AFO In Review: Day 1

On the first day of Anime Festival Orlando I really didn’t have many panels I wanted to go to, in reality a lot of them were game shows, or panels dedicated to cartoons that were not anime. There were also some interviews but the only guest with an extensive background in anime was Wendee Lee, also Johnny Yong Bosch, and John Swasey two anime voice actors that I think are awesome. The other guests were more along the line of motion pictures, video game and of course power rangers.

Wendee Lee
John Swasey and Christina Vee
Johnny Yong Bosh

The First panel I went to was the cosplaying for dummies panel put on by  Matthew Diaz and Mandi Kaalstad. When I asked them a few questions after the panel and told them it was for my blog, and along with that I would be giving them and the con a review they were a bit worried that I would be trashing there panel. I thought that was funny seeing as they did a good job with there panel there  power point slides were really good though I feel they could have used for pictures and visuals on them to help ease the death by power point feel. They did how ever supplement the panels slides, and there verbal discussion with props and aids. These were wigs, pieces of costumes, material, and items used in the styling of wigs. The discussion was rather diverse though some of the topics were not discussed in much depth such as Steam punk, and furries. Though in this bloggers opinion furries could have been skipped all together. They had a friend in the audience whom they actually called up to talk about the steam punk genre of cosplaying and I thought she as a friend , and steam punk cosplayer could have easily just been on the panel and provided a well need boost to that topic. I say boost because it was obvious that the costume making and prop knowledge was Mandi’s expertice along with working with ones own real hair, not to say matthew couldn’t make props but her knowledge showed she did that more so than he just form the volume of information she spoke on. The inverse is for her not saying she cant work with wigs but Matthew new insider tricks and tips that can only come from lots of experience with wigs.  They both new a lot of the different sub genre of cosplaying but there knowledge outside of there main focus was limited. Which is why the third panelist would have been really wonderful to the over all information of the panel.

Matthew Diaz

That all aside for it was not anything bad or damaging to the panel just my own personal observations, the panel picked back up rather quickly after they got through the types of cosplay breaking down each one and showing examples of each, I wont go into that in this review because this is not a transcript of the panel though I will provide Matthew’s information and links so you can ask him yourselves. After this they moved into the props, tools, materials, and wigs. I made mention of this above but Matthew really new his stuff about wigs and did demonstation of his craft proving his advice was sound and work with out fail. Mandi’s costume pieces showed she was a skilled crafts women when it can to making very realistic armor for her cosplay costumes along with unique props for unique personally created characters. All in all I have to say this as my first con and this my first panel it was very well done and the panelist for very informed and knowledgeable about there subject. Combined the two host had well over 10 years cosplaying experience. I endorse this panel to anyone who is interested in cosplay, it was definitely worth my time to go and have it begin the con weekend.

After this I hooked up with Ashlee Miller and we did a photo shoot with Aladdin, Jafar, and Superman. Yes I know there not anime characters buy they had some of the best if not the best costumes the entire weekend very well done and they got very much into the photo shoot the women with Aladdin whose child was dressed as the red Ape ninja power ranger(adorable) was a con veteran if it will having gone to all previous AFO except for the first. I talk to her awhile hearing about how the con had begun to shift dynamics from anime con to a more general fandom con.  After this we went back in side and got ready for the opening ceremonies, Neo orlandia Act 1 and what I was looking forward to Wendee Lee’s retrospective on cowboy bebop.

Opening ceremonies was funny all the guest for introduced and the power ranger having all know each other for some time play off one another and played to the crowd and at the point Jason David Frank was introduced(he was only here for Saturday of the con) Johnny Yong Bosch except there intro bowing and hamming it up to the fan girl screams and fan boy cheers. Reuben Langden upon his introduction was immediately stopped from stripping out of his shirt and then carried around by Dan Southworth around the front blowing kisses at the girls and acting like a royal pomp before his adoring kingdom, it was rather hilarious and entertaining. The show was literally and figuratively stolen by John Swasey who stole the mic from ceremonies host Angie and preceeded to drop several Fuck’s in his promoting of his coming panel later that evening, nothing lightens the mood like a F’bomb. The ceremonies ended with the Neo Orlandia LARP(Live Action Role Play) this was well done and performed though the only male faction leader stole the show with his charisma and aussie accent. Following this was the Wendee Lee Retrospective on Cowboy bebop.

