Archive for March 2014

AB2014: Days 2 and 3: Awesome Sauce!   Leave a comment

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That’s the word I would use to describe Saturday and Sunday.

I’m doing both Saturday and Sunday in a single blog post for multiple reasons. The first being all I did Saturday Night was the Swap Meet and my own panel. Man, it was AWESOME! I’ll talk about it in the more detailed recap blog post but it was BOSS. I’m talking about the panel I did, mind you =D

I’ll give you the cliffnotes from Saturday night first, though:

I got to Forest Hills station only to realize I forgot my Convention Badge (WOOPS!). I hailed a cab and booked it back to my house to get it. The round trip cost me nearly half of my earnings from the night before but in my book, it was a small price to pay to both get the badge AND significantly cut my commute through Hyde Park from Forest Hills Station to my house and back to just 7 minutes total. Compare that to my usual 30 minute commute to and from work XD

Anyway, when I got to the convention center I grabbed a sandwich from the Prudential Center’s food court and then immediately booked it to Panel A for my Persona 4 panel. I’ll go into detail in terms of what went on at the panel in a separate blog post but let’s just say a smaller room would’ve been better. I was expecting a smaller room than the one I got for this panel but since it was a replacement panel, it was out of my hands.

After the panel ended, I racked up villagers in my Bravely Default Demo on my Blue 3DS (I have the full game on my Red one) in preparation for when I get the full game on Friday from the eShop. I then headed home and got to Cleary Square just before the MBTA shut down (LOL!).

Sunday was alot busier since I had two panels to with a one hour break in between. Upon arriving, I hauled it over to room 206, which is where I did my Clannad Panel. I’ll speak more about this is the recap blog post itself but I was joined a very special guest:

Yes, Nagisa Furukawa was my co-panelist this year.

For the details on how I pulled it off, you’ll have to wait for the recap blog either tonight or Thursday evening.

After my Clannad blog, I booked it to The Dealers’ Room where I picked up the first four volumes of Blue Exorcist as well as Volume 1 of the spinoff Manga Attack of Titan Junior High, which is a spinoff of the international smash hit Attack on Titan. I also got a Yukiko Amagi (Persona 4) and a Kirito (Sword Art Online) plushie. I go them from two different vendors but in both cases they were the last ones left. After that I bought Fate/Zero DVD set, which is an Anime I saw bits and pieces of on Neon Alley recently.

I then booked it over to room Panel C to prepare for my second panel of the day. When I arrived, I was blown away to see the HUGE line outside the door that snaked down the hall. Of course, Court Records: Ace Attorney was Sunday’s main event in more ways than one. The first two sections of the room were filled and like last year, the Cosplayers came in force. Even though it was 90 minutes it was just barely enough to do everything. Come next year I’ll be looking to outdo myself for the third year in a row.

After the panel ended I went back to The Dealers’ Room where I picked up Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, a prequel to Attack on Titan that takes place 100 years before the start of the original series. I then went to Closing Ceremonies where I racked up so many Streetpasses on both of my 3DS consoles I’m surprised they didn’t break (LOL!). It was announced that the theme for Anime Boston 2015 will be Manju vs. Mecha and that it will be April 3-5, 2015.

Save the date!

All in all, it was an awesome weekend. I eagerly look forward to doing it again next year. I’ll even tell you a full year in advance which panels I will be doing at AB2015 and which ones I will not. Pending approval, of course.

