Shin

List of worthwhile anime

Here’s a pic I came across today with a huge list that someone compiled of worthwhile anime to watch.
I’ve seen quite a few of these and agree with most of them being included, so I’ll definitely be checking out the rest.
Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments, I’m sure there’s a lot that could be added.

For those with a slow internet connection, the list is:
Akira, Azumanga Daioh, Baccano, Barefoot Gen, Berserk, The Big O, Black Lagoon, Claymore, Cowboy Bebop, Dennou Coil, Ergo, Proxy, Eve no Jikan, FLCL (never understood people’s fascination with this I must admit), Freedom, Gankutsuou, Genius Party + Beyond, Ghost in the Shell, The girl who leapt through time, Grave of the Fireflies, Gurren Lagann, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing Ultimate, Howl’s Moving Castle, Jin Roh, Kaiba, Katanagatari, Kemono no Souja Erin, Kemonozume, Kino’s Travels, Last Exile, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Maison Ikkoku, Memories, Millenium Actress, Mononoke, Monster, Mushi-shi, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Outlaw Star, Paprika, Paranoia Agent, Perfect Blue, The Place Promised in our Early Days, Planetes, Princess Mononoke, Read or Die, Real Drive, Samurai Champloo, Serial Experiments Lain, Shigurui, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Summer Wars, Tatami Galaxy, Tekkon Kinkreet, Texhnolyze, Tokyo Godfathers, Vampire Hunter D & Bloodlust, Welcome to the N.H.K., Wings of the Honneamise, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, 5 Centimeters per Second.

Subscribing to an Anime Magazine for the Anime No0b

Let’s say you’re new to the anime world, it’s ok we all were at some point in time no need to be embarrassed, and you want to increase your knowledge and collection of anime. You don’t exactly have a genre to call your own yet, and don’t want to sound like the no0b on every online forum you go to—although everyone here at X’s is very nice. If you’re not like the few Americans, Europeans or Martians that have an all anime network (i.e. Anime Network) you’re most likely stuck with a crappy selection of anime (i.e. Cartoon Network, although they have improved). You’ve tried going online, but there is just so much to choose from and you can’t decide what to try first. While forums like this one would surely give you a helping hand, you want something where you don’t have to sit and stare on a computer screen all day; still join the forum as it’s a great way to socialize with others that can’t get enough of the stuff either. There is always an anime magazine for you to subscribe to. Yes, just like desperate house wives and horny husbands, anime fans too have a magazine for themselves; however, be careful you get what you pay for—which is the same advice you hope to receive regarding prostitutes one day. XD

You’ve probably never thought about it before, but why not? Surely jocks, cheerleaders and nerds aren’t the only ones with a magazine targeted towards them; you too (the anime fan) have a wide variety of anime magazines just waiting for you to subscribe too.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider subscribing to anime magazine:
First, the obvious, its anime! That hole in your soul that you can’t seem to get enough of the stuff will finally be fed.

Second is accessibility. While going online for your information is the “in” thing to do these days having a magazine that comes to your door every month is easy and less of a strain on the eyes. Plus you don’t have to go far to find one. Simply go to your local super-market and check the magazine rack. Buy the magazine, fill out the subscription card with the appropriate funds and attached mail and that’s it. You’ll get your yearly supply of anime information and goodies at your doorstep.

Third, and probably the most important, information. Anime magazines cover a large variety of anime; encompassing almost every genre imaginable, usually excluding hentai and yaoi for obvious reasons you will eventually find out, if you don’t know what they are already—although there are magazines for that genre too. ^^” The magazine will usually have tons of reviews, previews, suggestions and ideas for your brain to suck up. You’ll find out about up coming events and specials that might be passing through your neck of the woods. You’ll learn about your favourite series, stuff you couldn’t learn about anywhere else. Anime magazines usually offers tons of other resources besides their own to help you in your quest; whether it is websites or other magazines. You’ll be exposed to different things regarding Japanese animation: mangas, cosplay, music, video games. You’ll find out information about the anime you’ve already seen; whether it be DVD release dates, convention locations or things to buy. Besides just anime information anime magazines are crammed full of articles and stories written by people just like you. Some stories will make you laugh others will make you cry, and the rest make you cry from laughing.

