April 10, 2011

Kaiji Second Season

Thanks to Tom, I was alert to the beginning of the much-delayed second season of Kaiji!

I watched the inaugural episode this weekend, and man, I have no words to express this. Something about Kaiji, the minutes-long internal monologues and the endless tears and angst, just tickle me. So I'm in for the next umpty episodes!

Update

Oops! Forgot the endless revelations of what Kaiji is feeling, his plans, his tricks by the omniscient narrator! Hot damn ain't that special?!

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2009

Cutting the Final Tie

It's been years since I attended a meeting of NOVA, preferring instead to visit with the friends I made there at Tom's house when he has a gathering. But a sense of nostalgia kept me subscribed to the mailing list. Occasionally someone like Bob would post an interesting tidbit about the anime world, and it was sort of like revisiting the old haunts.

But I haven't really found any anime series that I want to watch over the last year, so tidbits are kinda out of context. And announcements of the next meeting venue and playlist are rather moot. So this evening, I unsubscribed from the mailing list. Goodbye, NOVA! You were a great experience, and I hope the remaining members get much pleasure for years to come.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:12 PM | Comments (2)

September 01, 2008

Kumoricon 2008

The photos Renee (mostly) and I (a few) took are now available on Flickr as a photoset. The general rule is, if Renee is in it, I took the photo. Otherwise, with one or two exceptions, she swiped my camera and had a field day!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2008

Kaiji

Yay! Kaiji will have a second season! This is probably one of my favorite series in a long, long time. I was very pleased that they didn't take the easy way out and just have a happy ending. Instead, it ends with Kaiji realizing that he has been swimming with the sharks and needs to grow some teeth.

Since there were three manga series, and season one of the anime covers the first manga series, maybe I can hope for three whole seasons...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2008

Current Anime

Since Tom wondered if I'd caught any of this season's crop of new anime, here's a list of what I'm watching:

I sampled a number of other items, such as Vampire Knight and Monochrome, but rejected them after a couple of episodes. Others I read a synopsis of and just decided "meh".

I'm still occasionally watching an episode of some of last season's shows as well:

And one live action romantic comedy:

As always, I watch these shows in dribs and drabbles, and reserve the right to lose interest without notice.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2008

Speed Racer

Renee and I went to see Speed Racer, the Wachowski Brothers' live action adaptation of the old anime series, at the local IMAX theater this morning. Even though we went to the first showing of the day on a Sunday, the theater was near 70% full. I've read a couple of reviews, which were not very flattering.

I didn't watch Speed with as much devotion as Astro Boy when I was a wee squirt, but I watched enough to have all the salient plot points down, and to understand the general pattern of the show, it's 'story mechanics', if you will. And from those remote memories, I have to say that the live-action adaptation was pitch-perfect. It was not a slavish imitation. No, that would have worked less well than the current incarnation.

For instance, in the original American adaptation of the Tatsunoko Productions series, American voice actors adopted a frenetic style of delivery to keep up with the rapid Japanese scripts. There is a single scene in the live-action movie where the primary villain delivers a speech to Speed with that headlong machine-gun style, and it works well as a call-out to the original corny series. But the brothers do not attempt to sustain this dialogue style throughout the movie. And that was the right decision.

I won't start enumerating all the little ways in which the series was captured in the movie, or the ways in which the movie struck out on its own, but only observe that they did a great job of fusing the memories of my childhood with the more modern technological and pop culture elements of the world expected by the majority of their audience.

See it. Really.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2008

Maid Cookies

The banner photo this time around is one of a selection of photos of my souvenir from Tom and Alan's trip to Japan. Click through to my Flickr account for the rest of the snaps, it's a really cute -- and yummy -- gift.

Yes, I was at Tom's place last night, where we had okonomiyaki (thanks to Tom for the raw ingredients, and to Lisa for the chef-ly duties). Tom and Alan had pooled their photos, and pared them down to a hundred or two. They could have had many more, I enjoyed them enough. Definitely makes me wish that I could afford to do a trip to Japan myself.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2008

Completed Anime

Renee and I completed Zombie Loan. About what you'd expect, Renee and I had fun with it, and are now feeding on the trickle of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.

For myself, I have finished Kaze no Stigma. I'm not really sure why I stuck with it, as it was pretty pedestrian, but I did. I continue to watch Akagi and Kaiji, dabble in Denno Coil, and truck on with Dragonaut, Ghost Hound and Moyashimon. New series include Shigofumi and Persona. Latest, still pending a decision on how long I'll watch, is Hatenkou Yugi.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2007

Darker Than Black

Darker Than Black ended like many of these intriguing anime series, with no certain resolution, and lots of unsatisfied questions. There is supposedly going to be an OVA that may answer some of them, but I suspect that it'll just prolong the agony.

I enjoyed the stylish journey, but the ending reminded me once again of The Prisoner, where the series ended in an almost nonsensical fashion, revealing that the story was mostly one long free association stream of consciousness gambol. Had fun watching, but I wish they'd put more thought into wrapping these things up.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Go Go Santa Ranger!

I won't inline link this image (some folks find that akin to stealing), but just click on it for a cute re-imagining of Santa as a Power Ranger Santa.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2007

Speed Graphic

Some meat for the next (hypothetical) time I watch Speed Grapher.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2007

Gurren Lagann

Finally finished the last episode of the silly, fun series. I have to say, for a series that was built on melodrama and excess (a giant robot piloted by a smaller giant robot, piloted by a smaller, but still giant robot...), this last episode was a bit ... turgid.

Still, it fit the pattern, and it was a decent ending for the series, and hit a true note.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2007

Devil May Cry

This is becoming quite the little media log. Well, can't be helped.

So last night I finished Devil May Cry, which was pretty much a B-team series, pretty predictable, cardboard characters and all. Yet, I felt some tenuous connection with it since I'd struggled through a number of missions in the first videogame of this series. Final ending was as expected, and satisfactory.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2007

Uzumaki

Renee bought volume one of Uzumaki at the bookstore today. She's already read it and has now handed it off to me. I first introduced her to the story by showing her clips from the film adaptation, which is suitably creepy. The story recounts events in a village whose residents become gradually obsessed with spirals in all their natural and unnatural occurrences.

I guess this is what comes of letting one's daughter read Stephen King short stories. Since she read Skeleton Crew (and is miffed that she can't go see "The Mist" 'cause it's R-Rated), I got her a copy of Night Shift yesterday and she's reading that in preference to the copy of Siddhartha that Jean bought her recently...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2007

Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji

Just watched episodes 2 and 3 in a row, and now can't wait for the next episode of Ultimate Survivor Kaiji. None of the characters are sympathetic, least of all Kaiji, but the whole concept of life and death boiled down to a tournament of Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors is pretty damn neat. This could turn out to be my favorite new series of the fall season.

