Fanime…Fanime…Fanime…. Tsk, tsk, tsk, people, I warned you guys last year about what would happen with lack of planning and communications. With a jump to the above 20,000 attendees mark, you're now looking at a volatile combination that's primed to explode even worse than the massive screw up of this year. And though massive, it was only in the REALLY annoying to slightly detrimental category, and not a supreme fuck up like say, Anime Expo 2007.
The one thing that has been neglected for the longest time is an an anime convention here in sunny San Diego. I mean, LA has several, including the biggest: Anime Expo, and there are several up north in most of their cities. This is mostly due to the fact that down here we have this rather wonderful little event called Comic Con. It actually has much of the same things that even the larger anime conventions do, coupled with the inclusion of the general sci fi, fantasy, comics, movies, and various other mediums that evoke a certain level of fandom. Problem is that it is f'n huge. So much so that it has to limit attendance (something Anime Expo would do well to emulate), and in recent years, tickets for all days have been sold out several months in advance. We here at Dragon's Anime don't even try to cover that one (Hell, I haven't even GONE to that one in a couple years) due to the logistics involved, even with one of its members, and several friends, actually in the same city.
Recently, and to little fanfare, I found on your usual torrent sites, while looking for episodes of Magical Girl Homicide (otherwise known as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, heh, heh, heh) a torrent of something called Ah! My Goddess! Together Forever. After vowing eternal revenge to the coiners of that name for putting that Rick Astley song in my head, and wondering how long it was going to take someone to put the scenes of this OVA into a music video to that song, I, of course, clicked download.
I admit, I found myself looking forward to spending time with my friends in Ah! My Goddess! again. Everyone seemed to be reprising their roles again, the stars of which, Aya Hisakawa as Skuld, Yumi Tôma as Urd, and of course, Masami Kikuchi as Keiichi, and the lovely Kikuko Inoue as Belldandy. Each one of these voice actors have given life to the characters they portray in such an iconic manner, especially Belldandy, that they have been tapped for their voices in just about every iteration of the animated series that has been produced, except ironically Belldandy for the first 13 episodes of The Adventures of the Minigoddesses who was there voiced by Akemi Okamura due to Kikuko Inoue's pregnancy.
Holy shit, folks…they actually managed to actually HAVE an Anime Expo despite some of the serious shit that led up to this year's show. For a round up of that situation, I'll repost part of a news item from a few months ago so you can refresh your memory on this bit of drama:
Oh Fanime, why do you happen so close to ACEN to torment me so?
Fanime is supposed to be the chill out convention, the one where you just hang loose, go do stuff, and typically have a restful and fun time. This was not the case this year, and I think it started when Mayhem suggested we go to the Black and White Ball. I readily agreed, not exactly enjoying the sausage feast of the adult only dance of last year. This, of course, would necessitate a certain amount of preparation both before (in the form of getting my suit together) and during the convention (in the form of dance lessons). Sounds like a fun way to break up the con a bit.
It started when I was being driven to the airport in some rent-a-shuttle you booked for a flight at early hours that should be outlawed or at least protested on a weekly basis, while feeling the effects of a cold just starting that I hoped in vain to whatever god I worshiped isn't a cold just starting make that dry scratchy feeling in the back of my throat. Bus driver was blessedly silent as I alternated between staying awake, silent religious supplication, and waiting for the drugs I took before I boarded to kick in. There's also this vague nagging suspicion that in my haste to get everything together, coupled with the pain I'm presently feeling, that I forgot something maddeningly important. Quick mental checks are not possible; haven't had anyone hit my turbo button yet by mainlining me with a Monster energy drink or even some of the finest brewed Columbian lighter fluid. What items I have high pri on my list, that which makes what I do possible at conventions; I do manage to confirm are in my possession before hitting San Diego International.
I first learned about Anime Conji back when I attended PMX with Aisu a few months ago. A San Diego anime convention was something that a few of us had been discussing in various forums, but actually putting it on ourselves seemed to me to be rather…too much like work, heh. So here was a guy passing out flyers for the first, and hopefully annual, anime convention for San Diego here at PMX. For those that are wondering, Pacific Media Expo is the convention that was started by Mike Tatsugawa after the management dispute of Anime Expo '04 and takes place in Los Angeles, California. At the time, like a complete dumbass, I took the flyer and forgot about it. It wasn't until a couple weeks before the convention that I saw a message on Facebook from Traci Hines who noted she'd be going there to put on a small concert with a few others. Smacking myself in the head, I immediately started the work I'd need in order to attend the convention. Given Anime Expo's recent issues, and likely decline, not to mention the problems we've occasionally had with some of their floor personnel over the years, another nearby convention to go to seems like something that would be best to cultivate if at all possible.
A warning...to the people...the good and...the evil. This. Is. War.
You know, for a song that embodies the warning we should have had during the series and movie this article tends to cover, it has a really nihilistic ending. I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, however.
On August 8th or 9th of 1986, depending on where you lived in the world, there came a movie to the theatres that etched it's mark upon the soul of the men and women of my generation and is the subject of much discussion even today. That movie was Transformers: The Movie, one of the many film entries into the toy/cartoon marketing craze that was all the rage in those days. Back then the whole toy/cartoon tie in was beginning due the relaxing of certain laws which limited such practices, so we wound up with all sorts of new and exciting shows aimed at little girls and boys as retailers and marketers experimented to see what worked. You won't find too much in the way of such variety now, and often what variety you do find has been imported and localized from our esteemed neighbors in Japan…though they too are falling into this trap. Back then was a golden time for such local entertainment, and never shall we see its like again.
Anime Expo. Fuck, what a year this was. I mean, of all the strange, outright and utterly weird ass shit that went down; things that happened that didn't need to happen; things that didn't happen that probably should have; and the painfully obvious fact that this year AX was strapped for cash. Hell, I could go on, and I will momentarily, but the overall theme of this year was me leaving the place with a "What the fuck was that?!" attitude.