The Anime and Manga Fan's Guide to Comic-Con 2011

by Gia Manry,

Word that some of the Hollywood studios are pulling back on their promotional panels has geeks worldwide wondering what's up with this year's Comic Con. There's still a plethora of programming, however, and plenty of it aimed at fans of Japanese media. So here it is, your Comic-Con International 2011 list of anime and manga events!


Wednesday, July 20 (Preview Night)

Warner Bros. Television World Premiere TV Pilots: Supernatural: The Anime Series
6-10 p.m. Ballroom 20
This four-hour marathon also includes premieres of several non-anime titles, but the last on the list is the anime adaptation of WB's live-action Supernatural TV show. It may seem odd to call it a world premiere, since the show aired in Japan, but this is likely your first chance to catch the English dub, which includes some of the actors from the original series.

Thursday, July 21

Stan Lee, Yoshiki, and Todd McFarlane
1-2 p.m. Hilton Indigo Ballroom
This unusual trio announced their plans to debut their new joint comic book series, Blood Red Dragon, at Comic-Con, and this panel is that spotlight. Also in attendance will be comic book writer Jon Goff, who is either involved in the comic as well or handling MC duties.

3-4 p.m. Room 23ABC
Tragically scheduled at the same time as the Game of Thrones panel, Funimation's dynamic duo (marketing manager Adam Sheehan and social media manger Justin Rojas) will nonetheless muscle their way through the latest updates from North America's biggest anime licensee.

Kodansha Comics
4-5 p.m. Room 23ABC
Kodansha USA's Kumi Shimizu will have a sit-down with Dallas Middaugh, Kodansha's liaison with Random House Publisher Services. They will talk about several new titles, but it's probably safe to assume that the biggest topic of discussion will be Sailor Moon, whose first volume is set for a September release.

Inside the Voice Actors Studio
6-7 p.m. Room 30CDE
Want to be a voice actor? Bang Zoom! Entertainment returns once more with a panel on dubbing technique, auditions, and the standard operating procedures of dub studios. Robotech's Tony Oliver will moderate a panel of celebrity voice actors; a full list hasn't been released but it will include Gears of War voice-over director Chris Borders and actor Dee Bradley Baker (who will appear in Studio 4°C's Thundercats anime launching on Cartoon Network later this month). It's Bang Zoom!, so you can probably bet on a few other familiar faces popping up.

Voltron Resurgent
6-7 p.m. Hilton Indigo Ballroom
Reps from several of the companies responsible for the "cosmic storm" of Voltron currently taking place— including Viz Media editor Traci Todd, who is presumably working on Viz's original graphic novels based on Voltron Force —will be on-hand to "pay homage" to the franchise's origins and talk about its future.

Manga: Lost in Translation
6:30-7:30 p.m. Room 26AB
Translators William Flanagan, Jonathan Tarbox, Mari Morimoto, and Stephen Paul talk shop for spectators, specifically focusing on the move to digital media and freelance work after the manga industry's slump.

7-8 p.m. Room 6DE
Robotech creative director Tommy Yune and webmaster Steve Yun are back once again to promote the latest and greatest from Harmony Gold.

Friday, July 22

Conversation with Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho Voice Actor Greats
10-11 a.m. Room 24ABC Let the "over 9,000" jokes begin: Dragon Ball Z's Christopher R. Sabat (Vegeta, Piccolo), producer Justin Cook, and ADR scriptwriter John Burgmeier will take your questions about DBZ and Yu Yu Hakusho, plus some talk about the shows' recent "transformation" to Blu-ray.

JManga: Hear It Straight from Japan!
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Room 25ABC
Reps from Japan's biggest publishers— Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Futabasha, and Kadokawa, all members of the Digital Comics Association in Japan —will be on-hand to present JManga, their joint endeavor to release manga in the U.S. digitally, legally.

Adult Swim: Pilots/New Shows/Additional Sundry Topics
12:45-1:15 p.m. Hilton Indigo Ballroom
This is probably the closest Adult Swim will ever get to having a panel where you're allowed to talk about anime, and it's only a half-hour long, but it's devoted specifically to discussing new and upcoming programming.