Fourth, reading anime magazines can help broaden your selection of anime. As stated above anime magazines are host to many genres; some you may like others you might hate, but at least you’re exposed to them. You might be a hard-core DBZ fan and belong to a ton of DBZ centred forums, but you never know maybe something in the magazine will catch your eye. You’ll be exposed to many different types of anime. It’s always cool to try something new; and anime magazines are a good way to learn about those choices.

Fifth? Goodies. If there isn’t an anime store near you your room décor might be missing some anime posters or anime plushies. Well the anime magazine is a good place to stock up. Most magazines have hundreds of advertisements, not about diet pills or anti-depressant like the others, but about anime—and at good prices too. You’ll usually get a complementary poster just for buying the magazine, and subscribing too it also gets you even more goodies. Now depending on the anime magazine you get your goodies could range from a poster to a free plushie or even free DVDs. So you won’t just be getting page after page of anime goodness, but also prizes those that don’t have a subscription don’t even get close to.

Now after reading all of that you must just be so excited about anime magazines, but you’re probably wondering how much you have to fork up. Well depending on what magazine you subscribe to it could be a lot. Some are thirty dollars for a yearly subscription and other in the upper nineties—I wonder which one the free DVD is in? ^^ Of course subscribing saves you a lot of money, better than you going out and buying it at the cover price every month. Of course it seems like a lot, but you get what you pay for. Of course the more expensive ones are for more die-hard fans and if you’re new you probably might what to start out with something a little cheaper, but don’t let that discourage you from spending your parents money. All anime magazines are good and you might just find yourself subscribing to more than one, because each anime magazine offers something different.

Of course before you go out and fill out that subscription to the first magazine you picked up read through the magazine. I’ve tried not to say which kind of anime magazine I subscribe, because what’s best for me might not be exactly your cup of tea. Read through one or two different magazines and then decide which you prefer. Don’t just let the free goodies and pretty pictures sway you; some anime magazines could take you days to go through entirely, but at the end you’ll be filled with either anime goodness or just plain boredom. You’re spending lots of money so you should get your money’s worth. Most anime magazines have websites you can look at before buying so I suggest checking them out first; then when you think you’ve picked the right one then you can subscribe.

Subscribing to an anime magazine is a good way to get exposed to new animes, and read up and all things anime related in the comfort of your living room. So go out and ask mommy and daddy to drop a few dead presidents—or whatever you Europeans use—so that you can get your anime now.

By Cherubim.

Cheat sheet to writing a review

So you’ve finally decided to muscle up the courage to write your own review for a series. You’re confused, lost, and you have a slight itch. Not to worry a bit of cream and that itch will be taken care of. Now in regards to your review I’ve compiled a list of things that help me when I’m writing a review, a few tricks of the trade that I’ve picked up you could say. So like all noble people I’m going to share the little bit of wisdom that I have with you all.

The Cheat Sheet

Step 1 Know what you are writing about
It’s just like when you are trying to bullshit a paper for school, if you don’t know the content you won’t be able to do it well. While you don’t have to watch the entire series to writing a decent review at least have watched the first volume (usually episodes one to four or five) if you are doing an anime. For manga if you want to write a review for the entire series it’s best that you have some knowledge about the series more so than what you’ve gathered from volume one and two. I personally prefer to do a review per volume rather than the entire series when it comes to manga because manga volumes cover a lot of information. Either when it comes to knowing what you are talking about go with your guy; if you believe you know enough about the series (and enough so that you won’t fill it with spoilers) and will be able to convey the general story/plotline of the series to the reader you should be fine.