Still thinking about Bamboo Blade, Dragonaut - The Resonance, Ghost Hound, Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro (though Renee is already sold on this one), Night Wizard and Suteki Tantei Labyrinth. I've already culled a lot of other shows (such as Rental Magika, Shakugan no Shana II, Shion no Oh and Shugo Chara), either by watching or just reading a summary that sounded dull.

Update

Got Episode 4. Watched Episode 4.

Want Episode 5.

Damn it.

Update the Second

Kicked Night Wizard to the curb. Just weren't clickin' for me.

Update the Third

It's official. With episode five, I'm naming Kaiji the best new series out of Japanese anime this season. It may get overtaken by Ghost Hound once that picks up steam, considering the creative minds behind that series, but GitS:SAC was a slow builder, so Kaiji may well finish before the verdict is in on Ghost Hound.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2007

The Castle of Cagliostro

Regal Cinemas is showing a handful of dubbed anime movies, one of which, The Castle of Cagliostro, is a classic. I saw it both dubbed and fansubbed many years ago, and when I found it was showing in the theater (albeit dubbed) I asked Renee if she would like to see it. The main draw for her, as I imagined it, is that the movie is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, responsible for many family anime films that Renee has seen and enjoyed. Once there, I was hoping that the story itself would please her. Of course, the big draw for her was to be able to go out on a school night, so she said yes.

So we went to see it tonight. Two things I'd forgotten about it: one, it was originally released in 1979, and has a definite 'period' feel to it. Pacing is also more deliberate than current Hollywood fare. That is, while there is action, with occasional gun (and sword) battles, and an explosion or two, there are also long stretches of scenery, character development and conversation.

Secondly, this is a very fun story. The plot could very easily be filmed with live actors and released to a general audience. I'd forgotten how enjoyable this movie is. Renee certainly seemed to be enjoying it. There's always some suspicion in the back of my mind that she's exaggerating her display of pleasure to humor poor old Dad, but it felt really natural during the movie.

Afterwards as we were walking back to the car in the cool evening air, we talked about how we were both naturally 'night creatures' and how we preferred the evening for our activities. I guess she takes after me there.

All in all, I enjoyed seeing the film again, very much more so for having shared it with Renee.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2007

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou - Tou Dai Ni Maku

Simple pleasures. I was just a little bit giggly when the first episode of the second season came out. It's a little bit jumbled, on purpose, but still has that complex overlay of character and off-kilter storyline that makes it more than just a fight-of-the-week show. Looking forward to more.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2007

Day Three (The Last)

Today was the last day of Kumoricon, and the shortest. I asked Renee last night if there was anything in particular she wanted to do on Monday, suggesting the A-Key Kyo concert. She was worn out from the day, and didn't seem interested in much. I asked her again later, and she said that the concert seemed to be the only interesting thing, and that she wanted to go out for coffee with her mom in the morning.

This morning, I told her that while she and Jean were out for coffee, I would be going out for exercise. I really needed it, as I'd done nothing but stand in lines and sit in panels for the last two days. So I went out for my 'jog' and was gone for an hour. When I returned, with plenty of time to get to Vancouver before the concert, Renee was standing there in her full 'Kagura' regalia, and she said "okay, let's go." I asked her for what, and she acted as if I'd somehow flaked on our plans.

Long story short, we had to get there early to let her visit the dealer's room one more time. After that, the concert really was the only thing we did. She didn't want to stay for closing ceremonies, which I can understand. After we got home, it was just a matter of coming down from the three-day break in our routine.

A handful of new pictures have been added to the set. Many of them were taken by Renee. Enjoy.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2007

Day Two

Today was much shorter. We got home in the middle of the afternoon instead of early evening. When I pointed out to Renee that the Cosplay Contest was from 4pm to 7pm, she agreed that that was a bit much. Once that was eliminated, we didn't find a lot we wanted to do in the afternoon/evening.

There are more photos in my Kumoricon Set.

The first few are of the Ouran Host Club Tea Party. I talked with the young man who was in charge. He told me that he and his friend were up at three in the morning one night in February racking their brains trying to come up with an idea for a panel. He said "we both like Ouran High School Host Club, so why not have a tea party with that theme?"

He took the idea to the Con Committee, and they liked it. The Con paid for all the food and tea, and supplied the room at the convention. This kid was in charge of the logistics, and getting enough friends together to host it. As you can see from the pictures, he did a really good job. This was a cute event, probably my favorite so far. It was really popular, not just, I think, due to the free food. He said they were planning on 300 people showing up. It was more like double that!

We sat through the first half of the panel by Kirk Thornton, a voice actor on American dubbed anime. He was a pretty fun guy, but made it clear that voice acting and making money are incompatible. It was almost like attending Scared Straight.

We cut out early from that so that Renee could attend the Fangirl Support Group. This is where fangirls get together to learn how to be better fans, I guess. Anyway, I thought it would cramp her style to have a balding old guy sitting next to her, so I stayed in the hallway while she went in. She stayed for the entire two hour session! There were frequent screams from within, but of the kind you hear near your favorite roller coaster. It turns out they were practicing their squees. Also, their glomps. Go figger, eh?

I in the meantime read up on C++ Standard string streams, and had chats with members of NOVA who showed up occasionally.

Afterwards, we went outside, and Renee got crazy with my camera, accounting for the remaining photos in today's set. Rest assured that these are a mere sampling of her twitchy finger!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2007

Kumoricon

Today was the first day of Kumoricon 2007, and Renee and I were in attendance, as you can see by directing your attention to the banner. In this image she is essaying her first ever attempt at karaoke, singing 'Pray', the opening theme from Gintama. We did a few things today, but I was only interested in taking photos of my daughter, so there is a limited set up on my Flickr account. I'll update it if I take more photos.

Tom! Take special note of the outfit that Renee is wearing. This is her Kagura costume. You will be pleased to note that, yes, we were working on it until bedtime Friday night.

We might have finished earlier except that my mastery of Valeska's old sewing machine was pretty comically lacking. The bobbin kept getting tangled and sucked up into the fabric, so we ended up hand stitching the majority of the costume. Anyway, it looks neat, and Renee seems happy with it. Perhaps next year we'll have a better handle on the time...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2007

Garo

Finally, Garo is done. Sort of a souped-up Power Rangers/Kamen Rider type of show, with lots of CGI, and a typical heroic plot with lots of monsters and knights. I was actually quite pleased with the development of the story and characters, and while I had misgivings about the finale, they wrapped it up in a satisfactory manner.

Now I'm looking around for the Garo Special: Beast of the White Night.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2007

And an Anime Series

We're already up to the third episode of Zombie Loan, which we both agree is cute. I may actually use one of the main gimmicks (characters marked for death, or already zombies, have a black ring of flesh around their necks, invisible to ordinary humans) as a 'costume' when I take Renee to Kumoricon.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

For You In Full Bloom

I started watching a new live-action comedy/drama last night with Renee. It's called Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, or "For You In Full Bloom". I'm not done with Garo, but I'm nearing the end, and I can't seem to resist some live action silliness.

