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G4 Presents San Diego Comic-Con 2008
G4 Presents: Comic-Con '08 - An Anime Fan's Guide To Comic-Con

by Zac Bertschy,

For every sort of fan, San Diego Comic-Con can be a totally overwhelming experience; they cram every tiny ounce of nerdy fun you could possibly imagine into the San Diego convention center, and as a result, fans looking for a customized experience that fits their specific hobbies might find it easy to get lost.

This is especially true for anime fans; while anime is most definitely a sideshow at Comic-Con (heck, comics are a sideshow at Comic-Con compared to the Hollywood juggernaut that rolls in every year!), we've put together this handy two-part guide for anime fans looking for their fix among all the superheroes and movie stars. Today we'll be focusing on the anime and manga panels Comic-Con has to offer, and tomorrow we'll have an in-depth look at special events, signings, and guests that'll have anime fans drooling.

Anything marked in RED means it's HOT HOT HOT! and no self-respecting anime fan would miss it.


Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's English-Language World Premiere
12:00pm-1:00pm, Room 5AB

If you're one of those anime fans still flinging cards around and using 15-gallon drums of dye and styling gel to do your hair in the morning, this'll be your first chance to check out the world premiere of the new series, dubbed in English. In attendance will be the show's Japanese producer and a variety of guests from the many companies that produce Yu-Gi-Oh licensed stuff, including folks from Playmates, Konami, UpperDeck and of course, 4Kids Entertainment. Show up to this one if you're a big Yu-Gi-Oh! fan or if you just want to heckle 4Kids.

The Making of Street Fighter IV

3:15pm–4:15pm, Room 6CDEF

Some folks from Capcom show up to give you an early look at Street Fighter IV, which maintains the series’ decidedly anime-flavored look. They're also planning some stuff for the franchise's 20th anniversary.

Manga: Lost in Translation
3:30pm-4:30pm, Room 3

A roundtable discussion about what it takes to translate manga into English, and all the pitfalls and foibles therein. They've got some real experts sitting in on this one: Switch translator and friend of ANN Jake Tarbox will be there, alongside Mari Morioto, who translates Naruto, Stephen Paul, translator of Beck, and a host of others. If you're interested in becoming a manga translator, these guys have the answers you're looking for.



If manga translation isn't your thing and if you're like the rest of the country and are currently suffering from Dark Knight fever, here's your chance to mix your anime obsession with your newfound love for Batman! Turns out back in the 1960's there were a bunch of licensed Batman manga stories, and this panel reveals ‘em all for the world to see. Batman & anime: two great tastes that taste great together!

Afro Samurai: Resurrection
4:15pm – 5:15pm, Room 6B

Afro Samurai is back (like anyone expected that there wouldn't be a sequel) and executive producer, voice actor and international badass Samuel L. Jackson is here to show you the world premiere of the trailer for the new series. Also in attendance is The RZA, who nerds will recognize from the Kill Bill soundtrack and the first Afro Samurai series. They'll have the trailer, brand new videogame footage and even some manga pages for you to feast upon like the ravenous fans you are.

Bandai Entertainment's Anime Invasion
5:00pm-6:00pm, Room 4

This is it, the Bandai industry panel! See, at anime conventions, all they have to do is list “Bandai Entertainment” in the program guide and people will show up, but Comic-Con is a broader audience so “Anime Invasion” has been added to the title in the hopes of enticing fanboys who may want to stop the world from being invaded by anime. Expect them to discuss Gurren-Lagann, Gundam 00, Code Geass and The Girl who Leapt Through Time, among others. Will there be new license announcements? Show up and find out!

The Secret History of Manga in the US
6:00pm-7:00pm, Room 4

The talented and prolific Jason Thompson, who wrote the phone-book sized (and basically indispensable) Manga: The Complete Guide gabs about his pet subject for an hour. If you're a manga fan, when Thompson talks, you should listen. But you already knew that.

Random House Publishing
6:00pm – 7:00pm, Room 10

Warning! There may not be as much manga content as you'd like at this panel! Basically, the folks who run Random House's genre label, Del Rey, are here in force, and you'll attend if you want to hear from Dallas Middaugh, who's been steering the Del Rey manga ship for years and years. An additional warning: this is Comic-Con, and Del Rey manga is releasing both Wolverine and X-Men manga titles soon, so if you're expecting Dallas to go on and on about Mamotte Lollipop, you might want to rethink that. Although I'm sure he'll answer any Mamotte Lollipop-related questions you have.

Adventures in Anime

7:30pm – 8:30 pm, Room 6A

Not to be confused with Bang Zoom's voice-acting documentary series Adventures in Voice Acting, this panel is composed of Quinton Flynn, who did the voice of Axel in Kingdom Hearts and Raiden in Metal Gear Solid, and Jeff Nimoy, who directs Naruto and voiced Wolfwood in Trigun. Apparently they talk about their zany adventures and will sing their “famous Yaoi song” which can't be that famous because I've never heard of it. Maybe it'll be a gas, who knows?


