This is part one (of three parts) of our NYCC video coverage! Join us as we explore the biggest nerd gathering on the East Coast!
Music: Kyoto Jazz Massive – Stargazer
Thursday, October 10th to Sunday the 14th was perhaps the most exhausting and longest weekend I have experienced so far in my life. Navigating through the crowds of the con and streets of New York was not for the agoraphobic. At least finding a way to the convention in NYC wasn’t a complete labyrinth, just follow the closest cosplayer you see, and you should be at the con in no time. Everywhere you turned your head on the con floor, you’d see a vendors with so much merch of all sorts of media. A nerd/geek’s shopping spree can get as nasty as a Black Friday shopper. It’s almost like an addiction. “I can stop buying swag whenever I want…or run out of money”. Finally, the patience of Buddha is required for the waiting lines for panels. Some people waited for 9 hours in the panel hall just to get into the Walking Dead panel. At least you could kill time reading comics, right?
Nevertheless, New York Comic Con is one of the few times of the year I actually get hype about. Hanging around like-minded friends, engulfed in all things geek is just a swell feeling. Down below you can see the pictures we snapped from the convention. We’ll be releasing a video of interviews and footage we captured later this week. Enjoy.
Some of these pictures might be blurry. We apologize for this. We promise to be mindful of the quality next time we release a photo set.
I remember when I had to constantly try to correct people that the main character in Pokemon Red and Blue wasn’t Ash, but actually ‘Red’. Some guys at the Pokemon Company probably had the same problem as well, so now there’s a new special on the way that’ll shut people up… AND NO, THAT ISN’T GARY OAK IN THAT TRAILER.
During the Pokémon Game Show, it was announced that a brand new anime special will run to coincide with Pokémon XY. This anime is called Pokémon: The Origin, features Red & Green, is based directly on the games, and is to air on October 2nd as a special broadcast. The show features Red as he starts his journey and battles his rival Green, and the Gym Leader Brock.
I uhh…sorta know who they are. I know that in the middle we got Super Sonico and to her right is Hatsune Miku I think…Anyway yeah…Lovely.
So apparently really like Super Sonico now….Just something about her that I just can’t put my finger on….I know what it is, dem headphones.
Now this girl right here rocking the Necomimi Brainwave ears, I was about to ask her name and all that then she bent over a bit to stretch her back a bit….Mmm those legs…..Wait what was I talking about?
Ok I’m pretty sure I know these 3 at least. In the pink we got Kuro Usagi(Black Rabbit) from Problem Children and I think those two are Panty and Stocking. Am I wrong about the last two? Probably so. Do I care? Not one bit.
Then I saw her. Still have no clue who she is. Did I ask to take that photo of her? I sorta did, if you consider mumbling and pointing at your cellphone as proper communication. That cosplay though, such great workmanship and plus that lovely smile of hers just makes that cosplay even better….Yeah her smile. Aaand that’s all I got from Anime Expo 2013, hope whoever’s reading these like what we do. Just make sure to comment and share and all that jazz. Ted out!
So its been about two days since Anime Expo ended and I’m sorry for updating only now (my feet got trampled on by high heels and Geta aka Wooden Sandals at a Crunchyroll shirt giveaway so cut me some slack). Anyway to start things off I give you a Moogle riding a Chocobo. Ain’t that cute?
To keep within the Final Fantasy motif here’s a bunch of well known Femme Fatals of the series. In the first picture we got a gender-bender version of Squall from FFVIII. Next we got the Charlie’s Angels-esque cousin duo of Yuna and Rikku from FFX-2. And possibly the most well known of the girls we got Yuffie and Tifa of FFVII. Personally I love that Squall gender-bender one, I actually had to chase her down after noticing her while scarfing down on some pizza.
You know what? Here’s some more vidya game characters. We got the Psycho energy master himself M.Bison (Vega if you’re Japanese) and Tae kwon Do assassin Juri Han from the StreetFighter series. Then things got a little flat when I encountered this awesome Paper Mario cosplay, Gumbella was there but she had to leave to use the bathroom. Then we got the OG Dante in his Devil May Cry 3 attire. Then I found a bunch of tea baggin’ Spartans from the Halo franchise, so many people requested to get teabagged when requesting for pics. Weird….Moving on we got a bunch of Vault Hunters and a Vault from Borderlands 2 specifically. Props to Tiny Tina, she flipped me off when I said thanks after talking to them and me thanking them for a shot. Next up we got two Grim Reapers, first is Riela Marceris from Valkyria Chronicels III and the nightmare inducing Pyramid Head. I dunno why, but after I got PH’s shot; both he and a Slenderman followed me around, I had to make a break for the bathroom just to get away.
