Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Does it really have to end???

So, with NDK09 having come and gone, I am reminded of two MAJOR rules that I have concerning my con.
1. ALWAYS get a room at the con hotel. For whatever reason this year, I didn't keep my hotel reservation and I deeply regret the decision. Having the ability to come and go as I please is the main reason to have a room in the first place. Me going home between 2am and 6am only to come back for a 10am panel is ridiculous. Never again.
2. ALWAYS take the week post-NDK as a vacation. I always tend to find myself feeling down (the post-con blues) following the convention. It usually starts immediately following closing ceremonies while I am walking to my car as my mind will go over the events of the weekend and I will get sad. That's why I like to have the week after NDK off so that I don't have to worry about...work.

As has become the custom for OtaKrew over the past three years, we rolled up to the Denver Tech Center (DTC) Marriott on Thursday. We do this so that we can let our hair downand kick it with the con guests before the craziness starts. Think of it as the calm before the storm. The bar happens to be our meeting place so, it was pretty neat when they asked us to come up with some names for some con-specific drinks. There was a red drink (Asuka Meltdown), blue (Perfect Blue), Pink (Honey Flash), Green (Jupiter Thunderclap) and orange (Orange Road). My personal favs were the Jupiter Thunderclap and the Honey Flash.

On Friday, the Dealer's Room was the place to be and it was PACKED!!! I did find the Revoltech Yoko from Gurren Lagann that I was looking for. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything from Queen's Blade that I liked. Later on that evening, we went to a panel presented by Roger from Gimme Anime (buffalostyle's official anime store) called "Old Time Anime". It was excellent as usual since Roger always shows something that I have never seen before. The only bad thing was that I missed two other panels that I was interested in going to,"The Death of the Anime Industry" and "Anime Girl Fight" presented by Steve Yun from Robotech.com/Harmony Gold. As we were poised to see the "Mystery Anime Theater" coming up next, we were asked to leave the room and get in line with the masses that had gathered while we were inside watching Roger's panel. I can see where they were going with this but it was kind of unfair since many of the people in the room left. I guess that I could have stayed if I really wanted to (I'm sure Roger would have let us stay) but, we decided to go to the bar for some more late-night...celebrating.Saturday started out pretty early for me as the plan was the see the "30 Years of Gundam" panel. It was a hard choice for me as we also had an NDK premiere of the "Case Closed 3" movie. In the end, I guess I was meant to see the movie as the panel was at standing room capacity in no time. No prob. Case Closed, here I come....and it was VERY good!!! Next up came the "Robotech: Past, Present and Future" panel presented by Tommy Yune (with an assist from Steve Yun). It was a blast!!! Got my first look at the Masterpiece Collection (MPC) Beta Fighter. Let me just say that I...AM...IN...LOVE!!! (I seem to fall in love with mecha alot, eh?)
Looks like I am going to have to pick up more of the MPC's afterall (from Robotech.com, of course). We were set to go to the Robot Rumble (Steve's awesome panel/gameshow)
again but, karaoke (and our good friend, Chris) came calling. It was a blast as I got to be a judge this year. Didn't leave until 5:30am. (Again, I will definately have a room from now on)

The last day of con started with me nursing a slight....hangover.. as I made it to the "Robotech Free for all". A couple of people were wondering where we were the previous evening as we said we would make the "Rumble". Once they saw how I looked and when I said the words "karaoke" and "judging", they understood. Both Tommy Yune and Steve Yun were a joy to be around and it was good to see the local Robotech-ites again.

Honestly, we need to do a better job of keeping in touch. Seeing Zormaster's toys (and Collector's panel) was a lot of fun for me. While I do own quite a bit of Robotech merchandise, my collection is nowhere NEAR Zormaster's level.

So, seeing how much fun that I packed into a four day convention, can you understand how I experience post-con sadness? While some of the Krew have written off the con due to it's size and the overabundance of younger fans, I still enjoy my time there. In fact, I look forward to being a part of NDK for years to come.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Say it isn't so ADV...

So, it's official...ADV Films (as we know it) went out of business last week. And with it's demise, the domestic anime industry is entering into a new era.

Just think, it was just the late 90's early 2000's when ADV was THE bigshot in the industry. There was ADV, Pioneer, VIZ, Funimation, Central Park Media and Bandai (nee: Anime Village). During that time, we saw anime grow in popularity as it got a foothold in our living rooms thanks to Cartoon Network and their anime friendly programming. The Toonami block introduced many kids (young and old) to shows like Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing and Rurouni Kenshin. Anime fandom also got another shot in the arm thanks to CN's Adult Swim block on Saturday nights. This is when we got the motherload of anime shows like Inu Yasha, Gundam, Witch Hunter Robin, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Code Geass and many more.

My personal introduction to true otaku-dom was brought about by Evangelion as it was the first anime series that I ever bought as it was being released.

I remember discovering Eva as it was suggested to me by an employee at my favorite comic shop in Boulder, "Time Warp". I got into it fairly early on in ADV's distibution when it was being released on VHS and I couldn't wait to pick it up at my local Suncoast Video every two months or so. Buying an anime TV series turned out to be the gateway drug to otaku-dom for me and it was all ADV's fault.
Another thing that ADV did that helped foster my geek tendencies was the release and re-release of their shows.

Through each re-packaging of Eva, I was there picking up the new merchandise. I guess you could say that ADV made a lot of money off of people like me.

The next big thing that ADV did was release one of my favorite shows of all time, Robotech, on DVD.