This one is about a boy's school, and the girl who attends it disguised as a boy. Pretty funny first episode, and I've got number two waiting in the wings.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2007

Kemonodzume

Well, finally managed to finish this series. Each episode was stranger than the last, and it ramped up to an increasingly weird climax. But there was a happy ending!

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2007

Cosplay Hunt

Labor Day Weekend is the weekend of Kumoricon. Renee and I did a last minute field trip there last year, and she decided that she wanted to do the full convention experience this year. While we won't be renting a room, we will be attending during regular convention hours each day.

Renee has begun to assemble a costume, in order to participate--at least--in the hallway cosplay. She's planning a costume based on Kagura, from the anime Gintama. So we drove up to Uwajimaya, in search of clothing resembling that worn by her character. No luck, so we'll be venturing to a fabric store next weekend. In the meantime, we successfully purchased a couple of jars of nori strips, as stand-ins for Kagura's favorite snack, sukonbu. Nori is seaweed, and sukonbu is kelp, so, close enough!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2007

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho

The bad news: I've finished this series. The good news: July will see the second season (of unknown length) called The Martial Fist Chapter (the first season was called The Dark Law Chapter). While this is really just another average mystic fighters show -- gifted fighters, some of whom have never met, others who barely know each other, band together and use their gifts to protect Tokyo from a demon incursion -- it entertained me very well. There was an actual story, not just fight of the week.

Given that the second chapter is called The Martial Fist, it may devolve into a fight of the week show, but I enjoyed the first season enough to invest some time in the second. Fingers crossed!

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2007

Ghost Hunt

Gah! It's over! Renee and I finished the FINAL episode of Ghost Hunt, a rather charming anime about a paranormal detective agency. They ended it with a nostalgic note, as if it had been over for years already. I'm in no doubt that the creators have no intention of creating a sequel. Which sucks, 'cause Renee and I had a lot of fun watching it.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:08 PM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2007

Ergo Proxy

I finally finished this series. I was not entirely sure I should. Around about episode 15, the narrative became unhinged, and only occasionally got back on track.

When I was a kid, one of the shows I really enjoyed was The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan as a secret agent who has resigned only to discover that secret agents don't retire, they disappear. It was a unique, quirky series, but toward the end it became so quirky that even my then-plastic mind wondered if they had any idea where they were going. Ergo Proxy was guilty of this same derangement, only they started when they were only sixty percent done.

Now I've finished the final episode, and while it involved a lot of lecturing the audience, it tied up the loose threads, and even made some of the nuttier episodes harmonize with the whole. I could still have done without a few of the more dilatory intervals, but I'm mostly satisfied right now.

In the end, it's not up to the grade of better shows I've watched, like Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex (way, way better) or Speed Grapher (second tier, but still tons better).

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2007

Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage

I finally finished this season of Black Lagoon. I think I've been holding off because it's one of my faves, and I know of no new third season.

In the course of the first season I had labelled it, pretty accurately, I think, as a B-team series. Simple writing, broadly entertaining characters, in short, a popcorn show, filling in for the deeper stuff like Ghost in the Shell.

But by the end of this second season, I have to say they stepped up the nuance and character development to an impressive degree. These are not nice people, but you begin to see a glimmer of how they arrived at where they are.

I hope there's a season three, even if it isn't for a couple of years...

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2007

Putter, Putter

Had a late evening, attending the Hazelbrook Spring Concert. Renee was in Beginning Band, playing her flute. I felt she acquitted herself well. The Advanced Jazz band was almost good. Their choice of music made up for a lot of the roughness, mainly two of my favorites, Fly Me To The Moon, and Birdland.

Upon getting home, I just wanted to unwind, sit in a padded chair, rather than have my butt put to sleep by institutional plastic chairs, so I settled in and watched the last episode of Machine God Roar: Demonbane. Lots of cheesy plotlines and formulaic battles culminated in the melodramatic climax, then the false sad ending for the hero, alone again, followed by, taDAH! Reunion with his partner, the grimoire Al Azif!

Oh, I do so love my formula anime.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2007

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou

Okay, zombies, demons and high school onmyouji, how can I pass up Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou? Waiting for episode two now!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2006

Anime

The last couple of seasons of anime have been an onslaught, and I kinda spread myself a little thin, especially considering that I hardly ever make time every night for a show. I just decided to drop a few shows and dump them off my computer, so just as an exercise, here's what I'm crawling through at the moment:

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2006

Noein Complete

This really isn't current news. Renee and I finished Noein last weekend. It's just that, now, a week later, I am continuing to miss it. This is a science fiction drama which fully embraces the idea of a multiverse, and even more so, a multiverse with versions fading in and out of existence as observers confirm or deny their state.

I was first drawn in by the artwork, then the quirky story, and finally the evolving characters. In some sense, this was just another time paradox scifi story, just with an added 'dimension'. But it really entertained, both myself and Renee. It took us forever to finish it due to non-overlapping schedules, but now that it's done...

Now to work our way to the finish of Yakitate! (which incidentally, Meg Hourihan has discovered).

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Saturday

Jean got her shift cancelled again this Saturday, so I was able to attend another NOVA meeting. Of course it was the Fourth of July weekend, so there were only about six people total attending. I sat and talked for awhile, browsed the web on my laptop, and eventually hooked up with a friend to go out and see a movie. We went up to Beaverton to see A Prairie Home Companion, Robert Altman's adaptation of the Garrison Keillor radio show, based on a script written by Keillor.

This is an interesting cross-product of the typical Altman ensemble movie with Keillor's wry, sometimes wicked sense of humor. I still listen to A Prairie Home Companion, after all these years, though now it is more often in the car, 'on the way', than deliberately arranged. Decades ago I made a point of tuning in, while working at a bookstore in East Lansing, or later, doing my weekend cleaning chores in our apartment in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. It's hard to believe that this show has been on the air for over thirty years, and knowing this makes the movie's plot more sensible. The angel of death walks the stage, and even by the end, it's not clear if she came only to claim a cast member or the very show itself.

Garrison is great, in his deadpan sort of way, and I finally got to see many of the regular musicians I've listened to over the years. Of course the cast is filled out with many actual actors, but they manage to fit into the Prairie Home mentality pretty easily. If you don't care for PHC, the movie won't change your mind, but if you like it at all, you should enjoy the movie as well.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2006

Ergo Proxy

It's my night for new media. I just finished watching episode 1 of Ergo Proxy, which on the Shammy Scale is a solid seven, so far (the Shammy Scale, named after a baffling but beautiful anime, Shamanic Princess). I was particularly at sea as the fansub was apparently performed by non-native speakers of either English or Japanese. Add to that the deliberate attempt to paint a future so separated from our own world as to seem alien, and it will take me a few episodes to get a grip.

