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< Piro >

Megatokyo VirtualCon2011 GO! :P

"MT VirtualCon 2011"

Monday - February 7, 2011

[Piro] - 16:03:37 - [link here]

It’s been over three years since I’ve done many conventions, mostly because attending conventions with a very young child is more than a little difficult. Last year we experimented with going to Anime Central, Intervention and SugoiCon with Jack and that actually worked out pretty well. In fact, the little guy is a bit of a ham. ^^;; After declaring the experiment a success the plan was to hit a lot more conventions in 2011; at least that *was* the plan until Sarah was diagnosed with Lymphoma.

As you might imagine, that put any travel plans for 2011 on hold; at least for conventions early in the year. There is still the possibility that we could do some conventions later on, but as of right now we don’t have any solid plans. With so many unknowns, we didn’t want to commit to attending a convention until we had a feel for how Sarah’s treatments were proceeding (FTR, Sarah is doing good so far).

Then Sarah had an idea. Why not have a 'Virtual' Convention?

Offer Megagear merchandise at convention prices, offer signed sketches and do a online panel or two. Give people who never get to attend conventions a little bit of the Convention experience, so to speak.

Sarah can be remarkably brilliant sometimes. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that. ^^;;

Obviously, a ‘virtual con’ would not really be the same as a real con. For starters, you don’t have the joy of traveling in this wonderful weather, getting assimilated by security at airports, defending your patch of carpet in the hotel room floor you are sharing with fifteen of your friends, standing in endless lines to get your badge, to get into the dealers room, to get into panels, to go to the bathroom…

Ok, maybe all that *is* part of the fun, but there are some things we can do online that can be done at least in the spirit of things, and we don’t need to limit it to just three days. :P

For starters, the first things we’re doing is offering MT merchandise at Convention prices in the MegaGear store. True, you have to deal with shipping, but think about how much cheaper it is to ship a few t-shirts than to ship yourself somewhere. Also, online we can accept credit cards :P

The next thing is to offer the one thing most people who haven’t been able to attend cons feel they miss out on the most - signed character sketches. One difference, however, is that I can’t offer these for free like I do at conventions.

Hopefully, $10.00 does not seem unreasonable for a personalized sketch of your favorite character (you can request which MT character you want when you order). We felt this was a better option than setting a high ‘minimum purchase required’ to get a free sketch. Of course, you are welcome to order as much stuff as you like (please do!) but you can also just order a sketch if that’s all you want, and you are welcome to order more than one if you would like. Details about Signed Sketches and how to order one can be found here in the MegaGear store.

Now, the biggest part of any convention for me is usually the Megatokyo panel. For the past year or so I’ve been broadcasting live drawing on; so setting up to do an live online panel event should be quite doable. We’re still working on what I’ll be doing, but some ideas involve answering questions live, digging into my hard drives for stuff as needed for photos and drawings and other stuff, chances for you to show off your MT cosplay outfits, past and present, fan art and other stuff. More information on this as we solidify the event and set up a date for it.

This is just the start of some of the things I’m looking at doing for the Megatokyo VirualCon 2011. We’ll be offering some new merchandise, starting with a Fine Art Print of Miho - Broken Blades, which just went up today.

Thank you for your support of Megatokyo, especially after what turned out to be a particularly difficult year. Some of this stuff should be fun. My next order of business is to get back to doing at least two comics per week, a challenge that has proved difficult up until recently. Thanks again.

< Kalium >



Saturday - February 5, 2011

[Kalium] - 11:55:20 - [link here]

Hey, folks. Long time no see. So, a lot of things have happened. Have I mentioned that I moved to San Francisco? Probably not. Incidentally, this city is amazing and insane.

Moving on.

So, new season of anime means a new group of shows to talk about. As usual, they range from excellent to truly horrific. You're going to get some of each, friend.

First is Dragon Crisis. The basic setup is that you have a guy whose parents are treasure hunters. They're globe-trotting in search of magical artifacts, some of which are very powerful. The Lead Male is actually kind of pissed at his parents over this, as they're not the most attentive of parents. So when he winds up with one in his possession, he's a bit conflicted.

When said item turns out to be a girl, his internal conflict gets turned up to eleven. She's cute as a button, has imprinted upon him, and happens to be a dragon. Oh, and she's being hunted by a larger, more powerful dragon.

