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On Day 3 (Sunday) of Fanime, I went to a panel where I witnessed the background process of Gurren Lagann. As a trooper, I stared wide-eyed at the screen and took notes with my Blackberry so I can share with you all what I've learned.
Granted, it was a difficult thing to do. I tried to catch the names of the people who were interviewed for each segment of the documentary but I missed a couple names. Sorry for any information I cannot give but I tried.

The panel was separated into two parts. The first part is the documentary itself that lasted rougly an hour and twenty minutes. The second part is a question and answer portion with some staff that worked on the series and/or movie.

If you haven't finished Gurren Lagann, there are spoilers within the documentary thus there are spoilers here in this blog entry. You have been warned.

The Documentary

The actual video I witnessed had interviews from various staff members ranking from the highest people (like directors) to the lowliest peon (inbetweeners). Since the documentary is divided into several sections, my notes here shall be separated into those same segments. Some parts were longer than others so I may not have many things to say about each section.

Introduction

Well this isn't part of the actual video but they were saying things before they showed it. As I already stated, this is a world premiere documentary. Not even Japan saw this documentary, I see this wondrous new video before most. This video showcases the beginning of the Gurren Lagann series from the last two years of production.
It was filmed by Mario Hirasaka (apparently the director's friend who lives in Germany).

Plot

Originally, Kamina was set to die in episode 20 but the creative writing staff didn't see Simon growing enough with Kamina hanging over him so he died sooner. Usually they would write a few storylines per episode before the episode and lead directors decide which one to use. Their brainstorming sessions look like normal meeting tables with papers thrown together as they discuss what they need to do in an episode.

Character Design

For Yoko's character, they wanted to show a "wholesome sex appeal." For example, the lead character designer commented that Yoko's bangs are big because it shows her strength.
Simon was designed to look like a flat character. Using this type of design helps make the audience not label him. His neutrality is helpful in developing his character as he grows up into his GARness.
They intentionally made Kamina seem like the main character in the anime so the viewers will not be focused on Simon. That way, the viewers see Simon grow from Kamina's example.

Mecha Design

The head designer of the mechs said that the most difficult to design was Gurren Lagann itself. In the beginning, GAINAX was going to gear the mechs to be more real and mechanical. After many MANY rough drafts, they stuck with a "magical" aspect. The focus of Gurren Lagann was to have an atmosphere similar to feudal times. Each mech has its own personality. One animator commented that he thinks they all look dorky. They wanted to make the mechs look uncool so the viewers are mislead and eventually fall in love with the quirks of each mech.
The lead designer also stated that there were lots of drills for Gurren Lagann because he did an old work where he had a character sincerely labeled "Drill Dick Man." The documentary had a footage of the guy with a drill literally placed above his wee wee.

Color Design

The lead director here says she didn't have many leeways for choosing colors and that she just followed the higher ups' suggestions. When she got to decide what colors to choose, she would get nervous and unsure of herself. She comments that it was tough schedule-wise but she managed. She has an attachment to Zoushi (that seedy looking guy with the pink shirt) because she got to choose his color design.

Editing

There are some shots from Production IG here. Most of the editing done here is using storyboards for the episodes so the other sub-divisions (like voice acting, inbetweeners, etc) can work on other parts of the show.

Mixing

There are video clips of Studio T&T. Simon's seiyuu talks mostly through this segment. He says that voice actors/esses get directions from only one person - the audio director Toru Nakano. Voice actors rarely speak with the other directors directly. The other directors would be in the room too but the seiyuu would only know what to do from Nakano-san. The video recording room is separated into two segregated sections. One room is full of the seiyuu while the other room is full of directors. There is a window inbetween each room so they can all see each other.
One example they showed here was the line "Sorry for the wait, Nia" said by Simon. He gets criticized by the many different times he said it. Directors comment how Simon sounds too girly, shoutay, and not young manly. Eventually he nails the line down and one of the directors laugh and say "good enough."
Sometimes the seiyuu would get anxious because they can see the directors talking about things but they just sit in the recording room waiting for instructions as the directors talk it out.

The Inbetweeners

For those that don't know, the inbetween animators are those that add the animations inbetween main frames. Many of the interviewed inbetweeners say that each sheet should be neat but done speedily. You usually would get 200 yen per sheet. One inbetweener said that on a good month, she'll make 300 sheets but the average is usually 200 to 250. Many inbetweeners talk about their personal goals and how they want to get into the main animated eventually. There are lots of young staff in the inbetweeners.
To check the inbetween animations, the director would flip through the pages multiple times. He feels that the general viewer won't care but when he sees it, he can get mad easily. All of the interviewed inbetweeners say that the inbetween director was harsh and demanding to them. One comments that he was very terrifying. Eventually, they all learned and he doesn't get angry as the series progressed. There were less and less retakes since each inbetweener learned the fundamentals.

Key Animation

Key animators draw the frames where they want to see the action change. They don't draw the process of it actually moving (that's the inbetweeners' jobs) but they draw the focus. They'll look at 3D models of characters and often times draw over the frame lines. There are time sheets where they label where key animation is and they'll leave blank spaces for how many inbetween animation there has to be between each key animation. The producion advance staff look through the table and frame animations while making comments on them. It gets passed to the animation director who will look through it and correct things. The animation director says it is not a troublesome job. Instead of holding meetings to say how to change something, they'll draw argue. This means they'll draw a part of a frame that needs to be changed and write a small note why things need to be changed a bit. The example they give here is Rossiu's eyes being smaller in a scene to show more remorse.
The animation supervisor makes sure everything fits in the television time. They also check to see if they match the character models and concept art. They also check for inappropriate things (this is not defined in any way other than "inappropriate" so take it as you will).

Background Art-Design

Studio Bihou focused on the background art and color here. The art director chooses which person is fit/adequate for certain jobs since some are good at still figures while others are better at homes or whatever. In a scene, they usually divide the atmosphere into color palettes. For example, the underground scenes in Simon's village were blue toned to represent the reclusive nature of the village while the sunrise/set parts of that episode are in orange tones to represent escaping that life and going on an adventure.

