Fanime 2012 has come and gone, and what a wonderful time it was. Well, most of it.
WARNING: RANT INCOMING. (Skip to the cut if you want to see what I watched)
Registration was a nightmare, and that seriously needs to be fixed. My friends and I missed out on all of Friday because we flew in at 1, checked in, had a drink, and then proceeded to stand in an over 2 hour preregistration line just to pick up our prepaid badges. There were perhaps 5 people checking in thousands of people. The line snaked Disneyland-style inside AND outside, proceeding down Market Street. It wasn’t helped by there being a major power outage on Thursday night, which interrupted pre-reg badge pickup there, too. Fanime seriously needs to get more volunteers or hire someone to handle registration. They’ve gotten too big.
On top of that, they lost my badge, so I got a stupid ugly badge.
Schedules were also delayed until the day before the convention, which is absurd and inexcusable. We can’t make plans until we know the schedule. Getting the schedule the day before the con does not leave us enough time to organize anything. In my group, the rest are less anime-knowledgeable, so I am in charge of doing the research. I had to stay up past midnight to put together our tentative schedule.
Sometimes I want to kick the attendees in the teeth. Get them away from normal life for a weekend, and they turn into ravaging animals. One guy whined about some “butthurt woman” who wouldn’t let him push every single button on the elevator. We kept finding juice and water bottles of pee everywhere in the hotel–elevators, under tables, in corners. Garbage was just thrown everywhere in the street. My five year old nephew knows how to throw away trash better than these people.
And as much as I love the cosplay, people really have to learn how to take pictures. Do not block the aisles/hallways. Don’t take pictures in front of the stairs. Don’t sit there and pose people while traffic clogs up. Just aim, snap, move on. Learn to take pictures vertically in hallways || instead of horizontally |=|, lessening traffic congestion.
Anyway, enough ranting. You’d think I had a horrible time, but I really didn’t. It was a great vacation with my friends.
I broke down my posts by activity: What I Watched (anime/panels), What I Saw (cosplay), What I Got (dealer’s room/artist’s alley), and What I Ate/Drank (because I like food, as evidenced from the Foodie Manga of which I just posted a ton).
Up first: What I Watched!
Summary (from ANN): Hugh Anthony Disward inherits an old mansion and a personal library from his grandfather. In the basement of the mansion, he meets a mysterious girl—Dalian. She is a Dantalian and a gateway to “Dantalian’s bookshelf”, which stores the prohibited books of the demons.
What my friends and I thought: Eh. Of the three of us, one said he’d like to see more, and two of us were kinda weirded out by the above scene, where she arches over the guy’s arm and he opens the “lock” in his chest with his “key”… and anime makes us think bad things. Also, the scene where he reads from one of the demon books was rather boring and drawn out, and it felt like they were trying to be deep and meaningful, but instead I just started thinking of what I wanted for lunch.
Summary (from ANN): The inhabitants of the continent of Cruzon are born with the ability to freely control quartz. Technology based on this power allows them to perform a great multitude of tasks such as shoot projectiles and pilot mobile suits (called Golems in this society). Rygart Arrow is an un-sorcerer, a rare individual who is unable to levitate even the smallest crystal. Living with his brother on a farm, he receives a letter from an old friend, Hodr, the current king. Close companion of the king and queen when they were students at Assam Military School, Arrow is informed that a war is about to occur. Hodr called him because an ancient type of Golem has been found in a mining shaft. No one has been able to move it and Queen Sigyn, an expert engineer, suspects that maybe an un-sorcerer might be the key to activate it.
What my friends and I thought: This was the one I had the highest hopes for since it pretty much fit all of my friends’ requirements: pretty to look at, good action, fantasy (even if it has mecha), attractive characters. Unfortunately, due to crappy registration, we didn’t get to see episodes 1 and 2 on Friday, and instead watched 3 and 4 on Saturday. So we were completely lost other than, “people can control quartz, and one guy can’t, but he can pilot this strange golem-mecha.” We spent most of episode 3 trying to figure out who was fighting whom, and what for, and which side were the “bad guys” and why the queen had no pants. By the time ep. 4 started we kinda figured out most stuff (except for the pantsless queen who was having wrestling matches with a lady prisoner in her bedroom and later decided walking around in her lingerie [or less] was cool). We opted not to watch 5 and 6 on Sunday, and instead when I came home I ordered the bluray from Right Stuf (Sentai released it stateside) so we can watch it from the beginning.
Also, Malvitas and I giggled at this character:
His name is Hodr. So of course we were whispering, “Hodr? Hodr Hodr Hodr!” (Game of Thrones reference)
Summary (from ANN): Ganta Igarashi has been convicted of a crime that he hasn’t committed, and sent to a new, privately owned and operated prison, where the inmates are the main attraction in a modern day twist to the gladiatorial coliseums of ancient times. Throw in a healthy dose of weird little girl, some new-found super powers, and a little conspiracy theory, and you have Deadman Wonderland.
What my friends and I thought: The highly missed and fondly remembered Toonami (I did not watch it originally, being cableless) made its comeback this weekend, so after a long day at Fanime, we turned on the tv by chance before bed and Bleach was showing. It was AWFUL. Poor animation, plus we had no idea what the hell was going on. Due to animation quality and practically nothing going on, I’m guessing this was one of its many, many filler episode. I stopped both watching and reading Bleach eons ago for good reasons. However, following Bleach was Deadman Wonderland, about which I knew nothing pretty much nothing, other than Tokyopop published part of the manga before they closed, and people seemed to like it. I also knew it was violent as all hell, which is a huge plus for one of my friends.
