The last twelve months have been difficult for everyone – social disorder; worldwide illness, and deaths from COVID-19 and its variants; remote interactions failing to be complete substitutes for in-person interactions; and a contentious U.S. election cycle.
I’m hopeful that current coronavirus vaccine distributions and more competently managed public health initiatives will lead to a modified return to regular life. I’m not eager to go back into a movie theater anytime soon but I would consider attending a convention this summer/fall if the risk of attending has been significantly reduced by then. Large anime conventions are being rightfully cautious: FanimeCon recently announced it will be all virtual this year after last year’s cancellation, Anime Expo will not hold a physical show this year, and Crunchyroll Expo will go virtual for the second straight year. So it might be a stretch to think there will be a quick resurgence of in-person conventions.
The San Jose Convention Center during Crunchyroll Expo 2018
Hi there. I’ve been busy with my first semester of law school and with work projects, so I haven’t had a lot of free time lately. I was able to watch some anime series and go to an anime convention, though.
In the three months since my last post, I finished watching Aquarion and Ouran High School Host Club (a re-watch for me) with an anime classics watchgroup. Aquarion was an interesting mecha action series with character-building episodes and goofy moments. Some parts of the Ouran anime series don’t hold up well 12 years later, such as when the club meets Haruhi’s cross-dressing father the first time, but I still enjoyed hearing Maaya Sakamoto play the snarky “commoner” Haruhi Fujioka and revisiting back stories about the host club members. I’m thinking about reading the manga sometime.
I also attended Crunchyroll Expo in San Jose during Labor Day weekend and had a good time re-connecting with friends and making a few new ones. I made a Twitter moment that you can scroll through with pictures from that weekend. Continue reading
Crunchyroll had its first convention-style event last month (August 25th to August 27th) at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California, and I had a fairly positive experience as a weekend attendee. Continue reading
I read volume 1 of Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride tonight, partly because Yamazaki is a guest of honor at this weekend’s Crunchyroll Expo in Santa Clara, California. I had heard praise for that manga over the past couple years but didn’t know much about it. This first volume engaged me with its characters (mage Elias, his apprentice Chise, and Elias’ various acquaintances), fantastical creatures, and recurring talk about magic gradually fading out of practice.
Kore Yamazaki is scheduled to talk on Saturday afternoon about her career & other projects and she will also participate in a Sunday preview event for the upcoming Ancient Magus’ Bride anime series. (The three-day schedule is available on the official website and through the Guidebook app.)
I’ve been thinking about how Crunchyroll Expo appears to be organized more like a media expo than like a fan-run convention. Many of its guests have prior connections to Crunchyroll or its parent companies (Otter Media and Ellation): Rooster Teeth and Cartoon Hangover appear on the VRV video service (operated by Ellation); some of the YouTube “influencers” have Crunchyroll free trial affiliate links or sponsored videos; and upcoming anime series Kino’s Journey, Juni Taisen, URAHARA, and The Ancient Magus’ Bride have already been announced as simulcasts on Crunchyroll. Please note that I’m not implying any of the guests are not worthy of being invited; I’m just being conscious of its promotional aspects and how different my experience might be compared to Fanime or Otakon.
Anyway, I plan to be in Santa Clara all weekend so if you’re also going to be there, please say “Hi!”
Motoko and Batou at a bar in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
I have been watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with a few friends (a re-watch, in my case) and the themes of some episodes feel a little close to reality than when I first watched S.A.C. a decade ago, e.g. an owner of a outdated android wanting to eliminate all other androids of the same model so his would become unique; unauthorized organ donations; hacking of cyber-implants. Motoko’s standard on-duty outfit has stood out to me as out-of-place compared to what her fellow Section 9 agents wear and the series’ English insert songs felt jarring while I was watching with Japanese dialogue, but I am enjoying the action and technological aspects of the series. Continue reading