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by Narmi

Sakura-Con 2014 – Tomohiko Ito, Shingo Adachi & Shinichiro Kashiwada

June 7, 2014 in Conventions, Interview by Narmi

With the popularity of Sword Art Online (SAO) TV. It was no surprise Sword Art Online TV would return as SAO II, with a bang. Last year at Sakura-Con 2013, the creator of SAO, Kawahara Reki attended Sakura-Con. We were given the opportunity to meet and interview Mr. Reki. The questions posed to him was interesting and at times thought provoking. For this year, Sakura-Con 2014, we were given the opportunity to interview Tomohiko Ito, Shingo Adachi and Shinichiro Kawashida. I hope this interview will give you more insight to the production of Sword Art Online and their line of work.

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Tomohiko Ito (left), Shingo Adachi (Middle), Shinichiro Kashiwada (Right)

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Author note: I hope this interview article allow you to feel as if you were in the interview room with me. – Narmi

General question, what would you work in if you had a career in a different field?

Tomohiko: Before I became an animator, I was in seafaring school, so I would have been a sailor.

Shingo: I went to film school, but it’s not that easy to become a film director even after going there. I was looking into going into a small TV production company, perhaps to become an assistant Director, but I come from a generation of the baby boom and competition was pretty fierce to get a job. That’s when my Senpai from the anime industry recruited me into anime. At the time, I was seeking jobs in TV production as a TV assistant Director and also in various video game companies such as Konami and Capcom. I did not make it into any of them, so I ended up in Anime. Shinichiro: I always wanted to become a police officer and that is what I could have become, but I never liked to study, so I would have never passed my civil servant exams. I actually studied engineering in school, so I studied something that has no bearing on what I do today.

 

Sword Art Online explains the gaming terminology pretty well. Did you go to experts in the terminology? Were there a lot of gamers on staff? How did you flush out the information?

Shingo: Before SAO, I was very much addicted to a game called Final Fantasy 11 and it was to the extent that it was affecting my job performance.  You can actually say I did my research for SAO long before the show started. It was my wife who scolded me, and so I had to make the bitter return to Real Space. Around the time when the author of SAO, Kawahara Reki was addicted to Lineage, I was pretty much playing the other Korean MMO Ragnarok Online, so both of us were pretty familiar with the current online gaming lingo.

 

This is for Tomohiko Ito. You stated Neon Genesis Evangelion inspired you to be an Anime Director. With the “You (Can) Not” movie releases, what are your thoughts on the execution of the movie series?

Tomohiko: You know me well (laugh). Once you become professional in the anime industry, it’s hard to watch other anime from a fan perspective. Despite that, Evangelion is one of the animated titles I would very much like to watch as a pure fan. I really don’t look at how it has changed between the old Evangelion and the new movies.

 

What challengers were there in adapting original stories that were self-published online versus adapting an established story that was from a manga, game or light novel?

Shinichiro: The challenges of animating, that was not so different, granted before SAO was published as a novel. It was self -published online, but I’m pretty sure ASCII media Works pretty much knew that and it was pretty much popular back then. That is why they picked it up to publish it. Unlike say videogames, SAO always was something that had appeal not just to the Japanese audience, but to the world. That was the hook, we had to grab it and animate it.

Shingo: This wasn’t just SAO but my previous show Working!! also has it’s self-published Doujin roots and I think it has come to be that a lot publishers are looking at pre-existing works. Written by authors not for a livelihood but more as a work of passion. That tends to help create diversity in the genre, you can say that with Hatsune Miku as well on the music side. I think this trend will just probably continue.

 

This is a general question. While working on SAO, what sort of challenges did you face, do you remember?

Tomohiko: Back then this would have been 2012, we wanted to pose the question, “what would be the new fantasy world?”

Shingo: Back when I was in high school, very much the Euro-Western fantasy was the rage. It was very popular, with shows such as Record of Lodoss Wars and I was certainly one of the fans of the genre but eventually the audience started to get bored and the popularity of the genre started to die down. We thought if we followed the same formula, we would end up the same way. So, what the producer told us was not to go with that, but go strictly with the created world of the video game fantasy world, not the now online fantasy world, and to take it from there.

Shinichiro: This is more of personal view. In SAO, one of the characteristic premises is that “Game Over” means personal death, but you compare death in a live action to animation. I always thought it was hard to beat the realism of death in animation but, if you look at other recent shows such as Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyoujin), the desperation of the character is no less unrealistic, so I thought it was something that is fairly “depictable” using the anime media.     

 

The first season of SAO is very popular internationally, do you feel any pressure for season two (Sword Art Online II).

Tomohiko: Yes. (chuckle)

Shingo: In SAO, when you move into a new series. The characters looks have to completely change. We can’t use the character designs from the previous production and carry it on to that. That is very different from my previous show Working!!, where you can just continue on with the previous character designs. In SAO, you have to come up with new character designs from scratch for the next season, and that is a tough thing to do as an animator. But if you look at the previous characters, Kirito and Asuna, you can see how time has changed them. They have grown up a little and that is something we can look forward to seeing.

Shinichirou: Well, for me, I do not have the pressure, but it was so in season one and it still is so in season two that we’re blessed with a good director, character designers and there are good staff people in Japan. I know that we can do it and I know that I can trust them. In season one, this was a world where all the combat was sword vs. sword. In season two, it is sword vs. guns and so this is a new world. It won’t be the same as season one and this is something to look forward to.

 

I have a couple of numbers I want to feed to you all. 7.1 and 5.8. These are your ratings on Toonami here in America which are very good. The highest rating is 8. Did you ever expect that popularity?

All three: “Ehhh”

Shinichirou: First to hear it.

Tomohiko: The producer doesn’t tell us numbers that much. That is a surprise to hear.

Shingo: Glad to hear that.

 

This question is for Shingo Adachi and Tomohiko Ito. Since your debut works, (Tomohiko: Death Note & Shingo: Rockman) what changes do you see in the production process?

Shingo: As a character designer for Rockman, it was my first, but I have been an animator for a decade before that. The biggest change in work was going from cell to digital work on PCs today.

Tomohiko: Another change is the executive animation direction system. Each episode would have its own animation director but the episodes would be overseen by the executive animation director, so that became a bottleneck, but it does allow the character designer and executive animation director to make all the cells consistent, and give a consistent feel to the entire series. It does depend on the talent of one single artist but it has been a change for the good.

Shingo: For me, though, I wish the system was not in place. Japanese fans tend to be demanding and they really want consistency in style through the entire series. I think the business model, where they want consistent sales in all the volumes of DVD and Blu-Rays, tend to encourage the system. It does make work in the studio a tougher environment.

Tomohiko: My debut should probably be Monster instead of Death Note. Going from Episodic Director to Series Director, you do have better influence for the entire production. Since I am not an artist, I have to figure out where to apply the controls to make it a better show. That might be working with the screenplay, or perhaps the sound director. Those are areas I can apply myself to. In addition to what Mr.Adachi said, when you’re allowed to do a lot of things with digital production, you end up being forced and compelled to do everything just because you can. Digital production allow you to be more efficient and doing things with a shorter amount of time. You end up doing a lot of things.

 

This question is for Mr. Ito. Previously you worked with Gen Urobuchi, for the story board of Puella Magi Madoka Magica episode 11. If given the opportunity, would you like to collaborate an original anime with Urobuchi-san?

Tomohiko: That is very specific of you. I only worked on one episode with him and it was not full walking of the horns. There are so many people who want to collaborate with Gen Urobuchi, I think he has plenty of suitors. (chuckle in the room)

 

When you are discussing the adaption of a work with the original creators. How much input do they have and at what point do you take the reigns from the author?

Shinichirou: There is the reading and in the case of SAO, all 25 episodes. The beginning and ending of the show was read to the author and it was determined with his presence. One of the format constraints of anime is that we have a fixed timeframe. There would be elements of the original story that need to be cut out. Those are usually done with the consent of the original author. This is in the production style that all studios labeled do. By doing this we can avoid situations later where the author would later say, the production staff did not understand the intent of the story and, problems can be avoided.

Adachi: As an animator, when I am given pre-existing works to do my work on, you may have popular books and titles that are already in the book stores, stacked up for everyone to grab, but there is also the part of the population who has not grabbed any of those books and don’t know of the existing work. I think it is my task to take the art style of the original books and to stylize into something that is more accessible to everyone else. No matter how great a show might be, if you don’t grab them on episode one, actually, if you don’t get them to watch episode one, it doesn’t start. I think as a character designer, it is most important to come up with the key visuals that would entice the potential audience to actually try episode one so that they would be sitting down in front of the television when episode one is broadcasting. That would be all pertinent to my key visuals.  

 

A general question, most memorable moment while working on Sword Art Online?

Tomohiko: Perhaps the fact that I was dumped during the production of SAO, but it was actually after the show was done. It was not during the production.

Shingo: When I was working on episode 25, the final episode, I was at work for two weeks consecutively and wasn’t home to see my wife. She told me after work, she was considering divorce after that point.

Shinichirou: This is something to say about SAO production that I learn from real life from Mr. Adachi and Mr. Ito. There are certain ways we anticipate the audience’s reactions, such as the point where Kirito proposes to Asuna. You can anticipate there would be a lot of viewer frustration in that episode and that was pretty much anticipated.  That is what we intended and I am sure those frustrations were projected to production staffs such as Mr. Ito and Mr. Adachi, when they were working on it.

Shingo: While I was working on SAO, viewer/fan popularity wasn’t something that I consciously removed from mind while working on it. I was later happy to learn that Blu-Ray sales were going well and there was a second pleasant surprise to hear that there was an American audience who enjoyed Sword Art Online. That also leads to being invited to places, like here in Sakura-Con. You can say I had more memorable moments with SAO after production.

 

I have a question for (Shingo) Adachi. As a character designer what personal touches and details do you add to your work in order to make it special and stand out?

Shingo: It’s difficult to see my own work in an objective fashion. I always try to respect the style of the original work but there seems to be something that is my own character that I can never remove from the art. Whether that is considered my own character or whether that is something undesirable, I can’t really tell or perhaps because of that, that is why I kept on getting work. I am still not sure if I should completely remove that or retain that.

 

Today is day two of Sakura Con 2014. What are your thoughts of the convention? Also, what are your thoughts about anime being big in the US and people paying so much attention to your work?

Tomohiko: It is my pleasure.

Shingo: I am happy to see fans here and to actually be here. At the same time, I still have a hard time believing that it is all here too. When I work on a show, I really have the Japanese viewers and audience in mind, and those are the sensibilities I draw on. There are certain styles of art that is popular in Japan. To see that get accepted overseas is something I find very incredible because I always thought that perhaps, the style of American comics, the style of Marvel would be the only thing that is popular here and to see other styles be accepted is a discovery for me.

Tomohiko: My observation isn’t specific to Sakura Con but looking at cosplayers I see a lot of longevity of the popular shows. I am really hoping 10 years from now that there will still be Kirito cosplayers. You can still see plenty of Sailor Moon cosplayers and Cardcaptor Sakura, which was very cute.

 

This question is for Adachi-san. Do the expressions of the characters come naturally for you? Does it just come to your mind?

Adachi: The character’s expressions seem to come pretty naturally to me when you look at the storyboard and visualize the scene. You go through it so many times in your head that the expressions come pretty naturally. However, all artists can identify that when you drawing a character with a certain expression, you tend to be mirroring that a lot and so when doing a sad expression, you look sad as an artist. As a smiling character, when you are doing a smiling character, you are also grinning and look pretty. I often look at myself that way as well.

 

Shifting to recent/current projects. Tomohiko-san, you are working on Silver Spoon, which is an agricultural-based series. Adachi is working on Galilei Donna. Can you please tell us a little bit more of those projects?

Tomohiko: Silver Spoon is based on a manga by Full Metal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa. Unlike Sword Art Online, it takes place in a special school, an agricultural school and so the story is very subdued. As a show to work on after SAO, it was a very refreshing change and saved me mentally and physically.

Shingo: Galilei Donna was a first for me because this was my first very first original title. We started from no artwork to base any character designs on. They are original shows where the concept area may have been done by a famous illustrator but for Galilei Donna, we really started, fully, from scratch.

Adachi: I will be repeating myself but versus when I started from scratch, titles such as SAO and Working!! are based on already popular titles, so you can already see what kind of audience you will be hitting and what kind of audience you want to grab. But when I have to start from scratch, I have to come up with key visuals that will be grabbing people to try out episode one. That is, pretty much, where all of my effort went into. I really put a lot of effort into the jacket art for the Blu-Rays of Galilei Donna, so if you can even just Google the jacket and look at them, there are six of them, from volumes one to six. I might be very happy if you can look at that and think of what I did.

 

 

*Interview concluded*

by Narmi

Sakura-Con 2014

April 27, 2014 in Miscellaneous by Narmi

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Day 1

To start off Sakura-Con 2014. I wanted to attend the opening ceremony however, after 2 hours of getting into my cosplay. I missed the opening ceremony. With this set back, I decided to roam the convention in my cosplay and was stopped quite a few times for photos. After roaming the convention floor, I sat in on the Aniplex panel followed by the Sword Art Online (SAO) and Magi Directors panel with Ito and Masunari. In the Aniplex panel, we were given updates on releases under Aniplex and a project to bring in new voice acting talent into the anime industry. For the SAO and Magi Directors panel, the main focus was on the director’s experiences working as directors. Read the rest of this entry →

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Isho Cosplay, Tomohiko Ito, Michael Lee

After the Directors panel ended. I spent the rest of the day enjoying Sakura-Con while in cosplay and went to the Exhibitors’ Hall & Artist Alley for a quick look through. The night ended with me completing a few emergency repairs to Foxfire Ahri. The repairs ended just as the sun started to rise. The time… around 6:00 am…

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Voice Moi as Chun-Li

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Day 2

For day 2, I had a group interview to do followed by ELISA’s concert. Again I got into my cosplay and walked through the Exhibitors’ Hall & Artist Alley before the interview. For this interview I decided to be in cosplay because of the League of Legends shoot that was happening during the interview.

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Takeda Shingen: (unknown), Mōri Motonari: Isho Cosplay

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Tomohiko Ito, Shingo Adachi, Shinichiro Kashiwada

It was interesting being in a complex cosplay during the interview. It was uncomfortable and quite a challenge to take photos during the interview. If you are up for punishment, go for it but if you aren’t into punishment, I recommend you don’t do what I did. After the interview ended, and I gave my contact cards.

My initial plan was to finish the interview and to hopefully join in on the shoot just before it wrapped up. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. I missed the league shoot but managed to catch up with a few friends. Luckily I had some time and I forced myself to take photos of cosplayers that caught my attention.

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photo by Philip Peng

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Many thanks to my friend for taking this photo.

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After hanging out and doing various things. I needed to change out of my cosplay and prepare for ELISA’s first North American concert.

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To say the least, the concert was amazing and an encore was asked by the audience. ELISA responded to the audience’s request for an encore by singing Oboete Imasuka (Do You Remember Love), from Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. With the end of the concert, I walked out the concert area and soon enough. A cosplay group caught my interest.

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After the Xenosaga shoot, I decided to spend sometime with a few friends and play Cards Against Humanity. Unfortunately I could not go to sleep due to repairs my Foxfire Ahri cosplay needed. After completing the repairs to Foxfire Ahri, I managed to get at most 3 hours of sleep…

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Day 3

Day 3 morning, I had a shoot with my cosplay and the experience was amazing. If you are wondering how amazing. I was set on fire. The photo will explain my feeling from the morning.

Photography/Editing: Darkain Multimedia – Cospix.Net

After the morning shoots, I decided to do another sweep through the dealers’ area and ran into a few friends. With the end of the morning of Day 3. I had to get ready to do a photoshoot with a cosplayer. I made my way to my hotel room to changed out of Foxfire Ahri. After changing out of Ahri, I left the room and was on my way to the meet up location.

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With the last hours of Sakura-Con 2014, I spent that time doing the shoots and decided to skip the closing ceremony. Thus why I do not have any closing ceremony coverage. The day ended with me catching up with as many friends as possible and getting ready to leave on Monday morning.

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Overall thoughts, Sakura-Con 2014 was an enjoyable time for me. For all three days I was in cosplay as Foxfire Ahri for the majority of the time. Even though I did not attend as many panels as I would like to. It was an interesting experience balancing my press duties and being in cosplay while doing my best not to hit people with my tails. For Sakura-Con 2015, I might do another cosplay while doing press. This time the cosplay won’t be as complex, troublesome and will allow me to take more photos next year… I hope…

Tsukino-Con 2014 Videos!

March 27, 2014 in Conventions by DJ YUKKURi

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Just over a month has passed since Tsukino-Con 2014, and I have finally uploaded all the videos I shot during my time staffing there! Mind you, that was my first time ever filming with that camcorder, so the results are not exactly ideal quality. Still lots of learning to do for me!

Click the YouTube icon on the right-hand side of the page to check out our channel, and our recent videos from Tsukino-Con 2014!

by Narmi

Initial Thoughts SAO Extra Edition (non-spoiler)

December 31, 2013 in Anime by Narmi

After watching the Sword Art Online (SAO) Extra Edition, on Daisuki.net. Here are my thoughts on the Extra Edition (episode) and the teaser we were given.

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With the Extra Edition being over an 1 hour and half long. I had a good time watching SAO Extra Edition. Even though a good chunk, of the Extra Edition, was recap of the animated Aincrad and Fairy Dance Arcs. The pacing was executed in a timely fashion. We were introduced to new characters who will be in Sword Art Online II. Along with this, we did get a little more back story between a few characters with a new side story.

Overall, as a fan of Kawahara Reki’s Sword Art Online, I am quite pleased with Sword Art Online Extra Edition. The excitement I had for the Extra Edition was met and I feel quite satisfied. With that, the small teaser we were given at the end of Sword Art Online Extra Edition was marvelous. It was short simple and sweet. The teaser had me with my hands in the air in excitement. With this teaser announcement. I am even more excited for what is to come.

With this, a new year has dawned upon us and 2014 will begin. Many things have happened in the year 2013. Along with the undesirable moments that are inevitable, I can not wait to experience opportunities and good times I will need to find.

あけましておめでとうございます (Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu) / Happy New Years.

by Narmi

Anime Revolution 2013

September 13, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

For this year, I had the opportunity to see ORIGA live and interview Yamaguchi Kappei, Furuya Tohru. If those names didn’t get your attention. Yamaguchi Kappei is the voice of Ussop in One Piece. Along with that, Yamaguchi has voiced Ranma and Inuyasha. For Furuya Tohru, think of Gundam, and now think of Amuro Ray. Yes, THE Amuro Ray from the Gundam Universe. If that didn’t interest you, what about Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask or Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya? Either way, it was great being able to meet Yamaguchi and Tohru. To ask a few questions and have the opportunity to have a photo with them. Along with that, just like any other convention I attend, there will be cosplay photography.
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Day 1

Opening ceremonies

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ORIGA at the opening ceremonies, performing a song from GITS:SAC.

