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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

AnimeNext 2014 Panel (Videos)

 AnimeNext poster

On a personal note, as I've mentioned before, I hosted my very first Sasuke panel at an anime convention called AnimeNext.  The panel was named "Sasuke/Ninja Warrior Impact in the USA Market".  My goal was to cover the history of the event from it's inception in Sasuke 1 all the way to present using the lens of the foreign viewer. At long last I finally got the videos up on YouTube!

The first one I posted was a short 1 minute highlight reel of the convention grounds.  This also served as test footage to see if I can get videos on YouTube now that they were forcing people to convert to Google+.  Everyone knows I hate Google+ so I refused to convert to that (as my YouTube account predates Google's buyout), and I wasn't sure if I could upload again.  I can! I just can't comment on anything without being a Google+ member (and I refuse to be).  So I won't be commenting.  Trust me, no one needs me commenting on YouTube anyway. LOL!

The 2nd video is the actual panel itself. As you can tell from the run-time.. I barely made it in the 60 minutes allotted! LOL I had 2 staffers come up (you'll hear it in the video) and let me know how much time is left and I made it with about a minute left on my time. LOL!  I know now what to cut out, what to reorganize, what to add, etc. Obviously I see all my flaws and it irks me.  I guess you could call me a perfectionist.  Surprisingly though, people enjoyed it and asked for me to return next year.  I'm shocked... Then again, the biggest shock came from the fact that everyone in the room (with the exception of the 2 SMF members) came because they saw American Ninja Warrior and were curious about the original show.  Luckily I labeled the panel correctly and they knew what I was going to be talking about before they lined up to see the panel. I was surprised that I was given the largest of the fan panel rooms.  I'm happy the room was filled (shockingly some people were turned away..) and I didn't do a panel in an empty room! (which was my fear)  I'm even more surprised that everyone thought Sasuke was cancelled!  Seems NBC successfully pulled off the ruse. That's a common trend I keep hearing. TBS is also hearing that in Japan from their own viewers. Here in the USA the same thing is happening as ANW gets bigger.

All SMF Final!
2D2Will, Arsenette and tkdchamp2021 ©Arsenette

Special thanks to William Marchese from TwoDashTwo for recording (in glorious HD....) my panel from the front (projection screen and most of the video).  Hubby also did his bit on the side but I didn't have a tripod for him. (LOL)  You can tell the quality difference when I do the switch from my camera to William's camera.  The difference was stark! Either way, most people don't want to see my ugly mug so I'm eternally thankful to William for recording the screen.  It also helped me out greatly to fine tune the panel for the future as I can see where I can fix the issues I had as I was presenting. Also thanks to both both SMF'ers for driving out to help support me! Was nice finally meeting you guys face to face!

Yeah.. that ugly mug is me.. ©William Marchese

Finally, overall impression of the con was.. OMG THAT WAS A LOT OF PEOPLE! LOL (Just under 12,000 people I'm told) And, it was hot! You can tell from the two photos, I had my hair up in a pony tail most of the day then took it off for the panel.. omg I look horrible when I do that.. I need to commit to one or the other. I mean seriously.. if I'm going to do that I should own up to it and move on right?  (the photo above I was dying.. I had to sit down..  it was friggin' hot!) LOL But pleaaaaaase.. anyway I had fun, but I don't have the stamina to do a lot.  It was my very first anime convention and I'm happy I went. It was quite the learning experience.  I'm happy my body (and head) cooperated that I was able to do that event.  I did have fun with the panel though and ya'll know by now I can talk about Sasuke for hooooooooooourrrrrrrrs.. so imagine how difficult it was to make a concise presentation. That said, I knew there would be some new people, however I was surprised by the entire panel room filled with new Sasuke people! I was shocked!  It does give me a window as to how to tailor this panel for the future and what obstacles are left to overcome in educating the USA on the current state of Sasuke.  Challenge accepted!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sasuke 30 Spoilerific Review - Part 11

Sasuke spoilerific review ;) Warning.. incoming blog of Sasuke 30.. if you don’t want to know.. you have been warned ( ^ . ^ ) (Just remember.. there is NO USA Broadcast of this. NBC has renegotiated out of their contract to show Sasuke on USA soil. Yes.. you read that right.. Now with the death of G4 official and NBC not giving a damn about Sasuke Japan, we will never see Sasuke Rising on US television (or any overseas country for that matter unless everyone buys the original 4 hour broadcast from TBS). For a preview of this event, please see SASUKE 30 NAVI an hour preview of Sasuke Rising with a review of the Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup and fluff pieces of all the major players in the upcoming Sasuke. There were even a couple of runs that were cut from the official broadcast! I'm taking my time on the blogs. I'm still getting cluster headaches during the day so I have to pace myself when I do these blogs.

(Massive thanks to TBS for posting the names of all 100 competitors!  Thanks to Ube for his help on the names in English!!)
And we are back!  Before I start this was supposed to be during Ryo's 3rd Stage run.  The last post was over 200 photos so I didn't want to cram more in and I didn't want to break it up into 2 separate blogs.. so here it is.  By this point it was just Shingo and Ryo as Kanno had left.
And this was what it's like watching Nico Nico .. stupid comments running across the screen. This was their version of Yay when Ryo cleared the Third Stage.  As a reminder on the left is Sasuke Producer Kikuno, Director Inui, Shingo and Ryo.
Oh btw they came back just to show commercials... LOL  This is when they were setting up Ryo while Tomo was changing shoes.

And we are back! This Final Stage looks awfully familiar (cough.. Nagano's Final) however it's .. tweaked. (more on that later)

Spider Climb スパイダークライム (12m)
Tsuna Nobori 綱登り (12m)  (a.k.a. the Rope Climb)
Time Limit: 30 seconds
To compare with Sasuke 17's final, the Spider Climb was 12.5 meters (so that was shortened this time around to 12 meters flat) but the Rope was 10 meters (so this version's rope is extended by 2 meters). Both Finals have the same timer at 30 seconds.

There's one more important change, but I'll get to that shortly.

Time to get all that safety gear on.. what's on his hand.. 

Father Sugio 杉男 is making sure that they secure him correctly! 

Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広
Oh! The Final Stage name plate is different!

LOL it's a can of coffee (which is actually hot coffee). So.. how do they make the can hot? Is there a vendor around? How do they keep it hot in the vending machine? LOL

LOL He's using it to defrost his hands (back in the Second Stage, Lee also used that for his hands)

Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広 - Cement Truck Driver 

Tomo showing he has been practicing for the rope climb

I'm still getting used to his new hair! I like it!

Fluff piece that has been discussed a few times over. This was him at 18 years old.

 Father Sugio 杉男 from the same fluff piece. 

And prerequisite interview

Is he smelling his feet?

LOL no he's not just dusting off whatever crap is on it.
New Generation Star Ryo Matachi 又地諒 (Cliffer #2) 

He apparently had these shoes that is ONLY to be used on the Final Stage. This is his second time ever wearing them?  I thought he wore sneakers the last time? Oh someone else check. I've delayed this blog entry for a month now.. LOL

I found that cute. He's been dreaming of this stage all his life to finally become Champion.

For those who remember, back in the Monster 9 days, you had an All UNCLI Final with Cliffers #3 and #2 at the Sasuke 27 Final Stage.

Ryo failed the Final Stage that eventually crowned Yuuji the Champion for the second time.

So again, this is Ryo's 2nd Final.

Aww cute Ryo photo (the tiny one on the left), but not sure who that is on the right and not sure why they are showing this...

A cleaned up boys room!  Wow!  Glad it's a lot bigger than his old place!

Omg the photos.. though I have to admit, I have 90% of these! LOL  This was from Sasuke 28 from Yuuji's twitter.

This from the most recent Maguro Festival..

And a Sasuke Shrine it looks like.

Sasuke certificate from 27's trials I think, posing with Akiyama (covets), him at Muscle Park.. I think in Sendai with the UNCLI shirt, Him with Nagano most definitely from Maguro Festival, forgot which year, and another with his Sasuke saddlecloth from Sasuke 29 where he got #98.

Ube says these are Menko cards. I didn't know they had a game attached to them!  Damn that Kane Kosugi one on the far left (the evening one with him screaming) is pretty sweet...

I'm surprised they existed, then again, Kane was HUGE in his own right, he had a set for himself, a set from Sportsman #1, so it hurt like hell when Sasuke lost him (after Sasuke 8) thanks to a spat with then owner Higuchi.  Ironic now that Higuchi was booted as well when his company bankrupted...

So yes, while I cringe to say it, NBC named him correctly.. he's the Super Fan!

Looks like a sports fest. He was 12 years old here.

Btw he keeps all of his notes (this was discussed before) when he was a kid where he said he was going to beat Sasuke someday.

Prerequisite interview

And we get the funky camera angles as they milk the crane rental.



Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広 and Ryo Matachi 又地諒
Who's cuisine will reign supreme!

Sasuke 30 gets a Final Stage!

Chick on top!  Will that serve as impetus to get on top? wait that .. nvm

View from up top. They are saving the electricity bill and not lighting up the First stage (that's the black void on the far right) since this is the 2nd taping day.

Stage 2 is lit but not on fire and Stage 3, well because they just filmed it.

Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広

A tradition created by Nagano.

And even hugs!  Long live PDA!

Time for some Spray.. LOL he looks like a giant compared to everyone else. Imagine what an American would look like on this thing.. ELBOW CLIMB! LOL

How high is this thing?

Dad quietly supporting.

A quick nod as he makes eye contact with Dad.

And here we go!

Wow.. slipping every second.. he's having all sorts of issues..

Time to mention the other important change.. the walls don't come apart.

If it did, this wouldn't have happened...

Timer well in red when he's finally on the rope.

Didn't really get a chance but he looked better on the rope than the Spider Climb walls.

Visibly frustrated.

Family cam™

Ryo crapping a collective brick.. he's up next

A mixture of embarrassment and disappointment.

Yeah he was slipping every single time he moved.. I'm surprised he didn't go all the way down in a few of those.. Kudos for actually clearing it!  I'm still on the fence on whether the walls should have come apart or not.
Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口朋広 - Death by Time Up on the Final Stage Rope Climb

Talking to his family directly.

Dad smiles in agreement.

New Generation Star Ryo Matachi 又地諒 (Cliffer #2)
Prerequisite interview 

Giggles. He does what I call a Concert Handshake™

A Concert Handshake™ is when someone does a drive by touching everyone's hands down a row of audience members without truly committing to actually holding someone's hand.

New Generation Star Ryo Matachi 又地諒 (Cliffer #2) 

Mother Miki 美樹

Can he get up?

LOL Smaller wingspan (scroll up to Tomo's and see the comparison.. it's epic)

Last second psych scream.

And here we go!

Seriously did you NOT see this coming?  Now a whole CASE of beer!

Much better on the Spider Climb

Exactly halfway in distance and exactly halfway in time left!

he's trying.. but I don't see it..

Nope.. but better than last time!

Since the walls are still down there they didn't dramatically drop him from that height.  In the past they gave people rope burn (cough Nagano) across the forearms.

So cute!  He playfully shows .. just. a.. couple.. more.. inches.. almost.. there.. I can.. see it..

Pulls himself out of the opening and sees (but does not touch) the red buzzer. He does a painful face of "I was almost there.. almost.. there"..  so close.....

New Generation Star Ryo Matachi 又地諒 (Cliffer #2) - Death by Time Up on Final Stage Rope Climb

And back to the studio! No interview for joo!

LMFAO I like him. Actor Teruyuki Tsuchida 土田晃之. He's thinking EXACTLY what I was thinking.. You call that close?  How about Nagano's Epic Sasuke 12 Final where he slammed the button 0.11 seconds too late?  THAT is what you call "close". LOL

Not sure what she said..

but it apparently crippled everyone else!

Oh wait we are back!

Whoops he did get an interview. LOL

Which apparently brought tears to Asa.  (not that it's very difficult. LOL)

LOL Ryo has rounded shoulders as if he's embarrassed about something..

Awwwwww he wanted a hug!

We got this man.. we can carry this show...

you and me BFF's!

and yes they went to commercial JUST to show this. LOL  This is his Mom.

 And the rest of the guys holding a Cliffer God sign!
Okay! Where to start. Overall impression. I liked the tournament a lot!  A few critiques but I'll start with this.  I liked that TBS used Social media this time around.  Social media is free and they can use that to get information out as quickly as possible.  This year there were zero Youtube videos though.  I was spoiled by the previous year's interviews at Midoriyama that were subtitled in English. I wish they had those back.  However, they added a lot of fan-centric things like the Nico Nico broadcast.

I don't know how expensive this Nico Nico special live broadcast was, but I considered it a success overall.  By the end of the Nico Nico broadcast there were 82632 viewers. Shingo, Ryo, Inui and Kikuno were there for all 4 hours + 1 hour before talking to fans on the livestream and giving their goofy insights on the show. I only wish I knew Japanese so I could have enjoyed it more. I hope they bring this back in the future, possibly giving some of them a break by rotating guests around (though I can watch Shingo for hours, he's awesome to look at. I mean LOOK at him.. he doesn't need an interpreter! He speaks with his body!).  I thought it was a great addition and I found myself splitting my time watching Nico Nico and the live broadcast! (though some of the delay between proved to be epic).

They also did a two day event in Lalaport to help get viewers for the show.   THIS is where TBS FINALLY understood what I have been yapping about for the past few years.  I remember talking to a few people and discussing "people don't know the show is still on" and I got laughed at saying "nah that's not possible.. everyone knows Sasuke is still on".  But as the LaLaport event wore on, it became crystal clear that TBS had a lot of work to do.  People who saw the random Sasuke obstacles in the parking lot realized "oh that's cute.. they are doing some Sasuke course.. wait.. the show is still on the air? Didn't it get canceled a few years ago?" Also, the name "Rising" was confusing people into thinking it was a different show (which is why you only saw "Sasuke 30" this time around by the time the broadcast was shown).

They later added a park event that runs all summer (I haven't blogged about that yet since I've been sick) so at least the effort is there to try to get back into the minds of the casual viewers.  As for the broadcast, they got a modest 10.0 rating. Not what they wanted, but at least it was double digits again.  Hopefully they will learn from their hands-on experience that people just didn't know the show was on!  TBS finally admitted to that fact.  One thing of note though, something that is encouraging, is that the ratings went up as the night wore on!  That means either by channel surfing, word of mouth or even from Nico Nico chatter, more people tuned in and STAYED watching the show.  So unlike in previous years, they are gaining viewers as the program progressed and not losing them. It means the All-Stars are no longer carrying the show!  That's good for the show's future!

As for the show itself, I had one major gripe. The pacing.  OMG the pacing.  It's an editing issue and I figured out why this is happening. I blame the event that went on in Tokyo Media City. Director Inui spent a month editing the show which turned out to be a LOT longer than the allotted 4 hour timeslot (with commercials) that TBS gave him. As a result, he took the "Director's Cut" of the first two stages to this fan event the night before the airing of Sasuke Navi.  From my own film school classes, you cannot pull stuff out from an extended version without redoing the entire editing process twice.  Otherwise you get weird pacing issues and your brain starts to think "wait there's something missing". It's because there WAS something missing.  For those who do AMV's or other video editing, just imagine doing a 10 minute video then told to delete half of it.. but when you did it looked off because you paced the pictures to go with your soundtrack?  Same thing. Imagine a song being cut into pieces because entire sections were removed.

