Platypus 3333's Otakon 2005
I only got back from Otakon yesterday, and I've already largely forgetten what the hell I accomplished there. Ah well.
It's really disconcerting to go to sleep at 1 AM at a friend's house in order to make a 4:30 AM departure time, drive around 2 hours down the turnpike to arrive in Baltimore, and subsequently discover that you are STILL not the first in line. Apparently the people ahead of us arrived at 5 AM, an act of insanity that I have to actually admit I admire. Fortunately, we managed to lose one of them, some idiot guy with leather pants and platform shoes, when some security people moved the line to the other side of the door. I'm not too sure he even realized what happened, but after this initial excitement we pretty much sat there for ten hours, as the line actually opened at 5 PM. At the very least, we were under the canopy, which no doubt sucked significantly less than waiting in the sun. We concluded we hated pretty much everyone there, and just before the line opened, we managed to get 10 more of our friends into the line behind us, pissing off a ridiculous amount of people.
On a side note, one fat guy and his fat sister or something actually had their parents wait in line for them just behind us, meaning they basically had senior citizens sit in the heat for over five hours for their sake because they were just that fucking lazy. What a remarkably shitheel thing to do.
This year we stayed at the Wyndham, which was several blocks away from the convention center, largely because we couldn't figure out the 2005 Otakon dates in time to book Day's Inn. Long time Evasource readers may remember this hotel as the one in which I formulated my theory that "Otakon is a vicious cycle consisting of people carrying lots of cosplaying materials, thus becoming too lazy to walk, thus becoming fatasses, and thus becoming horribly inappropriate cosplayers." To my dismay, I discovered that I was still correct, and the elevators still sucked horrible amounts of ass. However, it wasn't all that bad, as the air conditioning actually worked this year, and was even somehow powerful enough to give me a minor cold.
Apparently when I sleep I do all sorts of weird shit, like grind my teeth and rant at people. I totally don't remember any of this, as I was usually the first to sleep, and the first to rise. If I hadn't done this, the rest of the people in the room were such lazy shits that we'd likely have gotten up at noon or something.
Incidentally, it's only August 22nd, and we've already booked Day's Inn for Otakon 2006.
This was a good year in terms of Evasource accomplishment. Not only did we manage to get toss shirts that said "SEDUCED BY EVASOURCE" off a railing, we got people to chant a mangled version of our website name in their frenzy to get free stuff. In addition, I also spent a lot of time wandering around the dealer's room with a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie, placing EVASOURCE.NET tags on pretty much anyone unfortunate enough to provide me an opportunity to do so.
The lead singer of The Indigo also got a shirt. See below for more details.
We also cut the dealer's room line quite a bit, developing several techniques that I'll explain in further detail in the future.
As we left the convention hall for the last time, I managed to grab the plastic OTAKON sign and run off with it, despite everyone's doubts and Liquid's assurances that "no dude you're totally gonna get caught." It would now have a proud place on my wall if it weren't so fucking huge and awkward. To my joy, it inhibited Tempest's ability to exit the car and go to the bathroom, forcing him to slide under it as if he were playing Limbo while we were waiting in line to get gas.
Cosplayers got no better or worse this year, although I noted a marked increase in people dressing up as characters wholly unrelated to anime, manga, Asian cinema, or anything that is remotely related to the core focus of Otakon. In one day alone, I saw Jesus, Star Wars characters, Neo, and some people in trenchcoats, though it's entirely possible that the people in the last group just go to school like that too; I sure as hell wouldn't be able to tell. Ditto for the people in fatigues. And why the hell would you dress up as Jesus? Does he seem to be one of the more recognizable anime characters of all time? Is he even in an anime? Did Katsuhiro Otomo adapt the New Testament when I wasn't looking?
Perhaps there's something I just don't grasp about cosplaying. Maybe to everyone else, cosplaying is the functional equivalent of Halloween, and as a result its perfectly intuitive to create a Star Wars costume when going to a celebration of Asian pop culture.
Although in previous years Otakon had guests on the level of TM Revolution and L'Arc en Ciel, this year they only had some band called The Indigo and some girl called Kumiko Kato. They also had Piano Squall, but I really couldn't give two shits about that. While Kumiko Kato pretty much had only one good song, The Indigo was surprisingly good. I gave the The Indigo lead singer an Evasource shirt, and we managed to get a picture of her holding it up. While she seemed very excited to have gotten a gift, I couldn't actually be too sure, because judging from the two concerts I saw and from examples I have met, Japanese girls have ludicrously high energy capacities and are pretty much always excited. Either way, Evasource rules.