Viz Media
2-3 p.m. Room 9
Viz is celebrating their 25th anniversary, so along with updates and announcements, the company will be handing out iTunes gift cards and other prizes. The program guide also specifically states that attendees will get the scoop on as-yet unannounced "groundbreaking projects."

Shonen Jump
3-4 p.m. Room 9
Love shonen series? Even if you skip the Viz panel, you should sit in on this: Weekly Shonen Jump Editor-in-Chief Hisashi Sasaki and the president of videogame company Cyber Connect 2, Hiroshi Matsuyama, will take your questions. Matsuyama will also reveal an upcoming Naruto Shippuden game.

Marvel TV: Anime on G4
4:30-5:30 p.m. Room 6BCF
Attack of the Show's Blair Butler hosts this panel, which also includes the head of Marvel's TV department, Jeph Loeb and a sneak peek at the first episode of Madhouse's X-Men anime series.

Bandai Entertainment
5:30-6:30 p.m. Room 5AB
Bandai's Robert Napton and Loy Fruel promise an hour of "news, trailers, Q&A, and giveaways," so nothing out of the ordinary for the Haruhi and K-On! licensee. You can also expect some talk about their upcoming release of the Tekken CG film and the Gundam 00 anime film.

Best and Worst Manga of the Year
6:30-7:30 p.m. Room 26AB
Manga bloggers from around the 'net (including ANN's own Carlo Santos) share their thoughts in the last year's worth of manga titles. If it's anything like last year's, the panel will be part celebration of excellent visual literature, and part friar's roast.

CBLDF: Can Comics Send You To Jail?
5:30-6:30 p.m. Room 26AB
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund recently made headlines (at least ours) by involving itself in the defense of an American man charged with child pornography in the form of a manga into Canada. That is probably going to come up in this panel, in which CBLDF reps will tell you about the rise in folks arrested for possession of comic art and what you can do to help.

Yen Press
6:30-7:30 p.m. Room 8
Yen Press' awesome foursome— publishing director Kurt Hassler, senior editor JuYoun Lee, and assistant editors Tania Biswas and Abby Blackman —are taking a trip from their New York office to announce projects for 2012 and to spread the swag.

UDON and the Art of Comic and Game Design
7-8 p.m. Room 4
Udon's best known among manga fans for their Capcom game tie-ins, such as the recent release of Mega Man Gigamix, but they've also got a strong batch of kids' manga...and, oh yes, Silent Mobius. No manga industry fanatic's schedule is complete without hitting up Udon.

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 8:30-11:30 p.m. Hilton Indigo Ballroom
A handful of manga received nominations for the Eisners this year, and some of them weren't even in the "Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia" category! Those stand-outs are Nobuaki Tadano's 7 Billion Needles (from Vertical), up for Best Adaptation, and 20th Century Boys' Naoki Urasawa for Best Writer/Artist. Click here for the full list.

Saturday, July 23

Fantagraphics' 35th Anniversary
12:30-1:30 p.m. Room 24ABC
Fantagraphics launched its manga line at last year's Comic Con with guest of honor Moto Hagio's Drunken Dreams. The panel write-up doesn't specifically mention manga, but it does promise some major announcements, so manga fans can have hope that they'll pick up another major title.

Spotlight on Tsuneo Goda
1:30-2:30 p.m. Room 5AB
Tsuneo Goda is this year's Comic-Con Special Guest from Japan, and he's here to talk about his most famed creation: mascot character Domo-kun. In addition to taking a question-and-answer session, he'll also present some of his newer projects.

Comics Arts Conference Session #12: Poster Session - Manga Poster Group
2-3:30 p.m. Room 26AB
The Comic Arts Conference's poster session isn't presented from a stage, but rather sets up experts at different stations to speak one-on-one or in small groups. The experts on hand for the manga group are George Tsouris, an expert on Yokoyama (presumably referring to Mitsuteru Yokoyama, creator of Tetsujin 28-go and Giant Robo), and Kotaro Nakagaki, who will focus on shojo manga by Shirato Sanpei and Kono Fumiyo focusing on the big social issues: discrimination, reconstruction and economic growth, war, the works.