  1. Clannad: The Place Where Wishes Come True WILL be back next year. Also, Nagisa will be my copanelist from now on each year I do this panel. It will also be 90 minutes next year because of some extra content I’m bringing next year including some special videos that I promise will leave none unmoved.
  2. Court Records: Ace Attorney will NOT be back next year since I want to make room for following panel. It will be back at AB2016 though.
  3. Pokemon: 20 Years Later is the special 2-hour panel I will be doing next year. I’m pulling out all the stops to make it the most must-see panel of AB2015. There will be music from the soundtracks of each gen, The PokeRap, Battles (Gens 5 and 6), Trades (Gens 5 and 6), a viewing of the very first episode of Pokemon: Indigo League and a special viewing of a scene from the world famous banned Electric Soldier Porygon episode! It will be the biggest panel I will have ever done. Bring your own 3DS!
  4. Tales of Symphonia: 10 Years Later is the panel I was supposed to do this year but didn’t due to my busy work schedule during the last 4 months. We will discuss the fandom, the game, the anime and so on. I will request 60 minutes for what is sure to be an interesting introspective into Tales of Symphonia.
  5. Persona 4: Pursuing My True Self WILL be back next year. It will be 60 minutes long just like this year but there will be a bit more of a focus on the Psychology of the Persona. Video clips will return but I will use different clips from the ones I used this year.
  6. Panels: Best Practices is a new 60 minute Workshop I’m planning to do next year. In the panel, we will discuss the process of applying to do a panel, planning what you’re going to do and (hopefully) running a successful panel. Much of the panel will be answering questions and feedback from the audience so if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be a panelist, it’s worth checking out. Bring a pencil and notebook. You might learn something helpful ^_^

There you have it.

So to recap there will be two returning panels, two special panels and a workshop for next year. Man, it’s going to be AWESOME next year!

If you’re reading this from Facebook, I will post the recaps for my panels next over the next few days. If you were in the crowd and want to give a shout out, feel free =O

AB2014 Day 1 Recap: Opportunities Wasted   Leave a comment

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I wasn’t originally planning to include this in my recap but for the sake of being transparent, I am.

Just before Opening Ceremonies, I met a 17-year old kid and his father who had come to Anime Boston from Minneapolis for the convention. My personal policy of not hanging out with teens with intellectual disabilities or disorders outside work aside, I ended up spending most of my day playing babysitter to the kid. In reference to the Intellectual Disabilities comment the kid and his Dad let me know right off the bat he has Asberger’s Syndrome, which is on the Autism spectrum. I myself have Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is also on the Autism spectrum.

If I were 10 years yonger it wouldn’t have been a problem for me to spend the day with him but when his Dad prettymuch tried to hand him off to me, immediately the warning bells went off in my head. While I would be the first to say people with Asberger’s teach more than they learn from others, this was a situation in which it was obvious I was being used to split father and son for the day. The kid was adamant about doing things he knew his parents wouldn’t approve of (which I won’t get into since I never gave him the opportunity to do anything stupid) once his Dad left, coulsn’t make it more obvious he couldn’t wait to get away from his son.

After Opening Ceremonies, I took them to Wagamama and split with them there. More than a few times the kid’s Dad tried to take off on us, which confirmed for me I needed to avoid them at all cost. My luck was not that good: I later ran into them just inside the Bolyston Street entrance of the Hynes 90 minutes before the Swap Meet was scheduled to start. The kid’s Dad prettymuch dumped him off on me again and quickly left for their hotel in Revere.

The sweet, sweet irony is tonight I’m doing a Panel about Persona 4 and the Psychology of Persona.

Let’s just say I reverted to my 15 year old self during the times I was alone with him. Perhaps more attributed to The Good Work I’ve been doing for 10 years now, I have the ability of being able to connect with anyone regardless of the circumstances. It’s what I do. Anyway, we hung out for a while at the UNOs on Bolyston Street before heading back to the convention center. While we were at UNOs the kid opened up to me about his and his Dad’s relationship issues along with other stuff that don’t need to be disclosed over the internet. I will say it reminded me of my own struggles, especially in recent months.

When we got back to the convention center we went to the Swap Meet which is where we parted ways. Before he left, I gave him my extra Charlie Card with $6 on it so that he could get back to his hotel safely. After he left, I felt very angry most of my day had been wasted. I wasn’t angry with the kid but I was angry with his Dad.

What the fuck kind of person would willingly hand their 17 year old son with Asberger’s to a complete stranger?

