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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/10/2008 Archived Entry: "New York Anime Festival 2008"

New York Anime Festival 2008
by I-hsiu Lin
Photographed by I-hsiu Lin

Similar to last year, the New York Anime Festival boast a huge Dealer's Room, though many of the major publishing companies was absent like Tokyopop and DMP. (I think they were focused on Yaoi-Con on the west coast which was happening that same weekend.) Those that appeared had many things in store for the convention goers. Besides the voice actors and guests that were part of the original convention scheduling, Bandai Entertainment and Funimation brought in their cast to promote Claymore, Darker then Black, Gurren Lagann and Gundam 00. There were signings and events at their booth throughout the weekend.

Friday, September 26

A bit of Funimation

I was late to the Funimation panel since I was getting a poster signed by Brad Swaile (voice actor for Setsuna from Gundam 00.) I found Linda and Jilly at the panel and Linda asked about the possible licensing of Dr. Slump since they already licensed and am re-releasing the various Dragon Ball series. The answer was that it was unlikely. I asked about the licensing for Kyou Kara Maoh season 3 since they bought the licenses from the now defunct Geneon. The reps stated that they hope to get the series as well.

Iron Chef Morimoto

Masaharu Morimoto entered the room decked in a traditional Japanese hakama and kimono. He opens the panel with the ceremonial 'tying sleeves up with one rope' that I've never been able to do. (It's what Chihiro did in Sprited Away before she walked across the pipe.) The tying ended with a Japanese phrase and much applause from the audience. Please note that Morimoto spoke English. Even though his accent made it difficult to understand some of his words, his light hearted and funny comments still got through to everyone. Morimoto opened the panel up with information on a new Iron Chef game coming out for the Wii. Now anyone can challenge an Iron Chef! Morimoto: 'Let me know if you beat me!'

The very first question started with 'First off, you're amazing...' Morimoto: 'I know, I know.' *crowd laughs* Turns out, the audience member's brother was one of Morimoto's challengers on the show, Iron Chef, though I didn't catch the brother's name. Morimoto was inspired to become a chef because his mother wasn't the best cook. (Though that answer made his mother sad at another interview.) Of course there were lots of hardcore 'Iron Chef' questions. Someone inquired about his current relationship with Bobby Flay (after the cutting board debacle so many years ago) which he responded that everything is fine between them and they were still friends. Morimoto: 'I get asked that alot.' I asked about the hints that Iron Chefs were given prior to the matches concerning the secret ingredient. There were 5 hints in Japan and 3 hints in the US. Besides the hints, Morimoto mentioned that he keeps an eye out for what Fuji TV buys from the market. Morimoto: 'Ah, they bought 50 kilos of snappers, it'll be snappers.' He spoke about the stress of being an Iron Chef as well as the honor of being part of the show.

His favorite cooking is his wife's cooking. The best restaurant in all of Tokyo is 'Morimoto in Roppongi!' The best sake? 'Morimoto sake!' He has many restaurants all over the world. He feels that the decor of the restaurant and style/taste of the food incorporates the feel of the location. When he was picking a name for his restaurant in NY, he found out that there is already a restaurant named 'Mori', 'Moto', 'Masa' and 'Haru'. When asking if 'Morimoto' is too long of a name, people confirm that it's not which is why that is the name of his current restaurant. When not cooking he loves to sleep. Morimoto also quipped that he is actually on a diet, mostly eating vegetables and occasionally chicken, but he can't lose too much weight since being a super skinny chef doesn't really give off a good impression to customers. *audience laughs*

Of course, since we were at an anime convention, someone asked about manga he read as a child. Morimoto stated that he used to read sports manga, mainly a boxing one.

Masaharu Morimoto is a chef with many restaurants opened all over the world. He was also Iron Chef Japanese on both the US and original Japanese cooking competition show 'Iron Chef' on Food Network. His establishment, 'Morimoto' in New York City was the location of the convention�s After Party.

Vampire Knight author, Hideuki Kikuchi and translator/interpreter Kevin Leahy

The interpreter for the Hideyuki Kikuchi panel was Kevin Leahy, the translator for the Vampire Hunter D novels. During the intro questions, we find out that Kikuchi is a hikkimori (someone who likes to stay at home,) and he started by writing short stories in magazines before being asked to write novels. His first novel was Demon City Shinjuku which was inspired by the movie 'Escape from New York', directed by John Carpenter. When thinking of what he wants to write, he thinks about the location and hero and after that decision, he fleshes out the characters. However, he never really knows the entirety of the story when he starts writing. Series like Vampire Hunter D does not have a prospective end...since the publisher doesn't want him to end it. Of course, us readers don�t mind. His inspiration for the Vampire Hunter D series is from the old western movie, 'Shane' and references from various movies appear in the series as well. He mentioned that he gets embarrassed when people catch the references. *laughter ensues* He has written over 300 stories/novels and when asked how he works, Kikuchi responds that he doesn't sleep at night. He still does all his writing by hand and Leahy noted that throughout the airplane ride from Japan to the US, Kikuchi wrote practically non-stop. His personal best was 94 pages in one day. As for the manga, Kikuchi-sensei feels that the manga sticks very close to the source material. His favorite Vampire novels are the first volume, the third one, Demon Deathchase and the two parter, Mysterious Journey to the North Sea. What surprised Kikuchi was that in the anime, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust that was based off of Demon Deathchase, the producers gave the girl a name when she didn't have one in the original story.

