Tag Archive | "anime"

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Anime Fans At Their Best – Kumoricon 2011

Posted on 12 September 2011 by pocketninja

It had already been eight years since attending my first anime convention, and not much has changed: high energy, anime fans clad in finely crafted cosplay, and random waves of laughter erupting from behind closed doors of events and panels. Every aspect of Kumoricon was foreign and little bit scary to me back then (I was also afraid of being caught for sneaking in because I couldn’t afford a pass). But here I stand, almost a decade later, craving to attend an event that has refined itself and has grown tremendously in attendance over the years. 

Opening Ceremony
There are two events that I make sure to always attend at every Kumoricon: Cosplay Contest and the Opening Ceremony. Why? Because the most unpredictable and hilarious things happen at these events. This year was no different, as the audience watched another captivating video of “Convention Rules” produced by the local group, The Anime Hunters, who had announced their retirement at the ceremony.

Cosplay Panels
My first panel of the weekend was “Wig Styling: Beginner”, which turned out to be very informative and entertaining (the girl who hosted the panel was very sweet and knew a lot about wigs). I learned that materials like Kanekalon and Toyokalon are the best fibers to look for when purchasing a wig, and never to comb through a wig when it is wet. There were also demonstrations of how to style wigs with different techniques. The wonderful thing about the people who take their personal time to host these panels is that their love, passion, and experience of their subject shines through in their eagerness to share with their audience. 

Photo Shoot
I believe that one cannot fully enjoy the experience of attending an anime con without cosplaying (to dress up in the costume of an anime/video game/comic character). This year, I cosplayed as Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, an anime and manga series. A photo shoot was held out in Esther Short Park where it reached a high of 90 degrees. Aside from a little sweat from wearing a full wig and thick fabric, I had a great time. Next time, I will definitely plan my cosplay for the weather.

 

Cosplay Contest
This event was serious: attendees waited so long in line that the “maid squad” walked down the entirety of it with cups of water for anyone who might be thirsty. For the lucky ones who got into the event, the wait was worth it. Amazing costumes with incredible craftsmanship were displayed as each entry walked across the stage, judged by a panel of special guests. The whole spectacle was like a beauty pageant that I actually wanted to watch. Then came the skits, each written and performed by fellow attendees, some groups only having met each other the day before. 

There is a special place in my heart for Kumoricon. After all, it was the first anime convention I’ve ever attended, and it is held (mostly) in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. People who are used to the bigger anime cons such as Anime Expo and Sakuracon might find that a con of this size would be lacking of certain things, but if you take a closer look, you will find that the people here have hearts big enough to fill in that empty space.

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Kumoricon 2011 Overview

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Kumoricon 2011 Overview

Posted on 06 September 2011 by ClassicMoments

We’re used to big cons.

A few years back, our staff started to cover stories from E3, PAX, CES, AX, Sakura-Con, etc. Big names that only expanded ever since they began. So you know how conceded and spoiled we can be about cons.

Watching cons grow each year is always fun to experience, but lately we feel that some of the conventions have just grown too fast, that they’ve lost some of their flavor.

So when we heard about Kumoricon, the anime and gaming culture convention based inPortland, OR, we were excited to visit. It’s about time we try something different; and the bottom line is, we’re so very glad that we went.

Crowd
ClassicMoments: This was what I was surprised by the most. In terms of numbers, Kumoricon is on the “cozy” side of conventions, but the convention was full of people. It didn’t get too crowded to the point where people were sick of seeing each other; there was a general sense of cosplay happiness to be felt all around. And the staff did a fine job with crowd control as well.

GillRider: Yeah, it was nice. There were definitely a lot of people, but not to the extent that it felt like travelling on a rush hour train in Japan. I thought it was the right amount of people, and they were just there to enjoy themselves. Not once did I feel like the participants’ enthusiasm waning. Great attitude! 

Opening Ceremonies
ClassicMoments: Nothing short of excitement. Even before the official announcement of the Opening Ceremony, you could tell that people were thrilled to be there, in an almost chaotic order. The main staging area welcomed all participants with some club-inspired lights and music. The crowd was filled with excitement as dancing cosplayers slowly filled the seats. We’ve been to many conventions and opening ceremonies, but we haven’t seen anything quite like it. From staff to volunteers to participants, it felt more like a festival that everyone chips in on and enjoys!

GillRider: I agree with ClassicMoments about the Opening Ceremonies. It was really fun to see so many amateur, non-industry participants get involved in the performances. An example was the “Rules” of the Con video, which is usually an official, informational video about the expectations and rules about the convention. But at Kumoricon, the video was made by the Anime Hunters, a local anime-skit group that’s been apparently doing this for a couple of years now. It was great! It was informational, hilarious, and it really captured the local-friendly atmosphere that was Kumoricon. 

Events and panels
There were many cool panels at Kumoricon, so we hand picked a few and created a separate article. Please follow the link here – Kumoricon 2011 – Events and Panels


Kumoricon 2011 was an overall success!

ClassicMoments: Kumoricon isn’t the largest convention around, you can feel the anime fans’ love and passion in every corner of the hotel. There were small hiccups here and there, like the gaming tournament schedule being pushed back, or the projector not working properly, but these are things you find at any convention. The important thing is that whether it was good or bad, people never forgot to be cheerful and encouraging. We can totally see why Kumoricon is expanding quickly, and though it deserves more attention, we really hope that it carries the spirit of community love. It’s something that we will remember and expect when we come back for more Kumoricon in our future.

GillRider: We had a blast at Kumoricon! Like I mentioned before, Kumoricon definitely has a local-friendly atmosphere. They had a great mix of special guests from the industry, with great, informative and fun panels, as well as a lot of amateur, local talents showcasing skits, AMVs, panels and of course, cosplays. It really did feel like a big gathering of anime loving friends, rather than an official convention. We highly recommend it, and are excited to come back next year!

 

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Sakura-Con 2011 – Roland Kelts

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Sakura-Con 2011 – Roland Kelts

Posted on 27 April 2011 by GillRider

Here we go! We unfortunately missed Sakura-Con last year, so we made doubly sure not to miss it this year. As we’ll mention in an article soon to come, we decided to focus a bit more on checking out panels rather than just the cosplays, concerts and anime.

One of my favorite panels I attended at the whole convention was with Roland Kelts, titled “Japanamerica: The Invasion of Japanese Pop Culture in the US”, based on his book by the same name.

So who is Roland Kelts? He’s a half-Japanese American writer, editor and lecturer, who presents on contemporary Japanese culture worldwide. He’s taught courses in Japanese popular culture at numerous universities in Japan and the US. He has also written both fiction and non-fiction in publications like Zoetrope: All Story, Psychology Today, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Japan, Adbusters magazine, The Millions, The Japan Times, Animation Magazine, Bookforum, and The Village Voice

First of all, he is an excellent speaker. His pace, rhythm, and diction is just right. The entire talk was very informative, yet not bogged down with too much information, and even without visual aids (technical difficulties on SakuraCon’s side) he kept my undivided attention until the very end.

In his talk, Mr. Kelts began first by making the disclaimer that the title of his book, does not accurately convey what he really means. Japanese pop culture hasn’t “invaded” the US, but has been brought to the US by demand. The bulk of the talk was based on his research for his book, ranging from research of literature to interviewing some of the most influential icons of Japanese pop culture in the US, such as Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of iconic films such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, etc. He describes the historical background that the new age of anime and manga sprung from; namely the devastation of WWII and the subsequent surrender of Japan. He also spoke about the definitively Japanese characteristics of Anime; namely that of line art.

Ok, so it’d be pointless and impossible to try to recapture everything he talked about in his talk, so I leave you with these two points:

  1. Roland Kelts is really just a delightful lecturer to listen to. In fact we all enjoyed it so much that we almost tailored our Saturday and Sunday schedules to attend all of his panels!
  2. If you have any interest in Anime, Japanese culture, pop culture or history, definitely check out his book: Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has invaded the US. We were lucky enough to get an autographed copy of his book! Very cool indeed!

 

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Anime short films in work for Halo

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Anime short films in work for Halo

Posted on 23 July 2009 by ClassicMoments

LONDON — July 23, 2009 — A renowned set of storytellers from some of the world’s leading anime studios in Japan are about to take one of the most iconic franchises in science fiction and video games to a new level. Microsoft Corp., in collaboration with some of the most acclaimed anime creators, today unveiled a new project called “Halo Legends,” which will bring the “Halo” franchise and its sweeping sci-fi saga to an entirely new medium, in the form of several original anime short films.
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“Halo Legends,” which will officially debut at a panel presentation today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, is being produced by Microsoft’s 343 Industries and features creative direction from anime pioneer Shinji Aramaki, director of the critically acclaimed “Appleseed” and “Appleseed EX Machina” anime features, and Mamoru Oshii, director of the landmark “Ghost in the Shell” movies, with additional production from Joseph Chou of J-Spec Pictures. The compilation will include a series of short stories that explore different times, themes and characters from the “Halo” universe and will be distributed globally by Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. company. Influential studios that are part of the project include the creators behind some of the most popular and celebrated anime to come from Japan, such as “The Animatrix,” “Cowboy Bebop,” “Fullmetal Alchemist,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Dragon Ball” and more.