Well for you League of Legends players here’s a bit for you. The only characters I know are Fiddle Sticks, Kogma and Twist of Fate. Yeah so that’s that….I did buy an inflatable Dota2 Courier doh.
For a bit of non-anime characters (Nick’s Avatar franchise kinda blurs the line but meh) let’s start off with a Dalek and one of The Doctor’s Companion’s. Sorry to all the Whovian’s out there if I don’t know her haven’t watched in a bit. Next off we got the stars of Wreck-it Ralph, Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz. Fix-it Felix was there but he was trapped in a box and couldn’t get out. I walked outside to buy some grub, and apparently fast food chain president Jack of Jack-in-the-Box had anime fever with his Kamina shades on.A bit more walking around I bumped into Professor Utonium and his anime inspired daughters The Powerpuff Girls. Ok I’m not entirely sure, but I know for a fact that that’s Fire Lord Ozai and I think that’s his daughter Azula. But the way they kissed each other on the lips after everyone got their shots of them left me confused. lulz
Back to more anime and Japan related stuff. Soooooo, I went to a Maid Cafe. I won’t lie I had so much fun mingling with the girls. I must say though, I got too much “props” from the other guys in line waiting to get pictures with the girls they wanted. “That was awesome what you did with your hands!” I was the number one quote that stuck in my mind. I thought they were talking about me looking like a drooling perv in the whacky photo but no, they meant me wrapping my arms around some of the girls. C’mon step it up my fellow Western otaku! Let’s not feed the fire of a stereotype!
Now for an anime pic dump. So many awesome cosplays so little time. Numero Uno we got Vash The Stampede and Nicholas D. Wolfwood looking snazzy as usual. Then we got almost the entire crew from Hataraku Mao-sama. Then we got another Aladdin this time accompanied by the king of the Seven Seas Sinbad. Then we got the lovely couple from Maoyu: The Demon King (Mao) and The Hero (Yuusha). Later on I found two Zorro’s from One Piece, well technically the other one was a girl. So Zorra? From Blue Exorcist we got Mephisto Pheles principal of True Cross Academy while onto his dog form. I got lost for a bit and needed some directions, so I asked Officer Jenny to point me in the right direction but the directions she gave me were kinda bad and I almost got run over by Celty Sturluson. Still so Moe even without her head. Talking about beheadings, I found this lovely group cosplaying as Samurai X characters. For you Kuroko no Baske fans I found a portion of the Generation of Miracles and their Manager. I later bumped into two tiny girls, one was a robot Roll and the other has delusions of riding around in a giant robot thanks to her Chunibyo syndrome, Rikka Takanashi. Now my favorite cosplay out of all the bunch is this guy: Kazuma Kuwabaraa from Yu Yu Hakusho. Then my Fighting Spirit went ablaze as I saw Ichiro Miyata warming up for his next match, then I decided to take a break with a bunch of high schoolers from My Little Monster. They even brought their chicken Nagoya! Well that’s all I got so far…No that’s a lie. I got a bit more but that’s another article. It’ll be up soon.
Well being the only person on the NUR team on the west coast, I had to do this massive Con solo once again. Although there was much to see, the highlight for me were just the awesome cosplayers. So I’ll just do a photo blog of the characters I saw. Starting off I give you the world famous Filipina cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao.
The convention didn’t start till today, but since I was smart enough to order my badge online I came in on Pre-reg day to get my tickets ahead of time. There were a few cosplayers (which didn’t make any sense since it was just for badge pickup) but I was surprised to see host of Culture Japan also known as tokyostormtrooper on youtube, Danny Choo. Oh and the last picture there, a fan wanted a picture with him so he just made a pimp decision and rode that car. Fully functional too mind you. Oh check him out here.
American anime company Sentai Fimworks put out all the stops with their ad space, with a freakin’ tank! As you may recognize, it’s the tank from Girls und Panzer. If you wanna check out more of Sentai’s catalog well you know the drill.
