* Shuzilow.HA (Character Designer)
* Sumi Shimamoto (Voice Actress)
Voice Acting Guests
* Greg Ayres
* Chris Bevins
* Steven J. Blum
* Richard Epcar
* Clarine Harp
* Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
* Vic Mignogna
* Carrie Savage
* Mike Sinterniklaas
* Kari Wahlgren
* Jonathan Klein
* Tom Wayland
* David Williams
* Svetlana Chmakova
* Robert and Emily DeJesus (Studio Capsule)
* Ananth Panagariya and Mohammad "Hawk" Haque (Applegeeks)
* Michael "Mookie" Terracciano
My weekend started on Thursday, May 25, so to speak, arriving in Boston at about 5:30 PM and meeting up with a friend who arrived earlier that day. First thing first, we both headed over to the place we booked to stay for the weekend and got settled in. We had another friend coming in later in the evening, so with time to kill, went to the Hynes Convention Center to pick up our badges, then headed over to Cheers for dinner and a couple of drinks, getting back in at about 9:00 PM. Our other friend got in at about 11:00 PM. We hung out for a bit then went to bed so we'd be up early for the convention.
The convention's opening ceremonies began at about 11:15, running a bit late because a couple of the guests were just getting in. Overall, the ceremonies went well, though -- the guests where excited and really got the crowd going and into the whole atmosphere of the convention, setting the mood for the rest of the weekend.
After the opening ceremonies, my friends and I headed over to the California Pizza Kitchen at the mall for some spicy pizza and drinks -- I opted to stick with non-alcoholic drinks and instead went with Mango Frozen Lemonade (it was very warm this past weekend in Boston, so cold drinks were the way to go). We then headed back over to the convention center and split up to do various different things. I attended the Steve Blum and Vic Mignognan autograph session.
Steve and Vic Autograph Session
The line was huge, spanning the length of almost two full, very large halls. I got there an hour early and managed to get a fairly good place in line. It took about thirty minutes for me to finally get into Ballroom A, where the autograph sessions were being held over the weekend. Once in the ballroom, the wait was about another ten to fifteen minutes to the tables.
Steve signed my Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children DVD cover sleeve and talked a bit about playing the part of Vincent. He was very nice and fun to talk with, but with the line as long as it was, I could only talk to him for about a minute before moving over to Vic's table.
Vic was pleased when I broke out my Macross Volume 1 DVD cover sleeve, and he immediately started talking about how much fun he's having working on the show. Up to that point, Vic had pretty much signed nothing but Edward Elric posters, wall scrolls and DVD covers, and was happy to see something else -- not that signing Fullmetal Alchemist merchandise bothers him or anything, but voice actor tend to get a kick out of seeing people recognize other roles they've played beyond their signature roles. We talked for a couple of minutes about the Macross series, and then I got a couple of pictures and took off so the line could keep moving.
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Richard Epcar Autograph Session
Right from the Steve and Vic signing, I jumped into line for Mary and Richard's autograph session, and got a pretty good position in line. This time it took me about fifteen minutes to get into Ballroom A and about a ten-minute wait once inside the room.
First up was Mary, who is just a wonderful spirited woman who's actually pretty spunky. A woman in line just before me asked Mary if she'd mind saying hello to her (the woman's) daughter over the phone because she's a huge fan of her (Mary's) work, but she couldn't be at the convention. Mary agreed with a smile and talked to the girl over the phone for a minute or two. She's such a nice person. Anyway, I then moved up to the table and got my autograph book signed by her, though I had originally planned to get a Motoko figurine still in the box signed instead, but forgot it at home. I talked to her for a moment and got a picture taken with both her and Richard at the same time -- Mary called Richard over, so he just jumped right in.
After the picture was taken, I moved over to Richard's table and had him sign the insert of a Robotech: The New Generation DVD, which has a picture of Lunk on it. I told him I was always a bigger fan of Lunk than Ben, though I very much liked Ben, too. I told me that he was always a bigger fan of Lunk, too, because after Ben was killed off, he thought he'd never work on the show again. At this I commented: "And twenty years later you're still there." He laughed at that, then agreed to pose for a single picture with just him in it.
Kari Wahlgren and Mike Sinterniklaas Panel
Since I got in and out of Mary's and Richard's autograph session fair quickly, I was able to make Kari and Mike's panel. Both were a blast and pretty much took questions for the whole hour instead of talking about their projects at the beginning; this allowed for a lot more interaction between them and us. A lot of great info came out of that panel, and I was able to ask Kari a question or two about her work on Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, and ask Mike some questions about animation production. Both answered all my questions with grace and sufficiency, and I thanked them for that.
After two autograph sessions, one panel and a lot of fun, I met up with my friends and went down to the Dealer's Room to scout out what I might buy over the weekend, then headed over a sushi restaurant at the mall, where I got myself some smoked salmon rolls and a nice tall cup of cold soda. I was going to get some Sake, but needed something colder and in larger volumes.
