I have yet to go to a convention and be disappointed and that fact continues after my weekend spent at ConnectiCon 2010. The only disappointing aspect about conventions is that there is never enough time to do everything that I want to do. ConnectiCon is unique for an Anime fan because it is not primarily an Anime convention. Anime is only one of the many subjects that convention covers. If anything, I’d call ConnectiCon a gaming convention because of the massive amount of space dedicated to games of all types: Board games, video games, Table top RPGs, LARP, Minitures, and CCGs. ConnectiCon is also unique in that it attracts a large number of webcomic guests from all over the world with names as large as Brian Clevenger , Mohammad Hawqe , Jeph Jacques, Scott Ramsoomair, and (in 2006) Greg Dean.
If you are looking for just an Anime Convention with anime programming ConnectiCon might disappoint you. Not that there is a lack of Anime programming, I’ll go into more detail about it below, but it is more of a celebration of all things geeky. It’s like a large gathering of friends where some wanted to play Magic and others just wanted to watch Anime… blown up to an impossible scale.
For more on ConnectiCon 2010 please listen to Episode 23 of the podcast
Star Wars Steampunk
This was a strange panel where a group of hardcore steampunk fans (they were all dressed in full steampunk attire) asking the question “Is Star Wars Steampunk?” approaching from the aesthetic side they had a point… but it is far more likely that the elements that are similar, like Han Solo’s outfit, were inspired by Star Wars. I was a bit irritating they didn’t mention the possibility that Steampunk took elements from Star Wars but just went with the theme “Star Wars IS steampunk.”
Anime you should watch
I caught the tail end of the Anime You Should Watch panel but walking into a room filled with people watching Daicon IV was amazing. The list of shows, and the way the GeekNights crew sold them to the crowded, was very impressive. A few notables were Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, They were eleven, and Master Keaton. Check out the PDF of their presentation here.
Anime and Kawaii Culture
This panel was a big deal at the convention because former anime producer Minoru Ohno (I’m gonna be an Angel, Minky Momo in Tabidachi no Eki) and University professor Marie Aizawa Phelan set out to explore the concept of Kawaii. While the presentation was interesting I don’t know how the findings were anything new. It seemed to follow along the normal established concept of Kawaii. The presentation also jumped back and forth between Ohno’s career and the findings of the study, which became tiring as it went along. Overall it was good but nothing ground breaking was discussed. I recorded the majority of the panel and it can be viewed on the live page:
For the first time I was able to catch an entire standup skit from Uncle Yo and it was surprisingly funny. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about him and I can certainly see why; he panders to the fan girl crowded. But I can’t blame him for taking advantage of such a rapid and eager group of fans, and he probably has no choice if he wants to succeed as the “Otaku Comedian”. But, despite that, he has a huge amount of talent and executed all of his material well. Check out the set on the Otaku in Review Live page, I was a able to record most of it.
After the Uncle Yo show I was able to catch the tail end of a panel about Hatsune Miku, the virtual idol. I’ve been a fan of Miku since her original viral video but the panel, given by GeekNights, attempted to put her in perspective with the history of animation and the conclusion that all animation has attempted to merge live action into it, and Miku is the ultimate realization of goal as she continues to break into the real world. It is pretty incredible that technology has been able to take a 2D character with a computer generated voice and place her on a live stage. It’ll be shocking what we’ll see ten years from now.
Scott Rubin contacted me and wanted to make sure that I didn’t misrepresent the panel. The most interesting fact that I took from the panel was Miku seems to be the end result of a long attempt to marry live action and animation but Scott didn’t want the message of creativity to be overlooked. The reason he showed Daicon IV was in order to show what a group of geeks were capable of with inspiration and hard work. The group that made Daicon IV, who would later go on to form Gainax, didn’t even have a computer when they compiled would would become one of the most important short pieces of animation ever made. Instead of playing World of Warcraft go out and make Miku dance and sing. The power of the Volcaloid 2 software has made creation amazingly simple and with it even you can one day create a hit with Hatsune Miku leading the way.
The dealers room in my greatest weakness and while the ConnectiCon dealers room is nothing compared with Anime Boston (and I’m sure Otakon and AX) the vendors had some amazing things. Here are some notable items that I left with:
I stumbled across this in the back of someone’s booth late on Sunday. It was marked as $50 but he immediately took $20 off the price. I have never seen anything quite like it before and after doing a quick google search found it sold out with a price of $120! This is such an interesting piece that after I bought it someone who walked into the booth after me and saw it offered me $50 for it. Perhaps the dealer isn’t going to hide things in his booth anymore.
An Evangelion 2.0 era Asuka figure beautifully sculpted with an interested transparent effect on her hair. This was the most expensive figure I picked up over the weekend and well worth the price. Now if I could only see the movie…
Minorin! I love Minorin! I love most anime girls with red hair (which will be a trend on all the figures I bought). After missing out on the Angelic Taiga figure at Anime Boston I needed to get some Toradora! love in my figure collection. Of course now I’m going to have to hunt down bunny suit Taiga in order to complete the set.
A small, yet large headed Bunny girl Kallen which I couldn’t resist and a set of K-On! beach figures which I haven’t had a chance to put together yet.
Yes, I know. This pretty much completes the “generic Otaku room” theme I’ve been building for the last few years. But I couldn’t resist because it is so damn comfortable! Also, Haruhi.
Hayate the Combat Butler manga volumes 2 through 15 piled on high. Trust me, I got a great deal.
Finally I had Applegeeks volumes 1 and 2 signed by the authors. This is a painful story but I brought both books for them to sign but with the dealers room bag policy I couldn’t bring in my messenger bag. I grabbed a plastic bag and put them in just for convenience and it turns out the inside of the bag was wet which ruined my Volume 2, forcing me to buy another one. I raged, but it was worth it.
All of the pictures I took over the weekend are up on the live page and I’ll post the links after the images. These are a few of my favorites from the weekend. There was lots of Team Fortress 2, remember there is a large gaming section at ConnectiCon, and it seems that Durarara!! is very popular among the con attending crowded with Cross play being a huge trend.
Officer Jenny from Pokemon