Anime Los Angeles 2011

Anime Los Angeles is a sleepy little convention held in the LAX Marriott every year, right after all the hustle and bustle of the holidays has died down. I usually attend Anime Los Angeles for only one day, mostly to visit friends who come down from various parts of the state. This year, however, I attended a second day on behalf of TOKYOPOP in order to give away a few volumes of Hetalia to fans attending a panel.

I’ve found that Anime Los Angeles is mostly for two kinds of people: cosplayers and people who want to gawk at or take photos of cosplayers. My cosplay days being far behind me, there wasn’t much else to do at Anime Los Angeles other than hang out or attempt to peruse the tiny and very cramped dealer’s hall.

The live programming also consists of mostly cosplay workshops and a number of panels I will collectively title “Being An Old School Anime Fan”. The rest consisted of scattered how-to panels, martial arts demos and a few specific fandom panels like the Hetalia History one I attended. Bandai Entertainment did hold a panel, but after a bit of searching around on the internet, I’ve surmised that nothing big or exciting came of it. While I was there for two days, I wound up just going home at around 2 p.m. each day because there wasn’t anything of interest to do.

The only purchases I made at the con consisted of a Princess Jellyfish button commissioned from a friend in the Artist’s Alley, a mini-comic from Gina Bigg’s Red String and a cellphone charm also from Red String.  This was in part due to the fact that I spent a fair amount of money on comics during the preceding week, but also because the dealer’s room was just too damn packed. This happens to be one of my biggest issues with the convention right now.

Anime Los Angeles has clearly grown in attendance, but over the past three years, it hasn’t upgraded to a larger facility. Now, it’s clearly time to change that because it’s much too hard to move down a hallway in a timely manner, in part due to all the cosplayers/photographers. Another thing that could stand to fixed is the shoddy reception inside the hotel’s convention floors. It’s affected groups of my friends and myself at this year’s con and at previous cons, so I’ve no doubt it is happening to a lot of other attendees. I realize this is the responsibility of the hotel, not the convention, but someone should start lodging complaints and a complaint will be better received by an entity that generates so much business for them instead of just one or two convention goers. Otherwise, Anime Los Angeles is kind of a great convention. They provide free snacks and beverages for attendees, put up pretty pictures of cosplayers from previous years on their walls and include fun participatory stuff like badge ribbon scavenger hunts. The con could be really great if there was a little extra breathing room and better cell phone service.

But enough complaining, it’s not like I didn’t enjoy myself at all, here are some of my con highlights:

Making Ed Sizemore Jealous –Uhhh, I mean, meeting Helen McCarthy:

Helen McCartney, anime scholar and, most recently, author of The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga, was the Fan Guest of Honor. She came out all the way from London to be at Anime Los Angeles and was on a large number of panels. I wished I could have caught a few more, but some were either on Friday (a day I didn’t attend) and others were on topics like one’s first trip to Japan (I’ve had my first trip already, and a second).  Still, I got a few minutes to chat with her about old school cosplay in the autograph room and I would have stayed and chatted longer if I wasn’t keeping someone waiting elsewhere. I hope she comes back to my part of the States again soon because she was also a delight on the How Technology has changed the Anime Industry and Anime Fandom Before the Internet panels I did attend.

Hetalia History:

Can you spot all the Hungary-chans?

This was the panel I attended for TOKYOPOP, not knowing what to expect from it. What I got was a witty evaluation of the in-jokes of Hetalia complete with clips from old British period dramas. Some people brush off Hetalia as a flaky introduction to history, but the truth is that there’s a lot more fact in the manga than people can easily see, something that panelist Walter Amos specializes in illuminating. Himaruya really does know his stuff and sometimes it’s not so easy to see amongst all footnotes and adorable personified countries. This panel is definitely for the history buffs in the fandom, that’s for sure, so it instantly appealed to me.

I wish I had more highlights to share, but I didn’t do much at Anime Los Angeles! It’s a very laid back convention about 99% of the time as it is.