Robotech Voice Acting Workshop Hosted by Kevin McKeever and Richard Epcar
After filling up on Sushi, I headed back over to the convention center for the Robotech Voice Acting Workshop, where Kevin presented a two-page script of a scene from the first episode of Robotech, where Rick first shows up and meets up with Roy. The idea is that volunteers would be called up to read for the part of Rick while Kevin read for the part of Roy. The idea wasn't to copy the tone of the scene from the show, but to create your own character based on the word on the script. But a problem occurred: Richard didn't show up right off. What happened was Richard went over to the same sushi restraint I did (a little later than I) and couldn't find his way back. Kevin gave him a call and found out he was lost, so sent someone out to get him. Kevin totally ragged on Richard when he got there, and Richard poked fun back -- it was hilarious. Finally the workshop got started and everything ran smooth from there.
After the workshop was over, I got to chance to hang out Richard for a while, and he gave me some great advice about working in animation (when I finish studying screenwriting at college, I hope to work in both live action and animation).
And that was pretty much it for Friday. I headed back to the place I was staying at and went to bed.
Saturday, as expected, was the busiest of the three days. I got up around 8:30 AM, got ready, and was over to the convention center by about 9:10 AM to get in line for the Kari and Mike Autograph Session.
Kari and Mike Autograph Session
I was in line early and was part of the first group that got into Ballroom A. Once inside, it was about ten-minute wait.
Mike was signing at the first table, and I got him to sign my autograph book. We got talking for a few minutes about the current Ninja Turtles series, for which he plays the voice of Leonardo, and how much the series is like the comic book.
I then moved over to Kari's table and had her sign my Tales of Symphonia cover sleeve, which she plays the part of Raine. She complimented me on the questions I asked during their panel the day before, which I thanked her very much for. We then got talking for a few minutes about how they did the voice work on the game.
After the autograph session was done, I met up with my friends to get some food. Once we finished up eating, we headed back over to convention center for the ADV Panel, which was hosted by staff with Greg Ayres making a special appearance. After showing us the first episode of Jinki: Extend (which isn't due out on DVD until this fall), they started taking questions, handing out free DVDs and Manga to anyone who asked a question. I asked a question and got Macross Volume 3, hand picked and handed to me by Greg Ayres himself. My friend asked a question and received the entire second collection of Nadia. Really, ADV handed out close to, if not more than, a $1000 worth of merchandise during that panel. Then it was off to Miss. Sumi Shimamoto’s autograph session.
Shimamoto Autograph Session
Miss. Shimamoto is a Japanese Seiyuu (voice actress) who's most popular for playing the roles of Nausicaa in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Lady Toki in Princess Mononoki.
The line for Miss. Shimamoto was bound to be huge, so I got there very early and was one of the first few people in line. Indeed, yes... the line got huge, and the extra wait to make sure I was one of the first in line was well worth it.
Miss. Shimamoto is a nice person who took the time to address all her fans and take several pictures a piece. She signed my Nausicaa DVD cover slip in both Japanese and English and took a couple of pictures with me.
After the autograph session I met up with my friends to drop by the Dealer's Room and then off to the mall for some Mexican food. Once we were done eating, we headed over to the Funimation panel to get the latest news from them. They officially showed footage from their up coming project entitled Beck, which is an Anime that centers around music. It's taking a while to get out due to music licensing, but it is on the way. They also handed out mock backstage passes to a Beck concert, which is obviously the name of the band the anime follows. The passes they handed out are extremely rare, limited to just 300 with the Anime Boston logo printed on the back of the pass.
There was also a little be of talk about their acquisition of Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie, but not a lot of info was given about either.
After the Funimation panel, my friends and I headed back to the Dealer's Room to spend some more cash on Asian related items ( ), and then we headed back over to the mall for some more food. After that, it was time for the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles Panel.
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles Panel
The panel was hosted by Kevin, Richard and Kari, and was the panel I was looking most forward to for the whole weekend. And they didn't disappoint. They started off by showing us the 2004 Anime Expo trailer that isn't online and very few people have seen, then went right into showing comparison art from the original series and Shadow Chronicles. They broke out some completed footage of a scene between Scott and Aerial that left the audience in awe and wanting more. After that, they started talking about the cast involved with the show, and a very [i]interesting[/b] tidbit of information came up. It's been known for a while that Kari had been cast in the role of Aerial, a character known through most of the show as Marlene, named after Scott's dead girlfriend, and who was voiced by Melanie MacQueen. It was thought that when Kari was cast to play Aerial, that she'd be basically playing the role so that Aerial's voice wouldn't be further mixed up with Lisa's voice, who was also played by Melanie MacQueen. This isn't entirely correct. Kevin reveled at Anime Boston 2006 that Melanie MacQueen is, indeed, returning to play the voice of Marlene in Shadow Chronicles! What? How? Kari is most definitely playing the voice of Aerial in the series; I heard her playing the voice on the clip they earlier showed. That means the Marlene Melanie's going to play is not Aerial, but a different one. Could this be some sort of Invid clone? Or maybe Marlene (Scott's actual girlfriend that was believed to be dead) survived the attack at the beginning of the third generation series, and is now back to reclaim Scott! Either way, something interesting is going on with this story.
