Posts tagged Anime Weekend Atlanta
I’ve been swamped. Anime Weekend Atlanta. Planning InvaderCON. Finding Sailor Moon. Day job stuff. Family stuff.
I’m behind. I still have Man v. Food posts to make. I have paragraphs of epic awesome to type.
I’m just exhausted.
Next weekend… maybe. For now: I ate another one of these things this last weekend.
- Ate a giant burger at The Vortex in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the beginning of my Man v. Food pilgrimage that would take me to eight different restaurants!
- Saw snow again for the first time in years.
- Blogged about bad service and got the attention of Ford Motor Company.
- Showed up on Fox 35 News in Orlando, Florida.
- Started watching Doctor Who for the first time in my life. (I figured I should go in order and should be “current” by 2014 at this rate!)
- Pissed off a bunch of BotCon (aka “BotFAIL”) fans.
- Saw a giant pyramid in Cancun, Mexico.
- Visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (before the grand opening.)
- Met Peter Cullen – the voice of Optimus Prime.
- Pissed off a bunch of BotCon (aka “BotFAIL”) fans… again.
- Made it to the top of Mount Evans in Colorado.
- Showed up in a silly webcomic.
- Saw Weird Al Yankovic in concert.
- Attended Gen Con and visited Indianapolis, Indiana for the first time.
- Got the greatest Battlestar Galactica dinner story of all time at Dragon*Con.
- Got heavily involved in social media and wound up the local newspaper.
- Attended Anime Weekend Atlanta again. Zaniness ensued.
- Started to digitally archive a bunch of old photos which (thus far) have resulted in some classic geek photos and some very Presidential ones.
- Attended NeonCon in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Saw the Grand Canyon… and almost died.
- Went to Dinosaur World. EPIC.
I read a lot of books, went a lot of places, and did a lot of things. Life, in my humble opinion, is meant to be lived like a video game. Each level should be more exciting than the last – so I’m looking forward to what crazy shit I pull off in 2011. InvaderCON is already going to be amazing. The Florida Anime Experience is already on deck to be epic (keep watching; we’re still making stuff “official”). Shannon and I are already discussing where to go for our annual anniversary trip in November.
My geek life will hopefully cart me off to some pretty amazing locales for some blog-worthy experiences.
This will be my ninth year writing about my life online for the world to read about me. If you’re still with me, thanks for taking the time to read about my boring ass life. I write to stay sane and to maek sure my grammmar skills stai intact. Hopefully the writing is entertaining enough to keep all five (ten?) of you still reading.
Have a wonderful and eventful 2011!
[SPOILER ALERT!] If you haven’t watched the five part Transformers: Prime story “Darkness Rising” and you happen to be into the whole robots in disguise thing, well, you may not want to read this yet. Plot points will be discussed that can be considered all spoilery and stuff. Consider yourself warned.
Here we go.
According to Google Analytics, my blog attracts a decent amount of traffic from people who read my posts about conventions, food, travelling and other nick nacks of personal knowledge. The one topic that seems to work as a lightning rod to attract a pretty hefty number of clicks, though, is the fictional(?) war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons.
That’s right: I’m a Transformers geek.
My friend Joey Snackpants (and occasional guest host Tentacle Chris) and I present the (in)famous event “DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate” at a number of popular fan conventions. Thus, I try to stay up to date on the new shows that get churned out every couple of years.
This time around, Hasbro hooked up with The Discovery Channel to create a new cable station called “The Hub“. In a move reminiscent of the UPN/Star Trek: Voyager days – Hasbro took their flagship property and created an exclusive new show for their new television station:
Here, in no particular order, are the elements I took note of while watching the show. In true Interwebz fashion, I’ve labelled each with a “WIN,” “FAIL,” or “HUH?”. (The last one being not a good or bad observation; just an observation of interest.)
[WIN] THE WRITING
In the “DARE!” panel, we often remind some of the more ravenous fanboys that they remember their beloved childhood cartoons through rose colored glasses. The Autobots were the good guys; the Decepticons were the bad guys; and much of the story was guilty pleasure flavored cheese. There’s nothing wrong with that. Good cheesy writing is still good writing – just don’t look too deep for any substance beyond what’s there. Regardless of what a bunch of thirty-something year olds would have you believe, Transformers is a designed to be a kid’s cartoon.
That’s okay, though, because I love watching it with my “kid glasses” on.
In the original series, Spike and his dad were befriended by Optimus and the Autobots during a Decepticon attack in the ocean where they swam to safety. That’s right: Optimus Prime could swim. And surf.
But I digress… In Transformers: Prime, the writers did a great job of justifying story elements instead of just making them happen. How do the Autobots get saddled with three kids? The Decepticon drones see anyone allied with the ‘Bots as a potential threat who must be exterminated; they’re not in the business of trying to distinguish between robot and human for the sake of saving the human race. They’re the bad guys. (Duh!) Thus Arcee, Bulkhead and Bumblebee are assigned to protect the children who are now in harm’s way BECAUSE of the Autobots.
Kudos to the writing team.
[WIN] THE DIALOG
The best writing for children’s entertainment effectively balances storytelling that also caters to adults who are watching along. Just ask Pixar.
