Thursday, September 30, 2010

Anime Expo 2011 vs. Club 2 the Max 2011?

So Club 2 the Max have announced their 2011 convention date: July 1-3, 2011 at the Anaheim Convention Center. From their press release (via Anime News Network), everything is free and will contain everything that a convention should have: panels, Dealers Hall, karaoke, video rooms, and so fourth.

Wait a minute, isn't there a convention 25 miles away during the same weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center?

What's that con called...oh yeah, Anime Expo.

This is very interesting, and this is only late September/early October. I haven't even focused on planning for FanimeCon 2011 or even Anime Los Angeles 7, let alone Anime Expo 2011 or maybe Club 2 the Max 2011.

But for a second though, let me take off my attendee hat off and put on my economic hat on. Assuming Club 2 the Max is really free, how are they going to pay for all of this? We know for sure it's not going to come from the space in the Dealers Hall; the same press release states that their prices for space will be reflective of the economy aka pretty low. I can only speculate that they might do some premium programs like the Maid Cafe breakfast/dinner and show or premium seating for the hot events like Anime Expo's preferred seating, but that alone won't cover the costs of just renting that place out let alone costs for everything associated with running a convention from security to promotional material to equipment.

Putting my attendee hat back on, the key here is the guests of honor and musical guests. Remember, Anime Expo is celebrating their 20th anniversary so we know they're going to go all out in getting top-tier guests and bands to make Anime Expo 2011 and their 20th anniversary the best Anime Expo to date. We know the people behind Club 2 the Max and their connections to the industry as well. I can expect a hot competition for name recognition, which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on your point of view.

It's too early to tell which July 2011 con I'll attend, and there still a number of factors that might sway my attendance one way or another. So for now, it's wait and see while I plan for Anime Los Angeles and FanimeCon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SNAFUCon Announcement

Back in May, it looked really promising to go to SNAFUCon up in Reno, Nevada. Even if we didn't go as the SoCal Host Club, we could of gone as the California Conventions Blog and provided great coverage for this convention.

However, a lot of things changed between then and now. Unfortunately, there are too many personal and financial problems between myself and Ryan, so therefore we have to cancel our trip to SNAFUCon. We were really looking forward to attending in less than a month, but then event after event occurred very quickly and by the time the smoked cleared SNAFUCon took backseat to more prevalent problems that must be taken care of first before conventioning can be considered. Then there's the financial situation and the simple fact that we don't have enough money for this convention even if we went at the bare minimum. There are more important needs at the moment, and there isn't enough to fund a convention in October.

We do look forward to working with the convention in 2011, and we apologize for any mishaps that have occurred with this cancellation.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Anime Vegas 2010 Masquerade Videos Upload Update #2: Everything Is Up!

After leaving my computer up overnight to upload, the whole entire Masquerade is up on YouTube for viewing!

However, if you live in Germany you can't view Part 7 because of the South Park skit and Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me" and now Part 8 because of Harry Belafonte's "Jump in the Line" during the #29 "Yaoi Nights" skit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What's Wrong With Anime - Black Rock Shooter

S-so there's this new "What's Wrong With Anime" at the door and I don't think it's going to go away...

Anime Vegas 2010 Masquerade Videos Upload Update #1

The good news is that all the Masquerade videos have been encoded and are ready to be uploaded. The problem now is getting them all uploaded. So far, I have the first 5 parts (everything up to skit #18) out of 11 total parts.

If you want to check out what I got up so far, click on the link to the YouTube playlist either on this post or on the sidebar. I will post the embedded video playlist once all 11 parts are uploaded on a new post and also under the Day 2 report.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

CA Con Blog @ Anime Vegas 2010 - Day Two: Immediate Post-Masquerade Thoughts

Where Are The Anime Vegas 2010 Masquerade Videos At?

I'm guessing most of you are wondering where the AV 2010 Masquerade videos are at. Well, it's all in the master plan of how I'm covering this convention. Now that I got the text and picture reporting portion out of the way, I will now focus on getting the Masquerade videos up probably before end of this week. It helps to have three days off this week from work, which will give me some time to work on them all.

Don't worry, they're coming. Just sit back and relax.

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 6 - Epilogue

This is my first time ever at Anime Vegas. I heard so many good things about this convention from Erica and Jared, but it seemed that this was an off year compared to what it was last year over at the Cashman Center. Despite all that, I had a good time.