Excuse my choice of words but I was that pissed off. The kid was candid about wanting to do things he knew his parents would not approve of (which again, I will not discuss since I never allowed him the opportunity to do anything stupid) even if he didn’t have Asberger’s and I made it clear to both of them I would have no part in any shenanigans. When you think about it, anything could have happened in which case the parent would have been on the hook even if the son was 21. If I run into them this evening, I’m going to let his Dad have it. If he didn’t want to spend time with him, he shouldn’t have brought him to the convention or at the very least left him with friends he knew.

Moving on, now:

That aside, I knew from the convention schedule I probably wasn’t going to see any panels of interest to me today so I spent a huge chunk of time finishing my Persona 4 Power Point.

I am pleased to say it is DONE. It will be glorious, too =D

During some downtime I headed into the Dealer’s Room to take a look around. The owner of Comicopia (their store is in Kenmore Square) told me the reason he brings so much Manga to Anime Boston is because he has more space in his booth than his entire store. Anyone who’s been to the actual store knows this is true XD

I was THRILLED to see Game Underground was there. They were the only dealers aside from VideoGamesNewYork who were there who sold video games though. I did find Super Mario Advance 2 and Golden Sun for the Game Boy Advance, though (WOOT!) for $15 each.

At another vendor I bought Ouran High School Host Club on Blu-Ray for $40, making it the third Anime I bought on Blu Ray since I bought my PS3. The first was of course Persona 4 while Fullmetal Panic: The Second Raid was my second. Due to a low spending budget I was only able to buy one Anime this year.

Then the Swap Meet happened =O

My mantra going into the Swap Meet was “Leave with far less than I go in with”. In that regard I succeeded. I even made $75, which was twice what I knew I was going to make at the Swap Meet. Here is a picture of what I left the Swap Meet with:

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…As a reminder I also made $75 after the Swap Meet with some of my leftover inventory.

Of the stuff I got, I’m only keeping the Bleach Manga, Bettlejuice DVD and Kiddy Grade DVD set. The rest will be swapped tonight along with my leftovers from yesterday and some more stuff I’m bringing today. The glove is awesome but sadly it’s too small to fit my hand so…yeah.

As for new Manga buys, I’m holding off on that until Sunday. Not just because of Comicopia’s obscene blowout deals but I’m expecting $9650 to appear in my bank account between today and tomorrow. I’ll talk more about my perspective new buys on my Anime & Manga Blog.

Anime Boston 2014 Schedule, Dealers’ Room and Programming Guide now Live   Leave a comment

The Programming Guide is here.

The Dealers’ Room Listing is here.

To see my panels, scroll down to the bottom of the page. The second link will give you external links to sites of all of the vendors who will be at AB2014 this year.

Of the returning vendors I’m familiar with:

  • Comicopia is great for all your Manga needs. A protip I’ve made sure to exploit for the last two years now: Save your Manga shopping for Sunday when all their stock is marked down even more than advertised. 20% off for 4 volumes becomes 40%, 40% off for 8 volumes becomes 60% and so on. On top of that an additional 10% is taken off all three days if you buy volumes in bulk from the same series. Comicopia is located in Kenmore Square, which is a 10 minute walk from Back Bay =O
  • VideoGamesNewYork is a ripoff. If you want a better deal on video games, you’re better off going elsewhere. The specialize in selling Japanese imports but honestly, you can get the same stuff for less eslewhere.
  • Game Underground sells retro games. I bought some Nintendo DS games from these guys at AB2013. The prices are reasonable and they have bundled deals as well.
  • Crunchyroll is actually a streaming service like Netflix only they specialize in steeaming Japanese Anime (subbed) and Korean Dramas. F0r $6 a month you can stream it through Xbox 360/One, PS3/PS4, Vita, iOS and/or Android Devices.

I would reccommend bringing a bottle of Hand Sanitizer with you and using it after handling stuff so you don’t have germs on your hands for too long. Who knows how many folks picked up that display copy of Attack on Titan Volume 9, yes?

