Tempest’s Downpour – AnimeNEXT 2012 Review

Posted on Jun 16 2012

This year’s was the most exciting AnimeNEXT experience I’ve ever had. The panels had quite a variety and were very good, but it was the unexpected that really helped to make this con.

Kyle Hebert’s roast of Dragonball Evolution was the best thing to have happened to that crappy movie. It put the audience in the right mood to watch a parody, and that is most certainly what was delivered. I’m both grateful and disappointed by the fact that Kyle went silent for several stretches of the film. He had great comments the vast majority of the time, and sometimes he just had us watch – which was good fun because I’d never seen the movie whole before. Still, I’m used to the tradition of MST 3k where I was expecting to lose quite a bit of the dialog. In reality, this was more like the Rocky Horror Picture Show experience: speaking occurred only during the gaps in the dialog.

I followed up the evening with the “18+ dating game.” The first two rounds were creative and wonderful. We had some Madoka characters squabbling for the attention of one another (Madoka herself gave the most sarcastic and naiive replies) while a human version of Windows 7 and a female Loki chatted it up. Following that, a very drunk Tony Stark tried to bring home all of his female panelists and was terribly disappointed to find that he had to choose one.

But following that was the yaoi round. Sometimes I wonder why they bother to have a yaoi round when it just seems like some twisted, uncreative fangirl’s daydream come to light. If it weren’t for the Spy from TF2 and Duo Maxwell, I would have left. It really makes me ponder the previous year, when the yaoi round was so hilarious, so off-the-wall, so perfectly timed and delivered with such correct characterization and shockingly funny lines that guys and girls found it entertaining. This year was not like that. There was another yuri round after that, which I was grateful for as the previous year featured no yuri round so now I got 2 for the price of one.

The next day, I popped into the “Hetalia Model UN” session and my confidence in Hetalia fans went soaring. It’s amazing to see people keep character and discuss global politics at the same time. Each year has a theme, and this year’s theme was the end of the world. Amidst the squabbling, America tried to pin the blame on Russia and the “brown-house effect.” I found that painfully accurate.

To my delight, fandoms crossed as I sat in on an enormous panel devoted to Doctor Who. I love panels that are like interactive lectures. Having become a Doctor Who fan only recently, this panel taught quite a lot about previous doctors and I got to cheer with everyone else when Ten showed up on the screen.

Speaking of Doctor Who, there were so many cosplayers. A Ten, an Eleven and a Rose had a series of pictures taken and I shouted at them, “You aren’t supposed to meet until next year! Spoilers!” There was even a Tardis cosplayer – humanized – and she was gorgeous.

On the topic of cosplayers, the Avengers were everywhere. I caught up with a drunk Thor in the bar across the street who knew his Norwegian Mythology. There were half a dozen Korra cosplayers and there was an enormous tidal wave of Homestuck cosplayers. It makes me wonder how some people can claim that anime conventions are only for anime characters when people devote themselves with such amazing effort and craftsmanship.

Also, unrelated, the fire marshall made its presence known at this convention. Entrances were changed, people were ushered from hallways. So of course there was an actual fire.

I don’t know the details and it was apparently isolated to a single room, but all of us were ushered from our hotel rooms at 3:30 in the morning. And to the jerk(s) who caused this fire, know this: if your actions have caused the hotel to reconsider housing AnimeNEXT in the future, I will hunt you down and make you pay for it.

And no one slept that night…

The following day, I hit the ugly end of “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly in Anime.” Even though “Bad Anime Bad” wasn’t a panel at this year’s con (which broke in my heart), this panel satisfied my need for painfully bad anime.

Then I saw a panel devoted to the Korean animation “There She Is.” You’ve probably seen the first video: it’s an anthropomorphic world where a bunny girl falls in love with a cat boy. He tries to get away, but she becomes obsessed with him in a cute and funny way. In the end, he surrenders and accepts her love. What you may not know is that the series takes a dark turn: in this world, cats and rabbits aren’t meant to be together. People protest their love and harass them. The hatred culminates in the fourth video and there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.

Of course, you all should know that during the course of this convention I had the honor of interviewing Berryz Kobo. Look out for that video — we got to play a getting-to-know-you game and everything!

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  • Kayarath June 17, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    I totally wish I could have gone to AnimeNEXT with you and Bargain Gamer! We could have played NINJA together!

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