New York Comic Con 2008

I know this will be hard to believe but my geekdom spreads further than anime and manga. In fact, I was a comic book reader from about fourth grade. I also read fantasy literature. So Comic Con was all sorts of my hobbies mashed up together and actually I spent most of my time there on things outside of anime.

As far as I can tell for Kohaku and Narutaki this was a TM Revolution concert with a comic convention thrown in at no additional cost. The comic convention was fun for both of them but I have a feeling they would have paid the same price just to see TMR and been just as happy. I myself had fun at the convention but I don’t think I had anywhere the near orgasmic time that they had with the convention.

Okay, that too! But hey I still would have gone to comic-con regardless of TMR. It just so happens that he was there and I was super excited about it. But since you brought him up I will say that the concert was a lot of fun and a good length, 90 minutes. It also, surprisingly, started on time. There were a couple of girls from Japan in front of us and they knew all the dances. Me and Kohaku tried to follow along but I think we just ended up looking silly. Not to mention I have about -5% rhythm. He played all of his songs from various anime (since most of the audience probably knew him from those more than anything else). He didn’t however play my favorite song. We also went to his panel which was basically useless and annoying. He had his own interpreter and the guy never really said anything or asked any good questions. It mostly consisted of him saying, You guys love TMR, right? insert audience cheering. Same went for his event at Kinokuniya which was on Sunday. The did play the b-side from his upcoming single release which was exciting! Also me and Kohaku were a mere three feet from him and he waved! We rule.

Although I did not attend the Bandai panel they did announce some very interesting things. The first was they had the license to Gundam 00 and Gurren Lagann. I don’t think anyone was really surprised that Bandai is releasing Gundam 00. I think it has the potential to be the next Gundam Wing here in the states. It’s certainly not guaranteed but it is possible. Gurren Lagann on the other hand was out of left field. Nobody knew what has going to happen to Gurren Lagann after the whole ADV/Sojitz deal fell apart. I know there are a lot of people predicting even more doom and gloom for ADV now knowing that Bandai has stepped in and snatched away ADV’s guaranteed hit of the year. I’m not sure this is any more or less of a sign that ADV is on it’s way out but it is something worth watching.

Well, you know they had Gundam Seed on TV and no one cared. So I dunno. But I only care about getting my lovely Gundam 00 DVDs so I am a happy camper. I wonder if they will start coming out before the second half is done. I would really like them right now. RIGHT NOW. The whole Gurren Lagann fiasco kind of makes me chuckle. But really I would hate to see the death of another anime company in the near future. There have been few announcements and that just does not bode well. The bubble is bursting and quite frankly I’m not surprised.

Their second announcement is that Bandai hinted/practically said outright that is there is little to no chance of Gundam X and Turn A Gundam being licensed in the U.S. in the foreseeable future. It clearly shows that Bandai is being more conservative about its already somewhat cautious outlook towards Gundam in the states. I’m pretty sure that Bandai’s mishandling of certain Gundam series in the past has a lot to do with this. I’m looking right at the original Gundam and Zeta Gundam. I think it also shows even beyond Gundam that if you are an older series your chance are slim to none of getting licensed. More and more companies are realizing that the current market schemes are not working enough as it is. Old shows will not work at all with the current methods used in the U.S. The problem is this: they are basically giving up on older titles rather than trying to find better way to sell them.

That is not really an announcement, it’s more like a confession.

Viz announced that they will be releasing Vagabond in 3 volume omnibuses and that they will be releasing One Pound Gospel to usher in the first time release of the final fourth volume of the series. I’m sure that Narutaki is thrilled that he can finally start collecting Vagabond in a slightly cheaper format. I’m probably going to be a sucker and re-buy One Pound Gospel even though I have already bought the original three manga. Because if I don’t Rumiko Takahashi will surely starve to death, penniless, in the gutter.

It seems like every time I decide today is the day I will buy Vagabond the place I go will not have the first book. So as long as they can keep this in stock for more than ten minutes hopefully I can get myself a copy. I wonder how fans of Inu-Yasha like this series in comparisons, haha. I really like One Pound Gospel in fact, it was my first encounter with Rumiko’s work. I am down the middle about her series though.

Del Ray Manga said a lot but there were only two announcements that mattered to me. The first was the fact that Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei was licensed and the second was more details on Del Ray attempt at making a manga version of the X-Men. I mean I can’t not buy, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, the manga representation of my life if I were a Japanese school teacher. Despair. Despair. Despair. I am in Despair because it so accurately captures my essence.The manga versions of the X-Men just looked so silly that I’m curious how they turn out. I mean they had a version of Beast that looked very much like a certain Studio Ghibli character that rides a cat bus. Plus Kitty Pride is the main character. That makes me happy. Oh and they are going to have a separate Wolverine comic. Gosh I wonder why? Wolverine is such a minor and unpopular character. It would be like giving M.O.D.O.K. his own comic and we all know that would never happen.

Yen Press had two of the most shocking announcements of the convention. The first was Yen Press has the license for the Haruhi manga and light novel series. People have been asking for the light novels since the first episode of Haruhi popped up on fan-sub so theoretically this will make a lot of people very happy. The only thing that might make people a little wary is that Yen Press had to bring in the big guns and get Little Brown and Company to license it with them. While that means they will have a much better chance of a better translation, it could also mean that they will insist on making the story as Americanized as possible. Now I don’t think they change Haruhi and Kyon from Japan to Holly and Kyle from California but they might try and reduce the number of Japanese references as much as possible. I’m sure we can all image how the internet is going to light up if they change a reference to Ayumi Hamasaki to Britney Spears.

