Tag Archive: Neon Alley


The view from my hotel toom every morning... life didn't suck

The view from my hotel toom every morning… life didn’t suck

Woke up bright and early Friday morning. I had a lovely breakfast of Italian cold cuts, cheese and some of a wonderful gluten-free baguette from Mariposa bakery. Not exactly what anyone would consider breakfast, but it was worth it. I had to make sure that I was going to be ready to have another day fairly packed with panels… not even enough time to really get lunch.

After finishing breakfast it was time to herd back in to the expansive convention center. It feels both huge and crowded when you’re looking at about 120,000 people in one place.

I quickly made my way to the Neon Alley panel.
Thankfully I made it in time to get a decent seat for the Neon Alley panel. I’m not a huge fan of sitting way in the back for anything… well except for when I was in high school, but that was for entirely different reasons… and I digress.

So, the Neon Alley panel was largely similar to Viz Media panel as Neon Alley is run by Viz. Like their specialized panels, they tend to focus on what the panel is about.

In this case they’re focusing on Neon Alley. So, they start by talking about what Neon Alley is about.

Hercules and Megara

Hercules and Megara

Before last year, Neon Alley was a subscription-based online channel. They wound run shows on a timetable. They dropped that model in favor of just having a Hulu channel where they stream anime on demand. This is a huge change, and makes it easier to both see what you want, when you want and to be able to binge-watch series.

They then told us what they are currently showing on the Neon Alley Hulu channel. So, what are they showing on Neon Alley?

Here’s a list: Sailor Moon (subbed, dubbed coming soon), Naruto Shippunden (dubbed), Ranma ½, Bleach (up to episode 205 both dubbed and subbed), Death Note (dubbed and subbed), Vampire Knight (dubbed and subbed), Inuyasha (entire series, dubbed and subbed), Blood Lad, Gargantia (dubbed). Starting in fall they will be showing Naruto: Rock Lee and Ninja Pals.

Last month they said they were going to have Bleach up to episode 229. They also were going to have

Love that I found Link with the Postman. Looks like the Bunny Hood really works.

Love that I found Link with the Postman. Looks like the Bunny Hood really works.

12 new episodes of Naruto. They also put up 13 more Nura episodes (for you Nura fans out there).

Other then that, it was largely a lot like the Viz Media panel. There wasn’t any news that was specially held specifically for this panel. They did, however, talk a bit about what they were planning for their Sailor Moon panel on Saturday.

After that, I made my way to my next panel. For the first time in 3 years I finally made it to the Comics Art Conference. They always seem to have interesting topics, but I’ve always had other panels the same time. I finally made it this year.

I made it to the panel on sexism, gender and comics. It sounds like an interesting enough topic. Something that seemed to largely been discussed this year.
The topic itself was interesting. The Comic Arts Conference is a place for scholars to present their papers on to comic fans. That means that not everyone is going to be as equally engaging. That was the problem that I ran in to. The topic itself and the papers on their own were interesting. The people presenting them were not as engaging. So, I found myself less interested as the panel went on.

The papers being presented were on the following: A Methodology for the Analyzing of Sexism in

Child Deadpool is ready to fight some crime... or make witty remarks.

Child Deadpool is ready to fight some crime… or make witty remarks.

Comics: Birds of Prey, Love Slaves and Wonder Woman, Golden Age of Wonder Woman (this one had an interesting discussion of psychology) and Abjection and Objectification of Motherhood in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

All interesting titles, but the presenters lacked the charisma to keep me truly engaged. In many ways that made me sad. Since they’re dealing with more scholarly subjects, you have to find a way to make this more engaging.

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This was an amazing crossplay of the Riddler.

This was an amazing crossplay of the Riddler.

After the Titan panel, I stayed for the Neon Alley panel. There were some techinical difficulties that started during the Titan panel and persisted into the Neon Alley panel, forcing a late start. So, instead of just getting into the programming, they started off with some Q&A.

A lot of the news that they shared wasn’t much different from the information I heard about at the Viz Media Panel at San Diego Comic Con and at the Viz panel at Fanime.

Things that weren’t talked about at those panels were that Set 2 for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan was to be released on August 2, Set 18 for Bleach was released on September 10 and Set 2 for La Grange will be available this winter.

I did have quite a bit of downtime between the Neon Alley panel and the panel I was eagerly awating, 35 Years of Elf Quest.

In that time I did another turn around the dealers’ room. I visited the Viz booth. This year they were

A fabulous Chun Li.

