I'm back from my local con, New Jersey's very own AnimeNEXT, and I had a fun time once again. The addition of the Somerset Bridgewater Hotel definitely eased the amount of people entering the DoubleTree & the Garden State Exhibit Center, but it also turned the entire thing from a potential "line-con" into a "walk-con". Now, to be fair, I'll gladly take a good walk over constantly having to enter lines just to be able to enter a panel, though my calves definitely felt the repercussions, but it also resulted in me being in the Bridgewater more than the usual DoubleTree when it came to panels.
Anyway, the guest list was definitely varied. For dub fans there were plenty of voice actors, like Matt Mercer & Richard Epcar, for music fans there were ROOKIEZ is PUNK'D & Luna Haruna, for industry fans there were two members of Studio Trigger (who detailed all of the behind the scenes info on Inferno Cop & Kill la Kill), and for internet fandom there was both Daryl Surat & Gerald Rathkolb from Anime World Order as well as Charles Dunbar from Study of Anime. But enough about that, what did I do at the con?
I started off Friday morning with The Golden Age of Weekly Shonen Jump: A Visual History, which was a 90-minute overview of what titles started the momentum into Jump's 1983-1996 reign over manga & what titles from that era were adapted into anime. Due to some problems beyond my control, I was not listed on the printed schedule, and I literally started with only two (quickly four) con-goers, but by the time I hit the "Golden Age" I started getting more people & overall I think I had a moderate crowd for what was one of the very first panels of the entire con; I'll take it.
Having forgotten to apply for a third panel I took advantage of an open-invitation by Charles Dunbar to join his & Katriel "Kit" Paige's We Con, Therefore We Are, which talked about the concept of "Con Convergence" & how anime fandom & anime cons have changed throughout the years. While I did admittedly feel a little like a "third wheel" throughout the panel, which Kit assured me was normal, overall it was an interesting experience to be a part of what was, essentially, a guest panel at the con. I saw this panel over at Otakon last year, where Charles had Daryl on board, but what makes this panel interesting is that the execution & style really changes depending on who's on board; with Daryl it was a much more passionate panel with a lot of back & forth, but with Kit & I it was more subdued & relatable. Once again, thank you Charles & Kit for welcoming me on board... Maybe one day I'll think about trying it again.
Finally, on Sunday I had Great Anime We'll (Probably) Never Get, a "crash course" that showed anime fans the titles that have missed the licensing train throughout the years &, due to varying reasons, may never actually see a legal release of any sort in North America. While I could have gone far back & talked about the 80s & 90s, I actually ended up with a list that was mostly from within the past 10 years that totaled 17 different titles; there were a handful of 80s & 90s entries, though. This had a full room & everyone was ready to learn about titles that may not have known before. This was easily the most enjoyable panel I had at AnimeNEXT, and I even managed to do something I didn't think was exactly possible: I got Gerald Rathkolb wanting to watch an anime (Hareluya II BØY, in this case). Too bad that anime is really rough to watch in complete due to sub-standard raws; two episodes are portioned (ep 1) on YouTube in okay quality, though (ep 7). I'll have to see if I can help Gerald out with this show one day (and the rest of Ring ni Kakero 1, too)...
Anyway, I covered a ton of titles across both panels, so for those who went to either one & want a reminder of what I showcased, and those who are just curious, here's what I showcased:
The Golden Age of Weekly Shonen Jump: A Visual History:
-Pre-Golden Age, a.k.a. "The Bronze Age"-
Ring ni Kakero 1
Space Adventure Cobra
-"The Golden Age"-
Fist of the North Star
Ginga ~Nagareboshi Gin~
Kimagure Orange Road
Tsuide ni Tonchinkan
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Jungle Emperor Tar-chan
Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken
Video Girl Ai
Chinyuuki ~Taro to Yukai na Nakama-tachi~
Yu Yu Hakusho
Hareluya II BØY
Hell Teacher Nube
Captain Tsubasa: World Youth
Midori no Makibao
Karakuri Zoushi Ayatsuri Sakon
Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi yo, Masaru-san!
Great Anime We'll (Probably) Never Get: [Reviews Linked if I Covered Them]
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Kamen no Maid Guy
Ring ni Kakero 1
Ginga Densetsu Weed
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku -The Legend of Koizumi-
Saint Young Men
Combustible Campus Guardress
Niji-Iro Hotaru ~Eien no Natsu Yasumi~
The Galaxy Railways Season 2 & OVA
Big Windup!: Summer Tournament Chapter/Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen
King of Braves GaoGaiGar FINAL
The Macross Franchise (- SDF Macross, Macross Plus, & Macross II: Lovers Again)
Hareluya II BØY