By TheBigN(ever thought I’d do four posts in a week.)
If the title didn’t make sense, it’s not supposed to. Just letting you know. 😛
As I woke up this day, I was exhausted from the day beforehand and coupling that with the fact that I had to pack up and “check out” of the hotel room I stayed in, the resulting post-it notes I wrote myself also suffered a little bit as well. But the fact that there was still some con to go to was enough to keep me going till the end. Or so I thought…
10:30ish AM: Met omo, Link and wah at the Otacafe. Was planning to meet up earlier, but I wanted to spend a little more time with my temporary roommates, since it had been a while since we’d been together. Was also planning on going to the State of the Industry panel, so I didn’t sign up to sing (given the circumstances, I should have done so based on how long the queue tended to be), but I was able to witness live the already linked to video of the two girls singing the entirety of Kumikyoku Nico Nico Douga, or however you spell it. Though in that video you can really only here wildarmsheero singing along with the girls, as he was the one that taped the video in the first place, Link and omo also sang the whole thing, and I put in my voice whenever I heard those familiar snippets of songs that I know (if you pay attention, if you can here someone yelling “Ketsuron!” during the “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” segment, that’s me. Just to throw myself out there again. :3). I’m still amazed at people knowing all of these things, and it makes me wonder a little bit about how “hardcore” I was as an anime fan. Which is an unnecessary thought, true, but still…
11:00: Went to the State of the Industry panel with Nomad. Though as others have said, it turned out to be the State of FUNimation panel as the only representatives present were two guys from FUNimation (Heiskill and another person whom I can’t remember). It was interesting at least to listen to how the self-described “Baywatch of Anime” was trying to thrive in what seems to be a current point for the anime industry all around. Given how Saturday’s panel went, strangely (or probably not so strangely), none of the questions that were asked had anything to do about fansubs at all, which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you think about it. I did manage to meet Scott, who with a press pass seemed to be everywhere at once, so there was some immediate benefit for going to the panel.
According to what I heard, FUNimation’s making a lot of effort to market their products, including things like helping out with conventions, clubs and libraries. It made me wonder if that meant that part of the reason that companies like Geneon, ADV and CPM had/have the problems they did/do was because they didn’t make as much effort to get their names and their products out, though that would be placing words in their mouth, and so I didn’t ask about that. That effort to spread themselves around tied into a question that I asked them about how they decided which retailers would sell their products, where their answer went along the lines of casting a net as large as possible.
They also responded to me in terms of how hard retailers can get hurt from not quite enough DVD sales. Part of my motivation for asking that question came from what a statement that I thought I had heard from the Fansub and Industry panel, stating that retailers hurt first if DVDs aren’t bought, and that it trickles down to the company afterwards. When I mentioned that while asking my question, I was told that the situation doesn’t quite hurt sellers too bad, as they decide how much of a series they will continue to stock based on how well previous volumes and copies fly off the shells, which makes sense.
In terms of what FUNimation actually decides to license and promote to retailers, content like PLOT is important. For me, obviously this makes me feel like I’m not going to see shows like Manabi Straight or Hidamari Sketch from them anytime soon, but I’m digressing with that here. The duo mentioned when negotiating for some series, the company has to take into account “brothers & sisters” that are associated with the series as other properties that might also have to be picked up. Though in some cases, the relations between extra series seem strained, as SHUFFLE apparently was one such show, coupled with Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid, if I remember correctly. But even if I remember incorrectly, I did hear that often these relatives are a big factor in terms of whether or not the main series is picked up.
When talk turned to the idea of supporting the industry, Heiskill mentioned that the company’s (or at least, his) definition of the industry consisted of basically everyone involved with it. The companies here, the creators and companies over in Japan, the retailers that sell the products, the consumers that buy said products, and so on. From that in terms of supporting a show, their advice is to start supporting at the beginning, where most has happened in terms of everything that let to the initial release of the series. I had also heard that we don’t necessarily have to just buy anime, but associated official merchandise can work as well. And given the extras that FUNimation has been throwing our way with some works, this makes sense. I know that I was tempted to buy the Fullmetal Alchemist boxes because of the associated OSTs only included with them. Not that I think about it, I wish I could have asked about if the company was willing to sell music separately, or if it’s a special extra for those who really like the series.
As to the future of anime distribution, the one thing that sticks in my mind is what FUNimation are planning to do with the Ouran releases: 2 sets laters this year, containing 13 episodes each along with some extras for about $60, if memory serves me correctly. The representatives mentioned that what we will be seeing with that show will become more prevalent than it has before. But at the same time, there will still be individual volume of shows, which is kind of interesting. As someone who tends to go for boxsets more than individual volumes, this is a move that I would be willing to support, and based on conversations that I read on the Megatokyo Forums and so on, this wasn’t an unusual sentiment. Even if it’s something like “I’ll wait until the have a thinpak (as I’m doing for some series myself), the desire to have everything at once still seems to be a powerful one.
Those were the points that I could remember from the panel, but I’m not sure how accurate these are, so again, if you know better than I do, by all means correct me if I’m heinously wrong about everything. A “live” feed of the panel is also present here, if you want to know more information or at least un-BigNed information.
12:00PM: I went to the Dealer’s Panel with Nomad, and ended up purchasing manga volumes 7-9 of High School Girls, 2-5 of Ichigo Mashimaro, 8 of Hayate the Combat Bulter, and 4 of Musashi. In terms of books, I bought the Makoto Shinkai artbook featuring scenes from 5cm, so I’ll definitely have my quick fix of scenery porn whenever I need it. I also acquired the CLANNAD OST and the Macross Frontier First OST “Nyan Furo”, along with a JAM Project collection. All in all, that and the previous day’s purchases took about $350 out of me (and some out of Nomad and a friend, but that’s another story), which I don’t see as a bad amount, but it’s not something I’m going to bring out lightly in the future. And there were still some priceless things, such as pretty good cosplay of a Yuyuko from Touhou and Akira Kogami from Lucky Star, which omo was able to get because he’s awesome. Again, I seriously wished I had an electronic camera on my hand at the time.
1:00-2:00: Grabbed lunch, went to say goodbye to my friends with hopes to see them again next year, and went to the Closing Ceremonies.
2:00ish: I arrived at Panel 4 late, but they were still pretty much doing accolades for things that weren’t AMV related or so. Saw the highlight reel, which was pretty fun, if only to see some of the fanfare that I missed from the first day, though of course I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see anyone I knew on there (including myself). And there were some technical difficulties with presenting the AMV winners, so we ended up seeing the Opening Animation for this year’s Otakon again. As I came late to the con, this was the first time that I was able to see it, and while it didn’t really rock my socks, it was still fun to watch. When the AMVs were able to come up again, the selections were decent, but none of them really grabbed my attention save for the winner for Drama and the overall winner. And yet, the AMV that moved Os which wasn’t one of the winners still had a bigger impact. It’s not every day you get to hear rap (good stuff from Atmosphere) to Makoto Shinkai visuals. 😛
3:00: And so for me, Otakon 2008 ended, not necessarily with a bang, but with some satisfaction. Although it took me an hour and a half to get back home, I found that I was really drained of energy. Which didn’t necessarily help things since I had a quiz the day after, but such is life.
Final thoughts on my first anime convention should pop up next week, depending on how I feel after the exam on Monday. Fun times. :3