I attended my very first MangaNext this Halloween weekend. MangaNext is run by the same group that does the AnimeNext convention. It focuses more on the manga side of the fandom, something I enjoyed because I am more of a manga fan than I am an anime fan.
General Overview of all 4 days-
Thursday: I arrived at the Hilton at approx. 8:30 pm after a long day at school. I had just picked up Roger and CJ from Penn Station and was looking forward to an awesome weekend. I was a little worried that it was gonna be boring because a lot of my friends weren’t attending. I had an amazing time at AnimeNext and didn’t want to ruin that streak. We just hung out in the hotel room the rest of the night and were planning the following days events.
Friday: We woke up to find that nothing was really happening until 3pm so we fell back asleep and took our time getting dressed. My friend Cimi had a panel at 3pm and all of my room attended ( more in the panels section ). After that I just hung out with my friends and got angry while driving around the neighborhood ( damn you NJ, please make roads where left turns are allowed). I finished up the night by singing karaoke. The thing is, I sang “Silence The Oppressors” by Impending Doom. Another con-goer asked if anyone knew the band, I raised my hand, and rocked the house. LOL
Saturday- Nothing really happened until Saturday night. I went to the Chinese market on the main road with Cimi, CJ, and Villi to kill time during the day. Then , THAT night happened . So while preparing to go to the rave, I asked Sam to put Halloween make-up on me . I wanted to look like a Norwegian Black Metaller with corpse paint. IT CAME OUT BRILLIANT. I met another hardcore kid outside of the rave,named Kurt, and spent an hour or so talking with him. The rave was boring, so I chilled in the lobby with friends until 5am Sunday morning
Sunday- Sunday was just a giant “chill sesh” by my friends’ artist alley booth.
Panels ( OHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHH)-
Friday- The first panel I went to on Friday was run by my good friend, Chris Cimi. The panel ,called” 80’s Manga for the Current Manga Reader” , talked about manga that came out in the 80’s that many people my age overlook because they are “old”. It was very well done and it taught me a lot about the history of manga. Cimi is very passionate about the subject and is always willing to share his knowledge of manga with an audience. Mari Morimoto , a manga translator, was in attendance. She shared her knowledge of manga that Cimi did not mention/ didnt not read. I know Cimi was humbled to have her come to the panel , as was I, because she is a prominent figure in the world of English manga. There was also a heckler in the crowd, I do not know if he was “slow” or just trolling. Here’s a list of quotes from his heckling:
” Is it pronounced MAGNA or MANGA?”
” Was body-building a major part of this comic because those chicks are buff”
” I don’t know much about dragonball but I do know about street handball. I like handball”
” Hip-hop culture played a major part in manga, right?”
On Friday night, I attended Mari Morimoto’s panel “History of Manga in the U.S.” . She explained how the manga industry got started , as well as how she got started in the manga industry. The best part of the night was after this panel “ended”. There wasnt another panel in that room for 2 hours, so we sat there and asked questions. We spoke about old manga, I asked about how to get into translating, we spent about an hour on Naruto. It was truly an amazing experience that I can’t put into words. As someone who wants to get into the manga business , specifically translating , this was a dream come true.
Saturday- I only went to one panel on Saturday. Erin Finnegan , author of the Shelf Life column on Anime News Network, gave 50 manga recommendations in 45 minutes ( that was also the name of the panel). We had some time left at the end of the panel and the audience was given the chance to recommend manga to their peers. I recommended Iron Wok Jan , a cooking manga about making chinese food in Japan.
Sunday- I attended Mari Morimoto’s ” Manga Guide to Japan”. She gave a brief “tour” of some of the manga”hotspots” in Japan and where all the major bookshops were. My last panel of the con was given by Vertical’s Ed Chavez. It was called ” Introduction to Japanese Publishers” and taught the audience about some of the major publishers in Japan. This was especially interesting because Mr. Chavez not only spoke about manga publishers but also some of Japan’s major book publishers ( who may or may not have published manga at one time).
Overall, the con was good. It was small and relaxed and I was in dire need of a “chill sesh”. I learned a lot about the industry and I’m looking forward to the future ! 🙂