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23 Responses to Anime Los Angeles 2011

  1. Pingback: Tuesday update « MangaBlog

  2. What anime is very popular in US?

  3. Eric says:

    Making fun of the World War is NEVER okay and is proof our society is becoming filled with mentally deranged, retarded and sociopathic fan boys and fan girls, you are an example of one right here.

    Readers who do not want to fall for this woman’s bullshit and lies should read my column about Hetalia and the sickening impact on our country

    • Excuse me?
      Bullshit? Lies? It’s not like my life is totally unaffected by WWII, kid. I lost dozens of family members to the camps, my mother and my grandmother had to flee the Nazis in Austria and my grandfather was in line for the gas chambers when Buchenwald was finally liberated. I’d like you to call my blog post bullshit and lies to my face, please, so I can smack some sense into you. If for one second I thought the Hetalia manga was being disrespectful to the memories of my grandparents and the family that I lost in the Holocaust, I would have never written this post in the first place. Why would I encourage something like that?

      Now doing the editing for Hetalia is my job, and in that sense, I have to read the manga, but it’s very plain to me that you’ve never done so. You’ve probably just seen the cosplayers waving their flags around, knew that the three main characters of the manga were based on the Axis powers and went: that’s disgusting. When you wrote your comment, did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m not one of those fangirls, by the way?

      Anyway, if you’d read the manga, you’d quickly realize that the personified countries are separate entities from their leaders and often have to do stuff because their “boss told them so.” No joke, actual line from the manga. On top of that, most of the subject matter is about pre-WWII events. I’d say only 1-2% of the material is about WWII and most often it’s about the battles. There was one scene depicting Germany the country about to start the war and the personified Germany character was HESITANT about starting a war. That’s what put me off edge about the whole WWII thing the most. If nothing else Himaruya understands what happened and stays at a respectful distance so as not to upset readers with incredibly touchy subjects. Himaruya is incredibly knowledgeable about history, in case you’re wondering, there’s a lot of hidden humor (again, not about WWII) in Hetalia. The guy knows his stuff and I’m pretty sure he knows what to stay away from lest his popular strip become too controversial.
      Sure, there are isolated incidents of Hetalia fans acting inappropriately. But you know what? The Prince of England wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party. Did he mean harm by it? Fuck no. Was it stupid, fuck yes. Some people are just unaware at the offense they’re causing and should be swiftly made aware of it and sorry for the way they acted. But despite those isolated incidents, I believe most Hetalia fans are knowledgeable about what happened during WWII and the Holocaust and try very hard not to disrespect people that way. In fact, I think the series does the opposite because it spurs them to really research the historical events behind the manga. Learning about history is NOT laughing at the millions of people killed. It’s more likely to spur these fans to do the opposite and become more aware of the horrors that mankind has done unto itself. If there’s anything my life-long love of history has taught me, it’s that other groups of people have amazing histories and cultures that people need to learn to respect. Hetalia never changed that, it just teaches that same respect for others.

      So I’m sorry if the IDEA of personified countries really hurts your feelings because it’s not like the countries stay at WWII, they jump around in their own lengthy timelines regularly. Might I add that not all the countries shown in Hetalia were participants in WWII? Because they weren’t. I think WWII was just a starting point in history for the creator of the manga, one that was modern enough for people to recognize because if you start with the Seven Weeks War, not everyone is going to understand what you’re writing about, let alone want to read your history comic. Plus, Japan was involved, so his primary audience would be able to relate better to what was going on.

      If you feel like continuing to call bullshit and lies, go ahead, but it’s clear to me you’re just being an ignorant fool spreading around angry words because no one is paying attention to your perceived slight.

      • Lin says:

        /slow clap

      • Anon says:

        That was just brilliant.

        • Thanks, I guess. I just truly don’t think Hetalia is that offensive & playing up the whole “Axis Powers” bit is stupid when half the manga is about pre-WWII stuff and Italy acting silly. =_=

          And that he called my blog bullshit and lies when I have so much to be potentially offended by in Hetalia. I’m sorry, poster, you’re asking for it!

