Katsucon 2010
Day 2

by Crystalyn Hodgkins, Feb 16th 2010


Alright ladies and gentlemen, let's get started with Day Two. Today we learned what happens when you mix otaku with the Navy Seals.

No, seriously. The convention had two other major events during the same weekend as Katsucon. One of them was a gala with the Navy Seals and the Marines. This made for quite a hilarious dichotomy. For example, I passed by an elderly gentleman carrying a bottle of wine while on the escalator. He was wearing a crisp, three-piece suit, and many a medals adorned his lapel. Right behind him was a young woman wearing an outfit I can only describe as being made of 90% pantyhose, topped off with cat ears. It was bizarre. At the closing ceremonies Con Chairman Paul Blotkamp said some of the Navy Seals joined in on the rave that night. I still can't figure out if he was joking, but if he wasn't, I missed out on quite possibly the most epic event ever.

Why You Should Pity Funimation's Brand Managers

Funimation's own Adam Sheehan held a workshop on Saturday morning titled “Shoot the Hostage! An Adventure in Marketing Anime.” Adam opened the panel by explaining the reference in the title to the no-win scenario in movie Speed. Very soon we would understand exactly why he chose that particular title for the workshop, but I also think he could have called it “Bang Your Head on Your Desk until Your Eyes Fall Out.”

In the workshop, we separated into groups and Adam handed out a packet with fake scenarios that Brand Managers may have to handle. Each scenario, Adam told us, actually happened, but wouldn't tell us which show it happened to. Darn. Each scenario had five “answers” that we had to choose from. Again, Adam told us at some point, each answer had been chosen by a Brand Manager. There was no correct answer, Adam said, and we all soon found out why. Each answer he gave us to the scenarios sucked. There was no “correct” answer because in each situation, no matter what you do, you're screwed. Here's one example Adam presented: What do you do if a Japanese licensor says you can't show the front and spine of a boxset in an ad because it would imply there was a back of the box when that art for the back hasn't actually been approved yet? You'd love to talk to the Japanese licensor, but it so happens to be a week-long holiday in Japan, and you need to get this ad to print in 48 hours. What we learned is that there is no magical answer when these inevitable situations arise. You just have to choose the path that sucks the least.

I gained a whole new respect for the employees at Funimation who have to actually deal with this crap. If Adam presents this workshop at a convention in your area, I highly recommend you attend. As a side note, our groups generally decided on the same answers, but Adam told us at the end these answers were completely different than the answers the last con's group came up with. Interesting.

Learn How to be a Maid with Yunmao Ayakawa

Yunmao Ayakawa, cosplayer, idol, columnist and Official Nihon Maid Association Ambassador, led a workshop on what it's like to be a maid in Japan. The Nihon Maid Association actually gives training and administers tests for those looking to become certified in being a maid. There are three levels of certification, and each requires an exam, with the highest level requiring an additional practical exam. After passing these exams, a maid receives a certificate and that information can be put on your resume. You know, listed underneath your “Intermediate Microsoft Office 2007” certification. Yunmao told us there were three main principles to keep in mind if you want to become a proper maid:

  • The master is the most important.
  • Be proud to be a maid.
  • Always smile.
Then we practiced how to bow at 15 degrees, 30 degrees and 45 degrees, with each bow accompanied by a particular Japanese greeting, and the degree of incline depending on the situation. We were even given tips on how to arrange your master's food, and how to answer your master's phone. At the end of the workshop, Yunmao handed out certificates to everyone that was equivalent to a “Level 1” maid certificate in Japan (the lowest level). And now I can add “Official Level 1 Maid” to my resume. As someone who previously assumed working in a maid cafe was all about feminine degradation, it was certainly an eye-opening experience.

Pros/Cons

Pro – Katsucon had a great staff this year. There were definitely some unorganized moments, but even when being bounced around like a pinball from one department to the next, everyone was just so darn friendly to me that I couldn't be mad at them.

Con – While the hotel and surrounding area are beautiful and clean, it follows that all the food places are also quite upscale. There are no chain restaurants are to be found here, and certainly no fast-food joints. The convention provided some food for Katsucon attendees, but one can only eat sandwiches so many times in one weekend. For any normal (read: brokeass) student attending the convention, there was a severe lack of affordable food choices. Case in point: one of the restaurants in the convention center itself hired a 3-piece orchestra to serenade guests. I didn't even bother to look at the menu.

Extra: Beating the Crap out of People Cosplay Style

Chris Ayres is not only a voice actor and ADR Director, but he is also a certified fight director for stage productions. Chris also gives an adapted lesson of stage combat for cosplayers at conventions. In the workshop, everyone paired off and learned a short fight routine. After we had that down, albeit at a slow pace, we got to learn how to throw punches, how to create “knaps,” or sound effects, pull hair, bite, kick and scratch. And not a single person got hurt. Chris kept everything light and amusing and easy to understand, but most of all, he made the entire event very safe. It was also a great little workout. Even if you don't cosplay, it's certainly fun going just to learn how to scare the hell out of your dormmates later with a fake fight.

I also learned that Chris Ayres is a pretty good troll. Apparently at one convention, the judges for a masquerade said a staged fight was too dangerous, and they called Chris in to take a look at it. It turns out the two contestants had attended Chris' workshop many times and were doing everything correctly. It just looked dangerous, which is the whole point. But Chris pretending to yell at the two contestants and making the judges smirk until he turned to the judges and said, "This fight looks fine I don't know what you all are talking about" and walked out of the room. Excellent.

Up Next: Artist's Alley, Merchant's Room, and what happened when I found Steve Yun laying on the floor in front of his panel having chocolate hearts thrown at him in the Day Three Report!

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