So my morning started pretty slow. There were delays in opening the exhibit hall and the ugliest Sweettooth(Twisted Metal, the new one) cosplay I’ve ever seen ( he was also shirtless and twice as big as me) almost ruined my day. Then I encountered several funny and awesome Attack on Titan cosplayers cosplaying as Wall Maria. There were a lot of walls like a lot. At least these two put some effort in and that second guy had an awesome mask to go with it.
Speaking of Attack on Titan, there were so many people there who actually took the time to be as legit as possible with their AoT soldier cosplays. Although none of their “3D Manuever Gears” were anything close to this, gotta give these people props for looking real spiffy. For those of you not in the know, The first pic is of Mikasa Ackerman and the 3 guys below are just cannon(Titan) fodder. What? Everyone knows that if a character doesn’t have a name he gon’ die son!
Like Dethklok aka the virtual band from Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse? Well here’s the Japanese/Anime versio: Detroit Metal City. Guy on the far left is frontman Johannes Krauser II alter ego of series protagonist Soichi Negishi. In his fake backstory, apparently he is so vile that he killed then raped his parents then raped Satan when he met him. So Satan kicked him out of Hell and now he’s a big wig Death Metal star in Japan. He’s so evil and powerful he impregnated Tokyo Tower. Trust me the anime is as ridiculous and hilarious as it sounds. The theme song is pretty badass actually. I am a terrorist straight outta Hell!
Magi: Labyrinth of Magic fans were also abundant. There so many tiny girls cosplaying as Aladdin. Found the best of the bunch doh and he had company ala Kougyoku Ren. Diggin’ Aladdin’s wand…..That didn’t come out right….
Possibly the only decent looking Bayonetta cosplay I saw today. Nice touch on the wig and all but can’t anyone cosplay her in mid-magic attack form? What? Indecent exposure you say? Thanks Obama.
Making my onto the Manga Lounge, I was entranced by hearing the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda herself playing her sweet somber lullaby on her violin. Too bad she has to peddle for money. I mean if you think about it, her kingdom can’t even afford to send an army to get her every time she gets captured.
Here we have a co-worker of the diligent Mgronald’s employee and the Dark Lord of Entei Isla Mao Sadao of Hataraku Mao-sama. I thought it was company policy to for employees to be clean shaven?
Speaking of Dark Lord’s and demons, we got the Earth King Amaimon from Blue Exorcist. Originally he wanted to pose with the lollipop in his mouth, but then I heard him talking with his group of friends and to his surprise there was a hair on it. The kicker was that his friend said “looks pube-y.”
All of that before led up to this. Delayed for about 30 minutes, when they finally cut the red ribbon that crowd stampeded their way into that exhibition hall. Unfortunately I didn’t get to take pictures of the people in the exhibit hall. Mainly because I ended up learning how to play Cardfight! Vanguard and Weiß Schwarz by collective card game company Bushiroad. Personally those card games have really weird rules that make Magic The Gathering look like Yugioh. Then I got corrected by a real MTG player and I quote “If you ever took up law, then that’s basically MTG.”
These are just a bunch of people I found while scoping out the booths of the several American anime companies bringing anime here in the ol’ Red, White n’ Blue (Happy July 4th PST). First off we got The Blue Spirit from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Next we got the Eva-01 unit from Evangelion, that suit/cosplay was awesome. He made it so that whenever he talks the mouth of his mask moves and he had a built in speaker system. Following that up we have the plethora of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic cosplayers piling up for a contest. And lastly we have Megumi Han a voice actress with a legacy and by that I mean she’s the daughter of Keiko Han. Keiko-san is most known for playing Luna and Queen Berryl of the original Sailor Moon anime. Megumi-tan on the other hand just recently got into the biz and has paved her way into the anime scene. Her most recent credits are as follows: Sumire Hanano of Chihayafuru 2, Akko Kagari from anime studio Trigger’s short film Little Witch Academia, Cheerilee of the Japanese dub of My Little Pony and her main role as Gon Freecss in the Hunter x Hunter remake.
Kara Zor-el. Me loves me some Supergirl….Hey wait a minute, she aint anime related?! Ah whatevs she’s still hot.