It's not a bad show. The relationship between Rose and what's-his-face is fun. The writing is kind of uninspired, but it's not intolerable. Worth watching if a shounen that doesn't involve ninjas is your thing.

Next is Fractale. The world of Fractale is... interesting. It's set in the far future, at a time where reality is incredibly heavily augmented by computer systems that are universally implanted into people. Pretty much everyone lives a nomadic life, terrified of losing their freedom by settling down. Clain is an odd duck, a guy who lives alone in an actual house and spends a lot of time studying "ancient" artifacts (think current computing systems). Then a strange woman shows up, being chased. He hides her, she gives him a brooch, and she leaves. An even stranger woman pops out of his computer.

It turns out that the overarching computer system that their world depends on - the Fractale system - is starting to collapse. The story of Fractale has gotten strange, but it's a very promising show so far. There's something about it that feels like an echo of a Ghibli work. Well worth watching.

Freezing is... very stereotypical in a lot of ways. Futuristic Japan under attack by aliens? Check. High school students pressed into service as weapons? Check. Generic traumatic pasts for characters? Check. Tsundere lead female? Check. Generic, bland, and earnest lead male? Check.

Seriously, this could be any one of a hundred or more shows. I remember when this was called "Gunparade March"... well, except for the semi-magical effects, but that's just a detail. This show isn't even visually remarkable. Drop it like a hot potato.

As if Freezing wasn't enough, there's another horribly stereotypical show this season. From some of the people who worked on Macross Frontier (and decided Ranka was a compelling character) comes Infinite Stratos.

Infinite Stratos is set in a world where gender politics have been neatly turned on their head. There is a small number of mecha in the world of substantial power that can only be piloted by women. And, you know, the hapless male lead. Who happens to be improbably good at everything he does (except comprehending women). From there it turns into about what you would expect from a harem/mecha hybrid. There's the Strict Older Sister, the Tsundere, two Childhood Friends (apparently a firesale a Stereotypes R Us), the Ditzy Teacher, and various generic mecha trappings.

Infinite Stratos is at best a guilty pleasure. The girls waste no time establishing a state of livelock surrounding Ichika (which I've come to call "cocklock") as each attempts and fails to acquire an exclusive lock but succeeds in locking resources required by other actors. Antics ensue.

Think of the exalted work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The imposing intellect of Sherlock and the Watson who kept him grounded. Now imagine that Sherlock is a little blonde girl (complete with bubble pipe) and Watson is an exchange student. Instead of being set in England, it's now set in a fictional small European nation. This is Gosick.

Once your vertigo settles, I can explain that this show is actually quite good. Victorique is harsh, brash, incisive, and blindingly bright, even if she likes her aura of mystery perhaps too much. She's forced to live cooped up at the top of a tower (cue Rapunzel jokes) and craves the news and stimulation that Watson (er, Kujo) brings her. Without him, she's bored out of her skull.

What does she like? Mysteries, mostly. Crimes, great and small (but preferably great) and criminals against which she can test her wit and Kujo's mettle. It doesn't take long for the two to land themselves in the middle of a murder mystery, which promptly leads to a larger and more complex murder mystery.

Despite how lightly I'm treating it, Gosick is really one of the better shows this season. It's well written and the interactions between Kujo and Victorique are pure genius.

When I was in high school I read that play written by Marlowe in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and pleasure. With that in mind, I come to the next show, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In this show, two unsuspecting girls are thrown into a chaotic world where monsters prey on humanity and Puella Magi fight against them. The Puella Magi is a girl who runs the very real risk of losing her life in combat.

Our Mephistopheles is a cutsey little guy named Kyubey. He even offers Madoka a wish in exchange for her sou- er, becoming a Puella Magi. Every wish seems to come with a price, and it's implied that no wish really works out the way the girls would want it to. There are even a few implications that Kyubey is not really being entirely honest with the girls.

The show is actually a lot darker than it sounds. It is unquestionably one of the best shows this season, and it gets darker by the episode. Ah, Faust, be careful what bargains you strike!

So anyway. That's a few of this seasons' shows. Now I have to remember where I left my ticket for Kara no Kyoukai in the theater...


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