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Anime Boston

Friday: Anime Boston. Only Friday, because I was feeling tired and sick Saturday, and Sunday had competition. Cosplay census impressions: fewer Bleach and Suzumiya than before, about the same Toph and Sokka, one L so less Death Note, about the same Chobits (Chii, and Freya), 3 Hatsune Mikus, a couple of Yu-Gi-Ohs I only know because I asked. Two Maes Hughes from FMA, one of them having both wings (for being dead) and "photos" of his wife and daughter. Some Ouran Host Club, incuding a Honey by an actual kid. Fewer Bleach is still a fair amount of Bleach: some captains, and a Rukia, and another Rukia in school uniform. A couple of people with chainsaws, which might be a character I've heard of (i.e. that club-Cat did.) And of course many other cosplays I don't recognize. Oh! An Alphonse Elric, helmet only. A stormtrooper.

So, Death Note and Suzumiya are dying off, Bleach and Ouran, might be slacking a bit, FMA is still strong if stronger, Hatsune Miku is a new thing, and of course all of this is prone to high sampling error.


Nobunaga: Evil sorceror or space alien? Nothing deep here, just a sampling of how Nobunaga, the first of the three unifiers of Japan, has been portrayed in anime and games. Usually as a bad guy. "Black Lion" had him as an alien parasite from space. Sengoku Otome Momoiro Paradox has him as a woman, with time-traveling schoolgirl Hideyoshi -- history-aware audience members laughed when she introduced herself. "Flame of Recca" had a horrible dub but was notable for some "spacetime drift" spell that must never ever be used. So why do you keep teaching it?

Non-existent Youth Bill: Panel on a new Tokyo law that relegated to 18+ anime and manga "unjustifiably glorify or exaggerate" certain sexual or pseudo sexual acts. Live action images and video are exempted. The law is backed by Governor Shintarō Ishiharawho has complained about gays on TV and said that they don't know real love, denied the Rape of Nanking, and called the tsunami divine punishment for Japan's greed. Among other things. Like "old women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin". Possible targets of the law include Utena, for both incest and school-age sex, and Evangelion.

"Who is Hatsune Miku": surface premise of this panel was ridiculous, pretending to infer things about her personality from stuff with her, and ending on a moralizing note of "go out and create". But the content was interesting, showing a bit of the cultural influences going into her, and what's been made with her. There's even an anime, Black Rock Shooter, based on an AMV made with her. One of the first animations ever was Gertie the Dinosaur, which ended with a live human and the animated dinosaur being shown "together"; panelist of course then went to "Who Framed Roget Rabbit" and the 'live' Miku concert. I also got introduced to the Daicon IV film.

Miyazaki panel. Huge attendance. I came in late, to avoid lines; panelist was talking about the evolution through his movies. Lupin III and Porco Rosso as the only historical ones, i.e. in an unusual set period; Nausicaa starting with a strong anti-human pro-nature feeling but Miyazaki feeling more humanist by the end of it and in Laputa, Totoro and Kiki as not having antagonists. Porco Rosso supposedly as the big turnaround movie, Porco being a standin for Miyazaki coming to terms with himself. Then Monooke, human/nature again, but without any clear badguy, just conflicts of interests. Spirited Away, subverting his own theme of idealized childhood, as Chichiro starts out a spoiled whiny brat who pouts for half the movie. Howl's Moving Castle, as his first non-Japanese based work, and with Sophie being all of Maid/Mother/Crone. Ponyo, as the anti-Disney, *super* idealized childhood movie. Toy Story 3, as "the best movie Miyazaki never made", made by a bunch of his fans at Pixar. Supposedly Miyazki children are mature, indepndent, big smiles, lots of energy, curious (sounds right) vs. Disney helpless kids who need adult rescue (I wouldn't know.) Lots of hot moms, and crones dispensing magic or wisdom.

FMA. Whither fandom? Nothing much here, main thing was a casting thread that amused even me, and the appearance of the two Hughes cosplays.

Opening themes

Astro Boy had a minimalist and instrumental opening. The English version had a children's choir singing some song, and Tezuka thought that was awesome enough to imitate. Still minimalist. Jungle Emperor or Kimba the White Lion was far more elaborate, and started the pattern of "hey, even if our main animation budget sucks, we can really make the heavily reused 90 seconds look good." Gundam supported itself by selling model kits, Yamato was the first to make buck by selling its theme song. Full songs are often too long for an OP, which can be changed to progress through the lyrics, e.g. 'seasons' 1 and 2 of TTGL. US version of Escaflowne cut most of the scenes of the girl, and had lyrics of just repeated "Escaflowne" a lot, like many giant robot shows in Japan, drilling in the name of the merchandise for the kid to beg for.

He also showed the AMV Every Anime Opening Ever which is pretty funny.

There was a manga library, and I managed to read 8 volumes of Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden. I've read one volume of Fushigi Yugi. Don't ask.

Back Bay Trader Joe's is just outside the convention center, and they had a blackboard outside saying "Welcome Anime-niacs!"

I managed to sweep through part of the Dealer's Room and all of the late night Artists' Alley. Purchases were 3 cheap Red String "manga" (actually Western webcomic); two Vampire Hunter D novels, which so far have very purple prose and not very good writing but the SF worldbuilding is me-bait; some DVDs, mostly 'going legal': Suzumiya ($25 box set, much more reasonable price than $40 for a few eps), Baccano!, and Karin, also Aria 2 (haven't seen) and Full Metal Panic Fumoffu (liked enough to be tempted by.) Also five portraits by cutemew, one Suiseiseki pin, and one Kyuubei pin, mostly because those were the only pins I had any interest in. Rozen Maiden was "sort of interesting" but Suiseiseki opposes being made to fight for her creator's alleged love, so good on her. There seemed to be an amazing lack of anime-themed T-shirts.

Yes, all that was one day. About 12 hours. No wonder I felt like crap Saturday.

After registering for the con Thursday I explored the attached mall, found a Godiva, found a slightly cheaper truffle store I actually bought from, and a huge Barnes and Noble, where I bought Finder: Voice. Oddly, it had the smallest manga section I've ever seen that could be called a manga section. The magazine section had all three standard SF magazines, and "Girls in Gaming", which looked to be softcore porn with videogame girls. Not hentai, just overly sexed up game characters out of the box.

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Damien Sullivan

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