The dialog in the show is clever in two fronts. FIRST: There are lines that refer to adult topics and pop culture elements that kids might miss.
The first rule about robot fight club is that you don’t talk about robot fight club -Jack Darby
The series is peppered with a number of little nuggets thrown in there from time to time. Ten year olds aren’t going to necessarily giggle at the quote’s reference to a violent film about multiple personalities and soap – but parents and thirty-something year old fanboys will.
Writing bonus points go out, too, for the chuckle-worthy use of “scrap” as a Transformers swear word.
SECOND: There is a lot of fanboy placation going on in the show. Transformers Animated did this, too, but Transformers: Prime gets to do it with heavier guns in the form of the voice actors.
One shall stand. One shall fall. -Optimus Prime
Nope, I’m note quoting the awesometastic eighties cartoon movie; nor and I referencing Bayformers. That’s a quote from the fifth episode of Transformers: Prime.
[WIN, WIN and (did I mention?) WIN] THE VOICES
Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime.
Frank Welker is Megatron.
AND THEY BOTH SOUND AMAZING. Mr. Cullen could read a phone book with that intimidating bass in his voice and I am pretty sure he would keep a packed room captivated.
The other performances are all solid, too. Special kudos should go out to Steve Blum for creating an effective combination in the whiny/devious tone of Starscream’s performance.
Which leads me to:
Cliffjumper was only in the first couple of episodes, but he SOUNDED familiar. By the end of the five part mini-series though, I was still on a Cullen/Welker high so I never noticed who did the voice acting.
Once I looked it up, it all made sense: the grabbing of the horns comments; the bravado of a man ready for a fight; the sheer personality just oozing out of the larger than life attitude.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the voice of Cliffjumper. Old school wrestling fans who watch the episodes should enjoy remembering The Rock’s logo and the connection to the character. Check out the tattoo on his arm:
When did Bumblebee become the astromech droid of the Transformers universe? I’m not to sure how I feel about the beeping voice thingy they are doing with him.
[FAIL... MOSTLY] ANIMATION
In a sure sign that age is catching up with me, I really miss old fashion animation. Transformers: Prime would have, in my opinion, been better if it were a cartoon. Instead, the powers that be opted to go with computer animation.
The problem with computer animation in today’s age is that George Lucas put his McMillions of dollars into making Star Wars: The Clones Wars on Cartoon Network. That series is REALLY REALLY PRETTY and, as a result, any CGI television show is immediately going to be compared to it.
The animation in Transformers: Prime really bothered me for the first two episodes. By the third, though, I no longer noticed it. I became used to it.
Being used to something and liking something, though, are two different things. To the show’s credit the animation is watchable and has some great looking moments (usually NOT involving the human characters) Also, it’s nowhere near the level of headache inducing visuals that Beast Wars was.
Beast Wars sucks -Tom Croom
Just a reminder.
With that all said, I understand why it’s computer animated. It makes the robots looks cool; kids today, they love the computer animated stuff; and it links the series closer to the look of the Bayformers movie. There’s some solid work in the character design. This old man just misses his childhood cartoons that were “cartoons”.
[HUH?] THE AUTOBOT BASE
I like the moving of the Autobots away from Detroit (one of less than stellar decisions in Transformers: Animated) and into Arizona. That said, how the hell did they score Airwolf‘s old hiding spot?
I’ll be watching for a heavily armed black helicopter to appear in future episodes. Cool points shall be earned by the production staff if the damn thing turns into a robot.
[WIN] NO ORIGIN STORY
If you’ve ever talked to my pal Joey Snackpants about the LONG list of things that annoy him in storytelling then you know that one of the main elements of his frustration is the constant need for writers to feel like they are required to feed an audience an origin story. How many different ways do you need hear about how Batman became Batman? With comics, cartoons and movies the tale has been told a dozen times.
If you don’t it know by now, reference one of the numerous previous works to learn the story.
Transformers: Prime immediately passes go and collects the $200. How did the Autobots get stuck on Earth in Transformers: Prime? WHO CARES? We’re never told. We don’t need to know. We’re told only what is required to move the story forward:
-There are only a few Autobots on Earth.
-The Decepticons have been off the radar for a few years.
-The government knows about the Transformers.
No long, drawn out episodes retelling the story; just smart dialog and scenes to move the narrative along while educating the viewer about the mythology. Great move.
[WIN] MEGATRON’S GUN
For those of you that have been to a “DARE!” panel you know that my number one complaint that could have EASILY been fixed in the Michael Bay versions of Transformers was the lack of a B.F.G. on Megatron’s arm.
How hard would it have been to just slap a giant gun on top of Megatron’s space jet mode? I, mean, it’s an alien vehicle so it could look like anything -me bitching during DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate
I think someone from the Transformers: Prime production team must have sat in one of the panels.
MEGATRON HAS A BIG F***ING GUN ON THE TOP OF HIS JET MODE THAT RESTS ON HIS ARM IN ROBOT MODE IN TRANSFORMERS: PRIME.
Pay attention, Mr. Bay. You could learn from this show.