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After the opening ceremonies I decided to check out Jessica Nigiri’s panel and the Q&A panel for ORIGA.

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After the panels, I had some time to see a few of the cosplay contest entries.

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With many thanks to Ms. Nigiri, we managed to get some time for a shoot. There is one thing I can say about the shoot, it was fast and I was furiously aiming for the shots. If you want to see more head over to my Facebook page D.I.S/C Photography.

After the shoot, I decided to focus on cosplay photography and was invited to a shoot for the Official PAX Prime 2013 RWBY team.

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With the shoot over, the swimsuit contest underway, I decided to check it out and end the day.

Day 2

For the majority of Day 2, I spent the day doing more press coverage. Checking out the Aniplex Industry panel, Yamaguchi Kappei’s autograph session, and ORIGA’s concert.

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Cosplayer: http://pompay.deviantart.com/

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Even though the amount of information about the series is limited. I am excited for Kill la Kill. After the panel, raffle ticket door prizes were given out, and we were told of a promotion for checking out the viewing of the Sword Art Online (SAO) episode 1 and 2 dub. Even though I saw the world premier of SAO episode 1 and 2 dub with Kawahara Reki, Luna Haruna and Eir Aoi. I wanted to see the episodes again but I had press materials to attend too.

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Oh my goodness, Sakuyamon.

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After ORIGA’s live concert in the evening. Called it a day and prepared for Day 3.

Day 3

For the final day of Anime Revolution 2013. In cooperation with SUTORAIKUanime, we interviewed Furuya Tohru & Yamaguchi Kappei in the morning hours. After the interviews, I decided to enjoy the rest of Anime Revolution 2013 by browsing the Dealers/Artist Alley, and cosplay photography before the closing ceremonies.

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Isho Cosplay

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A change from Anime Revolution 2012, even though the location was at Canada Place. I was pleased they decided to have the panel areas in separate rooms. Overall, I had fun at Anime Revolution 2013.

If you are interested in reading the interview transcripts with Yamaguchi Kappei and Furuya Tohru. Head over to SUTORAIKUAnime.

Cosplay Victoria Presents: Hardcore Thru The Pipeline!

September 3, 2013 in Site News by DJ YUKKURi

Here at Cosplay Victoria, we understand how valuable a good education can be, but we also understand that not everybody may be looking forward to going back to school. Therefore, we’ve decided to give you all something else to look forward to as well! In less than a week, we will be running Hardcore Thru The Pipeline, an online radio event featuring mixes from some of the best Hardcore DJs from around the world! This will also be the final radio event held on CosVic Radio before we retire the channel. CosVic Radio has had a good run, but we will be moving onto other projects in the near future, and will be focusing our resources accordingly.

In the meantime, Hardcore Thru The Pipeline will take place on Saturday, September 7th from 12:00PM to 8:00PM PST (GMT-8), and Sunday, September 8th from 12:00PM to 9:00PM PST (GMT-8).

Click the Read More for more info, including the event timetable in 24-Hour format.
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Many great names have taken the time to contribute exclusive mixes to our event, and you can listen to them at the times listed below:

Saturday, September 7th:
12:00 – 13:00: Bokusatsu Shoujo Koubou
13:00 – 14:00: Flapjack
14:00 – 15:00: Daniel Seven
15:00 – 16:00: NAKURA*
16:00 – 17:00: IanK
17:00 – 18:00: Kitsch
18:00 – 19:00: Virus
19:00 – 20:00: Powermitten

Sunday, September 8th:
12:00 – 13:00: BUSKERDROID Vs. MICROMAN
13:00 – 14:00: Shadow Interaction
14:00 – 15:00: Neodash Zerox
15:00 – 16:00: PrEyX
16:00 – 17:00: KidKaBOOM
17:00 – 18:00: Ranzor
18:00 – 19:00: Maromi
19:00 – 20:00: Kurono
20:00 – 21:00: Xavi BCN

You can listen in and chat along with other listeners at our CosVic Radio page, http://cosplayvictoria.com/radio/.

by Narmi

Cos & Effect 2013

August 25, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

Cos & Effect (C&E) 2013, as expected, was a cosplay photography filled time with a twist.  At Cos & Effect 2013, this is the first time we have done a video recording of a one on one with a guest. The guest, which I had the opportunity to do a one on one with, was Crystal Graziano of Precious Cosplay. It was my first time doing such a thing with a guest however it was a lot of fun. After the one on one, I spent my time going to the Lolita fashion show, the Costume Contest and a few other panels. For the remaining days  Overall C&E was relaxing, for me.  Read the rest of this entry →

Day 1

To start the day off. I decided to sit in the panel Cosplay 101, by Crystal Graziano of Precious Cosplay.

