Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Anime Evolution 2010

Bicycle cosplay? The design look familiar, but not sure where it's from.
Ah the local convention... It was time for Vancouver's anime scene to be in the spotlight again! Well except there were a few things happening around this weekend too, lol. Comiket in Japan was happening this weekend and Montreal's Otakuthon was also happening then there's Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando... Ok, so share the spotlight then ^_^  But Vancouver's media did not stop from promoting our otakulture (someone's gonna beat me up for using "otaku" this way, lol) to the rest of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. It's still a pretty big event drawing thousands of Vancouverites to UBC.

To be honest, my excitement level for this years's Anime Evolution wasn't so high. Perhaps because I was exposed to the much bigger Anime Expo. Anyhoo, I tried to enjoy it as it is. Pardon the length of this post, I like to keep all my thoughts in one place ^^;

On the first day, I actually stayed up really late watching some anime, so I woke up really later than I'd hope. I didn't really have any panels I really wanted to see. So after getting my pre-registered badge, which had no lineup, I went straight to the dealers room, which did had a lineup. It wasn't a long line thankfully, but I think I realize why it wasn't that long. It was the first time I was actually underwhelmed by it. I mean, it was small before, but I at least had something I wanted every time. This year felt so bland. Maybe because I had everything already? LOL!

After I was done with that, suddenly I saw my crack dealer... I mean... Manga seller and friend who just lined up for 2 hours for the registration. She didn't pre-registered this year ^^;

We decided to go the Studio Ghibli panel. It was crowded due to the room being very, very small and there was no air conditioning. Really now? On a summer day filled with people in cosplay and they put us in a room called the "Fireplace Lounge" with no air conditioning... Plus there's no audio system, so we can't hear the guy talked. It may have been interesting, but I couldn't hear him. The only saving grace was the Chage & Aska music video that he showed. I was only mildly interested when that was on, the other time I talked to my friend or fanning myself.

The second panel was a bit interesting. It was cosplaying on a budget. I learned quite a bit of new stuff I can use for my next one. After this panel, my friend and I parted ways for the day and I went to the Vocaloid 101 panel which had only 30 minutes left, which is good because I thought it was over already. The guy demonstrated the Miku software along with other Vocaloids and even played the song that he made. Very cool.

She's not used to painting in public, but this was an exception.
The next panel was a painting demonstration by Camilla d'Errico who's a pretty famous artist from British Columbia. I noticed her name quite a lot since last year's convention and before that at the Vancouver Art Gallery focus on anime. Her art is quite distinct and I would recognize them right away, but some of them can be quite bizarre. I think that adds the charm to her art.

A few people asked her questions as she tried to paint a zebra shark.
I mentioned a few things in the panel and learned that she liked Moyashimon anime! Nice! She mentioned many things that I couldn't get around to respond to, so I just followed her on Twitter and tell her there.

I already planned on watching Inception when I first saw the rolling buildings in the trailer. Unfortunately I've never gotten around to it. Why am I talking about this? Because there wasn't much I wanted to see on the first day of AE and went to see Inception at night :P Great movie! On to the second day!

On the second day I made an offer to Sayoko to pick her up and give her a ride to UBC to make it less... embarrassing in cosplay. It mostly worked, but because of red lights on the way... ^^; We got there around noon. Thankfully the lineup for registration was down to... no line!

I still had some time before the first panel I wanted to go to started at 2 PM, so we checked out the dealer's room. Still nothing interesting. I was pretty much Sayoko's bag holder since there were a lot of people asking for a photo of her XD I was quite amused by this ^^ One of the photographer was actually someone from Figure.FM, Narmi. I was just commenting on his post the night before, lol.

After meeting Sayoko's staff friend, Jenny, we were going to check the Cosplay Cafe, but its line was too long so we went to the Cosplay Contest instead. I usually don't go to those because I like to avoid corny skits...

At 2 PM, I stopped becoming Sayo's bag holder and went to the Funimation panel. A rarity in Anime Evolution nowadays. The industry, aside from the dubbing company, Ocean Studios, ever visited Vancouver anymore. So I thought I'd come and see what's going on. Adam Shehaan, the Marketing Manager of Funimation was representing. I thought the fact that he was here the Funimation vendors would be here as well... How wrong I was.

It was pretty much advertisement for the most of the panel. The Q&A were a bit more interesting. I probably forgot about these information but I asked about Eden of the East movies if it was licensed and the Shana license. I asked about Shana because he mentioned trying to get the original cast of Shana together again. I didn't realize Shana was license rescued. Maybe I just forgot. Perhaps there is hope for more Zero no Tsukaima.

Next up I met up with Chun and Taiga for the BJD Doll Meet. She didn't buy a pass, so she was stranded outside, lol. So I took photos of Taiga for a while before I went into the panel room.

