My Panel Plans for AB2014

Before I start, preregistration is now live. Register by the end of November and save $15!
AB2014 will be my 3rd year as a panelist (WOOT!). This time I am looking to do four panels, two of which I am looking for someone to do the panel with this time around.

Of the panels I’ve done in the past, the following I can say for sure will definitely be back in March:

1. Clannad: The Place Where Wishes Come True (60 Mins): I will play clips from the Recap Episode duriing the panel. The quiz will not return but I will throw in some random facts about Clannad throughout the slideshow. As before, this panel will definitely be Saturday night.

2. Court Records: Ace Attorney (60 or 90 Mins): It will be more or less like how I did it last year plus info on Dual Destinies and extra info on the Ace Attorney movies (worth checking out in my opinion, mind you). If I can’t get someone to do this with me it will be 60 minutes and it will be late Sunday morning.

That’s it.

I’m looking for one or two people to help me do the Ace Attorney panel. If I can get help it will be 60 minutes, allowing me to commit 45 of those 90 minutes to a mock trial Ace Attorney style. It stole the show last year and it would be so much easier for me to do it next year. Cosplayers preferred but not required =D

If I can’t get help I’ll still do the mock trial it will be much shorter than the one I did last year.

As for my Fan Fiction Panel I will do it only if someone agrees to do it with me. I have no idea how I made it through the 90-minute marathon last year but I made it! I’m not in a rush to go through that alone again, though (LOL!). I am going to ask Lauren G., who is also a member of AB staff if she’d be interested in doing it with me but I wanna ask other folks too just in case. If I can’t get someone to do this panel with me I won’t do it this time. I’m expecting to do another panel afterward and would rather avoid a repeat of this year where I was scrambling to go to my next panel and get set up.

Before I talk about new panels I might do please keep in mind that panelists need to be pre-registered in order to run a panel at Anime Boston. I am going to ask the same of those interested in doing a panel with me. Please be registered for the Con by December 31 at 11:59PM. If you are interested in being a Co-panelist with me please email me at bthomas04@gmail.com or PM me. PM me only if you know for sure you’re up for it.

Now for the new panels:

* Persona 4: Pursuing My True Self (60 Minutes) will cover both the Anime and the Video Game, both of which I have (I have the Vita version of the video game). I will play clips from the Director’s Cut version of the first episode of the Anime during the panel. I will also have screenshots from the Vita version as well. I’m hoping to slot this panel on Friday afternoon or early Sunday morning.

* Flights of Fancy (30 Minutes) will cover the Anime and Manga series Ah! My Goddess! I will also field some questions from the audience of what they would ask for if given their very own wish. If I go forward with it, it will be Friday morning or around Opening Ceremonies (before or after).

* Chaos Theory: Fire Emblem Awakening (60 Minutes) focuses on the game and some of its inconsistencies. I will also take a shot at revealing what I think would be the canon pairings. If I were to go forward with it, it will be early Sunday morning or Friday afternoon.

So out of the above I am leaning toward doing the Persona Panel. My Clannad and Ace Attorney Panels will definitely happen and likely the Persona one as well if I can. If I end up not doing the Fanfiction panel I will do one of the other ones instead and save the one I don’t do for next year.

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Ten Timeless Anime You Must See

Some of ’em are in my Top Ten Faves and some of them are not. Here’s my list of Ten Anime that I think have or will stand the test of time:

#10: Cowboy Beebop

There’s a reason this Anime lives on in reruns Sunday mornings on Adult Swim/Toonami. This timeless Anime has been been around for nearly 15 years and is an outstanding entry-level Anime.

#9: Samurai Champloo

I got the series on DVD at Anime Boston in April after watching it on Netflix for nearly two years. This Anime’s got a little bit of everything and as such you’ll find yourself falling in love with the characters every time you watch it.

#8: Death Note

It’s hard to believe seven years ago this was one of, if not the Anime to watch worldwide. This Anime spawned a trio of live-action movies all dubbed by the Anime’s English Voice Actors and a slew of spinoffs in manga form.  Like most of the Anime on this list it’s hit or miss though few can deny it’s more than earned its place in Anime history.

#7: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

I admit I haven’t watched this Anime much though I have seen it on Adult Swim/Toonami alot over the last 10 years. As the subtitle says this is a meta-sequel to the original Ghost in the Shell. It was an instant hit and can still be found on the Sunday morning lineup.

#6: Naruto

The anime that defined a generation, it’s hard to imagine how things would have looked without it. The ever-popular Anime will be talked about for decades to come.

#5: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The original FMA was quickly forgotten when FMA:B began airing. Unlike the orinal anime, Brotherhood is a more faithful adaptation of the Manga. There is also far less filler and a deeper and more engaging story to it. I myself have purchased most of the series on iTunes and Xbox Live.

#4: Pokemon (Indigo League + First 2 Movies)

Nearly 20 years have passed since the Anime first aired. Although several “Gens” have passed since 1995 none is looked at more fondly than the first season.

#3: Dragonball Z (Plus all the movies)

There are so many dubs and edits of both the Anime Series AND the movies it’s a wonder the voice actors on both sides of the pacific aren’t filthy stinking rich. DBZ is one of the few anime to go mainstream that has remained a fan favorite almost 20 years later.  Its most recent iteration, Kai currently airs on Nickelodeon (and yes, Kai is heavily censored). I bought a few choice episodes from Xbox Live and iTunes (Uncut as it should be) though. Each of DBZ’s Sagas–Saiyan, Vegeta, Namek, Frieza, Garlic Jr., Future Trunks, Android, Cell, Otherworld Tournament, Saiyaman, World Tournament, Babidi, Majin Buu, Fusion, Super Buu and Kid Buu–are easily a season or three each. Everyone’s got their favorites. Mine is Classic Frieza vs. Goku battle on Namek. There’s nothing like a fight to the finish on a dying planet!

