The 2nd Dimension

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My Youmacon experience

I know this is a little late in coming considering that Youmacon was over a week ago, but here you go anyway. I attended the convention all three days and all in all I had a blast. It was awesome being around people who were as passionante as me or more about anime and manga. Here's some of the highlights:


Came and went. There weren't many people there and I didn't really see much that I was interested in. After we got our registration taken care of, we went in to one of the video games rooms and played some of that dancing video game (what's it called?). I of course sucked at it, but my little nephew was busting a groove to everyone's amusement. That was about as good as it got on Friday though. I wanted to see the Kristine Sa concert (a blog commenter pointed me to her website some time ago so I was interested in seeing what she was like), but it had been pushed back from 8:00 to 9:30 and I was with my wife, brother, his fiance, and his son and among the rest of them they were not too keen on staying for an extra hour and a half with nothing to do. So we left.


This day was much better. I got some choice viewings in including Fullmetal Panic: Second Raid and a bunch of Bleach episodes.

But the real highlight of the day was seeing the panel discussion with two English voice actors from Fullmetal Alchemist Caitlin Glass (who plays Winry) and Vic Mignogna (who plays Ed). They were both incredibly cool to listen to. The really weird thing was that Vic reminded me so much of my brother! My wife (who's not an anime fan but went anyway just to share in my joy -- what a trooper!) noticed right off the bat, and I had in inkling at first, but after a while it was just uncanny.

Familial similarities aside though, they did have some interesting and informative things to say. For one, they revealed that Funimation was hoping to give the FMA movie a theatrical release before it goes to DVD. Cheers abounded for that. They also had a bunch of hilarious stories to tell, and all-in-all you could really tell that they were probably more in love with Fullmetal Alchemist than most other shows they work on. They even have their own fan site called Risembool Rangers.

After the panel, I quickly went to the dealer area to get the first volume of the FMA manga to bring to the Vic and Caitlin signing. I'm not sure why I didn't get the DVD, but that problem was rectified on Sunday (see below). So I stood in line, all the while hating myself for not having brought a camera. I got the book signed but unfortunately couldn't think of anything witty or charming to say at the time, so I probably just looked like another otaku geek to them (which I am, so I guess it's just as well).

From there I went on to see when Tsubasa Chronicles would play but didn't get a chance to watch it because the schedule for viewings was so off. Eventually we went home but I came back around midnight to watch the first 10 episodes of Bleach and didn't leave until around 3:30am. I went home tired but satisfied.


Sunday was way too short, but was the most fun out of all the days. I mainly wanted to go to watch the 11:00am showing of Fullmetal Fantasy. However, we got there just as the charity auction was finishing up. Vic ended up personally auctioning off a signed copy of the FMA Volume 1 DVD, which I snatched up for no other reason than I regretted not getting it the day before -- that and the money was going to Katrina relief.

After that he introduced the film: Fullmetal Fantasy. FF was a short (about 20 minutes?) film made by Vic which chronicled his fictional transformation from a FMA fan into Edward Elric himself and his subsequent run-ins with the various characters from the show (who were mostly played by their corresponding English voice actors). It was really well done and everyone in the room laughed uproariously as each character popped up on screen. I suppose it would mean nothing to the uninitiated, but for those who are loyal followers of the show it was a real pleasure. After the showing he opened the floor to questions. As it turns out, the film is not for sale or availability even on the internet. He only shows it at conventions. But he said that Funimation is working with Aniplex to include as an extra on a future FMA DVD.

He also mentioned another FMA fan film project that he's working on using Ed Elric and Roy Mustang action figures. Some of the ideas he described sounded hilarious. For instance, the opening will mirror the opening of Napolean Dynamite but instead of a GI Joe action figure he throws Roy Mustang out the bus window and drags it along behind. After the string breaks Roy gets up. Ed pulls along side in his shiny red convertible, Roy gets in, and their story begins. The film will eventually be available via the Risembool Rangers site. I'll make sure to let you know if I ever see it.

After the Q & A, I decided I wanted to go watch the Otaku Family Feud. This was a game where two teams of four would compete in a Family Feud style game with anime-themed questions. I was planning just to watch, but another group of three was looking for someone else to join up so they had enough players so I stepped up. Somehow we made it to the top two teams. And as an added bonus, Vic and Caitlin each played as a fifth player for one of the teams. (I just couldn't get away from them!) Caitlin was on our team, and sat right next to me! Sweet! We didn't end up winning and I felt I contributed pitifully little, but it was so much damn fun I didn't care.

That concluded our convention experience, but I left more excited about anime and manga than ever before, and I am definitely looking forward to going again next year.

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