Step 2 Sources
This step isn’t mandatory but it makes writing your review much easier on you. One thing I’ve found helpful when it comes to writing a reviews is getting other sources. Usually when I’m reviewing a series a read other reviews on that specific series. It helps me formulate my thoughts and put my views in perspective. It is also a good way to point out things you may not have noticed during the series that might change your opinion about something. However, and this is a warning, DO NOT COPY AND PASTE OTHER PEOPLE’S REVIEW even if you just want to use their paragraph don’t. That’s called plagiarism and it can get you booted from all most anywhere. Reading another person’s review is meant to help you not do your review for you. “Read, Process, Write;” remember that; you have to read someone’s review, process what you’ve read in your mind along with your own thoughts on the series and then write those combined thoughts down. Like I said this step isn’t something you have to do, in fact this entire check list is voluntary (I’ll get to that later), just from personal experience it has helped me when it comes time to writing mine. Also it doesn’t just have to be other reviews it can be brief synopsis on the back of the cover, or discussions about the series that you’ve read about on forums or whatever. Where ever you get your information from put it to good use.

Step 3 Take you time
I can tell you this now, and what I’m about to say applies to anything that you will write in your life, the first paragraph will always be the hardest. Don’t let a mini-session of writer’s block discourage you from writing, as you write more you’ll be able to tackle writers’ block more easily.
Just take your time with your review. It’s better to wait a while and work on it bit by bit than to rush it and make a mess. Consider your review finished when you think it’s complete and concise.

Step 4 Don’t worry about length
This is probably the most frequently asked question that I get. Everyone seems to be worried about the length, and you shouldn’t have to. Let me clear that up, if you write a review that’s 10 sentences long no one will take you seriously and at the same time if you write a review for an anime/manga that’s 3 pages you will simply overwhelmed your readers. The rule of thumb is simple: write as much as is needed. You want to have your readers understand the story and the your general impression of the anime/manga you are reviewing. With that said I can freely say this: don’t write a review that’s just a paragraph. It is very hard, if not impossible, for anyone, even experts writers, to concise all that information into a paragraph. Let content by your judge. Also keep in mind that this really depends on where you plan on submitting your review. Here (x111.com) you have a very laid back feel and you are free to write your review pretty much however you want; however, at some places there is a set structure you have to follow–and that’s not necessarily a bad thing merely their choice.

Step 5 Give factual information
While your review is going to be your opinion you want to give some factual information about what you are reviewing. Whether that’s merely listing the genre to listing the director, release date, etc etc. Whatever factual information you think the reader should know include it some part in your review.

Step 6 Grading System
I will be honest the first I do when I start to read a review the first thing I check is the grades. If you can at all use a grading system that you are comfortable with; however, just make sure that the grading system you decided to use is simple enough that people will understand what you mean. Be clear and concise. A good time would be to use simple things that everyone would recognize. This is probably why you see numbers used so much. Try not to complicate it too much–be to the point. Also don’t just grade but state why you think it deserved the grade that it got, that way people have content to back up the numbers.

Step 7 Cover the basics
This tip as to do more with your actual review than anything else. You want to cover all the basics such as story, plot line, characters, music and of course your own opinion. Your opinion is important because that if anything will be what conveys your opinion the most. Some people separate their opinion from the rest of the review and other’s incorporate into their general review. It’s really up to you, just make sure that you cover all the parts you think a person who’s interested in the series you are reviewing will need to understand the series.

Step 8 Your style
Your review should be an extension of yourself and your thoughts. And if you continue writing your reviews you’ll become more confident in your writing style and your reviews will begin to take on certain characteristics. And eventually your writing style will become recognizable and associated with you. This however takes time and lots of trial and error. The best way to develop your own style is to “stand on the shoulders of giants and surpass them.” Let me explain what I mean: when I started writing my reviews I used Raven’s format and eventually modified it as my own. Currently I’m still in the process of modifying that format again and we’ll see what that will turn out to be. Anyway, I recommend you finding someone who’s style you like and ask if you can use their format as inspiration. This way you have some structure and don’t have to worry about creating your own format. Once you feel you are ready to create your own style you can do whatever you want, as long as it is within the set rules. Some people go beyond and include scans, episode list, etc etc. It’s all up to you.