Strictly no ecchi shot because the owner said so... *sigh*

Taiga holding my strawberry... No that's not suppose to sound dirty at all. It's my cosplay prop.

I also met a few of Chun's friends from the Doll Meet. I only remember a few names unfortunately. I remember faces, but not names, sorry ^^; I only remember Chris, who is the owner of the doll above, and Elizabeth who's got a really tiny doll.

From inside the Doll Meet room. I had to take a photo of Lum!

Tiny and uber cute dolls!
Had to take a picture of Luka too :P
Anyone need a doll?

Her outfit reminds me of Saber's ^^;
Interesting looking doll...

The one on the right is Chris' other doll.

Somebody with her trademark ":P" and Mokotan
Cutie wootie Mokotan in yukata
"It looks like she's humping him", is not what I said, but someone else. I thought about it, but I made it clear to Chun that I was NOT the one who said it.
Group photo! The small one in the green is Elizabeth's and it cost as much as my Azone Saber 0.o
Ok, that's it for the dolls before this post become nothing but doll photos ^^;;;

Next up is the main event I've been waiting for... The swimsuit competition! Last year I missed it, but there was a really, really good Taiga in her sukumizu and hair buns (like this one here). After I killed some time in the games room with Sayoko (played Split Second, COD: Modern Warfare 2 and other things) and saw some Starcraft 2 action, I went to lineup for it. The line was long already at 30 minutes beforehand. If I had a gold pass I might've gotten to the front row without lining up... But that's all it was good for, lol.

The event was emceed by... Hard Gay... How appropriate. The room was one of the hottest room in the whole convention. Horrible, horrible room. I was sweating just standing there quietly. I got in just behind where the seats end. I was standing the whole time, but at least no one was in front of me to block my photo angle.

The first competitor was a pirate lady, Lady in Red... In polka dots swimsuit. Dunno where she's supposed to be from... One Piece?

Second up is Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Someone misheard her and asked her, "Tiny?" ^^;

Sheryl Nome who looks shorter than her anime counterpart :P

Hmm... Aries cosplay I think? Not quite sure where she's from, but lots of sheep references, lol.

Belly dancer which is not really in a swimsuit for the bottom part :P Isn't there a belly dancer class in Ragnarok Online? Perhaps that's where she's from.

Sorry for the blurry picture, but it was hard to get a good Ariel from Little Mermaid picture because she was confined in a wheelchair the whole time.

After the introduction segment, it was time for the talent portion. Ariel sang, Aries sang and the belly dancer belly danced ^^; The pirate lady had a plant in the audience and asked a girl to come forward. As the Lady in Red bend over, the girl wiggled to drop her panties. Apparently her talent is dropping girls' panties... XD

Ty Lee's performance was hard to capture on photo, but I could imagine she looks good doing it in a swimsuit. She's a contortionist! Man, I wished I sat up front...

Sheryl did hers last and umm... sing? I guess, but using a CD, so lip-sync :P At least she got an Alto and Ranka with her to come up and they sang What 'bout my Star to Alto.

Ranka looks hawt btw ^^;

At the end of the song Alto and Ranka were humping each other behind Sheryl's back ^^;

The Q&A portion of the competition was HILARIOUS! It was totally right up my alley. They had so much innuendos that I couldn't even catch up, lol! I didn't want to shout out any question but I could totally make up one on the spot. One of the best questions was to Ty Lee regarding her talent portion, "would you like a raised platform for next year?" XD

The winner was chosen by the crowd's cheer. They were very, very close, but the winner was Ty Lee and Lady in Red (here you can see her holding the dropped panties). Hard Gay gave them $20 each ^^;

Afterwards I met up with Sayoko and her friends, whose names escape me at the moment. I'm really bad with names... I only remembered Sasha. We went for a late night dinner at Pho Hoa. Good noodle soup. I haven't had one for a while. I finally got home at around 1:30 AM after dropping off Sayoko.

Sunday is normally a quiet day for the convention. I didn't have anything planned except for one panel. My friend was also there as I had predicted :P

It was a panel about fansubs of the late 1980's hosted by Carl Horn, a manga editor from Dark Horse. It was quite an interesting trip to the 80's and early 90's.

He talked about working with some of the folks, who are now in the North American anime industries, that ran one of the first anime magazines in North America. One name I recognize right away was Toren Smith, whose name was used in Gunbuster.

He was also showing commercials of the Amiga 500... "Powered by 512,000 bytes of memory, expandable to a full megabyte!" Awesome! It's basically what they used to make the fansubs back then.

