(PS: Athena remembered that we also watched the Green Lantern movie on Thursday. It was a decent movie, but we both agree that there was too much action and not enough character. Also, they made it PG-13, which means now all the characters can swear, but you could hear in the actors' performances that they didn't quite believe it. That's not really good acting. Other than that, they mostly did really well, but it just didn't seem to click somehow.)
(PPS: I forgot to mention before (when I typed that on Sunday) that before the movie started, they brought out the producer, Bruce Timm, and he said something like, "How many of you are here not just because you're general superhero fans, but because you're fans of the Green Lantern?" A bunch of people raised their hands, so he went on, "I'm betting you all know the words to the oath. Now let's do the geekiest thing ever and all recite the oath together." So, in that giant room filled with people, almost everyone was reciting the Green Lantern oath. It was pretty awesome. But we had to fake it, because we didn't even know there was an oath, let alone the words to it. Also, they showed a short video of an actress who was supposed to be at the panel but couldn't make it. She said, "This is where I'm supposed to say I couldn't make it because I'm filming a movie in Bulgaria, but I'm actually right here in the audience. I'm wearing a Green Lantern costume. ...Stop looking! Stop looking, you're missing the movie!")
...And we're back! Let's see... Friday. What did we start with on Friday? Right. Disney Comics and Graphic Novels. We went to this panel as part of our ongoing quest to somehow translate for Disney, since there's the whole graphic novel/manga connection. Oh, but before that, there was a little time, so we went to the dealers' hall to pick up a shirt for setra. We wanted to make sure to get it before they sold out, so we brought the PSP to the convention center to take advantage of the free internet and check LJ to make sure we got her the right size. Since we had the PSP, which has Dissidia in it by default, Athena set it on "surechigai" mode, which basically means if you pass by somebody else with their Dissidia on surechigai mode, you can get a friend card from them without having to go around asking everybody around, "Hey, do you happen to have this PSP game that hasn't come out in the States yet?" Unfortunately, nothing came of that, but it was still interesting to have it on.
As we were making our way out of the dealers' hall, we passed by a booth that was handing out giant red bags, and one of the guys held one out for me. He even had it open so I could put the two bags I was now carrying (we made it a habit to always carry around the bag they give you at registration, and now we had a bag with a shirt) inside it, so I put them in and took the bag. What I didn't know about this bag is that it wasn't made of red plastic--it was made of white plastic with not very set ink. And thus my hands started turning red.
But I was talking about the Disney Graphic Novels panel. What we failed to notice about this panel was the part at the end of the title where it said "Prince of Persia." Actually, we had a very good reason for not noticing that, because it wasn't actually at the end of the title, but it was in the description. Anyway, the panel was mostly about their upcoming Prince of Persia anthology, which will be going along with the movie. It actually looks really cool. We also got to hear a story from one of the artists about how when Prince of Persia had come out for Super Nintendo way back when, he found out about it and wanted it really really badly. He couldn't remember why he wanted it so badly, but he did. So he begged his mom to get it for him for his birthday, and when there was about a month left, he kind of had an inkling she had gotten it for him, but he didn't know. So he ransacked her bedroom.
And indeed she had bought him Prince of Persia, and he reeeeeeally wanted to play it, but it was shrinkwrapped. So, in order to prevent his mom from finding him out, he took a razor blade and cut open the shrinkwrap right where the box opened, and got the game out, and for the next long time, he would play it whenever his mom wasn't home, racing to change the channel when he sensed her return. He beat the game, then put it back in the box and superglued the plastic back in place. And then when his birthday came around, he already knew what he was getting, and he'd already played it, so he wasn't excited at all and he ruined his own birthday.
But we didn't have much opportunity to see if the Disney Graphic Novels has any plans of doing manga or if they're going to leave all that to TokyoPop. So we determined that we'd have to ask the editor guy who moderated the panel... but we chickened out. We were lame. But we at least got the website.
Then it was time to confront our archnemesis--the line to Hall H. We weren't afraid. We've had loads of training waiting in line, after all. And we're pretty darn good at it, if I do say so myself. But we were no match for Hall H.
The hall was full, so we couldn't use the strategy for most rooms, where you just go during the earlier panel and as long as it's not full, they'll let you walk in. Our lameness in not talking to the editor guy makes it even worse that we didn't just go to the Warner Bros. panel that happened first. We would have even been interested in it, too. But anyway, we got in line and we waited. It was actually kind of nice. The sun wasn't too hot, and there was a nice breeze, and the line moved at a fairly regular pace. But then the Disney panel started, and the room was filled. Right, I just remembered I forgot to mention why we were in this line at all. This was for the Disney Animation panel, where they had all kinds of awesome Disney directors like Ron Clements, John Musker, Kirk Wise and, the reason the place probably filled up so fast, Hayao Miyazaki. Okay, so he's not technically a Disney director, but he was with all the others.
I would very much love to report on the complete and total awesomeness of this panel, but, as I said, we were no match for the Hall H line. By the time we got in the room, the next panel was well under way. We thought about staying for it, but we wanted to get to the dealers' room to see if we could maybe say hi to Yasuhiro Nightow, who was signing autographs at that time. Anyway, we were in that line for like three hours. It was kind of funny, because we realized that being in the sun that long would probably have some adverse effects, especially without sunscreen, but we would look at each other and be like, "Nope. You don't look sunburned to me!" Then we got inside with the fluorescent lighting and suddenly we were bright pink! Aaaaaahhhh! Good times.
Nightow-sensei was too busy to really look up, and we didn't have anything for him to sign, and we thought it would be a little tacky to hang around just to wave when he happened to look up, so we went back to wandering, where we found ourselves at the Del Rey booth again. This time it was being manned by the woman who had been our boss for a long time before she got promoted. She still works with us a little, but she's not our direct supervisor anymore. We weren't sure if she would already recognize us, based on the experience of the day before, so we just kind of walked past. Looking back, I do think that many of the things we did at the convention could be described as suspicious. We walked past to see if she'd see us or anything, and then when nothing happened, we decided we were being dumb, so we went over and assertively said hello. And she actually did not already recognize us, which made the day before all the more strange. But it was very nice to finally meet her in person (I knew it was her because I saw her badge), and we took free X-Men keychains, and she said she would send us some X-Men manga! Yay!
Then it was off to the Yen Press panel, to meet the people we work with for that company. While we were waiting in line, because after our encounter with Hall H we decided it's lame to go into a room for a panel you have no interest in just to get a seat for the one after it, we ran into one of the senior editors at TokyoPop, so we hung out together before the panel. The panel was your standard manga industry panel--they announced all their new and upcoming titles and then had a Q&A. Kurt Hassler was true to his name and hassled everyone asking questions. It was kind of amusing, especially when someone hesitated during their question and he took that split second to say, "No." and the asker responded with, "Well why not!?" But I think there is something to be said for moderation. After the panel, we said hi to our boss, and it was nice to meet her, too!
After one last trip to the dealers' room to see if we could get anymore friend cards for Dissidia, we headed back to the hotel to rest up a bit. Then we decided we really did want to check e-mail so we hauled the laptop (I say as if it's the heaviest thing in the world) to the convention center and checked our e-mail before heading into an anime room to watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. At AX08, people seemed to like this movie a lot a lot a lot, so we thought we'd take advantage of free anime rooms to check it out. One thing we were happy to learn about the anime rooms is that everything was subtitled. Unfortunately, this movie seemed to be the one exception. When it started, since we were sitting in the back, we heard the tech guys kind of gasp and then they kept trying to mess with the language, but there was only one audio track. Bummer.
Fortunately, the dub was pretty good for the most part, and my theory proved true in this case: any dub is tolerable if you haven't heard the Japanese version. (I've abandoned this theory since playing a certain dubbed video game.) The movie was indeed very very good, but it left some unanswered questions, so I guess we'll have to find the original work. Assuming we have any time to read anything.
Saturday was definitely our most eventful day at Comic Con. We started out by going to the How to Get a Job in Video Games panel. This was part of our scheme to find a way to somehow work on Kingdom Hearts. And basically the panel was a reinforcement of what we already knew: do whatever you can on your own to get experience and improve, and then make yourself visible to the people in the industry (via conventions, internet forums, writing in to magazines, etc.) so when they're looking for somebody, they'll maybe look at you. Like I said, we already knew that stuff, but it was good to hear it again from somebody who can confirm that it's the right way to go. With that in mind, we determined not to chicken out from the Square-Enix booth entirely.
