Otakon 2017: Events

 Otakon’s move to DC has opened up several new possibilities thanks to the new location. The bigger convention center and more vibrant location have a lot of potential. The fact that they were able to have a Shinto shrine at the convention while having more room for all the other events says everything about how much more that can be done with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

I’m not exactly sure that the move contributed to the increase in premieres. In fact, I’m fairly sure it a completely unrelated fact but it was still greatly appreciated. This year we got to see In This Corner of the World and Eureka Seven – Hi-Evolution 1 before most people in the U.S. The Eureka Seven movie had not even been shown in Japan before this. That in of itself was amazing. On top of that, the Anisong World Matsuri really added to event cache this year.

Sufficed to say there were so many big events this year that my panel attendance was actually lower than it usually was because I just had so much to do. Otakon was already a convention where you often had to choose which of three panels happening at the same time you want to attend but now the event schedule is popping in more and more as something vying for your time. What a great position to be in.

narutaki_icon_4040_round Somehow there was even more to do at Otakon this year, but I was able to attend more events than usual. If that doesn’t show the advantage of the new space, then I don’t know what else to say about it.

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Otakon 2017: 15-minutes with Hidenori Matsubara

This post contains spoilers for In This Corner of the World

Reverse Thieves: The MAPPA Staff at AnimeNEXT expressed a lot of passion for In This Corner of the World. What was your experience with the atmosphere surrounding the project?

Hidenori Matsubara: We were actually pressed for time while making it. I was stuck in the studio for half a year. It’s almost unethical don’t you think! [laughs] But I do think that everyone working on it had a sense of mission; that they must see it through.

Everyone working on it knew the charms of the original manga. However, we didn’t exactly think the anime would sell well. But we all believed it was a wonderful story so we continued making it. So what we thought was, even if people don’t notice the charm in it at first, as long as it was out there people would probably eventually see it and gradually recognize it. In Japan, it has won lots of awards and lots of people have recognized it.

After the panel yesterday, I noticed myself willing even more people to see it. It’s a very unique experience.

RT: You mentioned at the screening that you did a lot of research for the film. Can you tell us more about that and anything you learned that surprised you?

HM: There’s too much! I don’t know where to start from.

So it was the director who started the research. At the beginning, we did not have the funds to immediately start working, so we ended up with lots of time to research. During the movie, the director became synonymous with a researcher even more than a director.

In Japan, there were many events where we announced some of the findings from this movie. We were thinking of putting in the research as a voiceover on the DVD. But since the movie is about 2 hours and 9 minutes, we’d probably need ten times that much to get through it all. In Japan, there are ways for us to put what we found on the Internet, but over here I don’t exactly know how we would start.

It is a wartime story, but the more you find out about it the more interesting it becomes.

RT: As an artist yourself, did you connect with Suzu and the many hardships she goes through especially losing her hand?

HM: It would be horrible wouldn’t it? But I personally think Suzu would have done great drawing with her left hand. I think I’d do the same if I lost my right hand.

RT: Having spent time at Studio GAINAX in its early days, can you tell us about your experience with Hideaki Anno?

HM: Like what? Oh like maybe how he doesn’t eat meat? [laughs] But he doesn’t eat vegetables either. He’s not a vegetarian though. I think he just doesn’t like things. [laughs] I remember when I was 20 and back then I wasn’t exactly a rich person. Sometimes we would go out for ramen. And the pork slice, he’d give it to me! I remember being very happy. That is how old of buddies we are.

RT: Can you tell us if you are working on the 4th Evangelion movie?

HM: Since the project hasn’t exactly started yet, it will be in the future tense but yes, I will be part of it.

More Otakon 2017 posts:

Otakon 2017: Ani-Gamers Podcast
Otakon 2017: General Impressions
The Speakeasy #092: Otakon, More Ideon, More One Piece
Otakon 2017: Artist Alley
Otakon 2017: Panels

Otakon 2017: Panels

hisui_icon_4040_round There was one aspect of Otakon that I forgot to mention in the other places we talked about the event. There were an odd amount of cancellations of panels this year. When I listened to the Cockpit review of the convention they reminded me of all the cancellations. Overall it did not really affect me too much. With eight panel rooms worth of content, I always had something to do. In fact, with all the premieres and guests I went to fewer panels than I usually do. Still, it is a bit odd. It is a little hard to guess why this happened especially because every panel cancellation can have its own very specific reason. I know there was some speculation that the move might have caused some of the cancellations but it also could have been various circumstances in the various panelists lives that cased dropped panels. Neither reason seems more or less prone to be cut by Occam’s razor.

I do wonder how much it also simply has to do with the fact that the Guidebook kept the canceled panels on the schedule with a big [CANCELLED] before their title. While this prevents you from scratching your head as canceled panels no longer just vanish from the lineup but it might have a side effect of making you more aware of cancellations in the first place. I wonder if there were actually more cancellations than previous years or are we just more aware of it than we have been in previous years.

narutaki_icon_4040_round I’m pretty sure I attended more panels this year than I have the last few years of Otakon in Baltimore. Maybe that’s because I never had to wait in line longer than 10 minutes to get into a panel, if I had to wait at all. That wasn’t because panels weren’t popular all of a sudden or something, it just speaks to how much space there was at this new convention center!

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