But for now, I am content to sit back and let it wash over me. It's got style, even if the substance is rather murky as yet.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:54 PM | Comments (1)

August 07, 2005

NOVA

So NOVA's having one of it's periodic crises. We had nominations for officers, and Lisa, who's been President long enough to want a break, asked for nominations, and nobody stepped up. I don't know who suggested it, but I got nominated, which is amusing, since I have been the Vice President over the last year, and I did such a good job of that. Which is to say, Lisa needed someone to cover for her around three times last year, and I was only able to do one. I told everyone that with Jean looking for a nursing job, I might soon be even less reliable, but still, no one else stepped forward.

Bob, who is running our video program, is showing every sign of burn out, but again, finding a responsible individual to take charge of the equipment (i.e. not set it up at their home for a personal theater and run down the expensive bulb) is not looking easy. The crowd of regulars consists of folks who like coming to NOVA twice a month, but are not able to contribute to running it. I know how real life can eat up your commitments, so I'm not accusing folks of being slackers, just guessing that the reality is that not many folk interested in NOVA have the time or energy to run it. Sure, you 'just' have to schedule the room, pick up and drop off the keys, and do some 'minor' paperwork, but if I can't guarantee doing it reliably, I can't expect anyone else to.

After the meeting, we went out for snacks, and had a lengthy conversation on the topic. Alan volunteered to step up to the Presidential nomination, for a year. And Alan is very reliable. But he's once again a person who's doing it out of a sense of duty. I can't speak for his intentions, but I think he's doing it more for the idea of NOVA as it formerly existed. If NOVA can't sustain itself with people willingly stepping in to do the work, then us old warhorses shouldn't feel obligated. Lisa said that she thought without the 'core' members doing the work, NOVA would just collapse, and she didn't want that to happen. But if the only folks doing the work do so out of a sense of obligation, when the loose membership is probably only coming out of habit...

It's obvious to me that I'm not the right choice for President. Lisa wanted to do a follow-up discussion at the next meeting, and I remembered that I'd be out of town (Jean, Kelly and I are doing a research trip to Seattle). I'm probably not going to be able to make the first meeting in September either, so that leaves the second meeting of September, when the elections are supposed to happen. So... If nominated, I'll run, reluctantly. If elected, I'll serve, poorly. Is that what NOVA deserves?

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Ugh

My modus operandi is to attend Jean's family reunion on even years, and Anime Expo on odd years. This means that the next Expo I've got in my queue is Anime Expo 2007. But now I learn that AX2007 will most likely be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. My gripe is that it just ain't as friendly a location. The pedestrian opportunities are less (no Downtown Disney, for instance) and the staff of the LBCC is pretty rude. So just 'ugh'.

Who got the Anaheim Convention Center for 2007? According to a post on the Anime News Network forums by someone claiming to be on the SPJA staff, nicknamed xstylus [okay, a little Googling turns up:Troy Williams (XStylus) -AX2004 American VIP Relations Mgr. - troy.williams@spja.org], the Shriners booked the ACC for 2007 as early as 2003. So the message is "don't mess with the Shriners."

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:13 PM

July 07, 2005

Hostess with the Mostest

At the request of Dawn, I present this cropped picture of Adam and friend, in the lobby of Ariel's Grotto. Adam gets the full, uncropped originals, and if he wants to show Dawn, she can ask him nicely.

And while I have a few other pictures with Adam, they are not with "hottie chicks". That would be a job for his "official biographer". <smirk/>

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2005

P. S. - I'm Back


Posted by dpwakefield at 05:33 PM

The Booty

I'll put all of the Hong Kong movies in my cumulative list, but I just wanted to share my acquisitions with all (two) of you:

For myself, I also got a Gankutsou T-shirt and mug. For Kelly, aside from all the Dealer's Room freebies, I got her the T-shirt, a baby-doll T with a cute picture, and a manga, called The Wallflower (which I guess I already mentioned).

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:29 PM

July 04, 2005

Con End

A very light day. We wandered about a bit, I bought still more Hong Kong movies, then we ran and caught Gun Sword. It was a raw Japanese screening, the first episode of a show which has not even aired in Japan yet. That sort of event is getting increasingly rare at Expo, so this was a treat.

We attended the charity auction, where James won two bidding wars, spending way too much money on a couple of Gundam character sketches. The record bid of the auction was for a sketch from Howl's Moving Castle, for $13,000!

We spent the evening at California Adventure and Disneyland. We all went and ate at Ariel's Grotto, but Ariel wasn't there! In fact, she no longer works there! Excuse me? Ariel's Grotto??!!?? In any case, I still took some character photos.

Afterwards, Dan wanted to try to experience a bunch of rides, and hijacked me as his 'guide'. We did the Maliboomer and California Screamin', and were fortunate to get four rides in a row on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We then crossed over to Disneyland. We rode the Matterhorn, the Teacup, Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion. Finally we'd had enough and headed back to the room.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:15 PM | Comments (5)

July 03, 2005

Sunday Highlights

We ate breakfast at Coco's (second time) and then Dan and I went to the Del Rey Manga panel. The guy running the panel was their editor for the manga line, and he is a true believer. He ran through a number of their titles, talking each one up as he presented it. I ended up buying volume one of Wallflower for Kelly. Next we headed off to see Ultraman The Next live action movie. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and we had UHF channels that showed all sorts of crap, including Ultraman, direct from Japan. So it holds a special place in my heart, and I had lots of fun.

By that time it was time to go stand in line, forever, for the Maaya Sakamoto concert. It was a slow, mellow concert, and I bought a CD of Maaya's songs, again for Kelly. Then we ate at the Hilton restaurant, and now we're just sitting in the room. Alan is going totally nutso with faux accents, doing his best to annoy me, and not yet succeeding. We are waiting for the masquerade to finish so that we can go out and photograph the cosplayers, so until then we're gonna watch a Hong Kong movie on Jeremy's laptop computer.

Oh, and the last two nights we ate at the Naples restaurant in Downtown Disney, and at Tiffy's next to Coco's. Just for the record...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:25 PM

July 02, 2005

Highlights

Time seems to fly even when I don't think I have a lot of activities lined up at this convention. Friday I sat in the Ugetsu Hakua panel. He is the creator of Bakuretsu Tenshi and was reasonably entertaining. I then attended Kazue Yamamoto's panel. She is an illustrator and the president of her own company. I went to her panel without knowing a thing about her, solely on her personality at opening ceremonies. She claims to be shy, but loves to talk. Someone would ask her a question, and she'd talk for five minutes before letting the translator actually translate. She's pretty cool. She is a heavy-set middle-aged woman, and looks like she'd be at home running a home-style restaurant. But very personable.

Alan and I did a tour of the con looking for good costumes to take pictures of. Alan has been doing that at several conventions over the years, and he is very blase about it. I just followed him and 'parasitically' snapped photos. I'm going to go out today and try to take some photos on my own. I havve trouble asking folk to pose. I guess I like candid photography because I don't have to talk to anyone.

