CalAggie (Level 15)

looking forward to the World Cup starting next month
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~~~ Originally posted on Nigorimasen! ~~~

art by 加藤アカツキ [pixiv link]

I haven't done new season expectation posts for a while (last one was two years ago) and I likely won't write a set of first episode posts unless there's something that I really want to highlight. If you want a fuller scope of the newly premiering shows, some good listings are at ANN, T.H.A.T anime blog and Sea Slugs. Here are seven series I'm curious to try in the next few weeks.

Blood-C [July 7th, 25:55 JST]

I liked the original Blood The Last Vampire movie as a dark action feature but got bored of Blood+ after 6 episodes. CLAMP's involvement in this is a minor drawing point; however, that alone doesn't guarantee I'll like an anime series (Tsubasa, Code Geass).

The iDOLM@ASTER [July 7th, 26:10 JST]

I've been mildly interested in the series' characters for a while. I barely remember trying one episode of Xenoglossia but I think I may like seeing the different idol personalities interact.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee [July 3rd, 24:30 JST]

Japanese girl working in Paris metalworks shop during the second half of 1800s. This trailer makes it seem like a relaxed pace series. The European aspect reminds me that I am still stalled on early episodes of Gosick.

Kamisama no Memo-cho [July 2nd, 23:00 JST]

I guess the NEET angle is why I might try this one. Will probably be shortened to KamiMemo in future mentions. The first episode appears to have a special 1 hour length.

Nekogami Yaoyorozu [July 9th, 8:30 JST]

This comedy about a antique shop frequented by goddesses could be funny and it *does* have Haruka Tomatsu as cat goddess Mayu-sama, whom I liked in Kannagi.

Ro-Kyu-Bu! [July 1st, 23:30 JST]

I had to mention this for just the basketball aspect. Not expecting it to be great but Halko Momoi is doing the ending theme so it can't be all bad, right?

Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) [July 7th, 25:00 JST]

I haven't read any of Yumi Unita's acclaimed manga but this is an noitaminA show by Production I.G. so I'll give it a shot. Not that interested in No. 6, the other show in that block this season, despite BONES' involvement. I hope at least this one gets simulcast out of those two.

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~~~ originally posted on Nigorimasen! ~~~

I'm going down to Los Angeles this afternoon for AX 2011, my third overall (2008, 2009). I'm interested in seeing the Anime & Manga Symposium events as well as hanging out with some people around the con. My flight down there is scheduled to land at 1:40pm so I will probably miss anything happening before 2pm. BTW, complete AX schedules are here or on the con mobile site,

Friday July 1 - Day 1

2:30-3:30pm - Aniplex of America (LP3)

2:30-3:30pm - Symposium Keynote Address (LP4)

3:30-4:30pm - Symposium Roundtable 1 (LP4)

4:15-5:15pm - Viz Media Panel (LP1)

5:30-6:30pm - An Introduction to the World of WAKFU (LP1)

6:30-7:30pm - Uncool Japan: The Trials of Tribulations of Japanese Pop Culture (LP4)

6:45-7:45pm - FUNimation Industry Panel (LP1)

8:00-9:00pm - Symposium Open Session 1 (LP4)

9:00-10:00pm - Anime Genesis Live: Benu’s Violent Torpedo of Moe (LP3) - Alex Leavitt is reportedly going to be guesting on this.