By Cherubim

Anime Music Buyers Guide

This is a guide for people who buy (or are thinking of buying) anime music. I’ve read a few guides similar to this and decided to write my own focused ideas.
The purpose of this guide is to share some of my experiences and better educate anime fans about buying anime music in stores and online.

A lot of people enjoy buying and listening to anime music just as much as they enjoy watching it. Unfortunately, actually buying the music can be a bit tricky. There’s a large amount of fake or “pirated” CDs on the market. Some people don’t care about this, but most do. Pirated CDs are copies of the authentic product. Because of that, they are usually quite inferior in quality and lack special features or bonuses that the real product would normally include. A lot of fakes also have numerous misspellings of composer names, tracks, etc.

So how can you be sure that the CD you want is the real deal?

The first thing you want to look for is the label on the CD. The label is often times clearly shown on the obi (spine card) of the CD. This will be your first indication of whether you have a good (legit) product or not.


Here we see the same anime CD… however… each has its own different label displayed on the obi. The CD on the left has a label from “Smiley Face International”, a music pirate company. The CD on the right has a “Victor Entertainment” label, the real thing. At first glance, people won’t notice this, since its not the label that attracts your attention but the cover. At this point, one would only need to be knowledgeable of common pirate labels or know exactly which label prints what anime’s music. Common pirate labels include: Smiley Face International, EverAnime, Alion International and SonMay.

Some pirate companies don’t even put a visible label on their CDs, as shown below.

If you find yourself in this situation, flip the CD over to the back and look at the copyright information at the bottom. If you suspect the name displayed or if it’s missing altogether (which is true for some pirated CDs), don’t buy it. Also near the copyright information you should see where the CD was made. “Made in Japan” is what you should be looking for. This information is always printed in english for the most part. Pirate CDs mainly come from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Here are some obi (spine card) examples:

Fake: Here you see a pirate label (Alion), no english copyright info, and the more prominent “Made in Taiwan”… evil! Evil or Very Mad

Legit: Here you see a good label, catalog number, and a “Made in Japan” line.

Now, this will all work fine if you have the CD in your hands and you can physically examine it. But what about buying the CD online? Unless you live near a nicely stocked anime store, most of your anime music buying will take place online. Some online shops have a “Click here for bigger image” link that will show you the CD cover in detail (and give you a glimpse at its obi). But this isn’t always the case. Another thing you can look for is the CD’s catalog number. Get a hold of that number from a review or news site and compare it to the one displayed in the product description of the online shop you are browsing. If the numbers match, then the product should be legit. The numbers are usually located on the obi like the label and also on the back near the copyright information. It is also very common to see the price for the CD listed on the obi. This is always shown in yen (Japanese currency). So looking for that symbol (shown below) is also a good clue.

This may sound a bit frustrating at first, but trust me, after some intense browsing, you will be able to identify pirate soundtracks quickly. Visit your local anime shop or favorite online anime store and browse through their stock and pay attention to the details and descriptions. In my honest opinion, the single most trustworthy site is CDJapan. As its name implies, the CDs come from Japan and not Taiwan or Hong Kong like most pirated CDs. This is the best place to look up a soundtrack and get information on it. It will usually give you a picture along with that vital catalog number. This is also a great place to purchase your music. Everything here is authentic. I’ve listed a few sites below where you can gather information on a CD or even buy it if you want.

I have purchased game and anime soundtracks from each of these links and found CDJapan to be the best.
Trustworthy sites: CDJapan | AnimeNation | GameMusic.com

I suggest that when you buy music online, try to buy everything you want at once. Shipping overseas can get pricey, so having all of your items under one shipping fee will save you more time and money in the long run. Everything I have ever ordered overseas was done with the EMS shipping option which gives quick and safe results.