VIZ Media: Shonen Jump
10:00am – 11:00am, Room 2

Not too hungover from all those Spider-man themed cocktails you had the night before? Then c'mon down to VIZ Media's Shonen Jump panel, where they're going to “celebrate” 5 years of American Shonen Jump and 40 years of Japanese Shonen Jump, presumably by making some announcements and giving away free stuff. A bunch of Shonen Jump editors will be in attendance, so feel free to show up with your highly specific and demanding questions.

Comics Arts Conference: Visual Language
12:30pm – 2:00pm, Room 30AB

Yeah, so it sounds like a college course in how to not have fun at a comics convention, but this panel has a bunch of really smart guys, including Robert O'Nale Jr. from Henderson State University, dissecting manga art style and contrasting it with other international art. If you're feeling high-minded or need material to rip off for your Media Arts 403 term paper, this is where you want to be.

Broccoli Books
2:00pm – 3:00pm, Room 4

Like the Di-Gi Charat, do you? Perhaps pretty boys beating the snot out of eachother and then making out shortly thereafter? Broccoli Books is in town to talk about their latest releases and wow you with their staff's amazing Japanese speaking abilities.

VIZ Media Anime and Manga Publishing

3:00pm – 4:00pm, Room 2

This is the standard-issue red-meat Anime Convention-style VIZ media panel where they talk about new licenses and what you can expect in 2009. If you really want Comic-Con to feel like an anime convention, show up to this panel and make sure you ask about when – not if, but when – they're going to release all 8 billion volumes of Kochikame.


Holy Crap, Tite Kubo Is Here!

1:15pm – 2:00pm, Room 7AB

Okay so the folks at Viz are far too professional to actually name this panel that, but it's what every Bleach fan in attendance is thinking. Tite Kubo is at his very first North American convention and he's here to chat about his work and what's coming up. Show up super-early if you want to sit close enough to see the beads of sweat rolling down his editor's face when the first “When will Ichigo and Orihime and Rukia get drunk and have a threesome” question comes up. This is easily the biggest event at the show for anime fans – don't miss it.

Del Rey Manga
2:30pm – 3:30pm, Room 10

So this is the exclusive Del Rey Manga panel, but rather than focusing on Del Rey's catalog, this one has Fairy Tail author Hiro Mashima in attendance, so if you're a big Fairy Tail fan, show up to this one and then stalk Dallas as he leaves the panel room afterward to pepper him with your Negima questions. Also, out of politeness to Mashima-san, don't bring up One Piece. Just don't, OK?

Shojo Beat Surprises

3:30pm-4:30pm, Room 10

If you're all through with Del Rey, stay in Room 10 and hang around until the Viz Media Shojo Beat folks show up. Big Shojo fan? Eagerly sitting by the mailbox until the next issue comes in? This is the panel for you! They're promising some new announcements at this one so if you're a fan, show up and clap. Maybe they'll give you free stuff!

Adventures in Voice Acting Workshop
4:00pm – 5:30pm, Room 30CDE

Eric Sherman and his merry band of anime voice actors from Los Angeles show up once again to fill a room with wide-eyed voice actor wannabes and show them the tricks of the trade. This panel is tremendously popular at anime conventions and will probably fill up pretty well here too, so show up early if you want a good seat. In addition to some anime folks like Wendee Lee and Steve Blum, they've also got the voice of Spongebob Squarepants, Tom Kenney (although you should know him from Mr. Show if you're worth a damn), former LOST cast member and hellraiser Michelle Rodriguez, and Lance Henriksen, who was Bishop in Aliens, which is good for a lifetime membership in the Awesome Guys You Should Respect club. Show up, bask in the voice acting goodness.

Yen Press
6:00pm – 7:00pm, Room 3

Yen Press is a relatively quiet publisher but they've got a lot of product out there, so show up to this one if you're a reader of their titles or just want to see what they might announce.


CMX: Manga for the Masses
1:30pm – 2:30pm

CMX keeps making this “manga for the masses” argument but it seems like Viz probably has the lock on that particular marketing slogan. Regardless, they have a lot of stuff to talk about, so if you're curious about Crayon Shin-Chan or Zombie Fairy or just want to be the lucky fellow who asks the 1 millionth question about the editing of Tenjho Tenge, show up and raise your hand.

Starship Smackdown XI
2:00pm – 3:30pm

This is it – dork mecca. Fluff your beard, strap on your brand-new red suspenders, don your vintage Macross tee-shirt and show up for the ultimate nerd brawl, where people sit in a room and argue about who would win in a fight between the Starship Enterprise and the Yamato. Seriously, this is a real event and has been happening for 11 years now and if you don't go to this and argue incessantly that anime spaceships would win in every conceivable fight scenario, you're not a real fan. Bonus points if you manage to hit the guy arguing for the ship from Firefly in the head with a Robotech VHS tape.

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of our guide!

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