Saturday July 2 - Day 2

9:00-10:00am - Production I.G. Panel (LP1)

9:00-10:00am - Researching Anime: Where Should I Start? (LP5)

10:00-11:30am - Anime-zing Ways to Protect Your Intellectual Property (WS2)

10:30-11:30am - A Survey of Opening & Ending Themes (LP5)

12:00-1:30pm - Symposium Open Session 2 (LP5)

12:30-1:30pm - Anime News Network (LP3)

1:45-2:45pm - Digital Manga Publishing presents Digital Manga Guild (LP3)

3:30-5:00pm - Symposium Open Session 3 (LP5)

4:30-5:30pm - Bandai Ent. Industry Panel (LP1)

5:30-6:30pm - Beta (LP4)

8:30-9:30pm - Building the World's First Mecha (LP4)

9:15-10:15pm - Mega64 Panel [14+] (LP1)

Sunday July 3 - Day 3

9:00-10:00am - Anime Tune-Up: Exploring Animation Through Music (LP5)

10:00-11:00am - Cradle Song and Visual Novel Development (LP4)

10:30-11:30am - A Survey of the Music of Yuki Kaijura (LP3)

10:30am-12:00pm - Symposium Open Session 4 (LP5)

3:00-4:00pm - Explore the "Sugoi" world of SUGOI BOOKS! (LP4)

3:30-4:30pm - Symposium Roundtable 2 (LP5)

4:15-5:15pm - The Vocaloid Fan Phenomenon (LP2)

4:30-5:00pm - Symposium Closing Remarks (LP5)

6:00-7:15pm - Mirai no Neiro Vocaloid Part 1: Introducing Promo Videos (LP1)

7:15-8:30pm - Mirai no Neiro Vocaloid Part 2: Introducing Vocaloid Producers (LP1)

8:00-9:00pm - FUNimation Presents: noitaminA (LP2)

Monday July 4 - Day 4

9:30-11:30am - Shoot the Hostage: An Adventure in Marketing (WS2)

10:00-11:30am - Good Smile Company x Nitroplus (LP1)

10:30-11:30am - SPJA Board of Directors (LP2)

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Goku is ready to leap for history cards! Watch out for the storm clouds! 
Goku is ready to leap for history cards! Watch out for the storm clouds! 

I was looking around the English version of Shonen Jump's Japanese site last weekend and came across a Flash game called "Jumpin' History Game" that was made for the magazine's 40th anniversary in 2008. The concept is pretty simple: you control cloud-riding Goku and jump up & down to clouds moving horizontally across the screen to obtain history cards profiling many of their past titles along with some milestones. There are a few power-ups that increase your jumping power and you have to time your jumps to avoid hitting either side of the screen, causing you to fall down to the depths below & ending your game.

It took a few hours to unlock all 80 cards - I didn't realize I could redirect Goku left & right while jumping so that made playing a bit easier near the end. I had never heard of some older, more obscure titles like Doberman Detective and Shape-Up Ran that never came over to America but began to recognize more names as the set went into the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the cards (e.g. Death Note, Rurouni Kenshin) had a short animation showing panels from that particular manga. You can look through the galleries below to see how many you recognize.





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I couldn't resist using a Mariners/Marina Inoue pun image. [pixiv artist クロエ]

I will be heading to Seattle on Thursday to cover Sakura-Con 2011 this weekend. It'll be my first West Coast convention outside of California and I'm looking forward to the couple days off from work. I may be hanging out with LB Bryant of Otaku Review some of the time and hopefully record a podcast or do some video thing while I'm up there. If you're also going to be there, let me know! (Sadly, I wasn't able to coordinate a Takeshi Tatsumi cosplay outfit so maybe that will happen at a later convention?)

Some of the guest events include:
Kotono Mitsuishi having a Q&A on Saturday 12pm-1pm, a couple of autograph sessions (Friday 3-4pm & Saturday 1:30-2:30pm), introducing a screening of Evangelion 2.22 along with Tiffany Grant (Saturday 4:30pm-6:30pm), a focus panel called A Pretty Sailor's Journey From the Moon to NERV (Sunday 2pm-3pm), and Kotono MItsuishi and Team Dream Catchers Show concert Sunday 10:15am-11:15am.

Masuda Sebastian will hold a panel about Harajuku fashion (Saturday 10am-11am) and putting on a fashion show (Sunday 12pm-1pm). Otaku-Verze Zero recently did an episode about his 6%DOKIDOKI store.

