Anime Oasis
Grove Hotel Boise, Idaho
7-22-2010, 01:28 PM
By Michi


Alright. Anime Oasis. It was my first time to this particular convention. Not that I minded. I enjoy attending new conventions. Now, Anime Oasis was May 27th-30th, the same weekend as Fanime. I felt this put Anime Oasis at a disadvantage, since many people had to choose between two conventions.


Anime Oasis was at the Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho. And it was their first time at this hotel. And I personally feel that it was a bad choice. Everything was too spread out and many people didn’t seem to enjoy themselves. Well, at least with the group of people that I was with.


I arrived on Day Zero in the morning. I flew Southwest (my first time on that airline) at o’dark thirty. It was nice to arrive and be able to generally chill at the hotel before diving straight into the actual convention.


Thursday (Day One)-

I didn’t expect much from this day. In fact, I got to this convention not expecting a whole hell of a lot. I got up to go to breakfast with my roommates and we ran into some people that they knew. It felt weird, going to a convention where I didn’t know a lot of people, but it was very refreshing at the same time. After breakfast, I went and changed into my Russia costume. From there, I went with Kits (dressed as Belarus) to Cosplay Chess. Well… I ended up helping with set-up, gathering more people and ended up being a Chess Master. Apparently I need to stop taking over other convention’s CosChess games. >.> After that, Kits and I went to get lunch. Now, the interesting thing about the Grove Hotel was that it was connected to the Qwest Arena and from there we could slip into one of the little restaurants to get a bite to eat.


From there, we went back to the hotel room to change into casual Zechs and Relena (Gundam Wing). That was generally pretty fun. We got to run around with our other friends and not get bombarded by people for pictures. From there, dinner at a small place and then up late in the hotel with my friends.


Friday (Day Two)-

I was lazy this day. I didn’t actually get out of the hotel room until well after noon. Which is fine by me as there weren’t any events scheduled until after this time anyways. This day, I dressed as Preventer Zechs. It was a fairly warm and comfortable costume. Neither Kits nor my other roommates and I went to many events this day. Really we just went to the Dealer’s Hall (to look as I know I could get all that stuff in Seattle’s International District). After that, we chilled in the Lobby for the rest of the day until about 6PM. From there we went back to the hotel room and changed for the Ball. Yep, a formal ball. When I said I didn’t go to many events, I was serious. I’m really not much of an event kinda girl (Sakura-Con is an exception to this).


The Ball was actually very well put together and the rules where held to. Which I liked, as many times I’ve gone to a formal ball at a convention and found people in cosplay that didn’t meet the dress-code. The music selection was nice and there was even different things for the participants to do (Ladie’s choose their partner, men choose their partner, numbers, etc). The only real gripe I had was more water. There wasn’t really enough water in the room.


From the ball, still in our costumes, we went to go to a photoshoot in the Quad just outside the Qwest Arena. It was already pretty dark, but still very fun.


Saturday (Day Three)-

This day I spent wandering around, looking in on various events and generally just chilling. No, I did not go to the Cosplay Contest. Though Anime Oasis gives out monetary awards for their prizes, which is something that not all the conventions I go to do. One of my friends (Savani) was a judge. I do believe she was a costume judge. After a couple hours of wandering around and talking with people (which is always something I like to do at conventions). I went up into the hotel room to change into Preventer Zechs again. We decided to go to dinner in our Preventer’s costumes. We went to a local Japanese restaurant that was absolutely wonderful. Very tasty sushi and teriyaki.


After dinner, we wanted to go to the Capitol Building and do a photoshoot for the Preventers, but decided against it. Instead we headed back to the convention to chill. I used this time to talk to more people and generally figure out more things about Anime Oasis. For one thing, there are no sponsors. All the money comes from attendee badge purchases and dealer’s hall table fees. That, to me, was very different. All the other conventions that I have been to have at least had a couple of sponsors. But, every convention is different. After talking to a lot of people about Anime Oasis and it’s past years, I went up to the hotel room to change into Zechs for another photoshoot.


