This week I look at the news from Anime Boston and Fanime, some new license announcements from Seven Seas Entertainment, the Vizmanga.com top 10, and bid a final farewell to Jmanga.
This is probably the first time in 12 years straight that we didn’t attend Comic Con. It had been a tradition with us. Every year we would find a way, even if it was just for a day, even just Sunday, to get down to the Con and see things. But not this year. It was a decision we made early, and we didn’t even register for the con. The costs in time and money vs the benefits turned out to be far too much. Last year over the 3 days we saw 6 panels, which is only about 1/2 of what we wanted to see and sat through at least 3 we didn’t just to make sure we got to see the ones we DID want to see. When a con becomes all work and almost no play is when it’s time to call it quits. This is my vacation time I’m taking to do things I enjoy. I already get enough stress at work. I don’t need it following me on my vacation. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.
As Comic Con approached, I did find I felt a small twang of regret of not being able to wander the exhibit hall and catch sight of some new item, or find some toy or book I’ve been looking for at a great discount. Yes, I know you can surf the internet and find some cool things at low prices, but it the joy of discovery and being able to get right there and then that makes a con so much fun. And the panels. There is such synergy that happens at them, that hearing about them or even seeing them later online just doesn’t compare to see the things live. But, what’s done is done, and I was stuck at work Thursday and Friday, and home on the weekend. Thank goodness for Twitter and live blogging.
Thursday, when I should have been writing or doing my Japanese course at smart.fm, I was instead watching the Twitter updates on Google (my work has Twitter blocked). I got to hear about the Tron: Legacy panel and ADR at the end the paintball challenge from the Burn Notice writers to the White Collar writers, and Bruce Campbell handing out money again this year. Friday was back to work, but as I started checking things out online, I wasn’t seeing anything to really get excited about.
In manga, there were some license announcement. Tokyopop and Yen Press had the most with 3 and 5 respectively. Viz had some announcements for their Vizkids line, but no one really covered it, and they sure aren’t excited about it. I was really expecting to hear that Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan would be licensed, since Viz announced the streaming of the anime, and that a prerequisite to be a licensed Shonen Jump title, right? I thought for sure all the signs pointed to it, but instead, all Viz announced was a new edition of Death Note, in black. Whoo. The Yen Press announcement about Yen Plus going online did sound cool, but then the thought of dueling online services who will all want me to subscribe to read chapters of their manga damped the excitement. I’m not as thrilled as a lot of people about The Bride’s Story, but then, I have not read Emma, so I’m not already a fan of Kaoru Mori. Tokyopop’s announcement of Sakura no Ichiban by Chibi Vampire/Karin mangaka Yuna Kagesaki was good news though. I enjoyed Chibi Vampire, and the cover of Sakura no Ichiban looks interesting. I’m not a big fan of alternative/gekiga manga, so the small press announcements didn’t excite me either. And Del Rey didn’t even bother with a panel, and laying off Ali Kokmen to boot doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope for them as a manga publisher. It was pretty much a low-key con this year.
On the TV side, there wasn’t much either. One of the reasons we had for going to SDCC is now gone; Stargate. The SG-1 and Atlantis teams always had great rapport and it was fun to watch them. From reports of the Universe panel, it was no fun at all. And it doesn’t sound like SGU will be improving anytime soon. Just more of its Battlestar Galactica cloning. Burn Notice it sounds like is only worth going to to see Bruce Campbell. Now granted that is reason enough, but when no one else from the show’s cast shows up? I guess either they don’t like each other or the fans. Or both. The panels that sounded like the most fun were Psych, Bones and Castle. We just started watching Psych, and now I really regret not staying around for their panel last year. That’s a cast to see live! They have a lot of fun on the set, and that usually translates to the panel. Bones and Castle have two veteran fandom stars, David Boreanaz and Nathan Fillion, both of whom know how to please the crowd. I was happy to hear on Bones, Booth would be returning to season 6 with a love interest, and not happy that Bones and Booth will eventually end up together; unless it was the last scene of the series finale. Then I would be fine with it. Though nothing of great interest came out about season 3 of Castle, I would have liked to have seen the panel. It sounds like it was just as much fun as Psych.
This year was the first time that all 5 Mythbusters appeared on stage at the same time at SDCC. While the clips reel is tantalizing, the reason to go these guys is for the Q & A session. They are just a blast to listen and talk to. Rifftrax did another live reading at their panel, but no new riffs were announced. It was fun nominating movies to be riffed by the team. This year it seems like you can try to get a line in a new riffing of Reefer Madness. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find anyone who really covered those panels. Youtube has a video of their live riffing, and the twitter feed for Mythbusters had pictures of their panel, but no one really reporting on them, which is sad. These guys really deserve more attention.
I might have reconsidered braving the crowds if I had none Danny Elfman was going to be there as a guest and have his own panel. I’ve been a fan of Elfman’s since his Oingo Boingo days, and it would have been cool to see him when he’s not performing. Shocktillyoudrop.com had a live blogging of that panel at least.
I read somewhere though all my clicking for SDCC that they could just change the name of Comic Con to Movie Con and no one would notice. And that is sadly true. Genre TV has always been a part of the con. Before Stargate, the panel to go to was the Babylon 5 panel for the blooper reel and the stories on set from JMS. Now, TV and movie trailer/hype have taken over the show. It’s all Dog and Pony and very little con. More companies are going to SDCC to try to get optioned for a Hollywood blockbuster than talk with fans or show off their latest wares. And while it’s cool that some of the businesses are finally getting into the spirit of the con, Syfy themed restaurants and Hooter girls dressing up as super heroes, the businesses that really matter, the hotels, still don’t see con-goers as an asset, but as someone they can drain for money. The city has been fighting with hotels to get more rooms at better rates, and it’s only with the threat of the city loosing millions of dollars that they started to give in. But when I hear one con-goers say that the hotel she is staying at is still charging her $30 at day to park her car, that tells me that the SD hotels don’t really want comic con anymore.
I know there’s no really good option for leaving San Diego. Anaheim provides some additional space, and has Disney pushing for that move, while the rest of Hollywood wants to see the con in Los Angeles while Las Vegas is probably the only place on the West Coast that could really handle the crowds, but no one wants to got there, and Vegas doesn’t need Comic Con. So what does this mean? That we probably won’t be going to SDCC anymore or until things improve. I hear Wondercon has promise…