Otakon 2011: ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Sacred Star of Milos’ review and Q&A

Aniplex never cease to surprise me. They have always utilized the current media trends to get attention, to advertise. They know the net is a cheap way to get the fans to get the word out. At NYAF 2010, they incorporated texting into their Drrr!!! scavenger hunt. At the Otakon movie preimere, Funimation plugged their twitter hashtag of #FMAMilos and their Facebook page. Of course, following that, they asked everyone to put all electronics away.

Funimation and Aniplex staff introduced the film along with director of the movie, Murata Kazuya. They noted the effort and dedication of the staff on both sides of the globe in order to make it for the US premiere. It truly is an amazing feat: the movie opened in Japan on July 2nd and already, the evening of July 30, the movie could be shown in the US. It was no small estimate to say the excitement and anticipation of the crowd was at a fevered pitch. Yet, we were also excited to hear Murata-san’s words to the fans.

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Otakon 2011: Shinkai Makoto panel

Shinkai Makoto is a native of the Nagano prefecture in Japan. While in middle school, exposure to manga, anime, and novels birthed his desire for creation. One of these anime was Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki which he describes as his favorite. This desire led to his studies in Japanese literature at university.

His works include the award winning She and Her Cat, Voices of a Distant Star which was written, directed, and produced entirely by himself and in which he voiced in the original, the critically acclaimed The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and the multiple award winning series of short stories in the film 5 Centimeters Per Second. ~Otakon guest info

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Otakon 2011: Ishiguro Noboru panel

Ishiguro Noboru is best known as a director, with some of his notable titles including Space Battleship Yamato, Macross, Megazone 23, Astro Boy (1980), Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Tytania. Ishiguro drafted the story for Megazone 23 based on his personal views of government, having seen his own mislead with lies and obfuscation to lead the people to war. Ishiguro also founded his own studio, Artland, in 1978. He currently remains a part of the studio as Chairman, while also pursuing his love of directing. Fans meeting Ishiguro at Otakon will also have the chance to his new directorial project: Angel ScandyS! ~Otakon guest info

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Otakon 2011: Uematsu Nobuo panel

Nobuo Uematsu is one of the most celebrated composers in the video game field. He has achieved global recognition for his work on the FINAL FANTASY series that has been performed by world-class orchestras around the world. Nobuo Uematsu has been recognized as a major contributor in the increasing appreciation and awareness of video game music. A prime example is the FINAL FANTASY VIII theme song, “Eyes on Me, composed and produced by him. His song featured Hong Kong pop star Faye Wong and sold a record 400,000 copies. It also won “Song of the Year (Western Music)” at the 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards in 1999, which was the first time in history that music from a video game had attained this illustrious honor. The music from the game series has grown to such notoriety, Nobuo Uematsu was named as one of the “Innovators” in Time Magazine’s Time 100: the Next Wave Music feature.

Mr Uematsu appears by special arrangement with Distant Worlds and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.~Otakon guest info

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Otakon 2011: Hetalia – Bob Shirohata and Sasanuma Akira panel

Shirohata Bob has directed various well loved series such as Gravitation, Diamond Daydreams, Let’s Dance With Papa and the smash hit series, Hetalia Axis Powers, Hetalia World Series and Hetalia the Movie, Paint it, White!.

Sasanuma Akira has lent his voice to many wonderful anime and game titles over the years, Some of his most well known roles include Link from the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess and Super Smash Bros., Dearka Elsman in the Mobile Suit Gundam SeeD Series, and as Austria in the internationally beloved Hetalia Axis Powers, Hetalia World Series and Hetalia the Movie, Paint it, White! ~Otakon guest info

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Comic Con 2011: Karen Knighton

I learned from Karen Knighton that to get a table in the Small Press area, the artist must have a new comic for the convention and that comic must pass CCSD’s approval. Ms. Knighton’s new comic this year is Snowsville; it is a 20 page, printed and handmade, edition of 50. Snowsville is more visual poetry than sequential art. It is a sequential story, but not a linear narrative and has no dialog or narration. The main character is injured and journeys to Snowsville, as much externally as internally. This book does for me what only certain kinds of art do for me: it stops the world for the duration I’m engaged with it. It’s an ontological pause in the chaos of being. I am very grateful to Karen Knighton for making it and Comic Con for having it where I could find it. There were only 49 remaining of the numbered edition after I left with mine. I hope 49 other lucky folks are having an experience similar to mine with Snowsville.

