After three grueling weeks into studying for the GRE exam, I finally had a chance to unwind this past weekend at my favorite time of the year—Animazement. This marks my eighth convention, woo! You know you’re back home when you see Stormtroopers racing down the street in bicycle carriages…
Just like I did for Otakon, I’ll share a little bit about my experience. I’ve also included some crappy pictures taken by me. Sorry…no cosplayers (camera kept acting up). I spent most of my time in the Dealers Room on Friday, getting happily carried away with plushies/anime/pocky, so I’ll just skip to Saturday. The one event that blew everything out of the water, including my past experiences at Animazement, was by far KOTOKO’s live performance.
She sings a lot of theme songs for anime, including Shakugan no Shana, Hayate the Combat Butler, and most recently Accel World. Her song called “Shooting Star,” the OP theme for Please Teacher, was the main reason I even watched that anime. I know some of her other works here and there, but that one is still my favorite. She totally rocked the convention, engaging us with her amazing energy (jumps and twirls on stage), beautiful voice, and adorable personality. Er, what do I mean by adorable personality? Well, that was obvious every time she spoke English, for all she could say was, “I’m so happy! Yay! Are you happy? I’m happy too!” Kawaiii~! >_< So yeah, her rock performance raised the bar pretty high. It’s going to be tough for Animazement to top that unless they get someone else just as popular or more popular next year.
I also attended the panel “More Mushi Please!” hosted by none other than the director of Mushishi, Hiroshi Nagahama. The panel name means just what it says. There’s going to be a second season of Mushishi! Yay! I’m so happy! xD Well, I didn’t get to hear him talk for long since it overlapped with KOTOKO’s performance, but I did catch him on Sunday at a much smaller, informal panel. There were only like two people in the room at first, so we grabbed some chairs and scooted up close to each other. That’s the awesome thing about Animazement—you can get real close to the guests. Like this:
Eng-Jap Translator (left), Hiroshi Nagahama (Right)
(again, sorry for my crappy camera)
So I asked him to explain his new project. He couldn’t tell me much since everything was still “in his head,” but he did say that Mushishi 2 would involve the same staff and that it would “become more” than the first season. Well…that’s good enough for me! I’m just happy that he’s planning on it. Most of the conversation focused on his other works though. One guy sitting behind me asked him how he contributed to the anime Simoun, as he is listed next to “Conceptual Design.” Well, that was funny, because he had “ideas” for the anime but wasn’t actively involved in the project. Years passed, he had forgotten all about it until the day when he received a mysterious sum of money in the bank. He’s like… “Uh…what’s this for?” Turns out it was for Simoun, lol.
Next best thing: The Onjukai concert! If you’ve never heard of Onjukai, it’s a Japanese band of three lovely women who play the viola, flute, and koto.
The crowd was small, but their performance was very beautiful, relaxing, and upbeat. I was sorry that so many people missed out on this. They played several classic songs and anime tunes, such as from Miyazaki’s Totoro. Oh the nostalgia! I almost cried! I’d love to see them perform again. Plus they liked my Totoro shirt. ^_^ Then there was an event called JUDO, where a class of beginners showed off their moves before getting owned by their sensei. They also performed a funny skit from Super Smash Brothers. Of course, their sensei wins…as Solid Snake, lol. Lastly, Funimation premiered an anime movie called Tales of Vesperia. I didn’t catch all of it because I can just watch it later.
Okay, that about sums it up. I had a blast. The other events (AMV contest, masquerade, trip to McDonalds) aren’t really worth talking about since they’re the same every year. I’d like to end this post by remembering Noboru Ishiguro, who directed my favorite anime and has made major contributions to the anime industry (Macross, LOGH, Yamato). I missed him at Otakon last year, and he was scheduled to attend Animazement this year. I was planning to get his autograph on my LOGH poster…even if it meant crawling on broken glass. Sadly, however, he passed away just two months before the convention. The anime world feels a little bit smaller without him…but his legacy continues~
Now to catch up on Fate/zero and everything… *sigh* I’m sure no one has missed me, seeing how Dusk, Doofus, Alex, and Liam have been doing such a great job around here. :3