Attention fellow geeks!

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A swarm of anime and manga fans are expected to show up this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center which is the site of Anime Expo 2008.

The expo runs from July 3 to 6. It’s the annual event where geeks like myself can indulge their hankering for anything anime-related. And yes, I have left with a lighter wallet the past two years I’ve attended.

Cosplayers or the fans who like to dress up as a character from a show, manga and even a video game are a common sight in the convention. But if you’re going to take pictures of them, it’s only polite to ask first. Most are willing to pose for a shot so it’s usually no big deal.

If you really, really want a bumper sticker that proclaims your undying love to “Sailor Moon” or have always dreamed of looking like a shinigami from “Bleach”, chances are you will find said items at this event. Just don’t go into a buying frenzy.

I’m taking a pass this year since I’m saving money for an overseas trip. Yeah, I know. It wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Here are some shots from last year’s convention. These are folks channeling the “D. Gray-man” cast and a teen dressed like some Goth Lolita. I don’t know which character she’s supposed to be though.

For more information on the event, go to www.anime-expo.org.

Open. Open. Open.

Attention fellow geeks. The annual Anime Expo is upon us again.

Like the rest of the anime fandom this side of the western hemisphere, I and my hapless brother will spend our Saturday at the Anime Expo in Long Beach. Actually, I will be dragging his sorry carcass with me to the event. He’ll be the one kicking and screaming.

The expo’s opening was Friday but I had to work and missed the band contest.

This is my second convention and I only go for one day anyway. But this time I will do more than search for deals on anime, manga and bibelots from Japan. I’ll see what activities they’re doing this year. But I won’t be showing up in costume. No way, Jose.

Co-splaying is not my thing. I don’t feel comfortable dressing up as a character in an anime show or video game. It’s just too out there for me. Sorry.

Yes, my friends laugh at me for going to an anime event. The weasels. They better not borrow any DVDs or comics I snag at the convention. Sorry dudes. You snooze, you lose.

I’ll post pictures when I can.

amvs and anime

Anime fans get to gush over their favorite anime pairings by creating music videos and setting it to music they want. Careful editing also creates a pairing that only exists in fandom and not in the show. (Not the case in the example shown here.)

The vast majority make their own while some put up videos done by others like this one which shows the cannon pairing of Tsukushi Makino and Tsukasa Domyoji from ‘Hana Yori Dango” or “Boys Over Flowers”. Most fans point out that they’re not stealing or infringing on copyright since they’re not trying to make any profit from the video. And denial is not only a river in Egypt.

I think this video captures the swoony elements of the pairing. A friend called it cheesy. Oh well.

Dueling geeks

I wonder if I’m in competition with another anime geek who watches many of the same shows as I do. When I drop by the anime store, a lot of the fansubbed tapes I want seem to have been borrowed by this guy who has a bad habit of returning them late. Coincidence? I think not.

If this were one of those action shows geared for boys, we would be rivals. Hmm. Let’s call him Mr. Rival then.

This weekend I swung by the anime store and much to my surprise, all the latest episodes for “Bartender”, “Kekaishi”, “D. Gray-man”, “Death Note”, “Ghost Hunt” and “Saiunkoku Monogatari” were in. Of course I borrowed them all. Muwahahaha! Take that Mr. Rival, I thought. Actually I don’t think he watches “Bartender” or “Saiunkoku” but I digress.

Anyway, I think I celebrated way too early since one of the “Kekaishi” tapes was mislabeled and turned out to be this lame anime called, “Lovely Idol” about a bunch of girls who are Japanese pop stars. Oh the horror, the horror. I returned that tape post haste and got my $3 back.

Somewhere out there Mr. Rival is laughing his head off.

But unlike him, I am rarely late in returning tapes or DVDs. I can watch 24 episodes in one sitting if need be. (Of course my brother doesn’t think that’s something to be proud of especially when my eyes look bloodshot.) I know what it is to wait and wait and wait for the next episode of a show and I have no wish to put fellow fans through “anime withdrawal.” That’s just evil.

As for me, I spent a chunk of my weekend watching anime with snacks and volumes of manga next to me. Life was good. And how was your weekend?

Of addictions and obsessions

Hello. My name is Ruby and I’m an anime/manga addict. I think Pocky and Pretz need to be a food group and Jrock needs to be played on everyone’s car stereos.

If this was rehab, this is the part where the other addicts welcome me into the circle then reassure me with Pocky or free viewings of my favorite anime.

I knew I had it bad when the highlight of one day was finding out that the latest fansubs for “Ouran”, “xxxholic “and “Blood+” were in and I was able to show up at the store six minutes before it closed. And the cherry on this sundae was the knowledge that they got the earlier volumes of Ouran on the shelf! Geez

And that was just last year. Right now, I’m mulling over legal ways to get my hands on the latest episode of “D.Gray-man” because some thoughtless, heartless fiend borrowed the store’s only copy and spent the entire holiday weekend hogging it. A pox on your house, sir. A pox on your house!

I once saw a bag that had, “Anime. Crack is cheaper.” on the front. Too true. I wanted that bag but never saw it again. Grrr.

I didn’t watch the parade this year. Had no wish to. Once was enough for me even though I am a “Star Wars” fan. But I do not consider myself part of the hard core faithful.

Now if the Tournament of Roses folks were holding free anime showings, I might reconsider and camp out on the sidewalk. Anime is another matter.

Anime is the answer

Sometimes my friends ask, Whats wrong with American cartoons? or What is so great about anime? and the ever present, you still watch cartoons?.

First let me just say, yes. Between school, work and frequent trips to the coffee shop, I do still manage to watch cartoons.

If you have ever watched an episode of The Simpsons, The Family Guy, or Aqua Teen Hunger Force, you do too.

Although I like American cartoons, I must say there isnt much to choose from as they pretty much stick to the same format. They criticize, ridicule, or emulate whatever is playing in the 5 oclock news, from Paris Hilton to Pres. Bush. If anything dramatic happens at all be assured that next week there will little or no reference of anything that occurred in the past.

There is no story to follow.

That is where, at least for me, anime steps in.

Anime can be as simple and humorous as Bugs Bunny, or as complex and artful as Shakespeare.

Most people disagree with me, especially on the beautiful part. Their idea of anime is “Pkemon”, “DragonBall Z” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!”. Good vs. evil all the way.

Let me point out that those shows are geared towards your average preteen child, therefore they lack the complexity and subtleties of more adult series.

Take Neon Genesis Evangelion for example. This series was created in 1995 and it was airing in the U.S. as recently as 3 months ago.

On the surface this is your typical mecha, villain of the week, kind of series. However, the characters are so complex and multidimensional that its hard to agree on what they represent.

Some see it as a philosophical exercise, while others see it more as a psychological struggle within the characters themselves or any of us for that matter.
“Evangelion” has been linked to religion, philosophy and psychology for its references to Freudian theories and use of symbolism. Things that speak to the very core of the human psyche.

When was the last time Homer questioned the nature of reality? and I dont remember Peter struggling with an Oedipus complex either.

Sure, you may say those are comedies, not intended to be deep and philosophical. True, I agree.

So I ask you, what else is out there?