Tuesday, June 19, 2012

AnimeNEXT 2012 Roundup!

So after forgetting my power cord for my laptop at the con in one of the panel rooms because I'm a derp, this is getting up a little later than I'd like. But in short, AnimeNEXT 2012 was definitely the best year EVER!

Before I get all texty on everyone, I'm going to present what I promised all those lovely people that got bookmarks from me....the AnimeNEXT photo reel! TA DAA!!!

By the way, if any of you would like copies of any photos you see in this photo reel, you can go to my public Facebook album by clicking here. If you want higher resolution photos for printing or whatnot, feel free to drop me a line.

Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, here's the rundown. There were some great panels that were given at the con, and many of you showed up for What Bronies Can Learn from Anime Fans, a panel I helped out with that was presented by my awesome Dad, Dr. Bill Ellis, who is also known as the owner of Sensei's Anime Gallery. ( When I announced the fact he is my Dad during the panel, the room pretty much went bonkers.) And I gotta say, you all were AWESOME. I mean, we literally got bum rushed at the end, and as a result I am clean outta The Insatiable Critic bookmarks. Also, seeing the combination of Bronies and Otaku meshed together in a big love fest just did my heart so much good. By the way, you can see a select few photos of my Dad and the slides from the panel in action here.

Check that guy out in the front nabbing that Critic bookmark! Love you guys!

I also give major props to those of you who came to the ill-fated Anime Under the Radar panel, whereupon I learned the Golden Rule of paneldom, repeat after me...


But people were patient and awesome and despite our panel being SO under the radar that due to a prior scheduling glitch it was not included in the con pocket program guide. Then it was rescheduled from Friday to Saturday, then it had a room change, and THEN there were a bunch of ladies who had been misinformed about the room's availability and were about to do a cosplay panel that my Dad had to politely boot out of there. And we still had over 30 people in attendance to listen to Dr. Bill Ellis, Dylan Ferrara, and myself babble on about Heat Guy J, Saint Seiya, and Maeterlinck's Blue Bird. We had a great discussion about other titles such as DNA Squared and Darkside Blues that haven't gotten the credit they've deserved over the years. If anyone at that panel is reading this now, feel free to comment and list other obscure series worth a watch. A review of Heat Guy J, basically summarizing what I talked about in the panel, is waiting in the wings and will be posted on this blog soon. 

I also want to briefly mention voice actress Michele Knotz's Knotz Your Everyday Panel, which gave attendees a chance to strut their own personal voice talents, from a young girl singing the National Anthem (and pretty much blowing everyone away) to a guy doing a rap in the Kirby voice. It was awesome that she gave others a chance to shine as well as showing everyone a great time!

 Charles Dunbar did his usual awesome job with his panels, particularly with Style and Substance: 50 Years of Anime Openings which chronicled the development of the anime opening from its early days with Astro Boy to shows airing in Japan currently. I got a personal thrill getting to see the opening for Lupin III on the (relatively) big screen. Retro-tastic! (Also, he referred to this blog to a fellow con staffer as part of a group of "major web media outlets"! Not sure if that's accurate, but I'll take it!)  My personal favorite, however, was Beyond Castles, Forests, and Houses: Philosophy in the Works of Hayao Miyazaki, given at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning of the con. Usually a groggy time for most people, the room still ended up being packed. For those of you who couldn't get up that early due to too much raving or weren't able to get in due to the room being maxed out, your friendly neighborhood Critic videotaped a portion of the panel for your enjoyment:

GENERAL CON IMPRESSIONS: Being part of the Black Butler cosplay shoot as Grell on Saturday was a blast. Anime shows that are mega popular usually aren't my scene, but something about Black Butler has really captivated me. Fellow BB cosplayers were fun to be around to just get silly with, and silly we definitely got, as you can see from the photo reel. Also, I got a lot of complements on my Grell pointy shark teeth, which I made using a tip from Cosplay.com of taking fake nails and denture adhesive and sticking them on the surface of my front teeth. 

And speaking of Black Butler, this was my personal treat to myself from the Artist Alley: 

Look ma! You can have either Grell or Sebastian right-side up depending on how you feel that day.

 They had sold out of this print but were nice enough to ship it to me for FREE and it only took me a week to get it!! I was very, very impressed. When I can track down who actually DID this artwork I will pass it along.

Despite the usual craziness that accompanies attending and staffing a con, most attendees were very kind and sympathetic towards staffers and I didn't hear any major grumbling as I had in years past about people being shut out of panels or there not "being enough going on." If anything, there was so much stuff to choose from it was like being on a veritable caffeine high for most of the weekend. I sat next to a very nice woman who cosplayed Esmeralda from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame during the Miyazaki panel who supplied me with ample amounts of sugar, saying she really respected what we as staffers do as a whole to make this con come off every year. It meant a lot for me to have a total stranger say something so heartfelt. In fact, it's that very heart-on-the-sleeve attitude that seems to be fostered at AnimeNEXT and at the end of it all, makes the "real world" so very hard to go back to.

 It's something I've heard referred to as PCD (Post-Con Depression.) Part of it is conning it up for three days when you're 29 is not the same as when you were 19. (Part of it was forgetting my freakin' power cord. D'oh!) You enter this world where people are totally accepting of you and your weird ways and having been a con-goer for over 10 years now (and an AnimeNEXT participant for at least five), you begin to see the familiar faces and it just ends up becoming a big ol' family reunion. And being able to share this interest with my Dad and get to spend some quality time with him is truly invaluable. I always find it highly appropriate that AnimeNEXT always falls within a week or two of Father's Day, and I can't think of a better way to spend it!

But what always stops me in my tracks about what makes something like AnimeNEXT all the more extraordinary is that it is all done through the efforts of a group of insanely dedicated VOLUNTEERS. The program guides that Sarah Moulder, Rene Jack, and I worked so hard on really looked slick despite the printers "forgetting" about our order in the warehouse and not actually getting everything to us until Friday morning of the con. Are we looking for new printers next year? You bet your sweet bippy we are. And Lisa Lamhut did her usual awesome job with her incredible artwork that was also featured on the con's official t-shirt.Major props also go out to Robert R. Rustay, AnimeNEXT con chair, the members of the executive committee and Universal Animation, Inc., board of directors, and Con-Safety, who worked their butts off all weekend to make sure we all had a safe, fun time.

But the truth is, it took everyone involved to make something this big and awesome come off, and it's only gotten bigger and better as the years have gone by. We're talking about a bigger venue in years to come, and I'm excited to be along for the ride, now and hopefully into the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment