Archive for the Events Category

Tokyo Journal: Comitia, CAT 2, Character Alley and Yuribu

November 25th, 2017

Hello Okazu Readers! I am writing you from beautiful Tokyo! (This is said with no irony. I like cities and have always liked Tokyo.)

Every morning I am greeted by this view. We’ve had lovely weather.

Made a short visit to Animate, in which we found the Yuribu (Yuri club) proudly displayed by the door.

Only bought one book, because it was the last copy on the shelf there, but will be back to do actual book shopping later. Instead we bought these.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I reported there was the Animate Girls Festival and Asagao to Kase-san anime had a booth? This is what is left from the goods at that booth. I bought everything that remained (except two that escaped my notice.) 

The wife bought a Sailor Moon collaboration purse at GU, with a little jewelry to hang off it.

We had a lovely dinner with James Welker, who always makes us feel at home.

We’ve hit up half of Book-Off, and a bookstore here, but it was Thursday that we really got the buying ball rolling. At Comitia, I bought multiple copies of Galette, and a number of other original Yuri doujinshi. Not as many as in previous years, because after the 35th one titled “Hajimete” or “Hatsukoi” I just felt a bit eye-rolly. Folks, please learn to write a story beyond “there is a girl, she likes another girl. The other girl likes her. The end.” Thank heavens for some of the folks doing Yuri about adults.  I’ll do a much more detailed review of everything when I get home. 

We then wandered through the Kaigai Festa, the International Comics Festival, where I spoke with folks at the TCAF table. And I spoke with Sonia from France, as I bought her English-language Yuri comic (about schoolgirls in love for the first time, of course).

Next day we hit up Mandarake where I managed to find some stuff to buy (duh) and had a nice lunch with Deb Aoki. The three of us stopped for a rest at the Murakami-owned coffee shop, where I had a Murakami latte.

It was a very relaxing way to ease into buying too much stuff, because the next day, we hit high gear. 

Comic Arts Tokyo 2 is the second year of a small independent comic show, held at the Tokyo campus of Temple University. I found a number of awesome people and things. Among them were An Nguyen, creator of So Pretty, Very Rotten, a very talented artist named Erica Ward (so, obviously I will remember her name! ^_^) And I bought this awesome painting from Makiko Kodama.  Yes, I went to a comic show and bought a painting. ^_^  This is all the things. Rokurokubi is my favorite youkai, in uniform, kissing another Rokurokubi, cutely in a cafe. Squee. 


We then had lunch with the indefatigable shoujo scholar Fujimoto Yukari-sensei,  who was delightful as always. She  had a gorgeous Utena-collaboration themed handbag, based on Anthy’s dress from the movie. We were so jealous.

It was a magnificent night so after we left Fujimoto-sensei, we decided to head over to the Toyokawa Inari Shrine. We made some offerings, lit some incense and candles and said farewell to Bruce. It’s been a rough trip without him and we apologize to everyone we’ve met with for moping, but we’d been coming to Japan with him for 12 years and we feel his absence keenly here.

Once that had been done, we headed over to Tokyo Station Character Street. Where I unloaded a mass of money in a beauty shop that was selling Sailor Moon, Utena and other series goods. This store had bath and beauty items for adult women, who just happened to want their bath bombs to look like, you know, the Outer’s henshin wand toppers. (^_^);

And an Utena bath set, journal, stickers and calendar which will need to be put together before you can see how awesome it is.


And then we dragged ourselves back after a lot of walking and shopping. Next up, Harajuku for Kiddyland and the Eternal Sailor Moon shop and probably Yamashiroya.

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Event Report: AnimeNYC

November 19th, 2017

It was my very great pleasure to attend the very first AnimeNYC this weekend, held at Javits Convention Center in New York City, NY. In many ways, the story of AnimeNYC is the story of a plucky young man and his vision of an anime and manga convention in New York City.

Just to put this event in some kind of context, I want you to cast your mind back to the early 2000s for a moment. In an attempt to create an industry trade show, Central Park Media created the Big Apple Anime Festival. Originally designed to be for the industry with, perhaps, industry awards, CPM opened it up to larger media companies like Sony and King Records, which are deeply embedded in the anime trade on the Japanese and movie release side. It lasted only a few years, for lack of industry support. (Not long after, I attempted to rouse the manga industry to create a trade association, and found, as had CPM, the industry itself wasn’t mature enough to understand the point of an industry trade association.) Fans complained about the idea of a corporate-run con, but then came anyway, as they always do, which is why “fans complained” is the most meaningless statement in all of anime and manga blogging. 

A few years after BAAF, a former CPM employee created the New York Anime Festival, which premiered alongside New York Comic Con. It was a valiant attempt to recognize that there was overlap in the comics/media and manga/anime market. That lasted a few years, until Comic-Con’s show organizers Reed Pop hired that former CPM employee and had him run the anime and manga programming of an increasingly large New York Comic-Con. But, as NYCC got larger, it looked at San Diego Comic-Con with big dewy eyes and decided it too wanted to be a media con. 

Luckily for us, NYCC resisted that by being not on the west coast, home of TV and movies, but by being in New York City, home of book and comic publishing. For the last few years, NYCC has focused on books, comics and manga, leaving the TV and movie stars to SDCC. But still, it looks longingly towards Tinseltown, but no further. NYCC is big enough to bring in Viz and Funimation, and Kodansha and Vertical and Yen are all local, so yes, they have a presence at NYCC, but that plucky young lad felt that NYCC eating NYAF wasn’t what he wanted. 

So that former CPM, former Reed Expo employee, plucky young lad and a guy I have known for a grillion years, Peter Tatara, tried again. Third time may be the charm.

Javits is just the place for a corporate con. At Javits you’ll never forget that the event is not “fan-run.” And that’s not only okay…it’s a good thing. There needs to be a higher standard for some events than “hey kids, let’s put on a show!” And, realistically, while fans often think of the really big cons in the USA as “corporate” that’s only true for the Comic conventions. Having a Board of Directors does not make a con corporate run. There’s only a very small handful of corporate-run conventions in the anime/manga world. Yaoi-con, run by DPM and Crunchyroll Expo are the only two I can think of off the top of my head. And, now, AnimeNYC, run by Left Field Media and supported by Crunchyroll. 

To begin with, AnimeNYC was a great size for a first year con. About 25K attendees, 30 with guests and vendors and staff, it takes up one section of Javits. Panels are immediately to the right of the Dealer’s Room. Sadly, the Artist Alley was upstairs which meant that I never had a chance to get over there, as I ran out of time. The number of attendees meant that the con was large and lively, but not crushing.

Line management was variable. The AnimeNYC staff handles things well, were always polite and helpful and everything went smoothly. The Javits center security was their usual dumpster fire of incoherent line management, shoutiness and general incompetence. They make a huge show of security and bag checks that slowed us all down at the entrance, but it would have been no trouble at all to sneak in a bar of C4 and a few detonation devices. I’m not joking, they never looked past the scarf on top of my bag. I could have had *anything* in there.

Tons of Sailor Moon and Utena cosplayers walking around, in part due to two huge Sailor Moon premiers happening at the event, including a Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 premiere with the entire dub cast today.  While I will not make that, I do hope to have something for you later that will make up for that.

As I always do, I spent most of my time talking with vendors and staff. I took a moment to talk to Kodansha about the upcoming Eternal Sailor Moon edition. The Kodansha rep Ben assured me that everyone working on the book just loves how it’s coming out. He said he thinks the covers will look even better than the Japanese version. Again, I was told that Takeuchi-sensei is getting final approval on everything, which again, makes me happy. She changed the world, she gets to have her say.

Yen Press couldn’t confirm anything beyond the one Eclair anthology, but they promised to let me know if that changes. And let me tell you, the folks there are super awesome. I’m hoping to bring them some goodies back from Japan that will motivate them to license some more Yuri. ^_^

No one had licenses that were relevant to us here, but I want to take a moment to note that licensing announcements from the anime and manga companies are way more frequent than they used to be. Even though NYCC was just a few weeks ago, there were licensing announcements from the companies who came to the event, which included Funimation and Sentai Filmworks and Viz made announcements although they didn’t have a booth. I recommend following Sean Gaffney’s reporting on the announcements and panels.

There’s a new manhwa webcomic site in town, Tappy Toon. They have one short Yuri story, Seasons in Bloom, right now, but Ernest was open to new stories if there was interest.

And MangaGamers would like to remind you that the Sono Hanabira/ A Kiss for the Petals series (which I really have to admit, for myself I do not find even slightly appealing, but which I know are very popular) is available. MG Rep John also told me that there’s a new Yuri series on the way that he couldn’t even tease, but that we’d all recognize. 

Congrats to the AnimeNYC team, and thank you to everyone who spoke with me – great job well done. I look forward to being able to participate next year!


I’m heading out for Comitia and the Kaigai Festa and, hopefully, Comic Arts Tokyo! AND I’ve got something exciting lined up for tomorrow, so you don’t miss me too much. 


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AnimeNYC ahoy!

November 17th, 2017

I’ll be at AnimeNYC in New York City today and tomorrow to see the entire English-language cast of Sailor Moon among other exciting guests.

Keep an eye out for me on the floor and do say hi if you’re there. I’ve got a few goodies to give away, because why not. ^_^

See you at Anime NYC!

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Event: Queer Manga Talk at Harvard University on November 9th

October 25th, 2017

I’m extremely excited to announce that I have once again been invited to speak at Harvard University for Prof. Keridwen Luis’ Gender and Fandom class.  I’ll be speaking about Online Fandom and how it was at least in part responsible for laying foundations for the LGBTQ manga that is currently seeing such excellent sales figures. 

There will be some extra room for folks to attend (although seating is limited), so if you are in or near Cambridge MA and are able to make a midday class, please do let me know! 

I’ll be presenting How Online Fandom Made Queer Manga Possible at Emerson Hall, 305 on November 9, from 12-1.