Sunday (Day Four)-

Now, I did go to an event this day. I went to Ichidan’s Kenshin performance. Although, I did not end up watching it, as I was helping backstage trying to make sure a friend of mine didn’t hurt himself even more and babysitting his young daughter. From what I could gather of the performance, a lot of people found it rather hilarious (when it was meant to be serious). Actually, I spent a lot of this day babysitting, trying to keep my friend’s husband from killing people and making sure everything was taken out of the hotel room. I did a lot of things at Anime Oasis that I really wasn’t supposed to do. But it was still a great learning experience for me. After the convention was over, I headed back to my friend Yuki’s place where I was crashing before flying out the next morning.


Over all:

Anime Oasis was a fun, relaxing convention. But, I have decided not to go back for 2011. Instead my friend Savani and I will be going to Fanime. To me, there are still a lot of things that Anime Oasis needs to do to grow up a bit more. It’s a good convention, but it’s really overrun by teenagers. If perhaps, it ever moves off the same weekend as Fanime, I might consider going again. It is a good starting convention if anyone in the area is looking to start going to conventions.


Note: I do have pictures of the convention (at least a couple), but they are on my desktop and I will upload them when I transfer them from the desktop to the laptop.

Posted by Knightfall on July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments
SakuraCon 2010 Report
5-02-2010, 5:10AM
By Krowhop
In Seattle, the sakura’s bloomed early this year, and almost all the blossoms fell by mid-march. Of course, that didn’t stop 18,002 people from buying tickets to attend Sakura Con, the biggest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest, and 5th largest in North America (at last count). Funded by the Asia-Northwest Cultural Education Association (ANCEA), they really went above and beyond this year for their guest line-up. The rock bands High and Mighty Color, Dazzle Vision, and Soul Candy, voice actress Mayumi Tanaka, animator Tsuyoshi Nonaka, director Satoshi Nishimura, character designers Yutaka Minowa and Takahiro Yoshimatsu, and illustrator Noizi Ito. The opening ceremonies had an introduction speach by none other than the consulate general of japan for the greater Northwest himself, as well as many fantastic demonstrations.

There was only a 9% growth this year in attancence, but more Exhibitors and Guests than ever. They’ve made a lot of progress since they started back in 1998, when they were only local, and better known as ‘Bakacon’. In 2000, they changed their name when it was decided that it might be ‘offensive’ to some of their japanese guests. Really, who wants to be a guest of honnor at an Idiot Convention?(Bakacon is now a convention that can be found in Finland, irronically) Of course, now they are 57x as big as they were back then. Obviously, they made a good choice.

The Trigun: Badlands Rumble movie premiured at the convention, 3 weeks before it did so in Japan. Check out the Convention > News section for an exclusive on that, including a Q&A!

This year there were 5 gaming rooms(+1 karaoke room), 4 anime theaters, 1 amv theater, 2 table top gaming rooms, 8 pannel/workshop rooms, the Main Stage, the Autographs room, plus the Sakuradome and the dealers hall. Outside the dealers hall was the biggest ever ‘artist’s ally’, which could easily put a dent in your wallet, even before seeing all the dealer’s booths! Everywhere but the dealers hall and artist ally had events almost 24 hours a day, for a solid 3 days. Everything from traditional Japanese tea service, to a mock interview with Zapp Brannigan, for his Space Ship… Of Love!
Click the image to open in full size.

Next year the convention comes late, starting on April 22, and going until the 24th. It’s too early to say what guests will be attending, but if this last Sakura Con is anything to judge by, one thing is for certain. It will be epic.

Posted by Knightfall on May 2nd, 2010 | No Comments
12:09 PM PDT on Monday, April 19, 2010
Click the image to open in full size.


Director Nishimura, Designer Yoshimatsu

Sakura-Con had the world premiere of the Trigun: Badlands Rumble film during the April 2-4 convention in Seattle, Washington. This is three weeks before the April 24 opening of the film in Japan.