Another popular place to purchase anime music is on eBay. Here you can find really rare stuff… however… sadly eBay is literally flooded with pirate CDs. Most descriptions won’t tell you where it was pressed and will give a vague “Import CD” line. Almost everything you will find is a fake, so unless you have a really good description and picture, it’s a risky business.

Pirated CDs can be a huge disappointment for the avid anime fan who thinks that they’re getting an official product. Some people will often look for and favor pirated versions simply because they are usually much cheaper than the official ones. Official CDs usually cost about $10-$20 more than the pirated versions. But just remember: you get what you pay for.

Hopefully this guide has made you a bit wiser or more observant in your anime music shopping. If you find yourself confused or hesitant on whether something is pirated or not, post about it on the forums, come into chat or drop me a line. We will be more than happy to help you get what you’re looking for.

Happy music buying!

By Dragon627

A guide to attending Conventions

What’s a Con all about anyway? Where do they hold these things? How do I get there? What do I do? Does this sound familiar to you? Even if it doesn’t, these are some pertinent questions faced by anime fans at one time or another.
What are these con’s I keep hearing about, how do I get to one? Perhaps if you’re new to anime or just conventions in general you will find yourself asking similar questions.
I’m here to help. Whether you’re a veteran con-goer, or an untested fan, I hope this lil guide on conventions will help you sort through it all.

To begin with, lets talk about Conventions in general. What are they? Well as any anime fan will eventually come to realize, he/she is not alone in their love of anime. And as well as finding a healthy growing online community to meet and converse with people online, you eventually are going to catch wind of conventions.
These are group get-togethers of varying sizes and purposes, but all with one goal in mind. Anime. It often is the biggest event in the Otaku’s year. From the humblest of gatherings to the multitude of thousands anime conventions are held by fans, for fans. These group gatherings are noted by a mutual love/exchange of anime and manga. A new place where you can view anime otherwise closed to you, or get access to manga or HK films you would have otherwise missed. Most cons’ are just as dedicated to the love of Asian culture in general that is prevalent among fans, as it is anime.
However, Con’s are also invariably unique in both approach and fanbase. From the All-encompassing, come all tastes of Con’s like Otakon to the more specified tastes of Yaiocon and Shoujocon, there is a multitude of choices for those who look close enough.

So now you have figured out the basic’s of a convention. Now you just have to choose which one is for you. This is never a simple answer as the varying factors of time, money and location always come into play. But it also boils down to taste. If you’re a hardcore action, violence or big robot fan, then you’re more than likely not going to fly out to Shoujocon. But if you have children, and are looking for a family time then perhaps you may wish to give Shoujocon another look, while avoiding Yaiocon at all costs. Instead of listing through the hundred’s of conventions and going over them all so you can find your personal tastes, ill make a quick reference here to the list of conventions, that is separate from this article. Each one is provided with dates and listing and should have a webpage with all available information. These will invariably provide more information than I could list here, so give them a look.

Ok, now lets assume you’ve picked a con, your biting the bullet…now what?
First off, take a closer look at the webpage for your con. Every con worth its salt will have a list on hotels, and inns related to the Con. When you book your hotel you should always mention that you plan on attending the convention. Most conventions run deals with hotels around the area, so that you get a discount on rooms. This isn’t 50 percent off or anything, but it is cheaper in the long run. Also, be sure to book your rooms way ahead of time. Conventions will list dates and times for the upcoming year far in advance. Sometimes as soon as the last con ends. Booking your room in advance will not only ensure yourself free from the hassle of last minute rushing, but from last minute price gouging. It’s a factor in this economy, but as the supply goes down and the convention looms closer, demand will increase. What once cost you a pair of rooms for about 120 a person (a group of say 6 people) for three nights, will now run your considerably higher. So book your room as early as possible. While you are doing this, you should have time to look into the area and the hotels so you can find the one best suited for you. Hotels increase and decrease in price the farther away from the center of activities you get. So sometimes you wish to save a lil bit of cash, but hoof it a bit more to the center of business. Again I make reference to early reservations. Often the price you pay in the long run will still be cheaper than a farther away hotel, but because you got the room early you are closer to the con as well. The best of both worlds.