      • This is one of the best counter-arguments on a fandom-related topic that I have ever seen. Thank you for being awesome.

        And just. lol. “Lies and bullshit”? Because everyone has to be offended by the exact same things, right? This person is kind of hilarious in how desperate they are to express their hatred, but they seriously barked up the wrong tree here.

        • Thank you for thinking that. It’s a nice little ego boost and honestly, it’s what makes me keep blogging. :3

          Yeah, I mean… if you’re going to be so ardent in being offended by something, why don’t you focus on genocides that are still happening? Why don’t you try to do something about something that actually matters? The world doesn’t need more stupid teens getting upset over fandom wank.

      • amplify117 says:

        Hi there, I have no idea how the hell this got here so I’d definently like to apologize for that. I have neither the time nor the inclination to hunt any one down or start a vendetta on individuals. I haven’t even read your blog and I usually take the time to leaf through a blog before I decry it as lies and bullshit. I post stuff on my blog, I don’t even bother commenting on other people’s. IF I did want to troll I also imagine there’d be better places to do it as well. Places I would be far more likely to actually find in say a google search then some random blog I’ve never heard of till today.

        Any way, whoever the hell posted that link here isn’t me and I apologize for his/her actions and comments, I will stand by my content and dislike of Hetalia however and you all are more then free to disagree!


        • Interesting. I’ve already written up a follow-up post regarding this comment, but I will be sure to make it clear that your blog isn’t the source of the comment. If you’d like me to change anything else there, let me know.

          Thank you for coming forward, clearing this up and apologizing for something you didn’t actually do.

          We can certainly agree to respectfully disagree on the subject of Hetalia and call it a day. Sorry if any of my fellow bloggers or tweeters gave you trouble.

          • amplify117 says:

            Eh just a wee bit, seriously I don’t have a clue who you are but apparently I should. I got 30 odd comments ranging from very poorly spelled rant backs calling me a hater to one of the most intelligent and mannered responses I have ever seen.

            All for naught however in the name of anti-dramz the post has been removed, I might dislike it, but I really don’t care enough to turn my personal blog in to a shit storm for anything less then something I really care about… say second amendment rights. I don’t need the shit storm so I’m just cutting my end off in the name of not wanting to deal with it. I scanned through and you can do as you please with the other post, worst case scenario it gets people talking *shrug*.

            Oh and Prince Harry’s a prat who demoted himself to slimeball when he pulled that stunt, it’s not excusable and I don’t care who his grandmother is.

            Have a good one,

          • amplify117 says:

            Oh and last thing, thank you for making it clear that myself and the troll are not the same people. If I’m going to be known as an ass and a horrible human being I can do it myself. lol

            Again have a great rest of evening *checks clock* or early morning.

          • It was no trouble. It would have been unethical of me to do otherwise. I was trained as a journalist, you see. Luckily, this is the internet and people will likely forget all this nasty business soon.

          • Well, as far as manga industry professionals go, I’m just a fledgling freelancer who has opinions and writes a blog. It’s up to you if you want to know who I am. Although you should be careful about deleting that post. I understand it’s causing you grief, but I’ve already gotten notice that my “hater” has taken down the offending post, which might cause you more trolls on other posts. Again, I’m sorry for the mess that’s been caused.

            Prince Harry was certainly wrong in his actions, but I feel like he’s felt the stinging shame he deserves to feel for it and hopefully knows better now. Is he creating more hatred just for wearing something with a symbol on it? Unlikely. So I’m just going to put it where all dumb-things-that-public-figures-do go and focus on doing things I feel better the world and create less hatred.

            Take care,

          • amplify117 says:

            Your probably right on the possible trouble on other posts, but all my comments are moderated any way, which makes troll control a simple mouse click away.

            You have nothing to apologize for, you got trolled and reacted in a perfectly acceptable manner and your friends/fans/(minions?) defended you. Then I got grief (which suprised the hell out of me, I use my blog as a vent space so views outside a couple friends who like my writing are rare) at a level of “offended” that was… startling to say the least so I elevated in response to one commenter (sorry who ever you were) and then started trying to figure out how I was suddenly getting triple digit views and some serious rage. That lead me to “linked from stats” which led me here, which lead me to that. We both get ticked, grief, issues, upset etc and the troll wins. It’s as simple as that.