Like the anime that came before it, MADHOUSE is basing the film on Yasuhiro’s popular Trigun manga. Director Satoshi Nishimura, character designer Takahiro Yoshimatsu, were both in attendance for the premiere, and hosted a Q&A session prior to the airing. You will all be happy to learn that the voice actors remained the same: Masaya Onosaka( Vash the Stampede), Sho Hayami( Nicolas D. Wolfwood), Hiromi Tsuru(Meryl Stryfe), and Satsuki Yukino(Milly Thompson).


The Q&A will be posted very soon, followed by a synopsis of the movie, hidden in a ‘spoiler’ tag.


T_T I just spent the last 2 hours typing up the Q&A and events prior to the movie release, and the F(*&*(^*^%##@@ work computer crashed…so it is gone. I’ll write it up again after I stop crying.


Here is the bare bone Q&A – later I will try to add the events prior to Q&A, impressions, etc.

Q: How are the characters different now, than when the anime first aired 11 years ago?

A: We tried to make no character personality changes at all-keeping them true to how they always have been. The movie is based during the series, and made to be able to be inserted at almost any point prior to episode 23.

Q: The art appears to be more reminiscent of the Manga – Was this intentional?

A: We wanted to incorporate tastes of the original artist into the appearance. There are about 6 cuts in the movie with the original artwork appearance (try to see if you can spot them!)

Q: Will there be any continuation after this? Trigun Maximum???

A: The more and louder your voices are heard, the more likely it is to happen.

Q: Why is the movie based during the series vs. following the end events of the series?

A: When the story was being decided, they wanted to choose to show the loved characters, Vash, Meryl, Milly, and Wolfwood.

Q: Is there a dub-sub project in the works?

A: Nothing is currently in the works, negotiations are in progress, but we think it is pretty much guaranteed.
((Sitting in front of me were the 5 Funimaiton! reps who were also viewing the movie for the first time, and they just chuckled at the translator when he made this statement))


With only slight further ado, the movie was then presented – a scene by scene write out shall be forthcoming.

Posted by Knightfall on April 19th, 2010 | No Comments

Akicon 2009 Report!
November 6th – 8th
By Krowhop


The hustle and bustle of conventions can at times be overwhelming. There is so much to do and see, and by the time you know where everything is, the convention is over. The press of people and the lack of direction can make any con too much of a hassle to go to.

Akicon, however, is different. Over each doorway there were bold temple arches, proclaiming their contents, with room schedules listed CLEARLY on either side. They all matched, and tied into the overall theme. The atmosphere was so relaxing, and stimulating at the same time, it was hard NOT to enjoy yourself. The stage setup went along with all the rest, adding in traditional Japanese architecture. Even the smaller rooms were thoroughly decorated.

That in itself is enough to set it apart from most other conventions, but there was even more. One of the rooms was specifically set aside for photo opportunities with three different scenes. There was a street shot, graffiti included. On the opposite wall you could have your picture taken with your favorite anime character in a winter wonderland with snow swirling around. In the back of the room, secluded by standing bamboo and a temple arch, was a koi pond with a bridge and traditional garden.

The planning that went into the appearance of the Holiday Inn, where the convention took place, was impressive, to say the least.

The convention was 24 hour, so there was always something to do. Every night there was a concert by a different band, and even one earlier in the day. The bands’ all got together to answer questions in a panel, and to give out autographs. More details on them will be forthcoming in a separate exclusive, so keep your eyes peeled!

The voice acting workshop was a big hit, with those who participated being able to actually have their voices in clips such as Samurai Shamploo , as well as others. Each of the new voice actors received a certificate as well as a copy of the DVD featuring their voice. The audience then received the honor to vote on who did the best, and the lucky winner won a tote bag full of goodies. Michael McConnohie and Melodee M. Spevack taught the class-keep an eye out for their feature, as well!

The other big hit was of course, Ichidan, a cosplay group based out of Idaho. They tour around to different conventions doing plays, skits, panels, and workshops. Akicon hosted their ‘Death Note: The Death Eraser,’ as well as a number of panels, including a bit on ‘Wig Care.’ They are a very close knit and supportive group, numbering in 87 active members, the youngest being 15, and oldest 30. “It’s kinda like a dysfunctional family,” said Kalah, the videographer. There will also be a featured article on them at a later date.

