This weekend I attended Anime Weekend Atlanta along with my buddy Daryl and my good friend Jack, who stopped by on Saturday evening. I believe it was my third time going and my second time getting a hotel room at the event for the whole weekend. Overall it was a cool time. I picked up a lot of swag, got hammered, met some voice actors, went to a rave, and was severely sleep deprived.
It's important to say that I went to bed around 1am on Friday and then woke up around 5:30am and couldn't fall back asleep just like a little kid waiting to open his Christmas presents or something. It's going to be important to remember this. I started off lacking sleep.
Anyways, I started off just browsing around the dealer room and eventually made my way to the autograph line for Ryo Horikawa, Suzuko Mimori, and You Kikkawa. Ryo voices Vegeta from DBZ and Suzuko is the voice of Sherlock Shellingford from Detective Opera Milky Holmes. I got in line about an hour before the signing started and once it did, it became very very apparent who most people were in line for. At one point some staffers asked, "is there anyone not in line for Ryo," in an attempt to get the line moving and nobody responded. You had some people stopping by after Ryo, but after about 25 minutes of waiting, I was the first person to get a signature from Suzuko :(. Anyways, it was good fun. She seemed super cool and was pretty excited to see that I had her character's BD volume and seemed awestruck that silver Sharpies existed when I presented her with mine.
Oh, to backtrack some, I met this girl in line who was pretty cool. She was super into Case Closed (apparently Ryo was someone in that, which is why she was there) and was cosplaying as someone with purple hair and dressed like a Code Geass character. I say like because when I asked her about it and mentioned Geass, she got heartbroken and said that everyone keeps saying that but it's actually from $#$%@#%, a show which I completely forgot the name of while typing this. Anyways, she was preparing to finish her college degree in Japan and to use that as an inroad to becoming a teacher over there. Pretty cool. I also met this crazy uber DBZ guy who nearly raged when I showed him that I was getting Kai signed rather than DBZ proper. He was good hearted but sorta annoying due to him going crazy over every DBZ cosplayer in line (and imagine how many were in a line to get a Vegeta autograph), but I liked his dedication to the series and knowledge. He even made up some crazy complex Animeopoly game that even he couldn't remember the rules of, but the cool thing was that he got a bunch of voice actors to sign the board, which was pretty sweet.
Having finished up with having to wait in lines, I decided to earnestly browse around the dealer looking for stuff to grab. I found a standard edition of the School Days visual novel. I decided to purchase it and while buying, the dealer anxiously informed that there was another H game that featured Vladmir Putin and Barack Obama re-imagined as girls for the seduction of a nimble gamer. I didn't have any intention of purchasing anything other than School Days and on top of that, the Barack girl wasn't even black. No sale. After some scuttlebutt later on regarding me finding the premium edition elsewhere for the same price and wanting a refund (you really can't claim all sales are final as a given when you have no signs saying such and you don't tell people no refunds before swiping their card or taking their cash), I was the happy owner of a premium edition with keychain and Kotonoha breast mousepad. I also ended up grabbing some Bleach and Naruto art books. It was a tough choice between buying those two ($20 per) or one Hayate the Combat Butler book ($55!) but at the end of the day, my inability to convince the dealer to cut me a deal for buying all three led to grabbing the shonen ones.
After that, I went to Sentai's industry panel and they revealed some stuff that got covered on ANN almost immediately. I think I was actually sitting a few seats down from the person covering it for them as I recognized him from previous year's industry panel and he was feverishly typing on his phone with every announcement.
With that complete, there weren't any more panels that I was dying to see so Daryl and I just chilled out in the general cosplay area. To be honest, Friday was a bit of a downer due that dealer (he ended up giving me a partial refund), fewer cosplayers than Saturday, and I honestly feel that I've been to the same one and it's losing a bit of the wow factor it used to have for me. Either way, not bad, just less awesome and regardless of anything, I stayed up until like 1am again doing stuff.
So, I wake up at like 5:37 am on the dot and couldn't fall back asleep again. For the record, that's somewhere around 9 hours of sleep in the past 72 hours. Daryl and I ended up going to an IHOP that was a few miles away and while there, we overheard some guys having a heated discussion about One Piece.
