Posts Tagged ‘a&g ohio’

A&G Ohio 2010

March 31, 2010

 

For the thrid year in a row I’ve gone to A&G Ohio.  Spent the weekend with a sore back and leg though which cut down on my fun and willingness to do things though. 

A&G had done some really great things for their attendees this year.  Like arrange for free breakfast for whoever stayed at the hotel and cheap lunch and dinner food at the hotel’s restaurant.  Once again they were also very good about getting their schedule out early. 

Panels and Atrium

The con had a panel room and a raised area in the lobby where they did panels.  Putting panels in the atrium had some merit but mostly didn’t work out for the most part.  On one hand it allowed a lot of people to be there and let people check out what was going on easier than in a regular one.  On the other hand there were a lot of distractions of doing it there in the open with everyone going around and the fountain behind you.  There was another room that was barely used too which they could have done a few more things in it. 

There was also lounge room.  Which was several round tables set out for people to relax in.  They had a couple of games in there to play.  I think Apples to Apples was played almost constantly in the room.  They also had popcorn and cotton for sale in there.  The panel room got moved into here on Saturday night cause the panel room AC was out which worked for a few things.  This was a good idea and I’d like to see it back, but it didn’t get used as well as it could have since they had only decided to do it at the last second. 

Vendors Room/Artist Alley

Vendors room was smaller than last year, but had a nice feel to it without for the most part being to cramp. Though there was only one small path into the back and it was blocked most of the weekend which meant when I saw it I’d turned around and headed back out. I got to do all the looking around I wanted and got the things I wanted, it just could have been done a little better maybe.

They also, and I’m shocked to find myself saying this when compared to most other vendor rooms in most other cons, too many anime and manga dealers. Now I really buy most of my anime and manga at cons and it’s what I’m most interested in getting at cons so I like to see a few, but I also like to see other dealers too. I couldn’t really name you what else I’d like to have seen, except maybe more gaming both video and table top, but I’m sure others could suggest things.

Artist Alley had a several cool artists.  Including someone who worked in metal.  Though there were a few artists who didn’t show it was all very nice.  They had a few of the artists up on the atrium which helped to prevent the walkways from being to crowded.  I do have to say it wasn’t to bad to walk by the artist, not much of a jam. 

Guests

They had a great guests list, but it was not utilized very well.  By this I mean there were guests who didn’t, as far as I know, didn’t do any panels or in fact anything. 

There VA guests were Chris Patton, Troy Baker, and D.C. Douglas.  Patton and Baker had both been in anime series that I’ve really like, but Douglas has really just done video games none of which I’ve played.  They were all really great though. 

I attended both Patton and Baker’s  personal panels.  Patton did one called “Chris Patton Shares too Much” where you could ask him any question and he would answer them.  He really did share too much and I am now scared for life.  Though I was already scared so it’s not a big deal.  Baker’s panel was about video games and though I’m not as big a video game player as most of other people it was really cool to see him and other people talk about stuff they were passionate about.  I’ll always remember that panel as the one where the firm alarm went off and we had to exit the building, where we kept talking till we could go back in and continued the panel. 

They had the head of a small game company at the con, this is the one who I don’t know if he did anything.  They had the creator of rebuilt semi to look like the Decepticon Motormaster there to look at.  It was cool to go look at and take pics of and I got to talk to him a little, though at least one Q&A of how he did it would have been nice.  Also of note was that they washed it Friday before the con which cause it to rain the next two days. 

I think the con needs to work on figuring out things to have guests to do and not just expect them or attendees to come up with ideas. 

Music Acts

The big music act I really loved was the nerdcore show with Dualcore,  Shammers, and Lefthand on Saturday.  I had meet Dualcore before at LANville and really like his stuff.  When I saw him at the con he remember me from before and he was happy to see me.  I think he just liked seeing a familiar face.  I hung out with him on and off during the weekend and help with his table of goods to sell.  This was my first time see Shammers and Lefthand, but I’m a fan now too.  They’re a lot of fun to watch and listen too. 

This was the third time being at a con with the Protomen, but only the first time I’ve bothered to go to one of their shows.  They do a Mega Man rock opera that has many die-hard fans.  I sat in the back and listen for a while before Troy Baker’s panel.  I liked what I heard, but since this was Act II on Saturday I don’t think I completely got it.  I need to hear them all the way through at once to really make up my mind, but they are of interest now. 