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Comic Con 2011: The Frantic Meerkat and The Mincing Mockingbird

Matt Adrian (the Mincing Mockingbird) and Kim Bagwell (the Frantic Meerkat) were sharing a table, I think they’re married, but I never assume anything. Kim got into making comics because Matt needed a comic for one of his books and she came up with her first clip-art comic, the outlaw one. That one went over so well, she continued to make clip-art comics of serious looking animals with soap-opera relationship issues where the text is so outrageous with the art, and vice versa, the finish comic transcends it’s elements and to become a satire on romance, relationships, honor, etc. David Rees’ Get your War on did that with more serious material, but it works here as well. At least I liked it, but I like things that take a moment to sink in. Her background is in fine arts, but her bread and butter has been in graphic design. She’s been using clip-art up to now because she didn’t have time to paint. But more recently, she’s been painting.

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Comic Con 2011: Ryan Claytor

Ryan Claytor‘s father had a saying about any big project: It’s like eating an elephant, just do it one bite at a time and before you know it, you’re all done. Sage words for anyone trying to get a big or small project done. In honor of this wisdom, Ryan named his company Elephant Eater to publish his series of autobiographical. He’s been making comics since 2004 after he got his art degree from UC Santa Barbara and then a MFA from UC San Diego. His thesis on autobiographical comics was on sale at his table. His table had thinky words, comics, prints, and cool bookmarks.

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Comic Con 2011: Paul Roman Martinez

This is Paul Roman Martinez‘s first book and his first booth at Comic Con. “The Spirit of 19XX” takes place in the 1930s about a group of adventurers who are trying to prevent WWII from happening. Another alternate timeline of things that never happened that’s been well received. The book is has magic, adventure and history. PRM said he didn’t try to stray too far from history with it. PRM is nominated for the Russ Manning award for Most Promising Newcomer. Decorating his booth were historic posters from the era. However, the girl on the tank is his original poster. He’s only been making comics for a year and a half, but he’s loved comics all his life and has been attending CCSD since 1997. I was somewhat surprised he wasn’t in Artists’ Alley, but he ran the book through his graphic design company thereby making him a Small Press. He’s looking for a publisher for his next book, but he didn’t divulge any details.

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Comic Con 2011: Kirstie Sheperd

Kirstie (rhymes with thirsty) Sheperd is the writer on “Finding Frank and his Friends,” the Eisner nominated Best Graphic Album New. These are the lost images for everyone’s favorite comic that never existed. These images were hidden in a garage that never existed for the past 60 years, so no one has ever seen them. Kirstie is co-owner of Curio and Company, which creates entertainment memorabilia for books and things that never happened. (I have mucho simpatico with that idea; the idol of our parent company, Fabrice Eugene Wapshott, is the most fabulous gay man that never lived.) Kirstie is an American living in Vienna (I’m so jealous), she and her partner came over for Curio and Co’s second Comic-Con. Curio and Co is a new company, only a year old. Last year they debuted “Frank and his Friends.” This year they are debuting “The Gadabout GM 10-50,” which is user’s manual for a time machine. “Everyone says they need more time,” Kirstie told me, “We’ve finally got the book that gets it.” Kirstie is originally from San Diego. She and the artist, Cesare Asaro (sp?), met at the Discovery Science Museum in Santa Ana, where the Gadabout idea sparked and gelled. They share an interest in science and making sciency things more accessible. Now that they live in Europe, they have that “the farther you get from home, the better you see it” thing, so a lot of their products are based on Americana. One such item is “Spaceman Jax,” a 1950s TV spaceman show that never existed. They’ve been in Vienna for 10 years, so, she mused, maybe this is a way of dealing with voluntary ex-pat homesickness. They had cool stuff; I’ll keep an eye on the webpage to see what they’re up to next year.

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