Month: June 2017

Fandom Report for Jun 29 17: Prelude to Anime Expo

I’ll be presenting at Anime Expo starting tomorrow, and reporting from Los Angeles for JAMS Anime. For more Fandom Report on anime, manga, and video games, click here.

And for advice on packing for Anime Expo and other conventions, click here.

Anime and Cosplay

Here’s your Death Note poster.

There is a web series of awkward comedy and cosplay.

Stan Lee and Hiroshi Nagahama’s The Reflection superhero anime will have the Hulk as an idol singer.

 

The new opening for My Hero Academia is out, along with a preview poster, character models, and casting info.

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Packing for a Convention

I take trains or planes to 3 to 5 conventions per year, traveling across time zones and multiple states to get to them all with as little weight and difficulty as possible. I attend many of these conventions because I work in administration–including organization, management, marketing, and promotion–and I attend others as a presenter or just for fun.

I want to share advice for how to best pack luggage to make the most of your convention for your professional and leisure purposes, as well as to keep down weight, prices, and airplane and train hassle. Based on my 10 years experience presenting, managing, promoting, and organizing at annual conventions, I can advise how to prepare for your traveling experience!

This advice is directed to people traveling alone to attend conventions as speakers or attendees. While this advice may be helpful to vendors, the amount of materials to transport will require additional considerations, including whether it is more productive to have materials shipped in advance to be received at the convention’s location or a nearby office and mailing store. Please share in the comments below or tweet @dereksmcgrath additional travel advice, especially for how to travel with children and families.

An earlier version of this post appeared at the Japanese, Anime, and Manga Studies Association. While this post still applies to fan conventions, its revisions are directed to those attending academic conventions. 

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My upcoming cons: Presenting at and reporting from #AX2017–teaching, melancholia, nostalgia, and more!

Anime Expo will take place June 30 to July 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I’m happy to return to AX as a presenter once again–and now also as both a special guest contributor and an on-site reporter for the new site JAMS Anime. Anime Expo is the perfect opportunity for me to continue my work in scholarship, news, and analysis at a location that brings together different elements of the anime community–journalists, industry leaders, scholars, and fans all around–for discussion about Japanese popular culture, in the United States and elsewhere.

My schedule includes:

  • July 1, 8 PM Pacific: Presenting ” ‘Ha Ha! Boring’: Nostalgia and Melancholia in Servamp and Anime Fan Communities,” Live Programming 4 (LP4 / Room 411)
  • July 4, 2:30 PM Pacific: Participating in the special guest panel, “Teaching Happiness: Using Anime and Manga as Educational Tools,” Live Programming 4 (LP4 / Room 411)
  • Reporting all updates and announcements about upcoming anime and manga on Twitter @JAMS_ Anime.

More information is below about these presentations, JAMS, and a conference panel CFP for scholars interested in talking about how they teach anime and manga.

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With Bakugo, “My Hero Academia” shows your fave is problematic

“Todoroki vs Bakugo,” My Hero Academia, Episode 25
Adapting Issues 42, 43, and 44 of the manga, available from Viz
Anime available at CrunchyRoll and Funimation

Well, that was an ending–and, in terms of doing more with Bakugo and the animation, it’s somehow more disappointing than the manga’s version.

Granted, “Todoroki vs Bakugo” improved upon some details from the source material, including the already effective reunion of Todoroki and his mother, and clarified Midnight’s powers, something not as clear in the comic panels and gutters (despite the clue in her name). Comics are thus a double-edge sword. Composed of panels, they are a series of frozen moments, so they cannot communicate movement as easily as animation without having more page space to extend that action into multiple panels. However, the benefit to comics is that they tend to allow audiences to sit and meditate for the longest time on moments frozen in time, like All Might’s heartfelt outreach to Tokoyami and Todoroki, or the humor behind Bakugo’s fury. Meanwhile, when I saw Bakugo shaking in his chains, I wasn’t amused–I was horrified, because whereas characters like Todoroki, Izuku, and Ochaco have reached tenuous resolution to their plots, Bakugo and Iida have not–and Bakugo lacks the kind of sympathetic background to his story. The flashbacks in the cold opening improve upon the manga so as to clarify why we should sympathize with Bakugo–and it’s still difficult.

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The acting, music, and Stain’s introduction save a less thrilling “My Hero Academia”

“Fight on, Iida!” My Hero Academia Season 2 Episode 24
An adaptation of Issues 40 to 42 of the manga, available from Viz
Anime available on CrunchyRoll and Funimation

I told you things would get less interesting after Todoroki defeated Izuku–and I’m happy to be proven mostly wrong.

As I had said, following a climax, the descending action has to be less emotionally exciting in order to arrive at resolution. With yet another episode opting for a recap of the previous episode, rather than the traditional cold opening (and to save minutes for new content), we have our resolution: Izuku realizes there are ways to be heroic rather than just victory in combat, and Todoroki is on his way to recognizing he is not fated to be like his parents. The rest is falling into place, and it’s kind of boring: members of Class 1A are in the semi-finals, we don’t get to see much more of Class 1B, it’s all male combatants in the last round, and since the protagonist Izuku is not one of them, attention on how that Sports Festival wraps up is less interesting. Even the animated battles presented that eliminate Mina, Ibara, Tokoyami, and Iida are shorter and hence less visually impressive just on the basis of time, characters, and budget.

What I neglected to emphasize is that often the resolution is tied to closure–and boy, did All Might’s revelation bring closure and hit an emotional target that, if not exciting, with the acting in the English dub by Justin Briner and Christopher Sabat, and accompanied by the musical score, was cathartic. Add to this episode the continued work to make Bakugo more complex, the introduction of Stain to set up the next arc, and the witnessing of Stain’s brutality and how it will put titular character Iida into the spotlight, and My Hero Academia continues to surprise.

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In its Season 2 climax, “My Hero Academia” is on fire

“Shoto Todoroki: Origin.” My Hero Academia Episode 23 (Season 2, Episode 10)

There is a lot to cover to cover in this episode, from how it deconstructs the “stuffed in the fridge” trope and the brooding superhero’s tragic backstory, as well as adding more to the analysis by others of animator Yutaka Nakamura, Studio BONES, and yutapon cubes.

While the animation is what will bring new viewers to this series, as with any story, its success depends first on plot, then characters, before its production–in this case, animation, acting, and music–can be appreciated. Without this plot, in which Izuku and Todoroki are both motivated to be heroes by All Might, there would be no episode.

And, unfortunately, as we have given Izuku and Todoroki their resolution, like after any climax, things are going to get a bit less interesting.

Tagging for spoilers, as well as trigger warnings about spousal abuse, rape, violence against children, scolding, and me cursing out Mark Millar.

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