Gavin Goszka felt sorry for.  He’s talented and does some great music, but all his performances were in the atrium.  Now he played more slow and calming songs so it was nice background music to have in the lobby, but he didn’t really get to show himself off and have a captive audience.  He had a performance on each day and personally I think they should have at least on one day moved him into the lounge for better atmosphere. 

Video Game Rooms

They had three video game rooms and lot’s of systems. The rooms had the usually fare of fighting, FPS, racing, and music games kind of games you have. They do bring in several old school systems and had a game called Mugen projected onto a wall to play. My one really problem was having Rock Band in the one room I played in. So much noisier than that other two.

I actual played in the video game room. I got to try out Dynasty Warriors Gundam. I’m a big Koei games fan and had been wanting to check out this series.

I though there was suppose to be a Golden Eye for the N64 tournament, but never saw any signs for it. Of course I didn’t ask either so it’s really my fault.

Cosplay

Most Common Series Cosplay: Axis Power Hetalia (I think anyways, I don’t really know a lot about that series)

Common Cosplay (thought there was not very many of anyone series like other cons): Bleach, FMA, Kingdom Hearts, Mega Man, Final Fantasy

Personal Faves: Roya and Elemda from Kiba, Cowboy Beebop group, Quailman from Doug, Piccolo from DBZ, and two Eikos from Final Fantasy IX

With my sore back and seeing the same characters over and over again I found myself not takeing as many pictures as usually.  I just couldn’t bring myself to raise my camera up to get yet another picture of Naruto or Cloud.  Also chasing down the good ones just seemed like to much work, so I missed a few I had wanted pictures of.

Final Thoughts

A&G Ohio has an idea of what it wants to be.  It has a feel to it and a style that they try to capture and for the most part do.  They try to be different and do their own thing which is something I respect and like about them.  It’s just that it’s not the kind of thing I really want out of a con.

They’re very big on parties and party like atmosphere.  They’re very open with what all they’ll cover and like silly events.  Not my kind of thing, but I know a lot of people who like that kind of thing, so if you like cons for the big get together and fun things to do kind of feel this might be the con for you.

Toonami’s Anniversary and A&G Ohio

March 17, 2009

Twelve years ago today Toonami was first broadcast. Today it is no longer on. So for this anniversary I’m bringing another Toonami panel review. This time from this past weekend at A & G Ohio. This panel was scheduled at 11pm on Saturday at the same time as the Radical Audio Visual Experience Dance Party (which it if you make into an acronym spells out ‘rave’, I wonder if the con realized that) so I wasn’t sure how attendance was going to be, but turned out well. Wasn’t a packed room, but there were plenty of people.

We had a small room that served our needs. I had a project and some sound system which is always great to have. I also set out some DVDs of different show that had been on Toonami, plus some other props of stuff I didn’t have DVDs of, at the front of the table. I also had remebered to bring some candy to throw to the audience members who asked questions. I didn’t hurt anyone or break anything while tossing them out, but there is always next time. One guy even said “I don’t have a question but can I just have some candy.” I said no.

I started this panel a bit different than past ones. Usually I open with the original Moltar opening, but this time I played the fifth episode of the TIE Intruder, which is the first appearance of TOM 2. This was actualy the first time I had seen this, having missed it when it first premiered and I hadn’t watched it after downloading it.

After playing it and doing a little introduction, Steve Blum made it to the panel. Steve Blum the voice of TOM 2 through TOM 4.

I must admit I was a little nervous about doing a panel with one of my favorite voice actors. Steve was really the first VA’s name I learned and was able to start identifying when I watched anime. I decided that of starting with my own opinions about Toonami or take any questions from the audience, I went with asking Steve some questions about his involvement with Toonami.

(the following is as close to the wording as I can remember)

THF: How did you get the job with Toonami.

Steve Blum: I was at a con….. San Diego Comic Con I think and the Toonami guys came up to me about doing the voice. At this time I didn’t even know what Toonami was. They were wanting to take TOM into a different direction. They had asked me to do the part cause they were big fans of Cowboy Beebop. After accepting the role starting study the part and what Sonny Straight had done.

They described the attitude of TOM to me like this. ‘Imagine that after every line you said… (he stops and turns to the audience) No one here’s under eighteen are they?

THF: (I looked around.) I don’t think so. I hope not, cause I’m not watching my language.