I think that's what happened.  The first half of the show was longer (MUCH longer) and all they did was lift and cut pieces out (which explains what happened to Ishikawa's 2nd stage run and the now infamous Clear Chart™). He literally just deleted ALL of them from the main broadcast because he'd had to edit the whole damn thing down.  The problem with it is that the pacing is all wrong. Once you got to the 3rd stage, it settled down didn't it? That's because this part of the broadcast was edited only once and not shown in this event at Tokyo Media City. It shows and as for someone trained to watching pacing (I blame film school for that), Stages 1-2 were all over the map. It was jarring at some points.  All in all though, I don't blame Inui for cutting the corner. If anyone who follows him on twitter know that he does the entire show by himself.  He also does Real Escape TV which had 3 specials running between Sasuke's taping and airing. He also did 2 live sports events and commercials for all of them.  Frankly, I don't think they pay him enough. So while it bugged me a lot, I know why he did the shortcut by just lift and deleting until he got the run time to cooperate.  In the process though as a fan, this really really bothered me.  Honestly though, there's little he could have done given the circumstances since he had to come up with 2 different broadcasts in a very short amount of time with literally no help. (Fan viewing and main broadcast).. oh wait.. he also had to edit the Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup footage which wasn't even supposed to be broadcast by TBS. So he last minute had jerryrig a competition he didn't even direct or record.. he had to rely on someone else's footage. That's a nightmare for an editor..
As for components (other than pacing), this marks only the 2nd time I spend a lot of time complaining about Stage 2.  Instead of rehashing what I did before, the synopsis is.. reboot Stage 2. Throw everything out and start all over again.  We already had 2 finalist, 9 guys in the 3rd stage, it's okay to get rid of stage two.  Seriously. It's more trouble than it's worth to bring back glitched or controversial obstacles.  So long as the obstacles are fair to everyone and they work properly I'll be more than happy to welcome them.  I want to go back to discussing people and not obstacles. That's why I watch Sasuke. NOT to complain about inanimate objects.  Oh and for the love of everything holy.. STOP CUTTING SHUNSUKE NAGASAKI.. okay got that out of my system.

Anyway... really really really want to thank a few people (and yes a lot of this is cut and paste but frankly I can't reword this again). Anyway, Lost in Ube for oh geez.. the list is so long. Outside of my inspiration for even blogging in the first place back when I found Sasuke and found his blogs back in 2007 he's been a great online friend whom I can watch Sasuke and use candor and humor when watching without people hawking my every word :p And then of course his Live blog which I abuse constantly when creating my own. I honestly believe a lot of people really don't realize how hard it is to do these things (especially his live blog). He also painstakingly translated all 97 names for us and was there to answer questions when couldn't out a few things as the tournament was ongoing. VxJasonxV for my personal stream :) that was provided from his paid subscription of whatever was the new company that took over for WIST. I think their name was Dyasomething... Thanks to the streamers blt and anshinritsumai that helped our community see the event and providing a clear copy of the tourney for the blog and the community. Thanks to Jams for finding the HD.. That copy (along with Jason's for the commercials/pacing) I used in the end since I was taking so long to start the blog. Thanks to the SMF community for being patient when I FINALLY got the blogs up and for READING them! Thanks to my very loyal Rambling Rican readers whom always amaze me when they come back! LOL I'm happy people find enjoyment in them as much as I enjoy creating them. I'm ecstatic more people have used my blog as an introduction to such a wonderful show and it makes it even more worthwhile when I know my fangirling is actually to good use! I'm excited to see our small group grow to literally thousands around the world banding together to watch this show through tiny computer screens that often crash. Thanks also to those same supporters that suffer through the new trolls.. LOL I'll be careful to not feed them.. Didn't think after all these years I'd still be doing this and enjoying it. Ya'll have made it worth the while :) It's now 6 years and still going! I can't believe how fast time is flying. So long as this continues to be fun and the Sasuke format doesn't change I'll continue to write. I appreciate all of the support I've been getting the past few years and especially this past month. It's been.. rough.

Kong and Drew doing the DBZ fusion dance! ©Mike Bernardo

As I mentioned before, TBS finally admitted that most people though the show was cancelled.. they also mentioned they WILL be back next year. So mark calendar year 2015 for a new Sasuke, Sasuke 31! Hopefully they would have learned the lessons and do more to make sure that Sasuke  is back in the Japanese lexicon! I'll make sure that it's relevant to the rest of the English speaking world!  Thanks again for the support in this blog and this crazy lady that runs it. :)