Monday, 16 April 2012 20:04

Anime Conji 2012 Article

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This year was the third year of Anime Conji, and I would classify it as a most successful year all around. As for myself, I was approved for press this time around and it probably worked out for the best as this convention is getting larger and beginning to take note of such things. There were some very notable growing pains I did notice, which I suspect if the same individuals are involved in those projects next year, they will have certainly learned from. All in all, a most enjoyable time; for those of us who weren't able or not willing to make Wondercon going on that same weekend, it was more than satisfying.

Like last year, Anime Conji took place in The Town and Country Resort located in lovely Mission Valley just outside of the main city of San Diego. This year they actually managed to reserve space in the main convention center area of the Hotel which alleviated that insane bottleneck of last year's convention where everyone and their mother was crammed into a walkway the size of a banana...a really small banana. In fact, once I found the precise area, I was pleasantly surprised at how much room there really was. This was a far cry from how even the larger conventions usually are with their suffocating claustrophobic lack of space and their fire marshals metering attendance to just about every panel and event due to lines being from the entrance winding to the lowest pits of Hell. On that subject, lines weren't so bad from what I could tell (aside from the Masquerade, heh), though admittedly I wasn't there at opening. Come to think of it, the only real problem in terms of space came from the lack of parking, which forced many to park in the Fashion Valley Mall parking lot across the small bridge walkway over the creek behind the hotel, or like me, drive around until a spot was found.

As is usual, one of my primary goals in a convention is to photograph cosplayers and take video of various events. There were quite a number of talented cosplayers this year, and from a purely technical standpoint, these were some of the best pictures I've ever taken. Honestly though, I'm beginning to see the limits of the Nikon D40x I've been using the past few years, and I'm thinking it's time for a change. Only problem there is that the camera I do want is extremely sought after and sold out everywhere, so it will be some time before I can acquire one of those lovely devices. Still, I managed to get a number of memorable shots, like Sailor Mars and Jupiter here; the Makoto Kino you'll note is the same cute one I photographed at Sac Anime earlier this year. There was also this young lady (whose costume I do not recognize, unfortunately), whom many of you may recognize as the Street Fighter Cammy from a couple years back. I'm kinda surprised she could make the time to come. She's got an amazing figure on her that you don't see too often, so I was pretty sure she'd gone professional model by this point, and be far too busy for a little gathering like this. Starting from about here and continuing on to page twenty-three, you'll see I attended the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gathering. Yes, you read that right. There were quite a number of MLP cosplayers scattered through the entire convention this year, and I'm a bit of a fan of the series like a number of others I know of, so it was a lot of fun to actually attend the gathering where most of them assembled. I'll admit the little Fluttershy there (the one who is dominating Darth Maul, heh) was a trip. She kept in character the entire time, even when they started talking about who'd win in a fight. She pipes up in Fluttershy's really soft sweet quiet voice, "I'm just going to beat up all you mother fuckers, if you don't mind." Never seen an entire room fall to the ground laughing before, and I doubt I'll see it again anytime soon, but goddamn if that wasn't something right then. Finally, one of the best places to take pictures was the courtyard in the middle of the area of the hotel the convention took place in. You can see that in this picture of Zelda in a tree and this alluring lady whose costume escapes me at present time. Quite a number of those pics had stories behind them, which is also something I strive for when I take them. Check them all out; I doubt you'll be disappointed.

I didn't really take all that much video this year; just two events: the Masquerade and the Last Comic Standing; eventually I'll have them up for streaming and I'll link them when I do. I was planning on taking video of the concerts, especially the one by Yukie Dong and Stephanie Yanez, but I'm afraid me getting up that early and fighting through the crowd of people there at the concert stage this year was not something I was really good for this year, unfortunately.