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After the panel, I had the opportunity to do a one one one with Precious Cosplay.

Part 1

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Once we finished recording the one on one. Decided to check out the Lolita Fashion Show.

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Day 2

To summarize day 2 in a nut shell; cosplay, Costume Contest and Marvel Universe Charity Fundraiser.

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Precious Cosplay as Ms. Marvel

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The Costume Contest provided quite a variety of costumes and talent.

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Forever Dreaming Cosplay’s Demon Hunter

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Runner-ups, Winners, Judges and MC of the Costume Contest

Day 3

For the final day of C&E 2013, I decided to sit in on the Costuming guests Q&A and Advanced Cosplay Materials panel.

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(Left to Right) Brian Milne, Valerie Halverson, God Save the Queen Fashions, Precious Cosplay. Costuming guests Q&A

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From there I spent my time walking around the event until the closing ceremonies.

C&E13_Day3-2296Undiscovered Photography & the Dealers area

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My overall thoughts on Cos & Effect 2013?  I plan on going to Cos & Effect again next year and my reason why? Cos & Effect was made as an event to focus on cosplaying and costume making of all levels.  The guest line up kept to the purpose of Cos & Effect. The dealer’s area had some variety and the artist alley, even though small, was not bad.

The event didn’t feel overwhelming to me as an attendee and as a result. I had fun being there. Many thanks to the various cosplayers and attendees who allowed me to take their photos.

To see more photos from Cos & Effect, head over to my FlickR set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/50585290@N02/sets/72157635220830590/). In the future, I will upload a Cos & Effect album to my new facebook page; D.I.S/C Photography (https://www.facebook.com/D.I.S.C.Photography).

Thank you for reading this entry on Cos & Effect 2013. Next up for a press article, Anime Revolution 2013.

- Narmi

CosVic is Back! And With a Slim New Look!

August 3, 2013 in Site News by DJ YUKKURi

Guess who’s back! Back again!

That’s right, Cosplay Victoria is back up and running with a sleek and simplified new layout, just in time for Anime Revolution 2013!

There is not too much that has to be mentioned about this update though, mainly because most of the site’s functionality has been retained. All site navigation is still as it was back under the old template, but news posts are now much easier to navigate, with the newest stories being featured in a scrolling slideshow at the top of the main page! One thing you will immediately notice, however, is that all on-site social functionality has been removed, including the forum. This was primarily due to lack of use, not to mention the fact that it cluttered up our MySQL database. Removing them puts less of a burden on our servers and reduces our website’s digital footprint, reducing site load times and making it easier for everyone. Our Facebook and Twitter pages are still well open for business, so posts and tweets are always welcome!

Now, as for our activities for the remainder of 2013, I, myself, unfortunately will not be able to do much as I am on hiatus until the 2014 convention season. However, site contributor and Media Team member, Narmi, will be at Anime Revolution 2013 in a couple weeks time as a member of the Press, and he will be providing in-depth coverage of his experience, including interviews with some of this year’s biggest guests! As well, stay tuned for an announcement within the coming weeks regarding the future of CosVic Radio!

by Narmi

Overview impressions of Sakura-Con 2013

April 16, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

With Sakura-Con 2013 being my third Sakura-Con and the weather being favorable. This year was another enjoyable year. The variety and skill of the cosplays at Sakura-Con 2013 was, again, impressive., thus satisfying one of the main reasons I love attending Sakura-Con. Even though the guest list wasn’t as many as many stated, the guests present at Sakura-Con 2013 were great. Regarding guests for Sakura-Con 2013, Haruna Luna, Aoi Eir, Kawahara Reki (the creator of Sword Art Online & Accel World) and Toshihiro Kawamoto caught my attention and it was quite an experience to be able to interview all four guests. Due to the lack of resources, I had to limit the events covered, guests interviewed, and cosplay photography. However, while going from one event to another or outside of the main events & interviews, I managed take photos of a few cosplays that caught my attention.

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Day 0

After half a day of traveling, I arrived in Seattle and decided to walk around to get a feel for the event and pick up my badge while checking out the registration area at around 1:00PM. I noticed ANCEA introduced a Registration line for non-registered attendees. As a result, the pre-registration & registration lines looked reasonably efficient. Based on what I noticed, I hope ANCEA will continue or improve the use of the current registration system. With me being satisfied, I went back to my hotel and to do a few impromtu photo shoots.

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Day 1

With Sakura-Con 2013 beginning, I decided to head over to the Exhibitor’s area and get a sneak peak of what is in for attendees. Here’s a small look into what I found while strolling.

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From there, I decided to head over to the Opening Ceremonies and leave the opening of the Exhibitor’s area, since both occurred at 10:00AM. During the Opening Ceremonies, the President of ANCEA made his introduction and welcome statement followed by an MMD movie, live performances and introductions of guests.