Nearing sunset and getting tired I decided it was about time to leave. I had lotso fun sweating my ass off exploring the gigantic convention center right in the heart of downtown LA and taking pictures of cosplayers that I found to be cool. On my way out to the exit I met a guy who just keep yelling “Praise the Sun!” over and over again. On my way to the parking structure outside, I bumped into 2 good bestfriends Kakashi and Tobi. When I finally got outside, I saw the Eva-01 unit again. Looked like it “over heated” because after that shot he just burst out of that thing like a cake.
To end this long ass photo blog, I give you my cosplay pick of the day: Chi from Chobits. Her friend Fionna from Adventure Time was pretty cute too. That’s all I got for now, stay tuned.
Yeesh! That’s all I could say after watching the first two episodes. Before anything, I have to talk about the animation style used in this anime adaptation based on the manga. Lurking the web I can tell that several fans of the manga are totally against the rotoscope animation utilized in this psychological and angst driven story. Actually I don’t think it’s the rotoscoping that’s the problem but actually the execution of it. Movies like Heavy Metal or Fire and Ice used rotoscoping beautifully, the attention to detail of each frame being carefully drawn out mimicking the exact performance of the live action actor. In Aku no Hana the animation quality seems a bit lack luster with a lot of skipped frames which sorta looks more like an amateur art school project. But I feel like it’s animated this way for a reason. The atmosphere of the anime that gives off a very off setting vibe mixed with these visuals that just make you feel uncomfortable was what the studio intended. Not only do the characters experience a form of disconnect from the life they live in but we the audience get to experience that first hand with both the animation and the overall creepiness one gets from watching this.
Alrighty then it’s plot stuff time! Aku no Hana is a doozy of story, it follows the life of Takao Kasuga. He’s somewhat of a bookworm spending a lot of his middle school life reading books in class. He doesn’t read typical middle schooler books but rather reads literature based on the Symbolist movement, particularly Charles Baudelaire and his book Les fleur du mal(The Flowers of Evil) which is where the story got its name from. Now I’m not big into literature nor am I familiar with the Symbolist movement, but the gist of both stories is that they try to embrace the dark side of humanity. This isn’t however some kiddy Tim Burton-esque interpretation of dark themes but rather just a blatant demonstration of the darkness that resides in all of us. Moving back to the plot, Takao being heavily influenced by the decadent works Baudelaire, he is placed in a usually comical situation. He stumbles upon his crush’s P.E. uniform one day after school while he was alone looking for something he left in their classroom. Since every story needs a conflict,a starting point and a relevant motive to the plot to instigate such behavior Takao ends up taking home the uniform. Mentioned earlier, these types of situations in anime are usually comical in nature but this story takes a more dark approach to a somewhat juvenile mistake. So not only is he conflicted with taking the uniform but he also gets caught by one his classmates, the strange Sawa Nakamura. To put it bluntly she’s an anarchist. She hates authority and doesn’t mind blackmailing Takao into doing her bidding. So far that’s all that has happened, Takao gets caught by Nakamura and then the two of them form a contract. And if you’re a fan of a particular anime, you would know that forming a contract with someone is usually a bad idea.
Well to wrap things up, I’ll just tell you all what happens at the end of the 2nd episode. So after forming a contract together, Nakamura orders Takao to meet her after school in the school library. The conversation before hand was that Nakamura was going to help Takao apologize to his crush Nanako Saeki for taking her uniform, you know in order to clear up his conscience or something. So what ends up happening, not only does Nakamura and Takao show up but so does Saeki. Apparently Nakamura went and told Saeki that Takao had something to say to her. Just like a deer in headlights Takao freezes up and is unable to speak. To make him feel more uncomfortable, Nakamura ends up shoving him towards Saeki where he ends up bumping his head into her chest. The episode ends with Saeki walking away in shame.
The story builds up really slowly and in retrospect is uneventful at the start. But after reading the manga immediately after watching the first two episodes, I gotta tell yah, you’re in for quite a clusterfuck of things to come. Mentioned earlier I talked about the creepy atmosphere evident in each episode, the creepiness factor is amplified at the end of each episode thanks to the ending theme.
On a side note:
What is the darkest themed anime you’ve ever encountered? I know there are a lot of anime that sensationalize themes like gore and the like. I’ve yet to encounter an anime that goes into the depths human psyche in a very human way. Most of them approach it metaphorically but here in Aku no Hana its more of a first hand approach. ’til next time my few readers.