Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nintendo drops price of 3DS to $169.99

Big news, Nintendo drops the price of the 3DS from $249.99 to $169.99 starting in August 12th.The console has been under-performing since it launched. Analysts have suggested that it is due to the high price and the anemic game lineup. With Sony launching the PS Vita for $250 in late 2011 or early 2012, Nintendo had to drop the price of the console sooner or later.

Will the price drop improve sales? Without a doubt. Will Nintendo make up sales for launching their console at a high price and keeping the console out of the core demographic that plays Nintendo Handheld consoles? That is hard to answer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Fan Video

If you haven't seen it already, here are some fan videos of Anime Expo 2011 by one of my favorite videographers, Ackson Lee. His videos are world class and they capture the beauty and art of cosplay so wonderfully.

Anime Expo 2011 - Fanvideo 1
Anime Expo 2011 - Fanvideo 2
Anime Expo 2011 - Fanvideo 3
Anime Expo 2011 - Fanvideo 4
Anime Expo 2011 - Fanvideo 5

I can't really say anything except I had the pleasure of meeting him many times, and I have told him the many times I met him during Anime Expo that I love his videos. His passion and love of cosplay combined with his incredible editing and cinematography make him the best of the best.

Please show him your support and thank him for doing a great job when you see him in a major California Anime Convention.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hyperdimension Neptunia Review

The four goddesses of Hyperdimension Neptunia
Green Heart, White Heart, Black Heart, and Purple Heart (the female lead)
Every once in a while, a game concept comes out that is so different and unique that it creates a lot of buzz, Hyperdimension Neptunia is one of those games. It has the console war that we all know and love, but with the game consoles personified as goddesses. There was lots of buzz with the game because there is lots of potential for self-deprecation and the gaming industry has a massive variety of things to lampoon. Hyperdimension Neptunia is a flawed game, but once you get past its flaws, it is an enjoyable game with a great cast of characters, an entertaining script that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and endless references to popular anime and video games.

The story of Hyperdimension Neptunia starts off with the four goddesses of the world of Gameindustri battling for thousands of years gaining little or no ground. To break this endless stalemate, the goddess White Heart (Nintendo) suggests that the three of them team up together to take one of the goddesses out of Celestia. Black Heart (Sony) who is battling Purple Heart (Sega) gets irritated by Purple Heart’s egging on. With Green Heart’s (Microsoft) suggestion, the three goddesses decide to take out Purple Heart. Irritated that she had no say in this situation, Purple Heart brags that she could take out all three goddesses, and then proceeds to lose against the other three goddesses. Neptune wakes up on Planeptune with injuries all over her body. Having fallen from the sky, she doesn’t remember anything about herself and her past. Helped by the Compa (Compile Heart), she decides to go all over the world of Gameindustri since she believes she is the only one who can save it. Over the course of the game, she goes into the lands of Lastation (Black Heart’s domain), Lowee (White Heart’s domain), and Leanbox (Green Heart’s domain), trying to change the world around her.

(Purple Heart)
The main character is Neptune, also known as Purple Heart. In her normal form, Neptune is a cheerful girl with a white sweater and a short purple hair. Her personality can be described as cheerful, energetic, kind, forgetful and prone to speak her mind. When the transforms into her goddess form, she has very long purple hair, a much larger bust line, and very revealing clothes. Her personality also changes in her goddess form; she has a more sullen, serious personality. She speaks in a lower tone of voice and she doesn’t speak as fast as her normal form. Under her personality change, she is still the same ditzy Neptune in the inside. Neptune is a very interesting character, after battling one of the other goddesses she describes the woman she battled as “a girl wearing a skanky outfit,” kind of funny, because Neptune’s transformed outfit is just as revealing, if not more revealing. To be honest, Neptune is a great character and she really does carry the game, but I would have preferred if her goddess form had more exposure over the course of the game. The few times Neptune does appear in her Goddess form in the event sequences make the game very interesting to say the least.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Day 4 Convention Report

Kuroko from Railgun
The last day of an anime convention is typically the slowest, this Anime Expo being one of the rare exceptions. This day four was one of the most energetic and fun days I could remember. My experiences in this day reaffirm what I believe, that Anime Expo is about creating wonderful memories with fellow fans. We ended our twentieth year with an incredible experience, by the fans and for the fans.

Day 4 of Anime Expo starts off with a bang; I got up late and ran to my cosplay photography panel. Unfortunately I was not the only one late, Bryan woke up late and he ran to the panel late. The people running the panel were nice enough to run a cute and funny slideshow so that the guests waiting for the panel didn’t get irritated at our tardiness. The room was half full; it wasn’t as packed at the Day 1 panel of Anime Expo. It is easy to understand why, because the panel was so early. As we were doing the panel Jerry Shaw and Nick were taking our pictures. We kept it as nice and as short as possible and headed out of the room. I had such a great experience running a panel that I told Bryan that we have to run more panels together in future Anime Expo’s.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Anime LA Orange County Picnic

After a big event one needs some time just relax and let it all sink in. Anime Expo 2011 was a great experience, and it ranks as one of my personal favorites in all my years of being at Anime Expo. Over the course of the convention I had so much to do that I had little time to catch my breath. Two weeks after Anime Expo I attended a cosplay picnic run by my friends over at Anime Los Angeles. It was a fun experience where I had a chance to meet up with many of my friends who cosplay or do cosplay photography.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Day 3 Convention Report

Where is it from? It looks so familiar
The story of anime convention is a story of experiencing the great things the con can offer, while trying to minimize the bad experiences you have. Seemingly simple things can create a rewarding and pleasing experience. In contrast, not following etiquette or skipping out on a simple “please” can ruin an otherwise great experience. My third day of Anime Expo had plenty of the former, and there were some unfortunate instances where I had to deal with the latter.

Michael Underwood arriving
My third day of Anime Expo 2011 starts with the 20th anniversary panel that was planned by Board Director Marisa Price and was moderated by Paul Wilson. Being a person who started in Anime Expo in 2004, it was a real treat hearing some of the original founders and members share stories about Anime Expo. One of my favorites was the story told when Anime Expo was in the Disneyland Hotel back in 2000. He was recollecting how the Disney hotel had to give a handwritten note at every guest’s room in the Disneyland Hotel to tell them that all the costumed characters walking around was not associated with Disney. Jerry, a cosplay photographer who has attended every Anime Expo ever (he even has an Anime Con 1991 shirt) was there snapping pictures. One of the AX staffers asked the panelists if they can see Anime Expo hitting the 50,000 mark, or even the 100,000 mark in the future. Michael Underwood, the Anime Expo director of Entertainment responded saying that in AX 2011 the convention was very close to hitting the magical 50,000 number. I believe it was Josh Ritter or another panelist who said that they could see Anime Expo hitting 100,000 within 5 to 7 years if the organization can sustain its current growth levels. The panel was a great panel and it was one of my big highlights of the convention’s third day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Day 2 Convention Report

Sailor Neptune from my photo shoot
Saturday of any anime convention is the craziest, and Anime Expo 2011 was no exception. The reason why the Saturday is always the craziest day for any anime convention is that the number of people who would attend the convention for one day would typically choose the Saturday to attend the convention. My day started off in a meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. In the meeting I learned that we broke records for Day 1 and that Anime Expo 2011 is on track on beating all attendance records ever. With the great news I headed off to the Los Angeles Convention Center for my insane day.

I go out to the Registration line and it was HUGE, I just couldn’t believe just how many people were waiting in line to pick up their badge. As long as the line was, it moved very fast, so I could see that people in general were very happy. I couldn’t help but be sucked by the crazy atmosphere of a Saturday Anime Expo. One of the first cosplayers I seen in the hall was my friend Thuc and his girlfriend Shiela, who were cosplaying from Gurren Lagaan again for AX 2011. As always, they got stopped like crazy since they both do the cosplay very well from the series. I stopped by Registration to get a report on how crazy Friday’s sales were and how things are going for Saturday, then I headed off to West Hall to check out the departments. I saw some Cardcaptor Sakura cosplayers, who were a perfect Sakura and Tomoyo pair. The Tomoyo cosplayer has the character down perfectly, I wanted to do a photo shoot with them since they were so great.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Day 1 Convention Report

Anime Expo GOH: Maon Kurosaki
In the beginning of July thousands of anime fans converge on the Los Angeles Convention Center for one of the great events over the course of the year, Anime Expo. To me, Anime Expo is not just a convention, but it is an ideal that we all should aim for. Over the course of four days we create a convention where people don't judge each other on their social status, looks, age, ethnicity, or what religion they adhere to, because we are here together for the common love of anime and manga. In Anime Expo I wear two hats, the first hat is being a cosplay photographer, and the second hat is being on the Board of Directors for the parent organization behind Anime Expo. Due to the nature of the work I do behind the scenes of Anime Expo, this blog will go through my experiences as a cosplay photographer.

My Day starts off very early in the morning, eating breakfast with Anime Expo staffers and recounting stories from the preparation day of Anime Expo, better known as Day 0. I had a chance to meet my friend Richard Phon who has assumed my old role as the manager of Manga Lounge. Set up for the department ended up running long due to the late arrival of the department inventory. Regardless of how long it took them to set up, they were in good spirits for Anime Expo. I also had the pleasure of meeting up with the guys and girls of Maid Café, and the first thing that popped in my mind is just how nice they all are. I had a nice chat with them and wished them the best of luck for Anime Expo.

At the convention center I started doing work as a photographer on the red carpet. I missed the first couple of minutes, so I did miss the first couple of Guest of Honors. As soon as I arrived, Fred Gallagher was on the red carpet, so I snapped a couple of shots before I tried to get into "paparazzi mode." The photographers were already finely situated, so it was difficult finding a nice little spot I could claim my own. After Fred Gallagher came the Gonzo executives and then the band members of Nirgilis. The Crypton future media executives came afterwards and they smiled at the crowd. The cameras flashed like crazy when Maon Kurosaki arrived at the red carpet. She wore a cute pink dress with a front ribbon. She smiled at the crowd and started to wave at the crowd. After Maon Kurosaki were the three Anime Expo executives who wanted to walk on the red carpet (for your information I was offered the option, but I declined since I wanted to take pictures). The three executives were Marc Perez, the Chairman and CEO of the SPJA, Matthew Thomas, Director of Operations, and Kim Groomes, the Director of Marketing. Last but not least were the girls of Kalafina, arriving in their gorgeous gothic Lolita outfits. As a huge Kalafina fan, I was worried that I missed their arrival, thankfully it wasn’t the case.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Anime Expo 2011 Photos

Anime Expo 2011 Guest of Honor: the beautiful Maon Kurosaki
During Anime Expo I wear two hats, the first is being on the Board of Directors for the non-profit parent company behind Anime Expo. The second hat I wear is between Board duties, and that is a photographer. On my free time I took over 3,000 pictures, in which many of them are full blown photo shoots.

Here are the links to a small amount of photos I have taken during Anime Expo, I hope you enjoy it. Like most of my other photobucket folders, they will be deleted after some time.