Steve: They said to act as if each line ended with the line ‘you f@*%.’ (laughter from the audience) That was the kind of attitude they wanted. And even as he changed we kept that little smart alec attitude. From a little one to a cute one.

THF: So did you have any input into what TOM got to say or did you have to read straight from a script?

Steve: Really I just read what they had. I few times I got to add a little to it.

THF: Did you ever get to play any of the video games that got reviewed?

Steve: No, the Toonami guys did all that. I always felt we did a lot of main stream stuff and stuff that got like 7’s or 8’s, but I think that’s because these guys really didn’t want to have to play through a game that they didn’t enjoy. And there was the fact that they had to create new animations for each one.

THF: Who was your favorite host of Toonami?

Steve: (Thinks about it for a second) I’d have to say the second TOM.

THF: I find that everyone finds him to be their favorite. (I ask the audience if anyone has a different favorite; no one does) But a lot of the reason I think TOM 2 was so great was we had TOM 1 before him. His big head and little gut.

Steve: I love his big gut. I just want to rub it.

THF: Personally I’d like a bobble head of him.

We started to take questions from the audience then. Most centered around Cartoon Network and their choices about Toonami and anime in general. We talked about how Adult Swim moved their anime so late in the evening. One of the audience members, a dealer from the vendors room who had joined us, brought up how he had heard that there were parents who saw Shin Chan at 11 and got upset about the vulgarity of it. They then just lumped all anime together, declared it inappropriate, and Cartoon Network moved the anime back in the night. Steve didn’t really have contact with any of the people who made these decisions so he couldn’t answer them directly, but he stated that he that what happened with Toonami and Cartoon Network in general was that people who didn’t really care as much about the product had taken over and they didn’t know what to really do with it.

While we talked I cycled through a few different pictures I had about Toonami and projected them onto the wall. When I came to the picture of the death of TOM we all took a moment to mourn him. Steve even went ‘I feel sad for him.’

Someone asked about why episodes were cut from Tenchi’s run. Now I didn’t know what episodes he was talking about cause I thought everything was shown. No one disagreed with me about that. While we talked I pulled up a slide for a power point presentation had worked on for my Toonami panels once on Tenchi. The line ‘original pimp of anime’ brought another burst of laughter from the audience. Skipping that for the moment I focused on the part about ‘digital bikinis and tea’; I talked about the editing they had done to the show and how was actually pretty well done for the most part. The stuff with the ‘tea’ was pretty easy to figure out they were really drinking sake, but that how if you didn’t really pay close attention to the bikinis you wouldn’t have noticed they weren’t digital. I admitted that I did pay close attention to them. I also listed a few of the other shows that they would use the digital bikinis in.

Finally we got the videos. Someone in the audience brought up about having seen one of Harvey Birdman’s enemies in an old bump. I knew just what he was talking about. I played Failed Experiment. People grooved to the nice beat in it, which I pointed out, and the old animation in it. I stopped the video when it got to the point about where to write in your letters. I pointed out how old this was; it had an actual physical address and not an e-mail address. While it played Steve kind of asked, ‘did they really do this?’

I was asked who did the voice for Moltar, having already covered the two voices of TOM. I told them C. Martin Croker who they would know best as Zorak. I had met him at this past Dragon*Con and got his autograph there. That only leaves Sonny Straight’s now to get.

I had a request from a young lady in the audience for some Zoids. She asked for one of the openings, but instead I played the long promo for Chaotic Century. I asked the question about which Zoids was peoples’ favorite and someone wanted to know why Fuzors wasn’t on Toonami. I told her I didn’t know, but I hadn’t heard goo thing about it.

I asked all in attendance if they would take part in an experiment . They said yes so I asked them to closer their eyes. And if they weren’t going to close their eyes at least stay quite. I began to play the long Hamtaro promo. I played for about a minute then stopped. I then asked ‘who wants to watch Hamtaro now’ nearly everyone raised their hands. This is the power of Toonami’s old promos. They were that cool. I had a question about the change in Hamtaro’s opening. I’m still not sure what he was talking about, but I did end up playing the Toonami opening for the show. Which I still feel expresses my feelings on having Hamtaro on Toonami. While it’s the least appropriate show I think they’ve had on their, not being an action show really, it’s still not my least favorite one on there. (cough yugiohpokemon cough)

Steve made a comment about Cullen’s great work announcing on the promos. I said ‘you did some too right?’ and he said yes, but Peter did most of them. I then turned to the audience and asked if they know who the usual announcer for Toonami was, they didn’t so I told them. Peter Cullen, the voice of the original Optimus Prime; the ‘True Prime’ as I put it.