Namco/Bandai's Fighting Games
4-5 p.m. Room 25ABC
Expect a close look at the upcoming game Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations along with some Tekken, Soul Calibur, and more— including Tekken: Blood Vengeance voice actresses Carrie Keranen and Cristina Vee —in this joint panel. Some company execs and directors will also be on-hand for questions.

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: Ishiro Honda
8-9 p.m. Room 9
Film historian Peter H. Brothers plans to present a full hour on fantasy filmmaker Ishiro Honda, probably best known in the U.S. for directing the original Godzilla. He also worked as an assistant to Akira Kurosawa, working on some of the auteur's biggest films, such as Ran and Stray Dogs, basically until his passing in 1993. In other words: the guy had an interesting life, and Brothers will tell you all about it!

Sunday, July 24

Manga Drawing for Kids
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Room 30CDE
Last year's team, including artists from eigoMANGA and Alpha League's David Karrow, is back once more to teach you (or your children) a few tricks about drawing manga-style.

Comic Arts Conference 14: Manga Censorship
12-1:30 p.m. Room 26AB
An all-star team including translator Dan Kanemitsu, attorney Takashi Yamaguchi, Meiji University professor Yukari Fujimoto, and City University of New York professor Shige "CJ" Suzuki (Japanese) takes on Tokyo's controversial new Youth Healthy Development Ordinance (also known as the "loli bill").

Drawing Manga and Dynamic Anatomy
1-2 p.m. Room 30CDE
This is still a kid-friendly panel, so you probably can't expect too much anatomy out of this panel, but Neko Press' Billy Martinez offers a primer on action poses for artists of all skill levels.

Other Programming


Comic-Con has always been pretty good about mixing in the new-school and the old-school when it comes to their anime screenings, and this year is no exception. You'll get the chance to check out new shows like Katanagatari and Dance in the Vampire Bund (noticeably scheduled before 10 p.m. which is when the rooms become 18+ only), alongside classics like Urusei Yatsura and Irresponsible Captain Tylor. This year you'll also note that some five-minute episodes from The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya are also sprinkled throughout the schedule between other shows. The separated screenings schedule isn't online as of this writing, but it will eventually be available here.

Additionally, the live-action GANTZ and its sequel, GANTZ II: Perfect Answer, will play at the Pacific Gaslamp 15 Theatres, adjacent to the convention center in the Gaslamp District.

GANTZ screens on Friday, July 22nd at 6:00pm and 9:00pm, while GANTZ II: Perfect Answer screens on Saturday, July 23rd at 6:00pm and also at 9:00pm. Both films will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. Tickets to the GANTZ screenings are now available for online purchase at Fandango. We've been told that seating is extremely limited, so you probably want to get your tickets early. Tickets are $15.00 each.

Saturday, July 23

12:15-1 p.m. Ballroom 20
This panel has nothing to do with anime really, except that it promises "never-before-seen footage of Futurama reincarnated as Japanese anime." We figured some of you might be interested in that.

SoCal Hosts
3-4 p.m. Marriott Santa Rosa Ballroom
No, it's not the San Diego travel board's presentation. A group of Ouran High School Host Club fans has joined forces to present an hour of "entertainment and roleplay" featuring your favorite characters from the manga and anime series: Haruhi, Tamaki, Kyouya, Honey, Mori, and Renge. (Maybe they'll find a pair of Hitachiin twins in the audience?)


Ball-Jointed Dolls Collectors Groups
12-2 p.m. Room 32AB
Enthusiasts of the ball-jointed dolls (BJDs) from Volks and other manufacturers need to party too, and this gathering is an opportunity for them to get together and show off their dolls while making pals. Newbies to the world of resin dolls are also welcome to come and learn the basics.

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