A fabulous Chun Li.

doing this neat scavanger hunt through the dealers’ room. I also got to play a demo of the next Phoenix Wright game. This might be the game that makes me want to get a Nintendo 3Ds. It was fun to play and I loved playing it as much as the previous installments.

When it came to be about time to go to the Elf Quest panel we went in early enough to sit in on the panel before it. The panel was about Pongo. I had heard of Pongo, but I had never read them. It was neat to hear people talk about. It piqued my interest in the Pongo comics.

I was thrilled to see that there was an Elf Quest panel. It made so incredibly happy to hear about all things Elf Quest… because, yes, I’m that kinda nerd. I started reading Elf Quest back when I was in middle school. I fell in love with the story when I first read it. It was amazing for me to get the chance to meet Richard and Wendy Pini last year. They had

Cutter, Leetah and Pike.. oh my!

Cutter, Leetah and Pike.. oh my!

written a story that was more formative of my than I had realized.

The panel started out talking about Wendy Pini’s personal history. They talked about Elf Quest had started in Fantasy Quarterly. They formed their own company, Warp Graphics. She then moved to Hollywood for an Elf Quest movie. They still hope an Elf Quest movie will happen, to this day. I think that Elf Quest would make for a great series of movies. It also turns out that Johnny Galecki (of Roseanne and Big Bang Theory fame) is a huge fan of Elf Quest.

There is currently a 5 minute Elf Quest short movie online, you can watch it here. However, their information about their being an Elf Quest movie in development is outdated… unfortunately.

IMG_1322

Kokiri Link, FTW!

We Love Fine is also selling a line of Elf Quest t-shirts… They are really cute and I would love to have them all, except price woud preclude me from doing so. They are really neat looking shirts and perfect if your the same kind of nerd as I am when it comes to Elf Quest. Wendy’s personal artwork will be kept at Columbia University as well.

There are 2 artbooks coming out as well by Flesk. One will be an art of Elf Quest book and the other will be a book of Wendy’s art and may not necessarily be Elf Quest oriented. They both should be out in 2014.

The most exiciting and saddening part is that there is new Elf Quest. They will be released through Dark Horse. The first book will be starting something called Elf Quest: the Final Quest. And that’s where it’s sad. I hate to think that Elf Quest is ending. The series had meant so much to me. In many ways it was something that gave me the push to be a writer. While I’m glad there’s new Elf Quest (yay), I’m also sad that that’s it. I don’t know if they’re going to re-release the earlier editions of Elf Quest.

That’s right, I’m back in full swing. There will be many more posts to come. I’ll finally finish up my Comic Con post. I’ll also fill you in on some of the happenings from the J-Pop Summit Festival. I’ll also review my experiene of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn so far.

But back to the Comic Con posts!
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"Ha ha!", says Robin in giant inflatable form outside the Hilton.

“Ha ha!”, says Robin in giant inflatable form outside the Hilton.

Friday morning was another early start. This wasn’t so much a concern of needing to be there early to wait in line this year. We had parking and since we knew that this would be another long day of walking, we wanted to keep the car closer to the ground floor and get there early enough to have a brunch.

Friday was still a super-busy day, but nothing was as epically busy as Thursday.

After getting breakfast, we walked to the convention center. We got to see some pretty neat things that were around the convention center. The grass area right next to the center always has something neat. Last year they had all the Batmobiles. This year was more understated. There were giant Teen Titans inflatable characters and some really awesome Lego pieces.

The Lego pieces were amazing. Someone created life size versions of Batman, the Joker and Bag

It really was

It really was

End complete with dwarves. It was really awesome.

We then walked along the dockside. There was a tall ship docked there. I noticed it when we were waiting in line fore badges the previous day and got excited. I’m a sucker for tall ships. I love maritime history, so it was awesome seeing it. It was a ship on loan from the San Diego Maritime Museum and was done up like a pirate’s ship from Assassins’ Creed 4. There were people already in line to get on the ship and explore, including people dressed as various Assassins’ Creed characters… as well as some

Assassin's Creed tall ship for Assassin's Creed IV makes me happy

Assassin’s Creed tall ship for Assassin’s Creed IV makes me happy

pirates.

We walked around the convention center and walked inside. We had a little time to kill before the first panel, but decided to wait in line for it instead. It’s probably for the best we did. Neither of us realized how insanely popular that panel was. There was quite the lien when we got there.

