Saturday, September 09, 2006

Anime Vegas: The Wrap-Up

On Sunday, September 3, the Hellsing fun continued as Amy also won a sketch from Kouta Hirano. Before sketching time, Japanese guests of honor Hirano and Hideyuki Kurata held a joint panel. Kurata is not only the screenwriter for the HELLSING ULTIMATE OVA adaptation of Hirano’s manga; he is the creator of the marvelous READ OR DIE franchise, with novels, a video movie, a TV series, and various manga about various young women who are “paper masters” – able to telekinetically manipulate paper (which is a far more impressive superpower than it sounds). The panel was far more relaxed than most I’ve seen at cons with Japanese guests; the two, apparently friends as well as co-workers, joked about mixing the characters from ROD with those from Hellsing, and quizzed each fan who asked them a question about the fans’ favorite anime and manga. Both confessed their fondness for characters with glasses – particularly Kurata’s favorite paper master, Yomiko Readman, agent for the British Royal Library. “I love Yomiko!” Hirano gushed. “I want to marry her!” “You can’t marry my daughter,” rejoined Kurata. The conversation even ranged to Japanese politics; Hirano noted that a candidate for Japanese prime minister is a “hardcore” manga buff; but that he is very right-wing, and only supported by about 6% of the voting population.

After the panel came the sketch session. The con folks were nice enough to allow me into the signing room to take photos. Kurata’s table was next to Hirano’s. During a break in Kurata’s signing line, I brought him the box set of the ROD TV series, cunningly designed as a faux leather book. He and the rep from Geneon, Satoshi Fuji, had apparently not seen the set before (even though it was made by Geneon); and Kurata proudly posed with it for a photo.

At Amy’s request, Hirano drew her a picture of lead HELLSING vampire Alucard, in his manifestation as the bearded, armored Vlad Tepes. As Hirano sketched, Amy told him (through the translator) that she subscribed to the manga in which HELLSING appears, Young King Ours, through a local Japanese bookstore; and that we customarily go to Sawtelle to get the new issue, have some curry for dinner, and bought some boba. This amused Hirano. Amy managed to get to Kurata, on his way out of the signing, and had him sign her Hellsing Ultimate OVA (Region 2 version).

That night, the con showed the dubbed version of Episode 1 of the OVA; and reshowed the subtitled version of Episode 2.

Monday was the day for packing, buying last-minute stuff in the con dealer’s room, saying goodbye to our friends there (whom Amy had met over the Internet), and the mind-blowingly bad traffic back to LA (we started out at 4 pm, and got back around 1:30 a.m.)

Coda: Tonight we went to Sawtelle to pick up the Region 2 copy of the HELLSING ULTIMATE OVA Episode II that Amy ordered. We went to the Blue Marlin restaurant for dinner; and by sheer coincidence, the translator for Hirano at Anime Vegas was sitting at another table in the restaurant! Amy chatted with him (he remembered her), and showed him the new DVD.

Another con down.

The photos are culled from all three days.


Anonymous said...

"At Amy’s request, Hirano drew her a picture of lead HELLSING vampire Alucard, in his manifestation as the bearded, armored Vlad Tepes."

Hirano draws Vlad for her? Holy cow. May I see how it looks like?

Danny Barer said...

Sorry, but (at least for now) she'd prefer not to post it.