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Anime Expo 2000: ASO Radio's Convention Genesis (Page 2)

Rica Fukami
Hirotsugu Kawasaki and His Cute Translator
Lucky Fan Gets a Drawing
I Will Punish You!
Costume Designers Speak
Kawaii Seiyuu
Bring It On!
Dream Team - Nz17 & Maeda
Ramus Meets His Illustrater
Polywhirl Answers the Tough Questions

Meeting the Creator(s)

One of the most popular people at the con, Rica Fukami (the Japanese voice actress behind Sailor Venus - Sailor Moon, Myung - Macross Plus, as well as several other shows) was showered with attention and gifts. She proved to be so popular as a matter of fact, that I did not even get a chance to sit down next to her and get a few questions in. Of course, that doesn't stop me from taking a few photographs, now does it?

The majority of my evening was spent with Mr. Hirotsugu Kawasaki, whose most recent project was directing the film Spriggan. Since I got to spend a few hours with him, I got to know him rather well, as far as a fan is concerned. Although he directed Spriggan, the majority of his work has been as an animator on such projects as Akira and Memories.

While Kawasaki-san enjoys both directing and animating, he says that he does not really prefer either. He was quite pleased to hear how much people liked his work on Spriggan, as well as his other work. And even though this was his first North American convention, Kawasaki-san was quite talkative and lively.

When asked whether he thought the animation industry could ever reach the lofty heights here in the United States as it has in Japan, he replied that it could never become like it is in Japan, but there is a definite chance that it will expand, especially with the increased popularity of Japanese animation as a whole. Kawasaki-san went on to say that he was quite pleased much fandom anime has garnered here in the 'States, and that fans are much more dedicated and fanatical about it here than in Japan.

Later, when the subject moved to subtitles versus dubbing, Kawasaki-san was incredulous when he learned of the various editing treatment anime has gotten in North America, specifically with Sailor Uranus and Neptune in the broadcast version of Sailor Moon.

After speaking with Kawasaki-san, it was rather late in the event so I only got to meet one more guest, Mahiro Maeda. Maeda-san was rather quiet; but then again, it was getting late, so he probably was just tired and suffering from jetlag. I got few questions in, as there were still several people asking him things before he left. He mainly posed for a few pictures and signed a copy of Blue Submarine No. 6 before withdrawing for the night. And as can be seen from the right, I personally got a picture with the man myself.

Since X was full and nothing else was really happening after the rendezvous with the guests, I headed home for the night.

Days 2, 3, and 4, or, The Rest of the Con in a Nutshell

The following couple of days went by quickly, so I decided to lump the events that happened during them into one sum.

Great Chaos upon the Land

Before I move forth with my account, I would like to relay the following: the original technical director and crew for Anime Expo did next-to-nothing and so fired, but the new technical director did not arrive until two Tuesdays before the convention, thus resulting in about one week for her to set everything up. Needless to say, things were not top of the line in setup in the least.

Almost every happening was rescheduled, moved, delayed, or just plain cancelled, with the only reason given being "technical difficulties." Thank you, Anime Expo, for that clarifying, great explanation. And to think, I thought they couldn't come up with a valid reason.

Attend to Thine Flock

Every major event held was packed to the rim with convention-goers, which is understandable, since Anime Expo is the largest anime convention on the continent, but it was just plain ridiculous. I had the chance to talk to someone who attended the premiere of the Utena movie, and according to her she waited in line for four hours before the movie started just to get a seat. Now everyone knows why I went to the side-events instead of the chief ones.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

However, even though I did not get to see the "important" events that were held, I did enjoy the many panels that were held, including a discussion on import gaming and the Anime Trivia Game Show, where I met up with Wretch and the rest of his crew from Otaku Radio CaliforniA. The open karaoke was fun, if not well organized, and costume design panel was intriguing. But the highlight for me was when I finally got to watch Princess Mononoke after waiting in line for seventy minutes. The time in (the relatively short) line was well worth it just to see Miazaki's masterpiece. If one has not seen this movie, then one has not seen what anime can truly be.

The End of Days

While I did have an enjoyable time at most of the occurrences at Anime Expo, it has grown too large in size for its own good, and has become a lumbering ox amongst delicate china. The guests were great, as were all the cosplayers, and the side shows entertaining, but since the large happenings could not accommodate all that wished to attend, it really hurt the entire experience. Not only that, but after 3:00 P.M. on the final day, everything except for one room closed down for the rest of the convention, which lasted until 8:00 P.M. Earnestly, Anime Expo, not everyone wants to attend at Art Auction for four hours, when there could be so many other things happening instead for the fan looking for alternative entertainment.

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