Katsucon 2005: Ready, Set, GO!
Andrew starts the new con season with a bang! What will this year bring? All we know, he's still trying to hit on Monica Rial.
Welcome back anime fans to another great year for anime. The year started off with a bang with the announcement of Naruto finally getting picked up. Now all the talk and speculation can go away! THANK GOD! With that big one taken care of, several anime companies announced some titles even before Katsucon began. Media Blasters announced two hentai titles to some fans' delight. What a nice way to kick off the year! So without further ado, on to Katsucon 2005!
Since I was told that people can pick up their badges early, my friend and I decided to get them early, as to beat the rush on Friday. While walking in the door, who do we see? None other than popular voice actor Greg Ayres. What is shocking is that he remembered who we were. So we stopped by and talked for a while with Greg about some items and how he was shocked that Gantz was being sold at Walmart, and how I should go watch it. Besides that, nothing is more enjoyable than seeing hotel staff and the horror on their face when they see tons and tons of cosplayers running around.
Friday started off late because of work. I couldnít get off Friday, so I had to go to all of the night's festivities. The only major panel I went to see is Gregís panel. Monica Rial joined in on the fun, and Greg answered all of the questions from the fans in attendance. The fans asked about new projects that he was in and what was his favorite role. Greg had on the perfect cosplay costume with him as Chrono from Chrono Crusade. Once Gregís panel was done, he got MOBBED during his autograph session. Heís a very popular guy! After his crazy autograph session, which lasted two hours, Greg, Monica and a few anime fans from Anime On Dvd went to eat at a local restaurant. All I can say is that we had tons of fun!
Saturday is always the big day at conventions, and there was plenty to do. First thing on my agenda was to meet Range Murata. For those who donít know, he did the character designs for Blue Submarine and Last Exile. Heís a pretty cool guy. When I came to get my autograph, he said to the translator in Japanese that I looked like an OX and he did a hulking pose. I wish I had a picture of that!
What was very convenient was that right next to Rangeís autograph booth was the dealerís room. One of the perks of the dealer's room is that I didnít have to wait in line to get in. Since Katsucon was in a hotel, there is a fire code and there was a HUGE line to get in. I felt bad for the people who had to wait. I hope next year that they will move to a bigger place, so that more people are allowed into the dealerís room.
While doing my window shopping I stopped by the Media Blasters booth and had a nice little chat with John Sirabella, the main guy for Media Blasters. He was shocked that I knew who he was, but he was very friendly and answered a few of my questions. I was happy about the two titles that they announced prior to Katsucon: Beat Angel Eslayer, which they have renamed to just Eslayer, and Immortal Sisters 2. I also asked about the big Mono audio issue, and he told me they are still working on it and that he hopes to have it taken care of soon. I didnít harp as much on it, because I know he gets asked about that all the time.
After a nice little break, it was on to see Johnny Yong Bosch panel. Before the panel, I got to meet with Amy Bosch, his wife, and she was very friendly. Johnnyís panel was very entertaining. He was very energetic and always had the fans laughing. He answered all the questions about his time as a Power Ranger and how he got the role. I had a great time; I canít wait to meet him again. Once Johnnyís panel was complete, the group I was with had to cross a street and catch my favorite voice actress, Monica Rial. Again, the room was packed with people. There were fans on the floor, against the wall, and even outside. Monica did her best to accommodate all of the fans and even made up a secret gathering for all of those who missed her panel because of the packed room. Monica was very excited to see all of the fans and she told us about her role now as a writer for DNAngel Volume 3. Sheís worried that people will think that she sucks and she wonít get another opportunity to do another show. So far, all that Iíve heard is positive, so youíre doing well, Monica.
Finally, a studio is here! Jerry Vo steps in and the Bandai panel begins. The panel begins with some trailers of current Bandai shows. One that interested me is Planetes . Planetes looks like garbage men in outer space, but something about it interests me. Iíll definitely be checking it out when the first volume is available. After the trailers, Jerry had only one annoucment: Panda Z. I had no idea what it was, but after some research, it looks like that Panda Z is a five minute parody show of Mazinkaiser. In other news, Yukikaze Volume 2 will be out soon, and the fifth installment should be done officially by late April or early May. On good news, Jerry talked more about the re-release of Cowboy Bebop and that it will feature many new extras on every disk. There will be interviews with the voice actors of almost every character in the show, and expect some extra commentary and a behind the scenes look at the show. Scrapped Princess will have a limited edition release with each DVD installment that will include a figure.
Jerryís Q&A had some great moments. When asked questions that he didnít want to answer, he just gave away a t-shirt or some other prize; classic Jerry. On a more serious note, Jerry was still very adamant on Bandaiís stand on fansubs. They are looking to take action in the future, but their efforts to crack down on illegal bootlegs of Bandai shows are still going strong.
After the Bandai panel ended, I hit up the cosplay contests. There were some really nice cosplay costumes and some REALLY BAD ones. I found it funny that Katsucon staff had a no Sailor Moon rule. It was my first cosplay contest and letís just say it was a new experience. On a side note, I got to meet Katie Bair and she remembered Adam. That ended a great Saturday and left me looking forward to Sunday, as the Media Blasters panel was the last one up.
Sunday rolls in, and damn, that Media Blasterís panel was really early. Got there a bit late and as usual, "John, how is that Mono issue going?" No surprise that the question was asked; people, do you have anything else besides that? Seriously! On the bright side to my morning, John announced more titles. The big announcement was the acquisition of Oh! My Goddess the TV series, Genshiken, Hi No Tori, and Phantom. A fan asked John if Media Blasters also had the rights to Kujbiki Unbalance, which was part of Genshiken. John wasnít one hundred percent sure, but he said that he thought that they had it. John also said that they are trying to get the original voice actors from Geneon and/or AnimEigo, because both companies have had pieces of the Oh! My Goddess license.
On Media Blasters live action side, Tokyo Shock also had a few nice titles added to their line-up. John said that they are expanding to movies outside of Japan with two new movies. One of them was from Korea and another from Thailand. Media Blasters is also working to bring Battle Royale 1 and 2 over here. I hope they do get the rights. They are good movies.
Since that was the last studio, it was a nice break as people piled in to see the Psycho Le Cemu concert. Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed, and this included press, so I just sat back and enjoy a bit of the concert. They were... how I can put this? INTERESTING! One good thing, they know how to put on a show. Only thing that pops into my head is Divo, Japanese style. After the concert, I took some time to collect my thoughts and I ventured home. Convention number 1 done.
What a great start to the anime convention year! I had a pretty fun time and picked up where I left off last year at Anime USA. Getting to meet some new voice actors, such as Johnny Yong Bosch, and seeing how cool and down to earth that he is made the experience even more enjoyable. I was honored to meet Range Murata, and Iíll never forget him calling me big and doing a flex pose next to me. The location was okay. I wonít complain; it was an easy drive, but having to walk between two hotels was not cool. I heard rumors they were going to move it to DC next year. The only thing that I hope that they do is find bigger rooms. The size of the line for the dealerís room was crazy, and that many fans had to be turned away from seeing their favorite voice actor/actress could not have been a fun experience for many who had traveled a great distance to be at this convention.
In conclusion, good start. Iím happy with the announcements, especially Media Blasters' line-up. On a side note, all of the voice actors stated that they wanted some part in Naruto. See you all at the next convention!