Some positives:
  • It's Las Vegas. There's so much to do after the convention day is over, more than what I can do in Los Angeles during Anime Expo and in San Jose during FanimeCon.
  • A wonderful Guests of Honor lineup. I'm glad that a convention was able to get so many guests of honor, some that I have seen before but many new faces.
  • I like that closeness that these small conventions bring, like Anime Los Angeles and Sac Anime. For every huge convention like Anime Expo and FanimeCon, I need a convention like this that brings the cosplayers and attendees together.
  • The gatherings that me, Ryan, and Lucas ran to perfection. We even got compared to the gatherings over at Anime Expo and even then most of them were preferring this convention gathering over the other.
However, I must point out the negatives.
  • I didn't like the Alexis Park Hotel outside of its convention facilities and the areas where we had our gatherings. The walls seemed unpainted, there were rooms that were undeveloped, and the lack of lighting at night makes it somewhat of a dangerous spot. 
    • I also had an issue on how everything seemed to be separated. The panels area, the Maid Cafe/Artists Alley area, and the Main Events/Dealers Hall/Autographs area were in its own section, and there was a lot of walking between the three. I'm not complaining about the walking itself but how you got from one area to another, which made it seem like the attendees were going out of their way to reach these areas. 
    • Then there was the bottlenecks that occurred the convention, which made it sluggish to move between area to area. At first we thought this was going to plague the convention in all areas, but by the time the convention was underway only a few jams were occuring.
    • My suggestion is either move it back to the Cashman Center or hold it at one of the Strip Convention Centers, like the Sands Convention Center or the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
  • I hate it when panels or autograph sessions get shuffled around and the majority of the convention attendees don't realize it until it actually happens. While this was only limited to Willingham and Mignogna who did his after his concert and not before, it puts a damper to many people plans that revolve around the panels, gatherings, and autograph sessions. I am not blaming staff here as they did a great job in trying to work around this situation and to keep us informed.
  • I never got a chance to interview any of the guests of honor during the convention despite networking with the guests of honor to set up interview times. I didn't want to overextend my privileges as press by bugging them over and over once I initiated the conversation, so once I didn't hear back from them I didn't pursue any further. This is a valuable lesson for our staff on attempting to get interviews with guests of honor during the convention. Hopefully we can get some interviews at Anime Los Angeles.
I would like to thank:
  • Richard Scott, the chair of Anime Vegas, for accepting our press badges for this year's convention.
  • The California Convention Blog press team of Lucas and Ryan. You two made this convention experience much more exciting for me. I'm sorry Ryan that we didn't get to do the B3 Challenge over at Sahara, but don't worry we're going to do it - and you're going to finish that thing.
  • The Scarlet Rhapsody press team of Erica and Jared. Thanks for breaking us into the press portion of the anime convention circuit, and we hope to do more collaborations in the near future. It was also fun doing the Las Vegas Strip Mini-photoshoot with you two. And thank you Erica for letting me keep that Walgreens gift card.
  • Everyone who came out to the gatherings. You all are the reason why we love to run gatherings.
  • The city of Las Vegas for existing. However, I don't think I can live in Las Vegas; I'd be all tapped out in the first week alone.
I look forward to attending Anime Vegas 2011, wherever it is held at.

Well, that concludes my report for Anime Vegas 2010. See you all at SNAFUCon in October up in Mini-Vegas aka Reno!

私のレポートを 読むためにありがとう。
Thank you for reading my report.

-Anime Vegas 2010 Report End-

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 5 - Monday (Day Three)

Ah, the final day of Anime Vegas 2010 and my final day here in Las Vegas. Too bad I'll be home by the end of the day, but at least I can escape the heat and return to normal temperatures back in Sacramento.

Before we clear the room, clear Ryan's car, and check out, I treat Lucas to brunch at Flavors, The Buffet. Despite the inflated prices for Labor Day, it was very much worth it and I had enough to cover me at least until I got to the airport.

After checking out, I take Erica and Jared over to the hotel while Ryan and Lucas ride in Lucas' car. But halfway through the drive Lucas calls me to tell me that he left his keys in the backseat. So after dropping off the two at the Alexis Park I head back to Harrahs to give Lucas his keys.

We stand in line for Johnny Yong Bosch's autograph session, which is skirting close to the Convention Reporting Panel that Erica asked me and Ryan to be a part of. With very little time left I bolt over to set up for that panel while catching the end of her college panel.

Ryan eventually shows up, having given up on Bosch since his session was a free-for-all. Lucas stuck with it and got his Lelouch sword signed by Bosch.

The attendance for the reporting panel was about the same as our SoCal Host Club Panel at FanimeCon 2010, but again they were interested folks and both of us learned new information that will better improve this blog.

Once we got once with that panel we catch the tail end of the Street Fighter Panel, and we catch Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey headed back to the lobby to catch their flight out of Vegas. While Willingham wasn't available for an interview, he was able to sign some of Ryan's stuff and got a picture of us two with him.

My final to-do on my list was to get Vic Mignogna's autograph on my P3P box since he did Junpei. The line was moving pretty well and he had his CDs going to keep the crowd in check.