Photography

The director of the photography department usually sleeps at the office. Each episode takes roughly 4 to 5 weeks here. Some things they work on are paraffin, glare, gradiation, and other effects. The example they use here is when Gurren Lagann takes the helmet off of Viral's Enki. As the helmet is placed on the head, the middle portion shatters and the helmet transforms into the colors of Gurren Lagann. The effects they added to this scene is extra particles in the debri and the shiny transition between Enki's dull colors to Gurren Lagann's vibrant colors. The documentary had clips before the effects (where everything looked flat) to after effects (where it looked more vibrant).

Music

At Sound Inn Studio, the Gurren Lagann director explained to the composer what the anime was all about BUT that they don't want typical robot music. He left the composer with lots of freedom. A clip was shown of the composer conducting and his face is very expressive. The composer says that he made music so the viewers will think "why are these used here?" type of music. In "Libera Me" for example, he chose to have a soprano and the rapping parts. The soprano part represents the Anti-spirals because the soprano parts show conflicting views compared to the rapping parts. The rapping parts represent the Guren-dan because they are fighting through to get to their goals (Row Row Fight the Power!).

The End of the Documentary

Near the end of the documentary, they showed the main producer at GAINAX and how he was pleased with everyone. They hold a party with all staff members and each head director of a department makes a mini speech of their appreciation to the staff. They share the joys they had and the tough times.

The Question and Answer Portion

Any audience member can ask a question (they just get called on by the translator). The translator would reiterate the question since most people can't hear the questioner's... question. Each question and answer set is separated. The questions and answers are filled with as much as I typed on my Blackberry so it isn't word for word. I might use the word "we" in an answer but that directs to the Gurren Lagann staff and not me. Any commentary I have on questions will be in parantheses. If multiple people answered this question then the answer portion will look like this:
one - answer
two - answer
three - answer

Q) The art direction in episode four was changed. Could you explain the rumors behind this art change because there are lots of rumors around.
A) We don't know the rumors so we cannot agree or disagree with them. The production team didn't think it was strange or wrong. Actually, this episode took the most effort but the people didn't seem to like it.

Q) When adapting a television series to a movie, what do you look for? What changes do you decide and what gets cut?
A) The movie script was written before they started changing things around. That original script ended up being really different to the movie reiterations (I think the translator didn't get the original question and asked something different thus a non-complete answer).

Q) How long does it take to do an episode?
A) Episode one took roughly a year. By the 26th episode, each episode took roughly one month.

Q) Who was the target audience for the Gurren Lagann movies?
A) The movie isn't a completely new thing. We did consider both audiences (the hardcore fans and the ones who haven't heard of Gurren Lagann). There are a lot more people into movies so we hope people saw the movie and want to check out the anime series. We tried our best to stand out. It caught many people's attention.

Q) When were the moments of "I can't work on this series anymore!" or "it's driving me crazy"?
A) one - When my savings account became negative (haha everyone laughed here)
two - "No matter how much I draw and draw, I couldn't sleep at all"
three - When I couldn't take a shower for five days. I must really stink (hahaha everyone in the audience laughed here too)
four - When there are lots of retakes and doing it over and over again.
five - During the tv series, I just got married and it has been a year. I only got to go home once a week and my wife says she wants to burn GAINAX down! (everyone laughs here a lot)

Q) The tv series looks really expensive. What was the budget and did it exceed it?
A) It's usually 120,000 USD per episode. GAINAX already was had their sponsor group meeting prior to the series being made. They were already set in getting 150,000 - 160,000 USD. They would usually end up spending 180,000 to 200,000 USD per episode so they'd go over the budget. They would make up for this loss in merchandise and holding licenses.

Q) In the drawing process, where would you get inspiration? Do you get any from previous GAINAX shows or some other series?
A) Yes we got inspired by some things from EVA. We watched things as reference but we didn't want to copy previous works. We talked about it with the director.

Q) Could you tell us more about Kamina? What/How was the inspiration/concept/personality made for his character?
A) He is not based on any character. Nakashima-san (I hope I spelled that right...) decided specific things about Kamina. The director (and ten others) gave their unput to create how he ended up in the series.

Q) In the first arc, we see Kamina getting killed. When and why did he get killed off and why did you want Simon to be the leader? How were decisions like this made?
A) We'll make this clear: Simon was to be the main character from the beginning. Kamina was a big role because we wanted Simon to develop from a boy to a leading character. He gets that through Kamina, his driving force. We wanted Kamina to die early because Simon would then take the lead to become the hero.

Q) (I think a Japanese tourist asked this question because it was asked in Japanese) What is the background between the changes of the fight scenes from the series versus the movie?
A) one - In the end of the movie (the combining battle with the four generals), we decided that is where we wanted to end. Everybody though we would end in episode 15 where Lord Genome died. We wanted to show Simon independent at the end. We needed the fight with the four generals changed.
two - It was done during the announcement press conference. This was our first robot anime since EVA. Robot anime was becoming less mainstream so we wanted this to be like a test to graduate. We meeded to make a good robot movie to find a new direction for the company. We graduated and we won't have to make another robot anime for a while (aka milk the series GAINAX? Thanks... =_=)

Q) What's the background information on Yoko's character? Why is she the sexy one and how is she set to be the fan service character?
A) one - Why? We should always have a sexy character! In robot anime, there's always a set. It was a natural process. We decided what kind of female character we needed. We decided we needed at least two female characters, Yoko and Nia. It's like EVA being a pair of girls, having two is good.
two - What I've heard, she was based on Fujiko from Lupin the 3rd.

Q) Where did you get the drill idea? How was that decided?
A) In Engrish literally: "The directors likes drills!" (It was really cute)

Q) (I didn't catch this question that clearly) How does Gurren Lagann compare to other robot characters? It can throw galaxies!
A) (they were confused so they gave a general answer) We didn't concern ourselves over other series. We just did anything we wanted.

