Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 2 at NYAF/NYCC: The Geeks Have Multiplied

First of all, the Internet signal strength at the Javits Center has been sketchy and unreliable, which has made it difficult for me to blog, tweet, and update Facebook as often as I'd like. I'll stop whining now.

Day 2 of the New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con has been just as eye-opening as the first day. Today being Saturday, the crowd is much, much larger, and the lines for everything - to enter the Javits Center, to use the restroom, to buy food, to play video games - are subsequently longer. The geeks are out in full force.

This is one line, folks.

People have been nice here, offering me insight into how anime and Japanese culture fit into their worlds. There are different factions of people who like anime, manga, comic books, etc. I'm learning that you can't lump all geeks into one geeky category. Each has its own level of extremism.

She seems harmless, although mildly obsessed with Hello Kitty.

She's into the whole Victorian Lolita thing and probably wouldn't hang out with the Hello Kitty above.

And this guy is, well, I really just don't know what to say about him.

Personally, this event has been much more than checking out people who are into dressing up. I've sat in on panel discussions that have been intelligent and thought-provoking. Today, I attended the panel for Far East to East Showcase (FETES), a concert taking place Sunday night at Irving Plaza. Performing at the show are Zazen Boys (not in attendance at the panel), Echostream, Boom Boom Satellites, and Puffy AmiYumi. The panel was moderated by a representative of Superglorious (actually, he introduced himself as Superglorious), the producer of the event.

FETES panel (from left): Superglorious, Echostream, Puffy AmiYumi, and Boom Boom Satellites.

All of the band members were shy at first, but they warmed up as Superglorious asked them questions. They talked about writing music, touring, American audiences (described as being "more direct than Japanese fans" by Puffy). Then the floor was opened to mostly dumb questions from the crowd. I doubt these musicians flew all the way from Japan to guess what character a guy was cosplaying. I shouldn't be rude; as my friend Kim Kindya, a 20-year veteran of these kinds of conventions, put it, this is the only chance these fans have to see their heroes. I should be more forgiving. But I did think it was stupid when one guy asked if Puffy were single. I suppose that was the directness Puffy mentioned.

Another informative panel was a joint venture between Purple Sky Magazine and Samurai Beat Radio called "Pitching Japanese Music to American Media." As a writer, I was interested in how freelance writers should pitch media outlets to write stories about practically unknown Japanese bands.

Purple Sky and SBR both discussed the difficulties they face when dealing with Japanese band managers. Sometimes their journalistic senses are compromised when they're forced to ask pre-determined questions rather than their own questions. Overall, it's a challenge worth facing so they can continue to expose listeners in America to Japanese music.

Time to go to the next panel, an announcement between comic book king Stan Lee and X Japan front man Yoshiki. Not that I'm geeked out about it.

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