Saturday was the big day for covering panels. I met up with Jared at the Starbucks in the South Hall. While waiting for Jared, I took photos of the cosplayers. I also attended the Reporting Anime Conventions panel by Michael Tang. I wanted to attend the panel for my own professional development as an anime convention reporter. The panel touched up on important key points and emphasized the importance of networking and being professional. Michael Tang is the Doogie Howser of anime convention reporting: he has that same youthful vibe like Neil Patrick Harris, but at such a young age, I was very impressed by his knowledge on university level marketing, public relations, and web based journalism.
Many thanks to Michael for finding my lost tube of lipstick. Thank you to the gentlemen who retrieved my lost badge.
Megumi Nakajima's panel was at 11AM. After having a lite breakfast, we decided to head to Petree Hall. Megumi Nakajima's panel invited fans to line up and ask questions. I really wanted to know more about Megumi's professional career, thankfully, there were a few intelligent questions asked such as how Macross Frontier impacted her life and how she feels being apart of this space opera. I am also glad that two people brought up questions about her Filipino heritage. For those of you who do not know, Megumi Nakajima is half Filipino. Her mother is of Filipino descent. Megumi credits her Filipino side of the family for inspiring her artistic and musical talent. Though she does not speak Tagalog (or "Tagalog-go," as she calls it), her mother sings in Tagalog all the time. She would also be willing to record music in Tagalog as well.
Unforunately, the Megumi Nakajima Q&A suffered the same fanboy questions as any other Japanese seiyuu panel. The audience was getting annoyed when people were asking "Mai Waifu" questions (ie: questions for the sake of fanservice) and questions in Japanese from non native speakers. Asking a guest of honor a question in English is fine, speaking a language that is not your primary is not necessary. Translators are provided to the guest.
Overall, the Q&A session was a mixed bag. However, I am happy that I got to hear Megumi Nakajima talk about her Filipino heritage and talk about her career. After the panel, audience members were allowed to take photos. The panel room became a madhouse.
Luckily, Petree Hall was also where the Black Lagoon screening and panel was being held. The panel room cleared out to make way for the Black Lagoon fans who had lined up at 9AM for the screening of the next episode based off the Bella Muerte storyline in the graphic novel. The anime of the next installment was already premiered on Thursday. This was just an encore to assist with the Black Lagoon creator Q&A. Before the start of the anime, the room was already packed to capacity.
Without giving away spoilers, Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail was an excellent piece of work. The animation went up a notch. The action and the story was very intriguing. We were introduced to a new character, Fabiola Inglesias, another killer maid. More importantly, it was great to see the Black Lagoon team kick ass and take names. We were only shown the first episode of the multi-parter story. Though Roberta's Blood Trail was already screened once per day on Thursday and Friday, this was still a thrill to finally watch. Roberta's Blood Trail was shown with the original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.
After the show, several Black Lagoon cosplayers were asked to pose in front of everyone for various media outlets. Because the episode was centered on Roberta, I got tons of attention from people attending the panel. Deb Aoki (About.com) took a few photos of me for her Anime Expo photo coverage.
Rei Hiroe (Black Lagoon manga author) and part of the Black Lagoon craative team showed up right after the screening and were ready for Q&A. Unlike the previous panel, people asked behind the scenes questions about the manga and the anime. Rei Hiroe expressed interest in continuing on the story and mentioned that he was inspired by the mean streets of Los Angeles for a possible story arc. He also mentioned that he would like to further flesh out the main characters in future stories because some of them may be lying about their pasts. One fan asked if Hollywood would create their own adaptation of Black Lagoon. Rei Hiroe mentioned he did not want Lucy Liu or Devon Aoki as Revy.
It was nice to have some insight on the future of Black Lagoon. The creative team also emphasized the importance of support the American release so that there will be more Black Lagoon in the future.
After the panel, we stopped by the summer festival in Nokia Plaza. The summer festival was not what it was in previous years. In previous years, the summer festival was typically in the style of a Japanese festival in which people can play games at booths and win prizes. This year, it was local radio stations giving away Anime Expo 2010 t-shirts if you could answer anime related trivia. I actually won a t-shirt by guessing which country does the Black Lagoon team docks at.
For lunch, Jared and I stopped by The Original Pantry Cafe. The Original Pantry Cafe is one of those Los Angeles historical sites that has been around since the 1920s. I have been meaning to dine at the cafe, but could not because this place only takes payment in cash. This is a breakfast place that is open for 24 hours. While the convienience is great, the food was okay. The menu was on the wall which made it difficult for Jared and I to read because of our poor eyesight.
Figueroa Street also had more nice places for photo shoots. Though I do not like the Figueroa Hotel, the exterior is perfect for Roberta's character. There were some nice garden type scenery on the way back to the hotel that we took advantage of.
Earlier during the day, we had overcast weather. The sun began to shine in the later afternoon. The breezes also rolled in. I was worried that I would be overheating in Roberta, but the weather was perfectly fine. We hardly had smoldering summer weather during the holiday weekend. We went back to the Wilshire Grand to rest up a bit before continuing on with Day 3.
Pictures are copyright by Scarlet Rhapsody . If I took your picture, feel free to use it on your site or cosplay gallery. While you're here, do sign the guestbook. This site was brought to you by the font Bambino. Many thanks to Chaz Boston Baden for the image resizing and watermarking program.