Q) I would like to know more about the storyboard process. Were there many storyboard artists?
A) "I remember you from last year!" (he got all excited because he remembered the person who asked the question from last year's Fanime). For the duration of the anime, we had 6-8 storyboard artists. Each episode has one storyboard artist and once they finish, they go on to the next episode that isn't being worked on. Episode 8 was done by the assistant director.

Q) Why doesn't Leeron age? (HAHA)
A) (the guy laughed). He just looks like he doesn't age. He's just trying to look young. He uses spiral force power! (everyone laughs)

Q) Was there a connection between the manga Uzumaki and Gurren Lagann?
A) There isn't one but it's pretty scary (giggles abound)

Q) The first episode had a couple minutes that never appeared later on in the anime. The battleship didn't look like that, why was the storyline changed?
A) The spiral force was too strong and so it changed itself! (haha more laughs yay)

Q) Was there any inspiration from Time Odyssey? For example, aliences attacking humans when they reach a certain population cap.
A) Actually, I don't really remember if it was in a discussion or not.

Q) There were a lot of characters who died. Who was it hard to let go minus Kamina?
A) one - actually when characters die, it makes the story more interesting because they died (laughter here)
two - For me, it was Kittan. The story was good when he died.
three - Nia. (that's all that was said)
four - Nia. I understand she had to die for the story but it was sad.
five - for me, it was Kittan. I felt sorry for Yoko. First Kamina, then Kittan.
six - Adiane (he repeated her name like five times in a row!)
seven - Kamina! (the translator corrects him saying you can't say Kamina) lots of thinking and he then says the twins because he met the voice actors for dinner and it was really sad to see them.

Q) Could you please introduce yourselves, we didn't find out who each person is. (... I can't spell Japanese names and this part was really fast so I don't have everyone down...)
A) one - Animation director Yamada-san removes his shirt to reveal a white tshirt with Kamina's tattoos. He comments that he was shocked to see himself in the documentary looking scruffy and tired. Last year, he remembers seeing Nia and Boota and he was inspired to come back to Fanime this year because of the fan love.
two - Kojima-san. He says he was interviewed in the documentary but he thinks he said things he should not have said.
three - Key animation director (didn't catch name). He worked in the parallel works series too.
four - (didn't catch name). She worked in animation. She loves the fan passion here.
five - Ishikawa-san in animation. He says he can't wait to see everyone at the party (sadly it was limited to 100 people with a voucher and I wasn't eligible to get one since I had a press badge. Well it was hard to get the voucher because you had to win it but still...)
six - Makamatsu-san. He works in the composition department. He's happy to see everyone and he hopes you like what he does.
seven - (didn't catch name). She worked in the composition department in the movie. She is a fan of the tv series and she enjoyed the documentary because she watched it as a fan.

Q) In one of the parallel works "episodes," Gimmy does not have any pants on. He was also taking people's clothes and stuff. Why?
A) The parallel works is what it means - a parallel world. It could be possible that it makes sense. The director of that episode wanted to show "Gimmy's wee wee." (that's what the translator said and everyone laughed)

The End... End.

After the Q&A section, there were autographs. I mentioned in my Day 3 blog entry that I got autographs on my LE bag from part two of the dvds. I also got my friend to get me a piece of paper with their signatures too.

Boy that was exhaustive. I hope you enjoy the tl;dr entry!

Previous Fanime 2009 blog entries:
Day 0
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
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As with many here on the AnimeVice website, I have a decent anime collection (as well as books, manga, games, and music). Some media I have out on shelves for easy access, other media is on loan with friends and family, and the rest is boxed up in storage until I can get a dedicated gaming room. After much procrastination, I finally felt it time to find a means for organizing my collection.

Finding an application for inventory helped me two-fold: for one I am typically very organized, and even though I had put off getting an inventory of my collection, I still knew where everything was. However, the second reason for finding a means for organization was for insurance; what if there were a fire or theft? By organizing my collection in an application of some sorts I have some form of proof of ownership and a way of listing every title without the need for memorization.

I needed an application that was easy to use, supported multiple media types, and at least looked decent or was customizable. After trying various applications, MediaMan ended up on top; so this is my review of it.

MediaMan Window
MediaMan Window
This is the main Mediaman window for viewing your media. On the left is a tree view offering four primary categories by default: Books, Games, Music, Videos.  Each of these categories are customizable, and also allow for sub-categories making organization a breeze.

The middle portion of the window displays the collection, with virtual shelf being the default method. The boxart size can be adjusted by a slider located at the bottom-right of the window. 

On the right is the information panel with three tabs: Details, Images, Extra. Details contains information that was pulled from Amazon.com such as publisher, platform, UPC, EAN, Date released, and other relavant information. Images will display a larger image (if available) as well as offer other viewing angles if additional images were imported. Only one default is available for viewing (front cover), and selecting other viewing angles is needed for each view. The Extras tab gives more customization options, such as choosing the style of box packaging or placing the box in a glass case. The media can also be flagged for different purposes such as lending or borrowing, or if the media is damaged. Finally, the Extras tab has a linking feature; so a file can be associated with the selected media, such as a screenshot or video review.


MediaMan Views
MediaMan Views
Visually MediaMan closely resembles that of Windows Vista, even mimicking the breadcrumb bar along the top of the window for easier navigation. The content is easily sorted through a drag and drop interface. Besides the Virtual Shelf view, MediaMan can also display entered media as Icons, a Compact List, Expaned List, or Details.

MediaMan pulls information from Amazon.com, and can be set to grab from other Amazon sites in other countries. Of course, content can also be edited or manually entered into MediaMan. There are many fields available to enter information, or custom fields may be added. Box art can be added through the Images tab, which supports the box Front, Back, Spine (Side), Disc, and Extras. Any fields that do not have entered information are not displayed in the normal viewing of content, freeing MediaMan of unnecessary clutter.

