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Anime NYC Part Two

As you already know if you saw my status update, trying to attend a huge, huge convention didn’t work out so hot for me. That said, there’s still some stuff I did at the con that I wanted to write a little about before we get too far past it. Besides, whatever problems I was having, at least I had tons of cool cosplayers like the above gender-flipped Sailor Moon Boy Band to cheer me up.

Saturday, Nov. 17 was unofficial Manga and Light Novel Day at the con, since most print publishers had their panels that day. I was able to attend panels for Kodansha, Denpa Books and Vertical, Inc.; I wanted to attend the Viz Media panel, but that was full to capacity before I even got there. Curses! It’s like Viz has mega-popular franchises in their catalogue or something. Yen Press also had their panel that day, but unfortunately, I was getting sleepy and dragged my sick ass back to the hotel instead of staying for it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend nearly as much as I wanted, but on the plus side, I found the panels I did attend to be quite interesting.

Manga Library

They had twice as much manga as this, but I didn’t take a pic of the whole room because I didn’t want to get photos of people reading their manga. Privacy, yo.

Not a panel, but I wanted to at least duck my head into the Manga Library while I was there. For a while, I didn’t really get the point of manga libraries at conventions, to be honest. It’s like, “I just moved heaven and Earth to get to this convention, at great expense; why don’t I just squander this opportunity by ignoring all the con programming and reading Fruits Basket in a corner for four hours?”

What I didn’t realize then, but has become increasingly obvious to me now, is that it’s really nice to have a quiet place at a major con where you can just relax, without being surrounded by thousands of other people. I don’t think the main purpose of manga libraries is to cater to people with anxiety, but if you do happen to have anxiety, being able to tuck yourself away somewhere nice and quiet with a favorite manga for distraction can be extraordinarily helpful. I know some cons have instituted “quiet rooms” or what have you for this reason, but I like the manga library better specifically because it serves multiple purposes. Even people who really like the hustle and bustle of a big con can benefit from spending a quiet hour or two in the manga library, and then people with anxiety aren’t effectively segregated from everyone else.

The manga library at Anime NYC was provided by the Carolina Manga Library. Carolina doesn’t just do conventions, but also schools and libraries, so check them out if you want to set up a manga book fair in your neighborhood– because why wouldn’t you?

Kodansha

The Kodansha/Vertical, Inc. panel was a long list of manga and light novel announcements, which are by now old news, so I won’t detail all of them here. They did spend some time talking about the new Sailor Moon Eternal Edition, which kind of annoys me; I just bought the complete English-language Sailor Moon manga that Kodansha put out a couple of years ago, and now they’ve got this whole new version with interior color pages and all that great stuff. Similarly, they’re releasing a hardcover “Collector’s Edition” of Card Captor Sakura in spring 2019, right after I just bought the omnibus editions of that series not long ago.

This is like when you rush out to buy a great JPRG, only to have it come out later for PSP or Vita with better graphics and added dungeons and all kinds of new stuff, and I’m getting tired of it. I guess I am happy for fans who get to buy these better-than-ever editions, but I’m not buying either magical girl series again; do I look made of money to you? Anyway, my personal regrets and bitterness aside, it’s a good time to be a magical girl manga fan (who isn’t me).

They also talked about a title called Gleipnir, which is supposedly like  “Pokemon meets Prison School,”; Kodansha editor Ben Applegate confessed to being “deeply ashamed” of how much he enjoys this manga, so if nothing else I’ve got to find out what’s going on there. Gleipnir comes out March 5, 2019.

Denpa Books

I didn’t even know Denpa Books existed until Anime NYC. They just started up this year, and considering that I haven’t exactly been watching the manga industry like a hawk, it’s not surprising that they’ve been kind of under my radar. But I was really impressed by what they had to show at the convention. Their publishing schedule for the next six months or so is full of unusual, quirky manga that you might not expect to see published stateside…and the manga version of the especially fluffy Fate/Stay Night spinoff, Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family.

Huh. I guess even artistic, boutique publishers need to milk the Fate cash cow every now and then to keep the money flowing (and who am I to judge?) To be fair, Denpa Founder Ed Chavez straight-up admitted at the panel that some of the titles that his company would be licensing would be done for financial reasons, despite the company’s general preference for more obscure titles with high artistic merit, so there’s no obfuscation about this.