With two movie rooms, three workshops/panels, a reading room, the Main Stage, the Photo Room, Gaming center and the dealer’s hall, the convention was on the smaller end. Despite the size the attendance was optimal, and for a second year convention, the results were good. Next year they are moving the the Hilton in Bellevue, WA, November 5th – 7th. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Knightfall on January 13th, 2010 | No Comments

Kumoricon 2009

Portland, OR – Hilton Portland and Executive Tower




 We arrived in Portland just past 4pm on Friday the 4th, the day before the convention started. Despite that fact, there were people in cosplay outfits all over the place. It was amusing for me, who was not dressed up, to watch the reaction of those not involved in the convention. The shock and suspicion are always amusing.

 On that first evening, I distributed fliers for AnimeSeed, both in color and black and white, on all 23 floors of the hotel outside the banks of elevators. With 4558 people in attendance, and only 4 elevators, there was almost always someone waiting, and I am sure the reading material was appreciated. There were 30 large fliers that went up, while 60 ½ sheet fliers, and 120 ¼ sheets were placed on window seats, and decorative tables. By the end of the weekend, there wasn’t a single one in site-hopefully this means that people took them, and not the staff. The chances of the first option are greater, as I witnessed the stacks slowly shrinking over the 3 day period.

 Over 200 staff members made Kumoricon a success this year, with staff on every floor, at both stairs and elevators, and at other key points, some of whom were just there to answer questions, and direct you if you were lost. At almost any point I was able to see someone from the staff-barring the time spent in the ballroom.

 There were 4 floors and the parking garage reserved for the convention-Vendors in the parking garage, the ballroom and console gaming on the ‘L’ floor, anime viewing rooms and the large panel rooms on the second floor, workshops and small panels on the third floor, and gaming tables,  karaoke, and bar on the twenty third floor. The view up there was amazing, and even with the karaoke, it was surprisingly quiet.  

 The opening ceremonies took place at 10am on Saturday, and unfortunately, when I arrived there at 10:15 (having had to take the stairs because of the wait for the elevators) the ball room was already full past capacity. Luckily, this gave me time to get in line early for the Anime Hunter’s panel, which was a very good thing. I was about the 6th person in line, or so, and the wait was well over an hour-mostly because the staff changed the time without telling anyone. Despite that fact, people kept coming and coming, lining up to cover almost a third of the floor space on the second floor of the hotel.  As everyone was coming in, Random Dancing Kid was siting in front of a projector screen, whit a laptop connected, so that he could interact with the audience (he doesn’t speak). He asked if there were any music requests (Daft Punk’s Digital Love was playing at the time). Everyone started shouting out their favorite songs, which wasn’t too horrible because only the first 2 rows had filled so far. He looked around, shook his head, then Rick Rolled everyone. Not surprisingly, everyone in the room started singing along.  Then everyone lost ‘the Game’ –which you have also now lost by reading this.

 Zach, one of the 2 main characters in the Anime Hunter’s skits, was there the whole time, and while we waited for Dane to arrive. Last minute bugs were still being worked out, with amusing commentary such as “How many Kumoricon Cops does it take to fix a projector?”…the only answer to which the security detail fixing it gave him a ‘look’. I believe the answer was “Ouch.”

 There was a slight problem with their video –They were showing episode 5 and the premier of episode 6. The also announced that they already had season two in the works, which is good, as the end of season one is a cliff hanger.  While we waited for it to be fixed, the re-played the ‘rules’ video that had been presented at the opening ceremonies. They had been commissioned by Kumoricon to put the video together this year, and they did an excellent job.. By the time the rules video was done, episode 5 was fixed, and they presented the last two videos of their first season.

 After the video’s were done, they did a brief Q&A, telling us a few of their favorite anime (Wallflower-aka Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, Skip Beat, and Pretear.) Cassy, one of the other’s in the group, had 7 different cosplays that she was doing within the 3 day period, while Dane had 4 costumes. Zach was wearing one as well, with the most epic set of wings I have ever beheld.  I had the opportunity to speak with Zach face to face, and asked him what he thought of Kumoricon.  

