anime Expo is a whole different animal that every otaku in North America needs to experience at least once in their life. It’s a video that comes courtesy by the very talented video editor who goes by the handle of BecauseImBored1.

A video that combines scenes from anime and real-life footage of cosplayers and anime con-goers into one timely video that celebrates the positive nature of the word “otaku”. It’s a word that has a negative reputation in Japan, but one that’s seen as a celebration of anime and Japanese pop-culture fandom worldwide. It’s a label taken on proudly.

“Otaku Paradise” has such a huge number of anime referenced yet barely scratches the surface of what “otaku” watches and follows year in and year out. I love the fact that the video intersperses these anime scenes with real-life people in cosplay of those very same anime characters. Not everyone cosplays, but every otaku appreciates and admires those who do. Yet, cosplayers and non-cosplayer otaku both have one thing in common and that is their acceptance of the label of “otaku”.

One thing this video made me do while I watched it for the first time and the many times since was put such a huge, happy smile on my face. It’s small consolation for having to miss this weekend’s Anime Expo 2014.

Anime: Another, Attack On Titan, Baccano!, Baka And Test – Summon The Beasts, Bakuman, Black Lagoon, CANAAN, Clannad, Code Geass – Lelouch Of The Rebellion, D.Gray-Man, DragonBall Z, Durarara!!, Fate/Stay Night, Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Genshiken, Genshiken Nidaime, Haikyuu, Hellsing Ultimate, Howl’s Moving Castle, Idolmaster, K, K-ON!, Kampfer, Kanon, Kara No Kyoukai – The Garden Of Sinners, Kill La Kill, Kuroko’s Basketball, Kyoukai No Kanata, Kyousougiga, Little Witch Academia, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Lucky Star, Macross Frontier MUSIC CLIP Collection – Nyankuri, Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, MM!, Munto, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Ookami-San To Shichinin No Nakama-Tachi, Ore No Kanojo To Osananajimi Ga Shuraba Sugiru, Ouran High School Host Club, Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt, Persona 4: The Animation, Pokemon : White, Pokémon: Movie 2, Pokemon 2000, The Power Of One, Princess Jellyfish, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Romeo × Juliet, Sailor Moon, Sakura Trick, School Rumble, School Rumble 2, Shugo Chara!, Soul Eater, Soul Eater Not, Summer Wars, Super Smash Bros, Sword Art Online, Tales Of Xillia, Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, Toradora!, Trigun, Uta No Prince Sama, Welcome To The NHK, Yu Yu Hakusho

Song: “Raging Fire” by Phillip Phillips

Creator: BecauseImBored1

Past AMVs of the Day

Anime You Should Be Watching: Sword Art Online


The title I’m writing about today has been featured in an AMV of the Day post by site founder Arleigh in the past, and it’s one that I’ve been meaning to write about ever since its licensing announcement back in October.  But with that month being a horror-centric month, and last month…well, I was just really lazy last month.  However, today I’d like to give my personal recommendation to one of the current biggest hits to come out of Japan, Sword Art Online.

swordartonlineThe premise of the show is this:  In the future gaming is done by immersing your consciousness completely into the game with a headset that’s pretty much the kind of virtual reality that some of us dearly dream was real.  All senses are simulated so you can even eat food in the game and it tastes and feels like you’re eating real food.  The newest, most sought after game in this time period is an MMO called Sword Art Online (what a coincidence, because there’s this anime with the same name that’s really good too!  They should watch it.) and it’s a very exclusive game.  Only 10,000 copies are released to the general public so getting the privilege to own a copy is like a status symbol.  The main protagonist in the series, Kazuto Kirigaya or Kirito as he names himself in the game, is not only one of the lucky few who got a copy, but he was also a beta tester for the game.  When the game goes live, he and the rest of the 10,000 log in and begin playing.  I’ll admit it’s kind of amazing that all 10,000 supposedly all logged in at roughly the same time, but this show does require a few suspensions of belief.  Anyways, after playing for a few hours and training another person on how to play, Kirito attempts to log out only to find that there is no option to log out of the game.  Then all players are force transported to the square of the starting town where they are stripped of their avatars and their true selves are shown to be in the game.  Then the creator appears via hologram announcing to them all that they are now trapped in the game until someone manages to clear all 100 levels.  The real downside to this?  If you die in the game, you die in real life.  If your NervGear (the headgear that brings the virtual world to life) is forcibly removed, you will die.  The only way to get out of the game alive is to clear it.  And thus starts the adventure for Kirito and the people trapped in SAO.

