So here’s the thing. I made up my mind the week before that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the convention since family obligations cropped up for that same Easter weekend. That and my full-time job shot down a good majority of the activities I would have wanted to do on Friday. BUT! As miracles and awesome bloggers would have it, I popped by after 5PM Day 1 to say hello to fellow bloggers and twitter folk, including Inushinde, Avvesione, ToastCrust, and Shinmaru, and (no naming names here) was bestowed a lovely opportunity to attend the rest of the convention. While I missed out on some of the evening activities, I still had a blast getting to meet quite a few people and attending panels in the morning and early afternoon.
My first day ended fairly quickly since the chance to attend came so suddenly and I wasn’t quite prepared. I shared a quick hello, also including 8C, admired Inushinde’s Tanto Cuore deck, then jetted home like a good girl.
Like the dork I am, I slept like absolute crap the night before, just like with last year’s AX, due to sheer excitement. I started with the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley when it opened at 10 AM, but was able to keep my wallet in check in memory of the money I want to spend later this July in LA. Then it was over to the Psycho-Pass and Sakurasou NO pet NA Kanojo Director’s Panel with Q&A.
Even though I should have expected it due to what I saw at AX, the numbers for the director’s panel were shockingly low. I’m betting that a majority of other attendees were at either the FUNimation or Bushiroad panels. Maybe it’s a good thing there weren’t too many people, since it took the staff some time to figure out the video set-up and the panel started a bit late. Guests present at the panel included Katsuyuki Motohiro, Naoyoshi Shiotani, Joji Wada, and Atsuko Ishizuka. Their brief self-introductions were followed by trailers for both P-P and Sakurasou, which made for a bit of an odd pairing. Despite the fact that most of the audience was familiar with both of the stories, they still gave us some descriptions about both story lines. P-P was repeatedly compared to TV Sci-Fi films like Minority Report, Blade Runner, and Gattaca, comparisons which are certainly noteworthy, but I was hoping for a bit more discussion of the literary works actually named in the anime. Sakurasou, in turn, started with the generic marker as a high school drama, but one that amplified all its emotions at the end.
The Q&A section would have been much more worthwhile had it been given more time and the questions better thought out. As it was, a couple of questions along with paraphrased answers included:
Can you characterize/describe the environment of the studios?
Motohiro mentioned several times his background in live action and how different it is from anime. There’s much more of a give and take with live action, while anime is forced into a strict schedule and template-like preparation. The P-P staff also had to balance between the more violent manga and the anime, since they wanted the work to be presentable to a wider demographic, including young women.
For Sakurasou, Atsuko described the transition of art between the novel and the anime and their use of a rainbow gradient on the backgrounds to complement Mashiro’s personality. But in P-P, the environment came before the characters. They have to survive the world; not draw attention away from it.
With the recent trend away from moe in Japanese magazines, what kind of tactics did you use to employ that thought in P-P?
Simply put, Akane as the heroine kept her clothes on, while Mashiro just took hers off. Psycho-Pass was actually intended to focus more on man-on-man action and tension, kind of like those found in shows like Gundam. This plan backfired with the huge support from Japanese young women, who popularized the show in BL circles.
The questions asked seemed more about general directing and animation, such as could be asked at any other director’s panel, and not as much about the details of the two promoted shows. The guests had to keep driving their answers towards the actual anime.
The closing comments hinted at possible additions to the P-P world, depending on its continuing popularity, like more of the same, or some side stories.
After the panel, I ran off to lunch (nom nom Blue Water Taco Grill) with ToastCrust, Inushinde, geassed, 8C, and HabeQuiddam, before running back for the follow up Psycho-Pass Panel with just Motohiro and Shiotani. Now this panel was actually packed, which then suggested that people just didn’t know what a director’s panel was about. Unlike the previous one, this P-P-only gathering had pre-gathered questions, so ones missed from before didn’t get a second chance to ask here. One of the more interesting tidbits discovered during this session included the fact that the voice of the Sibyl System shared the same VA with the voice for a majority of Japan’s GPS systems. “Turn left in 3.5 miles….Setting Dominator to Eliminate Mode.” I’m thinking that I would like that voice as my voicemail :p
I was so exhausted from Day 2’s early start and finish with my cousins after the P-P panel, that I got started a lot later on Day 3 than I had originally planned. I sadly missed the 10 AM Toshihiro Kawamoto Q&A, so wandered the Dealer’s Hall for the last time in a vain hope for a great deal. I was able to snag yuumei’s artwork, “Connection,” along with her autograph. It reminds me a lot of me and my pup, and also fuels my hype for the just aired third season of The Game of Thrones. I also picked up a silly bday t-shirt for my roomie of BulbaFett, as well as my first bag of Konpeito. Eating out of a bag doesn’t have quite the same appeal as walking around with Shipon’s glass jar, but it’ll have to do! The snack turned out to be pleasantly mild, not too sweet at all, and addicting. I found I had eaten five in the span of a mere few seconds.
After bidding farewell to ToastCrust and Inushinde, I spent the rest of my Easter with my crazy Filipino family stuffing my mouth with delicious foods, hiding Easter eggs in ridiculous spots for the kids, and soaking in the rare sun.
All in all, I declare my first Sakura-Con experience a successful one, and will most likely go to next year’s. But first, there’s Anime Expo 2013!
Other random pics: