The second day of Comic-Con started pretty well. We both managed to wake up before the alarm, which was good because it gave us more time to get places. Our hotel had free breakfast, so we went downstairs to check it out, and they had a mini waffle bar! This was a very happy discovery, because we can never seem to get enough calories when we go to conventions. So we had some waffles and some scrambled eggs, and we made sure to have some orange juice, because we have determined that lemonade is a magical elixir of life, to help us not die when we're pushing ourselves and not eating enough, but we weren't sure if it was the vitamin C, the sugar, the lemons, or what. So we experimented with orange juice. I don't think it works as well, but it's hard to say definitively, because it may also be that Comic-Con has evil life-sucking powers. We had some organic lemonade (Costco brand, bought for $5 at the convention center) later, which was a lot less helpful than lemonade tends to be. But I think that has something to do with the organicness. I don't know.
(Athena just determined that the secret must be that we eat like hummingbirds. What we really need is sugar water.)
Anyway. There were two panels that we were interested in attending that morning, and of course they overlapped each other. First was the Psych movie sneak peek, which was in--dun dun DUN!--Ballroom 20. Which is not as bad as Hall H (dun, dun, DUN!), but is maybe the second worst. It's like Medium Hall H. I thought it was Little Hall H, but when I saw the line for the Ducktales panel, I decided that room 6A was Little Hall H. It also happened to be where the other panel we were interested in going to was. But the point is, we didn't wake up early enough to get into Ballroom 20 (although we did discover that arriving three hours early would have been more than sufficient, so there's that at least), so we decided to try for our next choice, which fortunately also started half an hour later, and went to room 6A for the My Little Pony the Movie panel, and we got in with little difficulty. In fact, we didn't even have to wait in line.
This panel was probably the highlight of the convention for us. It was MCed by Michael Vogel, and featured producer Meghan McCarthy, songwriter Daniel Ingram, and the five women who voice the Mane Six and Spike. The voice actresses would jump in and out of character all the time, and it was awesome. I think Ashleigh Ball was the most impressive, because the rest of them, their voice was just different, but with Ashleigh Ball, her whole look changed based on if she was being herself, Apple Jack, or Rainbow Dash.
So they started out by showing us a trailer/documentary video thingie, where we got to see some clips from the movie and they had comments from all of the cast. Then Michael Vogel said he was sure we wanted all kinds of spoilers for the movie, and he really wanted to give us some, but they couldn't, so he was going to have each of the panelists give a spoiler in just one word. Andrea Libman and Ashleigh Ball each got two words--one for each character they played. I only remember that Daniel Ingram said "musical," and Fluttershy said "therapy." Athena says someone said "broken," and Pinkie Pie said "one small thing," which of course was three words, but she insisted it was only one, and I am reminded that, of course, Rainbow Dash said "awesome." And Twilight said "festival."
Daniel Ingram said he'd love to show us the songs from the movie, but they couldn't do that either, unless maybe if we all started chanting, "Song! Song! Song!" the people in charge would cave and they'd get to show us a song. I was kind of disappointed in how slow the crowd was to jump on that bandwagon, but eventually it happened, so of course we got to see a song (as if it hadn't been part of the plan all along). The song was pretty cool though--it started out with Rainbow Dash singing to some griffin pirates about how they can be awesome again, and the main line I remember is, "It's time to be awesome." That's a sentiment I can get behind.
At one point someone (probably Vogel) said, "Of course we all HATE the villains! *nudge nudge*" He didn't actually say *nudge nudge* but it was in the intonation. And then we heard a maniacal laugh from offstage, and who should arrive but Liev Schreiber, voice of the My Little Pony movie's very own Storm King. Tadah! And he brought his kids onstage in their cosplay, which was cute, but I did question his judgment in letting a small child dress in the rather age-inappropriate costume of Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad. (At the time, I thought it was his daughter; I didn't see the trending headlines about his son later. At any rate, they were both pretty cute, but Harley was a little too shy to stay on stage very long at first.) The main thing I remember about his entrance is that they mentioned some popular character he plays (I checked later; it's Ray Donovan), and he said that Ray Donovan is a fan of My Little Pony. Now I want to see his show so I can know the irony level of that statement.
There was a lot of talking and I don't remember it all, but I think the main thing was the Q&A section. Of course they asked everyone to give the smaller guests priority in line, and the voice actresses all expressed concern that the smaller guests tend to ask the hardest questions. For example, one kid asked who their least favorite pony was. Michael Vogel immediately responded that his least favorite pony is Twilight Sparkle, at which point Tara Strong was ready to throw down. She was all, "Throw Down: San Diego Comic-Con 2017." The rest of the panel was diplomatic and refused to answer, except for Tabitha St. Germain, who said she doesn't like Poopy Pony. Storm King, of course, said he couldn't pick a least favorite because he hates them all so much.
(Incidentally, Tabitha St. Germain also plays Granny Smith, so sometimes she would go all Granny Smith and it was a lot of fun. Also, when Ashleigh Ball was in Apple Jack mode, she would call people Sugarcube, which was adorable.)
There was one guest who had come to Comic-Con all the way from Scotland to ask her very important question: is there a possibility that Sunset Shimmer is Celestia's daughter. Meghan McCarthy looked stunned for a second, then said, "There is NOW. And we're going to need you to sign some paperwork before you leave." Then Tabitha St. Germain put on her own Scottish accent and asked if this guest could ask a few dozen more questions so we could listen to that lovely accent some more. There was also some talk of making a Scottish pony--Haggis Bagpipes. (I would make it Haggis McBagpipes. If anyone working on MLP is reading this, I hereby give my permission to use that.)
There was a little boy who asked if there were going to be any more dude ponies, and Kathy Weseluck was all for that, because Spike needs more guys to hang out with. I think it was Tara Strong who suggested they have a pony named Dude Pony.
The other question I really liked was when somebody asked what it was like working with all the big names who are guest starring in the movie, and I think it was Meghan McCarthy who said it was just great because when they came up with the characters, they thought of these people who would be really good for the voices, and they all said yes. But the best part was when Liev Shreiber chimed in with, "But what you guys have to realize is that Brad Pitt read for Spike, Rihanna read for... (We seem to remember him trailing off there, like maybe he couldn't decide who Rihanna read for.) But the best people got the parts, and now here we are." I loved it, because I was thinking about how this series is such a phenomenon, these ponies ARE big names, and these women have been doing the voices for years now, so. On the other hand, we had to look up Emily Blunt. But then all the voice actresses were like, "Now I really like the Storm King!" (I forgot to mention, someone asked who their favorite villains were. Rarity said Trixie, and at least one person said Storm King.)
So yeah. It was a lot of fun, and it helped us feel much better about life, which was good, because the rest of the day did the opposite of that. Not that it was so bad. "The opposite" might be a bit extreme. Mostly it was a bunch of wandering around the dealers hall and feeling insignificant.
There were two more panels that we went to. First was the Animation Geniuses panel, which featured a bunch of famous people from animation, including Floyd Norman and Randy Haycock, who are the ones I mention because they're the ones I knew about before attending the panel. The MC had prepared questions for each of them before the panel, so they each took turns addressing a topic. Floyd Norman talked about working on The Jungle Book, since that came out 50 years ago, and...I don't remember much else for some reason. There was one woman there who had worked on visual development for Frozen and such things, and that's where most of our focus went, because it kind of proved a theory we have about why we don't like Disney so much anymore. Based on certain jokes about princesses in Moana, we believe that many of the people making Disney films today are the kind of people who liked Disney but couldn't be too open about it because they still wanted to be cool. For example, the voice of a certain newer princess said in an interview that she loved watching Disney princesses as a kid but she always had to make gagging noises over them being too perfect. She also said she had brothers, and I'm guessing those two things are related, which is part of why I think the anti-princess thing is really feeding into the patriarchy instead of being empowering in any way. Anyway, this panelist talked about how she originally wanted to go into comics, but learned there was no money in that so switched to animation, and she was trying to be cool about that, too, but eventually had to accept the fact that her talent was for cute things. All I will say about that is, "......"
