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< Piro >

Anime Expo 2011!

"VirtualCon to an ActualCon"

Friday - June 10, 2011

[Piro] - 13:28:58 - [link here]

As most of you have probably noticed, managing even a ‘virtual con’ so far this year has been a challenge. There have been a number of daunting things I’ve been dealing with since I posted my last rant, some of them not related to Sarah's cancer treatment, but a lot of that is now mostly behind me.

So. Right. Getting back on track. Still trying to catch up with orders (thank you so much for your patience, It’s been a struggle to keep up and I appreciate your patience)… That whole Megatokyo comic thing (i’ll be starting working on the next one later tonight)… the whole Virtual Con thing (been doing lots of sketches, some of them are pretty good, but still no date set for the virtual panel yet)… How can I kick start things after what has arguably been ten very stressful months?

I know! How about supplementing my “Virtual Con” with, oh, i dunno, an actual con? Maybe a big one that I haven’t actually gone to before (just an afternoon a few years ago), one that many of you may already be going to?

How about Anime Expo 2011?

Yep, I’ll be a guest at this year’s Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 1-4. :) That’s just a couple of weeks away (yikes) but I will be there for the entire weekend, doing panels and other activities, as well as having a table in Artist’s Alley where hopefully it won’t be too hard to find me. Sarah and Jack are also joining me for the show, so it should be a lot of fun. More information on panels and other stuff as soon as I know the schedule.

It looks like it will be a really good show this year, with some great guests (me excluded) and some awesome concerts. I’ll finally have a chance to meet Danny Choo (who actually showed up in a MT comic several years ago) and there’s even a concert by the lovely (and virtual) Hatsune Miku. Hopefully I can get some things signed for Ping since she is her favorite idol…

One guest I am really looking forward to meeting is Matsumoto Izumi, the artist and creator behind Kimagure Orange Road. Matsumoto-sensei is one of my earliest and biggest influences. It was his work that first got me seriously hooked on anime and manga (wait, should i be thanking him for this?). In fact, the first time I seriously considered going to an anime convention was when he was a guest at Katsucon back in 1995. Sixteen years ago I think my mind would have boggled at the possibility that both Matsumoto-sensei and I would be introduced as guests at one of the largest anime conventions in the US in the same press release. Actually, my mind boggles at it even now. I am not worthy.

Even though my convention activities this year are no longer entirely virtual, it doesn't mean that MT Virtual Con 2011 is over. I still plan to do an online virtual panel, hopefully sometime in mid-July (it’s actually a rather complicated thing to put a decent one together, if you want it to not suck TOO bad). For now, however, this WILL be the last weekend of the MT VirtualCon 2011 sale at the MegaGamers store - Sunday will be your last day to order a signed sketch and purchase gear at sale prices. So, head on over to the store and pick up some gear and a sketch or two before the sale ends.

Recently, it hasn’t been just been daunting things that have been occupying my time - I’ve also been looking at experimenting with digital publishing (i know, me and everyone else :P). I’ve been working for the past few months with writer Thomas Knapp to pulling together a series of Light Novels telling the full Endgames story in prose form. As a bit of a preview of what these light novels might be like, we’ve uploaded a pretty good short story called “Behind the Masque” that covers some of the first interactions between Pirogeth and m0h. It’s about 24 pages or so long and includes four original sketches that I did specifically for the story and a full color cover. UPDATE It is now available through the Amazon Kindle store for .99 cents. You do not have to have a Kindle to read a Kindle book - there are readers for your computer, Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Windows phones, etc, so hopefully most of you will be able to purchase a copy if you are interested reading it. Feedback welcome, as i am also looking into how to offer new manga works digitally as well (not MT, this is still a free webcomic).

One final note, until recently the URL for reaching the Official Megatokyo Facebook page was rather unwieldy, with lots of numbers and slashes and stuff in it. Well, not anymore. Now you can reach the Official Megatokyo Facebook Page by typing in . We seem to have quite a horde of facebook minions assembled on Facebook (a little over 12,600 ‘likers’ so far) so don’t mind the horde, all mindless likers welcome. :P

Anyways, lets hope that's enough to get rolling along again. Thank you for your patience.

< 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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