Cosplayers, fans and uninformed tourists gathered at the Vancouver Convention Center from August 5th to 7th for anime, J-pop and the celebration of all things Japanese pop culture. Similar to anime conventions in the US, the weekend event features games, maids, panels, industry guests and concerts. Hordes of fans travel far and wide to meet other otaku, come dressed up as their favorite character and celebrate a weekend of cosplay and fun.
The convention was conveniently located next to a luxury cruise docking port, leaving many nearby tourists questioning if they missed a memo. Luckily attendees and staff informed the lost bystanders and reminded them that they should ask before snapping photos of cosplayers. After expanding to include a winter session, the convention has finally settled into its possibly permanent home at the VCC, in hopes to break its 15,000 attendee mark in 2015.
From the perspective of a frequent con attendee, the first thought was what half the city saw on Sky Train that day. After the city of LA officially declared July 3rd as “Anime Expo Day,” Angelinos have learned to expect the endless streams of cosplayers in Downtown Los Angeles during the July 4th weekend. But tourists and Vancouvians did several double takes and checked their calendars to make sure it wasn’t Halloween.
This year ANIREVO pulled out all the stops with their celebrity guest ensemble, including the Western debut of kz from DJ group LIVETUNE, famous for their production of Vocaloid music. Voice acting veterans Paku Romi (Edward Elric of Full Metal Alchemist) and Toshihiko Seki (Duo from Gundam Wing), as well as fellow seiyuu Ayumi Fujimura (Kneesocks from Panty and Stocking) showcased their talent in front of a live audience.
Live Recording with Paku Romi, Ayumi Fujimura and Takeshi Takedara
To demonstrate the recording process, Anime Revolution presented a live recording of an episode from Xam'd: Lost Memories with sound director Takeshi Takadera, who has worked on shows such as Yawamushi Pedal. In accordance to previous years, Paku Romi and Ayumi Fujimura lent their voices to perform the art of live voice acting. The panel was a sneak peek behind the scenes of recording sessions. Unlike American recording studios that have individual recording booths, voice actors, or seiyuu, record in a group. The atmosphere depends on the studio: some are casual and others are strict.
In the first of three takes, Park voiced a character named Kujireka, a woman who has succumbed to a monster and meets with her older sister. Fujimura took on the role of a mother and a daughter. With each take, Takadera would provide both actresses with feedback, to which they would note and adjust accordingly.
ANIREVO Rave ft. kz (aka RE:NDZ) of LIVETUNE
Donning his signature hat for his Vancouver debut, kz expertly performed on his turntable. His 1-hour set during the late night rave consisted of remixes of his own works as well as well-known anime songs such as “Nexus” from Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai and his own collaboration with Miku Hatsune, “Half Step.”
For anyone who has been out of touch with recent Vocaloid music, kz pulled out attendees’ inner fan from the deep depths of 2010. It was extremely hard to resist improvised concert calls – or wotagei – after listening to “Tell Your World.” Even though he and the crowd should have been worn down by a long day of events, kz’s beats and bass reverberated through the crowd, enlivening the party.
Anime Revolution Interview
APA had a quick chat with an ANIREVO representative on how the con got started.
APA: How did Anime Revolution begin as a convention? Was it part of another convention or was it an entirely new convention on its own?
We began planning in 2011. There wasn't any other Anime convention around, so we wanted to try making our own. Our con is an entirely new con.
APA: How has the convention changed in the past three years? Despite being a relatively new convention, it’s very well organized.
Over the past three years, we put a heavy emphasis on team building and training. I think that we owe the level of organization to the strong foundation we've built and the friendliness of the team - we are all open to helping each other out.
APA: Why has the convention added a winter convention?
We had multiple requests to host more events and saw a demand for a winter festival.
APA: What was the inspiration for the mascot of Anime Revolution?
The mascot's costume is from a race team. It's inspired by the heavy emphasis we put on cooperation - her role is analogous to that of the pit crew in a racing tournament (to help fix and bring out the most of our vehicle (AR)).
Stay tuned for full transcriptions of panels featuring Paku Romi, kz of Livetune, and Toshihiko Seki.
More information on their upcoming smaller scale Winter and Spring events can be found on their website.