Anime on DVD: Otakon 1999 Travelogue (Mania.com)
Saturday, July 3rdBright eyed and bushy tailed, we head off in search of... McDonalds! Success! A quick trip to there and CVS to stock up on Coke and some new toothbrushes (curse those cleaning people!) and we're back at the Convention Center.Video Rooms & MoreWe head in early to catch the first episode of Outlaw Star. Curses! It's been pulled! We do get to check out the first episode of Trigun so it's not a total bust. I admit to being confused as to why several shows that were being shown (fansubs mind you) were licensed and practically announced. I imagine that's why Outlaw Star was pulled, but if that's so, why wasn't Lain or Gundam or Trigun pulled? Ah, the mysteries of con-life.So as to not spoil the first Trigun DVD, we head out into the halls to check out more costumes. Adhering to my rule, I did not drool over any Sailor woman until I verified that she was indeed a woman. At that point, I then drooled. Too cute. The changing dynamic of the convention and anime is a topic touched upon on several panels and by company folks. The Sailor Moon generation is definitely into anime and really giving it the new blood it needs. Some great shows are on their way over due to this (the most notable being Princess Nine from ADV).We make our way down to the video game room, but again, it's got this big line. I'll get into there yet. Since the dealer room is now open and the line has disappeared, we go and check out the massive stacks of goodies. Lots of shinies, but we didn't notice any DVD's anywhere, though we hadn't looked too hard.I made a quick trip to pick on Kasuga-vo at the Anime Village table. We're told to get info later on. Heh.I also took a fewm inutes with the folks over at Media Blasters. I wasn't aware of it at first, but I was talking with John Sirabella of the company, whom I've corresponded with in email a few times. I'll go into the bit with them a few blocks down.We decided to take a break from everything and get some lunch and cool off in the hotel. We have to be in good condition for....Mari Iijima ConcertAh yes, the other person I'm a shameless fanboy of. Ever since hearing her sing "Do You Remember Love" from the Macross movie back in 1984, I've loved her voice though I've had little chance to listen to much. We get into line a bit late and end up back a ways. Ended up chatting with a very friendly fan and reader of this site (who sadly didn't not introduce himself; email me with a hello!) and kibitzed about things in general for awhile. Then, with the line finally moving, we were off to see the concert!Mari performed four songs; two from her new CD due out this month in the U.S. (in English), a third from her release that came out this March in Japan (a very cool song that I enjoyed a lot, "D" I believe it was called. Reminded me a lot of Seal) and then wrapped up with "Do You Remember Love". Naturally that got the most applause, but I think it takes an incredible amount of courage to come out and sing songs that nobody has heard before in front of a group of people who are mostly there to hear things that she did 15 years ago. I'm glad she did both and now can't wait for her new CD to come out.The only downside to the concert as as the first song ended, the fire alarms went off. We all went outside fairly orderly into the heat (health hazard!) only to find out it was a false alarm. Apparently this happened the night before too, according to some of the scuttlebut I heard.Proceeding back down to the main events room, we were yelled at several times not to run, even though we couldn't see anyone running.Frankly, we both felt the entire Main Events room was seriously mishandled and micromanaged. With the room as large as it was and during the three events we went to, never anywhere near filled, to be squished together into the rows was just bad. I don't know about you, but I absolutely hate being crammed in next to people (with my slight width) and then be craning left and right to see things. Very annoying. More on that later.Cowboy Bebop Premier and Panel with the CreatorsAfter the concert, we stayed put to watch the Cowboy Bebop U.S. premier. We stayed just for the first episode, and this is an extremely slick and cool show. I can wholeheartedly say that this is one of the slickest things we'll see this year. Queue up those DVD requests folks, this is one you'll want to own. We didn't come back for the interview panel as we wanted to grab some cold soda and relax before the....Industry/Announce PanelSurprise surprise, another panel where panelists aren't quite sure of the format. Up for this one was Matt Greenfield from ADV, John Sirabella from Media Blasters, Jerry Chu (I believe) from Anime Village, Dan Pearsons from Animefantastique and Jeff Thompson from The Right Stuf.Free form panel though it was, many questions were answered. A lot were DVD related, which could be found on just most any panel relating to shows coming out domestically.John Sirabella repeated what he