If you can’t make it, no worries, I’ll be posting the text on the Yuricon Essays pages!

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Event Report: Flamecon 2017

September 3rd, 2017

In the ancient days of anime fandom, it was a given that your very first time at a con was the best. It was all exciting and new, and being unable to differentiate between our own enthusiasm and others’, we remember it as being the most amazeballs thing. After that, we find ourselves going back, not liking the new anime, not caring about the cosplay as much, nothing in the DR is new, blah blah blah….

In direct reversal of that trend, I can’t help but notice that the cons I’ve been to this year are actually getting better. Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) has a reputation for “this year is the best year ever” and I’m pleased to say that Flamecon seems to be headed in that direction, as well. Under the guidance of Geeks Out, this third year of Flamecon was the smoothest, most pleasant and fun so far. The volunteers were all wearing fetching little capes, which I though just perfect!

As I entered, I was given a special variant cover issue of Your Pal Archie #1, drawn by Dan Parent and written by Ty Templeton, that included Flamie, the Flamecon mascot on the cover. It’s all still very Archie inside, so sadly, not Betty and Veronica realizing they would make a great couple – which is literally the only thing that would get me interested in an Archie comic. ^_^ 

The dealer’s room is well laid out, with enough room for people to comfortably get to both sides of the aisle. 

I began my day talking to Cat and Erica from Margins Publishing, who were promoting Dates 2: Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction which I and many others supported on Kickstarter.  I asked them if any of the stories were continuations from the first Dates Anthology, Cat said that a few of the illustration pieces were following on from stories in the first collection, but that what they really tried to do was give people a little more space to develop characters and stories in this volume. 

I was able to meet Yamino, an artist I was introduced to by Ted the Awesome some years ago on Twitter. I had a lovely conversation with June Kim, who is an incredibly talented artist and creator of Tokyopop’s manga 12 Days. She’s working on food comics these day that look super fun and tasty. Take a look on her site for some examples.

Northwest Press was repped by owner Zan Christensen, who always has a bunch of exciting new projects on the stove. I enjoyed working with him for Absolute Power!: Tales of Queer Villainy and hope to work with him again. He and I agreed that for a hotel full of queer folks, the drama level at Flamecon was very chill.  I ran into a pile of fanart by Janet Sung for Yu Yu Hakusho, with much love for Kuwabara, which made me happy. 

Also in the DR was Justin Hall, editor of No Straight Lines, , co-chair of Queers & Comics 2017 and a great cartoonist in his own right. He was doing a booming business. I picked up a decidedly Utena-esque sticker from Kate Leth and a comic called Gamer Girl & Vixen about two young costumed criminal working out who they are and what they want to do. I was finally able to meet Megan Rose Gedris, and we spoke about Spectacle, her upcoming project about a circus, coming next year from Oni Press.

Magdalene Visaggio, one of the creators of Kim & Kim: This High-Flying Glamorous Rock Star Life, was at the show. She and her team are working on selling the book and it’s sequel as pamphlet comics as well as GNs. 

The highlight of my foray through the DR was getting to shake the hand of Tee Franklin, the powerhouse behind the upcoming Bingo Love.  I am not joking when I tell you that this is going to be THE book of 2018. It’s  already gotten a ton of press and ran an incredibly successful kickstarter…because the world needs and wants this book. I strongly recommend you pre-order it.  Tee is a talented woman and I’m pleased to have shaken her hand.

I presented one panel at Flamecon this year, Discovering New Yuri, which included so many of the amazing books and anime and cartoons and comics we have available. The room was full and the crowd was fantastic. Those of you who know my panels know that I strongly suggest people not ask me an opinion on a specific series, and I give prizes for good questions. It always works to get thoughtful, interesting and fun questions. Included in the presentation are several video clips, including the full Kase-san animation clip, Kimi ni Hikari. Listening to the reactions of the queer and queer-friendly audiences at Yurithon and Flamecon while watching this was fun for me. It has some amusing moments, but I know that people are laughing at themselves and that moment when they felt that, as much as they are that it’s just goofy. ^_^



For Flamecon I added in Do It for Her/Him from Steven Universe and it became a full-on sing-along, which thrilled me to no end. All in all a very satisfying panel, made even more so by being approached by some folks from Yen Press who were happy to see that the recommendations included their work.  

I was able to connect with two dear friends, Kerry and Jude, who had come down for the con, and we had a lovely time at lunch chatting about our various bits of research and writing and conning.  It was a lovely way to wrap up another lovely Flamecon!

If you are in, near or willing to travel to Brooklyn, New York next year, I wholeheartedly recommend Flamecon as a uniquely queer comic con, with lots of fantastic, queer-friendly cosplay.


As I was wrapping this all up I had the most extraordinary thought. Every single con I have attended in 2017 to date has been overtly queer-friendly or queer-focused. Queers & Comics, TCAF, Yurithon and Flamecon. What an extraordinary year 2017 has been for LGBTQ comic creators, publishers and readers. A blessing on all our heads, may we continue to flourish.

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