“The opportunity to work with talents such as Shinji Aramaki, Mamoru Oshii and others from some of the greatest anime studios is a very rare opportunity for Microsoft,” said Frank O’Connor, “Halo” franchise development director and provider of story and creative direction for 343 Industries. “We’ve seen the world through Master Chief’s eyes, and we’ve experienced facets of the universe through a variety of literary prisms, but now we get to watch new tales unfold in really rich, visually dynamic ways. I think anime fans and ‘Halo’ fans alike are in for a real treat.”

Set hundreds of years in the future, the “Halo” series of games and novels chronicle mankind’s struggles against an alien collective known as the Covenant. The Covenant is scouring the universe for relics it believes will lead it to a new life and is destroying civilizations and planets that stand in its way. The most prolific hero from the fiction is a super soldier or Spartan known as Master Chief, who is the main protagonist in the original trilogy of Xbox and Xbox 360 “Halo” titles. In the trilogy, Master Chief discovers that the Covenant is intent on activating a series of mysterious ring worlds known as “Halos,” which would ultimately exterminate life throughout the universe. He becomes mankind’s champion in a race against an unrelenting enemy in its most desperate hour. Through The New York Times best-selling novels, comics and additional Xbox 360 games such as “Halo Wars” and the upcoming “Halo 3: ODST,” the universe has grown and tales of other heroes have emerged.

“‘Halo’ and its characters are a very natural fit for anime,” said Aramaki, creative director for the “Halo Legends” project. “As a fan of the ‘Halo’ universe, it is an honor to work with Microsoft and my very talented peers from other studios to create this collection.”

Studios involved in the “Halo Legends” project include Bones Inc., Casio Entertainment Inc., Production I.G, STUDIO4˚C and Toei Animation.

Bones. Founded in 1998, Bones has become one of the top animation studios in Japan in less than a decade. The studio is best known for its incredible body of work on mega-hit franchises such as “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie,” “Fullmetal Alchemist,” “Sword of the Stranger” and “Eureka Seven.”
Casio Entertainment. Casio Entertainment was founded in 2004 and is renowned for its visual effects work on the movie “Dai Nipponjin” (“Big Man of Japan”), which was officially invited to the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 2008 Asian Film Awards. Casio Entertainment is also known for its computer-generated animation support work on several top Japanese video games.
Production I.G. Production I.G has produced a number of acclaimed feature films, original video animation, TV shows and video games. For their storytelling and quality of animation, “Ghost in the Shell,” “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade” and “Blood: The Last Vampire” have earned critical accolades in Japan and all around the world. “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” directed by Mamoru Oshii in 2004, was the first Japanese animation feature ever to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Festival de Cannes.
STUDIO4˚C. STUDIO4˚C is one of the top animation studios in Japan. Founded by the industry veteran Eiko Tanaka and acclaimed animation artist Koji Morimoto, it has become globally known for its uncanny ability to marry the spirit of high art with mainstream anime aesthetic. STUDIO4˚C is known for works including “The Animatrix,” “Tekkonkinkreet” and “Batman: Gotham Knight.”
Toei Animation. Toei Animation, established in 1956, is the oldest animation studio in Japan. Toei has produced the largest number of global hit TV anime series for kids, such as “Dragon Ball,” “Digimon,” “Sailor Moon,” “One Piece” and many more.

The complete “Halo Legends” collection will be distributed by Microsoft partner Warner Home Video, which will have more to announce on its release and distribution plans soon.

“As a leading entertainment distributor and a company identified with premier anime content, we’re very pleased to be working with Microsoft on ‘Halo Legends,’” said Amit Desai, vice president, Family, Animation and Partner Brands Marketing, Warner Home Video. “The combination of the talent involved and the ‘Halo’ brand ensure the collection is something consumers are really going to enjoy.”

A preview of select “Halo Legends” episodes will first debut on Xbox LIVE, the largest gaming and entertainment network in the world, starting this fall through a new experience called Halo Waypoint. Launching in fall, Halo Waypoint will be a new destination for “Halo” fans on Xbox LIVE around the world. It will inform fans of the latest “Halo” news and activities, and grant access to content ranging from podcasts, trailers and screenshots, to exclusive video footage you won’t find anywhere else. It also will provide a new challenge for “Halo” gamers with a career system and player rankings tied to both in-game and out-of-game accomplishments related to “Halo.” In addition to the limited, early episode premieres, Halo Waypoint will debut several behind-the-scenes videos that chronicle the making of “Halo Legends.”

More information will be shared about “Halo Legends” today at a panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The “Halo” franchise panel will be hosted by O’Connor, moderated by Chou, and will feature guests Aramaki; Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, president of Production I.G; and Tanaka, president of STUDIO4˚C. The panel takes place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. PDT in Room 6BCF of the San Diego Convention Center. “Halo Legends” panelists will sign autographs at the Microsoft Xbox 360 booth in Hall G #5225 from 6 to 7 p.m. There also will be a signing at the Warner Bros. booth Hall F #4329 on Friday, July 24, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., with O’Connor and 343 Industries’ managing editor Kevin Grace on hand to answer questions about the project. In addition, the first trailer for “Halo Legends” will debut exclusively tonight on “GameTrailers TV with Geoff Keighley,” airing at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT on Spike TV.