But we had another panel to get to, so the dealers' hall would have to wait. Off we went to the Quick Draw! panel which was amazingly fun. It was hosted by Mark Evanier, who gave instructions to three cartoonists who would have to draw according to those instructions. The cartoonists were Sergio Aragones, who works (worked?) for MAD Magazine; Scott Shaw!, who worked for Hanna Barbera; and Floyd Norman, who was recently made into a Disney Legend. They played a game where two other artists in the audience would have to turn around while Mr. Shaw! showed everyone three words that the cartoonists would draw, while the audience artists had to guess the words, like Pictionary. And they were hard words, like "blank." At first, nobody drew anything, but that didn't help, so Mr. Shaw! drew a hand holding a blank piece of paper, and Mr. Norman drew a gun firing a blank, but the pictures weren't helping at all, until Mr. Aragones drew a check that was signed with no monetary amount written.
That first contestant took a long time guessing, so Mr. Aragones said that he thought the other contestant would be faster. As an example, he had the guy turn around while he wrote the word "ovuncular." Then the guy turned to watch while he drew a flower in a pot, and after only a few seconds, he said,"ovuncular." Then they had him play for real, and he actually did guess really fast. The first set of words they gave him was "there is no list; draw anything!" Mr. Aragones drew the contestant with Mr. Evanier behind him, stabbing him in the back. When all three pictures were done, the contestant said, "You're just drawing random things, aren't you?" And nobody had to draw any second pictures, so we were impressed. Then one of his words was "chili," so Mr. Shaw! drew Chilly Willy the Penguin, which was adorable. And another of his words was "invisible," so while Mr. Shaw! drew a dotted outline, the other cartoonists moved their hands over the paper without drawing anything.
Mr. Evanier asked them to do show and tell, where they'd draw a scene and then tell about it. Mr. Aragones illustrated something that happened at MAD Magazine before he worked there. Every year, they have a company trip somewhere, and that year they went to Haiti. It was discovered among the staff that there was one subscriber to MAD Magazine, but he had just canceled. So they all decided to go together to his house and beg him to renew his subscription (which he did).
They were asked to draw what someone would have to do to torture information out of them, and Mr. Aragones drew himself at the panel with Mr. Evanier forcing him to draw. Mr. Shaw! drew someone about to force-feed him beets, and Mr. Norman drew himself tied to a board, with a strange caricature holding and pointing to a bag of money. It didn't make sense until Mr. Evanier explained that the caricature was Mr. Norman's portrayal of Michael Eisner.
They were asked to draw where they really were when they told the press they were hiking in the Appalachians. Mr. Norman drew himself waiting in line at Comic Con, Mr. Shaw! drew himself running into... I think it was Robot Dungeon? And Mr. Aragones drew himself in the other room watching The Simpsons. Mr. Evanier then told of once he was celebrating Thanksgiving at Mr. Aragones' house and the latter disappeared at one point, to be found again in another room, watching The Simpsons.
They were asked to draw new uses for Mr. Shaw!'s old shirts. Scott Shaw! is a big guy who wears Hawaiian shirts. So he drew a tent with Hawaiian flowers all over it, and Mr. Aragones drew a ship with a big Hawaiian-print sail. Mr. Norman's drawing took a while to understand. He drew a guy carrying a pile of Hawaiian shirts, then the Disney water tower, and then finally he drew John Lasseter, looking very excited. Only about half the audience got it, though, until he explained that it was John Lasseter. And I'm still not sure many more people got it.
The last one I'll mention is "tragedy befalls Donald Duck." Mr. Aragones first drew someone's hand holding a pair of pants. I'm not sure if that was meant to be where Donald lost his pants, or if it meant someone was going to force Donald to wear them, but it was still funny. Then he drew another picture of a chef looking very mischievous and thinking of roast duck. Mr. Shaw! drew Donald looking very distraught as Scrooge McDuck stood there dressed in a barrel. And finally, Mr. Norman drew Donal looking very distraught as Daisy walked off with Goofy, glaring at him and holding up a finger. It was difficult to tell which one.
Aaaand I decided that's long enough for now. Of course there will be more on the convention later.
Today I'm thankful for the funnest panel ever, the lotion in our hotel that helped with the sunburn, our sunburns being gone now (now we just have really noticeable farmer's tans!), getting to work on a translation that allows for more than 50 pages completed in a day, and getting to witness a giant room of people reciting the Green Lantern oath.