His Alien series was initially the most popular series in Japan until the Vampire Hunter D anime came out which pushed his Vampire series to number 1. Kikuchi first meeting with Leahy was an interesting one: Leahy appeared in the audience of one of his talkshows in Japan. Kikuchi thought that Leahy wandered in drunk and lost, but he kept on showing up to subsequent shows. By that time, Leahy had already translated the first vol. of the Vampire series. And of course, Leahy was asked to continue the translations. Leahy mentioned that he doesn't have that much time to read since he is translating all the time. Kikuchi mentioned that there is no other D (the main character of the Vampire series) except Amano�s D...though he wishes that he would draw him a bit nicer. *audience laughs* Then Kikuchi realized that Amano was sitting in the audience. Kikuchi stated that we should warn him next time and he asks us not to ask anymore questions about Amano. *more laughter* Finally, Kikuchi mentioned that he'll be writing something specifically for the western audience.

Hideyuki Kikcuhi is the author and creator of the Vampire Hunter D series, Demon City Shinjuku and the famed Alien series. Both Vampire Hunter D and Demon City Shinjuku has been made into an anime.

Kitty Media: Yaoi and Yuri...and more yaoi

The panel was for yaoi and yuri, but everyone wants to talk about yaoi first. However, managing editor, Frank Pannone introduced their first yuri title by Kitty Media, Maka Maka. It's a larger then tankoban sized manga and the English version will be exactly the same as the Japanese version, complete with the obi and dustjacket covers. With the obi on, you see two girls. Take off the obi cover, the two girls are naked. Take off the dust jacket, the two girls are making out. And it's a beautiful story by Torajirou Kishi. For about $20 which is a comparable price to the Japanese version, it's a must-have for yuri fans.

Everyone loves Ayano Yamane so Kitty Media will try to get more series from her. (Though I truly doubt the Finder series will be one of them, though many are still hoping.) Fujoshi Rumi (a series about a yaoi-loving girl) vol. 3 will be out early next year. Kitty Media will have something released once a month next year so fans can look forward to that. There are no plans to license the anime Winter Cicada yet. There will be no light novels since it's pretty intensive work. Pannone can't talk about Antique Bakery Kitty Media might be getting it, might be in the process of getting it...or not getting it at all. He is not allowed to say. One thing he can say is that they're thinking about doing BL games.

Funny fact: Pannone wanted to have a kitty boy for the yaoi licenses since there is always the kitty girl logo. However, the decision was shot down.

Earliest yaoi/BL title was Fake and best selling is Skyscrapers of Oz by Yoshino Somei and Row Takakura. There were some giveaways with promise of more at the Yaoi Roundtable panel (which was coming up next.) Linda won Because I'm Boy for answering the question of the first yuri title, which was of course Maka Maka.

Kitty Media is the adult line for Media Blasters. They regularly release boys love manga and anime as well as hentai with a start on yuri or girls love titles.

Yaoi Rountable

Yaoi Roundtable is basically an open discussion of various anime. Slides of various pics were shown, the first being from Kaze to Ki no Uta manga which is classic yaoi...the first of it's kind. We also had some pics of Crimson Spell by Ayano Yamane. Pannone mentioned that when the book first came out, Yamane named the main character as 'Bald'. However, after the first edition was released, the mangaka realized what 'Bald' meant and had the name changed to 'Vald'.

One of the topics that were brought up to be discussed was whether or not gay guys in Japan read BL. The case should be not so much since there are manga series that is geared towards gay guys. However, there are some that do read BL in Japan and here as well. Pannone got his Japanese yaoi expert on the speakerphone (who was at Yaoi-con) to comment on it. Though they couldn't communicate very well via speakerphone and much of the conversation was garbled, it made for an interesting panel moment. There were tons of awesome giveaways at the end...including autographed manga by Mikiyo Tsuda (mangaka of Princess Princess) and Eiki Eiki (mangaka of Dear Myself.) Unfortunately, I didn't win. Winners were pulled from names written on paper and most of the winners that were called turned out to be male.

Please stay tuned for the next part of this con report!

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