AnimeNEXT 2015 – a con in review

It seems like only a few years since AnimeNEXT moved from Meadowlands Exposition Center to the larger Garden State Exhibit Center. But it has been 7 years and we’re ready to move again. At over 14,000 attendees, we’re ready to hit Atlantic City. But not without a final weekend of awesomeness. AnimeNEXT always boasted a guest list which highlighted music and fashion guests and this year was no different. From the Japanese music circuit, we have FLOW and Elisa. The head of fashion, Naoto Hirooka also commonly known as the designer for h.Naoto brought two of his lines for the highly anticipated fashion show. Studio Trigger Wakabayashi and Koyama returns with more animators, Sushio and Hori Takafumi along with Suzuki Aya, an animator who spanned several continents. Stateside, we have a plethora of voice guests including Todd Haberkorn, Kira Buckland, Marc Swint along with ANEXT most loved, Michelle Knotz and Bill Rogers amongst others. To give us our anime culture, we have Neil Nadelman, Charles Dunbar, artist Jason Robinson and to humor us is Uncle Yo. That is only a portion of the guests list which grows surprisingly every year. The only sad part is not being able to see everything but everywhere you turn, everyone is enjoying the awesomeness which is AnimeNEXT. Ever growing, let’s make some memories!
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AnimeNEXT 2015 – Masquerade and AMVs

The masquerade began with two exhibition skits, the first of which was one of the finalist for WCS 2015.
(Kuragehime part 1 timestamp 1:28) Kiss Kiss cosplay presented a beautiful scenario which with lights and wardrobe change…as commonly seen in WCS entries. Telling a simple story to gesture and expression. Sadly, the fog machine got the best of the stage so we couldn’t see the end very clearly. Stil beautiful.
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AnimeNEXT 2015 – h.Naoto FRILLS fashion show

There were too parts to the fashion show with a Q&A in between. The style of both parts are very different which shows the creativity of the designer. I made it to the second half though.


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AnimeNEXT 2015 – Elisa Q&A

Despite getting there a bit late, the panel was still getting ready. I already knew that there was a no photo policy for Elisa since they mentioned it in the press room…but surprisingly, they didn’t make a formal announcement during the panel itself. I have no idea if they made any announcement for the fans on the line, but definitely, there were only a few cameras that people pulled up…and it was during the time when Elisa was singing.
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AnimeNEXT 2015 – FLOW concert

The energy was high as FLOW stepped on stage to the cheers of the fans. The two vocalists, Keigo took to the left center of the stage while Kohshi stood at the center right. The lead guitarist, Asakawa Takeshi stood at the right while bassist Iwasaki Hiroshi took to the left with drummer Goto Yasutaro in the middle. Much of the speaking was left with Keigo as per usual with a mix of English and Japanese to tease the crowd. Truly, even with no interpreter, little was left misunderstood: the band was here to party and so were we!
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AnimeNEXT 2015 – Opening Ceremonies

The con chair, Mr. Eric Torgersen gave the first speech with the usual welcome and noted that AnimeNEXT will be moving to Atlantic City next year. Than he brought on a rep who introduced the convention center noted the size of the site. Mr. Torgersen thanked the attendees for being so patient and reminded everyone of the cautionary rules of staying out of the sun and keeping hydrated. (Besides the water in the panel rooms and hallways, I heard they were also giving out water on the lines as well. That’s awesome! Don’t want any fainting attendees.)
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Cosplay at Anime Expo 2015

Lots of great cosplay at AX 2015

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Book review: Ruth’s Journey

“Ruth’s Journey: The Authorized Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone with the Wind’”
By Donald McCaig
Published By: Atria Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4516-4353-4
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

From the man who gave us “Rhett Butler’s People”, a version of “Gone With The Wind” written from Rhett Butler’s point of view, the creative mind of Donald McCaig has given us a plausible backstory for the faithful Mammy, Scarlet O’Hara’s beloved black nurse, who raised her and her two sisters. She was also mammy to Scarlett’s mother Ellen Robillard and her two sisters. But she wasn’t always the big, black slave woman in charge of a white woman’s babies.
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Book review: The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green

The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green
By Eric Orner
Published by Northwest Press
ISBN 978-1928720826
Review copy provided by the publisher (Thanks, Zan!)

Review by Ginger Mayerson

I liked The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green comics. I remember enjoying reading them in the 80s, but I’m not sure where I was reading them. The legendary, and greatly missed, Funny Times comics newspaper? I don’t know, I just don’t know. What don’t remember from that time was how many of these comics were about the AIDS epidemic or pandemic, I guess is what it finally ended up being called.
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Book review: The Lost Tribe of Coney Island

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island
By Claire Prentice
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, by arrangement with Amazon Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-544-26228-7
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