While you have your hotel early, you also look into registration. Yes, you can just show up to a convention and get in, but not until waiting in line, or as often is the case paying a bit more for your pass. Pre-registration not only assures you of a cheaper pass (usually the earlier you register the cheaper, and pre-registration deals end about a month before the con starts), but of easier access. This is often only a problem at major cons, but waiting in line for 4 hours to receive your pass can often be avoided in part by pre-registering and getting your stuff early. (There will still be a line perhaps, but it will be shorter than regular registration and cheaper, and it’s all about the money). There are also more deals than just register and pre-register. Some conventions offer odd or unique deals. Big Apple Anime Fest offers a “super” pass for the weekend, which while running you a heft price of 300 plus dollars guarantees you premiere seats at all viewing, seating and eating arrangements with all guests of honor to the con, and other VIP bonuses. Again, check the details on the con your interested in for more info, and decide what’s best for you.

All right, you’re almost there. Providing of course you got transportation of some sort to your hotel and the convention you should be on your way to enjoying the sights. I will only mention a brief common sense blurb. If your going by plane, the earlier you get your tickets the cheaper the price, prices will often double if you wait to book them say a few weeks in advance as opposed to a few months. (And 300 round trip to blah blah from blah blah is definitely better than 600). So your at the convention center, your registered and having gone through the lines, you are all set for some anime fun…now what do you do?

Time and how you spend it will ultimately be entirely up to you. However, I can help you with the choices and sea of ideas you will be faced with.
Let’s start by dividing the con up into varying groups of time/activities.
First there is lines/waiting/walking. This is a variable depending upon size and time. For instance, a smaller convention will have a drastically shorter wait as opposed to a huge convention. But common sense and a little timing on your part too can fix this.
The line for the dealers room (don’t worry we will go into that a little later) is a prime example. At a large convention, on the first day there will always be a line for the dealer’s room. You may be tempted to wait in this line. Why not, If you’re in line you’ll be one of the first in the dealers room…right? Yes and No. You will be in line, and you will be among the first in the dealer’s room…but that doesn’t do much for you except have a wait. A dealer’s room is proportionate to the size of the con (usually) and is going to be huge if you’re waiting in line for a while. It is the first day of the convention, most people aren’t going to rush on the buying, and while you can wait 2 hours to rush into the room, other people can easily spend those 2 hours doing something else, come by ten minutes after your wait in line rush to the room and walk in without waiting, which would you rather do? The rest of the lines work similarly to this, and what you would think would be common sense. Lines for signatures of artists and the like, may not have a way around them, but overall try and limit your time in lines with a little pre-planning and thinking. And most importantly, be sure to check that the line your in, is an actual line. People may often be…less than intelligent when it comes to such things, and no one wants to spend a few hours in a line only to find out it’s the wrong one. Waiting may not always be avoided, but make sure what your waiting for is what you want. Walking is another necessity. Unless you have some slicks moves on rollerblades (and don’t get caught by staff) you will be walking to and from your activities. In some instances like Big Apple Anime Fest, this may be more of a nuisance than you would like. People will invariably get lost, especially if it’s their first time around the area. Make sure to have a map handy, most cons will supply you with one, and you can always spot other con-goers and staff to help you out.