The Masquerades at smaller conventions are usually quite small, but are still one of the most popular events as can be shown simply by the way every seat in the place was filled up for it. It was here I noted a rather large growing pain they had concerning the set up of their projectors and their feed to it. They were using a JVC HD camcorder to connect to a mac laptop to feed to their projectors, and already I could see pretty much every issue they had. At first it was a lack of the appropriate cables and adapters, then it was actually getting the software on the mac to connect to their camcorder which took forever, and finally it was getting the video fed to the projectors in a viewable manner which they…well, it wasn't exactly viewable. They couldn't maximize the viewer to cover the whole screen; so about half the screen was covered by the camcorder feed and the other half by the mac desktop. Finally, they couldn't turn off the metadata overlay of the camera, so we got things like time and date in white letters over the viewable video which was quite distracting. This is something you familiarize yourself with about a week in advance so you know the pitfalls you're likely to experience; especially if you are dead set on using something like a mac laptop and its applications. The Masquerade itself was good, but short. If anything, the half time show consisting of the para para groupAngel Hearts was more entertaining. That and listening to their MC Tadao Tomomatsu (your website sucks dude; hehehehe) in his standup comic routine which is always fun.

The Last Comic Standing was hosted again this year by Jon Allen, and man it got harsh. From fucking with Vic Mignogna, to mentioning that while watching Bleach it was a good show even back when it was called Yu Yu Hakusho, to even noting that Bronies used to be called furries, nothing was sacred…not even his own career. He did mention that the heckling got bad last year, but I really don't recall there being much, if any, of that. If nothing else, there was more this year, but only when one of the comics noted that there weren't many characters that he could cosplay because he was black…and then the audience just shouted him out a list of others, heheheh. Truly they were all funny, but the guy who won truly deserved it, especially since he came on last and by that time we were all getting a little burned out…but he got us rolling hard one last time. Honestly, I would have killed for a beer.

The only panel I went to was the Fakku panel wherein we proceeded to talk about hentai anime. When you get a bunch of people into one room to talk about hentai anime, you find out about how silly it all really is. Fortunately our hosts steered clear of the truly depraved stuff; if you want a list of that, check out AMV Hell /0. No, I'm not going to link that. You have Google, look it up yourselves. In any event they talked about their website, anecdotes concerning their love of H anime and how hard it was to find awhile back in their teenage years (and harder to hide from the parents, heh), and various shows they recommended. They need to post a list on their message boards, because I think only a few people actually brought pens and something write on.

They actually had a press lounge this year, manned by a guy and a couple girls who worked press at other conventions and noted they wanted to run this place like they would like to have been treated. Overall, they ran it fairly well. I got to drink some Capri Suns for the first time in………gradeschool, I think. Damn things don't last very long as an adult, but they do the job when you're starved for liquids and calories. The only real problems concerning the press lounge was that half the time it was closed for filming, and that it was stated that press outlets would have to check in there to get their badges…which turned out to be outright wrong. Fortunately I met some other press who directed me to the right place in the regular registration line to get my badge (and this after an Anime Conji staff member told me to wait so he could find out what was going on, and then ditched me…seriously fucked up, dude). In any event, I was more than happy to turn over copies my pictures and video to them, and they were most grateful to receive them which I would call a fair trade. Heh, I was even showing the various pictures I'd taken to one of those in the press department as he stood a line watch, and he maintained a considerable enthusiasm for the taking of pictures and the pictures themselves, which is how it should be. If you're not having fun in a situation like that doing what you're doing, then it's time to stop after all.

It was really a fun and laid back time. Hell, I even visited their spacious (though well stocked) dealer's hall, and picked up a few things on the final day. It still surprises me this was going on the same weekend as Wondercon, and had the attendance it did. I had no run ins with the staff; if anything they seemed to be having a lot of fun too, despite some of the technical difficulties that got them. I didn't even see any of the hotel staff short of the guy who I got directions from the first time I got to the hotel. There were a ton of good cosplayers from which I got over two hundred pictures from and there were decent events to film. Fashion Valley Mall was right behind the convention center as I said up above, so there was no starving or going out of our way to get food either. Granted not everything was perfect, but what in the world is? As far as a convention goes, what more could you want? Decent music, decent entertainment, decent guests of honor, decent and plentiful cosplayers…this is about all I really want out of my experience. If you're ever in the San Diego area when this is going on, give it a try. It's a pretty good bet that you'll have a good time.

Last modified on Saturday, 19 May 2012 19:22

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