Starting off the convention year way early this year with a one day trip to Anime Los Angeles, aka, The Other ALA.
Anime LA is a small con. Not a teeny con, but way smaller than I’m used to attending. A mere 4000 people attend this con usually (I’m used to about 20K-120K cons), and it’s held on the ballroom floor of the LAX Marriott. My friends invited me to hang out with them, and I was sort of reluctant, since the single day price was expensive ($35 for Saturday), and… it’s a small con! I suspected there would be nothing to do, the dealer’s room would be piddly, and I would get bored quickly. However, Anime News Network said they would hold a live ANNCast taping (their podcast), and I’m a big fan, so I agreed to go for one day.
Got there at 11, and after some parking issues (parking lot was full so I had to go to another one, but directions to self park were not clearly marked, so I got lost several times and yelled at for going the wrong way and ending up in the monthly parking section), there was no line, and registration was a breeze. I got a very nice looking badge out of hard plastic, and it wasn’t laminated or inserted in a plastic sleeve. I wish other cons had on-site registration this easy (or pre-reg lines go as smoothly). *cough*Fanime*cough*
For an anime con, there was oddly only one anime viewing room for shows. I’d already seen everything they offered or wasn’t interested in any of the shows, so I watched no anime at the con. I did however watch a couple episodes of Oreimo back in A & J’s room during some downtime between 6 and 8.
Oreimo’s full name is “My Little Sister Can’t Possibly Be This Cute” which sets off ALL of my warning bells when it comes to gross little sister incest anime, but instead it seems (I say seems, because I’ve only watched 2 episodes so far) to be about a boy who finds out his cute little sister is a closet otaku and she spends all her modeling money on supporting her sketchy habit of little sister visual novel games because she finds them so cute. She desperately wants someone to talk to about her habit, but is afraid she will lose all her normal school friends if they find out, so she swears her brother to secrecy and make him her accomplice in supporting her hobby. So far it seems pretty entertaining, although I’m still suspicious of any modern anime with the word “imouto” (little sister) in the title. I will watch a few more episodes with my guard up.
Industry/Informational Panels attended:
- Anime Fandom Before the Internet (panelled by Justin Sevakis, David Keith Riddick, Meri Davis, Matt Schley)
- Buried Garbage (horrible animation clips, hosted by Justin Sevakis)
- ANNCast Live (podcast taping, hosted by Zac Bertschy and Justin Sevakis)
- What’s Popular in the US vs. Japan and Why (basically a Q&A, panelled by Zac Bertschy, Justin Sevakis, David Keith Riddick, and Evan … something. I’m sorry! I didn’t write down his name, and it wasn’t in the program. -_-;)
- The Legacy of Satoshi Kon (hosted by Matt Schley)
As you can see, it looks like we basically stalked Justin all day.
I have no pictures of the panels because we sat in the front row all the time, so I felt weird.
Anyway, all the panels were excellent. These were not fan run panels, but by people who actually knew what they were talking about and who were used to talking in front of people and being keeping our attention. I enjoyed learning about the pre-Internet anime fandom, back when VHS tapes were exchanged, and newsletters and fanzines were mailed out. This was back before fansubbing, and people would gather to watch the raws (non-subbed/non-dubbed anime) with one guy in the front who would yell out what was happening on screen. Translations would happen if someone had a Japanese neighbor who was willing to sit down and watch and write down what was being said. Totally fascinating. Justin then proceeded to kill our brain cells by showing absolutely atrocious animation from India and Indonesia, and clips of the worst dubbed anime, Garzey’s Wing (which I need to sit down and watch with G sometime while drunk) at his Buried Garbage Panel. ANNCast had a small turnout, but we got some news of upcoming changes coming to ANN (video reviews, comments on articles vs. the forum threads, Justin’s new column, Pile of Shame–pretty much him going through his backlog). What’s Popular had a huge turnout, standing room only, and that was pretty entertaining as people would ask about differences between Japanese and American audiences. I missed the Kick-Heart panel which was opposite this (the first anime funded by Kickstarter, which I have contributed to), which was too bad. I wanted to see that one, too, but I was enjoying myself at the Popular panel. And finally, we ended our night with the Satoshi Kon panel, which fired up my interest again, and when I came home I ordered a copy of Perfect Blue, which is supposed to be an extremely good anime, but also super disturbing, which is why I’ve been avoiding it. I finally caved after this panel. I also need to watch Millennium Actress, and rewatch his other stuff (Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika, Paranoia Agent). As a special treat, to close out his panel, Schley also showed us Kon’s one minute movie, Good Morning, which I had not seen before, or knew existed. Loved it.
As you can see, my day was totally filled. I did manage to run off to the dealer’s room and artist’s alley, where I picked up a few small things, and we did find time to eat and watch a couple eps of anime back in A & J’s hotel room. I had a great time, and got my money’s worth, which I was completely surprised and pleased by. Would definitely do this again.