Otakon 2010: a con in review

From July 30 to August 1, thousands upons thousands of anime, manga and media fans converge around the Batimore Convention Center. Any decrease in the still recovering economy is disregarded as the attendence numbers continue to rise totalling 29,274 in unofficial numbers that includes dealers, staff and attendees.

This year’s guest list was as usual a varied one. The plethora of voice actors from the American industries includes Todd Haberkorn, Scott Freeman and Maile Flanagan among many others. Besides the beloved and honored Masao Maryuama as a guest, Madhouse also invited Hiroshi Koujina. Concerts were held throughout the weekend by the Yoshida Brothers and Home Made Kazoku as well as a special appearance by Yoshiki and Sugizo from X Japan. h.Naoto also graces the stage with his designs. This is only small part of the guestlist that were present that weekend, granting attendees the opportunities to speak with those that influence and create the Japanime culture we all love.
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Otakon 2010: Welcome to the Space Show Press Conference

Producer Ochikoshi Tomonori worked on Blood+, Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maiden as well as the currently airing Senko no Night Raid. Director Masunari Koji was the original creator for Kamichu! and directed many popular series including Fullmoon wo Sagashite, R.O.D. and Saber Marionette R. Character designer Ishihma Masashi was the key animator on Digimon Adventure the movie, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Honey and Clover and R.O.D. among others.
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Otakon 2010: Yura, Kikuta and Shihori Panel

The Eminence Symphony Orchestra is known for their performances of music from anime and video games. Founder and director Yura Hiroaki has worked on the music in Diablo III, The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk and the recent movie, The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi. The composer Kikuta Hiroki is known for his music in Secret of Mana series and went on to compose for many vdieogames. Shihori is part of the pop group, “Shihori and Asuka” and collaborated with Yoko Kanno on the song “Universal Bunny” from the Macross Frontier movie. She also created and sang the song, ‘Shakles of Night’ for this year’s Otakon animation from Production I.G.
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Otakon 2010: Press Conference for Maruyama Masao and Koujina Hiroshi

Maruyama Masao is not a new face to Otakon attendees, this being his 8th visit. However, it is his first time being honoary staff. He is known for being the head and founder of Studio Madhouse as well as producer for many anime series and movies including Rainbow – Nisha Rokubo no Shichinin which is currently airing in Japan. Koujina Hiroshi is the director of the aforementioned series, Rainbow as well as Kiba. He was also the key animator for Escaflowne: The Movie, Macross Plus and Pokemon Movie: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew among many others.

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Otakon 2010: Press Conference for Mitsuya Yuji

Mitsuya Yuji-san is a veteran seiyuu known for voices of Uesugi Tatsuya (Touch,) Dr. Tofu (Ranma 1/2,) Virgo Shaka (Saint Seiya) among others. His dub work includes voicing Disney films: Timon from ‘The Lion King’ and Pleakley’ in ‘Lilo & Stitch’. He also was sound director for Rurouni Kenshin and recording director for Yu-Gi Oh!. The interpreter for the press conference was Toshifumi Yoshida-san.

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Otakon 2010: Vic Mignonga’s Mini Concert

Due to the sheer number of fans that Vic Mignogna has, the mini concert was held in panel 3, which was one of the largest panel rooms in the convention center with an addional autograph session held at the end. This was my first Vic concert and I must say, I enjoyed it. He is a good performer, a great singer and he engaged the crowd very well for being a one-person show with a keyboard. The concert started with ‘True Light’ in English from DNAngel. The animation flashed across the screen as Vic dances from the stage and up and down the catwalk. The second song was ‘Separate Ways’ by Journey, very upbeat and had everyone dancing (if they weren’t dancing already.) The ‘Brothers’ (Fullmetal Alchemist melody began to the cheers of the crowd…though it was was stopped immediately. He stated that he wasn’t going to sing that one as he sat at the keyboard.

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Otakon 2010: Madhouse Panel

The Madhouse panel was already well underway when I entered the room. Although the panel info spoke of there being both Maruyama-san and Koujina-san as panelists, only Maruyama-san sat at the front. Trailers and clips from the latest Madhouse projects were shown including Highschool of the Dead, Rainbow – Nisha Rokubo no Shichinin, Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail and of course the long awaited movie, Trigun: Badlands Rumble. (Funimation is hoping for theater-wide release of Trigun.) One of the most unique new projects was Tibetan Dog which is based off of a Chinese novel by Yang Zhijun. The character designer is none other than Monster creator, Urasawa Naoki with director Koujima Masayuki (who was also director on the Monster animation.) Maruyama-san mentioned that he traveled to Tibet for research. The story is simply about a boy growing up being a mix of Chinese and Tibetan…but nothing by Madhouse is truly simple.
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Yaoi Review: Finder vol. 1: Target in the Viewfinder

Finder vol. 1: Target in the Viewfinder
Story and Art: Ayano Yamane
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
Copy supplied by Publisher
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-186-7

Review by Kris

Akihito Takaba is a freelance photographer who got a hot tip and a huge scoop involving politicians and the criminal underworld but unfortunately the story was quashed. The crime boss Ryuichi Asami won’t have Takaba butting into his business so to intimidate Takaba he kidnaps and rapes him. But that won’t keep Takaba down. He’s determined to get the story one way or another. But he’ll need to watch out now that he’s entangled in Asami’s world. Not only is Asami after Takaba (he’s attracted to him) but it seems that Takaba’s caught the eye of the Chinese Mafia and their boss Fei Long. Man, poor kid! How will he handle these rough (but gorgeous) men? Also included are a few one shots: Love Lesson involves high school students, Plants in Love feature two classmates who find out their dads seem to be having an affair, and Risky Society is about a secret crime fighting group where the members have superpowers. Sorry for the poor synopsis but I really don’t want to give away the story.
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