Robotech was one of those shows that I got hooked on a long time ago and, as a fan, I have both ADV and Cartoon Network to thank for it's rebirth.
Of course, as they did with Eva, ADV also released Robotech mutiple times. Along with the initial DVD release, we got clamshell versions, remastered versions and "The Protoculture Collection".

And I was there for every one...
When ADV announced that they were going to release a dubbed version of Macross (featuring Mari Iijima reprising her role as Minmei), I had no choice but to pick that up as well.

Throughout their history, ADV continued to release and re-release it's titles over and over. Case in point, the Original Dirty Pair.
And you can't forget Bubblegum Crisis 2040....
Sure, there were other titles that ADV picked up that I loved.

Azumanga Daioh

Sakura Taisen (Wars)

and Elfen Lied to name a FEW...

However, the love given to older series was apparent when ADV released Gatchaman.

The dub for this show was CLASSIC/FANTASTIC as they would use words that fit the time that the show was made in.

Phrases like, "Can you dig it" and "Right On" were heard many times during the dub. Honestly, you could tell they had a good time making this one and it really made the show for me.

So, a company that was in tune with it's customer's needs as fans and collectors? What went wrong?

ADV's partnership with the Sojitz Corporation (a Japanese investor who helped them acquire new titles) went south early last year and they began to struggle afterwards. The fact that ADV over-reached with attempts at distributing manga (ADV Manga), magazines (Newtype USA), having their own television network (Anime Network) along with licensing everything under the sun led to the split hurting more than it probably should have. Sure, there was a stop-gap in signing a deal with Sentai Filmworks earlier this year but that only delayed the inevitable.

It's sad, really, as ADV is a company that all anime fans kind of grew up with. Couple this with the end of Geneon/Pioneer a few years ago and we are looking at an industry in flux. It seems as though anime is moving away from the mainstream that it flirted with in the early to mid 2000's and going back to it's niche status of the early 90's.

Is this such a bad thing?

With the Cartoon Network scaling back on the amount of anime that it is showing in favor of in-house shows like "Superjail", "Mighty Boosh" and "Squidbillies", we will see if the otaku borne from CN will stick around.

With that said, I'm heading out to NDK. We keep breaking attendance records every year and I'm curious to see what they have in store for us this year.

(photo courtesy DannyChoo.com)
With this year being the 30th anniversary of Gundam, there will be a panel for it. I'm just hoping that it doesn't conflict with the Robotech Tour panels. I don't want to have to choose between the two.
LOL, Ranka Gundam...

Here's to cosplayers and being a card-carrying member of the Otarazzi. Hopefully there is some good Macross Frontier cosplay and, of course, a Cutie Honey or two.

A round of drinks for everyone!!!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

On tap...MY con...NDK!!!

Well, it's just about that time of year ...NDK time!!!

You know, I love this con as I have had the opportunity to see it grow from the small time to the mid-sized time as far as attendance is concerned. Last year, we were visited by the fellas from the Robotech Tour.
Here is Tommy Yune and Steve Yun kickin' it with Madarame from the OtaKrew. I really need to get Tommy to sign some things for me this year.
Some of the toys on display at Zormaster's booth. These are the Masterpiece Collection Alpha Fighters that I currently covet.
TaaDaa!!! What I have (so far) of the Masterpiece Collection. These are actually in my library at home.
On the cover of the August issue of Hobby Japan resides the one thing that I will be looking high and low for at con this year....the VF-25 Messiah Valkrie from Macross Frontier. This just so happens to be a TRANSFORMABLE model kit from the good folks at Bandai. Ah, yes, I am in love....

Check out my Skull One from Yamato. I LOVE these figures as they are mostly die-cast but the problem that I do have with them is that the joints are a little weak.Yamato side by side with my Revoltech Skull One. Picked up quite a few Revoltech figures at NDK last year. I am going to try REALLY hard to stay away from them this year.
....except for that Yoko that I have had my eyes on....
Speaking of Revoltech figures....
I really like this Haruhi even though I have never really watched the show...

Another thing that I must try to keep away from...GASHAPONS!!!

These things are like CRACK to me and I have told my friends to keep them away from me however, after seeing these Macross F toys, I just may break my own strict rule of NOT buying them.

Last but not least...(photo courtesy Collection DX)
This knockout figure of Sheryl Nome from the good folks at Banpresto is probably going to be another thing that I will need to walk away from NDK with....le sigh...

Anywho, the OtaKrew represented at the Starz Movie Complex in Denver a few weeks ago when we went to see "Evangelion 1.0: You Are Not Alone".

I must say that I was quite pleased with the movie. VERY good. Except for Madarame talking throughout the movie, it was very enjoyable. I had, honestly, forgotten how much I LOVE Eva...

If you are ever driving around Denver......and you happen to see an Exterra with a NERV parking pass on it, you will have just seen the Buffstyle-mobile...

Looking back on this summer's movies that I went to see, I tally up how many times I saw this or that. At the top of the list was "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra" with 3 showings.You know, I think some of the reason that I saw G.I. Joe so much was because of Scarlett....Do you really blame me, though?

The other movie that I saw 3 times was "Star Trek"...Yeah, I'm an unabashed Trekkie and I endorse this movie....

Just went to see "Inglourious Basterds" the other day...
I LOVE Quentin Taratino's movies so it was pretty much a given that I was going to check this one out. Gotta say that this movie cracked me up. While it was a little long, it was still an enjoyable time. All of the Tarantino-isms were there and Brad Pitt continues to solidify his spot as my favorite current actor.

Look out Dealer's Room....I'm comin' for YOU....