WakuWaku 2015 – saturday

WakuWaku graces Brooklyn Convention Center and the Wythe Hotel for the first time on August 29 and 30. For its inaugural event, dozens of sponsors and guests convened including Dragon Ball Z ad Dragon Ball Super screenwriters Koyama Takao and Koyama Makoto, producer Inafune Keiji, Baby the Stars Shine Bright designer Kano Masumi, PUTUMAYO designer Hasegawa Shunsuke with model, Kurebayashi Haruka along with culture guests, fashion director Misha Janette, Shihan Kimono teacher Emi Kikuchi and Chef Saito Tatsuo teaching us proper bento assembling. Music guests include singer Hayami Yu, DJ Nakajima Keiichiro and even artist Masuda Sebastian DJ-ing on saturday night. American guests include VA Max Mittelman, Justin Cook as well as guest speakers, Kathryn Hemmann, Mike Toole, the always loved Roland Kelts and many many more. Unfortunately, with time being so limited, I couldn’t see any guests this time but stuck with the events at the Convention Center. There were enough surprises to keep many busy. Time to check out the latest from Japan!
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Otakon 2015 – a con in review

Otakon returns for the 17th year to the Baltimore Convention Center. From July 24-26, attendees descend upon the Inner Harbor enmassed to check out the latest in Japanime releases, get a behind the scenes look with creators and voice actors and simply create memories with friends. The highlighted guests of the weekend include Mappa CEO Iwase Yasuaki, CEO and President (and Otakon’s own) Maruyama Masao, Troyca studios’ Producer Nagano Toshiyuki, Producer Kurosaki Shizuka and Director Aoki Ei for the English dub premiere of Aldnoah.Zero. Sponsered by Aniplex to promote the second season release of Durarara!! is seiyuu Toyonaga Toshiyuki and Producer Yokoyama Shuko. Of Fullmetal Alchemist fame is the seiyuu Romi Paku and for the Gintama fans we have Director Takamatsu Shinji amongst many more. Stateside guests are not to be outdone with legendary voice actress Sandy Fox, Laura Bailey, Bryce Papenbrook, J. Michael Tatum, Travis Willingham and many others. To kick off the awesome weekend is Otakon Matsuri guest, Back-On with two strong female bands for friday’s concert, Draft King and Sunday’s Oreskaband. This doesn’t encompass the weekend! The question is, what shall we do first?
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Otakon 2015 – Aldnoah.Zero Creators Panel

The host of the panel was the Marketing Specialist of Aniplex, Joanna Metoki. Joanna called the staff of Aldnoah.Zero one by one, escorted by ACP cosplayers. What a royal welcome! The director, Aoki Ei was brought onto the stage by the Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia and Eddelrittuo. He was followed by animation producer, Nagano Toshiyuki escorted by two Inaho Kaidukas. Finally, the producer, Kurosaki Shizuka stepped onstage escorted by two Slaine Troyard cosplayers. The panel started with greetings from the creating team.
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Otakon 2015 – Sailor Moon Q&A Panel

Same as Katsucon and many of their events, The Fandom Post has a live stream of the panel and people can send comments and questions which can be answered during the panel. Questions can also be submitted via Twitter with the hashtag, #Moonpanel. Viz definitely don’t do anything by halves! I settled myself in the front row, left of the room, getting a good view of the stage and the projector on the right side. Senior Manager of animation marketing, Charlene Ingram introduced herself and online mediums where we can find all the good Sailor Moon news including Facebook, Twitter, the Viz site and more. Viz definitely have alot of promo marketing for this series including Moonlight parties where they live stream and chat with fans and each other.
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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 – 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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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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