Sakura Con 2010
by Crystalyn Hodgkins,
Overheard at the convention:
"I wanted to Netflix 'Elfen Lied,' but instead I accidentally rented 'Elfen Laid.'" - From a 14-year-old at the "Anime that Scarred Me for Life" panel
Sakura-Con's six floors were surprisingly easy to navigate. All the rooms were numbered where everyone could easily see, and the numbering was consistent throughout the floors. There were many different eateries inside the convention center, not just the sub-par dealer's room food normally found at conventions. The convention boasted seven panel rooms, five video rooms, and six gaming rooms. ATMs were located throughout the convention center, as well as hand sanitizer stations. A huge drawback, however, was the lack of free wireless, or even a convenient pay-per-day wireless system, as that system was only available in certain areas.
Funimation Industry PanelLance Heiskell hosted the Funimation industry panel on Saturday. The panel was coincidentally at the same time as the Funimation industry panel at Anime Boston, so both panels decided to make the same announcements, instead of breaking them up between the two panels. Lance went over upcoming releases, including Initial D 3rd and 4th stage, which are getting new dubs and a new translation, and the rescue-license of CLAMP's X. He also mentioned the S.A.V.E. line, which will make TV series, OVAs and movies available and very low prices. The S.A.V.E. line includes such titles as Jing: King of Bandits, Pumpkin Scissors, and MoonPhase. After showing trailers for upcoming series, Lance made three licensing announcements: Spice and Wolf II, the Eden of the East movies, and the rescue-license of Chobits. During the Q&A, Lance mentioned that Funimation is still working on co-productions and to expect some announcements within the next few months. Also fans can expect something on what used to be the ShoDojo project within the next two months. Funimation is also working on acquiring some Spring anime season simulcasts.
Dazzle Vision and High and Mighty Color ConcertTwo things were surprising about the Dazzle Vision and the High and Mighty Color concert. The first surprise was that Sakura-Con cleared a space in the front middle of the concert room for people to stand in. This wasn't a good surprise, because if you wanted to get a good view of the performers, you had to stand in that central area packed in like sardines. The second surprise was Dazzle Vision, an indie J-rock group who has no affiliation with anime, who opened the concert. With her long brown hair and frilly pink dress, vocalist Maiko does not look like she is about to throw death metal screams your way. But when that first song started playing, she proved she could switch between a melodic singing voice and her heavy screams with skill and ease. The group gave a fantastic opening performance, and the crowd was revved up for the main event.
After an extended break, High and Mighty Color took the stage, with their new singer, HALCA. High and Mighty Color also gave an outstanding performance, but Dazzle Vision's Maiko was hard to live up to. However, High and Mighty Color definitely got the crowd screaming when they started to play "Pride," one of the opening theme songs to Mobile Suit Gundam Seed. The group's last song was Bleach's "Ichirin no Hana," which sent the crowd into a frenzy. After leaving the stage, fans were screaming for a good 5-10 minutes for an encore before the band came out and played "Ichirin no Hana" again, while throwing paraphernalia into the audience. Both groups gave outstanding performances, and it was clear everyone who attended (more than 4,000 people) truly enjoyed themselves.
"Anime that Scarred Me for Life" Fan PanelAs there weren't many industry-run panels at Sakura-Con (there were only a few voice-actor run panels), most of the panels were run by fans, which included some interesting panels such as "Where Fanfic Goes to Die," and the "Anime Swimsuit Contest." The "Anime that Scarred Me for Life" panel, which has been run for many years at Sakura-Con by Beau Gentry, the con chair for Kumoricon, was a huge hit with attendees. The premise is simple. Attendees can line up, and when it is their turn they just talk about the anime that scarred them for life. The panel is teen-rated, which means no explicit explanations. This often leads to a more humorously-ambiguous story anyways, so it surprisingly worked. The most talked-about anime at the panel? Higurashi: When They Cry. It will apparently screw you up, so don't watch it. Many of the stories had the audience in tears, and those who had seen the anime talked about nodded and clapped in agreement. The most memorable part of the panel was when a 14-year-old boy told a story about accidentally renting Elfen Laid instead of Elfen Lied, then renting Elfen Lied only to find that it wasn't actually much better in the "scarring" department. He later admitted Elfen Lied was his favorite anime so far. The next generation of otaku, ladies and gentlemen: masochists.
Dazzle Vision and High and Mighty Color pictures courtesy of JapanFiles, who presented both bands.
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