- Manga expert Jason Thompson will be chairing two panels: 
The Future of Manga (Fri 2:30pm-3:30pm)
Tentacles, Crosses & Cigarettes: Censorship in Manga (Sat 10pm-11pm)

- Culture writer Ronald Kelts has four panels on the current schedule:
Japanamerica: The Invasion of Japanese Pop Culture in the US (Friday 1pm-2pm)
Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan (Saturday 11:45am-12:45pm)
Japan's Apocalyptic Imagination in Anime, Manga and Art (Saturday 2:15pm-3:15pm)
Life as an American in Tokyo (Sunday 11am-12pm)

One problem I'm having in planning out a schedule is that there are no panel descriptions online or on a mobile schedule app like the Conventionist so I have to rely on the titles for now.

Below is my broad list of things I am considering attending during the convention (based on latest schedule revision from April 19). I obviously won't make it to everything - there will be a few game time decisions - so take this as a reflection of my curiosity.

10am-11am: Opening Ceremonies
11am-12pm: AMVing: Getting Started
12pm-2pm: AMV Contest
1pm-2pm: Japanamerica: The Invasion of Japanese Pop Culture in the US with Roland Kelts
1:45pm-2:15pm: Manga Creation with Daisuke Moriyama and Atsushi Suzumi
2pm-3pm: Behind-the-Scenes at FUNimation's DVD Production with Bevins and Harp
2:30pm-3:30pm: The Future of Manga with Jason Thompson
3pm-4pm: FUNimation Panel
3:30pm-5pm: Anime Match Game
4pm-5pm: ABCs of Anime
7pm-8:30pm: Are You Smarter Than A Nation?
8pm-10pm: Garden of Sinners Movies 1-2
9pm-10pm: AMVing: Intermediate Skills
9pm-10:30pm: Visual Novels
9:15pm-10:45pm: You Don't Know Jack!
11pm-1am: Garden of Sinners Movies 1-2
11pm-12am: We Got the Beat! - Part 1 [AMV Theater]
11:45pm-1:45am: Late Night Improv
12am-2am: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (100 Ghost Stories)
12:15am-1:15am: AlbinoBlackSheep: When Flash Ruled the Internet

6am-10am: Early Bird AMVs
10am-11am: "Harajuku", "Kawaii" Culture with Masuda Sebastian
11:45am-12:45pm: Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan with Roland Kelts
12pm-1pm: Kotono Mitsuishi Q&A
1pm-2pm: Aniplex of America
2:15pm-3:15pm: Japan's Apocalyptic Imagination in Anime, Manga and Art with Roland Kelts
2:30pm-3:30pm: Bandai Industry Panel
4:30pm-6:15pm: Press Your Luck
4:45pm-6:00pm: Sirens, Shapeshifters, and Seductresses: The Demonic Women of Japan
6:15pm-6:45pm?: The Digital Age: eManga
7pm-8:30pm: Women of JRock
7:30pm-9:30pm: AMV Contest Re-Showing
9pm-12am: Anime Music "Chill Out" Room
9pm-11pm: Late Night Slang, or "Words Haha Never Taught Me"
10pm-11pm: Censorship in Manga
11pm-12am: The 99 Yen Challenge
12am-2am: Shibari: An Introduction

10am-11am: Dark Horse Panel
11am-12pm: Life as an American in Tokyo with Roland Kelts
11:30am-12:30pm: AMVing: Advanced and Beyond
12pm-1pm: Harajuku Kawaii Experience at Sakura-Con with 6%DOKIDOKI
12pm-1pm: State of the Industry

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~~~ Originally posted on Nigorimasen! ~~~

I attended WonderCon 2011 in San Francisco a few weekends ago and mostly attended panels along with getting a few things in the artists' alley. It was my first real comic convention in a sense and a learning experience in stuff that wasn't non-traditional comic material. I didn't take many pictures with my cameraphone and wasn't compelled to stop anyone for cosplay photos. However, I did very briefly meet & shake hands's Norman Chan as I was heading into the Moscone Center - you can check out the cosplay gallery he put together for Comic Vine.