Anyway, what’s particularly impressive about Denpa is that they’re a standalone company; they aren’t a subsidiary of Hachette, or Penguin, or any other large publisher, which is what you would usually expect. Out of their upcoming releases, personally I’m most interested in Maiden Railways. The fact that someone made a josei manga, focused on love stories, but said manga is also all about trains, sounds like something I would make up as a joke for the podcast, but no, apparently it really exists. I’m fascinated by the prospect of examining fanatical railroad obsession through a uniquely feminine lens, and if you’re not…well, let’s just say I question whether or not you know how to party.

In any case, I want to read pretty much everything Denpa has in the pipeline, so don’t be surprised if you see reviews of some of their manga pop up here in the future.

Vertical, Inc

Most of Vertical’s panel was dedicated to the forthcoming release of the Katanagatari light novels and uh…I’m not a fan of that series. I watched the first episode of the anime when it came out years ago and was hella bored, so I’m not that interested in going back to read the source material. Translator Sam Bett of BestBettJapanese had a lot of interesting things to say about the translation process though, so it was still interesting on that level.

Just to give you an example, Bett replaced the term “deviant blades” in Katanagatari with “mutant blades,” because in his opinion, the term ‘deviant’ brought up moral, Christian associations that weren’t appropriate to the setting. I liked this anecdote because it goes to show just how complex the process of translation really is; you’re not only dealing with the literal meanings of words, but also their connotations, and where those connotations came from.

He also noted that he decided to use a lot of footnotes in a “Jokey, kind of postmodern way,” which almost makes me want to buy Katanagatari despite my general lack of interest in the series; I’m a sucker for footnotes. Perhaps I will review it just so I can talk about the footnotes…stranger things have happened.

That’s all for my Anime NYC experience; it may not have been a good time for me, but I still feel comfortable saying it was a good convention in general. It has pretty much everything you could want at an anime con, and then some.

 

Anime NYC: Day One

I’m going to level with you all: I didn’t actually do that much at Anime NYC today. I was really tired by the time I even got here, and I only ended up making it to maybe half the panels that I’d planned on. I’m hoping a good night’s sleep in our (tiny) hotel room will help, and I’ll be able to see more of the sights tomorrow. Also, you can bet I’m loading up on that complimentary Continental Breakfast, so I should be well-fueled. Screw keto, I’m all about the free carbs.

First, I dropped into the Arc System Works Panel, where they were showing off their upcoming Kill La Kill game. The trailers and such they showed have already been posted online, however, new characters are now playable that were not ready at previous conventions, including Nonon. I hope I get a chance to make my way to the Arc System Works booth in the exhibition hall and try out the game tomorrow.

Next, I checked out the How to Live and Study in Japan panel, presented by Go! Go! Nihon. Frankly I think I missed my window of opportunity to study in Japan (*sniff*), but the service also offers Study Trips that combine a vacation with Japanese learning, so that’s a possibility for me– not right now, but maybe someday.

Presenter Christopher Lee detailed his own experience, and gave some details about the schools this program is affiliated with. I was interested to learn about Nihon Kogakuin Japanese Language School; it’s actually a top school for animation and design, but it also has a Japanese language program that’s open to total beginners. For Westerners who want to become fluent in Japanese and perhaps work in the anime industry someday, it sounds like about as good a deal as you’re going to get.

Next I sat in on a spotlight panel with voice actor Toru Furuya. Furuya has had about a billion different anime roles, including Yamcha from Dragonball Z and Sabo from One Piece, but he’ll always be primarily known to me as Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. In fact, when it was time to put in interview requests for the guests for this con, I didn’t even try to get some time with Furuya, because if I tried to interview him in any capacity, I’d just be sitting there bug-eyed like “OH MY GOD IT’S TUXEDO MASK,” and that would just waste everyone’s time.

Furuya graciously answered questions about his roles in a long list of anime productions, but naturally I was most interested in his comments on Sailor Moon. When asked about his favorite part of that show, he noted that the actresses playing the Sailor Senshi were all very pretty, and he liked attending the recording sessions because of that. Heh. Gotta love the honesty.

Probably more interesting for long-term anime fans were Furuya’s comments on Gundam. He talked about the possibility of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series being remade with modern animation techniques, which prompted the question of whether or not he’d reprise his role as Amuro Ray if such an opportunity presented itself. Furuya answered in the affirmative before his translator even had a chance to translate the question. In general, Furuya seemed very enthusiastic about his involvement in the Gundam franchise (although he denied wanting a cameo in an American Gundam movie, should one ever be made.)

