AnimeNEXT 2016 – Masquerade and WCS USA Finals

Since the masquerade and the autograph signing was at the same time, I was late in heading to the Main Events hall. It started a bit late since when I arrived, they were only on the 6th performance. This masquerade is special since aside from the usual main performances, it also housed the World Cosplay Summit US finals where Team USA will be chosen to compete in Japan this year. Go Team USA!

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AnimeNEXT 2016 – Sekai Project panel

Publishing Manager Evan Pago hosted the Sekai Project panel. He opened by noting that everyone who worked with Sekai Project started working with other parts of the industry. He shared his love for Idolmaster and noted that all who work in the company need to like Idolmaster. A bit of history, founded in 2013 by a group of anime fans and headed by Raymound Qian and Chris Ling. Met in a restaurant and decided that the industry can be alot better since there was very little overseas fan representation from and to Japan. Their main goal is to make sure that visual novels get a shot in the US as well as show Japan that there is a viable market overseas. Also, Sekai Project would like to give smaller Japanese creators a chance to market their games overseas.
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AnimeNEXT 2016 – TRIGGER Inferno Cop panel

From left to right, designer Koyama Shigeto, animator director Amemiya Akira and director Wakabayashi Hiromi on the laptop. Wakabayashi Hiromi-san hosted the panel, led the questions and provided a plethora of information to the fans. First, he commented that he was surprised at the immense reception and crowd which showed up to the panel. (Considerably, since the room was packed with people lined up on the sides and standing in the back.) He continued by stating that due to this visit to New York/New Jersey, Amemiya-san made a new episode for Inferno Cop that he will be showing at this panel. He added that it was Amemiya-san’s first time overseas.
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AnimeNEXT 2016 – ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D concert

With a mixture of rock, rap and high energy beats, ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D returns to take Anime Next by storm, gracing the first con night with a live concert that shook the masses. The concert opened first with ‘In My World’, the ending to Ao no Exorcist which got the crowd jumping to the awesome rhythm of the guitar and drums. Vocalist SHiNNOSUKE stood middle of the stage with his guitar with RYOTA at the left and drummer in the middle back of the stage. Support guitarist KAT stood at the right.
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Book review: Dark Money

Dark Money
By Jane Mayer
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-7352-1033-2
Review copy provided by reviewer

Review by KM Warner

By now it’s well known that Charles and David Koch have been very busy in distributing substantial amounts of money in support of right wing causes. What wasn’t well known before the publication of Jane Mayer’s meticulously researched book Dark Money The Hidden Agenda of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right was that they and similarly minded economic libertarians have been embarked on a forty-year effort to remake the American economic, political and cultural system in their own image through the strategic establishment of tax-deductible philanthropic organizations that are little more than fronts for the funders’ business interests.
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Katsucon 2016 – a con in review

The focus of Katsucon has it’s share of panels and guests but the highlight has to be the cosplay which takes over the Gaylord National Resort during Valentine’s weekend. Next to the harbor, the Atrium, the gazebo, hallways and lobby, cosplay shoots take place at all hours celebrating the fun, the intricacies of the craft and the artistry of photography. The location and relaxed feel of the convention draws fans from across the nation with special international guests and attendees like our favorites from Canada. Hit the link for photos from the weekend, a few panels, the masquerade and some of the best cosplays of the East coast.
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Katsucon 2016 – Funimation Panel

A special video of their online streaming catalogue was shown with a variety of series including fan favorite Dragon Ball. The streaming service plans include a sub-pass which gives subscribers to all subtitled content for $4.99 including simulataneous. The All Access pass gives fans access to everything on the site including special convention-only events and subscriber forums as well as contests. The 14 day trial expanded to 30 days for a limited amount of time. The service is available on many devices and there will be a mobile app for the ios and android. Rojas added that there the service is on the PS3 and PS4 as well as Xbox One and 360. McKinney adds that new apps are on the way.
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Katsucon 2016 – Vertical Panel

The panel discussion opened with Ed sharing about the history of the company which began in 2003 in New York. Many of the fans shared their love of Osamu Tezuka which Vertical published quite a few manga from. Ed prompted that many of the titles chosen for Vertical releases are not simply the popular ones from Japan, but those unique even in their respective genres that brings different perspectives to readers. “Shaking the foundations” is a good description for the types of books which Vertical chooses.
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Book review: Sadistic Pattern, by Michael J. Molloy

SadisticPatternBookSadistic Pattern
by Michael J. Molloy
Published By: Gypsy Shadow Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 13: 978-1619502758
Review copy sent by author

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

It’s been said by the philosopher George Santayana that “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. I think that saying should be amended to “those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”. Such is the case with Professor Roger Lavoie, the central character of this new suspense novel by Michael Malloy, whose previous novel, “The Diamond Man”, gave us a look at love and baseball. Now branching out from romance to suspense, Mr. Malloy has given us a study of one man’s slow descent into madness as events from his past repeat themselves in the present.
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NYCC 2015 – a con in review

The biggest comic industry convention on the East coast, New York Comic Con expanded their 3 day convention to a 4 day, rivaling SDCC in content (though thankfully, not in size.) However, the highlight of the convention is not just the comic and movie guests. Sponsored by Viz, the biggest Japanime guest of the weekend was Naruto creator, Kishimoto, Masashi-sensei along with the voice of the title character, Takeuchi Junko-san. The events of the weekend is with Kishimoto-sensei being part of Super Week, making appearances at the Apple Store, signing at Kinokuniya, Barnes & Noble along with his panels at NYCC. All of this in celebration to the end of the series, the Boruto movie AND Naruto’s birthday! Dattebayo indeed!
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Book review: Citizen. An American Lyric

Citizen. An American Lyric
By Claudine Rankine
Published by Greywolf Press
Review copy provided by the publisher

Review by Ginger Mayerson

Racism is bad, insidious and ubiquitous, and nothing is ever going to get any better until the singularity when we no longer have bodies or something. Yes, and it makes me feel bad that there isn’t even a glimmer of hope for the situation to ever get microscopically better until the singularity or something. Alas, what else can one do but strike up the band, and pour out the wine, if that’s all, all there is. So I am silenced by Claudine Rakine’s “Citizen” because there is nothing for me to say about it because she says it all: racism is bad, insidious and ubiquitous, and nothing is ever going to get any better.

However, I’m happy for all the success Greywolf Press is having with this book. They are nice people who publish what they believe in and deserve all the success in the world.

I’m also happy for the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles for having their very successful readers theater interpretation of “Citizen” extended into October. I saw it tonight, and the acting, the staging, and use of the text is superb. Try to see it if you can.

Book review: The World Beyond Your Head

The World Beyond Your Head
By Michael B. Crawford
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374292980
Review copy provided by the publisher

Review by Ginger Mayerson

I mostly liked and agreed with about the first half of Matthew B. Crawford’s The World Beyond Your Head (WBYH). We do live distracted lives in a distracting commerce driven world. I like part about jigs: how master craftpeople have optimal jigs for what they’re creating. But in this messed up world we live in, most people are not master craftpeople and the jig is something we work in. He quotes an old saying about assembly lines on page 34: “Cheap men need expensive jigs; expensive men only need to tools in their toolbox.” I suppose that applies to office workers, too, and there wasn’t much positive or constructive in this book for anyone but skilled craftspeople who never have to leave their workshops.
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