This year, the Swap Meet will be in a a larger room compared to the last few years. Since I’m not running a panel on Saturday night this year (WOOT!) I’m going to be able to go for the entire duration of the Swap Meet. The Swap Meet is a trading post in a nutshell. Folks go there with stuff to trade with other folks with stuff to trade and sell for good and/or cash. I prefer cash personally =O

It all starts this Thursday at 4:00PM. It’s gonna be awesome!

 

 

Anime Boston 2014 is one week away!   Leave a comment

It’s going to be a GREAT one.

For those of you who I’ve talked to about Anime Boston but would like to know more about it, please go here.

As I said on Facebook in recent weeks, this year I will be staying at the Sheraton Hotel (also a partner of the convention), which is next to the Hynes Convention Center where Anime Boston takes place.

For those who don’t understand why over 20,000 people come to Anime Boston every year, the convention adds $18 milllion to the city’s economy. We’re talking programming, shopping, restaurants, hotels and so on.

Once again, I will be doing two panels this year. Both of them are returning panels:

  • Clannad: The Place Where Wishes Come True will be on Sunday, March 23 at 10:30PM in room 206.
  • Court Records: Ace Attorney will be on Sunday, March 23 at 12:30PM in room Panel C (3rd Floor).

I’ll speak more to the panels themselves on my Anime and Video Game Blogs respectively but I am excited! I was literally able to update the Power Points in just two hours. I will also be staying at the Sheraton Hotel this year from Thursday to Sunday next week. While traditionally, I would only run into problems when it came to being at the Con late Saturday night I decided to just stay the whole weekend since I have Friday off from work anyway.

I will also make a more concerted effort to take lots of pictures. Since my PS Vita’s Video recording capabilities are better than my 3DS systems I’ll use that to record Parts of Opening Ceremonies and Closing Ceremonies. If anyone wants to come on Sunday to see my panels it’s $20 at the door ($10 for kids). For a family of five that’s $70, which is less than it costs for most events elsewhere. I promise you it’s worth coming for =O

 

 

RoboCop 2014: It’s a Reboot but it stays true to the 1987 version   1 comment

The logo for the 1987 version of Robocop.

The Logo for the 2014 version of Robocop.

In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of reboots of old classics with a new cast and new storyline–Judge Dredd (2010), Total Recall (2012) and Dawn of the Dead (2004) to name a few. When I saw 47 Rhonin in theaters on Christmas Day, I saw this movie trailer:

LEFT: Peter Weller plays Officer Alex Murphy/Robocop in the original 1987 version. RIGHT: Joel Kinnaman plays Detective Alex Murphy/Robcop in the 2014 reboot.

Unsurprisingly, the internet was in an uproar. It was typical “Lulz remake. Remakes suck hur hur!” all over the place. The biggest sticking point for folks leery of the remake is the fact that unlike the original, the remake is rated PG-13.

Having seen both movies, I can say they didn’t pull any punches with the remake. At the same time, it was made clear the 2014 version would both be recognizable to those who saw the 1987 version yet was its own movie. Before I talk about the plot, I will say that as a fan of the Sci-Fi genre much of the technologies shown off in the 2014 version already exists to an extent. The only things keeping it in Movies/TV/Video Games is politics and human rights concerns.

Here’s a few of the technologies shown off in the movie:

  • VR Simulator: In one scene, Murphy is in a SWAT-style simulator competing against an android doing the same simulation. The U.S. Military uses VR simulators to try new tactics before they test in a real environment.
  • Multi-Target Scanning and Tracking: After the VR scene, Murphy is pitted against 50 Androids and an expert marksman to fully test his combat capabilities in a real environment. During the lop-sided training excercise (Murphy wins, by the way) Murphy instantly scans and tracks all of the hostiles and once the battle begins, methodically takes them all down. While yes it’s explained during the test how he’s doing it the technology already exists and is used by military vehicles.
  • Virtual Crime Scene Reconstruction: On his second return to his house after becoming RoboCop, Murphy uses the technology at his disposal to not only recreate what happened but to uncover a surprising new detatail: His son witnessed the blast that nearly killed him. Investigators and prosecutors do it in court every day across the country. CNN does it with acts of violence and high-profile military operations, most recently with the Osama bin Laden raid.
  • Real Time CCTV Access: When he returns to the streets of Detroit as Robocop, Murphy is able to pull up and view live footage of every CCTV camera feed in the city through his visor. Believe me, the technology does exist but this is one of the two technologies that you don’t see now due to human rights concerns and also because let’s face it, we’re talking tens if not hundreds of thousands of cameras all over an American city. Even if you fully automated the system you’d still need to hire some folks to maintain it, hence the human rights concerns.
  • Instant Access to Criminal Records and Case Files: Due to being mostly machine, Murphy has all Detroit’s Criminal Records and case file database downloaded directly into his brain, giving him instant access to the information he’ll need to do what he does. This is also demonstrated in the 1987 version. Police departments nationwide are making digital databases though officers in large cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Miami can access criminal records and case files from their cars and department-issue tablet PCs.
  • Threat, Mood and Vitality Monitor: In both the reboot and the 1987 version RoboCop (and the robots in the reboot) can assess a person’s mood, vitality and threat level just by looking at them. In the reboot this is shown off by robots in the beginning of the movie. The technology is a bit more sophisticated in the reboot though: Basically, if you’re brandishing a weapon you’re considered a threat. Your demeanor while you’re talking to it is used to decide how best to proceed. Vitality and Mood monitors are being used already in the medical field though the Threat detection technology is very new. The thing about the movie is they’re all used toegether and in some cases simultaneously. Even with the human factor present, the technology does present valid human rights and legal concerns.

Whew. Now that I’ve gone over the technology, let’s talk about the movie itself. Again, it helps if you don’t compare it to the 1987 version while you’re watching it. If you set expectations going in you’re probably going to be disappointed. First, let me talk about the sticking point I mentioned earlier about the reboot being PG-13 while the 1987 version is rated R.

I think it would be a fair assumption Murphy’s Execution Scene is the main reason the 1987 version is rated R. In the Execution Scene, Murphy’s right hand and then his entire right arm is shot off before he is shot full of bullets by 4 people at point blank range. Remarkably, he survives getting shot over two dozen times before he’s finished off with a bullet to the head. I’d link you to a clip of the scene I just described but perhaps in a bid to get ahead of fanmade comparison videos, You Tube purged the site of clips of that particular scene of the 1987 movie. No surprise given 27 years later it’s considered one the most disturbing death scenes in movie history.

Now let’s look at the 2014 version. In the reboot, Murphy is nearly blown in half when his car explodes. In the next scene you see him in a hospital bed missing his left arm and left leg. Three months later, when he wakes up his head, heart, lungs and right hand are the only organic parts of him left (interestingly, in the 1987 version the scientists argue about weather or not to keep his left arm during his transformation). The rest of him is mechanical. Though he is more machine than man, as is revealed during his waking sequence Murphy can still dream. Most of his brain is intact but he does have some cybernetic implants that allow him to use his new body.

It’s interesting to note his relationship with his partner is almost unchanged when he comes back. It’s also interesting to see how the doctor who made him RoboCop came to truly care about him by the end of the movie. You will notice in the final scene with them together Murphy now sports the “Old School” RoboCop look and no longer has the Ominicorp logo on his chest.

The biggest change from the 1987 version is Murphy’s family is still in the picture after he becomes RoboCop. In the 1987 version we don’t hear from his family after he becomes RoboCop though in canon comic books it’s simply stated his wife and son left Detroit after he was “killed” and were kept in the dark about what happened to him afterward. In the 2014 version his wife consents to the operation. OmniCorp tried to keep him separated from his family but in the end the human side of RoboCop is the dominent side. He even defied programming that should have stopped him from shooting the president of Omnicorp.

Overall, I give the movie a 9/10. I look forward to seeing where they go with RoboCop when and if there’s a sequel. As I said at the top, it gives respect to the original 1987 movie but makes it clear the 2014 movie is a separate movie entirely.

 

 

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