Wendee Lee was a fountain of information her experience in Anime Voice acting from not just bebop but from her days in the streamline outfit were present as she easily wowed the crowd by going through seamless transitions from her normal voice to her voluptuous and sexy character Faye Valentine, who she cutely referred to as Faye Faye.

She shared several behind the scenes stories about Bebop and the occupying movie, one even involving her getting a little risqué on stage using the voice of Faye. She also talked about her past history at coming to the con even explaining she came in a cast and had to be wheeled around during AFO 3. Truly she could have talked on for days and everyone including me would have sat there and listened to our anime loving hearts content but the bebop movie was the reason for this retrospective and thus I took my leave when she finished and the film started. Up next was the best Anime you’ve never seen hosted by none other than the AAA podcast crew Mitsugi and Chiaki.

This was the first panel hosted by people whom I knew off before the con that wasn’t a voice actor they covered there panel very well, I had a list of the anime they used for the panel but I seem to have lost it which is very sad, but good new is there panels they do are on there AAA podcast website. I do recall they had one of the segments from memories, along with a film called comedy. Those were the ones that jumped out to me because I felt they were the best of the bunch, although they did have an anime by the same man that did Elfen Leid, which I enjoyed very much so. This would be the first panel that Chiaki and Mitsugi would co-host but it would not be the last nor was it the best of the bunch. The start your own anime podcast panel was the best as for engaging information, conversation and info but I will leave that for AFO in Review: Day 2.

I did not go to the power rangers after dark sorry folks but honestly once I got here I realized that the rush and lines to see them was to long I mean I have video of the throngs of people and it was just to much to waste so much time just for an auto graph or picture, though I did get some video of Jason David Frank, and the guests were pretty cool constantly walking around the con. On Saturday I even ran into Johnny Yong Bosch at like 3:30 in the morning just walking around he even sat and talked with some con attendees which I thought was pretty laid back and cool of him.

Full crew of Anime World Order Podcast

Now to finish up Friday up AFO in Review: Day 1 I would like to talk about the last two panels of the night which were Clarissa along with Gerald of Anime World Order Podcast fame’s “Playing the Odds: Gambling Anime and Manga” Panel. This was a very well put together panel and it was obvious Clarissa had put a whole lot of time into it, her intro was very detailed with several visuals of gambling manga anthologies from Japan. Surprisingly she didn’t kill the assholes in the back who were talking during this part of her panel, much love for the tolerance Clarissa much love. Just to name a few she covered Legendary Gambler Tetsuya, Akagi, among others and of course I can’ forget the political satire, “Legend of Kouzume”. The short episodes of Kouzume allowed for them to be shown during the panel in there entirety which was definite side busting jaunt into Gambling Anime. So with the utmost adoration for the AWO Podcast crew I say please, please go check out these gambling anime and manga they are very underrated shows. This was a fun and very enjoyable panel I even drug along some friends I made at the con on Thursday who are apart of the younger and newest generation of anime fans and they totally dug the pan I was quite surprised seeing as they were vehemently against going at first, so keep doing the good work AWO crew your word and influence are being spread even if it to cure one “truth” infected anime fan at a time.

Last but not least was the gruesome anime violence panel host by Mitsugi and Chiaki, And it is exactly what it sounds like they played clips of some of the most gruesome and twisted violence through out anime going from Devilman all the way to legend of the over fiend. Also on this list was Elfen Leid, and ninja scroll two of my personal favorites. Yet again AAA podcast crew put on a good show some technical difficulties with the coding of the panel plagued them but they muscled through and came out like a blood covered spinal cord ripped free from a some unfortunate soul with scull and brain still attached. Well this ends AFO in Review: Day 1, thanks for reading.

I will be including the dealers room on either a separate review or on the last day of AFO in Review: Day 3 so thanks a lot and keep on looking out for more of my con series AFO in Review.

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