July 18, 2003

Thursday Comic-Con Diary

Got to the SD Convention Center. I didn't know what I was expecting, but it was bigger than I thought. Big enough to fill up all the fucking parking spaces, anyway. Had to park at a metered space in the waterfront park around the back of the convention center. Meters are only for two hours and there are many dire warnings of towings & worse.

Made my way around to the front of the convention center only to find the line wrapped around the front of the (large) building. Good thing I had my whole geek arsenal with me, iPod in the pocket and GBA SP in hand. Got in line and cleared a couple of WarioWare mini-games in the meantime. Thankfully the line moved quickly and I got my badge in due course.

Went by the Penny Arcade booth to get a CTS shirt. Wanted to say something about them defiling my family name, but whatever. Did get to check out a color Sidekick that somebody there had. Cool toy. Wander around the (huge) exhibit room but only get a cursory glimpse of a small part. Hey, that's what the weekend is for.

Eat lunch in the Embarcadero Marina Park. Sat on a bench on the fitness course along the water. Had a nice view of a Marine assault ship parked across the water on Coronado.

Fed the meter, then made my way back to the convention center for my first panel, Dark Horse's manga line. It was just one guy there (his partner was MIA). Manga is probably not Dark Horse's main comic line, and the guy seemed worried about all the competition, especially with a big American publishing house like Del Rey (a.k.a. Random House) making a deal with a big Japanese publishing house like Kodansha.

Stayed in the room for the Bandai panel. Good thing I didn't have to move, since the room was packed in a hurry. They had a real slick trailer for their upcoming releases. Frankly the pictures all kinda blended together as everything moves to the computer-painted look. Of course, they announce the .hack soundtracks as separately available discs right after I splurge on the limited edition DVD box to get the CD. Of course, I have to keep buying the limited edition DVD releases since a separate box for the CDs might come with the 5th LE DVD release. As digital bits become more and more worthless, they'll have to sell tchochkes and "limited" items to squeeze money out of their content. Works as long as we have disposable income or a big credit limit, I guess. There's a giveaway, but I have absolutely no chance vs. the collected otaku at the trivia questions. At least the Bandai guy saw my T-shirt and thanked me for buying the .hack LE as I walked the door.

Should feed the meter but go get a good seat for the Pioneer panel instead. It's good that they have real production people there for the panel, but it's not so good that their English is not so good. No multimedia of any sort in the presentation, probably because half their newly licensed shows are barely in production, much less finishing their Japanese run. I'm not sure if it's a good trend, American companies (or subsidiaries) buying up rights to shows based on specs and limited previews, and in more and more cases even co-funding the initial production. Makes it into the same process as Hollywood hit-making, with all their hit-and-misses. I think it would be better for the American companies to act as filters rather than producers, but I guess there's so much competition now that they have to get in early or not get shows at all. There will be a market correction at some point, but that's not my problem, is it?

The Pioneer guys conduct their giveaway with a group rock-paper-scissors session, with the crowd against the Pioneer guy and eliminating people along the way until the survivor wins the prize. Of course, I lose on the first throw for five rounds in a row. So much for that.

Went to the car to find a $25 parking ticket on the windshield. No reason to feed the meter now.

Got back a little late for the Steve Jackson panel. Wished I had my Car Wars rulebook for him to sign. Lots more new card and board games "because that's what the market wants right now." There's still more GURPS books in the pipeline than you can shake a stick at, though. They're distributing Greg Staffords new Glorantha stuff, basically as a favor to him, which is pretty cool. Too bad I don't play any of this stuff anymore. I prefer the more abstract German-style boardgames, and who has time for RPGs these days? Still, it was a cool panel and a good chance to get off my feet after a long day.

Go check out a showing of Kung-Fu Master. It's in Cantonese with English subtitles, which is just about the worst of all worlds, as I can't really follow the Cantonese dialog except to notice the inadequacies of the English translation. The English removes all semblance of cleverness in the idiomatic expressions and leaves a hokey, badly-written TV show, which is good for some laughs, but not in a good way. Sat and watched for a while, then realized that I don't watch this stuff at home, on VCDs with useful Chinese subtitles on a better A/V system, so why bother with it here? Go home and soak my feet instead.

Posted by mikewang on 09:56 PM