Once we got back to AWA, we immediately headed over to the Johnny Yong Bosch autograph line. I didn't really have any swag for him to sign (I was going to bring a Bleach boxset but I decided against it and only now am I realizing that I could have had him sign the art book which had Ichigo on the cover) but I decided to hang out in the line anyways because Daryl wanted him to sign his copy of Devil May Cry 4, where Bosch voices Nero. I think we came about an hour and a half early and geez louise, that line got stupid huge stupid fast. Waiting in lines sucks but the one good thing is that you get to meet interesting people. There was one big guy in line who had a coke bottle filled with like 50% Jack Daniels. He was entertaining and I remember someone saying Thor wasn't that good of a movie and he straight up interneted him and was like, "No, you're wrong. It was awesome." The other dude kinda immediately shut down, but the whole thing was funny.
100s of screaming JYB fangirls later, no wait, while in-line Ryo and Suzuko came back to the line that was right beside us. It was way smaller than the previous day's line and Suzuko seemed to have more people there. One girl had a massive Sherlock Shellingford BD case with like a doll or something in it. I immediately asked if this was from season 1 or 2 because I was sure I picked up the collector's version of Sherlock's volume from Season 2, and it was indeed season 1. Someone else had a Nenodroid Sherlock as well. Anyways, the line was nearing it's in and my Noir lunchbox still had my Milky Holmes stuff in it so I decided to get Daryl to save my spot while I had Suzuko sign some other stuff that came with the volume.
So now, 100s of screaming JYB fan girls, a signed copy of Devil May Cry 4, and Trina Nishimura writing "pimp the pink" later, we found ourselves surrounded by even more screaming fan girls as we waited in line for Vic Mignogna. About halfway through his two hour wait, I realized that maybe, just maybe I had gone too autograph heavy this year and was missing cool panels and cool random moments being in these lines. Anyways, it was pretty cool. I swore I was going to be too cool for school about the whole thing but once I got up to Vic, I got kinda giddy and gushing. He saw my Noir lunchbox and was like, "ahh, what's that?" and I was like, "oh, it's just holding my other stuff," and he was like, "you know I was in that, right?" I said, "oh shit, if I'd known that I woulda had you sign it rather than two FMA things," but he was really cool about it and asked me to hand it over to him and he signed it. That was pretty cool. His line was smaller than JYB, but fan girls were going crazy in it. He signed one girl's arm and she damn near passed out. Someone else started crying when she got up to him.
With that done, I had everything that I wanted to get autographed autographed, I purchased a Scanty and Kneesocks shirt, put my lunchbox up in the hotel room and chilled out. Me and Daryl went to this Funimation Town Hall panel that was a hoot. There weren't any jokes, but man, people are frickin passionate about their anime and there anime companies. "Why did you stop D.Gray-Man before it was done?! That's so stupid" "I don't know what you all were thinking, why don't you put shows out faster!" "Why don't you guys hire fansubbers, there translation are better!!!" I feel bad for the Funi rep, although when someone brought up their godawful white subtitles with thin borders that constantly mix in with the background and can't be read, I applauded with him. Short rant, but subtitles are supposed to be read. That is their whole point. That is the only point they are there. So what you will about ugly yellow DVD subtitles, they were always easy and quick to read and readability should always take priority over everything else. Anyways, that panel was fun and despite the raging, it ended in a Funi love fest of everyone who just tore the rep a new one proclaiming that Funi is the bestest and most more awesomer anime company on the planet.
After that, some chilling, and no less than two stalking attempts in hopes that a Shichika Yasuri would eventually lead me to a Katanagatari dream photo with him and Togame), my friend Jack came by to check out the scene. We got like 3 rounds of Jager while he was there with all of us occasionally dashing away to get a photo (he went crazy for a Desert Punk) and I saw a Strider roaming around. This was Jack's first time being at a convention and he seemed to like it a lot. At the bar, there was this dude who seemed ripped, but he had a camera man following him and filming him. I asked about it and it turns out he was this nerdcore rapper named Nerdork. He dropped the line, "what's a goon to a Gundam" and Jack, being not really a nerdcore rapper but a rapper who incorporates nerd culture into his raps, retorted, "but what's a Goblin to a Spider-man?" (both of these are playing off a Lil' Wayne lyric for those like "huh?"). That made him pull up a chair, point the camera at us and we starting chatting about anime and stuff for about 10 minutes. After that and some walking around, Jack bounced out and this got interesting.
