Monday, January 9, 2012

Anime Los Angeles 2012

Its 8:45pm and I'm finally home. It was a long day but was definitely worth it. As usual at any cons I go to you'll find me at the panels soaking up knowledge on art, writing, and perhaps money making. Before I get into that I’ll talk a bit about the convention and my very brief experience walking around. Since I’m an insomniac I got up a little late on saturday and left around 11:20ish. I was dressed in my secret Metal Gear 3 attire which consisted of a green dress shirt, green cargo pants, and a grey thermal beneath the shirt. I’ll explain my secret cosplay techniques in a future blog.

For some reason the images are fixed and can't be zoomed in on. I'm not sure why and I'll be damned if I'm about to reload all the images and move them to there proper spots. Sorry about that. Check them out at my facebook page which has more photos.

Walking in there was a mix of people in regular clothes and Cosplayers. I wanted to take pictures and also talk to some of the people about cosplaying but seeing all these people in the loud environment kept me kind of quite. It's bad but good at the same time since I have a habit of saying some pretty stupid things. Just to cut to the chase the event seemed to be a social gathering of cosplayers more than about anime. One of the panel speakers was complaining that not enough anime was being shown.

There were cosplayers everywhere ranging from the creative, beautiful, bizarre, and straight goofy. They were a lively bunch around the pool, making noise, and congregating in small circles. Here’s a few costume photo’s I took that were pretty cool.

Cool Threads below!

One of my favorite “costumes” which I don’t think is a costume was a girl standing outside the hotel as I was leaving. Her threads we’re actually from a company names H.Naoto. It was professionally made so of course it fit really well. It’s definitely an attention grabber but I think she could pull it off walking around any normal day. Girls get away with a lot in fashion as if a guy were to wear something similar I think most people would look and say, “Look at this damn fool!” Which is something people commonly say about me.



One more thing I want to say before we move on to the panels. I’ve been to E3, Wondercon, Comicon, Blizzcon, cell phone con(don’t remember the name) and I think Anime los Angeles had some foul smelling people. If you’re going to walk around a small hot convention check yourself at the door. Usually I don’t complain about this stuff but it stuck in my mind. Moving on!

The Panels

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu techniques!

The first panel I attended was a Japanese martial arts demonstration class taught by Adrian and Lyssa Kaehler. It was an interactive class so I joined in. I got paired up with what I thought was a frail dude. He ended up being a her... Thinking about it now she looked kind of like the guy from “Slingblade.” She stood like her pants were way too high and had sort of a hunch and under bite. Her brow seemed forever furled and made me slightly uneasy. I think I was able to make her laugh once while we practiced the techniques. Damn people lighten up! It was pretty basic stuff but it was interesting the different ways you can escape a hold. Next was the vocaloid panel.

Lyssa Kaehler showing me a proper ninja handshake.

Vocaloid Smokaloid what’s the big deal?

What is vocaloid you ask? It is a program created by Yamaha in 2003 using sampled voices to create music. It’s now in its 3rd generation with a thriving community where people share their artistic creation. The dude doing the panel was in a fancy dress with a large festive bow and explained the vocaloid phenomenon.
There were a ton of Miku's not sure why I didn't take a picture of one.

I found this really interesting because a character was created named Hatsune Miku that exploded using this technology mixed with art, advertising, and luck. In other words people got paid $$$. One of the first songs that got the ball rolling was called “LeekSpin.” I forgot the exact history of how this song came to be but the leek became Miku’s personal “item.” Here’s the video and watch your ears!

Personally I don't quite see the appeal but just playing some of Miku's music had people moving in their seats. Homeboy giving the talk was shaking his stuff too. Miku is basically a complete virtual character but is looked at by her fans like a living pop star. But who's to say what's real and what's not? You can see concerts of her on Youtube with a huge audience going nuts. This is one of those things I wish I came up with like “Tatu” (What’s that right?) but really could I put something like that together? I'm curious to see the lasting appeal of this art.

Manga as High Art

The last panel I went to was the most interesting. It was called manga as high art. This panel really got me to think about what art is to me. Some of you may know I’m on an art quest and most likely it will never end so I hope it’s a worthwhile journey. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of emotion over design or maybe better put emotional design. This panel reconfirmed some ideas why some of the most popular have the simplest design.

The idea that the viewer can see themselves as that character has a larger appeal than a super detailed character. An example the speaker gave was the less detail there is in the characters face the more someone can see themselves as that character. Kind of like a masked hero. Beneath that mask could be any one of us. So how true is this? Ask yourself what makes your favorite character your favorite?

I know why these are my favorite.

If you ask me I wrote more words than I probably should have but this covers just about everything that transpired. I definitely had fun and the entire event was very interesting for a guy who likes his anime but will only take it so far. I met up with my nephew who was volunteering at the con and I regret not getting a photo with him in his costume. I was in such a hurry to get to the next panel I forgot. Sorry for not spending a little more time with you.

If you made it this far feel free to let me know if this blog was interesting or how I can improve on future blogs. This is the first one I've written and I'm sure it could use some improvements.

Next time I’ll walk the halls a little more and maybe get the guts to talk a little more. That wraps it up another con in the anals of time. Next up Wondercon!