It was demonstrated using an old VHS copy of a Lupin III episode that was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Basically there's a small white box on the screen with computer fonts scrolling on it. It was barely visible on screen 0.o

He went through many ways to get Wings of Honneamise shown to public somehow. Rejection letters, return to sender packages, etc. but eventually Bandai was already planning to release it anyway and he got into the anime industry that way. Eventually he became the manga editor that he is today.

I did ask him what he thought of the fansubs these days. He wasn't impressed with just wanting to sub the show. He thought that taking a step beyond it to make it official work would be the better way. Kinda like the way Crunchyroll is doing now, I guess. Indeed the fansubs of yesterdecades had a different point to make across than what it is now. Everything was very different then.

After his panel, my friend got to talk to him personally for about an hour. They talked about manga, anime, Evangelion, etc. It was quite interesting to hear from someone who's in the business. I spoke a little giving my opinions, but I was also talking to that Kanbaru Suruga cosplayer and her male companion. It was quite interesting to hear more about the business side of anime and manga. It inspired me to get into the industry, I'm just not sure how, yet.

After another quick (1.5 hour) stroll at the dealers room, I drove my friends to their house and went manga shopping; and then went home myself.

Overall, I was not too pleased with this year's AE. Perhaps I'm just jaded after attending so many better AE's in the past. Or perhaps I was so impressed at the grand scale of AX that it was hard for me to enjoy the smaller convention. OR maybe it was because it was a downgrade after having it at the Vancouver Convention Centre, an impressive looking facility which easily housed all of AE under one building! There were many things this year that really ticked me off. They didn't have a building large enough to do everything so a lot of people had to move around from building to building and the panel rooms were scattered all over the place that it was hard to get to one panel to the next. Not to mention the overheated rooms which had no air conditioning in one of the hottest weekends this year in Vancouver! The dealers room was a bit bland this year, probably because another anime convention was also going on in Montreal. Even though there are a lot of guests, it just doesn't add up to quality like any big Japanese stars they could've gotten. I could rant some more, but I gotta put some positives here...

Since my dad works at UBC, I got to borrow his pass and got to park for free and possibly cheaper parking for everyone else. I met a lot of new friends and the panels that I did go to was enjoyable (despite the sauna-like rooms). And... And... I'm out of positives here... I almost didn't feel like going actually, but I wanted to keep supporting the local con so it gets better. So hopefully next year will be better.


  1. It was nice to go to a place where cosplayer roam free, but I must say I agree with you about a lot of the things you mentioned ^^; What a pity... can only hope next year will be better! I wonder if there's anything we can do ^^;

  2. @chun: Hah! I guess that's one benefit for you :P I don't know how to mention it in the original post, but I'm thinking of maybe work for them and see what I can do to improve on it. And I also have a friend who's got a friend in the staff members. I'm sure she knows of my concern and she's not pleased herself. But yes, hopefully better next year.

  3. I didn't go this year. It seems I didn't miss much.

  4. I wonder if we can interest people in a FF figure/doll meet, encourage people to go LOL *scratch head*

  5. @Toxyn: Yeah, it was almost like a de-evolution...

    @chun: Ahaha, I suppose we could, but there aren't too many Vancouverites on FF. I'm thinking of doing a yuri panel for some time now. Maybe I'll do it next year?

  6. It's nice that you have there interesting panels, artists and presentations.

    Most of the local cons here have poor audio and poor ventilation. I really hope that they'll improve and bring something new each year because I'm seeing the same events, the same sellers so I'm really not missing a lot if I don't attend. ^^;

    The nicest con that I've attended so far was the AFA last year. I guess it's normal to have higher expectations when you've been to bigger and better cons.

  7. Sounds like a drag huh. I don't know if I am even going to Acen next year since I would be mostly alone anyway...

  8. @Xine: Well some presentations are alright, but I go to cons for guests. They didn't even have a musical guest this year. But I really am hoping they get better each year. This year was not it.

    Yeah, I guess I have to spend a lot more money to have a better con experience...

    @Wolfheinrich: I think even Acen has better guests. I wouldn't even mind going alone if the guests are good.

  9. lol I'm so so SO sorry you had to be a bag holder! Man I feel so bad D: I'm going to find a solution for that one day! A costume with big pockets!... Doraemon!

  10. @C.C.: You know I was thinking of somebody using C.C.'s name from Code Geass then I read the comment and realized who was commenting XD Hahaha don't worry about the bag holder thing. I find it more amusing and funny than annoying XD And you know that most conventions are in the summer... If you're willing to do that... :P Will your Doraemon look like this (NSFW)? Ahaha.

  11. So many beautiful dolls! That one really pale one with horns is really interesting indeed.
    The painting demonstration looks awesome!

  12. @Yi: I never even realized they made dolls like those. Oh yeah and the painting demo was interesting because she usually does it in her own pace with her music playing in the background. She was actually answering questions as well when she was painting.