One mere weekend after ALA, and I’m at the biggest anime convention in the country, held once again at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
This year there were some space issues in the area, as for some bizarre reason, they decided to hold two huge events simultaneously: Anime Expo, and the X Games (extreme sports competition). This also had the problem of having two very different groups of attendees–extreme nerds, and extreme jocks, and I was afraid there’d be some epic confrontations. Fortunately, I didn’t hear of too many bad things going on, so maybe it was ok. A couple incidents of name calling, but that’s about it. Thank god. However, this did lead to some parking issues, so Malvitas and I parked about a mile away the first day (super cheap, $5 parking vs. $30 a few blocks closer). This led to MASSIVE amounts of walking, and sore muscles by the end of the day. We fixed this the next day by taking the Metro on Sunday, which was MUCH easier (and a mere $1.50 each way per person).
Sadly the two panels that I wanted to see the most, the ANN Info Panel and the ANNCast panel were both held on the same day I could not go, Friday. -_- These two events have been on two separate days in the past, and this year, Malvitas and I bought weekend passes so we could attend both panels (or at least one). Instead, AX was dumb and first forgot to include them (even though they’d been attending for a decade), and then second said the only time slots they could find were for both on Friday. I was so mad.
Instead I had to settle for three industry panels, and a guest of honor panel. Since my panel info is very small, I’m including license announcements that I’m interested in here, too. (Not all the license announcements, as that would absurd, since Sentai alone announced a whopping 17 licenses, to the point that people were all, “Another Sentai license? Whatever. Blah.”)
The first panel we went to was NIS America (NISA) who specializes in premium sets, no dubs, niche, and usually high quality anime. The audience was disappointed they had no new licenses to announce, but they did give a street date for a long waited anime for me: Natsume Yuujinchou, which is about a boy and his spirit “guardian” (Nyanko-sensei claims he wants to eat him, but will protect him for now for his own selfish interests) who rests in a manekineko (lucky cat) body.
NISA announced a 2 season set, DVD only, for October 9, set at the same price as their BD/DVD 1 season sets. So that’s cool. I really like this anime; it’s a quiet anime with lots of interesting Japanese spirits and monsters, ranging all over the alliance charts.
Saturday evening was the FUNi panel (where Malvitas and I got in a scuffle over how to pronounce “Funi”–is it Fooni or Funny? I pronounce the full name FUNimation as in “fun,” but switch to Fooni when shortening it. Mal said that was dumb, and it’s “funny” but I said that sounded stupid. The panel didn’t help, as two panelists pronounced it both ways. Anyways…). I was highly anticipating this panel because on ANNCast, one of the FUNi staff said they had hold of a 2007 license, which immediately got everyone excited because 2007 was a huge year for prime anime. Mononoke, Moyashimon, Dennou Coil, and Nodame Cantabile all came out this year, none of which are licensed, and all are high demand anime for the US (or, at least, for me). After a bunch of boring stuff they finally got to their new licenses. They announced quite a few, but the first one (and best one) they announced was Michiko to Hatchin, from… 2008. Apparently they can’t do math (as they did confirm this was the show they were alluding to on ANNCast).
This is a very stylish show, along the lines of Cowboy Bebop and the newest Lupin III incarnation. ANN Encyclopedia has the plot as: “Hatchin is a girl raised by strict foster parents who has long given up her dreams of freedom. Michiko is a sexy criminal who escapes from a supposedly inescapable prison. When she suddenly enters Hana’s life, these two very different women set off on a journey across a lawless land in search of a missing man from both their pasts.” I remember starting to watch this a long time ago and liking the style very much (it was different), but for forgotten reasons not finishing it. I’ll finish it now, once FUNi releases it.
On Sunday, Viz Media didn’t announce anything with respect to new licenses. Boring. They did announce a new 24 hour anime channel to be available through a “major gaming console.”
However, this does me absolutely no good because 1) I have no gaming console of any kind (unless you count a Nintendo DS) and 2) it’s ALL DUBBED. Blech. Eff that. I’ll stick with my lovely Crunchyroll service.
Also on Sunday, I attended my very first Guest of Honor panel at any anime con. I usually really don’t have much interest in guests of honor as I’m not really into that aspect of anime. I can occasionally recognize voices, but I’m really bad at remembering names or creators (it’s horrible, I know, that I don’t know who’s creating all this wonderful stuff for me). Anyway, this was the Madhouse panel, which featured three creators from Chihayafuru, my favorite anime from Fall/Winter season 2011-2012. From left to right, they are Takuya Tsunoki (Animation Producer), Kunihiko Hamada (Animation Director) and Morio Asaka (Director) (with the translator on the far right). In various combinations, they also have worked on NANA, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Summer Wars. It actually was a pretty fun panel; they answered all the questions well, and the translator seemed decent (although sometimes Asaka would give a really long answer, and the translator’s answer was much shorter). They seemed to like the audience’s enthusiasm as well, Asaka took a picture of a Chihaya cosplayer, and they were highly amused by the giant Kero-chan who appeared in mid-panel.
