Comics artist and former Gainax employee Lea Hernandez joins us to talk about her turbulent time back in the late 80s with the company that gave birth to Evangelion.
Nan Desu Kan 6Sep 25th 2002
Report by: Bamboo Dong
Anime fans from around Colorado and the surrounding states came down to Denver this weekend for Colorado's largest anime convention. Nan Desu Kan 6 ran from the 20th to 22nd of September, providing over 2000 fans with the chance to attend panels, meet special guests, and strengthen the camaraderie that exists only between dedicated pursuers of the same hobby.
Pre-registered guests were greeted at the door on Friday with a long line that took up to 45 minutes to navigate through. These hardships were soon forgiven; as they were presented upon entry with a goody bag that contained the first English-langue issue of Shounen Jump that Viz is currently marketing, as well as other anime goods. Guests were also able to pick up the first issue of Raijin Comics; which Viz confessed would soon be a rival to Shounen Jump. Not only were convention attendees greeted by a wealth of anime goodies, they were also greeted with excitement to attend many of the special guest panels that were scheduled for the convention.
Some of the guests included Rodney Caston, of Megatokyo fame where he is none other than Largo. He came to talk with fans about his aspirations for Megatokyo, as well as his ambitions for other ventures he is pursuing. Other guests included the famed Nov. Takahashi, head of Studio Hard, who came to discuss his projects, as well as his penchant for costuming and cosplay. Included on the guest list also was Susumi Sakurai, the head of CPU-Go, who clearly enjoyed his time at the costuming contest, appearing in his own costume. Another well-received guest was Noboyuki Ohnishi, whose design works appeared in Wings of Honneamise. He displayed his art works at NDK, allowing fans to purchase his masterful works of art.
Undoubtedly, one of the most anticipated events occurred at noon on Saturday. This was the concert featuring Mari Iijima, who sang songs from her recent album Right Now. Singing to a large, excited audience, she also played a few hits from her 20th Anniversary Macross CD. Chatting easily amongst her listeners in a relaxed, stream-of-consciousness manner, Iijima mentioned that she was releasing a single for the anime series Galaxy Angel for which she sings the opening for, and in which one of her sons rap. Although the first performance of the single is set to debut next month in Yokohama, after much persuasion from the audience, Iijima gave in and obligingly decided to give her fans a sneak preview. She shyly sought out the karaoke track on the single she brought, and gave an enthusiastic performance, which was met with a standing ovation.
Another one of the most crowd-gathering events was the costume and cosplay contest. This year was characterized by a group of costumes that went above and beyond the norm. Among these was manga-version Spawn, whose costume was designed exactly based on the model. There was also a Gundam Deathscythe, a Totoro Catbus, and among the favorites, a large Kodama from Mononoke Hime. The prizes given out this year were also of high caliber, which were donated cordially by the dealers, and also a few of the judges. The prizes included a kimono, bokans, and others. Nov. Takahashi also brought a few gifts of his own, including cel sequences from the first episode of Macross 7, and also a very rare doujinshi book compiled from various manga and anime artists. Susumi Sakurai came dressed as Tetsuro from Galaxy Express and presented gifts he brought from home, as well.
In the news venue, Viz, ADV, and Bandai all visited NDK. Viz had nothing new to report, other than the promotion of their release of Shounen Jump, which is being added to their manga line. Toshifumi Yoshida answered further questions about Viz, and joked when he saw David Williams from ADV, “We have nothing new to report! Go away! Hiss!” He also mentioned the release of the Spirited Away artbook, as well as the film books that go with the movie. To the delight of viewers, “Toshi” brought newly dubbed episodes 21 through 24 of Inuyasha to show. When asked about the first volume of Inuyasha coming out soon, he mentioned that there was going to be three episodes on the disc, as well as the pilot they originally made to sell the series to the television networks. When asked whether there would be plans to put more episodes on each disc, he said that fans could either have three episodes per month, or four episodes every two months, explaining the financial and logistic reasons behind it. He also said that of the other series Viz had considered marketing to television stations, the list included Project ARMS and Great Gundial.
ADV attracted a large gathering, as David William and Matt Greenfield discussed their plans for future releases. The most widely discussed story, surprisingly, was the slow release of their back catalog on DVD, and their licenses on live-action series, like Farscape and Andromeda. They showed a few clips from Excel Saga featuring Larissa Wolcott, the new actress that replaces Jessica Calvello as Excel. The crowd reaction was a mixture of approval, and disgust, but both Greenfield and William were very optimistic about the future of Excel Saga.
Bandai, unfortunately, canceled their appearance at the convention. Manga Entertainment, who did send a representative, had nothing to discuss or announce. When questioned whether or not they would license the live-action Perfect Blue movie, Manga said that they were unsure, and did not know enough about the movie, other than the viewing of a few screenshots.
As Nan Desu Kan 6 drew to a close, the general consensus was agreed upon that for the most part, it was a success. The numbers were high, and the panels were attended with enthusiasm. Surprisingly noticeable was the increased number of costumers wandering about the halls. Not only was there an increase in more elaborate, exotic costumes, there was, interestingly, a sharp decrease in the traditional sailor fuku garb of yester-conventions. In the end, there was hardly anything to complain about, and there was much to praise about this convention that has now become a traditional gathering for many Colorado anime fans.