Saturday is the big cosplay day and by this time it was like... 10pm maybe. My goal was to order a mixed drink and then Trailer Park Boys it up and sip on that for the rest of the evening while getting pictures and stuff. I went to a waitress and asked her for a Grateful Dead. That ended up as there was a drink mixup so here is a free Long Island Iced tea. Awesome. However, I later sat it down to take a picture and some jackhole knocked it over. Way more upset than I thought I'd get (blame the Jager for that), I went back to the waitress and asked to buy a Long Island as strong as she could make it. Daryl ordered one for himself and his came out ultra strong. I paid for his (he bought mine) and I basically gave her a 100% tip. She then brought me out another ultra strong one on the house. So now I'm walking around with two of these in my hand looking like a super alcoholic when I really just wanted one to sip on for the next hour or so. Anyways, about an hour later, the waitress finds us in the hotel courtyard (the main cosplay area) and hands me another ultra strong one. That's four of these and I hadn't even finished topping off our cups from the first bonus one yet and I was in the mindstate of, "If I sip one for the rest of the night I'll be in a good state of mind for high fun and high control." Then we ended up with like 2 more.
The rest of the night is a blur. I kept getting asked about my shirt (I changed into the S&K one earlier). The maid cafe closed up but most of them were wandering around the cosplay floor so I got a picture with them. There were bodypillow cosplayers jumping around the floor popping into other folk's photos like some sorta hyperactive lemming and speaking gibberish. I got a picture with them and was basically just wandering around getting cosplay photos and chatting. After a while, Daryl wanted to check out this yuri video room but was immediately turned off when he opened the door and saw characters that looked like twelve. I LOL'd and told him, "it's anime. What did you think it was going to be?" Tons of cosplay pics later, it was like 1am and Daryl decided to call it a wrap. I stayed out on the dancefloor and decided to text my friend Jason and see if he was at the rave. Turns out he was. Jason is like an ultra breakdancer, cosplayer, otaku so I figured he would be. Anyways, I decided to check that out. It was pretty cool. Insanely loud dubstep, lots of grinding, pretty fun. After chatting up Jason and dancing around (I sweated more than when I walk for like 7 miles) I stepped out. Holy smokes, my ears were completely shot. I decided to goto bed but when I got into my room that was quiet, my ears were ringing so loud that I immediately turned around, knowing that I was never going to fall asleep like this. So I ended up finding Jason again and chatting with him and a few of his other friends and just wandering around the hotel room. Eventually, my ears felt like they weren't ringing as much and I decided to goto bed. I looked up at the alarm clock: 4:45 am.
I was tailgating at a Falcon's game the next day (great game btw, down to the wire, Falcons won) so that was basically the end of AWA for me. One last note though, I woke up the next day at 8:30am and couldn't fall back asleep. From like 9am Thursday to about 10pm Sunday I got around 12 hours of rest, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Man, I decided to take way less pics this year but to make all of them awesome. Unfortunately, it ended up on some Vader and now your failure is complete as it seems like all of the pics turned out way darker than I thought they would. I did some post and they're ok, but man, I lost some of them due to it.
Sorry about the dupes. The picture system was acting crazy when I tried to add a gallery to this post.
It covers the man himself as well as his views and techniques for using 3D animation as well as some information about animation in general. It's a very cool read. I won't post the whole thing here because it's well written and Tested deserves the hits for writing it, but here is the opening...
2D ANIMATION IN THE DIGITAL ERA: INTERVIEW WITH JAPANESE DIRECTOR MAKOTO SHINKAI
by Wesley Fenlon on Sept. 20, 2012
In May 2001, a young Japanese graphic designer named Makoto Shinkai left his job at a video game company to create a short animated film called Voices of a Distant Star. Despite having almost no experience combining narrative and animation, Shinkai told a uniquely poignant story, blending science fiction with the drama and angst of adolescence. More importantly, the short film looked incredibly good for a one-man project. Voices was a breakout success for an amateur animator, and Shinkai has created three more films in the past decade, establishing himself as one of the anime industry's preeminent creators.
Shinkai belongs to a new generation of animators who have never worked in the traditional pen-and-paper format, and Voices of a Distant Star is a testament to how dramatically computers have changed the animation industry in the past decade. He created the 25 minute short in seven months, using only a Power Mac G4 at a time when PowerPC processors were still reaching for the 1GHz barrier.
"If I had been born 10 years earlier, I don’t think I would be an animator," wrote Makoto Shinkai in an email interview about the evolving landscape of 2D and 3D animation. "Oh, I might have drawn some things, but I doubt I would have been able to do it for a living. When I became obsessed, in my twenties, with the need to express myself, it was just at the point when computers and digital tools had matured enough to make that possible."
Aspiring animators can now create their passion projects with technology that's cheaper and more approachable than it's ever been, and Shinkai's follow-ups to Voices of a Distant Star have embraced that technology to create some of the industry's most beautiful imagery. All of his art has a distinct visual feel thanks to a combination of warm lighting and detailed vistas.