            The fact that we’re talking calmly and have identified the troll as a troll means the troll at least sort of loses so I’ll chalk this all up in the “Tie” column of the interwebs and call it a night.

            …..defeating the troll as a sentence produced the below in my mind, this is why I should not post while sleep deprived
            You have defeated the troll
            0 gold
            1 Empty Mountain Dew Bottle

            Any way hope every thing is all cleared up and above board.


          • Good point. I would moderate comments like that (including the one linking to your blog), but it doesn’t sit well with my ethics either.

            I’m glad we’ve defeated the troll, but my bottle of Mountain Dew is still full. ^_^

            Have a nice night.

      • Technofreak says:

        Wow. Just wow. This is one of the most mature, calm responses to a total flame I’ve ever seen. No way I could have written that.

        But I agree; Hetalia wasn’t meant to poke fun at the Holocaust or all the war deaths, it was meant to poke fun at countries’ stereotypes in an innocent and amusing way. I’m American, and even though I am NOTHING like America on Hetalia (more like Japan if anything), I love all the “I’m the hero!” comments and the like.

        Actually, I’ve learned quite a few historical facts from Hetalia. The alliances, who conquered who, which countries accomplished what, etc.

        I’m a lot less offended by the American stereotypes than being called a “mentally deranged, retarded, sociopathic fangirl”, oddly enough. Maybe I am a big fan of Hetalia, but it doesn’t make me racist or stupid. Besides, they show the positive traits of the countries as well, not just making fun of the laughable stereotypes.

        As for the war part of it, you can’t blame the creator of Hetalia. It’s something that really happened, and we can’t just pretend it didn’t; our generation needs to learn from the mistakes of our past. Hetalia teaches readers/viewers about these things in an entertaining, comical way. I know I’ve been more interested in history ever since a friend told me about Hetalia.

        I think humans need to find a more peaceful way of solving things instead of killing thousands, even millions, of people over something that could just as easily be talked out.

        I don’t see the show as particularly biased towards Japan. He gets just as much screen time as everyone else. They even joke about things like when they say Japan says no to everything, when he freaks out about Italy hugging him, and so on. I don’t get why people think Japan is depicted as better than the others. Besides, it was made in JAPAN. That’s probably who the creator assumed would be the primary audience.

        That was more mature than I’m used to being. 🙂 So now…hasta la pasta!!!

        • I’m glad I still sound mature about this issue! It’s still somewhat of a valid one considering how Himaruya continues to toe the line on controversial historical events.

          Just so you know, I don’t think EVERY Hetalia fan out there is a mentally deranged, retarded, sociopath. I’ve seen a few cases of negative and extreme behavior from Hetalia fans, but most I’ve met are very sweet and friendly. They’re so enthusiastic, you can’t help but smile. (Though, you would also need to have some earplugs on hand.)

          I don’t think the point of being offended at some of Hetalia’s touchy parts is to pretend the events didn’t happen, just that some people cannot accept that some people do make light of these historical events. For some, it’s easier to feel hurt by something like Hetalia or Mel Brooks’ movie/musical “The Producers” than it is to laugh at it. For those people, the pain of those events is still too real, which is why they don’t want to see anyone make light of them. On the other hand, if you aren’t one of those people, you won’t have a hard time enjoying and learning from things like Hetalia. (And Hetalia covers so much more than historical events that are painful for some to remember, making it a great starting point for becoming interested in world history.)

          Also, I don’t think I said the show was biased towards Japan. I think Himaruya just made the starting point around the Axis and Allied Powers because Japan was involved and, obviously, Japan is somewhat of a familiar character to him and to most of his readers. Plus World War II was a relatively recent event, so it would be fair to say many of his readers would know something about it. It’s just something to think about. Honestly, I think Austria is depicted as better. ^_~

          Pasta!! 😀

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