On the other hand, Randy Haycock talked about how he got into animation. He, too, originally wanted to work in comics, but got a letter from an editor-in-chief refusing to look at his stuff, and now he looks back and thinks it was nice of the editor to get back to him at all, but at the time, he was devastated, so he went to the movies and saw something his friends had called the most boring movie ever. It was Fantasia, and it touched his soul like nothing ever had, so he decided that's what he wanted to do with his life--make art that could move people like Fantasia moved him. In Disney's defense, he was the only one on the panel still working at Disney, so I guess the people there aren't all haters.
The panel ended by talking to the woman who has just published a book about all the women in animation from the '20s on, and I guess I just wasn't interested for the same reason we're never interested in General Conference talks about how amazing women are. Not that I doubt these women have cool stories, just that the whole concept of, "Women are important, too!" is one that I think is too obvious for comment, so when people get defiant about it, I get tired.
Finally, we went to the panel that had a bunch of people talking about American superheroes versus Japanese superheroes...or that's what it was supposed to be, but I felt like it was really just an enthusiastic fan discussion of One-Punch Man and, even moreso, My Hero Academia. But what really annoyed us was that they worked their way up to those titles, and right before One-Punch Man was Tiger & Bunny. So the panelists were up there talking about Tiger & Bunny, and they couldn't even seem to remember what it was about! It's one of our favorites, so we were sitting there yelling answers at them. They couldn't seem to remember that the reason the heroes all had corporate sponsors was that they were on a reality show. And Barnaby Brooks, Jr. wasn't ashamed of his superhero name--he didn't HAVE one! He's the guy that came along and said, "Secret identities are a relic of the past." Bunny wasn't his superhero name, it was Tiger's nickname for him. So we were already annoyed about that, but then they kept going on about One-Punch Man, and one of them even said that it was kind of a one trick pony, but that trick was really funny so it worked, and we were like, "Funny is relative."
And then they were talking about My Hero Academia like it was sooooooo original, and we were like, "It's a little original." GetBackers was coming up with unusual ways to use powers years ago, and Fire Force has all kinds of different ways to have fire powers. Ultimately, it felt like a reminder that it doesn't matter what kind of awesome titles we're working on; everyone is really only just reading Viz titles anyway. That wouldn't be so bad by itself, except for the recent realization we had that we're kind of bored by Jump. In other words, people aren't reading the stuff we like, and we don't like the stuff they're reading, so basically we're just outsiders. And that was pretty depressing.
On a slightly positive note, during the brief discussion of magical girls, one of the panelists pointed out that Sailor Moon wasn't the only thing that had been available for girls up until that point. This is something that I sometimes think about, because people keep talking about what society is telling girls, and we're like, "What in the world did YOU watch as a kid? Because all the cartoons I watched taught me that I could be anything, even as a girl." In fact, she pointed out that Barbie was set up at one point as that "I can do anything" role model for girls, which is something we remember, too. But for some reason, people were too focused on her proportions to let her deliver that message.
Anyway, we were pretty depressed, so we figured we had nothing else to do so we might as well see about scrounging up some food and going to catch our train. We discovered the 7-11 had lemonade Slurpees, so that was our winner. We also picked up some lemon bread and creme brule cookies. There was an incident with an exploding Slurpee, but since we have no explanation for it, I can't really tell much more about it. (Athena says it was more like an erupting Slurpee.) I put the lid on the Slurpee cup, filled it with Slurpee...and suddenly it erupted! It was like a Slurpee volcano! It was really weird, but at least it was entertaining. And I'm still alive after drinking it, so I think it's okay.
The next day, our ward had a Pioneer Day picnic, and then Gaston and Alice were in town for a Garth Brooks concert, so we were able to talk to plenty of people to whom we are not insignificant, and that helped a lot.
Today I'm thankful for making it back safely from Comic-Con, getting to go to a super awesome My Little Pony panel, creme brule cookies, getting to visit with friends on Saturday, and this month's chapter of Cramer once again not being super difficult.