told me earlier, in that they are definitely wanting to do them. Their sales people kepp telling them they need to do them. Fans keep telling them they need to do them. They'll be doing them. Just not right away. Likely first candidates include Kite, Ninja Cadets, Earthian and Elf Princess Rane. I'll be setting up petitions for these shortly so they can see the interest level (and we've got region 2 reviews of the first two titles) and hopefully we'll be arranging some surveys and other things in the future to help them gauge some more fan reaction to their DVD plans.Magic Knight Rayearth is also another title that is nearly a given, but won't happen until the box set on VHS comes out, and will likely be a box set itself. The plus? It'll be close to the same pricing. For those unaware, Media Blasters titles generally price at 19.95 and the box set is expected to go for 99.99, and that's the subtitle price! If they can pull it off, there'll be a lot of pleased people, even if it's a bit more.Matt went through his list again (see previous sections). Nothing too new in there, but it's good for more and more people to hear them talking about DVD. It should get more non-DVD people to perk up and seriously look into the media format.The Anime Village rep made the basic announcement that they are doing DVD's this year and that the first two will be out this year. No date given. No titles given. The titles will be announced at Anime Expo, but with any luck, I will have the list of them this coming weekend. I've been told that they will announce them at the VSDA on this coming weekend and I'll get a copy of the announcement since most anime fans don't even know what the VSDA is. (It's a continually dwindling Video Software Dealers Association for the entire market; attendance continues to drop each year with large studios no longer attending, such as Disney).The AV rep also gave out this tidbit in regard to possible titles; "Gundam and Escaflowne aren't on DVD in Japan yet. Do you think they'd be here first?". Obviously, the answer is no. So if you're wondering about the titles, find out what's coming down dubbed and has been released in Japan. I'm already excited at the possibilties.Dan Pearsons went on considerably about his quarterly magazine, Animefantastique. I'll keep my comments to myself on this one.Jeff Thompson of Right Stuf, with little time, made his appearance at this panel as well. His company which focuses primarily on Tylor will be bringing out the many OVA's for the series in addition to the 11 soundtracks. They also appear to be working on getting more soundtracks for other shows.I naturally pose the DVD question for Tylor. While nothing is going ahead just yet, he said that they are likely, especially given the close ties between Right Stuff and "someone". "Someone" is Pioneer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will be contacting him this week about some things with it. His one comment brought smiles to a lot of peoples faces though in regards to the TV series being on DVD, "I'd love to own a set of that myself".the.internet.anime.revolutionHerein was another panel I was asked to sit in on. And without knowing much of what it was about beyond anime and the net influence with companies and what not, I wasn't sure where to go.Of course, again, NONE of the other guests showed up. Yes, I was seriously irked at this. Very much so. Not the best thing for a first time convention attendee and panelist.Thankfully, Brian Real of the Toriyama site was in the audience and I dragged him up with me so we could field questions, talk about legalities and other little bits of things here and there. The panel wasn't a complete loss, but it once again emphasized poor planning on the con organizers.Masquerade and Cos-PlayWe got into line again for this, since we wanted to catch a few outfits on film that we missed earlier in the day. And yes, I'm going to gripe again. This was held in the main events room downstairs, which is frickin huge. Opening Ceremonies didn't fill it. Mari's concert didn't fill it. Cowboy Bebop didn't fill it. This certainly wasn't filling it.Yet once again, we were squished into the row even after telling the gopher that we were only staying for a few minutes. The first time we had sat down the person in front of Melanie pulled out a tripod and completely blocked her line of site, so we moved. Gopher gets ticked with us. We get ticked with gopher but try to comply. Futility sets in as we get placed behind people she can't see around again.I restrained myself from saying much of anything to the gopher, but it was just ludicrous. With very few people still coming into the room (already 15 minutes past supposed start time) and the room is only maybe 1/2 full. This just completely pissed us both off so we left.Since there was nothing else going on and we were pretty irked at this point, we called a night and went back to the hotel. Lucky us, they were playing Batman and Robin on HBO! Talk about capping off a night.