New York Anime Festival 2009: Part 2

Reported by Linda Yau
Photographs by Eric M. Chu and Linda Yau

Saturday

First event of the day, Yui Makino’s concert, and this was held in a packed room. A video clip introduced her at the beginning, with some footage from an anime conventions from Paris and Shanghai. Under her credentials, she had roles in Tsubasa Chronicles, Aria, Welcome to NHK among others. Normally the roles she plays are characters who are strong, and with a lot of personal worries. Her personality is of genial frankness, and possibly masochistic. If she were to picture herself as an animal, she would imagine herself to be a bohemian cat. Her goals and dream is to play in the famed Japanese Suntory Hall with a full orchestra as well as wanting to become a more accomplished lyricist/composer with more self accompaniment skills set. She is an accomplished pianist, and likes to be called Yuchi. For this first American appearance/concert, she wanted to “deliver my music to your ears.” Before she appeared though, Monica Rial, the American voice actress for Sakura in the dubbed Tsubasa Chronicles came out. Some people recognized here, and cheered, but a lot of people didn’t. Then Yui Makino came out, and the concert began.

I can only confirm by ears that she sang these songs titles, "Yume no Tsubasa," "You Are My Love" which are songs from Tsubasa Chronicles. "Undine" from Aria the Origination. Her last song was from her newest single. NYAF convention goers were able to purchase her newest single, that is at the time of the convention not released in Japan yet, so that was cool. Originally I took down some notes, and had a list of a possible set that Yuchi did, but apparently not so as I read and research some more. I am going to take a cue from Omo, and include in this Japanese link from an honest Japanese fan who was at the concert, and then blogged about his experience. He confirmed for me the fact that Yuchi appeared in Shanghai as opposed to Taiwan as what I thought. For this concert also he confirms that she sang ten songs. Still later, Omo got back to me via twitter about Japanator’s coverage for the concert so here.

Following the concert there was a long line for autographs, Eric and I quickly went to get autographs, and then went to listen to Samurai Beat Radio’s panel, Japanese Music in the US Market: Opportunities and Obstacles.

This panel was something I really had high interest in, since I listen a lot to Japanese music. Now for the panel, the three panelists backgrounds are listed here via Samurai Beat Radio’s own blog. Megumi, radio personality of Samurai Beat Radio was hosting the event.

The panel began with an introductory video by Yokoso Japan, and there were giveaways.

These were points mentioned during the panel from the panelists:

  • Biggest obstacle often is the language barrier and public perception is that artist is foreign.
  • Problem also with timing, interest, and exposure, Boa and Utada Hikaru America releases were cited here.
  • Becca is an example that Sony is trying to push, an American singing Japanese composed songs. I saw her in person at Otakon this past summer.
  • Difficult to bring big and established artists from Japan, management has disinterest in bringing artists overseas, when they can still earn money closer to home.
  • Hard to understand the United States market for Japanese people, there is potential in the anime/comic market.
  • Easier for indie artists or not established artists to come over, biggest success is seen when an American group pairs with a Japanese artists as an opening act. Shonen Knife with Nirvana, and Boris with Sonic Youth were mentioned as examples.

These were some audience questions toward the end:

What is the process for producers to bring artists over?
The Japanese artist’s music must be already released in the states.
Japanese artists must be notified a year in advance so as to schedule this to happen.

What is the best online portal for Japanese artists to approach American audience?
Not exact science, since Japanese artists has a lot of genres and possibly own fan base. Best way is to have a portal to share various artists, although clumping is not a good idea either, since it will marginalize the artist.

At current time do Japanese artists have more opportunity or any challenges still?
Definitely more opportunity, since interest is growing for audience and artists, but at the same time, people have to be more comfortable, the future looks bright.

As the evening of Saturday approached, the hallway outside of the theater started to fill up with lines of convention goers, VIP’s and Press alike to wait for one of the bigger events that NYAF has. This is the Yume Cosplay Masquerade. This is a cosplay contest for winning the prize of being able to go visit Japan all expenses paid for, and with $1,000. The prize looks mighty tempting. Eric had gone to this segment and these were some shots that Eric took. For others, please check Flickr.

Uncle Yo the the host of Masquerade gets into the act.

A Vampire Hunter D cosplay!

These are the winners of the masquerade.

So while Eric was at the Masquerade, I made my way over to the Japanese and Korean MMO Games Panel. I know the panelist team personally as JP and Hinano. Hinano also runs a gaming blog. This panel was about introducing audience to various Japanese and Korean game titles as well as the pits that can befall players. The turnout for this panel as mentioned by the panelist was pretty good, in spite of the masquerade across the hall. Knowledge and experience in playing games were somewhat needed, but listening to this panel definitely gave an idea of what games there are, and would be of interest for fans of all that is cute in another language.