After we got done with Vic, it was time to call it for Anime Vegas. My flight was leaving in three hours, and given how busy McCarran International Airport can be especially post-Labor Day I needed as much time as I could get to get through security. But despite all that, I got through security within fifteen minutes. That gave me a long time to sit around, grab some dinner, one last drink, and some ice cream before my 7:10pm flight back to Sacramento.

I take one final glance of the Las Vegas skyline as my plane swings over the Strip on its journey back to Sacramento. By 8:30pm-ish I'm back home, completing a nearly 80 hour marathon in Las Vegas in which I got a combined 15 hours of sleep during that weekend.

-Day Three & Anime Vegas 2010 End-

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 4.5 - Sunday/Monday On The Strip

Back at the hotel, me, Erica, and Jared decide to grab something to eat first over at Caesars Palace. On our way over to Caesars Palace, we find a Jack Sparrow and a Batman who noticed that we're from an anime convention, which was very awesome to note.

I order a loaded baked potato with pulled pork while Erica and Jared order some fish and chips. We talk for a bit about the convention and life in general before taking off for the Mirage.

Here, we start our own little photoshoot on the Strip.

Over the Mirage, Ryan calls us to tell us that Erica won a Masquerade award for best Solo Video Game Skit. Seeing this is Vegas, we scream out in celebration in the lobby and we get a couple of tourists like ourselves who gave their congratulations. We then proceeded to celebrate Vegas-style.

Our last stop is the Venetian, and its one beautiful hotel. I made a note to get a Ouran High School Host Club and/or Hetalia photoshoot over here one day.

While Erica and Jared take off for the hotel, I take off for Casino Royale for a bit more late-night gaming before calling it a night earlier than last night.

In all, my two nights on the Strip were very enjoyable, and I hope to do it more in the future with family and friends.

-Sunday/Monday On The Strip End-

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 4 - Sunday (Day Two)

Despite only sleeping for about three or so hours, I'm ready for Sunday. We get ready for the Code Geass Gathering and we take off for the Alexis Park once again.

However, I was late to the gathering because I had to pick up Erica and Jared from the hotel because they were eating breakfast.

I arrive back at the Alexis Park, twenty minutes late.

Thanks for Ghost and Sniper Wolf for doing the small shoot.

We had planned for a Pizza Hut lunch, and so we order two of new Big Italy pizzas they are offering. After figuring out that delivery was going to be an hour and a half, I take off to grab the pizzas. After a wild goose chase across Las Vegas in which the store that I had called didn't have my order, I get back just in time for everyone to eat.

Here's what happened: when I made the initial order to Pizza Hut, I made the order to call center and not an actual Pizza Hut. Then I find out the two Pizza Huts that we looked at did not exist, so the nearest one was off of S. Decatur Blvd, which was the one I originally called. I go and and do the usual in picking up pizza only to find out this location doesn't have my order. So I order and wait a bit more, changing into Junpei since the SMT/Persona Gathering is right after this lunch. Eventually the order is made and I grab some two-liters since I feel so bad in taking so long. I book it back to Alexis Park only to have Pizza Hut call me to figure out if I was going to pick up my order as I arrived back at the hotel. I tell them I already picked it up at another store and then proceeded to make the delivery to some hungry cosplayers.

So 1pm hits, and I'm anticipating the start of the SMT/Persona Gathering. But only the other Junpei that I saw yesterday showed up, and with not even another person here I call off the gathering very disappointed.

With everyone off to do their own thing, I noticed that McGlynn is doing another autograph session. An idea pops into my head: why don't I get the pizza bag signed by the Code Geass VAs? I ask McGlynn if she can get the rest of the Code Geass cast who shows to the Code Geass Panel to sign it, and she agrees. With that, I take off for the panel room where the Code Geass Panel will take place, and a bonus I catch the tail end of Vic Mignogna's Star Trek TOS Trivia Challenge.

Once at the Code Geass Panel, I get what I wanted. Also it was a pleasure to listen to Johnny Yong Bosch tell stories about homeless people in Los Angeles.

So after 3pm, I take off for Sally's Beauty Supply to pick up Ryan some white hairspray for the Bleach Gathering at 4pm. But I forgot his bankai sword and we call it off since I can't get back to the hotel in time for the gathering.

We kill some time before the Masquerade starts, which we decided to attend and get some good seats for recording since we're with press.

However, my stigma is that I do not attend Masquerades, but eventually I do since we're with press. But first, I hit up Jerry Jewell and Wendy Powell back at the autograph session to complete the trifecta of Envy-Lust-Greed and to get more items signed.

I actually liked the Masquerade as a whole, but there were too many dance skits especially the "let's dance off as a form of battle" skits. Dancing skits like Erica's have an exception though because those are choreographed and not that of the random variety - the "let's dance off as a form of battle." Then there was the Green Day skit (although technically they can be counted as video game cosplay from their own Rock Band video game) and the Kick-Ass skit, which was very inappropriate if you ask me.