When the root folder of Library is selected, MediaMan has a type of home page. On it, there are the Overview, Statistics, Quick Tips, and Web tabs. The Statistics tab will display a pie chart consisting of the entered media collection, breaking down by the categories entered under the root Library folder. As this feature uses Flash, it does not currently work with 64-bit versions of Windows.

MediaMan Statistics
MediaMan Statistics
On backing up, MediaMan has the option to save in multiple places and with multiple files. A schedule can be set up, as well as how many recent backup copies to keep. A secondary location is also supported (and very handy); I use a USB drive as my secondary backup location.

One final feature to cover for MediaMan would be the exporting of the entered collection. MediaMan supports exporting your collection as a rich text format file, comma seperated value file, web page HTML file, plain text file, or a virtual shelf rendering. The nicest of these would be the web page and the virtual shelf rendering. Exporting as a web page also gives an option to export for use in a web site. When selected, this option created an index file that will set up the collection for viewing as a web site. Exporting as a virtual shelf rendering basically saves the virtual shelf view as a PNG file. Currently MediaMan does not offer as many options as I'd like for exporting, as I would like to select certain categories for exporting at once; this feature is under consideration for future updates though.

Now I have only been using MediaMan for a brief amount of time, so I have not tried out all the features offered. In addition to what I have written about, MediaMan also has a built-in media player and supports scanners and some bar code readers for easier data entry.

Overall, MediaMan as a package has offered everything I had been looking for in inventory management software: ease of use, multiple media types, visually appealing, customizable, and the bonus of 64-bit support. The creator of MediaMan, He Shiming, is also active on the support forums and open to suggestions. At $39.95, the initial cost seemed a little more than other options, but the support on the website as well as lifetime updates made the overall package a good value.


Supports:
Windows XP and Windows Vista, Windows Vista 64-bit (Windows 7 is also compatible 32/64-bit).
Creator: He Shiming
Price: $39.95 (includes updates for life)

http://www.imediaman.com/


MediaMan Drag and Drop
MediaMan Drag and Drop

MediaMan Image Import
MediaMan Image Import


MediaMan Image Options
MediaMan Image Options
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I stumbled across this HAP video, pretty funny. I don;t know what it's crossed with though.(Edit: It's crossed with Cutie Honey, thanks Sigue.))
  

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No, Enough fangirls already.
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I ended up going to the convention lateish (around 1!) and so I didn't do much. I went around taking a few pictures and headed to the Dealers Room because I still didn't buy anything. I ended up buying three Gurren Lagann keychains and one tokidoki plushie. (pics of those will be on my overall Fanime blog soon).

At 3 PM I went to the Gurren Lagann world premiere (yes not even shown in Japan yet!) documentary. I'll have a WHOLE separate blog thing for that because I took detailed notes down and there was lots of things that I personally wanted to remember in writing (on my Blackberry) and I might as well rewrite them so you (whoever is reading this) may learn something new as well. Too bad I didn't live blog it but I didn't have a laptop on me at the time and my Blackberry doesn't have internet access. Anyway, the documentary ended and there was also a Q&A section with some serious and not so serious questions.

I also can show you my awesome signatures on my Gurren Lagann bag (the one that comes with the Gurren Lagann LE DVD Part 2). They had difficulty signing it but oh well. I can hear their moonspeak seemingly baffled on how to sign it. A translator explained where the bag was from (the LE DVD thing) so at least they know I didn't pick something deliberately difficult to sign. Also, I got my Naruto lolita dressed friend to get signatures on a piece of paper (in case my bag thing failed) so you can see why one of them drew Naruto there hehe:


The documentary and Q&A section lasted until 5ish but they were doing signatures so I waited until 6ish to get my signatures. I wish I brought my LE box with the cool Lagann mouth opening thing... damn didn't think ahead in time.

After that, I ate dinner so that lasted a really long time. It was Vietnamese (at least from what I remember?) but the service was crap. Food was fine but they weren't very clear on what were supposed to do; we never got our menus until I had to get off my seat and ask for them. Just guh.

I ended up going home early because of some school filming project stuff. The Gurren Lagann panel-like thing took a good chunk of my day but it was well worth it. Anticipate the entry I write for it, ANTICIPATE IT.

But who cares what I did right? All people care about is the pictures. Oh and I asked my friend and she said it was fine for me to put her picture on my blog. She's the loli-Naruto and we played the game "go take pictures with as many Naruto cosplayers as possible." She has more pictures on her camera since I was at the Gurren Lagann thing so she has more than I do. I didn't post some of the solo pics I have with her. Too much of a camera whore (she knows this and willingly admits it so I can say it too :P).

I look stoned in the picture with that Blastoise person. Awesome... =_=

The next two blog entries I will do are the Gurren Lagann documentary thing and Day 4 (along with my overall impression) of Fanime this year.

Previous Fanime 2009 blog entries:
Day 0
Day 1
Day 2
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I'm not sure how this works. Maybe.....do I just type stuff?
 Oh well.....SINCE I have a secret identity my older sis would'nt mind

 Okay so at August 16, 2004 we where going to our "Family Summer Trip" to.......(DUN DA DA DUN!) The Arkansas River! :D .So yeah long trip from Stillwater,OK (I've moved to a different location) I got the kayak (spell THAT backwards!) as usual, and my sister's got the water raft. People got wet so when I wasn't looking Alyssa (my older sister and I'm NOT saying her last name for her reputation and she would murder me O.O; ) she accidently slipped and fell into the water and was screaming *clears throat and takes deep breath* "HELP HELP I'M DROWNING!!!!" and my mom with her motherly instinct said "MAMA'S COMING! ALYSSA!" so she jumped in and yelled "Alyssa stand up!" only to realize Alyssa was standing in 3 inch water >:D
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absolutly not, Drake Bell should be him
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05.23.2009

Today was a San Francisco tour day.

