Otaku and the City, what’s the worst that can happen?
So the New York Anime Festival was last weekend. After a little fighting with bro-ham, I “won” the right to provide the review of the show for you folks out in the blogosphere. After some thought, however, I decided I had not been to festival enough (We only went on Saturday), to give an honest review of the proceedings. So this will more likely take the form of “things that struck me as interesting” post. Here we go:
1. The Industry “Force” is strong in this one. The NYAniFest brought nearly all of the major players in the Anime and Manga industry into the Jacob-Javits center. From ADV to MediaBlasters, and from Del-Rey to Tokyopop, it seems the industry couldn’t give up the chance to advertise themselves in the city that never sleeps.
Seriously? Looks like Bandai is planning to milk this kitty dry, or until they get the rights to the second season. Looking forward to Code Geass and Lucky Star though.
Even some companies that are loosely, at best, related to anime came to the show. Darkhorse had a pretty fair sized booth to show off their comics. Wizards of the Coast, who made my inner child jump a little inside when we found out that Magic: the Gathering Worlds (the World Championship) was right next door in the next convention room, preached to the crowd about MapleStory the card game. And Capcom was allowing fans to demo-play Devil May Cry 4 in a walled off test booth. For a first year show, the industry backing was truly a sight to behold.
2. Anime as a field of research? Perhaps the episode titles to the first season of Genshiken were not as far fetched as everyone thought. One of the more interesting panels at the NYAniFest had to do with Anime, Manga, and Research.
Dejiko and Puchiko helping you get your Ph.D? It’s not as impossible as you think. Remember kids, reading is fundamental, nya~.
The open forum discussion panel provided listeners with a number of books and websites devoted to the scholarly investigation of anime and manga. The take home message of the panel was that, regardless of age, experience, and education, don’t be afraid to draw correlations between anime/manga and life and write about them. Of course, some ages (12 vs. 28) and some educations (say, chemistry, vs. film study or finance vs. literature) will lend themselves more to scholarly study, but the research community will always listen to what you have to say.
3. Otaku can NOT dance. But it’s ok, because luckily for them rock is a universal language.
You get a pass, marshmallow girl, but everyone else, shame on you.
While waiting for the Unicorn Table concert to start, some of the otaku came together and started to dance to the DJ’s techno music. Having gotten a seat near the middle of the concert “hall” (a sectioned off piece of the convention hall), I got a prime view of the “dancing” up close. I’m sorry. Doing the arm waves in a big circle does not constitute as dance. Neither does flailing around recklessly like you’re fighting with your possible imaginary friends with no comprehension of the bass line. Of course there were some exceptions, and there were some phenominal dancers getting their groove on too. But the disparity of skill between the good dancers and the normal otaku were dreadfully apparent. Luckily for otaku, the disparity of the skill of jumping up and down with your hand in the air is a little more blurred.
It’s a good thing that knowing how to jump is the only requirement to rocking out with Unicorn Table. Full marks to the band for an awesome performance.
Unicorn Table gave an awesome, high-energy performance that Saturday night. They came out blaring, slowed it down and touched us with Amai Yume from the School Rumble Soundtrack, and, after Salia-san showed off some of her solo work, finished strong, closing with the Jinki Extend OP Fly Away. Although I feel bad that I didn’t know the other songs in Unicorn Table’s set, I was very disappointed to see that only about 25% know about Amai Yume, and worse, that I was one of maybe 10 people who cheered vigorously when they said they would finish with Fly Away. It was sad, but I guess what could I expect from an audience that appeared to be brought up on Bleach, Death Note, and Naruto.
All in all, NYAniFest was an awesome experience. There was lots of potential in this first year con. If/When it comes around again, I can’t wait to see what it has in store for the anime/manga fan in the Mid-Atlantic.