Anime Music Videos
Holy shit, there were at least four Naruto videos. See below.
VicBond007's video was slightly disappointing this year; while, as always, it was well timed and constructed, it just didn't strike me as being as impressive as his previous efforts. However, there was a totally AWESOME music video in the humor section based on the Wizard of Oz, and if it didn't win its category I'll finally be totally convinced all of anime fandom at Otakon is retarded- that, or at least a clear majority.
Our video sucked ass again, implying that we should probably give ourselves more time than one week.
Naruto is now the new Dragonball Z / Dancing Vash equivalent. Featuring an eclectic cast of alternatively funny/badass teen characters with varying abilities and ever increasing fighting strength, it's truly difficult to be more manufactured for maximum appeal than this story is. People are now such rabid Naruto fans that they'll vote for inferior music videos purely because they like the characters, ignoring obvious gaps in technical skill and effort. I'm not even including our own video in this, cause we made it in a week and it kind of sucked. God I fucking hate Naruto.
Yes, I realize I gave Naruto a good review when it first came out. That was two years ago.
Katsuhiro Otomo's latest animated film, Steamboy takes place in a Europe largely dependant on steam power. A gifted young engineer called Ray receives a mysterious package from his grandfather, with the instructions to give it to a man named Robert Stevenson. After some men in black successfully kidnap both Ray and the package, which is revealed to be a small ball holding incredible steam power, he finds his father alive and, against the wishes of his grandfather, working on weapons and a large construction called Steam City, which requires the ball in order to function. Needless to say, some more shit happens where the British army attacks Steam City, and pretty much every side save Ray, his grandfather, and some blond girl that's simply too stupid to understand what's going turns out to be treacherous and pretty much full of assholes. London totally gets wrecked, and Steam City ends up crashing down into the river. While the story is good, the most impressive thing about Steamboy is no doubt its high quality animation and retro technology designs, both of which are easily enough to make this a movie worth watching. This movie even has plenty of explosions, which are the hallmark of any worthwhile anime.
Kakurenbo: Hide and Seek
Early Friday morning, we checked the larger program guide and found a full page color ad for a short anime film called Kakurenbo. It looked pretty interesting and was touted as having been created by people who worked on the Animatrix, so we figured it was worth a shot. Sweet Jesus, I don't think I've ever been so wrong in my entire life. The problems started immediately, as we got to the theater early, figuring that we may as well get good seats; we then sat there for a good fifteen minutes listening to the hellishly annoying music from the dvd menu of Irresponsible Captain Tylor loop endlessly. Finally, I got too fed up and turned off the dvd player myself, receiving an ovation from just about everyone else sitting in that room. Yes, that was me.
I started getting the sense that something was amiss when Kakurenbo was introduced by some guy from CPM- you know, those guys that've been releasing the shittiest possible English translated manga for several years now, somehow distinguishing themselves in a field literally dominated by shoddy work and ineptitude. Then he handed the microphone over to some guy who turned out to be the director of the English dub, who believed that he had done a good job, and unfortunately was incorrect. More human suffering has likely been generated by dubbing than I could ever hope to accomplish in my entire life, barring the possibility that I may eventually find myself leading a third world nation with nuclear capabilities. And even then, just to piss my people off, I'd dub all the television. Anyway, the film revolves around the premise that there's a haunted town where kids disappear while playing hide and seek, and two groups of kids decide to enter for some reason I can't quite recall. After a while, they all get caught by monsters and plugged into a massive generator to light the town, and the last kid standing becomes a monster in order to bait more children into playing. I've just summarized the entire story for you, and if you think that's somewhat unsatisfying, imagine how it feels to be at the same place after wasting a good 45 minutes of your life; it's not a very good sensation. The dub director claimed this film to be the freakiest thing he's ever seen, but honestly, I've seen more horrible shit in my own house. Jesus christ, those things are fucking unnatural. I will concede that as a result of seeing these little bastards around my house, I generally have no fear of anything else at all, but I digress.
Even in terms of technical achievement, Kakurenbo is sub par. The CPM guy claimed that this film featured seamless blending of 3D and 2D animation, which is in a sense true, because I couldn't see anything that looked remotely like 2D animation at all, and as far as I could tell it was all seamlessly shitty. The makers of the film are apparently proponents of utilizing 3D technology to create the appearance of 2D animation, which has only actually been successful in Hoshi no Koe and Beyond the Clouds. Although initially the characters are shrouded in shadow, once they're under some adequate lighting they're revealed to be 3D models textured to appear cel shaded, which looks like absolute shit outside of videogames. In addition, outside of Pixar, it seems that very few users of 3D animation technology have the skills necessary to make the movement look completely natural and convincing; 3D animation in this vein generally has a very mechanical look, and Kakurenbo is no exception. The models themselves are not particularly good; I can't help but think that all the children were given masks in order to cover up the awkwardness of cel shaded 3D anime styled face. The film, on the whole, is too dark- not "atmospheric" dark, but "I can't fucking see what's going on" dark. We initially believed that this was due to the brighness setting on the projector being too low, but after some guy jacked it up until black areas read as gray, we realized that the film was simply visually incomprehensible. Overall, don't watch this film. The only consolation is that I really had nothing else worth doing during that time slot.
