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Friday, August 22, 2014         

CEL SHADED


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Fans stranded in Baltimore start anime miniconvention

By Jason Yadao

POSTED:



Anime fans have been known to come up with some crazy, clever things to do with their downtime, but something that happened after Otakon, an anime convention held a few weekends ago in Baltimore, certainly caught my attention ... as well as a bunch of people who followed along on the Anime News Network forums.

A few anime industry representatives and fans leaving Baltimore were stuck waiting for their delayed flight to Dallas at Baltimore Washington International Airport. Now, if I were caught in that situation, I'd probably just try to find an open electrical outlet, plug in a portable gaming system or laptop and bide my time that way.

Not these people. They spontaneously created "Baltiport 2010" and spent the next four hours -- as well as their 2 1/2-hour flight -- attending a panel, cosplaying, watching anime, playing video games, drawing and having fun while doing all of it. It was just like Otakon, except kept in a convenient, handy petite size.

It helped that there were just enough people to pull it off. Funimation representative Lance Heiskell was on the flight and served as "convention chairman." He was joined by Bandai Entertainment marketing director Robert Napton, who even provided a licensing announcement: Bandai's bringing out another manga based on the "Code Geass" universe, "Bakumatsu Era." Heiskell and Napton answered questions that Anime News Network forum members posted throughout Baltiport's run.

Helping spread that news worldwide was friend-of-the-column Gia Manry, now an ANN editor. Voice actor Clarine Harp was the "guest of honor"; a representative of Addison, Texas-based store AnimePop staffed the "dealers room"; and two fans, Alex Aguila and John Raulston, were the attendees.

To relive the Baltiport discussion, visit bit.ly/aWp4RF; pictures are available at www.baltiport.com. (Yes, Heiskell even registered a domain name for the event. Now that's being thorough.)

FUNIMATION PICKS UP 2 FILM FEST FEATURES

Speaking of Otakon, Funimation made its usual splash there, announcing it had licensed even more anime for the coming months and would be releasing a line of anime-branded prepaid debit cards. (This would expand the classic marketing slogan to "Visa: Everywhere you want to be, and with characters from 'Afro Samurai: Resurrection,' 'Fruits Basket,' 'Sgt. Frog,' 'Soul Eater' and 'Tsubasa' to boot.")

But the most exciting announcements -- at least to your anime columnist -- were the company's licensing of two films, "Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance" and "Summer Wars." Both of these films previously were showcased at the Hawaii International Film Festival -- "Evangelion" in October, "Summer Wars" in April.

Watch for both on DVD and Blu-ray next year. Theatrical screenings are also planned; here's hoping Hawaii's included in the schedule.

ANIME AROUND TOWN

» Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening the first four episodes of "Shakugan no Shana." For more information or to RSVP, e-mail Masaki at dianem@librarieshawaii.org.

» HEXXP: Meet staffers and apply to be a volunteer for the pop-culture convention in November at an orientation meeting, 3 p.m. Saturday at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu, 1239 Olomea St. in Kalihi. For more information, visit www.hexxp.com.

"Cel Shaded," a weekly look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Thursday. Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at jyadao@staradvertiser.com.






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