With a two hour halftime show looming over, me, Erica, and Jared take off via taxi back to the hotel for our own night out.

-Day Two End-

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 3.5 - Saturday/Sunday On The Strip

Ah, my first time out on the Strip, alone, dressed as Ouran!Junpei with an attached rose that one of the Tuxedo Mask cosplayers back at the ball gave me. Thank god there are a ton of police officers at every corner, it made me feel safe even with the high volume of foot traffic on the strip.

I tour the Bellagio, Flamingo, Imperial Palace, and Bally's for some light-night gaming while having some drinks and enjoying the sights. I remember sitting at the Mini Pai Gow Poker table and someone thought I looked like Dean Martin with the blazer and rose getup, which I thought was an awesome compliment. Ironically, the comment came from another Wisconsin native attending the Wisconsin/UNLV game.

By 5am I return to the hotel room ready for Day Two...

-Saturday/Sunday On The Strip End-

Anime Vegas 2010 Report: Part 3 - Saturday (Day One)

First off, some posing with the Philippine flags before anything else.

Technically, the Philippines declared war against Austria.

We take off for the convention pretty early since both Lucas, Erica, and Jared haven't picked up their press badges. We take a look around for early cosplayers as the temperatures start to rise in the early morning. We also noted how crowded it got and we were hoping that this would not be a problem over the weekend.

Eventually we settle down at the Hetalia Panel at 11am.

I take off early to pick up the megaphone from Ryan's car. By then, the hallways cleared up and the logjams that we were afraid of for the most part disappeared. There were still some issues of the hallway in the area of Main Events, Dealers Room, and Autographs which would plague the convention over the weekend.

On my way back, I noticed some undeveloped rooms that existed in this hotel.

It was one thing to read about the hotel itself, but to see undeveloped rooms like that was just a shocker to me.

I get back in time to catch the tail end of the panel, then we make our way to the area that we would hold the gathering.

As the co-organizer of the Hetalia Gathering, thanks to everyone who came outside (and into the shade, which made the gathering a bit more bearable) and had a good time with us.

After that was over, we decided to try our hands at the Autograph sessions. Chris Cason signed some FMA merchandise, and Marianne Miller signed my business card. Then 2pm rolls around, still stuck in line when Ryan has to get his Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Gathering going. Unfortunately, with a lack of attendance and still being stuck in the line, the gathering never took off.

We get to Lauren Landa and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and we barely get that done with time to get to the Ouran Gathering, which we're not missing for the world. However, things got interesting with Laura Bailey came in (which we had to skip for the Ouran Gathering, but Lucas had us covered for autographs with her). Out of the middle of nowhere, Travis Willingham sits down next to Laura Bailey for his autograph session. Wait a minute, wasn't Willingham's autograph session at 7:00-8:00pm? Apparently, they bumped up Willingham to 3:00-4:00pm during Bailey's session and we didn't know until we moved out to the gathering when we saw signs telling the attendees that Willingham moved his timeslot up. We hoped that this would be the last time that the autograph schedules were changed around, especially when they're printed in the program guide and a lot of people, including our staff, planned the days around the gatherings, the panels, and the sessions.

Somehow, during the Ouran Gathering it became the Ouran Gathering: The Musical.

As the co-organizer of the Ouran Gathering, thanks to everyone who came outside (and into the shade, which made the gathering a bit more bearable) and had a good time with us. Also some props to Eric Womack for taking my camera and taking some of the shots while I was running the gathering.

We haven't eaten all day, so we throw back on our Philippines cosplay and head on over to the Hard Rock Cafe located at the Hard Rock Hotel. Here, we take down some well-needed food and drinks while enjoying the tail end of the Battle of the Bands contest they were holding.

We get back to the hotel and wait around until the Silver Millennium Ball starts. I slide back into the Autograph session to catch Eyeshine, Johnny Yong Bosch's band, and I get the band's autograph on my business card. I also check out the Dealers Hall, and despite finding some good buys it wasn't worth it given how much I spent at FanimeCon and Anime Expo. And there's also the Gaming Room, with Street Fighter 3rd Strike to boot.

By 8pm, the ball is about to start.

We have to leave a bit early to catch Jared's Convention War Stories Panel, which started from true stories at FanimeCon to well...poo. Lots and lots of poo stories.

Then over at the Anime BS panel, I share my dislike of the Hetalia fanbase. We head back to the ball to catch the ending with Lady Gaga's "Telephone."

The ball was over at 11pm, and after a short photoshoot with the cast of tonight's ball, we head back to the hotel.

It was time for me to take off to the Strip, alone, for the first time...

-Day One End-