One series of photos I took Friday may not look impressive, but they're pretty cool to me. I was in the dealer's room, where all the anime companies hawk their wares. I was quite impressed by the size of the place. It just gets larger every time I go. So I noticed that AD Vision had a skybox at their booth location, and asked one of the AD Vision folk "what would it take for me to get up there and take some pictures?" The guy told me they were having a meeting up there, but if I came back in ten minutes, he'd walk me up himself. So I did a round of the floor, and when I came back, he escorted me up. The resulting photos are on my Flickr page, but the banner photo is one of the better crowd shots.

Today the gang took a lazier approach to getting started. We lounged around in the room in the morning, then wandered over to catch the Geneon panel. This is a company that is making deals for some of the more popular anime, so we went to catch the clips. After that, I went to see the live action movie version of Tetsujin 28. This is the origin of one of my childhood cartoons, known in America as Gigantor. I even wore my Gigantor T-shirt.

After that, I walked upstairs to the KOTOKO concert. She's an idol singer being promoted by Geneon. It's been years since I've been to any sort of concert, so I thought it would be fun. She opened with some techno-beat J-pop, moved on to basic J-pop, and transitioned into a ballad. Around this time, the whole front section started waving light wands and glow sticks overhead. It appeared as if they'd all brought them, or been given them before the concert. Not to be outdone, other sections began to wave their cellphones and PDAs around with the backlights on. I looked around, and this was happening all over the room! I don't know if this is common practice now, but it was new to me.

I'm back in the room now, writing things up for a break. Next it's off to try to snag a photo or two. Bye!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:20 PM

July 01, 2005

Opening Ceremony

The guests were introduced one by one. First the American voice actors, who do the dubs of American licensed anime. After Crispin Freeman was introduced, Colleen Clinkenbeard was introduced. She was clearly pleased by the volume of the applause and gave a little twirl. Then came Greg Ayres, an anime fan who has become a voice actor. He showed up with purple hair, and when he was introduced, he decided to be giggly and bubbly too, and did a twirl that topped Colleen's. From that point on, each guest did a twirl, with one exception, and the guest after him did a multi-twirl to make up for it. I was clapping and cheering whenever they did it. Spontaneous emergence of silliness really brightens my mood.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:29 PM

Concert 'Tickets'

More Expo planning goodness. I wanted to go to the Maaya Sakamoto concert, which will be held on Sunday afternoon. My ticket, it turns out, is a wrist band which was attached this morning! Any attempt to tamper with this wrist band will result in refusal to enter the concert. Any attempt? Like, oh, taking a shower? What dunderheads. They want to prevent ticket scalping, but they just don't think through the consequences.

I'll let you know if this stupid wristband survives two evenings in bed and two showers before the concert.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:11 PM

Registration

Ohhhh, if I were king of the forest...

What a bent operation. This was the fog of war, friends. There are so many people milling around, that the tail of the snake cannot tell what the head of the snake is doing. And what the head of the snake is doing is waiting! Waiting! We were in a long winding line that snaked through what appeared to be a military grade parking garage, with maybe four football field length queues filing back and forth across the hard concrete. At the end, we went up the escalator, to another room, with more lines.

Eventually we got close to the actual machinery of registration. Ranks of computers manned by reasonably cheerful volunteer clerks. The young woman I was directed to took my printout, that I'd done a week before online, and entered my information into the computer, where it already resided, I'm sure. Then she told me to go wait at the printer area.

This area was the cause of all delays. I can't believe they had things so very badly messed up. They had maybe six printers spitting out the product of the fifteen or twenty registration clerks. Registrants were pooling in front of these printers, and eight or twelve volunteers were grabbing tags as they came out of the printers and shouting the names into the noisy throng. If they didn't get an immediate response from this mosh pit, they handed the tag down the line and shouted another name. I heard my name from the back of the crowd, but had no way to get to the front to grab it.

Using my height to my advantage, I squirmed to the right hand edge of the printer phalanx and waited for my tag to work its way over there. When I saw it lying on the table in a pile of other tags, I shouted, "that's me, Phin" and shoved my paperwork at the harried printer clerk. He handed me my tag, and I waded back through the mosh pit to get away from it all.

As a result, people were waiting in a huge backlog at the head of the snake, and the tail often experienced these long delays for which they had no explanation. Now it's time for my armchair general speech. Guys, you've got Don Wakefield standing in front of your computer, and you just typed his name in. It took about ten seconds to print out his tag. Have him wait at the computer, where you know he is, and bring the tag to him. Then send him on his merry way. Waiting at the mosh pit took ten minutes, not ten seconds! I hope someone who actually has the power to change things saw what was going on last night and makes this simple change for registration this morning, or the poor saps are really going to suffer. We were in line three hours last night! THREE HOURS. It didn't have to be this way!!!

But now we get to take our showers and then head down to try to get our tickets for the Maaya Sakamoto concert. I'm sure that'll be much better.

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:47 AM

June 30, 2005

Day Zero

We're here, at the Anaheim Marriott, complete with high-speed internet. Don't mean I'll be posting much, as I'm being distracted by these annoying fanboys behind me...

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:05 PM

June 28, 2005

One More Day

Wednesday I work, Thursday I fly.

My bag is fully packed, and my carry-on is growing gradually heavier. If I get hooked up at Expo, I'll try to do a post or two, but otherwise look for me again around July 6th or 7th.

I look forward to trudging through airports...

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:10 PM

June 19, 2005

I'm A Member

Of Anime Expo 2005, that is. I'd been concerned that I'd not received my membership papers in the mail, even though I'd sent my check on May 11th. Tom pointed out that I could see if they cashed my check. So I just checked it out. The suckers cashed it on May 19th! So they've had a month to send me my membership papers, and still haven't gotten around to it.

The nice part is that my bank includes an online image of the cancelled check, so I can print it out and take it with me if I don't get the paperwork. Gotta love that electronic age!

Update

Funny. Now, Tuesday, June 21, 7:20 am, I got an email from Anime Expo Registration confirming my membership. So the power of weblogging is confirmed!!!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:28 PM

June 14, 2005

The Pieces Fall Into Place...

Anime Expo, here I come! I got one more stumbling block out of the way today, when I called my insurance agent and made sure that my camera and gear, laptop and various gadgets that I plan to take are covered against theft, loss and damage. So now I can drag my toys down with me and not have to worry about the unplanned.

Next on my list, besides making sure I have all my luggage planned out, is to get a two-day park hopper pass for Disneyland/California Adventure. Tom, Alan, Dan, John and I (and possible unknown others) are going to go to the parks on the afternoon of the final day of the con, and the whole next day. I'm gonna try to set up a dinner at Ariel's Grotto, though I don't know if that'll be possible. Cross your fingers!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:15 AM

April 12, 2005

Speed Grapher

Adam of the North recommended this one (sorta, since he had only seen the artwork at the time, I'd guess), so I settled in tonight and watched Speed Grapher, episode One.