Next, like any self-respecting otaku with the desire to burn money I don’t have on keychains, plastic swords and wall scrolls, I checked out the exhibitors hall. Actually I behaved myself (for once) and didn’t buy much at all, but there was some interesting stuff going on in the hall aside from all the cool merchandise on sale. Yen Press has a bunch of little events going on to promote That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, and as a pretty big fan of the show right now, I was pleased to see it. First, they had a “draw your own Rimiru” board:

Many slime fans had come this way before me.

So you know I had to get in on that:

There may have been better-drawn Rimuru’s on the board, but were any of them happier than this little guy? DOUBT IT.

Finally, I got to hug Rimuru! Yen Press is running some kind of contest where you get your picture taken with Rimuru and post it on Twitter and then you could win a prize or something, but honestly, I just wanted to hug Rimuru. Maybe I’m no Elven tavern wench, but I like to think that my Rimuru was reasonably happy with this turn of events.

He’s so squishy!

That’s it for Day One of the con. “But where are all my licensing announcements? Where are my copious cosplay photos?” We’ll get there. I just nearly started an electrical fire in the hotel room trying to make a cup of decaf, so I think I’m going to cut my losses for today and GO TO SLEEP.

Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2018: Cosplay!

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo may not be a cosplay destination in the same way that say, Anime Expo is. That said, there was some pretty impressive cosplay on display, and even the simpler costumes shined when their wearers went all-out with roleplaying. Since it was a gaming convention, obviously most of the characters depicted were from games, but there were also some costumes from anime and films. There was even a roving gang of Star Wars cosplayers, but I never got a good picture of them because they only seemed to show up when I was a)eating a sandwich or b)in the bathroom.

No one literally said, “You just missed them; the elusive Star Wars cosplayers!” but that was kind of how it felt. I hope that was the only group cosplay that I missed; if I find out there was a Final Fantasy VII troop somewhere that I just never ran into, I’m going to be upset.

A note on lighting: The Expo holds its cosplay contest in the Planetarium, which is a really cool venue in general, but it doesn’t have the best lighting for photography. I took a lot of these photos during the contest, meaning the photos are a bit dark. I’ve done my best to compensate, but there’s a limit to what I can do. Geek-E Magazine sponsors the cosplay contest, and they had a professional photographer taking pictures, so better pics will be available through them at some point.

Let’s start with a character close to my heart, a gorgeous Lara Croft. Man, I want to cosplay as Lara Croft now…maybe next year. Of course, if I was going to do that, I should have probably done it before I cut off nearly all my hair. Maybe I can cosplay Dora the Explorer in the meantime?

The only Star Wars cosplayer I was able to track down. Was he part of the roving gang of Star Wars people, or an independent agent? Not sure. I should have tried to follow him and see if he’d lead me to the Jedi or whoever, but I’m pretty sure that would have violated the con’s no-stalking rules….

A great Street Fighter group cosplay; so glad I caught these guys on my way out. Sadly, there was no group of X-Men cosplayers for them to fight with; I’ll have to wait for next year in the hopes of seeing an X-Men vs. Street Fighter reenactment. But it’s possible! Keep hope alive!

The judges for the Kids Cosplay contest. I didn’t take pics of the kids for the most part (as a parent, I feel weird about it), but this Little Sister from Bioshock 2 crept in there.

I’m going to level with you, I have no idea what’s going on here. Bunny Sailor Mercury hanging out with…The Riddler? Not a clue. Why didn’t it occur to me to ask them while I was taking the picture? I am an AWARD-WINNING journalist goshdarnit, you’d think I’d know better than to embarrass myself like this.

Awesome Breath of the Wild Zelda. Not to be confused with the Hyrule Warriors version of Zelda, who was also in attendance. It’s almost like this Zelda series is popular or something.

Ness from Earthbound. I’ve really gotta play that game one of these years….

Crash Bandicoot.

This costume is of a Clow Card from Card Captor Sakura, but I’ve been looking for a while and I can’t figure out which card it is. It sound like she said the “Fate” card, but I can’t find any reference to a Fate Clow Card on CCSak sites. Any Sakura superfans able to help me out here?

Your friendly neighborhood Tobi from Naruto.

Hyrule Warriors Zelda. It’s a shame I couldn’t get a better picture, because this was an awesome costume. She won Best in Show.

Cube from Jet Set Radio Future. Love the skates!

Finally, a Mario! Worth the wait.

It’s another Ness from Earthbound. Uh, I really need to play that game….

The Squid Sisters from Splatoon.