These were points brought up:

Benefits – socializing with friends, have fun, enjoy possibly stunning graphics, and expand your imagination.
Downsides – Free to pay vs Pay to play – (Game companies have to be supplemented by some finance), so would you want to have free to play, where you may consistently crave objects being sold in game stores- thus creating addiction and money debts? Or would you pay a monthly sum, and consistently feel the need to play in order of making your money worth the price of payment?

Many games suggested in this panel are Japanese, but these are in the works of being introduced in the United States. Games titles suggested:

  • Bright Shadow – Licensed by Gamepot USA
  • Shin Megami Tenshi Imagine -English version available from Aeria Games
  • Prius Online – Licensed by Global.Netmarble
  • Pangya -Avaliabe by NtreevUSA
  • aisp@ce (beta)
  • Party Castle (beta)

Blogger Roundtable

Yes this year’s specialize blogging panel had ten bloggers. AnimeVice, Ani-Gamers, Reverse Thieves, About.com: Manga, Ogiue Maniax, Comics Worth Reading, Subatomic Brainfreeze, Anime Almanac, The Gaming Dungeon, and Super Amazing Number One From what I saw, the crowd for this panel, wasn’t as big, but with the panel there was a lot of opinionated and interesting people to make friends. with. This is a consistent personal interest of mine, but because of hunger pangs – had to leave early. I am right now waiting, as with probably other bloggers on perhaps a video going to be up. Moritheil was there to take video, and he did confirm to me later that the video he had was shaky, crossing my fingers so that I can link it here, for people who blog and has an interest in anime. Here it is.. slightly delayed, but here is Anime Diet’s video for the Anime Blogger RT. Yes, there is a lot of perspectives, but with the variety of bloggers, it should be an interesting video to watch.

Sunday

Last day at NYAF, and it was a pretty damp day, still didn’t deter people from going to the convention though. I was only able to go for half a day, and so when I went to the panel, I went around the Dealers room and picked up two titles for my own book collection from Vertical Press. Bumped into Frank from Media Blasters and he was able to share that Crimson Spell Vol 3, was going to out by Feb/March 2010.

Eric was also around taking images of cosplayers, and here is an image of one of the winners from the masquerade in green.

Now for Sunday panels.

Briefly stopped by the panel for Anime Name That Tune to the 3rd. This was a Triva panel, overseen by Youtube podcastor Fu-Sung E. Cookye where two members from the audience were chosen, and then were tested with active participation from the audience for naming an unknown anime tune.

Then went onto the Viz Media industry panel. Practically this was an entire panel that spoke about titles upcoming in the 2010 year. Many of these titles would appeal to the YA, fantasy, Shoujo, Shonen audience.About.com has a partial listing of titles that were mentioned with synopsis. Anime Vice also did a live blog. Listed below are some titles that were mentioned that might be in the interest of JLHLS:

  • Book of Heros by Miyuki Miyabe (New release from Brave Story’s author, a mix of Fantasy and high stake reality.) (Jan 2010)
  • Loups Garous by Natsukiko Kyogoku – Werewolves are the new paranormal draw. (Jan 2010)
  • CTRL+ALT+DEL Your Life by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. (March 2010)
  • The Next Continent by Issui Ogawa. (May 2010)
  • Bakuman by Tsugumi Ooba and Takeshi Obata (This details behind the scenes looks of a Japanese manga production company.) (Aug 2010)
  • Toriko by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro (This is a food manga.) (Feb 2010)
  • Ultimo by Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei (This was also announced at New York Comic Con this year.) (Feb 2010)
  • Gente by Natsume Ono (Manga follow up to Ristorante Paradiso, a title also set to be released by Viz.) (July 2010)
  • Library Wars: Love & War by Hiro Arikawa (June 2010)
  • Vampire Knight Official Fanbook (Sept 2010)
  • Grand Guignol Orchestra by Kaori Yuki (Oct 2010)
  • Nice To Meet You Kamisama by Julie Hasuzuki
  • Rin-Ne by Rumiko Takahashi (Oct 2009)

So this concludes my convention coverage of NYAF 2009. Now it is post con period, as I spent several days, going over images, and researching for various links from people who went to the con and what not. Lance Fensterman confirmed the conventions attendance as being 21,388 on Saturday. It was a 16% increase from last year’s 18,399 attendees. As I went throughout this convention,, yes turn out were good everywhere, but many people complained size of the convention as an issue. NYAF is getting to be bigger and bigger. With the merging of NYCC and NYAF in 2010, who knows what will next year be like? JLHLS plans to be there.

Relevant posts of interest:

Flickr link of images
I-hsiu’s coverage of NYAF 2008 – Part 1, Part 2
Jilly and my coverage with NYAF 2008 – Part 1, Part 2

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