[HUH?] BATTLESTAR DECEPTICONS
So, if the Decepticon drones are Cylons – does this mean we get a hot blonde character and Al from Quantum Leap in later episodes?
In case you missed it, look at the the Decepticon drone’s faces and look at the modern Battlestar Galactica series. This is either a clever nod to a fellow science fiction franchise or just the lazy borrowing of another show’s character design. I’d prefer to think it’s the first one.
[HUH?] EVA UNIT 01
Since we’re on the topic of character design – is it me, or does Soundwave look like a mech from Neon Genesis Evangelion?
[HUH?] DECEPTICON ZOMBIES
“The Simpsons Already Did It.”
Okay – not the Simpsons, but the Decepticons have created a zombie army before. In Transformers: Masterforce (never aired in America) the ‘Cons reanimated a bunch of human corpses as a makeshift army in their unending need to wreak havoc on Earth. The zombies all wore Decepticon logo t-shirts. I’ve joked for YEARS about doing an obscure costume of this at a convention. My friend Lyn beat me to it and recently wore the shirt for our “DARE!” panel at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2010.
So it seems that the Transformers are jumping on the zombie bandwagon, too. I’ll keep an eye out for the episode titled “The Walking Robotic Dead” to air on AMC.
This could very well be the best Transformers series to get churned out of the Hasbo universe since G1. It’s following all the elements of the formula that worked in the eighties:
-The Autobots are the good guys.
-The Decepticons are the bad guys.
-Optimus Prime is the leader (and not working on some scavenger ship or something.)
-Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are the voices.
-The robots turn into cars and planes and stuff and they’re IN DISGUISE.
I’ll be tuning back in to The Hub in February. Let’s hope the series stays as good as these first five episodes.
Last weekend I went to Anime Weekend Atlanta with the team from Wasabi Anime. While there, we hosted a number of events including the now (in)famous DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate! Overall the event was a success and our events were well received by everyone who attended them.
For those that have never heard of it, Anime Weekend Atlanta is the largest anime convention in the southeast United States boasting over ten thousand attendees. This year was the event’s sixteenth year, and it took place at this wonderful place…
That’s the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s really nice… almost too nice for an anime convention, but that’s not a bad thing. Main events, the Video Arts Track and a number of smaller event rooms are scattered around the hotel. The setup inside the hotel makes for a great experience at an anime convention.
Inside the hotel, that is.
You see, you have to leave the hotel and enter the Cobb Galleria Centre to get to Artists Alley, the Dealers Room and the fan tables. The area is laid out well enough with attendees going in and out of the Dealers Room and stopping by and visiting fan tables like this one:
(Yes, Lyn is wearing a Decepticon Zombie tshirt from Transformers Masterforce.)
So to recap:
- Hotel: nice
- Events set up: nice
- Dealers Room: nice
- Fan Table area: nice
Here’s where Anime Weekend Atlanta may want to rethink some of their guest flow procedures:
Once you are in the Cobb Galleria Centre among the artists, clubs and dealers (oh, my!) you can not exit the way you came. The ONLY way you can exit the Galleria and get back to the hotel is to go outside and walk through the smoking area.
As a non-smoker – this sucks. It sucks even worse due to it being hot and humid outside when you pass by the cloud of tobacco smoke lingering between the two doors.
I can only imagine how much worse it must be to go by dressed up and then smell it on your costume afterwards.
Anime Weekend Atlanta is a fantastic event. We’ve hosted events for them for the past two years, and each time our staff and the Wasabi Anime fans have all had a great time. It’s just a shame to see something this small mar an otherwise spectacular event for the attendees. Hopefully this is something the AWA team will look at in 2011.
As with all the posts on the Tom Croom blog… this is merely my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.
Yes, I said there were three parts in my last post.
No, I haven’t had time to finish them.
Yes, I will post them soon.
Yes, I still need to write the story of our visit to have chicken and waffles in Atlanta.
Yes, I need to add my Dragon*Con posts thanks to recent rantings I read on LiveJournal.
No, I don’t know when the posts are coming… exactly.
Yes, I have watched more Doctor Who and have reviews in the works.
Yes, I got a snazzy new cell phone I intend to write about (along with the Android apps I am enjoying).
Yes, I am also working on posts about releasing my retro-LiveJournal posts.
Yes, Wasabi Anime will be appearing at Super Anime Day at Past Present Future Comics & Games in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Finally: YES, I will be at Anime Weekend Atlanta this coming weekend. Come and say hi (here’s the schedule) if you are nearby.
More (hopefully) soon!
Sometimes staying at home CAN be a vacation.
Next month seems to be stacking up fairly fast. My weekends in September are starting look like this:
October may be limited to a weekend in Miami… November might be Las Vegas… and after that? Who knows.
In other news, the Bot-tards are still stalking my blog. Check it out here. Joey Snackpants and I are discussing the possibility of going back to BotFAIL next year in California to write a follow up for You Bent My Wookie. We’re even talking about spending the money on the insane top tier level tickets JUST to do a complete comparison and between how people are treated at the show when they are considered the “1337″ and how people are treated as general attendees (which we learned the hard way in Orlando.)