Lets move on to the Shows/Viewing. Perhaps some of the tomatoes (or cheese if your prefer) in the sandwich of a healthy con. This consists of the scheduled showings of various anime, and live action films, or concerts. When you receive your registration packet you will get a schedule.
Look at it, keep it handy. If you plan on watching some new shows, or some old favorites you will want to know when and where to go. But of course, be prepared to cancellations. Things may fall through and at the last second, what was X has been cancelled and replaced by Y. Sometimes this is a great way to see new anime you would have otherwise missed, but don’t let it discourage you too bad. At all times, there is something to see. So you have to sort through your choices. But what if there’s something you never heard of? Luckily if your carrying that handly lil packet the con provided around, or if you read it ahead of time, you will usually see the listings of the showings. They will include a synopsis of the various showings so you can perhaps help your choices. Sometimes they will not be clear, or the synopsis will cast a show in a bad light. So be sure to at least pop your head into the rooms to see the showings if you’re on the way. Showings are a great way to kill time, and a welcome relief from all the walking you will be doing. Make sure to plan some time seeing some new or old shows, and if you just need a moment’s rest from the hectic day, stop on by. Most cons will show “adult” related viewing at night, so more violent or adult themed shows or live action films will have a showing later in the evening. If you’re a little underage horndog hoping to see some skin, you’re out of luck. There has been a rise in active carding at showings and the registration in general, so 18 and up or 21 and up mean it. This is a benefit for the rest of us, as we no longer have to abide immature or just annoying pre-teens (at least for the evening). In general the showings will be a good part of your time, and at the varied scheduling and areas they will be held should be a constant thought in the back of your mind.

Next comes some of the more interactive features of the con. First is Panels. At the very least these get-togethers are a chance to meet more likeminded people, or interests, or a new venue into new interests. Panels range the gamut from discussions to wine tastings to how to speak Japanese, to how to wear kimonos, to just hang out. Panels are the real-life counterpart of the video showings, often using the same facilities and rooms at varying times. These are also a place to rest from the activities outside, and perhaps hear some news or interesting talk. They are a place to meet and interact with others more easily. Most panels are free, you paid to get into the convention and as such you are entitled to visit them. As such, it is highly recommended to attend at least one panel function. With the assortment of panels offered there is always something for someone, and with last minute schedulings and appearances, you may find panels you wouldn’t have previously noticed. Along with these panels are the requirement panels. Such things like a small cover charge, or being over 18 or 21 is all you need. These panels are great, and interesting like the others but with slightly more to offer. There is almost always a Cel Painting workshop which for a small cover fee of 4 dollars (for supplies) you will be instructed in the proper way to paint a animation cell. These workshop and panels are often instructed by people from the industry of anime and manga and is a great way to meet some of the people behind your favorite works. Like the video showings, you should receive a schedule of these happenings along with your others. Planning around these can be tricky, but well worth it. If you’ve ever wondered how to wear a kimono properly, or just what exactly is the deal with the Macross story/timeline, or even just want to taste Sake or Plum Wine for the first time, there is panels/workshops for you to follow through on.

The next major function at conventions is Events. While this is a broad term, it is rather specific and often dependent on convention. A standard at every convention in term of events will be gone over, as well as some examples. The very first thing is “Opening Ceremonies”, this is the “technical” opening of the convention, and where various events and schedule changes will be announced. Guests of honor and others will be introduced, as well as some more details on events to come. At a large con this can be a very huge affair, with thousands of people, or at smaller cons this can be a very intimate affair where you may be sitting behind or next to a guest of honor. Opening ceremonies always happen about Midday, but don’t think that there isn’t anything to do until then. Most scheduling will pick up in the morning with some videos, and maybe a panel or two. A major function of cons that is really nonstop, is Cosplay. This is an event that’s more of a constant viewing, with a major emphasis with an event held for short skits. Cosplay is the process of dressing up in costume and/or acting like your favorite character, etc. Many Cosplayers dress up in numerous costumes throughout the convention, vying for recognition (oh yeah, I know that character) and a little fame. This obviously makes for some amusing sights, as the host of costumers will quickly recognize the con. Some good, some bad, all…slightly not sane. These people make for constant humor, great photo-op’s, and just general wackiness. For more information on Cosplaying, look up Cosplay.com for some in-depth work from the people themselves. As well as a Cosplay competition, there is always (sometimes one wonders why, lol) a Kareoake contest or even better (worse) a open mike. This gives every single one of you Sinatra wannabe’s or Madonna’s…or Gakt’s out there a chance to sing your stuff…for everyone to hear. There is often prizes awarded (sometimes just a trophy and the knowledge that you can actually sing as opposed to the competition) and a general feeling of amusement and calm as your peers act as your judge, jury and executioner. There is also the art show and artists alley. Meet aspiring artists (perhaps like yourself) and see some amazing artwork (and some not so amazing). Take some work home for that spot on the wall you needed to fill. Or dance the night away with all those other…sweaty…costumed…people…did I mention sweaty? Well that aside, you can enjoy getting your groove on or just laughing at other people’s “groove”. Every wonder what the “robot” looks like when a 400 pound Neko”girl” does it…ok, so maybe not but worth a look at least. Also a invariable part of every con is the games and/or gameroom. Whether it’s the anime version of Taboo, or your favorite fighting game on the bigscreen the game room has a spot in your hearts.
Aside from these events, there are con-specific events or other activities that spring up. Check your con info for details. A popular event is quiz shows and the like. Be sure to see the info your con has to offer to see what you can attend. Of course to tie it all up is closing ceremonies. Much like opening…uh…except in reverse. The torch is officially passed to next year and you will get some info on what to look forward to next year.