It started off like any high school anime, la la la, and then suddenly this mysterious being shows up outside the windows… of the 3rd floor. And the next thing we know there’s blood and dismembered body parts everywhere, and I’m thinking, “holy fuck” and the only student to make it out of there alive is Ganta… and he’s framed for the murder of his classmates. He’s sent off to this weird amusement park prison and fitted with some kind of collar that has a countdown on it. When the countdown expires, the wearer dies. The only way to reset the countdown are magic candies. And the only way to get the magic candies are to compete in the prison games (I think) which is what the park attendees come to see.
This was an extremely interesting first episode. I’m immensely curious about the rest of the series and the world, and just based on this episode alone, I would buy it.
Now what I find very intriguing is that I enjoyed this, even though it was dubbed. I detest dubs. I can’t stand listening to them. I have not found a single dub that I could tolerate for any length of time until now, even ones like Cowboy Bebop which everyone swears by. I actually even thought it was a very good dub, not just adequate. So there you go.
Undecided if I’ll stream the rest from the cable site (assuming they post it), or if I’ll wait for Funi’s release so I can watch it subbed.
Summary (from ANN): The Waldstein Academy is an institute devoted to studies on paranormal disciplines, thus becoming known as the Occult Academy. Maya Kumashiro returns to this place to attend the funeral of the former principal, Junichiro Kumashiro, her father. Maya, a skeptic who hates the occult, meets Fumiaki Uchida, a time agent from the future sent to 1999 to prevent the apocalyptic Nostradamus Prophecies from happening. The predictions state that the school will be ground zero of the cataclysm that will destroy the world. They must team up to discover not only what actually led to her father’s demise, they have limited time to find out what is the key that triggers the beginning of the end.
What my friends and I thought: The first four episodes were really quite good (my friends enjoyed the silhouetted penis in episodes 1 & 2). Action, comedy, horror… a very good combination. The art style is very pretty, and I love Maya’s design (the girl in the black and white–don’t ask me why she’s sitting like that). I really don’t like Abe/Uchida though. He’s annoying as hell. He’s a coward, a liar, a braggart, and I loathe him. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to like him or find him funny, but every time he lies or runs away, my mouth turns sour. Maybe I’ll be lucky, and the girl he likes turns out to be an alien and eats him.
I do like two of the other characters so far, a spiritual dowser (he can sense ghosts), and a mechanic-fighter who carries around a wrench about as big as he is. They are pretty much pure comedy.
Despite Maya’s position on the box art, and Uchida’s silhouetted penis, there isn’t that much fanservice so far. There was a shower scene, and maybe you might see Maya’s underwear really really fast during a running scene, but nothing egregious. Maya’s body type is rare in anime–she’s almost pear-shaped, with a healthy set of hips. Usually anime goes for the pre-pubescent, exaggerated hourglass, or top heavy girl figure. It’s refreshing to see an unusual body type!
This show has gotten mixed reviews. I’ve heard the ending kind of falls apart. One person said he liked it just fine, and has no regrets buying it (NISA does have it and released a very pretty box set, as is their practice). Others have said that it’s good for maybe one watch, but it’s not really worth a second. Crunchyroll is still streaming it though, so I think I’ll just watch it on there and see how it goes.
Summary: Weird zany cartoon adventures of a boy and his talking dog.
What my friends and I thought: EVERYONE loves Adventure Time. It’s ridiculous the levels of gushiness. But of course we were curious to see what spawned such rabid devotion. So we finally watched it one morning while getting ready. It was pretty weird. But funny. We had the excellent fortune of watching the Fat Pony episode! And one about a snail-slug. And one about Jake getting sick and asking Finn to tell him an original adventure story, but Finn didn’t have one, so he went out to create one according to Jake’s checklist. Definitely would like to watch more. Although I kinda would prefer to watch episodes with the Fionna and Cake in the gender-swapped world.
Gilles Poitras’s panel of Anime and Manga for Parents (and Grownups)
Finally, our one informative panel that we made it to. I actually wanted to see several informative panels, but then Fanime went and scheduled them all in the same time block (this is a convention rule). We also wanted to see his panel on the Japanese sex trade in anime and manga, but that was on Friday, which was the day of hell.
Anyway last year we attended his Manga for Grownups panel where he went over about twenty or so manga for adults. It was an extremely informative panel, and I ended up with a huge shopping list, and then proceeded to spend a ton of money in the dealer’s room.
This year, while educational and entertaining, this really was more of a beginners’ panel to assure parents their kids are watching potentially good things and anime is not necessarily tentacle porn. He also encouraged parents to read manga as a discussion point (he used GTO as a good discussion manga). He likes to talk, and he’s really fun to listen to as he rambles on (sometimes on tangents) and I hope to go to yet more of his panels in the future.
Summary: Audience buys bingo cards to watch 18+ guys take their clothes off and win prizes.
Reaction: I’m getting too old for this. I’ve been too old for this for about 5 years now (well, a lot longer, tbh). The first couple years were funny, but now I just feel icky and the fangirls are irritating. It’s kind of a tradition though for us to go and sit there for about fifteen minutes and then get bored and wander off. I do like the winning prizes part though. Just not the stripping part. Or the screaming part. Or the staged makeout sessions. However it also can lead to some hilarious scenes where we see girls full on sobbing because they’re not allowed into the event with no ID and they’re screaming up and down that they are 18. Uh huh.
What we watched this year FAR outstripped what we watched last year. I was pleased with how much we managed to cram in (last year we saw one measly episode of Xam’d [meh] and the aforementioned Poitras manga panel). Hopefully next year Fanime will straighten their registration out so we can actually enjoy the full con.
Part 2 of Fanime 2012: What I Saw is here.
Part 3 of Fanime 2012: What I Got is here.
Part 4A of Fanime 2012: What I Ate & Drank (Friday/Saturday) is here.
Part 4B of Fanime 2012: What I Ate & Drank (Sunday/Monday) is here.