 “Kumoricon is one we’ve been doing for six years, it’s pretty much where we got started. I like it because it has a small town feel, in a big city. It combines the best of both worlds.”  When I asked him about Anime Hunter’s itself, he said, “We cater to the otaku community. It’s all for you guys.”  They will be at Fanime in California next year, and I am looking forward to seeing them again.

 Immediately following the Anime Hunter’s panel was Kirk Thornton’s-Even in the same room. The line was not NEARLY as long as Anime Hunter’s was, which really surprised me, considering is resume. At the start of his panel he spoke briefly, but the majority was a Q&A panel. He used to be part of Oregon Shakespeare Fest-and regrets leaving, but had to due to monetary reasons, though he also stated that no voice actor makes enough money to live off of doing just anime. He said his first voice acting role was Wowzer in Sabon Studies.  At the beginning of September he had just started a new role as Stitch in Japan, in the animated series ‘Hamsterville’. Currently, he is also the narrator for Bleach. Within the next year or so he said that there were some HUGE video games that he was going to be participating in, but he could not tell us any more, due to ‘non disclosure agreement’. *cou-callofduty-gh*  He says that he has a lot of fun doing animated comics (found on iTunes). In Superman Red Sun he voiced 18 characters…and the premise of THAT is “What if Superman were Russian?”. Should be interesting. For expedience sake, I will format this section as a Q&A:   

 Q: Did you enjoy being the small character in the game .Hack GU? A: Whenever you get to act like a drunkard, it’s flat out fun.  Q: If you could have been part of an anime cast that is already out, what would it be? A: Monster—It’s very psychological.  Q:  There is a rumor about an unconfirmed roll in Persona 4…is there any credence to that? A: I don’t know.  Q: What are your Aliases, and what are their purpose? A: I often have uncredited aliases—they are all from non-union productions.  Q:What was your favorite role? A: Gene (Samurai Shamploo) Don Patch (Bobo-bo Bo-bobo).  Q: Hove you done a voice in Silent Hill? A: I can’t talk about that.   

 One of the things that really struck me about the entire time he was hosting the panel was that when a person asked him a question, he gave them his undivided attention, really listened to what they were saying. No matter if the person was an old woman, or the annoying 10 year old kid that always sat in the very front. No question was ‘dumb’, and none was disregarded.

 That night was the Last Stop Tokyo and Soul Candy concerts, which due to popular demand I stood in line for 2 hours for. I did manage to get right up by the stage, and captured a 2:30 minute video of Last Stop Tokyo’s performance … before meeting up with some other adults for dinner and drinks. It is always nice to meet other people over 21 at conventions.

 There were not a lot of other events until the Masquerade on Sunday night.  The line for it was also very long, and we were almost too late to get in to it. It wrapped around the entire city block, then down into the parking garage as well.  There was a DJ for th e ball, and a lot of people formed the ‘high school cliques’ that are so cliché.  There were a few other groups of adults, and some pretty amazing costumes and masks. Search Kumoricon Masks in the gallery to see some of them.

 The rest of the convention was pretty calm, though the international AMV contest was a big hit. The anime viewing rooms were not staffed adequately on Monday, and were somewhat taken over by fans that wandered in-which was not a problem, as everyone in the room then voted on which anime they wanted to see on the big screen. I admit, I am the one that started playing Heroic Age Dub-But everyone else kept it going.

 Overall my impression of the convention was the immense press of people. As I said before, there was a ½ hour wait for the elevators at some points, and when staying on the 14th floor, that can become a problem. The Hotel staff even went as far as to make a sign saying:   <Other Guests — Kumoricon Guests> at the lobby level elevator. The 2010 Kumoricon is already contracted to be held at Portland, OR – Hilton Portland and Executive Tower, and hopefully both Kumoricon Staff and the Hilton Staff will have things more organized and worked out. Either way, I will be going next year.

Posted by Knightfall on November 3rd, 2009 | No Comments
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