Anime Next 2007 Review|
Writen by Ciello
Posted on September 06, 2007 at 09:04:47 pm
Anime Next 2007 Review!
For those who’ve never
been, or want to know what they missed.
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.
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,
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.
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]
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.
Card Captor Sakura- between the missed timing
and the audio’s muffled garbles, I couldn’t tell what was going on.
Final Fantasy 11- This was clever, they get
extra points for sign usage.
King of Fighters-….cute panda outfit?
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.
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.
Final Fantasy 11- an Indian costume, of some
Kingdom Hearts- The dialog here went too fast to
comprehend, and the actors weren’t well timed either. I was a bit lost.
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess- an awesome
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
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.
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.
Bleach- good costume. Not much else to say.
NAruto – A camp sing-along that was a bit
lacking in melody, and in choreography.
Paranoia Agent- a good costume of the Bat-shounen,
but no wig! Silhouettes are everything, man, that’s highly important!
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
Tekken 3- “New promotional item” parody of the
Meow Mix song, I think.
Azumanga Daioh- The cutest little penguin suit
you ever did see.
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.
My notes are blank for this one >_<;;
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.
My notes are blank for this one >_<;;
Haruhi- Dance number
Naruto skit with Guy and the “If you were Gay”
Sailor Moon- Tuxedo Mask Costume
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.
GITS- Stand Alone Complex- A Saitou Costume. I’m
very partial to this show.
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.
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?
FMA & Kenshin- more gross fangirl pairings.
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
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.
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.
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!
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 Review/complaint thread: