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noel Gamboa

The con was rad. The dealer’s room was alright; most of the
dealers there I’ve already seen at the San Diego Comic Con, with the exception of U.S. Manga Corps and Gainax/General Products. Manga Corps’”I Give It All” video was hilarious, and they had some rad Dominion posters up. General Products had some awesome stuff (call or write for their current catalog, there’s just too much to describe) and a Japanese PC VGA system running what looked like a Silent Moebius adventure game.I bought from GP a manga called Mindy Magazine ($8), which has some really funny parodies of popular anime.

My favorite is a two-page story called “Totoro The Neighborhood Monster” which includes the death of a cute little girl with pony tails… ^_^. Books Nippan was there, of course. I tried not to buy anything from them but when I spotted Miyazaki’s “The Journey of Shuna” I grabbed it. Nikaku had a small information booth and was giving away Patlabor CD singles to mail order customers. We checked out their store and was shocked by how low their prices were (“Art of Nausicaa” at Books Nippan, $50; General Products, $45.90; Nikaku, $38). We told the very friendly salespeople that they should have more than just an information booth at the con, but one lady said it was just too much trouble to haul their anime section to the
hotel for only four days.

Some friends of mine were able to chat with Mikimoto, and got some
interesting info. Mikimoto draws/inks/tones Marionette Generation all
by himself; he has no assistants. Aside from Marionette, he’s also
working on character designs for four video games, two anime features,
and illustrations for several stories and novels (like the one in Dragon
magazine). His current favorite character is Noriko Takaya from
GunBuster (he drew a lot of Norikos at the con for autograph hunters),
and the project he enjoyed doing the most was Macross. As had been
posted earlier, Mikimoto is working on an OAV series that will be a
sequel to Macross. He thinks that American fans “have a lot of energy.”

We were also able to corner Sonoda (who speaks a little English).
His favorite character is Bean Bandit, and the project he enjoyed doing
the most was Riding Bean because he got to design, write, and direct.
His latest projects include “Gall Force: New Century” and “Otaku no
Video”, Gainax’s latest. A Japanese-speaking friend asked Sonoda what
“Otaku” was about and he said that we can check it out for ourselves
since Gainax brought it in 16mm. We went crazy! “Otaku” (which means
fanboy, I’ve been told) hasn’t been seen in Japan yet, and they were
going to show it at the con! We found out (by asking just about
everyone we could find) that they were going to show it at 3:30 a.m.

So Sunday morning, seven of us went to the viewing room (the one
with the film projector), and found only two other people there. Hmm, I
guess word didn’t get around. Anyway, “Otaku” was hilarious, it’s the
story of a guy who goes to college around 1982 and meets several “otaku”
who introduce him to the world of anime. There’s a guy who’s got tapes
of everything, a girl who wants to become an animator, a dude who’s into
guns (someone said this a parody of Sonoda himself), and a couple of
other interesting characters. As the story progresses, Mr. Main
Character develops a liking for anime, learns to enjoy cons, grows an
anime-belly, and walks around unshaven. Later, his girlfriend dumps him
because of the changes in his lifestyle. Much much later, while waiting
in line for Nausicaa, he sees character design sketches for Macross the
Movie and immediately falls in love. The story ends there, showing how
the first generation of “otaku” was born. Squeezed between the animation
are live action pretend-interviews with “otaku” people, including a
computer programmer who has a Char’s helmet under his desk and a video
collector who had to quit the interview because a show he wanted to tape
was on.

Overall, I really enjoyed the con, and I’m glad I finally met some
net people face to face like Anime Kami, RadBoy, Bruce Carlson, Operator
7-G, Mike Tatsugawa, Robert Gutierrez, Hiroshi Haga (you jumped out of
the elevator while I was getting in; Kong called your name so I knew it
was you), Jeff Okamoto (I read your name badge), Robert Woodhead (by the
way Robert, “Gundam” is pronounced Gun-dumb, not Gone-damn ^_^) and
others who I can’t remember right now.

Thanks to everyone who made the con possible. It was awesome. Now
next year, if you can bring Miyazaki, Tomino, Akemi Takada, Kitazume,
Shirow, Kikuchi/Kia Asamiya (let’s settle this issue here!), Otomo,

Matsumoto, and Hojo Tsubasa, I’d be very grateful. See you next year!

Originally posted September 6, 1991 on rec.arts.anime