We headed over to SF in the morning to catch the 11:30am ferry to Alcatraz.
This was everyone's first time at Alcatraz, myself included. Freelance translator S@ki mentioned that the audio tour in English is a normal documentary type, but she was interested in hearing the Japanese tour b/c her friend was giggling every so often. But I decided to go w/ the English tour to hear the original. Of course the GAINAX staff listened to the Japanese.

After the tour, we went to the gift shop.
Everyone bought the aluminum cup (replica of what the inmates used), and they were disappointed that the store was sold out of the spoons. But we found it at the gift shop in the theater area, so director Yamaga-san immediately bought two (for his two cups). He said the whole point is to bang on the cups w/ the spoons... They were rather intrigued(?) by the dining hall portion of the audio tour, where the inmates revolted from the bad spaghetti *laugh*

Everyone was talking about the Japanese voice actors for the audio tour. They said the tour used real voice actors, and had heard some of the voices before... and was good casting. They were talking about how they wanted to listen to the whole thing once again & I joked about having the audio tour CD on sale. And they had them for sale at the dock gift shop!!

Producer S-san, compositor Nagase-san & I all bought one.

After heading back to the mainland, we all went separate ways.
Fanime helper Kentaro took two staff (compositors Akamatsu-san & Ishikawa-san) to Exploratorium. I took the rest of the group to Union Square area for shopping, then took visual supervisor Yamada-san to Alamo Square. He's a big fan of Full House, and wanted to see the row of houses seen in the opening sequence. He wanted to pose like the family picnic-ing, so I took a picture from the angle.

Then Kentaro picked up director Yamaga-san, producer S-san & animation director Kojima-san to take them back to Fanime for the Gurren Lagann movie screening. Meanwhile I dropped off visual supervisor Yamada-san at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, headed back to the Exploratorium to pick up the two staff there, went back to Union Square to pick up compositor Nagase-san & animator Kouno-san, and back to MOMA to pick up visual supervisor Yamada-san. I made two circular trips around SF.

Oh, I'm out of time.
I need to head out, so more about Masquerade comments & stuff later~
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I always love the Saturdays of all the Fanime cons I've been too and this year was no exception. While I was getting ready in my Yoko cosplay (and my friend get into her Loli-Naruto stuff) we drove down 880 and got stared at a lot in the car because hey, you see a gal with Yoko's wig and my friend has curly, blonde hair with the hair headband frilly things lolis wear.

Once we arrived at the convention center, we got hounded my photographers.
And holy tequito boobs sell apparently. I got my picture taken quite a bit... Big shocker for everyone I know. There was once where I got asked by one photographer to get a picture and then a bunch of other photographers swarm in like bees. I ended up standing there for a good 10-15 minutes. I also went around 360 degrees because I'd face different cameras... it was an interesting experience. In normal pictures, I hate getting my picture taken but hey cosplay is a totally different thing.

I met Gia and Ethan to do some video stuff that will be uploaded shortly. I won't give away any surprises but just wait until you see how much I can embarrass myself with no shame. Hoorah! At least I have a sketch for it (though I'm not THAT skinny...):

Fanime 2009 - Day 2
Fanime 2009 - Day 2
At the Anime Vice panel, I got to go sit with them like I'm important or something (lulz haha no). I ended up saying a few things which hopefully didn't make myself look stupid. My wig got all messed up when we ran to the panel with giveaway stuff heh :D Oh well.

After the panel, (and sorry again Ethan for not saying bye in person! I feel bad) my friends literally dragged me to the Masquerade (which has been renamed Cosplay Spectacular but it's still the freaken Masquerade so whatever). It was... ehh. The memorable ones are... lessee... I loved the Kuroshitsuji group but that purely could be fangirlism bias. The Familiar of Zero one was hilarious (flat chest song ftw~~~~). The Pokemon one was nostalgic and corny funny (I have a picture of them with myself in a photo actually). All the rest were in the sub-par to decent range. I did fangirl over the FFIV one purely because FFIV is my favorite from the FF series.

I refrain from sharing pictures of my friend so I don't embarrass her (since I think she's gonna look at my blogs to make sure I don't). Not that it should stop me but hey I'd rather not get her pissed. Here's the few pictures I took today:

And as promised-ish from yesterday's blog, here's a picture of my (still incomplete, laziness for the lose) Yoko cosplay. Too bad I didn't take a picture of myself in the beginning of the day. You can make due with my ugly "OMG-running-around-with-a-disheveled-tiredness-of-a-day" shot:

Fanime 2009 - Day 2
Fanime 2009 - Day 2
Since it's the freaken end of the day, cut me some slack. I'm well aware of the many things that are off. Here, I'll even do a little service for you just to be done with it; I'll list what I can name off the top of my head what's wrong with my look now. My wig is askew, that's cuz I didn't care anymore and just asked my friend to take a picture of myself so I can at least show you guys what I kinda look like. My bikini is crooked too. How the hell did I not... notice? Oh wells. My ghetto, last-minute gloves (and shame on me for not even having her left glove length thingy) are breaking apart. My shiny legs... err I guess since I'm outside and it's nighttime, the flash made the stockings I was wearing underneath shiny. I hope the other pictures of myself taken by random people through out the day aren't like that... My waistband doesn't have the triangle thing. It did have one in the beginning of the day (taped waistband yay) so it must have gotten undone. And guh double chin but can't help that since I need to learn how to smile without producing that. If I keep a straight face, then it won't be but whatever. My socks are slipping dooooown. I thought the stockings would keep it up all day... Apparently it's too slippery.
Holy crap that's a lot of stuff just from the top of my head... jeez I'm quite cruel to myself. I could be meaner but it's near 1 AM and I'm sleepy.

P.S. I hate heels (but I can walk in them just fine). Look specifically at my boots and you'll see why. I walked around in that allllll day. Just imagine.
P.P.S. This is just gonna sound like a typical teenager (hey I'm still 18) but I could lose some belly flub. I know I'm not uber fat or anything but still. I used to exercise everyday (like in my exercise regime) but I got lazy and bombarded by school stuff (damn you school projects at the end of the year. I'm supposed to have senioritis... well I do but GYAH teachers blow).

And just for fun, here's my impression on Gia and Ethan after meeting them personally. Hyuh hyuh hyuh it's nothing evil so don't worry guys. Gia is a very outgoing person who has stories for practically any subject. I loved hearing the random stuff, it was great. Ethan is a bit... hmm not "shy" persay but something of that nature. He's also very gentlemanly. There's not enough people like that in the world.
Thanks to both of you for letting me be your pseudo-intern! I'm sorry (again! yes I'll keep saying it) I rushed out of the panel because my friends grabbed me and raaaaaaaaaaan (well not really but they were rushing me regardless). I had a super swell time. :)

Random fact: I lost the game... four times on Saturday.

Previous Fanime 2009 blog entries:
Day 0
Day 1
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The sign that greets you on the 4th floor.
The sign that greets you on the 4th floor.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the exhibit “Anime! High Art – Pop Culture” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars) in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately no pictures were allowed so I only got a few pictures that I took in on my phone of the entrances on the first floor and forth.

Starting on the first floor we see various cells and prints from what could be described as classic anime. There were some Astro Boy, Lupin the III and a good selection of content from Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki. There was also a decent amount of anime I had never heard of, mostly very early material that I was not familiar with. There were explanations on the wall of what anime is and the roots of anime along with details of what the anime the cels were from, and the year; although these were not always 100% accurate.

A little further on the first floor was a nice collection of some Astro Boy figures and other merchandise, along with a TV showing clips from many of the anime that was displayed on the same floor.
The first cels you see when you enter the building.
The first cels you see when you enter the building.

A trip up the elevator to the 4th floor though reveals the best part of the exhibit, you are greeted by the sounds of various anime opening themes as they are being shown on the walls and some clips are projected on the floor as well. This sections are nicely divided into genres of anime such as shoujo, shonen, mecha, hentai, etc. We started off on the left side which sent my girlfriend into a fit with the great collection of Sailor Moon cells (hmmm, I wonder what series she likes?), alongside some Wedding Peach. 

Moving on we notice a pink curtain with a really small notice (“18 or older”) so, of course, we step inside. The hentai section was small but had some cells from various hentai titles, which the only one I recognized was “Golden Boy” (is that really hentai though? I don't really think so) and some of the more risqué figures. Also on display was a TV with full on hentai titles running, along with headphones to listen. Interestingly enough, this was my first exposure to yaoi which I found to be quite intriguing in the sense that I didn't see any nudity the whole time (I probably watched maybe five minutes, so this isn't indicative of all yaoi).

Further in though there were many more cels to look at, including some great stuff from Vampire Hunter D, Slayers, Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock, Ghost in the Shell, etc. There is a little too much to list here, but it was a good amount. 

Some of the best cels were from the classic film Akira and the one cell from Neon Genesis Evangelion! There is also a TV showing clips of various Final Fantasy properties and an explanation on CG in anime.

Oddly enough though, I would say 90% of the collection in this exhibit is attached with “From the Personal Collection of Mike & Jeanne Glad”, so most of the exhibit is from one collection, but an extensive collection at that.

Most anime fans I think will appreciate the exhibit and should find it to be an enjoyable way to spend around an hour. If you're close by or going to be in the LA area for an anime convention (Anime-Expo perhaps?) it is a nice exhibit to go through and I would recommend checking it out!


Admission is free, and the gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10a.m. to 5p.m., Saturday – Sunday: Noon to 6p.m., closed Mondays. The exhibit runs May 15th to August 23 of this year. If you need more information you can find more information on their website: http://www.oscars.org/events-exhibitions/exhibitions/2009/anime.html.


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im working on makeing the Best of The best music Video tell me what u think out it

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05.22.2009

GAINAX staff & I went to Pixar animation studios today.
Pixar storyboard artists Bobby, Enrico & Billy showed us around the studio.

We also ate at the cafeteria area.
I also did a little bit of shopping at the Pixar store.

Then we headed back to Fanime to attend the opening ceremonies.
And went to the video room to make sure the DVDs GAINAX brought were playable on their machines.

For dinner, we went to an American style sushi restaurant so everyone can try strange sushi rolls.

The end.
Sorry for the short entry... I'm too tired to write anything clever.
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Oh man I'm sleepy. I hope this blog entry makes any sense. Excuse my horrible grammar because of my sleepiness.

So I did go to school on Friday (because it was a minimum day so it's not like I'll be doing much and we leave at around noon anyway). Afterwards, I packed up the stuff I was selling at the Swap Meet along with my friends' stuff they were selling too.

I noticed that there's a lot more people on Friday than previous years. It was packed up the wazoo. Normally, Fridays at Fanime are not that packed... boy it was different this year. Hopefully tomorrow won't be too bad (but then again it's Saturday so I'm worried a bit).

I didn't buy much. Nothing was speaking to me saying "BUY ME NAO!" I'll take pictures of what I did end up getting in my overall Fanime blog. Today, I got a Ciel Phantomhive print from Artist Alley (thanks Ariel for buying it for me!) and a Mokona Modoki plush from the Dealers Room.

I lined up in the preregistration line for the swap meet approximately... 6:30. My friends and I ended up selling a lot of stuff. I dunno how much profit I had but I feel very stripper-y since I got lots of one dollar bills in my wallet now hah.

I forgot to take pictures of the area but I did get a few shots of some random cosplayers:

My favorite is the kid Ness. I love when kids cosplay.
Note to self: Do Not Smile Widely/Big. It looks like I have a double chin when I do that... =_=

See you next blog~ Maybe I'll post a picture of myself in Yoko cosplay. That's if I remember to take a picture of myself... haha.

Previous Fanime 2009 blog entries:
Day 0
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Terminator Salvation is out in theaters today. Following up on a poor third movie and from what I hear a decent enough series that was relegated to probably the least prime time of prime time slots out there, Salvation serves to show us what has been talked about and shown in brief glimpses: the battle between humanity and Skynet. How does that fair? well enought but not outstanding.