One of the advantages to living in Brooklyn, only a short subway ride away from Coney Island, is that you get to be a frequent visitor to the Coney Island Museum, located right above the Freak Bar on Mermaid Avenue, where they show movies on Saturday nights in the summertime (classics and B-movies, plus cinema suitable for MST3K fans). They also have private shows and book signings. One of these was held in December 2014, where a charming lady named Claire Prentice debuted her new book, “The Lost Tribe of Coney Island”. Being familiar with the Freak Show around the corner from the Freak Bar, I thought this book was about another of the curious peoples exhibited there. So I coaxed my husband to buy me a copy as an early Christmas present.
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Katsucon 2015 – a con in review

Going back one month ago, Katsucon hit the Gaylord National Resort for another weekend of cosplay and Japanime fun. I put cosplay on the forefront, because for an East coast con, the venue draws cosplayers from across the nation and even other parts of the world. With the backdrop of the enclosed Gaylord resort, cosplayers come in their best to showcase their talents. This year’s cosplay idols were Yaya Han, Svetlana “Kammui” Quindt from Germany and Giada Robin from Italy who is also one of the judges for the Masquerade. Besides cosplay, there is a plethora of guests from the industry including voice talents Christopher and Greg Ayres, Vincent Corazza, Robbie Daymond, Cherami Leigh and Christina Vee amongst others, webcomic and artists, Gina Biggs, Starpower Michael T. and Garth G., Chalk Twins Devon and Levi and many, many more. Cultural speakers Charles Dunbar, Katriel Paige, Nilo Holbrook and others lead us into intense discussions while the punk rock band Uzuhi hits us with their music. Along with a formal ball, charity auction, nightly raves and an awesome masquerade, we have a weekend full of memories. And during Valentine’s weekend…it has it’s share of sweet surprises.
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Katsucon 2015 – Working in the Anime Industry

The MCs were Brand Manager Victoria Holden aka. SailorBee who works with the producers to create content as well as keep the Voice of the site consistent, software engineer Evan Minto who builds the interface for users as well as manages the Korean drama sister site, writer for Anigamers and OtakuUSA as well as Brandon Lee aka Superscience who is also a software engineers focusing on the background functionality of the site, highlighting is work on the Crunchyroll store as well as the Korean site.
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Katsucon 2015 – Masquerade

The MCs were Frank and Sadie Doyle from the graphic novel, ‘Thrilling Adventure Hour’. Despite not understanding the fandom of the MCs, they were still entertaining, funny and the delay in the clinking of the glasses became a running joke that were still funny at the end. The jokes were not overdone despite it’s simplicity and we got to enjoy the show. You can catch the entire thing on TheFansPOV on youtube.
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Katsucon 2015 – Aniplex of America Panel

EJ Rivera, Aniplex Marketing started the panel with the usual Aniplex audience pic later featured on the Facebook page. He then started the panel by blasting a reel of action packed scenes from various Aniplex titles. He ran down the usual agenda of panel events starting with streaming titles, releases, new announcements with Q&A and raffles to close things up.
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Katsucon 2015 – Funimation Panel

It looked like more of the same as the day before with several repeats in videos. There were some different promo vids though and there were of course the new announcements which were always interesting. ^_^
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Katsucon 2015 – Sailor Moon Panel

Senior Manager of animation marketing, Charlene Ingram was hosting the panel with sparkles and glitter. She introduced the voice actors onto the stage starting with the voice of Sailor Venus, Cherami Leigh with Amanda Miller as Sailor Jupiter and Christina Vee for Sailor Mars. Complete with a rose throw clip, Robbie Daymond for Tuxedo Mask stepped the stage.


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Katsucon 2015 – Funimation Previews

Due to technical difficulties, the panel started 15 minutes late. The Convention Manager of Funimation, Tara McKinney and the Fan Engagement Coordinator (awesome job title) Timothy Johnson jumped straight into previews that are available currently.
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Otakon 2014 – a con in review

Otakon returns to the Baltimore Convention Center and Inner Harbor for another crazy fun weekend from August 8-10. Last year was their 20th year celebration and the schedule reflected that with special guests, events and the like. This year was not to be outdone. With the weekend surrounding the premiere of Kill la Kill and Sailor Moon, Aniplex and Viz took over the anime weekend with their voice actors and industry guests. For Kill la Kill, there is Christine Cabanos, Carrie Keranen, Erica Mendez and David Vincent. For Sailor Moon, we have Robbie Daymond and Stephanie Sheh for the new cast and the legendary voice actors of the original series: Linda Ballantyne, Katie Griffin and John Stocker. There is also the famed Dante Basco, Wendee Lee and Tony Oliver amongst others. From Japan we have producer Kashiwada Shinichiro, director Katabuchi Sunao, mangaka Kozaki Yusuke, seiyuu Hayami Saori, game designer Ishii Jiro and animator Matsubara Hidenori…but that doesn’t end there. Otakon staff honoree Masao Maruyama returns to speak about his new projects with MAPPA, as well as producer and musician Yura Hiroaki in attendence. Musical guests are Altima and Yoshiki of X Japan. Otakon is the last stop on Yoshiki’s classical tour and his piano concert will close the weekend. Throw in two sumo wrestlers, Kelly Gneiting and Yama and we have a weekend that we won’t soon forget! It’s chaos central here on in!
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