You know we can’t end a discussion about a convention without talking about all the stuff I got! It’s TRADITIONAL to brag about your level of disposable income to whoever cares to listen! I made sure to save up a lot more money this year, not only to have more flexibility in what I could do during the trip, but also to make this part of my convention recap all the more interesting. No need to thank me! Just enjoy reading about it below!!
Now I ended up focusing most of my budget on grab bags this year rather than anything specific (other than some overpriced snacks), but I did grab these LEGO knock-offs at a pretty damn good price which is hard to find at a convention. Plus, the poster was free!
Once again, my love for Sailor Jupiter shines through as she is the only Sailor Scout I picked up. The remaining scouts were there to purchase, but even at a decent price of twelve dollars each, I didn’t want to spend THAT much for a complete set. The Hatsune Miku one was all the way at fifteen dollars, but then everything with her does come at a premium price. It’s like an anime law or something. I did pick up some manga too, and it just so happened that the same vendor was there with the same deal as last year (10 for $40), but the selection this time around was not as good as most of it is still books from Seven Seas which doesn’t license a lot of books that I like and I already grabbed most of the stuff I wanted last year. Still, there are a few gems here and I also grabbed one from at another table for $3.50 when they cut prices in half on the last day.
The biggest event at NekoCon this year (even more so than Mike McFarland!) has to have been the VOCAMERICA concert; the first (relatively) major Vocaloid concert made entirely by Western producers. Sure, we’ve had Miku Expo here in the US for a few years now, but that was part of a bigger worldwide tour and frankly there are so few shows they have in the US that it’s almost impossible for most Vocaloid fans to go without a WHOLE lot of cash to drop on it. VOCAMERICA is still small so the accessibility issue is still there, but if this gets enough momentum going, it could be the start of something that may never eclipse Hatsune Miku in terms of popularity but can be enjoyed by more fans of the genre; especially those outside of major cities. Some of you may be wondering, just what IS a Vocaloid and who is this Hatsune Miku person? Okay, if you’re reading this to begin with, you PROBABLY aren’t asking those questions, but let’s answer them anyway!
So there were a few more panels this year that I didn’t talk about in my earlier pieces, and the reason why is that they covered topics that I wanted to go into with a bit more depth and nuance than I did with the others. We’ll cover VocAmerica next time, but for now I think it’s time we had a talk about sexism in anime. Now keep in mind that this is all my own recollections and interpretations of what was discussed at these panels, and my opinion should not be taken in isolation. There are PLENTY of people who talk about these subjects with much more authority and eloquence than I could possibly muster. Let’s get started!!
Alright look. I KNOW it’s been a while since I did the last one of these and that NekoCon has been over for almost three months now. Things got… complicated after the convention, and that coupled with the Holiday Season means this was put on the back burner for a while. I’m getting to it now though, and hopefully my memory as well as my notes can bring you a proper look at the guest panels I was able to attend! Anyway, let’s start with the big one!
Aniplex Industry Panel
Ah yes! The good ol’ runner up in the anime biz! Sadly there was no Funimation Panel this year which is a shame considering the one they put on last year was very professional and actually got me interested in some shows as well as their streaming service. Compare that to what Aniplex shat out in 2015 and there was no contest. It was just a viewing of one episode a show and then they randomly handled out swag at the end. Now thankfully they seem to have taken a page from Funimation and managed to put together an ACTUAL presentation of their upcoming releases which is preferable to… whatever the hell they did last year. Now that being said, when I name the anime I love it usually comes from Funimation, while Aniplex had… I don’t know, that Fullmetal Alchemist series that I actually still like but everyone seemed to turn on when Brotherhood came out? Well, you never know! Maybe they’ll surprise me and show something that’s an ACTUAL must see! Let’s see what they had to show us!
