Another weekend has come to a close and it’s time for another con wrap-up. SakuraCon 2009 set new attendance records with all early estimates from staff members falling north of 20K. Navigating the con this year was vastly easier meaning that I have a vast amount of panel updates for everyone…
Day 1 of SakuraCon was all about the dub premiere of Heroic Age from Funimation. Hosted by J. Michael Tatum and Joel McDonald, the premiere seemed largely well received from the audience in attendance. A space opera that pits a young boy who has raised himself on a desert planet against the universe, the story seemed almost hard to follow at most points however. One of the more humorous moments of the premiere was during the start of episode three when a collective ‘oh!’ of understanding came from the audience as the story was finally explained in more detail.
If there was something important to see at SakuraCon, Saturday was the day to see it starting with the yearly ‘State of the Industry’ panel. Moderated by Roland Kelts, the panel also featured Adam Sheehan (Funimation), Carl Horn (Dark Horse) and Philip Simon (Dark Horse). A lot of optimism came out of this panel with Sheehan noting how Funimation is releasing 17% more titles this year than they did last year. Naturally fansubs and scanlations were brought up multiple times as well as Crunchyroll.
For the most part though, the comments towards these niches were largely benign in nature. The point that seemed to be hit on the most from the panel is that it isn’t so much the downloading that hurts the industry. What really hurts the industry is when those people who download do not in turn buy legitimate copies once they become available.
For those of you who stuck around for my Funimation live blog on Saturday afternoon, you saw that not much of anything came out of the panel. Lots of release dates are now available but in terms of announcements, fans can begin looking for Funimation titles on AnimeNewsNetwork.com starting later this spring.
A second premiere took place Saturday night with con attendees getting to hear the dub for Romeo x Juliet for the first time. This time the reaction from the audience came largely mixed with some fans enjoying the constant switches in dialogue styles while others just wanted to see more action. The one thing that many audience members seemed to agree on however is that ‘You Raise Me Up’ translated into Japanese is one of the worst anime themes in recent memory. The first box set will be released 6/24 by Funimation.
And that was basically it for SakuraCon this year. I did manage to snag an interview with voice actor J. Michael Tatum which will be posted later this week along with photos on the official MySpace page so keep checking back for those!
BUT… it’s not over yet; let’s break this down…
Attendance Estimates: over 20,000
Most Popular Cosplay: Vampire Knight, Gurren Lagann
Most Surprisingly Underrepresented Cosplays: Death Note, Trigun
Word of the Weekend: Girugamesh!
Lamest Panel: Oddities of the Internet
Best Panel: Anime That Scarred Me for Life
Overheard at a Con: “If it’s going in my pants, it’s going on vibrate.” – My friend Jesse