There's a lot of stuff in that first episode. I get a bit that they're shooting for Cowboy Bebop territory, but only in the mature and trendy sense. This show would probably get an R rating here in America, or at least show up somewhat truncated on Adult Swim in a year or so. They got blood, nudity, elastic assassins and floating faux goddesses in secret subterranean clubs into this first episode, so who knows where they're heading?

I'll probably watch a couple more episodes, in addition to the stuff I'm watching with Kelly. Reports as things progress...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:42 PM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2005

Appleseed

I won't try to write a full review, as it's late, but I finished watching the second part of Appleseed tonight. It gets across the kernel of the manga story, and conveys Masamune Shirow's beautiful art design. The motion capture for the characters was pretty detailed, but I generally felt I was watching mannequins when there was a need for subtle facial expression. Not quite Uncanny Valley territory, but stilted.

On the whole, I enjoyed it most when they were covering the backstory of the Appleseed universe, and I yawned a few times during the chases and spidertank battles. I'm happiest when Shirow's talking heads take the front rank.

Still, a beautiful movie, with lots of fetching detail. It was worth the gander.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:41 PM

October 07, 2004

No Accounting

For taste, that is. Pat Holmes, writing for the Portland Tribune, gives Ghost in the Shell: Innocence two thumbs down. He's really quite nasty, and can only think of Blade Runner (it's superior inspiration) and The Matrix (another example of shallow trash) when talking about it.

I wonder if he's seen any of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and if so, whether he thinks it stinks so badly as well? Seeing as how GitSAC is my current favorite anime series, that would pretty much shoot any credibility he might have with me.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:38 AM

October 03, 2004

Police Procedural

God help me, I'm old. Saturday afternoon, with the consent of my loving wife, I took off two hours early for NOVA, and drove downtown to meet my friends so that we could see Ghost in the Shell: Innocence at Cinema 21, the best art theatre in the metro area.

I've enjoyed the various incarnations of Ghost in the Shell for years, starting with the manga by Masamune Shirow (a genius with many other great stories, don't even get me started on Appleseed). Next was the first movie, which I've seen, but don't yet own (now I have to go get it!). Most recently I've been enjoying the hell out of the first season of the television series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The television series more or less ignores the continuity of the movie, what we anime/sci-fi buffs call an alternate timeline.

What I like so much about these stories is the intricate plotting, with deep twists and turns, of crime in the future. We get all the attention to detail that Larry Niven gave in his early years when technology impacts human lives. Here the crimes are cyborg-augmented violence, computer aided graft, diseases inflicted on the post-human mind. The theme threaded throughout the series (manga, movies, television) is declared in the umbrella title. The Ghost in the Shell. Soul, spirit, animus, whatever breathes life into clay, the ghost investing the shell with more than simple motion, mimicry.

So is it any wonder that I was excited to see the second movie, set in the same timeline as the first movie, but with a major emphasis on Batou, who is the cyborg policeman best fit to a role in film noir? Alan doesn't like the art style of Production IG, the company doing the graphics for this movie, but I thought it was delicious. And the plot was Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner perfect, a plot to -- oops, I know none of my regular readers (all three) are going to care about a spoiler, but I'll skip it nevertheless in case someone googles here. Suffice to say that it was most satisfactory.

At the end, as the house lights came up, I noted that GitS was a prime example, perhaps the only one, of a proper science fiction implementation of that tried and true genre, the police procedural. James said "what?" I said, "you know, a police procedural." It turns out none of these guys has ever heard the term before. Is this just me? Is it my reading and movie history, or has this term gone out of vogue? Oy, do I feel old!

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:17 PM

July 03, 2004

Missing Expo

My personal favorite way to spend July 4th weekends is at Anime Expo. But I only go every other year, since it would be too much doing that and the Moyer family reunion. So I'm not at AX this year. But I can live vicariously this year, due to Tom posting live from the con. Thanks Tom! I'll be checking every day, so force yourself to write, or draft Alan, James, John and Dan (and Adam and whoever else falls into your snare).

By the way, only your first gallery seems to be working. The others are all 'page not found'.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:35 PM

April 25, 2004

Cooking Master Boy

Woo hoo! I now have in my possession the first 40 episodes of Cooking Master Boy! Based in an Imperial China of the pre-Industrial era, this show is about as innocent and cornball as you could hope. It's a proud member of the genre which I've only ever seen in Asia, the dueling chef adventure. While the anime was produced in Japan, the fansub I've located uses mostly Cantonese source video, which is appropriate enough, considering the setting. Okay, I know, for mainland China, it should be Mandarin, but you get my point.

I've only ever seen the first two episodes, but now I'll begin doling them out, letting them compete for airtime with Chrno Crusade and Bakuretsu Tenshi.

There are twelve more episodes to get (it goes to 52), but I may have to be satisfied with 40, considering how long it took me to procure even these. Waiting patiently...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:46 PM | Comments (3)

December 21, 2003

NOVA Xmas

Saturday evening was the NOVA Xmas party. Much food, lots of fun, and friends exchanging prezzies. I swear I left with more presents than I carried in! We unwrapped them at the meeting, but I decided that it'd be nice to reprise 'em on Xmas morn, so I rewrapped them and put 'em under the tree. That is, if you can call stapling them into paper lunch bags rewrapping. So sue me!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:32 PM | Comments (2)

December 07, 2003

All Mecha Are Equal

Relatives and friends with no interest in anime can stop reading here. But my anime friend James will be pleased to hear this, as he's a big mecha fan, and knows more about Gundam than most 'mundane' folk would consider healthy

Kelly and I were downstairs exercising together today, and watching Big O while we did it. Big O is an interesting show, where the main character 'pilot's a fighting robot known as Big O. In the show, all piloted robots of it's kind are referred to a MegaDeuces. Kelly knows this, and even that a pilot is called a Dominus.

Regardless of that, her mecha world map seems to have blurred at the borders. During our cooldown, we were talking about the latest episode we'd watched, and Kelly kept referring to Big O and Big Faux as Gundams. Tom, can you make sure James hears this one?

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:57 PM

November 10, 2003

Anime Everywhere

For anime dilettantes only. Check out this screenshot of the Finder Live Search feature in Mac OS X Panther. The top search entry should be obvious to the most casual anime fan

Now I know that John Siracusa is an anime fan!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:48 PM

October 07, 2003

Teen Titans Again

Okay, Sluggy Freelance nails exactly what's wrong with Teen Titans...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 07, 2003

Lifer

NOVA was this weekend. We had our annual elections, replacing the past year's officers (who had served their terms with honor and great effectiveness). Dan Baxter bowed out as President, yielding the reins to Lisa Eide. But before he did, he called me to the front of the meeting to bestow on me a lifetime membership. Seems that between running the club web pages and the club mailing list, and contributing a large amount of anime and art works to the club, I've contributed enough to earn the honor. I am truly touched.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:47 PM

July 07, 2003

Final Trip Item

I wrote most of this on the plane, and added links after the fact...