Once the panel started, I understood why the panel was so popular. It’s a great panel. It was an enlightening panel as well as thoughtful. They were talking about the black perspective in media… and it was funny. There was a lot of humor in the panel and absolutely worth going to. They also had some pretty big names in the panel, like Orlando Jones and Wayne Brady. The panel wasn’t held in one of the major rooms (Hall H, Ballroom 20 or Indigo Ballroom), but it wasn’t a small room either. I must say, I think I might need to fit in this panel every year now.

After the Black panel, I had some time until the Neon Alley panel, so I decided to see the panel just

Wayne Brady and Orlando Jones at the Black Panel

Wayne Brady and Orlando Jones at the Black Panel

before it, which was a panel for the launch of a company called Titan Comics.

Titan has been around for about 30 years in the UK. It’s actually quite a big name there. Some of the titles under Titan are: Titan Magazine, Books… they also sell a lot of merchandise as well. They also hold Big Planet (also in the UK). They decided to branch out and create Titan Comics.

Some of their launch titles are “Razorjack” (which is written by John Higgins, the colorist for Watchmen), a fully remastered and relettered edition of “First Kingdom” by John Katz. It includes some extra material. Some of the other titles that will be available through Titan is “Lenore” (a personal favorite of mine)… which I was surprised to see that they’re no

Free face hugs, you know you want them.

Free face hugs, you know you want them.

longer going to be publishing through Slave Labor Graphics. They also released the graphic novel for “Devil May Cry”.

There was a lot of information they tried to get through. The more interesting part was John Katz. He’s been in the comic industry for some time. He had a lot of interesting anecdotes to share, including some things about the comic industry.

The panel was more interesting than I would have thought it would be.

Viz’s 24/7, all-dubbed (all dubbed in English as opposed to subtitled) channel Neon Alley will have a very exciting new series starting in the fall. They will be running Madoka Magica. This is a series that I love. As innocent as it looks, it’s far darker than you would think by outside appearances. I highly recommend this series. They will also be releasing the anime for the manga series Magi.

Only at Comic Con (OK, and other conventions... *sigh*) will you see Gandalf with Leia's bounty hunter.

Only at Comic Con (OK, and other conventions… *sigh*) will you see Gandalf with Leia’s bounty hunter.

The news they had for Neon Alley was that they would be showing “Gargantia” and “Blood Lad” in 2014.

After the Viz post, I jogged over to the other side of the convention center (if you’ve been inside the San Diego Convention Center you have an idea of how far it is end-to-end). I had 30 minutes to get through Comic Con crowds to the other side of the center to see the Funimation panel.

I must say, I was happy to see that the crowds for both the anime and manga panels were quite full… and abundant. I had 5 panels going on about the same time as the Funimation panel, and most of them were anime or manga oriented. It made me tremendously happy to see that the anime/manga world is being heartily represented in a venue like Comic Con.

There was a lot of news at the Funimation panel, so I’ll get right to it.

I’ll start with what new anime releases Funimation has coming up. “Fairy Tale” has two new volumes of anime coming out. Volume 5 came out on June 20 and Volume 6 will be out on August 20. Season 5 of

Zoinks! It's a shot of the WB booth.

Zoinks! It’s a shot of the WB booth.

“One Piece” was available on July 23. “Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail” was released on August 6. They released the series “Haganai” on August 6. It is the story of a group of high school kids who don’t have any friends, so they decide to create a club to meet.

Now, when I first really started getting in to anime, I got into it back in the late nineties/early 2000’s with the series “Dragonball Z”. I admit it. What I didn’t know when (and something I learned much later) was that version was actually translated and all in Canada. Funimation re-released those episodes on DVD in what they called the “Rock the Dragon” edition. For those of us kinda nostalgic for the origin of the original “It’s over 9000” line, we can now buy it. 53 episodes of it were released on August 13. Yes, this is the Dragonball Z from the original Toonami broadcast back in the day.

A series that I have been eagerly wanting to watch and am very excited can be purchased in DVD form,

This is the place where many, though not all, people go to sit down and relax after a lot of walking and standing in line.

This is the place where many, though not all, people go to sit down and relax after a lot of walking and standing in line.

“Eureka 7 AO” was released also on August 13. I loved “Eureka 7”. I’m curious where they took the “Eureka 7” storyline. Also, the harem anime where the guy is being controlled by a devil, “High School DxD” will be released on August 20.

They’re also releasing the latest iteration of Lupin the III. It will focus on Fujiko. I’m curious about this series… largely because I’m wondering how close to the original animation style it will be. It will also be released on August 20.