But Shinkai proposes an important distinction between the technology and style of digital animation: Though the process is brand new, the technique is still rooted in the cel tradition. And tradition is slow to change...
I'm curious, no matter how grand or mundane, what are some situations you all would like to see happen in anime that break the 4th wall or acknowledge some of the craziness in anime as indeed being crazy? For a while now I've been thinking about writing an article about things anime has taught me about Japan where I pretended like everything in anime was real and then discussed it. Some of the things I as thinking about mentioning but will do here instead are totally centered around cosmetics.
There are plenty of bathing scenes in anime but I would love to see one where there is a character shampooing their hair or at a beauty salon and we seen them dying their hair. One thing that becomes immediately apparent in many anime series is that wild and crazy hair colors are the norm. Everyone has them and nobody ever mentions, "hey, that girl has pink hair." It's funny, because you might have a series set in a school where doing things like wearing an earring is a criminal offense and dress code/personal appearance is taken super serious, but the school is filled with green, blue, yellow, pink, and purple haired students but nobody even notices it. I'd love to see just one scene where someone either makes notices of the crazy hair colors or where maybe two girls call each and the conversation is like
"What are you doing?"
I just want something, anything, that acknowledges these crazy hair colors. While we're on the subject of hair...
Am I a loner out there wishing for some acknowledgement of some of the crazy aesthetics of anime or do some of y'all also have things that you'd love to see? Maybe some parents who object to the school uniform that that includes skirts less than 8 inches long. Perhaps even some feminist student protesting the end of to rule that says girls must wear bikini bottoms during gym. What anime vs reality situations would you all get a kick out of seeing?
Last season I did a short preview for a few series that were simulcasting on Crunchyroll. This is basically going to be that, but an even briefer version of it.
Chitose Get You
Thoughts: I went in expecting Hanamaru Kindergarten. I basically got that, but not as funny. It immediately struck me how every shot seems to drag on for a few seconds longer than it should. Then it ended and I realized it was only a 3 minute show... a three minute show that has to resort to stretching out every shot to kill time.
Result: Dropped. The art reminded me of a more normal Shin-chan at times but 3 minute shows aren't my thing. Especially ones that drag.
Thoughts: I like J.C. Staff despite the hate they get and all I was expecting from this was Otome Yokai Zakuro quality fights on a regular basis. This episode started off super crappy but got a lot better as it went on and ended up meh, but it did have a decently animated fight scene in it.
Result: Backburner. Nothing about this looks to be good enough to follow week to week but at some point in the future I'll be in the mood for an action show with some cheesy romance elements and this will probably fit the bill.
Thoughts: It seems like someone thought "it would be cool if people from Another and Hanasaku Iroha wore different outfits!" and thus the character design and cast of Tari Tari was complete. Kinda generic show, but it seems like it's generic and good, which I'm ok with as I prefer "good" to any other qualifier.
Result: Backburner. I don't think it's interesting enough to want to follow week to week and the wait might make me drop it. Once the series is complete, I'll probably watch it at my own pace and enjoy it.
That's it for part 1. After finishing off You and Me S2; watching the latest episodes of Hunter x Hunter, Sengoku Collection, and Space Brothers; then watching these, I'm pretty much anime'd out for the day. Overall, I'm a little bummed out. As you can see to the right, two of the series I watched today were ones I had high hopes for but neither left me particularly excited. In addition, I've heard that Love, Election, and Chocolate is a generic fanservice show with little redeeming qualities and it isn't even being simulcasted so I can't check it out for myself to see if that's true or the internet is just being stupid. On top of that, a lot of shows I was interested in watching aren't even being simulcasted, which is a stark comparison to last season where literally everything I even had eh, meh, kinda, sorta, maybe interest in got picked up.
Jugo and Suigetsu meet back up with Sasuke to give him a "game over" mystery scroll only to find out that Sasuke plans on meeting up with Orochimaru. Elsewhere, Madara is still smack talking the Kages while Tobi, as usual, is having a tough time in a fight that matters.
This chapter is only decent but I'm going to give it a full half point boost because of the promise of what it holds: more Orochimaru and more Uchiha badassness. I haven't seen it so much on Anime Vice, but on other forums I hear people complaining about the Uchiha and how they, especially Sasuke, ruin the series... give me a break! Take a look at that picture. Yeah, it's missing Itachi but still, take out the Uchiha and what do you have left of Naruto? Tenten? Konohamaru? Some knock off One Piece that's just Naruto aimlessly doing random nonsense on his quest to be King of the Kages?
I give this chapter a B-. There was some plot development but most of it was either trite or just setting up something awesome for the future.