Right off the bat, there’s this which seems to be all about this one dude who’s talented and sad being cheered on by a girl who’s talented and sad; the former on the piano and the latter on the violin. I don’t know what to tell you, the trailer was one big pep talk to this guy who doesn’t seem all that interesting and there’s nothing in here to elicit the tiniest bit of interest for me. If there’s one genre I’m just so freaking tired off, aside from cruelty gore fests, is the overwrought school drama. Hell, if it was for occasionally awesome comedies like Nichijou, School Rumble, or Lucky Star, I’d be happy to never see another freaking show set in a school ever again. It’s just not an interesting place to set anime at this point because of how overdone it is and I’m just sick to death of everything this show seems to be. If I were to give this many praise, it looks like the animation is done well, particularly in the performance scenes which look really smooth and carefully choreographed. I highly doubt they were rotoscoped, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were modeled after records of someone actually playing those instruments. However, that’s still not enough for me to even bother with this so… I guess check it out if you’re not as jaded as I am.
So when you’re like me and don’t know what to do with yourself other than look at overpriced figures at the Vendor’s Hall, it’s good to have a schedule to provide some structure to your con going experience; hence why I attended so many panels this year. Well, that and I knew I was going to recap them for the website; and that’s a win-win in my book! Today, we’ll be focusing on the fan panels which are hosted by individuals attending the convention rather than the invited guests or representatives of some company looking to market directly to their fans. Do these manage to have an authenticity and love of their respective fandoms that you wouldn’t find in more professional presentations? Let’s find out!!
90s Animation Revisited: Rejoin Your Childhood Friends
Hosted by Peggy Miller
This was the first panel I went to at the convention, and right off the bat it put me in a sour mood. This was nothing more than nostalgia baiting with nothing even resembling insight or depth into what made these cartoons so memorable (or in certain cases, infamous). Rattle off the name of a series, show the opening, ask the audience what year it came out, and repeat nineteen more times. Hell, they couldn’t even stick to the decade as several of these started in the late eighties but remained popular throughout the nineties. Fair enough I guess, but what about showing Power Rangers which was NOT an animated show? I’ll let you all know right now that my biggest problem with most of the fan panels this year is that they’re sometimes a mile wide but always an inch deep. This one did manage to have a breadth of content by name checking twenty different shows in an hour, but so what? No mention of Klasky Csupo shows, no mention of how Mighty Mouse: the New Adventures from 1987 was the jumping off point for many prominent animators in the following decade, no mention of Disney Television Animation who made half the shows name checked here, and most egregiously (at least in my opinion), they couldn’t even be bothered to tell us all that the creator of Doug was born less than a hundred miles away from where we were sitting. That’s a VERY easy factoid to just throw out there to the audience and I’m sure several people would have gotten a real kick out of it. The only thing you’d get out of this is what you already would be bringing into it, and I just don’t think that’s much of a panel.
Another year has passed which means it’s time for Doctor Scientist and I (along with Doctor Scientist’s girlfriend this time) to head back to Hampton VA and attend NekoCon 2016! And yes, if we do this again next year, than it will be called NekoCon with a Vengeance. With my schedule the way it is (work, website, sleep, repeat until death) I’m not one to get out much for anything other than seeing movie and making poor choices about my diet, so I really have been looking forward to going back to this convention since I got back from it last year. So how was it? Well considering that this is only my second convention ever, let’s just say that it’s still a work in progress for me to get the most out of my experience. I’m not a typically social person in the first place, so being surrounded by THAT many people is nerve racking to a certain degree which kinda limited how much fun I was having at the time; rather I was focusing a lot on having a full schedule so I would have lots to talk about here. I do have a notebook full of notes and a mountain full of things I bought, so there’s no doubt I got something out of it, but the in-between moments where I had an hour or two before the next event, I was struggling to do anything other than walk around the Vendor’s Hall decidedly not buying anything and not really talking to people either. Oh well. Live and learn I guess. I DID get more pictures this year than last, so that’s something at least!