Friday Night Movie
After eating at California Pizza Kitchen again, we went to see a movie called 2009 Lost Memories over Oldboy, as we had see it the night before. Oldboy is, incidentally, an insanely good movie- just a really really fucked up and twisted one. Anyway, 2009 Lost Memories is about an alternate time line where Japan controls Korea, and some terrorist Korean group wants to capture some historical artifact. This one Korean cop tries to look into it, and when he pushes too far, he gets suspended and people try to kill him. Up to that point, the film is pretty standard, and even cliched; however, then he runs into the terrorists, who explain to him that some Japanese guy went back in time with the artifact to ensure that Japan won World War 2 and took over Korea, resulting in the fucked up timeline that the first part of the movie took part in. The Korean cop subsequently goes back in time with his girlfriend in order to fix the timeline. I'm not really sure if the movie is made by Japanese people or Korean people, given it seems so anti Japanese, but I'm way too lazy to check, so lets just assume it was made by both. Not really worth watching, especially since I just totally spoiled it for you people.
Saturday Night Movies
Saturday night, we watched a total of three movies; I've already forgotten the title of the first, but it had the word "Red" in it and wasn't very good. It had one kickass part where some chick got doused with paint and then lit on fire before getting shot in the head, but there were some jackasses sitting behind us that kept making lame jokes, pretty much ruining the entire experience. On a side note, when some guy made some shit joke that noone responded to, I offered to laugh for him, and he told me to "shut the fuck up."
UPDATE: I just checked, and the movie is called Red Wolf, but I'm too lazy to rewrite what I just wrote.
The next movie was a Thai action film called Born to Fight. Basically, after this cop guy arrests some general at the cost of his partner's life, he decides to accompany his sister and her athelete friends to a poor village, where they distribute toys and show off their skills. Then some terrorists totally shoot the fuck out of the village and take it over, holding it ransom in order to get that same general freed. The cop sees a nuke intended for Bangkok, the cop gets caught, and then the Thai national anthem plays, inspiring a remarkably burst of patriotism in all the hostages. This begins an insanely long action sequence that pretty much lasts for the rest of the movie, in which a hell of a lot of people get shot, kicked, blown up, and otherwise really fucking injured. Watching this movie has pretty much convinced me that Thai people are indestructible and I should definitely avoid fighting any if I ever happen to find myself in that situation. During the credit sequence, they showed outtakes that prove jumping from moving vehicles onto other moving vehicles and missing results in some pretty serious injuries, which is pretty educational if you ask me.
The last was called Kekko Kamen, which is probably the weirdest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. The basic premise is that some girls go to school to learn to become anchorwomen, and whenever they're insubordinate, they're taken to the basement, stripped to their underwear, and tortured. When I say tortured, I don't mean torturing with pain; rather, they get their teeth forcibly brushed, they're tied down while a teacher chainsaws tomatoes around them (dude, I don't even know what the hell that was about), and they're placed into a bin where they're forced to eat eels. Just when it gets really bad, a naked women (Kekko Kamen) wearing only a mask and a scarf shows up with some nunchucks and kicks the crap out of the teachers, freeing the captive. Bizarrely enough, these captives subsequently return to class and act as if nothing really significant has happened. The plot thickens when the headmaster first sends some fat chick with a wig to take out Kekko Kamen, then some guy who's really a chick whose feminity was sucked out through her breasts and converted to a green energy. The story ends when the headmaster shows up, summons three "androids" that are really half naked men, and they all get the shit kicked out of them by Kekko Kamen. I'm not even sure it really qualifies as porn, because I'm pretty sure the intent of porn is to be in some way sexy or arousing- despite the presence of a naked woman or panty shots for the majority of the movie, Kekko Kamen was somehow insanely boring and put damn near all of us to sleep, although admittedly the opening sequence was hilarious. On one last note, there was some kind of sequel implied at the end, which really demonstrates to me that the Japanese are really fucked up and I should probably spend my time playing pro chess or something instead of this anime bullshit.