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Anime Next 2007 Review
Writen by Ciello
Posted on September 06, 2007 at 09:04:47 pm

sleepin in the fieldAnime Next 2007 Review!
For those who’ve never been, or want to know what they missed.

 

 

           Love! Betrayal! Angst! Revenge! None of these apply to the convention, but I’ll be that got your attention. Actually, the first item does apply to this year’s Anext, but more on that later. As you probably know, Anime Next is a New Jersey Convention held in the Meadowlands Con Center. It’s not a large convention, but that’s cool with Anext, it doesn’t need to be a big dog to be a thoroughbred. The con staffers make a point of it, in fact.

            I found the con staffers to be very friendly, and it was pretty cool to see some familiar faces on my second trip over. After talking with a few of the con goers, I heard a common complaint about some rules that were being enforced (for example, there are still no bags allowed in the dealers room) but I feel like I should emphasize a point: while the rules may be inconvenient sometimes, they were not enforced with malice! Most of the staffers I  met seem to genuinely love this yearly shindig, and don’t take that reckless rent-a-cop attitude that you might find elsewhere. Points to the staff here.

            Besides, even if bags had been allowed in the dealers room, they probably wouldn’t have fit. Just like last year, it was a tight squeeze to get through. Last year I was disappointed by the selection to be had. Any savvy New Yorker would be able to find most of those knick knacks in Chinatown. And let’s face it: a large portion of the con’s attendance is made up of ravenous New Yorkers, starving for a convention they can call their own. Thankfully, this year was different! There was a more varied selection, and I found plenty of swag that was new to me. I don’t love to hang out in overly crowded spaces like that, but some people-diving is alright if there’s treasure to be found.

            One item I found of interest in the dealer’s room was a nifty old-school gaming sweatshirt. You may be wondering why that’s relevant. Well I’ll tell you why, it was positively freezing inside. The beautiful July weather makes the Meadowland’s field a great place to shoot the breeze (in the breeze) with other con-goers, but indoors it was diamond-cutting cold.

            So, as you might imagine, I spent a great deal of time outside under the warm, life-giving day star. For me, Anime Next’s greatest draw has always been the people. It’s a place to hang out with others in the area that I don’t see as much. Also, there were lots of nifty costumes to check out, and many of them could be found out in the field. I could never give them all enough credit in just a few sentences, so head over to the gallery and check them out! 

 

 

 

            If chillin’ in the field isn’t your thing, and you’d rather be doing your due diligence as an anime fan, this year had plenty of panels [check out their schedule] of events to suit your tastes. If you’re not proactive about it, you might end up having a lull of activities every now and then over the weekend, since the events seemed to fill up pretty quick. But what can I say? Small cons are not where you look for jam-packed schedules. They had Mike Sinterniklaas this year, and I love the Venture Bros, so here they get points!

             Alas, I didn’t get to see the cosplay chess. But the very coolness of that concept alone warrants a separate, if incomplete, paragraph.

           On an unrelated note, are you a fan of acoustics? If yes, they you probably won’t be a fan of the con’s major indoor area. Much like last year, the large events room, signatures, dealer’s room, etc were all in the same large room. Each section was separated by a cloth-and-pipe barrier. The layout of the Meadowlands doesn’t really allow for each room to have its own walls, but the acoustics and the chaos are still a bit of a drag on the weekend’s events.

            Fortunately, if you’re in the loudest of the events, that won’t be as much of a problem. And the Masquerade was definitely quite loud, so let’s talk about that, shall we? It was awesome. Well, some parts were. As you can see through the link below, lots of talented folk got up there and gave it their all. Some fell short, and others were so successful that even my own snobby expectations were blown sky-high. I shall attempt to list them here, with corresponding youtube links, if I can find them. Don’t hate me if I missed your skit on my little masquerade list! It was dark in there, and hard to write everything down while still enjoying your talents. [Official Masquerade Awards]

1-     SOS Bridgade- The lead was an excellent lip-syncher, but the audio wasn’t so hot and the stage looked empty with only half the Haruhi cast up there. This had us thinking, “alright, how many needless Haruhi dancing skits will we see tonight?” Fortunately, I only counted three by the end.

2-     Card Captor Sakura- between the missed timing and the audio’s muffled garbles, I couldn’t tell what was going on.

3-     Final Fantasy 11- This was clever, they get extra points for sign usage.

4-     King of Fighters-….cute panda outfit

5-     Yu Yu Hakushow- My response to this, keep the fangirl pairings to doujinshi, please. It’s where they belong. The audio was clear, but the concept really grinds my gears.BWAHAHAHA

6-     Hellsing “New Recruit” – This was an awesome skit about recruiting Pikachu. The guy was no only well timed and expressive, but he had the awesomest evil laugh ever. One of my favorites. 

7-     Final Fantasy 11- an Indian costume, of some kind?

8-     Kingdom Hearts- The dialog here went too fast to comprehend, and the actors weren’t well timed either. I was a bit lost.