I can’t remember how Megas XLR was brought up but it was the next topic. I played the only thing I had of it. It wasn’t a Toonami one, it was the one Cartoon Network did having Scooby-doo and the gang meet Coup and Jamie. Everyone, including Steve Blum who hadn’t seen it, thought it was great. Someone pointed out how this was the kind of stuff that made Cartoon Network great, stuff made by those who cared.

 

It was asked by the audience if Toonami UK was still around. Sadly it is not, nor is Toonami Japan, or most other Toonami spots around the world. The only I knew that wass still going is Toonami Spain and in the Philippines. It was mentioned that someelse had heard that Australia still had one, though no one in the room could confirm that.

We talked a little bit about IGPX and it’s place in Toonami. Not many people had seen it when it aired, myself including so I played the long promo for them. Talked about it being a coproduced project between Williams Street and Production I.G. I told the story of how when I first heard the idea of the show I thought it was stupid, but then I saw one of those commercials they would do for what’s coming up on Toonami that Saturday. The part about IGPX made me go ‘hey that actual sounds like a cool show, wish I didn’t have t work Saturday nights.’ Steve refereed to the show as “William’s Street’s baby.”

While the long promo ran, I mentioned how while it contained all the usual VAs (motioned to Steve) it also has several surprising VAs. Mark Hamill who did the Joker in Batman: TAS and a little sci-fi series of movies in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Michelle Rodriguez as one of the leads and does a surprisingly good job. The star of Kingdom Hearts, Haley Joel Osment as the lead. Also, the coach of the main team was voiced by Lance Henriksen who was the Bishop in the Alien Movies and the star of the tv show Millinum. I related my story of having met him at Dragon*Con this past year. Like most sci-fi guests at such cons who charges a small fee for an autograph; he was $20 which I find fair at these things, but when he saw that I wanted him to sign one of my IGPX DVD covers who stopped me and said to his assistant “we can’t charge this guy.”

I felt at this point that there had been a lot of talk about anime, so I decided to bring up the non-anime shows of Toonami. I played a Reboot promo and asked they audience what their favorites were. Someone said Pirates of the Dark Water, but I corrected him about how while it was on Cartoon Network it wasn’t on Toonami. I asked if anyone remember the Real Adventures of Johny Quest and there was actually a little cheer for it which kind of surprised me that so many of them remembered it. I told them all that it would be out of DVD later this year, which several of them were happy about.

The vendor in the room (who is a really fun guy to meet he owns a store in Toldeo Ohio called Anigames; check it out if you’re ever in the area) talked about how he still sells stuff like Outlaw Star and .hack/sign. He felt that getting the exposure on Toonami really helped these shows to create fan base they wouldn’t have gotten other wise.

I finally got to talking about the music of Toonami. I took them through the history of it. Talking about John Boyd Vigil, his work, and the album he put out. DJ Clarknova, his mixes, and Black Hole Megamix. I asked Steve if he remembered having to record anything for that but he didn’t. I made mention of Cullen’s going “fo’ shizle” one of the tracks. This both stunned and amazed the audience. Then a quick mention of Ninja Tunes. Even brought up how they had a lot of their stuff put into the American version of IGPX while the Japanese version didn’t have the time to have stuff like that added in. I even brought up DJ Calus’s Rare, Restored, and Recut and how it was a reaction to the Black Hole Megamix; wanting to hear the music without audio samples over it.

Earlier someone had seen that I had something Naruto in my videos and had asked about it. I finally played it as an example of the last really good promo of Toonami. It had a great music to it and gave you a good feel for the series. During the parts with Zabuza Steve would point to the screen. He does the voice of him.

At about 12:02 the head of the panels came in and told us we had to pack up for the next one. I gave him a hard time about cause we know each other. I think he had thought that I would have ended the panel earlier so the next one could get ready, but I would have talked till dawn if he had let me. So we ended and I put my stuff away. I was still getting people coming up to me as I put stuff up with questions and comments. Man I love these panels.

I’d like thank everyone who can to the panel, everyone who asked questions, the girl who turned down the lights when I played a video, Steve Blum, the con for letting me do the panel, and all who are reading this.

Ah why not…….. Bang!