Yen Press fills me with love. They are nice to talk to and they happen to be picking up some really great work. I will take this moment to say I love Spiral! Two thumbs up. I am definitely curious to see how the Japanese-isms for go over in the Haruhi books. Although with the covers they have, people are going to be mistaking it for manga at first glance. I doubt it will end up anywhere else in the bookstore. Also Ayu is 1000% more talented that Britney Spears. So there. Yes Press also brought Judith Park, a manhwa creator, to the convention. They gave away the first book in her series they are releasing and you could jump right in line to get it signed. Which we did. It took a while a we read a bit of the manga before we got up to her. She was drawing pictures for everyone! What a treat! And on the last day of the con, as an added bonus, all the books at their book were just 5 bucks! Score.

The second shocking announcement was that Yen Press is starting their own manga anthology line much like Shonen Jump USA. I think it is definitely something to watch. It looks like it has enough going for it that it might succeed but enough against it that it could crash and burn with force of a thousand suns. The anthology will be called Yen Plus and it will contain a mixture of manga, manhwa, and American comics. All the manga in the magazine will come from Square Enix for the first two years. So it will be running Soul Eater and Nabari No Ou. Narutaki and I are both assuming that those titles maybe the two shows that get the most chatter on the fun-sub circuit this season. Also Higurashi, Bamboo Blade, and Sumomomo will be seen. I like Higurashi, heck I made it my anime of the month, but I’m not sure how much fandom it has outside of a cult following. From what I know of Bamboo Blade it seems generally cute but I can’t see it as being a huge seller. Sumomomo Momomo looks very silly but other than the general story and that it has an anime I don’t know much about it. As I mentioned in our first article Svetlana Chmakova is the only OEL artist I like so I guess she is the best pick for the OEL section. I had never heard of Maximum Ride before the Comic Con but it seems wildly popular. I know next to nothing about manhwa so I don’t know how good or popular Pig Bride or Jack Frost are.

While I like the ideas of anthology series, I don’t buy the ones that are out now and this one seems an even less likely buy for me personally. But it is a nice way of sampling a whole lot of things at once. There are so many other resources for helping me with my choices. Beside that, the manga has either already finished or is far ahead in Japan which seems to take away some of the point of the monthly anthology. And while I do steal Shonen Jump USA from Hisui’s brother to read Bleach I find it more of an annoyance than anything else. I would rather my manga be coming out faster.

I remember Dallas Middaugh mentioning that the only way he felt that a new manga anthology could succeed in the U.S. was for it to have a popular title on Television and I have to agree with him. I feel in order for this magazine to succeed they need to get either Soul Eater and/or Nabari No Ou on Cartoon Network. The Maximum Ride manga will help the magazine greatly but I think it needs both of these factors to be financially viable.

Yes, James Patterson is insanely popular. Personally, I can’t understand why. And although I have never Maximum Ride, I’ve actually talked to quite a few people that thought it was quite terrible along with its sequel. But he does sell well, though I don’t know if that is just adults buying is younger literature. I suspect a good portion are.

I’m not sure if I’m the only person who did not know about this but it seems that Dark Horse has picked up the rights to CLAMP’s Clover and is releasing all four books in one 20 dollar collection. I wonder if this means that Dark Horse is going to pick up all of the old CLAMP series that TokyoPop’s licenses have run out on. I also wonder if this means that Dark horse is interested in building more than just a seinen line or if they just realize that CLAMP is money in the bank. It might also just be part of the deal for that new manga CLAMP is writing for Dark Horse starting in 2009.

As far as the dealers room went there wasn’t a whole lot of anime and manga related stuff to speak of. TokyoPop had a great big set-up but the price of manga was the same. There were quite a few industry booths displaying figures but most of it was not for sale. However Square Enix had some very nice pieces for sale but the most enticing stuff was the preview for the coming year of their figures. Like the amazingly beautiful Leneth from Valkyrie Profile at a whooping 420 dollars!

Comic Con is one of those professionally run conventions where it would be more surprising if it did not run smoothly. It had a wide vareity of comics, anime, and video game related subjects. A nerd paradise. If nothing else I really enjoyed the Venture Brothers panel. The Venture Brothers panel is always livey and fun. The fact that I got to see a preview of season 3 was just icing on the cake. All in all I think we both had a great time.

Everything went fine for me. Though I did see the IGN theater was running behind thanks to those pesky technical difficulties. But really the whole experience was wonderful! I definitely think it fills me up with geek culture, rather than just anime. I saw Stan Lee. STAN LEE. So if you have hobbies outside of anime in the nerd realm it is a perfect catch all.

Narutaki Currently!
Watching Kaiba
Reading Dragon Eye
Listening to Chihiro Onitsuka

Hisui (Brainwasher Detective) Currently:
Watching Macross Frontier
Reading With the Light
Listening to DANZEN! Futari wa Precure by Mayumi Gojo

Top 5 things I did at Comic Con
5. Getting exclusive Marvel Civil War Minimates
4. Going to the Cup o Joe Panel
3. Getting my book signed by Shannon Hale
2. Going to the Stan Lee Panel
1. Seeing the T.M.R. concert

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