Let's start off with the basics. This is not your typical Terminator plot as seen in Terminator 1-3 or even The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Gone is the unstoppable robot from the future and the outclassed protector sent to stop it from killing its target. Instead, this is your standard war tale of small resistance versus evil and unrelenting tyranny. This is what I like most about Salvation. Terminator was a good movie. T2 was a more polished and tweaked ite. T3 was a failed iteration. They're all the same movie. Here, the good guy forces can actually put up a fight, albeit not much, against the Terminators. There are similarities, sure, such as making sure Skynet doesn't kill someone, and a warrior misplaced from his time coming to the rescue (opposite direction this time though), but it's different enough to not feel like a simple rehash.

With that said, it really is a standard war tale. The plot is fairly basic and kind of clichéd. Most of the plot is predictible, and you can pretty much guess correctly how each scene will play out well enough in advance. In the end, there is no real huge change in the battle between humanity and Skynet.

The most average movie goer with basic knowledge of the previous films could likely find as many holes in the continuity as in swiss cheese. That tends to happen when time travel is thrown into the mix. I tend to glaze them over. Until we actually discover time travel, we won't know how it actually affects time, so let's not worry about those too much. Salvation does throw us some nods to the previous movies though. We get some short lines you may have heard before and a familiar face or two.

If you're looking for deep characterization, this movie isn't for you. The film's two main characters are John Connor (Christian Bale) and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington). For Connor, we finally get to see him in the role prophisized about for 20 years, except not quite. He's not the all-out leader of the resistance, but instead is a commanding officer with superiors to begrudgingly answer to. We do see the inspiration Connor is supposed to bring to humanity in his own little fireside chats around the radios. Bale's performance accomplishes the task of making Connor be a rugged yet brooding leader-type, and that's about it. It's basically a toned-down Batman without the gravely voice. Not particularly deep or groundbreaking, so if you expected more out of the long-promised John Connor, sorry.

Marcus Wright instead receives more of the character focus. He is the human-Terminator hybrid given the second chance he's not sure he deserves or even wants. Wright gives Connor a run for his money in the brooding catagory with the sins of his past, the loss of everything he knows and the whole not fully human thing. Worthington does this brooding well enough to fill the plot, with maybe one or two too many "NOOOOOOOO"s.

We also see Kyle Reese, John Connor's eventual father, as a young man in the resistance. He's played by Anton Yelchin, and if you recognize him, that's because he's Chekov in Star Trek. He also probably seems the most human, with some actual signs of fear at the beginning but still able to keep his cool. No Russian accent though. Maybe that would have fooled Skynet.

The score for the movie is fairly forgettable, aside from the standard Terminator theme and a couple of boom box scenes serving nothing more than to rile up Terminators to tell humans to keep the music down, with a little force of course. Seems like Danny Elfman took it easy with this paycheck. Personally though, I don't mind as I like to occasionally hear what is actually happening in high-action scenes, of which there are plenty, but to each his own.

Speaking of high-action scenes, they are here in force. After all, where would a Terminator movie be without a big car chase or trying to fight off a constantly-advancing Terminator? Added to the mix are gun fights, fist fights and even jet and helicopter fights. Some of the scenes are repetitive (two helicopter crash scenes?) or long, which mostly seem to fill 2-hour running time that summer blockbusters these days seem to set as a minimum.

To wrap this up, Terminator Salvation is a fair summer blockbuster. It's got action and explosions and franchise references to warrant a viewing or two and please some fans. However, it has a clichéd and predictible plot and lacks strong characterization. Plus a re-edit could help, and maybe a better scoring. It works as a popcorn flick and for washing out the bad taste T3 left in our mouths. However, it does nothing to dethrone Star Trek as this summer's reigning champion thus far.
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ANIME EXPO® 2009 WELCOMES CARTOON NETWORK

Calling All Artists! Cartoon Network to hold Portfolio Reviews at Nation¹s
Largest Anime and Manga Convention¹s

Anaheim, California (May 22, 2009) ‹Anime Expo® 2009 welcomes Cartoon
Network to host portfolio reviews at the Artist Alley of the nation¹s
largest anime and manga convention held July 2-5, 2009. More information can
be found on the website http://anime-expo.org.
All artists that are interested, and are registered attendees of the
convention, are eligible to sign up for a professional review of their work
on Friday and Saturday between the hours of 10:00 am till noon and then 2:00
pm ­ 4:00 pm. Reviews are done at a first come first serve basis, via
sign-ups located at the Cartoon Network section of the Anime Expo® 2009
Artist Alley area within the Exhibit Hall at this year¹s convention.
³We are so delighted to welcome Cartoon Network to our convention,² states
Anime Expo® 2009 Artist Alley Manager Ms. Jennifer Bennett, ³to have Cartoon
Network review your portfolio is a dream to many U.S. artists in the anime
and manga genre.²
Attendees, Press and Industry Members are also encouraged to view the video
coverage site of the 2008 convention at www.AXBackstage.org
<http://www.AXBackstage.org> .

Red & Black Sponsors include: FUNimation, Silver Sponsors include: Anime
News Network and Digital Manga Press, Patron Sponsors include: COPIC,
Central Park Media and The Right Stuf, Media Sponsors include: ImaginAsian
TV, Animation Magazine, Anime Insider Magazine and Anime News Network.

About Anime Expo®
Located in Los Angeles, California - Anime Expo®, the nation¹s largest
anime/manga convention, serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests
of the general public and animation/ comics industry. This event serves as a
key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and
explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the
industry to conduct business. AX 2009 will be held July 2 ­ July 5, 2009 at
the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California. More information
can be found at its website (www.anime-expo.org).

About Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit
organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public
about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate
communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more
popularly known by its entertainment property ­ Anime Expo®. More
information can be found at its website (www.spja.org <http://www.spja.org>
).

The statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are
"forward-looking statements." These forward-looking statements are based on
current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and
uncertainties. The Company cautions readers of this press release that a
number of important factors could cause Anime Expo®/SPJA¹s actual future
results to differ materially from those expressed in any such
forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation,
product delays, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and
industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of
relationships with key personnel, vendors and third-party developers,
international economic and political conditions. The Company may change its
intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon
any changes in such factors, in the Company's assumptions or otherwise. The
Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any
forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date
hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

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Bang Zoom! to Offer Dubbing Workshop at Otakon® 

Baltimore, MD (May 22, 2009) – Otakon 2009 will host a series of free dubbing workshops, offered by Bang Zoom!® Entertainment, a professional dubbing studio known for their work in animation and videogames. This is the first time these popular workshops have been offered at Otakon.

Participants will gain insights into practical dubbing techniques, be able to interact with accomplished figures in the industry and have the opportunity to ask questions within an intimate setting. Several attendees may even be able to perform live! Hosted by Tony Oliver, the workshops will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Otakon. Details will appear later in the official Otakon schedule.

In addition to the workshops, Bang Zoom! produces the DVD Adventures in Voice Acting, the perfect companion for aspiring voice actors who are interested in these workshops. The Adventures in Voice Acting DVD is an episodic view into the world of voice artistry. Aspiring voice actors and enthusiasts interested in voice acting get advice and perspective from pros such as Tom Kenny (Sponge Bob Square Pants), Michelle Rodriguez (Lost), Lance Henricksen (Aliens), Wendee Lee, Steve Blum and many more. Never before documented, professional voice artists share personal stories, struggles, successes and practical tips on what it takes to make it in this competitive business.

Otakon 2009 will be held July 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  

ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its sixteenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 25,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 70,000 "turnstile" attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans. 

For more information about Otakorp, Inc., see http://www.otakon.com/otakorp/index.asp

For more information and the latest news on Otakon 2009, see http://www.otakon.com/

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Voice Actor/Producer Tony Oliver to Appear at Otakon®

Best Known for Work on Robotech, Power Rangers 

Baltimore, MD (May 22, 2009) – American voice actor Tony Oliver, best known for his voice work as Rick Hunter from Robotech and Arsene Lupin III from Lupin The 3rd, and for his writing and producing work on various Power Rangers series, will be a guest at Otakon 2009.  

For more than 25 years, Oliver has acted on stage and on camera, but his real success has been in voiceover work – starting with The Sea Prince and the Fire Child, the first foreign-made animated feature to get wide release in the US. His resumé spans many diverse and well-loved roles and series from the past several years, along with an increasing number of video games. Along the way, he's spent nearly as much time writing, directing, and producing as he's spent acting. For over 10 years he wrote and produced various series for Saban Entertainment, eventually producing (and writing, directing, and promoting) the hit sentai adaptation of the live-action Japanese series, Zyu-Rangers, known in the US as Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. 
 
From the title role in Lupin the 3rd: The Movie - The Secret of Mamo to Robotech's Rick Hunter to Sorata Arisugawa in the X-TV series, Oliver's career includes a part in just about every genre - including sentai (he was the voice of Saba, the White Ranger's talking saber in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers). In addition, Oliver can be heard in Last Exile, Rurouni Kenshin, Bleach, Lucky Star, Eyeshield 21, Wolf's Rain and Mahoromatic, among others. His directing credits include Eureka Seven, Hare Guu and Please Teacher. 
 
His recent projects include Gurren Lagann, .hack//GU, and Eureka Seven. 
 
Oliver appears courtesy of Bang Zoom! Entertainment. Through Bang Zoom! he has been teaching classes about voice acting, known as Adventures in Voice Acting. The beginners' classes teach basic techniques, while the intermediate course discusses development of characters and more advanced techniques. 

Otakon 2009 will be held July 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  
 
 

ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its sixteenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 25,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 70,000 "turnstile" attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans. 

For more information about Otakorp, Inc., see http://www.otakon.com/otakorp/index.asp

For more information and the latest news on Otakon 2009, see http://www.otakon.com/ 

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Shall I be doing one of these everyday? We'll see how much time allows. Since this is day 0, there isn't that much to do. I should have taken more pictures (and apparently the ones I did take end up sucking) so you'll have to make due with what I have.

I got my badge thanks to Gia for offering an internship! I waited literally less than 4 minutes to get it. The registration staff was awesome and gave me a badge quickly:

My badge
My badge
Look at that 1337 Photoshop (... Paint) skillz there bruh! ... I was sad that they didn't include a lanyard so I used one from a previous year.

Since I went with one of my friends, we waited in line for her preregistered badge. Oh jeez I should have taken a picture of the line. It wasn't too bad because it ran smoothly but still after getting my badge, her wait was forever. I believe we waited for 45ish minutes. That actually isn't bad but still, 4 minutes versus 45 minutes...

While roaming around, I went to the Swap Meet that's on today. There's another one tomorrow that I'll be participating in. Anyway, here's a couple pictures of the area


Sorry for the really fast shots. I didn't want to sit still and take a proper one. Once the convention rolls into Day 1, I'll take more proper shots. Promise!

Oh man I already spent money and I haven't even gone to the Dealers' Room yet! Here's the stuff I bought:


These were from the Swap Meet.I hope those figures weren't bootlegs... but oh man it was such a steal if they're real! I got the Nendroid AND the Figma Yuki for $20 total! The seller got it as a gift from her sister and she never watched the series so she was just selling both of them together for $20! They're quite awesome, I'lll take a proper photoshoot after Fanime weekend is over (aka when I have enough time). The Yoko phone charm was bloody adorable. I think I got jipped off the price ($12) but it's so adorable.

Am I excited for the next coming days? Hell yeah.
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ZOMG!  HARUHI?!  O_o;
ZOMG! HARUHI?! O_o;
A new episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has been released!

WATCH IT!!!
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