9-     Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess- an awesome costume

10- Kyo Aramou- a parody of a “Who’s Line is It Anyway?” song, I think. Another sketch that was unclear with audio and timing, and it was made harder to understand by having the actors with their backs to the audience. Note to future performers, having your back to the crowd is a baaaaaaad idea.

11- Kingdom Hearts II  Musical “Been there Done that” - This was a fun song, and it was nice to see someone acting out as someone other than Sora. I also like the backup dancers. Props.

12- Pokemon – This looked like a family skit, and the lady playing Jesse looked like someone’s mom who had been guilt-ed into going up on stage without being told how large a masquerade usually is. I kinda felt bad for her, but I felt bad for me too. The awkward that was being projected from the stage could have killed a buffalo at fifty feet.

13- Bleach- good costume. Not much else to say.

14- NAruto – A camp sing-along that was a bit lacking in melody, and in choreography.

15- Paranoia Agent- a good costume of the Bat-shounen, but no wig! Silhouettes are everything, man, that’s highly important!

16-  Eva the musical “Springtime for Gendo in Tokyo 3” – The dancing was a bit clunky, but this was still really amusing. Shinji was even playing his part in the dance number, exactly how you would expect his character to do so. I liked it! http://www.animegalleries.net/show.php?img=albums/cons/anext07/animenext07_0293.jpg

ACK! Here is where the fuse blew. Aside from this, tech problems were pretty much nonexistent. Good job, tech crew!

 17- Tekken 3- “New promotional item” parody of the Meow Mix song, I think.

18- Azumanga Daioh- The cutest little penguin suit you ever did see.

19- Fruits Basket- Holy hell, this skit was awesome. It was an interpretive dance number about the love triangle between three characters in Fruits Basket. It was precisely timed, and crystal clear. I haven’t even seen the show, and I was able to follow. By far the best in show. Future masqueraders, this should be your goal.

20- My notes are blank for this one >_<;;

21- Gundam Seed “What is seed” Night in the Roxbury Parody. This one was a little unclear, but there was a whole host of anime and game character references. It was sort of like the Robot Chicken of masquerade skits. I liked it a lot.

22- My notes are blank for this one >_<;;

23- Haruhi- Dance number

24- Naruto skit with Guy and the “If you were Gay” song

25- Sailor Moon- Tuxedo Mask Costume

26- Naruto- “Face to Face with most dreaded Enemies” this was a younger cosplay group, and needed improvement almost everywhere in their skit. The costumes looked off, even from afar, the audio, story, and acting all needed some work.

27- GITS- Stand Alone Complex- A Saitou Costume. I’m very partial to this show.

28- Maria-sama Gamiteru- This skit gets the award for the most adorable thing, ever. It was a simple, slow dance number with flowers, but it was almost flawless in execution and those girls really looked like they were enjoying themselves. Grins like that simply can’t lie. If this is the future of cosplay masquerades, the future is indeed a nifty place.

29- Various- My thoughts on this one? Rabbits don’t do cons, but they can dance. It was a bunch of random game references with no cohesion, ending in a haruhi dance number. WTF, mate?

30- FMA & Kenshin- more gross fangirl pairings. ‘nuff said.

31- Princess Mononoke & Gravitation & Final Fantasy- A cute skit about puppets taking over their master. The actors did a great job moving like a puppet would, this was an very good note to end the show on!

 

 


And now for the final rundown:
Location [7/10]
It's got easy access via mass transit, and it's close to my home city. BUT. The location itself isn't as well suited for the noise and activity of an anime con. Also, one of my favorite areas outside was under construction, which put a dampener on it.
Cosplay [6/10]
There were plenty of costumes here. I saw a health handful of random costumes, non-anime and even 4-chan references. One guy even riced up his car to make it look like the one in Initial D and parked in in the field. I really liked the costumes that were good, but there were more than a healthy handful of costumes that looked half-made or half-thought out. A lot of beginner costumes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the quality of your random encounters will be significantly different from larger cons.
Masquerade [8/10]
The few excellent skits were outstanding. Truly extra-ordinary, by the full meaning of that word. I noted them above. The rest suffered from poor lip synching, muddy audio, and performances that left a lot to be desired. For the good ones, I recommend checking out the videos, and if you can find it, get some of the music used it them. I'm listening to "Sonambulist(simply being loved)" from the Fruits Basket skit, as I type!
Events [5/10]
The events that were had were well selected, but there just wasn't all that many of them. And they filled up fairly fast. But like I mentioned above, this isn't a con you go to for events, it has other strengths, and the few guests they had were totally worth checking out.
Con Organization [8/10]
The con staff really seem to love their little con, and they have reason to be proud! Something like this is no small venture to set up. I ran into a few examples of poor communication between staffers and some other regrettable actions, but by and large the staff was a big ol friendly bunch of fellow fans.

 
Official Site:
http://animenext.org/

 
Official Review/complaint thread:
[link]

 

 

 





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