Anime Expo is over. Alan, Dan, Tom, John and I are in the airplane heading for home. As I mentioned in the last post, the Masquerade ran past midnight on Saturday. While there were one or two imaginative sketches, most were pretty boring. The nice part is that there were a lot of detailed, beautiful costumes. There was one rather impressive 'giant' robot, probably seven or eight feet tall, though it was hard to judge exactly seated among the audience.

Sunday morning was take-it-easy time. We went to Coco's for breakfast, and I got oatmeal and fruit. Very healthy! We kicked around the dealers' room, and I bought two more DVDs: 36th Chamber of Shaolin (another Shaw Brothers old school kung fu movie) and Hero (Zhang Yimou's new movie starring Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Cheung and Donnie Yen). Alan was so impressed by the cast that he picked up a copy as well. I managed to resist a ton of other titles that I was interested in, such as Uzumaki, Volcano High School, Versus and Returner.

The final activities of the convention were the charity auction, awards and closing ceremony. We planned to ditch after the auction, and go out for eats.

The proceeds of the auction, as usual, went to City of Hope. I don't know how much total was raised, as they usually announce that at the closing ceremony, which we skipped. Even simple sketches were going for $100. One that I would have bid for in a realistic world, a sketch by Akemi Takada (character designer for Kimagure Orange Road) of the Patlabor character Noa, went for $5000. I think the highest bid item went for $7000. This is why I attend the auction, to see how irrational folks wiil get, bidding hundreds of dollars for items that are not even signed, just posters.

Alan bid for and won a collection of Street Fighter art cards. Around $120, I think. I heard that Theo, whom I met two years ago at Anime Expo 2001, bid on and won the Silent Moebius scroll. Don't remember how much, but it was over a hundred, easily.

Once the auction was over, when they began the award ceremonies, we bailed to the room to dump all our stuff. Hanging out, chatting, deciding where we were going to eat, we settled on Catal (or it's outside bar, the Uva Bar) in Downtown Disney. It really is quite convenient, and I wish I'd figured it out years ago (hwo many years has Downtown Disney been there?). I've been going to Expo for years, sometimes consecutive, sometimes every other year, and most of those years have been across the street from Disney. I never went since I didn't want to buy a pass and skip part of the convention. But last year Jean, Kelly and I went to Disneyland for Kelly's seventh birthday, and we found out about Downtown Disney, a line of shops and restaurants open to the general public without passes.

So i agitated this year for a 'field trip' to Downtown Disney for food, and we ended up going several times. This final time, we walked around and enjoyed the music, a couple of the guys stopping in Wetzel's Pretzels for a snack before dinner. Then Alan led us to the Lego store, where I bought a couple of trinkets for Kelly.

Dinner at Catal was really nice. I had roast duck with cornbread, which came on a plate looking like nouvelle cuisine, but nevertheless filled me just fine. After dinner we went to the Confectionary so that Alan could buy a bon bon, then across the street to Haagen-Dazs. I bought a mango sorbet for my dessert. Yummy!

Finally, we tracked our way back to the hotel, winding down around midnight. This morning we got up around 5am so we could get our shuttle bus to the airport. Now I'm sitting on the plane, and this pretty much ends my vacation!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:14 PM | Comments (3)

July 06, 2003

Masquerade

Well, the Masquerade is over. I can't even begin to list the acts, who won, or why. It's too late, I wasn't taking notes, and I'm not that dedicated to cosplay. See Tom's weblog if you care.

Did I have fun? Sure, though I'd prefer that they do a better job of crowd control. It's ironic, considering that they're across the street from Disneyland, home of the experts of crowd control. What they could use is a consultant to spend one convention walking around taking notes, watching how they handle events. As an impartial observer I saw at least three things they could do to improve crowd control and communication. Of course, it's easy to say, when you're not in the hotseat...

So tomorrow's the auction, which I like a lot more. Now to bed, so we can make it to breakfast somewhere nice. Bye!

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:16 AM

July 05, 2003

ADV Mob Marketing

I was wandering the dealers' room and heard shrieks, whistles, shouts and roars. It was coming from the vicinity of the AD Vision super-kiosk. They have a tower in the middle of their setup, and there were several employees there, tossing out T-shirts and other gimmes and egging on the crowd.

People were crowded together shoulder to shoulder some twenty or thirty deep. I watched from the periphery for awhile, then moved on. I don't want to get crushed!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:33 PM | Comments (3)

Morning Activities

Ate a 'suitcase breakfast' this morning, and then it was off to see Koushi Rikudo, the creator of the Excel Saga manga. He is a quiet fellow with a rather tricky sense of humour. You'd pass him by confidently on the street, but beware, as he apparently likes practical jokes a lot. He told an anecdote about taking his assistants to lunch, but failing to tell them the restaurant was 500 miles away. As he was pulling his van onto the freeway, they asked 'where are we going, sir?' But of course they had a nice lunch when they got there.

Some of the other guys stayed to see Kazuki Yao, a voice actor (or seiyu). I was getting a sore butt, so I went to check out the art show instead. Tom and Dan came along, but were not as interested as I, so I lost track of them after awhile. I saw a few pieces that I'd consider bidding for, but I wanted time to think, and to see if any other new pieces would get put out before the bidding closes today.

Since then I've been on my own. It's a big Con, and lose track of someone once, and you won't find them again easily. I went back to the room for some down time (introvert, remember). I ate a 'suitcase lunch', then headed down to the dealers' room. I'd heard that Bandai was giving away free T-shirts to those who sat through a presentation, so I went looking for their booth.

It's hard to miss, being one of the big mega-booths. I waited in line, playing Iridion II on my Gameboy Advance SP, and was in in no time. The presentation was a series of video clips of their upcoming releases, set to electronica and hard rock rhythms. It was short and easy to handle. When I left, I got a Witch Hunter Robin T-shirt. They're promoting that series bigtime.

I moseyed about, resisted buying another Hong Kong movie (so far) and picked up some freebies. On exiting, I went to the Convention T-shirt booth and looked into their shirt choices. I ended up buying a small Gundam (giant robot) shirt for Kelly, and an XL for me. Buy two, and get a third, AX Disneyland T-shirt for free! Cool. I'm going to wear that one tomorrow, since it appears I packed one shirt light, and then offer it to Jean, even though she said she didn't want any souvenirs.

I think I'll go back to the Art Show and decide if I want to bid on something.

Tonight's big activity is the Masquerade, or as I call it, the cosplay. See you later!

