Sakura-Con 2013

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.

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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

Day 3

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:

I love the old dude at Monorail Espresso. I also loved this welcoming drink for con-goers!
I want everyone to start fighting, then all of you to buy me bags of this to fill my glass jar.
Just read the stickies.

21 thoughts on “Sakura-Con 2013

  1. Wow Yuumei’s art is always impressive. Oreimo pillow yeahhhh:p
    I think some information that people want to know at those Q&A’s are treated as company secrets and they don’t want to spill it all. And given ithey are Japanse companies, their way of releasing information isn’t as transparent. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    Despite this, it seems you had a great time at the convention.

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    • I desperately wanted to find some quality art done for some more recent shows, but only really saw art of older ones. Then I lucked out finding yuumei and took a full day to decide which one of her pieces I wanted. There’s a gorgeous piano one she has that I was draws to, but in the end it was the wolf that called to me.
      And I did have a blast. Like you said about the panels, I do understand that they really can’t tell us much, though they kept joking about possible sequels to PP and warning us to not say anything knowing full well people would talk.

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  2. Awesome write-up, especially on the panels and parts that I missed out on, like Psycho-Pass panel. The photos are a great addition too, and now I’m starting to wish I took some while I was there.

    It was really great to see you and everyone else at Sakuracon this year! Hopefully for next year’s convention you’ll have a bit more free time to spend with us and attending some of the later events and activities. Looking forward to seeing you again!!

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    • I’m glad you can appreciate the painstaking time I took to take notes during the panels :p I joke, since it wasn’t a big deal. Sadly I was pretty tired during the main PP panel and there were a lot of questions that I didn’t take down as much information. You’ll have to hope Inushinde or one of the other bloggers can fill you in!
      If you go for AX I’ll for sure have more time, all the time in the world! Last year I was pretty shy and didn’t meet up with many people, but I don’t think I should have as much of an issue this time around.
      I’m bummed I didn’t have much of an opportunity for cosplay pics. That first day really was the best one for taking pics, but I missed out on that.

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  3. I find the last photo downright creepy and weird. Sadly, I bet there are guys who do buy this. Looks like you had an amazing time! I really need to go to an all-anime convention only soon. We used to have one here in NY, but then it got combined with Comic Con. Then Comic Con just swallowed the anime one entirely. Now it’s just a former shell of what it used to be.

    I hope to make a trip to Anime Expo or even Sakura Con someday!

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    • I didn’t find that pillow and its notes so much creepy as tongue-in-cheek for the salespeople who wanted to have a sense of humor. I actually considered getting my own pillow for a Horo one I saw, but figured it’d be too annoying to walk around with and tough to explain to my cousins who would be picking me up :p
      Isn’t there a pretty good con near you in Boston? I forget what it’s called, but I remember being impressed with their guest list…I think it might be Otakon?

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      • Yeah, it’s Otakon, but it’s in Baltimore, not Boston. I have a friend who goes there almost every year, and he said it’s great. I may make a trip there someday too. There are just way too many cons to go to all over the U.S.🙂

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      • Oh! Thanks for correcting me. Maybe I was confusing it with what I think is called Anime Boston or something like that? For sure you should try one out sometime, then blog about it :p

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  4. Sounds like fun. Definitely would like to attend the Anime Expo myself, but I since I never went to one of these, I will be starting small around my area first. Going to AWA 2013 this fall, so I am excited about that ^^

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      • Will do. Most likely, my girlfriend will be doing that, since she goes almost every year it is held :3

        (btw: what does konpeito taste like? Always wanted to try that..)

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      • That’s wonderful you’re with someone you can share this hobby with! I really do hope you two can go together🙂
        Konpeito has a very mild sweetness, mostly just sugar with a hint of a particular fruit depending on the color. You can suck on them at the start, but they’re also fun to crack on with your teeth.

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  5. A Psycho-Pass and Sakurasou panel? Sounds super intriguing. Those lovable Kobato-konpeito look fantastic too; I’d buy several packs and just keep them in a cool jar. :3

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      • That show was adorable; the konpeito were a nice touch. As long as you have a nice little jar to put them in, it’ll all be good ^^

        Just keep a source of glowing light near it at all times so you can convince people that the konpeito are fulfilled wishes. :3

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  6. First off sorry I kinda disappeared. I don’t really have much of an excuse other than laziness I guess. I have missed your blogs and hope to regularly return to reading them.

    I’m glad you got to go to this expo. Especially on short notice like that. Pleasant surprise.

    I see you’re still a stickler for questions. Nice to jump back in and see the same old Marina. Missed it lol.

    I think I’ve actually been reading a bit of Psycho Pass. It’s nice to actually have at least a little knowledge on what you’re discussing for a change. Rare territory for me.

    Can you tell me more about the snack you was putting away? I’ve never heard of it.

    Sorry for the uninspired comment. Expect more of them.

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    • I’m happy to see you again around here, but I would never get upset at readers busying themselves in other areas. It’s good to try out new things and meet different people!
      And yes, getting to attend this convention for the short amount of time i could was probably one of the most things I’ve done so fe moving to Seattle. I hope my work schedule allows me to go to Anime Expo in July.
      So you’re reading Psycho-Pass? You should let me know what you think when you finish. I’ve only watched the anime, so I’m curious about how it differs from the source material.
      As for the candy konpeito, it’s just a mildly sweet hard candy that’s featured in quite a few anime, like Spirited Away, Kobato, and my aforementioned Uchuu no Stellvia.

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      • But I didn’t do any of that stuff. I was just lazy. I got a new phone and MAL moved my friends list and I didn’t notice where until yesterday. That’s all the excuse I have.

        So you ended up in Seattle huh? It as rainy as they say?

        Yeah I kinda hit a Manga and anime lull lately so I’ll have get on it. I’m curious how I should approach talking about it sense I haven’t seen the anime.

        Spirited Away I’ve seen so that gives me an idea of what you’re talking about. Really with food I find the only way is to find it and try it. Speaking of foods I recently tried chocolate with Chili in it and an aloe vera drink.

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