Anime on DVD: Otakon 1999 Travelogue - Mania.com



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Anime on DVD: Otakon 1999 Travelogue

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Otakon 1999 TravelogueFriday, July 2ndConvention day at last! Being the prompt people that Melanie and I are, we head off from outside of Philadelphia around 7 AM and drive down to Baltimore. While driving down I-95S, I shake my fist in the direction of Washington D.C. and mutter a few incoherent sentences about the Beltway.Hurray! We hit Baltimore with a splash in the heat. We get to see the home of the Orioles and watch as the U.S.S. Constellation comes into port! Cannons are going off in the background. I can sense Melanie wondering if I'm thinking this is all for me. A certain look in her eyes convinces me that it's not all for me. Ah well, maybe next year.Check-in at the Hyatt was a breeze. Great room, nice place, excellent view of the inner harbor. Bistro 300 is way overpriced. We never went back after the first morning. Sausage Egg McMuffins for us for the rest of our weekend. Heh.We head over to the Convention Center afterwards. Very snazzy, very nice place. Helpful staffer sends us up to the "Ops Room". Star Trek allusions fill my head, but I keep it to myself (until now!). We finally get to meet Todd Dissinger, who not only invited us to come, but also has written one of the most popular hardware reviews on the site (referenced around 50 times a day from outside sources!). Todd's a bit busy, so we don't get to chat long, but my first anime-meet. Lots of fun.Quick catch-up; I've been online since about 1983 or so and have met several hundred people from the online world in person. This is just our first anime related gig is all. :)We finally get the weekend schedule (never got one in email) and lo and behold, we're on for tonight! My hands were only jittering a little bit at that! We're up as one of the first panels just after the opening ceremonies, so in my delusional mind, people will still be riding high from that and shouldn't notice me being too much of a complete bore.Video RoomsSince we've got until 6 PM to kill until the opening ceremonies, we take in a few shows. Magical Emi looks really cute, though a bit dated. Seems like an Orange Road style show but still something we like. Mini Goddess next! We actually missed the first couple as we needed to get some fresh air, but caught the last two. This show must come out over here. It's just too hilarious.Having gotten relatively good seats, we figured we'd camp out in this room for a bit and took in the first two episodes of Sorcerer Stabber Orphen. Very slick, definitely up our alley. Though a bit odd in the pacing, it's a good looking show. We passed on Magic Knight Rayearth to take in some of the sights in the halls and come back for Nazca which is due for release from Pioneer. I've heard mixed on this show, but we really enjoyed it. The opening sequence music caught us right there (couldn't find the soundtrack though). We stayed for just the first episodes so the first DVD doesn't get completely spoiled.Opening CeremoniesWe get into line for the "Main Event" Opening Ceremonies. Ah, the joy of the line! The main event hall is extremely spacious. We had something like fourth row center seats. Though they seemed more like commercials than anything else, the Cowboy Bebop and Production I.G. spots were pretty slick (and pretty loud from that row). Yoko Kanno rocks my world. Excellent performances of some of my favourite pieces. Call me a drooling fanboy. Anime on DVD PanelHaving gotten my highlighted schedule from the con staff, I see that I am indeed on the Anime on DVD panel. Whoda thunk? We booked a few minutes early from the ceremonies to make sure we're on time for the panel. Chatted with a chap on the escalator and made some off hand comment to cover my nervousness. The panel room isn't one of the big rooms (next year I hope!) but looks like it'd be good enough. We waited till the last minute at 7:30 to start the panel.None of the other panelist showed up.Did I mention this was my first convention? Oh joy, I get to be myself! Instead of letting things get behind, I decide to just kick things off and go right into it. No need to delay in the inevitableWe kick it off by realizing that 70% of the people in the room read the site. Good sign. Then I notice that all the seats are filled and there are a bunch of people standing in the back. Nervousness resumes.Things get rolling as we just go right into the Q&A (after all, I have no idea of the format!). One of the early questions was jokingly asked of my eagerness for Sonic the Hedgehog. I make silly comment about wanting it in 5.1 and then we learn that none other than Matt Greenfield was in the back.He was "gang" cheered to get on the panel with me. Relief washes over me. :) Matt informs me during the panel that the con organizers wanted to put him on this panel to sweat it a bit.No such thing, Matt fielded a bunch of questions from the audience (as I did myself) and we seemed to both come up with relatively the same responses on basic things.First off, let me address briefly the question I had asked him regarding the 5.1 TV series comment. It'll be answered in more detail from the 20 Questions session we sent in to them last week (due back to us this week he said), but the comment from that con was taken out of context. 5.1 is being looked at for some shows, partially as a learning experience and viability. It is not holding up anything coming to DVD.So what shows can we expect from ADV Films? Lots. Matt provided a trove of information. While DVD is still embryonic at this stage, he did comment that it looks very much to be a serious format in the future, and that's why they're getting serious about it now. Proactive stance, kudos. We're unlikely to see release dates for a lot of things until they're really really done. The Slayers and Crystania movies were all set to go, but one thing just wasn't right in the video, and it takes weeks to correct. Since missing street dates is very bad for vendor relations, they'll be very careful with future announcements.But we do have some information! The first TV series that will be put to disc will be Bubblegum Crisis 2040 which is due in October or November. The second volume should be day and date with the VHS. Day and date will be unlikely for some time to come as the DVD takes longer to produce and doesn't have a huge market penetration yet. This is understandable of course, but I just hope that they will at least say when announcing a new series on VHS that the DVD is forthcoming.Apparently our petitions have had some influence! With interest in some catalog shows being more than expected, they've tweaked their release waves a bit to bring in some older things that they thought might not sell as well. Other titles mentioned for release hopefully this year include Cute Honey, Ruin Explorers and Battle Angel.With those and the BGC TV series, things are looking good from ADV for the remainder of the year. We should have a very merry Christmas from them.But wait, there's more! Mentioned as titles that are highly likely if not already being geared up for include Bakeretsu Hunters, Nadia and Nadiesco. Nadiesco was mentioned specifically for the text-heavy nature of the show and how alternate angles might be used to create a clean version and the the text version. Mentioning that basically gave fans goosebumps about it becoming a reality. I'm there!More? Oh, all right. There was some mention of the Evangelion show. With luck, the first disc containing four episodes will be out in December. The reason for the delay at this time is due to language resynching. The disc is set to include four language tracks; English, Japanese, Spanish and French. The Spanish and French dubbings are in the SECAM and PAL format and take a bit longer to be resynched with everything else. I'm guessing there will be Spanish and French subtitles included as well as one or two other things, though nothing specific was mentioned.Evangelion should also run 7 discs (half of the VHS run) and will likely have a higher price tag. Nothing firm was given, but speculation from myself and fans figure a 34.95-39.95 price point which is quite good when taking into account the VHS prices. Other various mentions; Tekken was not supposed to be dubtitled, it was an error. There should be no dubtitles appearing at all (though some sort of accident could happen) and Sonic the Hedgehog will be faithfully translated. I've been hearing more and more good things about it, so I'm keeping an open mind.Subtitles from ADV will definitely be yellow and bordered so we should be pretty happy there. One thing that was asked to be kept in mind, and it's something I've mentioned several times, is that people need to take into account the materials provided to the companies may not be the best. One example I believe was the original Dirty Pair had their effects tracks lost or mutilated over the years, and to get them for the VHS version, they had to work some magic off of a laserdisc master. Apparently the Japanese are notorious for poorly storing their shows for the most part. Anamorphic transfers are a possiblity in the future of those materials are given to them as part of the contracts (since we asked specifically with some theatrical shows coming up that are in 16:9) so things are looking good there as well.Lots more various questions in terms of hardware and software were bantered about and the general feel of the future of DVD. More on that in one of the later panels.Rest of the nightWe thought of checking out the Mystery Anime Theater 3000 gig, but the line was too long and we'd been up for quite awhile already. Giving in to our aging bodies, we headed back to the hotel to watch... X-Files on HBO! Yay! Then Anaconda came on (again). Hotel cable sucks.Previous PageNext Page

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