Awww, it’s an entire Mario family! I’ve never seen Peach in a cowboy hat before, but I’m sure that comes from somewhere. Their performance was hilarious; they split the Best Group Cosplay trophy with the Splatoon group.

This is a cosplay from the movie The Hangover 2. I haven’t seen the movie, so I have no idea what’s going on here, but it looks like a really good attempt at…at…at a costume. Way to think out of the box there, friend.

A lovely Princess Peach. Not that I have anything against “casual Peach” above, but this is what I think of when I think of the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. This cosplay won the Best Craftsmanship award.

Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat. He did not do any huge acrobatics (which are against con policy anyway), but he did a nice routine featuring Kang’s trademark kicks. I wonder: did he have a violent confrontation with the Street Fighter team above? The mind boggles.

Remember Breath of the Wild Zelda from alllll the way back at the beginning? She found herself a Link! Okay, obviously these two came together, but I like the idea that they just randomly found each other at the convention. Then it was love at first sight.

Thank you to all the cosplayers for allowing me to photograph you. To those cosplayers at LIRGE that I missed (and I know there were some), my apologies; I was trying to get as many of you as possible, but I’m only one person and can’t be everywhere at once. I’ll probably be dressed as Dora the Explorer next year, so if I missed you this time around, you know where to look to get your picture taken.

Keep in mind I’m in my 30s though, if you see an age-appropriate Dora the Explorer cosplay, that is an actual child and you should probably leave them alone.

 

Otakon 2018 News Wrap-Up

Otakon occurred this past weekend and a ton of news was shared with the thousands of attendees. So, let’s dig right into things with a good old-fashioned con wrap up!

Aniplex of America

– Both The Irregular at Magic High School and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will be receiving Blu-ray box sets later this year.

– The hour-long premiere episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization will premiere in Los Angeles on September 15.

Warner Brothers

– Summer series High School Girl and Sirius the Jaeger will be hitting Netflix in December 2018.

Denpa

– The reason why you’ve never heard of Denpa before is that this is a company that was first revealed to exist at this year’s Otakon. Fronted by Vertical’s former marketing director Ed Chavez, he announced the new company and the first seven manga licenses: Kaiji by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, Inside Mari by Shuzo Oshimi, An Invitation from a Crab (Kani ni Sasowarete) by panpanya, Futurelog by Range Murata, Maiden Railways (Tetsudou Shojo Manga) by Atsumiko Nakamura, Super Dimensional Love Gun by Shintaro Kago, and Legend of the Overfiend by Toshio Maeda. Good luck Ed!

Funimation

– Funi announced that they have licensed the series Angel Links and will release it on November 6.

Manga Gamer

– Manga Gamer announced the following new licenses: The Expression Amrilato, Fxxx Me Royally! – Horny Magical Princess, Farther than the Blue Sky!, and Beat Angel Escalayer R

Dark Horse

– Dark Horse Comics only announced one new license: Emanon by Shinji Kajio and Kenji Tsuruta

Sentai Filmworks

– Sentai will dub the following series: Girls’ Last Tour, Land of the Lustrous, Mitsuboshi Colors, and Just Because!

Discotek

– Discotek were the big winners this weekend with a ton of license announcements: Giant Robo OVA, Area 88 OVA, Lupin the 3rd: Blood Seal of the Eternal Mermaid movie, Kimagure Orange Road, Galaxy Express 999, Psycho Armor Govarian, Bo-Bobo-Bo-Bobo-bo, Space Warriors Baldios, Voltes V, God Mars, Message from Space: Galactic Wars, and Space Wolf Juspion.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Hour-Long First Episode to Premiere in Seven Countries

Sword Art Online: Alicization Key Visual

You all have no Earthly idea how excited I am for the third season of Sword Art Online. I have lived and died with these characters ever since the first season premiered and I am already all set for more action with this crew. Thanks to the news that hit today, I’m even more excited.

According to the announcement which was posted early this morning by Aniplex, the special one-hour long first episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization will be premiered in seven different countries: Japan, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, and Korea.

Unfortunately, we have absolutely no idea when or where these premieres will be taking place (besides the one in Japan, announced for September 15) so you’ll just have to stay tuned to get more details!

If you can’t make it to one of these big premiere events, you can still check out the series when it actually airs starting in October 2018.

Via Getchu

Girly Air Force Anime Set to Premiere in Winter 2019

Girly Air Force Key Visual

We’re only four months away from seeing these girly pilots take off into the sky!