The audience was good, too, with only two shallow questions at the beginning (that I knew because I follow ANN, but I realize everyone isn’t an anime news nerd like myself). A very good experience for me.
News that was announced on Friday or throughout the con because Sentai for some reason wasn’t given a panel (possibly to make room for the very important and thrilling Sound Design on My Little Pony panel or maybe the two identical Homestuck information panels on two different days):
Crunchyroll announced a slew of simulcast streams for summer… except the one I wanted most Moyashimon Returns. It’s still missing. -_- I believe it starts tomorrow in Japan. I’m so annoyed.
In better news, they announced they would have an app for PS3, which means Mal can stream it directly to his tv instead of hooking up his Macbook, which is how we were doing it. Yay! He’s pretty excited about that. They said it’s for summer, so either later this month or next month.
I recently became a Crunchyroll subscriber after bumming off an ANN forum user for free passes. $6.95/month was totally worth it for the spring season. HD and get things the same time as Japan, as opposed to grainy SD and anime a week later than Japan. I’m continuing for the summer season, although the pickings are much slimmer.
Right Stuf’s licensing division (Nozomi) had huge news with the announcement of their budget line, Lucky Penny. To go with this news, they also announced three new anime to start off this line: Ristorante Paradiso, Hyakko, and Aoi Hana.
Ristorante Paradiso came out in 2009 (lots of older anime announced, hooray for me–and yes, 3 years is “older anime.” If things aren’t announced within a year, hopes for a license are usually really lowered). Set in Italy, Nicoletta rejoins her strangely selfish mother at her step-father’s restaurant, which he has staffed with older men in glasses, for his wife’s sake. It’s like a weird older man fetish anime. Despite that bizarre set up, I still like it (Malvitas thinks I’m strange), although I really didn’t like the mother at all, and never warmed to her.
Aoi Hana (also released 2009) is one of those rare non-fanservicey anime featuring a gay love story. Usually both yaoi (gay men) and yuri (lesbians) are very fanservicey, and totally not made for either gay men or lesbians, but rather for straight women and straight men, respectively. I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s by the same creator of Wandering Son, a serious drama anime/manga featuring 2 transgender children struggling with their identities. I’ve heard great things about this anime, and how it treats the subject seriously and with sensitivity. I can’t wait to get this.
Hyakko I have no opinions on, nor any great desire to get it. I am going to wait for further information and reviews on this 4-koma anime.
Sentai announced an avalanche of anime, topping out at I believe seventeen titles and basically monopolizing the entire summer season (which is hilarious, since they are suing FUNi to stop them from becoming a monopoly). Since I haven’t seen any of the summer anime yet (minus one or two episodes), I have no opinion on much of what they snagged, barring negative opinions on the obviously fanservice schmuck I avoid.
However, amidst all that, they did announce two acquisitions I’m greatly interested in.
On mania.com’s old forum site (which I no longer frequent), I had a top 10 most wanted license list. Nothing’s been touched on that list, until now. Detroit Metal City was announced Saturday. This is one of the funniest anime I’ve ever seen. Soichi comes to Tokyo to become a big folk singer/songwriter and somehow (it’s never explained) gets roped into becoming the front man for a hardcore death metal band, Detroit Metal City (DMC). Soichi is the wussiest, most annoying spineless creature in existence, and his folk singing sucks. However, as Johannes Krauser II, he becomes a rampaging screaming monster that’s beloved by the metal world. Soichi claims to hate Krauser, but deep down, he secretly likes the power his alter ego possesses. This is also the crudest anime I’ve ever seen. I think Mal will like this.
FINALLY, after waiting all season, Space Brothers got picked up. This makes 4/6 anime that I’ve been watching for spring get licensed. Still waiting for Fujiko Mine (strangely, although I suspect FUNi will announce this at Otakon at the end of the month; it’ll be a nice match with the Michiko to Hatchin license) and Kuroko’s Basketball will of course not get licensed, being a sports anime.
After much cajoling and praising of its quality, I finally got Mal to watch Tiger & Bunny, the first four episodes, subbed (this was also the only anime we managed to squeeze in). Afterwards, he immediately yelled at me for not making him watch it earlier. I gave him a death glare. I think I’ve been trying for over a year to get him to watch this. It’s a flashy pretty anime, about superheroes, with attractive character designs. Both men and women like this all around appealing anime. It sounds like he wants to watch more, which is good, since I got distracted by other things at the halfway point, so I also need to finish it. Viz is finally getting on the dub, so hopefully there will be a release announced soon. On Blu Ray…
Whew, that was a long post! Oh well, the following posts will be shorter.
Part 2: Anime Expo 2012: What I Saw is here.
Part 3: Anime Expo 2012: What I Got is here.
Part 4: Anime Expo 2012: What I Ate/Drank is here.