AnimeFEST ’14 Cosplay and Panels

I actually don’t have too much material on cosplay and panels from last month’s AnimeFEST (it was so disorienting to not having on Labor Day as usual) because I focused on the FLOW concert and interview.  When I wasn’t doing that, I was catching up with some friends.  A few of them were promoting the Ladies of Power charity calendar project, to which you can still donate during the next three days.

The two panels I went were “Shades of Cosplay” and “Disney Comes to Life”.  Hosted by Samurai Pizza Kitten Cosplay  and Moco Latte Cosplay, two cosplayers of color, “Shades of Cosplay” discussed the problem of racism in the community.  The ladies had some excellent advice for newcomers and frustrated veterans alike on dealing with hate and figuring out what works with your skin tone.  The Disney panel featured a cast of cosplayers acting like their character and conducting sing-a-longs.  Watching Solid Snake sing “Let It Go” with a little girl made my day. While the panel was very entertaining, the lack of microphones and large crowd caused the back of the room get a bit left out.  It was also twice as long as other panels.  However, it was worth staying until the end because the group created a tribute to honor the late Robin Williams.
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As I browsed through the Bizarre Bazaar, my ears were treated to the delightful sounds of Otaku Acoustic.  I thought it was great that the con put them out in the open so that everybody could enjoy their favorite anime tunes and check out this band.  On the other hand, placing FLOW on the second floor was a huge mistake considering how loud the band got.  I heard that panels got canceled because you couldn’t hear anything, and I know the semi-formal ball got evacuated from the fire alarm as well.

That brings me to another issue.  Between pulling the fire alarm and stealing light bulbs in the elevator, the behavior of some irresponsible con-goers is really ruining the experience of all other AnimeFEST attendees.  It also jeopardizes the con’s relationship with its guests (particularly the ones from overseas) and the hotel.  So PLEASE don’t be that person who thinks pranks like that are funny.

Now onto the cosplay.  With Sailor Moon Crystal out, there was a large number of Scouts and I’m sad I missed the giant photoshoot. Attack on Titan is still everywhere. As seen in the panel, Disney was a huge hit.  We even had a hipster Ariel’s equally hipster family.
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There were less comic book characters, but it’s not too surprising since the focus in on anime, which means I can see cosplays I normally don’t encounter like Eureka 7 and Tiger and Bunny.  However, I did see several Game of Thrones cosplays, which is pretty impressive considering the Texas heat.  Winter will come soon enough though.
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Click here for more cosplay photos.

Listening to: “The Real Thing” by FEMM

FLOW AnimeFEST Interview at JRock247

In addition to reporting on FLOW’s concert, I got to do a brief interview with them at AnimeFEST for JRock247.  We talked about anime theme songs, the previous night’s show, and what’s up with the recent baseball theme in their work.

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How do you balance having two vocalists instead of just one?

KOHSHI: Our vocal qualities are different, and we sing in different keys too. We consider how both the technical aspects and our personalities fit the parts. We actually consider this to be our strong point; we like to use it as a weapon.

Click here to read the rest of the interview.

Listening to: “BRAVELUE” by FLOW

FLOW AnimeFest 2014 live report on JRock247

A couple of week ago, I attended AnimeFEST, which had FLOW as their musical guest.  The concert was very exciting and I wrote a live report for JRock247.

Without hesitation, FLOW got the crowd moving with “Sign”. Vocalists KEIGO and KOHSHI darted around the stage, jumping and throwing their fists in the air. Next came the much-loved Eureka 7 opening, “DAYS”. The funky guitar was the perfect companion to the flawlessly delivered rap.

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Click here to read the rest of the report (and see more pics!).

Listening to: “HERO -Kibou no uta-“ by FLOW

WING WORKS interview on JRock247

I took a short break from writing articles for JRock247, NekoPOP, and Drama-MAX, but now I’m back and I’ve got a new interview with WING WORKS.

The three PVs in your DVD are part of one story yet they’re very different in setting and overall atmosphere. How did you decide on the look for each one?
RYO:SUKE: We get our ideas from various songs and lyrics. “Silver (シルヴァー)” is cyber and gothic. “VAD†MAN” is conspiratorial and “Fushichou (不死鳥-FENNIX-)” is Japanesque.

“VAD†MAN” features a lot of historical and religious imagery. What events and historical figures influence you? How about religion?
RYO:SUKE: A lot of the influence for “VAD†MAN” was taken from the cultural aspects of the Christian worldview.

Click here to read the rest.

Listening to: “Silver” by WING WORKS

Lustknot. reveals mental illness as reason for indefinite hiatus

Activities pauses are not uncommon in the world of J-rock.  Explanations are a little bit harder find, but there’s usually a vague statement to let fans know what’s going on.  However, the bands remain private.  That’s half of why the news of Lustknot.’s hiatus is so surprising: they gave a specific reason.

The other reasons is the reason itself.  Their vocalist Yuki suffers from dissociative identity disorder and can no longer continue with the band.  You can read a translation of the officiate statement at Shattered Tranquility.

This announcement is a big deal because there’s always been a stigma against mental disorder in Japan (and other parts of Asia too).  In a culture that places so much importance on a public face versus a private one, it’s no surprise that such disorders would be kept secret and that patients would be locked away.  That’s not to say there haven’t been reforms and better treatment, but just take a look at how Crown Princess Masako was treated after she was diagnosed with adjustment disorder.

I commend Lustknot. and their management for both bringing attention to an illness that isn’t visible and showing their support for Yuki.  It would’ve been easy to leave it at health issues and continue without him, but they chose not to.  Thank you Lustknot. for the music you have given us, and I wish Yuki the best.

Listening to: “Sakura Memento” by URBANGUARDE

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