The first thing to say about SAO is that the backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous.  This was obviously meant to be a big budget hit, and from character designs to backgrounds it sure doesn’t seem as if they went the cheap route.  The boss battles are particularly noteworthy.  This is one of the later boss battles, and this should give you an idea of the quality of the show, since often times the longer a show runs, the more likely the animators are to start cutting corners since their budget might be running low.  This has not happened with SAO.  (The subs are in spanish since I couldn’t find what I wanted in English, but you don’t really need to know what’s being said to appreciate the action)

Now I’m not big on playing MMOs myself.  That whole teamwork thing isn’t for me, but this does give a good representation on what some of the tougher boss battles in MMOs are like.  Now just imagine that your life was actually on the line and you can get a sense of the intensity in the battle.

Now, for the characters, your mileage may vary.  Personally, I’ve liked the majority of them, even the “bad guys” so to speak, as they’ve done a good job of keeping them interesting.  The main two are Kirito and Asuna, the girl in the picture and in that video, but there are others that make regular appearances, and then we also have one time showings from characters that become fan favorites like Silica Fett.  Ok, she’s just called Silica, but she has the Boba Fett syndrome where she makes a lone appearance yet becomes a huge fan favorite.  A couple seem like they were pointless additions, but mostly they’re there to show Kirito’s progression from uncaring loner to basically the hero of the game.  This has led some detractors to label him as an MMO Jesus, in that he goes around saving people for no real reason other than to perhaps make himself feel better for past failings, but I liked seeing him grow up as it were and actually become a better person through the game.

As I write this, the show is still ongoing, so I’m taking a risk in recommending it.  The show has switched gears a bit, and while I’m fine with where it’s going, since I haven’t read the light novels that this is based on, which I think are still ongoing themselves, the ending could very well shit the bed.  At the very least it’s likely that the animation staff will have to make up their own ending, and even when that has the approval of the original creator, it tends to have mixed results.  The tonal shift from the first season to the second is a bit jarring, and it kind of takes you out of the world that it worked hard to craft, but from what I’ve seen of the second season thus far it should transition well.

The musical score is also quite fantastic.  It is largely composed by Yuki Kajiura, whom Arleigh and I had the pleasure to see in concert with Fiction Junction at this year’s Anime Expo.  Each piece is well crafted to fit the mood of the scenes, from grand epic pieces to fit major battles, to slow paced, gentler sounds to complement quiet, everyday life.  Music is essential in setting the proper mood in shows, and this is done beautifully here.

A major concern I have is from the licensing side.  It’s been announced for release in the US & Canadia by Aniplex of America, and their prices tend to run a bit on the high side.  I recently purchased Bakemonogatari from them, and that cost $150 for half as many episodes as SAO is going to be.  The only comparable release that they’ve done as far as episode count would be their Blue Exorcist release, and that was only released on 4 DVDs which can be had for $100 now.  But, at the risk of sounding like a video snob, this is a release that demands a blu-ray version.  With Japan constantly crying about reverse importation, either it’s going to be a DVD only release or it will be an incredibly expensive BD release, possibly even along the lines of the infamous $700 Fate Zero release.  Only time will tell on this, but fans will just have to cross their fingers that our Japanese overlords will be reasonable.  Regardless, if the show can keep up the kind of energy and drama that it presented in its first half, then I’ll be hard pressed to pass by the eventual release.

 

AMV of the Day: Our Miracle (Sword Art Online)


The newest “AMV of the Day” entry is one that will give site contributor and anime/manga editor pantsukudasai a smile. It’s a video for one of this year’s newest anime series in Japan and one that’s growing in popularity with each passing day.

“Our Miracle” is a video dedicated to the anime series Sword Art Online and it uses the song “Miracle” from the hard rock group Shinedown. This series has been quite a surprise in that it’s an anime about a fictitious MMORPG of the same. It’s one that I’ve only started watching but I can understand why so many people have been raving about it. It has action, romance and comedy in equal amounts and it actually has quite a story about loyalty and perseverance. Not to mention that it’s pretty dark for a series that’s a visual feast to the eyes with its animation that goes for bold and bright colors and brightly lit settings.

The video itself tries to focus on the romance between it’s two main leads in Kirito and Asuna but at the same giving equal focus on the action that should attract the shonen crowd. If I had to pick a type of AMV this one goes under it would be as an action video and it definitely makes a strong case for action fans to check out. The romance and comedy are great side bonuses for those willing to take them on.

I have to give it up to the video’s creator, FedeBankai, for making a very clean video that doesn’t go for too much excessive video effects. I do like the paneling effect that makes some of the scenes transition from motion to static images on paper. He’s made the best Sword Art Online AMV I’ve seen yet and has raised the bar for those wanting to use the same series to create their AMV around.

Anime: Sword Art Online

Song: “Miracle” by Shinedown

Creator: FedeBankai

Past AMVs of the Day