Con Report: Animazement 2018

If popular opinion is to be believed, Animazement is simultaneously the best and worst con in the Southeast. Focusing on more of the Japanese culture side of our fandom, it tends to strike out with the party crowd, who have loudly proclaimed loyalty for Momocon the same weekend and Raleigh Supercon, which takes place in the same venue, but a few months later. If nothing else, Animazement certainly dispels the notion that every convention is for every fan, which gives it props in my book.

As for myself, I presented ten hours of panel content, which is becoming pretty standard at this rate. When I wasn’t presenting, I tried to catch the guest panels and thoroughly enjoyed seeing animators Masuo Ueda (in his Char cosplay the whole weekend!), Akitaro Daichi, and Hitomi Kariya, who did a few live drawings during the weekend, as well as Someta Hayashiya’s excellent rakugo performance.

While the Japanese guests were excellent (and the reason I make it out to Raleigh each year), it is true that my own panels made up the bulk of my weekend. As promised, here’s a breakdown and playlist for them:

  • Tapes, Toonami, and Teenagers: Anime (Culture) of the 90’s. This went as well as always. I’ve given this enough times to give each slide a little more love and attention, especially when showcasing on series that are still relevant today. My first iterations of this in 2015 were a little shaky, so I’m glad this has grown into something both educational and fun.
  • Older Anime for New Fans. The first of my new panels, this is intended to not only recommend some old stuff, but to connect it with newer audiences. You’ll have to attend a future showing if you want to see why I recommended these titles, but here’s the playlist for this iteration:
  • Daicon is Forever: Exploring Studio GAINAX. This was a joint panel with Austin, with him doing most of the work and me on as color commentary. This is pretty much the same as both our previous Gainax panels, with one eye on the formation of the studio and the other on the future of the off-shoots that the original Daicon spirit has spawned.
  • Beyond Miyazaki: Anime Creators You Should Know. The second of my new panels, this is mostly an introduction of important creative types that newer fans tend to ignore in their obsession if Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The people we talked about were:
    • Isao Takahata
    • Makoto Shinkai
    • Sayo Yamamoto
    • Satoshi Kon
    • Mamoru Hosoda
    • Mari Okada
    • Rie Matsumoto
    • Studio TRIGGER
    • Kyoto Animation
    • Science Saru
    • MAPPA
  • Star Wars in Japan. Fans often keep their individual obsessions compartmentalized, not often thinking of how Eastern media can link up with Western, but nothing is quite like the connection between George Lucas’ cinematic empire and Japanese film. From connecting Lucas’ love of Kurosawa, to the influence of Star Wars on anime and anime conventions, we explored it all.
  • DVD’s, Digisubs, and Deflation: Anime (Culture) of the 00’s. As the title implies, this is similar to my 90’s panel, only a decade later. It’s easy to forget just how different the culture was just a decade ago, when streaming was not the norm, and social media was just entering its infancy. This panel explores the transition from the traditional media models from the 90’s into the internet-driven environment we know today. This panel ran against a similar nostalgia panel, so I’m glad that I had a decent turnout throughout!
  • Surrealism in Anime. I’ve been running this flagship panel for about four years now. It’s been one or two hours, general-audiences or 18+, with content that has shifted around depending on what is popular at the time and whatever I feel like playing again. I’m not going to lie, though–this iteration at Animazement 2018 was easily my favorite. Even with ZoomPlayer not fully cooperating, everything ran smoothly, my dumb jokes landed, and the room stayed full for the full two hours! There were people who had even seen the more obscure stuff, which is always a joy. Anyway, here’s the playlist this time around:
  • Trigger Warning: The New Hotness of Studio TRIGGER. Same as I’ve given it before, with some additions and revisions with the newer stuff, from Darling in the Franxx to the upcoming SSSS.Gridman. Unfortunately, PowerPoint didn’t save some of my newer slides properly (which is why you don’t do ALL your panel prep hungover on Sunday morning, kids), so the ending wasn’t great, but maybe I’ll actually get around to finishing DarliFra (hahaha no).
  • Before Devilman Crybaby: The Wild Worlds of Science Saru. I’ve been a Yuasa fan for years and am glad to see Devilman Crybaby and his new movies making his stuff more accessible to newer fans. This panel is mainly to get people to watch The Tatami Galaxy and Kaiba, so I was pretty happy when about a quarter of the crowd indicated they had already seen both! You guys are the real winners of anime!
  • How to Build a Better Panelist. I just sat in on this one; the actual Animazement panel staff put this one together. I dropped a lot of my wisdom from my own Art of Paneling panel, so I hope I was able to give some practical advise for anyone looking to jump into the rabbit hole of presenting a fan panel. If anyone has any further questions about the process, I am more than happy to discuss either in the comment here or any of the other methods to reach me.

And there you have it. From Friday morning to Sunday afternoon, I was behind a microphone, and I was still able to catch up with old friends and hang out around downtown Raleigh a little bit. The Third Impact crew will definitely be around again next year, so if you missed us then, be sure to check us out at Animazement 2019!

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