Kevin also made it clear that this movie will not be all that we see of the Shadow Chronicles series, that Harmony Gold sees Shadow Chronicles as a long term investment and plans very much to continue the series through any method possible, whether as an OVA, a TV series, or even a series of films.
Distribution negotiations have been going very well since screening The Shadow Chronicles for a group of distributors, and they expect to sign a deal very soon.
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is hitting the film festival circuit, with two dates already etched in. Both dates can be found at their official site: http://www.robotech.com/. Furthermore, Kevin said there would likely be another date and location announced by the end of the week.
After getting all the juicy info on Shadow Chronicles, Kevin broke out some trailers and footage from the movie, showing us a three-minute action sequence that's on an epic scale equivalent to any space battle found in Star Wars. Harmony Gold decided to follow Firefly's lead by having the battle scene rendered using the shaky cam technique, amping up the frantic nature of the battle sequence. There's lot of zooms, wipe pans, and other methods used to bring a sense of realism to the film, yet keeps that Anime charm that everyone loves about the Robotech series. I'm telling you folks, this film looks really, really good.
After all that, Kevin held a Q&A session and handed out prizes to those he felt asked good questions. I managed to pick up anther Masterpiece Collection Veritech (Scott Bernard's VFA-6H Alpha Fighter), making this the third Masterpiece Collection Veritech I've won at a Robotech panel -- I won 2 of them at Anime Boton 2005. Several people won some rare cel art from Robotech: The Movie.
Overall, the Robotech panel was everything I expected and better. Watching Kevin and Richard pick on each other all the time was also a blast to see.
Lupin The Third Outtakes Panel
The Lupin outtake panel literally took place right after the Robotech panel, hosted by Richard Epcar and Mary McGlynn. When I say literally, I mean Kevin continued to take question about Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles while Richard and Mary were setting up their computers. More people came into the room at this point, and Kevin stuck around to watch some of the funniest outtakes I have ever seen. I laughed so hard I was hurting afterwards. I would repeat some of the outtakes in this convention report, but they weren't exactly family friendly outtakes and jokes.
After that it was back to my room to sleep.
I was up by 5:30 AM due to how warm it was in the room, so decided to start my convention day off early by going to the 24-hour video gaming room to play some games. There were a lot of people up and playing games, surprisingly. When it got a little later in the morning, I met with my friends to get some breakfast, then we headed back to the convention center for various activities. I decided to go to the Chris Bevins and Clarine Harp autograph session.
Chris and Clarine Autograph Session
I was in line early again, so I was one of the first to get into Ballroom A. Chris signed my insert to Burst Angel volume 2, as he is the director of the U.S. version, and Clarine signed the same insert, right next to a picture of Sei, the character she plays in the series. Both talked to me about various things, and I have to say that Chris is a really funny guy.
Greg Ayres, Carrie Savage, and Jonathan Klein Autograph Session
Right after the Chris and Clarine autograph session, I met with one of my friends and got in line for the Greg, Carrie and Jonathan autograph session. Again, I was in line early and got in early. Both Carrie and Jonathan signed my autograph book and talked to me for a moment, then I moved to Greg's table and had him sign my Macross volume 2 DVD cover slip. He was thrilled to see the Macross DVD and thanked me for representing the old school. We got talking about Macross and Robotech for a good three or four minutes, then I figured that I had held up the line long enough, so headed out with my friend.
After the autograph session, my friend and I met up with our other friend and went to get some food and hit the Dealer's room again. After that we split to all head back home. I skipped the closing ceremonies so I could catch a bus home.
Overall this was a very good convention with great guest and a lot of merchandise in the Dealer's Room. The atmosphere was very friendly, and I got to just hang out and talk to the guest a lot more than with last year's convention.
There were a few things the Anime Boston staff could of done better, like how to handle long lines for autographs and panels, or spreading there more popular events out a little better on the schedule. Still, they did a pretty good job.
Anime Boston came very close to, and most likely did, break an attendance of 10,000 people or better this year, up from 7,500 from last year. It's now officially on the top ten biggest Anime Conventions in North America list, and is likely to expand further next year. I recommend to anyone who hasn't been to Anime Boston yet to do so.
Edited by Corwin, 12 June 2006 - 11:26 AM.