Was I Animazed?
Animazement seems to be getting bigger each year. It had started out at the Sheraton Hotel in Durham, NC, and later moved to the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC. Animazement takes up all but maybe one large space of the actual center, and this year they had multiple rooms at the Marriott Hotel across the street for games and such. Also, huge fan of the name for the convention, Animazement. But anyways, the convention was dedicated to a couple different people. First, the victims of the Japan earthquake/tsunami that occurred in March. Also, the convention was dedicated to Satoshi Kon, with his widow Kyoko Kon in attendance for screenings of his films. There was a couple guys I was pretty anxious to see, so let me talk about them now.
I saw two different panels which involved Nakata Jouji. The first was meant to be a Hellsing panel, but turned into a Q & A about his many different roles. The second was a panel for Sgt. Frog with three of the english VA’s for the series (Todd Haberkorn, Leah Clark and Cherami Leigh). I took some notes of questions that were asked of him:
- His favorite role ever is Alucard from Hellsing.
- When asked about working on Sgt. Frog, he mentioned that the entire cast gets together in a room and works out an entire episode in a 4-hour span. He also said that they have a little freedom to improvise on the show. English VA’s Haberkorn and Leigh also said there’s a little room for them to improvise.
- When asked about the character of Chaser John Doe from Yumekui Merry, Jouji said he had an odd image of the character earlier on, but director of the series said to play it real cool.
- He knows the scriptwriter Nasu Kinoko, and Nasu is always looking for a role for Jouji to take on in his works.
- I asked him (via Kyo) about his role of Aryen Soraya in Kara no Kyoukai. He talked about getting the script book some 10+ years ago and really enjoyed the story. He is a fan of ufotable.
- When asked about the kind of roles he plays, Jouji said he enjoys the more villainous roles he gets to do. All those bad guys do! Being a baddie is fun!
I’d never seen an episode of Sgt. Frog until the panel, in which the english VA’s wanted to show Jouji the dub for it. They played episode 10, a very funny episode about Cavities attacking Keroro’s tooth. Chris Sabat plays the role Jouji does, Giroro, and I think Sabat really is a great english version of Nakata Jouji. For those not in the know of Chris Sabat, he most notably was Piccolo in DBZ. We haven’t seen Sabat do any TYPE-MOON stuff, so fans fo the Nasuverse may not quite see eye-to-eye with that statement.
What was so weird to me was after the panel was just seeing Jouji and several other of the guests just walking around normally. I was just sitting by the Ballroom waiting for the opening ceremony event to open up, and the guy’s just walking around looking at the schedule. Awesome. Anywhos, SonjaLorraine on Youtube took video of the interview, so I’m going to give her some hits and link these clips for you to watch.
Clips courtesy SonjaLorraine
Hiroaki Hirata w/ Eric Vale
I went to a panel for Hiroaki Hirata and Eric Vale for a meeting of the two Sanji voice actors. Eric Vale is the current english VA for Sanji, but he is the VA for Funimation’s reproduction of the series.
- Vale said that he plays the voice of Sanji in the way that he (Vale) sounds when he first wakes up in the morning before getting warmed up.
- Before Vale was cast as Sanji, he was (and still is) a part of the group that handles the adaptation of the series for english release.
- When asked about weird fan moments, Vale said that a fan wanted him to smoke while posing for a picture. Vale is 2 years removed from actively smoking, so he said he could only do it unlit, but really really wanted that cigarette. Hirata joked that he had cigarettes and asked Vale if he would like one.
- Both Hirata and Vale don’t follow the manga, and Vale isn’t able to keep up with current-running episodes of the series. Hirata said that Kappei Yamaguchi (the VA for Usopp) reads Shonen Jump, and thus keeps up with One Piece.
- When asked about how much longer he can go as Sanji, Hirata joked about the cast being up their in age (Hirata is currently 47). He joked that Mayumi Takumi (currently 59) would be a senior citizen with parkinson’s going, “Gomu Gomu no”.
- Sorry for no audio here, but both character’s did Sanji’s famous “~NAMI-SWAAN!~” line from the series. It was epic.
Clip courtesy MudStar596
Clip courtesy coffeebadass
Watching Animu at an Animu Convention
Shows like Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? and both Eva Rebuild films were featured in anime viewing rooms, but a very special presentation of (what originally was supposed to be Tokyo Godfathers, but someone forgot the DVD and they couldn’t play it) Paprika was shown with guests Madhouse Director Masao Maruyama and Kyoko Kon, the widow of the late, great anime director Satoshi Kon. They hosted an opening foreward segment talking about Satoshi Kon’s time as a director, Masao’s friendship with him and a humorous moment in which Kon wanted Maruyama to do a voice in one of his films. Paprika is an amazing film, and I’m glad I took the time to watch it again with insight from both Maruyama and Kyoko. It’s awesomely trippy.
The Dealer’s Room is usually the big draw for me. I take out too much cash and then realize even that wasn’t enough. I’m big on figurines and such, so brace yourself for my figure wrap-up.
Recent Additions to my Collection! Show ▼
So yeah… I bought a lot of figures. It’s crazy. Also, I bought this new iPhone case featuring Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari. Not only is she my case, she is my lock and home screen wallpapers.
I really like this Briareos cosplay from Appleseed. He and the Black Rock Shooter girl (seen in spoilers) were right next to each other and they were two of my favorites.
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Other events involved a panel from a podcast I’d like to give a shoutout to, the Method to Madness podcast. They hosted a “What the !?@!” moments in anime with some hilarious clips from anime’s past and some funny quips. Those guys do a good job, why not check them out?
I’ll be nice to these guys by not naming the event, but there was a very boring panel touching on a grab-bag of subjects. The guy doing a mecha feature pronounced every name wrong (my buddy Amuro should’ve been up there talking), and they talked other subjects while bouncing from being real and honest to being loose and fun; musicians know how to balance their hard stuff with their ballads. I also hadn’t eaten in 12 hours as my only intake was a $3 bottle of Pepsi, so that might’ve made me a tad cranky. A McDonalds on the way home was quickly devoured by me… with some alcohol. -_-
So in review, I had a blast at Animazement this year! Spent too much, got Nakata Jouji’s autograph (missed the Hiroaki Hirata chance), and also watched a girl just flat out kick the crap out of everybody in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. Should’ve taken a pic; she was cute. Also, I saw the most awesome modding of Super Smash Bros. Brawl ever. They had Cloud Strife in the game, Daffy Duck, a zombified Diddy Kong, and more random characters. My attendance for next year is up in the air, as it’s possible I could be going to the Indianapolis 500 in 2012, which takes place at the same time. I’d rather go see the Coca Cola 600 if we’re even talking racing as an option, but I sure hope that all falls thru and I can make 2012’s Animazement!