Friday, May 13, 2011

Anime Expo vs. AM^2 vs. The Tsunami Scoreboard: Part I

Recently, a friend told me she saw a commercial on TV for the Toyota Corolla featuring a certain turquoise-haired pop-idol we at CaliConBlog all know and love. My initial reaction was disbelief. I thought, "Japan can't be that trendy here yet, can it?"

But my curiosity was piqued. I needed to know, and eventually I found myself googling "Miku Hatsune car commercial", which resulted in me watching the video below:

That's pretty sweet, isn't it? But I bet you're wondering what that has to do with the Anime Expo vs. AM^2 debate we've been hearing lately. Well, I'm glad you asked, friend! As it turns out, yesterday none other than the "digital diva" Miku Hatsune herself was announced as an official Guest of Honor at Anime Expo 2011. She has also been confirmed as a performer, and word on the street is that her concert tickets are selling like hotcakes!

As some of our readers may already know, Matt and I have been closely following the discussion of these two conventions as well as the varying anime community opinions, and as Anime Expo began updating its Guest of Honor list, I began to form a scale in my head. By this point, it's become far too interesting to see how this all plays out, and it's even more intriguing to try and examine things on my own. That's why a lot of other people seem to be talking about it too.

With such a discussion constantly buzzing around the blogosphere and the company water-cooler, a lot of questions are raised. For starters, "Which event is better?" That's the number one question on everybody's minds right now. Should we avoid huge lines and pricey tickets in favor of a free event at the old Anaheim location, or do we stick with what we know? Both Anime Expo and AM^2 are rolling out their biggest big guns to reel in all the biggest and best fish--both consumers and industry bigwigs--but in terms of popularity, Anime Expo is winning by a landslide now that they've added Miku Hatsune to their guest list.

Before Miku's name appeared yesterday, we saw updates for Vic Mignogna (famous for being the voice of Edward Elric in the Fullmetal Alchemist series and Tamaki Suoh in Ouran High School Host Club, among others), Danny Choo (another anime enthusiast, writer and blogger who I personally admire) and Kalafina (a Japanese musical trio who have provided hauntingly beautiful songs for series like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kuroshitsuji, and Kara no Kyoukai).

AM^2 has a long list that is largely populated by Visual Kei bands just starting out and three more artists that I do recognize--Kanon Wakeshima, heidi. and SCANDAL, who have both provided music for a variety of series. While their event is free to attend, they also have an intriguing option called a Passport, which does cost money and allows you to qualify for a vast array of benefits for $25 online and $50 at the door. You need a passport to see them, though, and you still have to pay even if you get one of those.

I've been attempting to gauge this race for attendees by the list of attractions and how the general anime community in my area reacts to the announcements as they are released, and I can definitely say that no matter how open-minded I am about both conventions, I can only come up with the usual set of pros and cons for Anime Expo and a considerably long list of cons is growing for AM^2, which seems like it has only two pros on its side for now.

"What are these pros and cons?" you might ask me.

And now we get to the point! During the next few weeks, the Tsunami Scoreboard will be featuring a series of compare and contrast articles on both Anime Expo and AM^2. There will be an article for each that reflects both the positive and negative feedback for both cons from what we can tell before the doors open. It's up to you, the readers, to decide which convention you'll attend this summer, but hopefully these articles will shed some light on the mysteries of both events and help the folks like me who are torn over which convention to attend.

Summer is almost here, so pull up a beach chair, crack open an ice cold drink and get ready for the first swell of the season!

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