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:15 PM

Day Two Photos

Alan finished all his hard post-processing work late last night, but I was already abed, so here are Day Two's photos!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:04 AM

July 04, 2003

Food

We went past Coco's to an Italian restaurant Dan remembered from 2000 (I think it was called Maria's). I had the Spinach and Shrimp Salad, and a side of veggies with brocolli and zucchini. I'm starting to get wise to the ways of seeking out the minimally healthy stuff among the typical protein and starch rich restaurant fare.

We went to the restaurant straight from the 'Big O II' showing. It was really corny, but in a good way.

Oooo, I found a DVD of King Hu's Touch of Zen, which was sort of the forerunner for all the modern wu xia movies out of Hong Kong. I'm resisting more purchases, but you know how that goes!

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:09 PM

Yes I'm Having Fun

Afternoon highlights:

Panel with Robert Woodhead, founder/owner of AnimEigo. He's always a hoot. I've never missed an opportunity to hit a panel where he's in charge.

Time passed, walking around with Alan while he snapped cosplayers all over the place. Man, there are some really great costumes this year. I hope we can get more of them online.

We just got back from the Yuki Kajiura concert. That was sweet, if loud. She's the composer of several tunes off of the series Noir and .hack//Sign. We got six tunes, and an encore of a 'remix' of one of the tunes. Now we're camping out in the room prior to attending the premiere of 'Big O II'. Two episodes of Roger Smith and his giant robot. Sweet!

Dunno where or if we'll eat out afterwards...

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:56 PM | Comments (2)

Punchy

Feeling just a tad punchy today, as we all went to sleep around 2am last night/morning. We were spending a lot of time winnowing through Alan's collection of photos he'd taken during the day. I put up a small selection as a web gallery here. I reserve the right to take them down again if I run low on storage.

We all got up around 8:30, and have been lounging around posting articles and surfing the web until the next activity. I think Alan and I will be hitting the road for some food soon regardless. Later!

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:10 AM | Comments (2)

Healthy

We went back to Downtown Disney, using a route I was sure was shorter than last time, but alas no. I enjoyed the walk, but John and Tom both got blisters. This time we ate at the ESPN Sports Restaurant. I had a chicken sausage sandwich, a bowl of green beans, and a bowl of brocolli (brocolli and cheddar, hold the cheddar). My body thanked me profusely.

It's late, so I'll wait until tomorrow (sometime) to detail all the Hong Kong and Korean DVDs I bought in the dealers' room. 'Night all!

Posted by dpwakefield at 12:08 AM

July 03, 2003

Idol

We did quite a bit of wandering around the con before and after the Idol Contest, and they got a rocky start, running over an hour late. But I enjoyed it quite a bit. These kids have got a lot of guts getting up on stage in front of a hundred or two tired anime fans. The competition was either voice acting or pop singing. We only stayed for about six competitors, as they ran so late, but some of them showed real promise.

The one that stuck with me was a young woman reading Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. She had a really nice voice, perfect for narrative. I was trying to decide if she was British and nervous, or awkwardly trying to imitate a British accent, but it seemed stilted. And she slurred some of her words. But I surely hope she gets professional training, because I actually closed my eyes and listened to her voice for a minute there. It's got something to do with the fact that I've always loved that poem fragment (it's a crowd pleaser, so that's no surprise), but it also had to do with my love of a fine voice. Very nice.

On another note, poor Ross Johnson! He's down here working on AX staff, and is trapped working some of the nastiest panels (BBS get-togethers, Sailor Moon musicals, for instance). The guy who is supposed to be helping him and giving him breaks is a no show. If I had any knowledge of the equipment I'd offer to help him, some. But we'll be meeting with him after he gets off, around 11pm...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:59 PM

Opening Ceremony

Opening ceremony was par for the course. It was improved by the introduction of two 'special' mini-events. One guest (Akira Kamiya) brought an anime his students at Nipon Engineering College produced. It was a cute little short about a boy who wakes up and has turned into a dinosaur, from the waist up. Pretty funny.

The second special was a song performed by pianist/composer Yuki Kajiura and a vocalist whose name I didn't catch. These two events are atypical in my experience.

After the open we milled about while Alan took a bunch of digipics with his digital SLR (Nikon D100) and then we met with Chris and Valeska. She wanted breakfast, even though it was 11:30am by then, so we went to Coco's. I had a turkey and brocolli quiche, and lots of orange juice and copious caffeinated bevies. Now we are resting before hitting the dealer's room.

Tonight we'll probably go to the Idol contest (Idol's are the Japanese equivalent of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera -- manufactured pop stars), then hit the road in search of a late night snack. I found out that taking the right route we could easily walk to Downtown Disney, not even needing a shuttle. So maybe Sunday for the next try...

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:17 PM

Beyond the Thunderdome

<entry wiped by accident>

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:05 AM | Comments (4)

July 02, 2003

Six Days and Five Nights

First post from Anime Expo! I brought my laptop (an original Blueberry iBook) and our room has broadband available, so I'm able to dash off a post now and then. Don't expect too many, as I'll be busy doing, but...

Of course I had to launch the trip with a burst of bad health choices. In the concourse of the Portland Airport Dan and Alan and I went to Good Dog, Bad Dog (botique sausage restaurant) and had sandwiches for lunch. I had the BratReuben, a bratwurst with Reuben toppings. Yum, yum!

The flight down was uneventful, and I even escaped the nasty sinus pain that sometimes afflicts me when we descend rapidly. We caught a shuttle to the hotel, and checked in with little trouble, although the room assignments were somewhat flakey (we got rooms across the hall from each other, and the rooms were 'smoking' -- I keep forgetting that not all states are as healthy as Oregon).

Tom and I were both 'paid pre-registered' and got our badges and other material in a matter of five minutes. Dan, Alan and John had to wait for two hours to get through the lines for their registration.

While we waited for them, we joined James and Jeremy to check out their weird Japanese import Playstation 2 games. One was a 'Killer Trout' fishing game, with mutant zombie fish. The other was a disc with dozens of mini games, such as the wedding pie toss and the afro growing game. Lotsa crazy stuff.

Finally, we marched out in search of food, and ended up going to Downtown Disney (we took the long way around, due to some misnavigation, turns out the shuttle entrance was right across the street). We ate in the restaurant portion of 'House of Blues'. We skipped the club since there was a $13 cover charge to get in and it was really loud. I had a salad and veggies, other folks had major dishes. Now we are back, and winding down for the night. Gotta get those earplugs ready!

Kelly, I miss you already. Jean, I miss you too! Take care.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:43 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2003

Anime Expo 2003

Traditionally, with some historical variations, I've made it my habit to travel to Anime Expo on alternate years. This is the year! I've been a bit hesitant due to my little episode this winter, but I'm thinking I'm doing good enough to dive in. So I took one more inexorable step today, mailing my membership fee for the con.

Tom has acknowledged that I have a slot in his room, and I have to get him payment for my share at the next NOVA meeting, which is April 12th. After that, all that remains is to line up my flights and declare my vacation time at work. Getting excited again, folks!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:07 AM