#2: Clannad (Plus After Story)

My personal all-time fave, I am doing a panel on this Anime at Anime Boston every year to make sure it’s never forgotten to time. A cast of characters with everyday problems most people can relate to.  David Matranga’s role as Tomoya Okazaki is easily my favorite out of all the characters he’s dubbed.

#1: InuYasha

Quite possibly the most prolific Anime after DBZ over the last 20 years, InuYasha created the mold when it comes to introducing an Anime seeped with Japanese culture to North America. InuYasha is also unique in the aspect it lasted nine seasons (7 regular seasons and 24-episode series finale in the West), something that has become a rarity in an Anime since the turn of the century.

…That’s my list.

Two more Anime that should get honorable mentions are Fruits Basket and Bleach. Both have made their mark and Bleach especially has already cemeted its place in Manga history.

 

Review: Persona 4: The Animation

Hopefully some of you saw the review I did of the game this Anime is based on. If not, go see it after you’re done reading this. Unlike most of the Anime based on a video game I’ve seen up to now, Persona 4 (henceforth P4) can be followed by anyone weather or not they’re familiar with the game it’s based on. With the way the Vita version I reviewed is presented, I actually thought the Anime came first (LOL).

Notice I said VIta version. Persona 4 was previously released on the PS3 and the PS2. My understanding is the same team that worked on the Anime and the PS3 game basically built the Vita version from scratch. I left quite a few things out of my review of the game but I am including them here since I’m focusing on the storyline in my review of the Anime.

For starters, the Anime itself is 25 episodes long spanning two seasons. There is an extended cut version of the first episode included with the first season. Now for those who’ve only played the game you may be wondering how much of the game made the cut.

Just about everything did:

  • All of the kidnappings happen in the same order they do in the games. The only change is the space between their rescue and recovery, which is skipped over to when they’re fully recovered.
  • Everyone the player character encounters in the game except Marie (who is exclusive to the Vita version of the game) made the cut and has multiple lines.
  • Like in the game Narakami uses multiple Personas, most notably while fighting Naoto’s Shadow and the final boss (not naming due to massive spoilers).
  • The attendant makes the cut though he isn’t heard from after he’s introduced.
  • Yes, the “Beauty” Pageant made it in, too. (WOOT!)

One interesting (or not?) change from the games presumably done to keep the Shippers happy is they didn’t pair the main characters. Narakami x Rise, Narakami x Ai and Kanji x Naoto were teased but that’s as far as it went. As I mentioned above the Vita version of the game introduces a new character who, once you’ve capped your bond with her gives you an extra ending. She is not included in the Anime presumably because the Vita version came after the Anime was done and The Velvet Room only appeared for about a minute at the beginning of each episode.

They didn’t hold back when they converted the game into Anime. It’s obvious to me they had fun putting the Anime together. Even if you played the game(s) first you’ll fall in love with the characters all over again. Like I said though, the Anime is essentially the same as the game in terms of content. I’d be fine letting a mature 12 year old watch it by themselves though.

Overall I give Persona 4: The Animation a 10 out of 10 for the same reason I gave the game the same rating: Everything together from the music to the storyline is executed flawlessly. Even the “ok, we’re going to skip ahead here” moments are subtly touched on without making a big deal out of it.

For me, the main selling point of both the Anime and game(s) are the lessons learned.

Let’s go over a few of them:

  • Everyone has a side (except Narakami, LOL) of themselves they don’t want anyone else to know about. A tutorial on the Theory of Persona is actually included in the Vita version (as well as the previous Persona games) that goes into detail on what a Persona is and how everyone subconsciously uses one for every single person the interact with. I’m talking about the real word itself, not the game and anime stuff.
  • For just aobut everyone (except Narakami), your most powerful enemy is actually yourself. The boss music in the Anime and games is called I’ll Face Myself for a reason. The characters are facing their own worst nightmare: A physical manifestation of their fears and anguish. For those who defeat their shadows and in turn gain the power of Persona, their Persona takes on the form of how they view themselves as heroes.
  • The characters all have aspects of themselves or their lives they’d like to be free of (except Narakami), hence why they deny their Shadows as a part of them at first. In refusing to accept their innermost thoughts and feelings made manifest they’re nearly killed. After they accept their Shadows as a part of them, yes they gain the power of Persona but more importantly, they’re stronger as individuals because of it.
  • With the Dojimas, Ryotaro was so obsessed with finding the guy who killed his wife he neglected Nanako. Thanks to Narakami Father and Daughter were able to come to an understanding about their feelings for each other and their deceased loved one.
  • Kanji and Naoto both have a complex about their sexual identities. With Kanji, he’s your textbook jock but he like cute things. With Naoto, she’s a girl who pretends to be a boy so she can be the cliche boy detective genius. After they face their shadows they come to accept these respective aspects about themselves.

…Whew, that was very tech-heavy!

Now as to the question of what would happen if I faced my “Other Self”, I’m strong enough to say I’ve been there already and at the moment of truth I accepted reality. Are the stuff about me I don’t want anyone else to know? Nope. The only thing that comes even remotely close on that list I’ve already put out there in both my Fanfics and Original stories.

Let me shrink that last paragraph into 5 words: I have nothing to hide. I’ve already proven it earlier this year. Yes, there are some things that just shouldn’t be shared but you get the idea. If someone else announced them to the world I’d be mad at whoever did it but I’d accept it as the truth. I’m even going to do a video to prove it.

Watch my main blog for ther video sometime next month.