I know I’m a huge fan of “Ghost in the Shell” since I saw the first movie back in the late nineties. I’ve watched every possible version that’s been available of “Ghost in the Shell”. Well, there will be brand spanking new “Ghost in the Shell” released on August 20 called “Ghost in the Shell: Arise”. I’m excited for

TARDIS  and Bad Wolf

TARDIS and Bad Wolf

a new “Ghost in the Shell” series. They are also releasing the series, “Guilty Crown” on August 27.

Funimation has also gotten some rather awesome and exciting new acquisitions. They just acquired “HA” and “009:Re: Cyborg”. They also acquired “Evangelion 3.0” as well as the entire “.hack” series.

They also had Shoji Kawamari speak to the panel. He was the designer and/or creator and/or writer for “Ghost in the Shell”, “Aquarion”, “Ghost in the Shell”, “Space Battleship Yamato”, “Patlabor” and “Macross”. It was great listening to someone who has such a prestigious resume speak. They also offered a chance to meet and get a signed “Aquarion” poster. Needless to say, getting out of the room was an organized stampede.

Fierce Diety Link, this is the first time I've ever seen someone cosplay this incarnation.

Fierce Diety Link, this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone cosplay this incarnation.

Kyouko and Sayaka from Madoka Magica

Kyouko and Sayaka from Madoka Magica

They also talked about the things that they’re bringing to Neon Alley, the digital Viz channel. They have the rights to show K and it will be dubbed in English. They also will be bringing the anime for Accel World to Neon Alley also dubbed in English.

I hadn’t checked out Neon Alley before, so I was a bit surprised to see that all the anime on there is English dubbed. That’s great news for people who have trouble following subtitles in movies/anime.

Now, I’m going to admit, I’m a huge Nana fan. I love the manga and the anime. I’ve been waiting for some new Nana to come out for a couple of years. The mangaka (artist/writer) had been very ill, so I was wondering if there was any new news on that front. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. But it was nice to have someone be able to give me whatever news they knew… since the only other info I had was from an online forum.

While leaving they handed the people who were leaving a 5 page survey to fill out. I think that it took a whole of maybe 5 minutes or so to fill out. At least they were generous about it and handed us a lot of free merchandise. I thought it was quite generous of them to do so. Sure, we became a focus group. Some of the stuff they gave us would retail at about $50 or so. I’m not going to complain when someone is handing out something that generous.

After the Viz panel I had a bit of time to kill, so we went back to the room so I could change my outfit and get something to eat for lunch.

After a brief lunch stopover in the hotel room which included excited puppies that got upset when we left again, I wound up heading out alone to the panel on Body Image

Aqua from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

Aqua from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

and Cosplay.

I must say, I enjoyed this panel completely. It was done discussion style. This was done by each panelist doing a brief introduction for themselves and why they were there, then the panel was opened up so the people in the room could talk about their body image and cosplay issues. Many of them focused on weight and body shape, something I can surely relate to. I brought up issues related to age. After all, I am on the older end of the cosplay scale being in my thirties. Since anime doesn’t fairly represent many people older than say… 18, it’s often hard to find characters to dress as that would be age appropriate. The only series that I can think of that consistently have really good more adult characters both male and female is Gundam. To a certain degree I could also say Cowboy

Hawkeye, Mustang and Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist

Hawkeye, Mustang and Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist

Bebop and Ghost in the Shell as well. But a majority of the cosplay being done is of and by people younger than the age of thirty. One of the panelists (I unfortunately can’t remember who) told a story of a more mature woman with a walker who had cosplayed as Riku from Final Fantasy X. She had a sign that said, “Riku at 80”. It’s refreshing to hear that even women in their older years are still willing to cosplay.

It was also interesting to hear what others have gone through when it comes to body image in cosplay. I wasn’t alone about weight issues. That I wasn’t alone on being a perfectionist. In many ways it confirmed something that I knew to be true. People who are heavier or older become largely invisible. Even if you make a wonderful and beautiful costume. Even if you take the time to emulate the character, you are still invisible. Photographers are only looking for young, thin and hot. Of course, there’s the flip side of the coin where you get people who are naturally thin being told that they’re too

The Travis Touchdown Duo!

The Travis Touchdown Duo!

thin.

In many ways, I’m glad that I’ve been largely invisible. At the same time, I wish that people would notice me. Maybe that’s just a fear I have… I don’t know. Maybe it’s something that I’ll get over. It was nice to be in a room full of like-minded people who have dealt with similar issues.