According to multiple sources out of Japan, the previously announced series Girly Air Force will be airing during the winter 2019 season. Starring Ryota Ohsaka as the hero Kei and Yuuka Morishima as humanity’s last hope Gripen, this series follows their path together.

The premise: Flying creatures called Zai have started attacking Earth. Mankind, in their infinite wisdom, creates aircraft called “Daughters” and an automated system to fight them called “Anima”.

I would love to say that I am all on board for this series already, but I won’t be until I see a finished product. I will admit though that the concept has me curious and I’m really dying to know more about the crew who are putting it together. We already know that Satelight is producing the animation but come on, throw us all a bone here.

[Editor’s Note: Isn’t this premise just Third Aerial Girls Squad from Shirobako? I’m so confused….]

Otter Media Purchased by AT&T

It was announced yesterday via various industry trades that Otter Media had been purchased in whole by the telecom giant, AT&T.

AT&T previously co-owned the company in a joint venture along with The Chernin Group. This is something that has been rumored for quite a while now, but the deal was finalized this week.

Now, why should you care about this? Because Otter Media is the parent company of Crunchyroll, VRV, Rooster Teeth, Ellation, and Fullscreen.

According to the announcement, Otter CEO Ton Goncalves will keep his job and report to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey from this point forward.

It’s absolutely impossible to predict what this means for fans and Crunchyroll in general, so I won’t speculate here. This could end up being absolutely nothing in the long run and might not even be detectable to fans from this point forward. At least that’s my sincere hope.

New Key Visual and Cast Members Revealed for Voice of Fox Anime

Voice of Fox Key Visual

A brand new key visual and cast details were revealed yesterday for the upcoming series, Voice of Fox (Kitsune no Koe). Set to premiere in October 2018, the series is all about a high school kid who is listless and poor.

During the day, he’s a talented musician who ghostwrites and performs songs for a talentless pop idol who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. This high school kid, named Hu Li, also wears a fox mask to hide a large facial scar he received in a car accident. By night, however, this high school kid goes online and publishes his own music under the name Mr. Fox.

Nine cast members have been confirmed for the series thus far:

Chuyun: Arisa Kouri
Hongye: Yukiko Motoyoshi
Hu Li: Kengo Kawanishi
Ji Hetian: Satoshi Hino
Kong Que: Hisayoshi Suganuma
President Kim: Sho Hayami
Xueer: Rena Maeda
Yuxin: Shiki Aoki
Zhang Yao: Subaru Kimura

Meanwhile, in the crew, we have Koujin Ochi sitting in the director’s chair at studio Yumeta Company. Yoshimi Narita will be handling the series composition and Aki Tsunaki will be taking care of character designs.

The series is based on a manhua which ran for 24 chapters in One Week Comics between June 2015 and September 2016. This tells me that, provided this series gets enough episodes, we might actually get to see a complete story from beginning to end! Hallejuah!

Via Anime Herald

Mexico Awarded First Place at 2018 World Cosplay Summit

Team Mexico accepting first place!

There’s no other word for it; last night Mexico DOMINATED the World Cosplay Summit.

Held in Nagoya, this annual event brings together the most elite cosplayers in the world for a competition to see who’s the best. This year, Mexico showed its fighting spirit (literally) with a Street Fighter cosplay and skit combo that knocked the judges out cold.

Out of nine awards given out last night, Mexico snagged SIX of them including the Air Asia award, the Futaba award, the NicoNico award, and the grand championship. Indonesia and Thailand took second and third place, respectively.

Here are videos of the top three skits, Mexico first…

This marks the second time that Mexico has won the grand championship (tying them with Japan). The last time this happened was in 2015. Currently, the overall leaders are Italy and Brazil, with three wins each.

The three winning teams!

Congratulations to the winners and participants of this year’s competition!

Photos via Facebook, Mantan Web

Mitsuru Adachi’s Mix Manga to Get TV Anime in Spring 2019

More baseball anime is coming? But my birthday isn’t until October!

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a TV anime adaptation of Mitsuru Adachi’s Mix manga series will air in spring 2019. If you’re a fan of the series Touch (also created by Adachi) you’ll want to pay super close attention to this.

In this series, the story takes place about thirty years after the events of Touch and will follow two stepbrothers who are trying to get into Koushien. The series first began running in 2012 in Monthly Shonen Sunday and will soon have thirteen volumes in print.

I will never complain about more baseball anime! I am a bit concerned because I never got around to watching Touch, but I’m hoping that this series set far enough away from those events that new fans can get into the story without much effort.

Via Moetron