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Anime Los Angeles Day 1 Report (Updated)

Anime Los Angeles - Day 1

Day 1 of Anime Los Angeles has drawn to a close.  Unfortunately, as luck (and Murphy) would have it, we spent most of the morning and mid afternoon on the road.  We barely got here in time for our first of two panels (but fortunately, we made it – barely).  The panel went well, and although attendance wasn’t quite up to our previous benchmark, there were still a respectable number of people present.  Unfortunately the only time slot available was a 1-hour one, and our workshop was originally written to run 1-1/2 hours, so some judicious editing needed to be done on my part.  Even with the editing, it still ran kind of long, and I had to rush things a bit at the end.  But I think people still got a lot out of it.  The notes from the first version of our workshop are up; I’ll update them within the next day or 2 with the new and/or updated material (which isn’t very much).

We didn’t really get to see much else of the convention, as right after giving our workshop, we needed to take a breather.  (rushing around late into the night last night getting ready for con means we didn’t get enough sleep last night).  But we did make it to the AMV contest, and while wandering around, a few other things occurred to us to comment on.

Anime LA has been held at the LAX Airport Marriott for the past few years, and it seems as though the con and the hotel have a very good working relationship.  The hotel staff have always been friendly and courteous in the past, and this year was no exception.  And to top it off, we found a nice surprise waiting for us in our room: a really nice letter from the hotel management.  It’s obvious that an actual human (perhaps the manager himself, definitely at least one of his staff) wrote this, and that the hotel really enjoys the con’s presence here.  Which is good, because the facilities seem perfectly sized to fit Anime LA, even though it has grown somewhat.  There’s reasonable choices for food and other accomodations nearby as well, and the con negotiated a reasonable discount on the hotel rates as well as parking.

Anime LA has definitely grown, though at a measured rate.  It’s clear that A-LA staff are managing the growth rate well.  I couldn’t even hazard a guess as to the attendance.  I’d say at least a thousand, maybe two or three. Tomorrow of course will be the real test (Saturday being the traditionally busiest day of a 3-day con, and also the day of masquerade).  But it still doesn’t feel crowded or oppressive.

We did realize something as we were working our way through badge pickup and checking in to our panel: A-LA does not have a disabled services division.  We mentioned this to several staff, and it turns out that they are considering this, and the people we talked to promised that they would bring it up in staff meetings.  This is a welcome development, as with A-LA’s increasing attendance, there are bound to be more and more attendees that need special assistance.

Now on to what you’ve been waiting for, the AMV contest.  It started more or less on time, and there was only one minor (and easily corrected) technical glitch.  We noted approvingly that the videos were being played back on a Mac (please, no “my OS is better than yours” flame wars, or if you feel the need, please do it in email).  This year they were more strict in terms of what file formats/codecs they would accept, which went a long way towards the relative smoothness of things.

I have to admit though that tonight’s AMV contest was… odd.  The videos were definitely really well done from a technical standpoint – there are some great editors out there.  And, thankfully, we didn’t have the case of over 9000 videos using the same old Linkin Park song or the same Naruto fight scene.  No, what one of our cohosts found odd was that there weren’t any recent examples of anime being featured in this current crop of AMVs.  Aside from long-running series that started a while ago but are still going on today (e.g. Naruto), the most recent shows we saw were The Girl who Leapt through Time (2006) and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007).  You would think that with the popularity of more recent shows such as Durarara!!, Angel Beats!, K-ON!To Aru Majursu no Index and To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, to name a few, that we would see some videos using these.

The comedy category was also odd.  There were a few good entries, but they were much more subdued humor wise than they have been in past years.  And the rest of them… well, to be perfectly honest, they just weren’t funny.  (Or maybe they were inside jokes and would be funny if we were appropriately clued in.  I don’t know.)  Of course humor is highly subjective and differs from person to person, but we did notice that the audience, which is usually rip roaringly raucous during this segment of the contest (comedy being the traditional fan favorite category) remained largely silent during this round of entries.

The finalists in the four categories are as follows.  I’ll update this with links as I find places where you can view or download these online.  (Updated 01/11/11 with the list of winners!)

Action:

Beat of the Rising Sun
Illusion Breaker
Final Fantasy Heroes
Explosive Soul
Hell Jump
Time to Let it Go
Dragonball Evolution

Drama:

Running Desperado (Winner – Audience Favorite)
You’re Not Alone
Princess of the Red
If Everyone Cared
The Love of a Hero
Naruto’s Hope
Over and Over

Comedy:

Kiss Me
I Love the Anime World
AMG in a Nutshell
Thunderbusted
Be a Man Conrad!
Thunder Cats
A Hosts “Special” Kind of Girl (WInner – Staff’s Pick)

Pro:

Your Own Miracle
To the Future
Tomo’s Gonna
Curtain Call (Winner – Best Produced)
Building Steam
Crimson Rhapsody (Winner – Creators’ Choice)
Spinning Infinity

In any case, it’s late and we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.  No cosplay photos today; sorry.  I’ll definitely try and get some tomorrow (that is almost a certainty since tomorrow night is Masquerade, if nothing else I will get some shots from that).  And of course we will be giving our Podcasting workshop (4 PM, in LP3/Imperial A).  And there is also the distinct possibility that we may livestream or do other such things during the day.  So keep an eye on our Twitter feed as well as the Livestream page.  Goodnight for now…


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