An event that I’m giving a special overview of is…The Dealer’s room. Finally, I can hear you saying with baited breath. Now you will find out what it was I’ve been referring to for all this time. The dealer’s room is the area of the con where you will be spending much of your money, and a good deal of time. The dealer’s room is where you will find anime merchandise. And I mean merchandise. In major cons, these rooms will have corporate backing and booths, so it’s not odd to see a ADV booth and a Pioneer booth giving out freebies in a large con. (As well as showing non-stop commercials for their crap) However there is also the lovely lovely mystery dealer. The best shops are invariably the backalley, out of the way; no one sees them kind of places. These dealers and comic stores often attend these cons with bundles of their mystery love to give (AKA sell) to you. You will find dealers (so named because they “deal” in anime, and because some of the people who buy are like crackfiends…hence dealers) who will have more and varied things than you would first imagine. CD’s, VCD’s, DVD’s, T-shirts, Posters, Manga, English Graphic Novels (don’t care what the world says they are two different things), blah blah blah. You want to find that oh so hard to find Life size Tokimeki Memorial 2 life doll with two alternate outfits….uh…well then your just sick…yeah sick. But I’m sure you could find it, or get a good line on someone who could help you find it. Imported games, manga, and the like make the Dealers room a Mecca of almost any convention. Shop for deals, and don’t worry too much about sounding like a retard asking for little girl manga from the grown Japanese man. He’ll forget you 5 minutes later and you’ll have hidden it away in your bag of big macho robots to cover it up anyway. Don’t get suckered in too quickly on average items. A common practice is to mention how little of a item they have(when in reality they have another box under the table waiting for you to go away so they can put more up) and most importantly shop around the final day of the con. Dealers have to bring home anything they don’t sell, and they are more than willing to make deals in the final hours to lesson their load and increase their cash. DVD’s which go for 20 bucks each, may go for 2 for 20, or 15 each. Be sure to drop subtle hints and converse with the dealers. They are fans like you(for the most part), just fans trying to sell you some stuff.

Oh my is that all? Seems a bit much, but I’ve tried to put only the most common sense and typically needed advice here. From the conventions I’ve attended as both dealer and attendee and even with a guest or two, I think I can offer a bit of advice on this subject. I encourage you to look for more detailed info with any of the cons your interested in, and even talk to others who’ve attended in the past. Some parting wrap up advice and general conclusions, I hope will help. Plan early, get all the info you can, use common sense(this is a sparse commodity at some conventions) and have fun. Make new friends, meet old ones. It is often beneficial to attend in large groups as most cons will give you a discount on registration for groups(usually 10 or more) and hotel costs decrease exponentially when you split the cost among 10 people instead of say 6. Bring a camera, some(lots of) money, and yourself, and you should be more than prepared for any convention.

By DarknightZO

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Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.