I was a little late for the first panel I planned to see - Spotlight on Berkeley Breathed: Tales of an Accidental Cartoonist. The author of Bloom County & Opuswent through how some of his characters were inspired by other things (e.g., Opus from Mr. Popper's Penguins, Bill the Cat as a parody of Garfield) and some hilarious art from the bottoms of letters he & Bill Waterson wrote back and forth. He talked his other projects including the Mars Needs Moms! children's book inspired by his son, doing original art for the movie Secondhand Lions, and redoing Opus as Opus the Peahen for the alternate universe in Fringe. He even showed off a concept video from a failed Opus movie project.

Next up was The Sergio & Mark Show with Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier. I knew Sergio from older issues of MAD Magazine - my dad recently got a hardcover collection of his MAD work for Christmas - but I hadn't heard of Mark before that weekend. It was mainly Q&A with some people asking for updates on Groo the Wanderer. Both said they each like working late at night because everyone else in the house is asleep.

I had about an hour after the next panel I was interested in so I decided to have a quick lunch (turkey & cheese sandwich) and walk a little bit around the artist alley section of the exhibit hall. I got the 1st issue of F*X*T Magazine and Roomies! (a webcomic collection) from David Willis because the art looked familiar from somewhere I couldn't place. Deb Aoki interviewed F*X*T developer Fawn Lau when the magazine was still in its Kickstarter stage.

Creator Rights was about  how to not get screwed by a publisher when starting out with your work and keeping control on your characters. Mark Evanier moderated and the guests were writers Mike Friedrich and Marv Wolfman, retailer Joe Field, and intellectual property lawyer Michael Lovitz. Most of the audience seemed to be people who were already drawing or writing in some form. They recommended trying to self-publish at first and to not feel pressured to make a deal with a publisher. Some resources available to burgeoning artists like the Graphic Artists Guild and San Francisco legal clinics to look over contracts. (Graphic Novel Publisher also wrote a little bit about this panel.)

Michael Lovitz also ran the Comic Book Law School panel down the hallway and had a nice quick disclaimer at the beginning that it was for entertainment purposes only and shouldn't be taken as legal advice. He interacted well with the audience and helped flesh out some distinctions between copyright, trademark and similarity of ideas.

Alt Weekly Political Cartooning was a blast with Ted Rall moderating and panelistsKeith Knight (The K Chronicles), Tim Eagan (Deep Cover), Don Asmussen (Bad Reporter), Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man). Ted first showed examples of bad editorial cartoons, mainly about the recent Japan disaster, and then showed off samples of each panelist's work. Q&A included how each got their starts in alt weekly publications, some of Keith's controversies, and that pesky Internet affecting newspaper livelihoods.

My last panel of the convention before heading home was Writing Queer: Creating and Writing LGBT Characters. Justin Hall of Prism Comics stood at the podium and directed a conversation among Paige Braddock (Jane's World), Steve MacIsaac (Shirtlifter), Jon Macy (Teleny and Camille), James Robinson (Justice League of AmericaStarman) and Marc Andreyko (Manhunter). I wasn't familiar with any of the panelists or characters that were mentioned such as Starman, Northstar and Obsidian, but I still think I got something from hearing James talk about being a straight man writing a gay character. A couple panelists said they just want to write compelling characters who just happen to have LGBT characteristics.

I had started to wonder about yaoi/yuri storylines and then saw Erica Friedman posted something on Hooded Utiliarian that same weekend about how the basic yuri structure hasn't really changed that much over the years. The sports genre definitely seems to have a Story A of its own where a player or team overcomes adversity or has to work its way through a tournament.

I liked attending WonderCon and I'm kind of interested in checking out Alternative Press Expo in October, though the downtown parking situation near Moscone was a little frustrating.

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