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This was my first… part 2

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This was my first… part 2

Posted on 06 May 2009 by GillRider

After retrieving our Press passes, the first panel we decided to see was entitled “Kaiju and Art of Making Monsters”, with guest speaker Hideo Okamoto. I don’t know how many of you are monster movie fans, but I was stoked to see him. Okamoto has designed monsters for films like Godzilla vs. Destroyer, and the Mothra movies. We arrived a little late and missed a portion of it, but it was very exciting to see some of the sketches he had done for various anime and movies.20090506babydestroya

We then made our way to one of the main events of the day: The Cosplay Contest. Like I mentioned before, I’d never been to anything like this before, so I didn’t know what to expect. The first chunk of the contest consisted of various cosplayers catwalking on and off the stage. Some of them were obviously very impressive, while others really just looked like they could be picked up at a  Japanese 7-11. Though the cosplays were definitely awesome, the latter half of the contest was where things really picked up.

For me, the skits were really what it was all about. For the last 2 hours or so, the stage was graced with shakespearean tragedies, epic battles, truly random encounters and downright silliness. The skits definitely had a lot of surprises. It was very entertaining to see Sora embark on an adventure in search of Kairi, while bumping into familiar faces like Naruto, Snake, and even the hammer dude from Silent Hill. Another memorable scene was Master Chief hitting on Samus. That is quite a couple. It was pretty hilarious.20090506sora_naru1

And the contest held even more surprises at the end! Nozomu Sasaki was there! As ClassicMoments has already posted, Nozomu Sasaki is a famous Japanese voice actor for such anime like Akira, Yu Yu Hakusho, Deathnote, and Rurouni Kenshin. At first, I didn’t recognize him, but when I heard that he had done the voice of Urameshi Yusuke, I was SO excited!20090506soravshammer

I was also very impressed with Mr. Sasaki. His English was excellent! It was actually funny because on stage were the two MCs introducing him, Nozomu Sasaki, and a lady in a suit. At first I figured she was the interpreter. But then Mr. Sasaki started speaking in English, and it was very very good. I suppose she might have been there just in case, but still, I felt kinda sorry for her, just standing there in her suit, with nothing to do.

Anyhoo, he performed two songs; one was the ending theme song to Yu Yu Hakusho, and another from an anime called Ushio to Tora. It was sweet.

After the Cosplay Contest, we decided to hit the streets!… of the Convention Center to scout some cosplayers!

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This was my first… part 1

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This was my first… part 1

Posted on 01 May 2009 by GillRider

Oh man. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I apologize for the absences. How’s everyone doing?? It’s freakin’ May already! I know it’s a little late, but here’  my post on Sakura-Con! I know our head honcho, ClassicMoments, has already posted most of the pictures, so I thought I would provide a little background story to them. I also thought (I did a lot of thinking) instead of making one LONG post, it might be easier to read it if I divided it into smaller posts. So here’s one!

First of all, let me tell you that this was my first Anime/Japan related convention ever. Actually, come to think of it, this was my first “convention” ever. Being brought up in Japan, I obviously grew up with anime and knew what cosplay was, but I never understood what people actually did when they suited up. Well I definitely got one answer: Hang out with other cosplayers!

gotei-jusantai-21

As soon as we got off the freeway heading towards the Seattle Convention Center, we saw people in all sorts of cosplays out and about on the streets. It was quite a sight to see a horde of Konoha ninjas and Shinigamis eagerly waiting for the light to turn green. As I watched them cross the street in front of me, all I could think was “This is CRAZY!… and SWEET!”

By the time we made it to the Convention Center I was stoked. I was ready to embark on my journey into anime-fandom!

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nozomu_sasaki_sc2009_7

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Nozomu Sasaki at Sakura-Con 2009

Posted on 01 May 2009 by ClassicMoments

Even if you never heard of the name ‘Nozomu Sasaki’, there’s a good chance that you heard his voice, even if you’re just a mild fan of anime. I want to list all of his work as voice actor, but we would be out of space, so here’s the link. And for the people who’s too lazy to even click that link, I’ll give you a hint; Akira, Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, YuYu Hakusho, Rurouni Kenshin.. Just a few that I can remember for now.

Anyways, he made an appearence on Sakura-Con 2009 stage, and sang of few anime OP and ED songs. Here are some of his pictures, so enjoy!

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Alltop, confirmation that we kick ass




Fun Gaming Facts

“Complex” games can take up to 100 hours to play