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With the end of the Opening Ceremonies, I decided to use Day 1 to focus on cosplay photography and enjoying Sakura-Con. As I went about enjoying the atmosphere and taking photos of cosplayers, I decided to check out the Sword Art Online cosplay contest, hosted by Crunchyroll. It was great knowing the contest also rewarded cosplayers who are into the series. You’ll see what I mean when you look through the photos.

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Psycho-Pass
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After the contest, I again went wandering around the convention and doing small impromtu shoots of cosplayers.

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As the Day 1 progressed into the evening hours, I decided to cover the Dance at the Main Stage area. Overall the music was not bad and the atmosphere was quite enjoyable. Here is a sample of the dance.

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As the day continued into the later hours, I decided to head back and get ready for Day 2.

Day 2

After an enjoyable first day of Sakura-Con, I had my first interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto, well known for his animation work in Cowboy Bebop including the Gundam Universe (Mobile Suit Gundam to Mobile Fighter G Gundam) and Macross Plus. If you are interested in the press interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto, please read the interview Toshihiro Kawamoto @ Sakura-Con 2013. I lined up for the signing event with Kawamoto and managed to get my copy of Macross Plus signed.

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I decided to head to the Exhibitors’ area to check out what was going on with a few industry booths and the goods for sale. After my stroll through the Exhibitors’ area, I attended Kawahara’s Q&A panel and because of the conflict events, I unfortunately had to miss out on the Sword Art Online event at the Aniplex booth, so I don’t have photos from that event. However, I have photos from the Q&A panel and signing. Luckily, I managed to get a seat in the Sword Art Online Dub Premier with Kawahara Reki, Eir Aoi and Luna Haruna. During the introductions for the Dubbing Premiere, we were introduced to the English voice actor for Kirito.

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After the Sword Art Online Dub Premiere, I decided to get ready for Aoi Eir’s and Haruna Luna’s concert and couldn’t help take a few more photos.

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During the concert, I had a great time,. Even though I spent most of my time behind my camera taking photos, I couldn’t get over how enjoyable the concert was. The opening song, a cover of Connect by ClarisS with the ending song as a cover of Crossing Fields by LiSA with Haruna and Aoi. It was amazing and I finally knew what it is like to be at a real live performance.

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With the end of the concert, I went to Haruna Luna’s and Aoi Eir’s signing session, which went on for 3 hours! I was amazed and grateful of Luna’s and Eir’s determination and enthusiasm to sign every single person’s item, despite their fatigue from their live performance, not too long ago, and possible jet lag, with every last person in the line-up leaving with their items signed. During my wait, I saw Vic Mignogna was being interviewed by The-O Network Online and couldn’t help but snap a shot. I stayed behind and thanked both Luna and Eir for their commitment, even though I would interview them the next day.

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With the signing event over at the time at about 1:00AM. I decided to call it a night, and prepare for the interviews with Kawahara Reki, followed by Haruna Luna with Aoi Eir.

Day 3

In the morning, I had the interview with Kawahara Reki, followed by Haruna Luna and Aoi Eir. Both interviews went smoothly and as press. We learned a bit of interesting facts and asked the guests questions relating to their works. During Kawahara’s interview, we were asked not to take photos and as a result. I do not have photos from Kawahara’s interview. However, I do have photos of Eir’s and Luna’s interview. If you are interested in reading Kawahara’s and/or Eir’s and Luna’s press interview, please read the following articles; Press Interview with Kawahara Reki @ Sakura-Con 2013 & Aoi Eir & Haruna Luna Post Live Interview @ Sakura-Con 2013

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As the interviews ended one after another, I walked away with a better appreciation of Kawahara Reki, Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna, as I was able to know a bit more of who they are and finding out certain things about them. It was quite an interesting feeling. With all of my interviews completed, I wanted to enjoy what was left of Sakura-Con by taking more cosplay photos and checking out the Exhibitors’ area.

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Oh my goodness Sheryl and Basara crossover! Macross Frontier and Macross 7 in one.

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Lady Une, wow~

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As the convention wound down to final hours. I headed off to the Closing Ceremonies to end the event.

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Just like last year, overall, I had an enjoyable time. Even though I was working as press and covering as much as I can, there was a lot to cover for one person and I feel I missed quite a bit. However, it is one of the feelings that makes me want to go back to Sakura-Con and attend Anime Conventions in general. I hope to attend as a member of Press again, to bring you more coverage.

Overview impressions of Sakura-Con 2013 by Narmi – http://NarmiBlog.wordpress.com/

Photography: Narmi

by Narmi

Press Interview with Kawahara Reki @ Sakura-Con 2013

April 13, 2013 in Conventions by Narmi

With Kawahara Reki’s first time in North America and attending Sakura-Con 2013. I took the opportunity to be a part of the press interview with Kawahara, the creator and light novel author of the Sword Art Online and Accel World.

Before the interview began, we were asked not to take photos of Kawahara Reki during the interview. As a result, there will be no photos from the interview. However, while you are reading the interview transcript, I have provided a few photos from Kawahara’s public Question and Answer panel as your visual aids.

Enjoy.

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Question: If Sword Art Online was to turned into a real MMO, would you play it?

Kawahara: As long as it’s not “perma-death”, I might.

Question: This is your first convention in the states, is there food or anything you want to try while in Seattle?

Kawahara: I had, for the first time in my life, a real oatmeal this morning and it was very delicious. Though, I want to try a real American sized T-Bone Steak.

Question: In a recent interview. You said coming up with a simple idea of players trapped in an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) was the easy part, but finding the mechanism was the difficult part. You also admitted to the Nervegear having its faults, thus creating plot holes. My question, if you had more time or were able to go back, to add more to the story or fix the faults, what would you have done?

Kawahara: One of the things that I heard about: Would it be possible to instantaneously destroy the Nervegear the players were using? To make it inactive in time before it would kill the player. That was one of the things that was brought up to me. In order to combat such measures, one of the ideas was to have Kayaba announce that, should anyone attempt this or even succeed, another player at random will pay for that action.

Question: Asuna is a bit of a tricky character. She starts off as an incredibly strong fighter, an important political system of SAO. In the Alhiem arc, she was caged, sexually assaulted, and virtually replaced with women of half her ability and depth. What would you say to the critics who found her role problematic, especially given the often misogynistic climate of anime and gaming?

Kawahara: So as I said previously, the character of Asuna, I might have created too perfectly for SAO and when teamed up with Kirito. There was hardly any problem that the two, as a pair, could not overcome. So in order to increase the sense of urgency of the Fairy Dance (ALfheim Online) arc. I needed to make her unable help Kirito and caging her, I do have some regrets about putting her into a situation, in order to build up the sense of danger for Kirito’s adventure in the second story arc. As recompense internally, I made a story as a follow up called Mother’s Rosario, where Asuna is the main character. Should there be more animation, I would really like to see that story depicted.

Question: How much of Kirito’s personality and character is based off of your personality and character? Including characters you play as in other MMOs.

Kawahara: I don’t tend to place myself into my characters, but if I had to say, there was some point of Kirito and myself. There is the fact that both of us are not very good at forming parties. We tend to play solo, in these games, a lot.

Question: Between 2002 when you first submitted your submission for Dengeki Light Novel Award, between your actual publication at 2008 and before that. What did you do?

Kawahara: During that period, I was serializing SAO on my homepage and eventually that was picked up for publication, reworked, edited and released in 2008. I have to say I haven’t done the entirety of what I wrote on those pages in the novel series.

A) Narmi’s tidbit: Read Sword Art Online: Volume 1 Author Notes for a detailed answer to this question.
Question: Can you explain the process of how your work was turned into a multimedia phenomenon? From the start to its popularity.

Kawahara: First of all, if I had thought that it would become a multimedia phenomenon. I might have made the main character of Accel World, Haruyuki, a little bit more cooler. In the beginning, I was more worried about if I would succeed as a writer let alone thinking ahead of that to an animated version of my novels. When my editor came to me and said, “Hey, they want to animate this.” I was shocked for one, but very pleased to hear someone wanted to see it animated.

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Question: My question, the Sword Art Online novels aren’t readily available in English, there are a series of fan translators who took it upon themselves to translate the light novels from Japanese to English and publish translations to a website. I am curious what your thoughts about this are?

Kawahara: First of all, I am happy to hear that there are fans overseas who want to read the novels, to the point of having translations made. I brought this up to my editors and asked; “Why isn’t there?” and he said, “As soon as a publisher in the United States makes us an offer, I am definitely willing to consider it.”

Question: Obviously, Sword Art Online dwells heavily into MMOs. What are your experiences in MMOs and what are your favourites or games in general?

Kawahara: The one I play most is World of Warcraft, but more recently I am quite enjoying Diablo III. I am a really big fan of Blizzard’s games, but I am kind of sad that Japanese versions of these Blizzard games don’t exist.

Question: We heard you said you feel fortunate meeting with your editor, Miki Kazuma-san. Is there anything where you two couldn’t agree on at certain times? Any suggestions or comments you have?

Kawahara: Mr. Miki is a fantastic editor. He would never raise his voice or get angry about any sort of disagreements. But, he is also the type of person that won’t back down from an idea, so when we don’t see eye to eye, it becomes a very long conversation.

Question: How are you able to craft such a believable virtual game within your stories? In other shows, such efforts are more unrealistic and corny, you can say.

Kawahara: I was able to make the virtual world Sword Art Online by studying various American Sci-Fi novelists, all the movies in the US that feature virtual reality and learning from those things, I was able to incorporate a lot of what I learned and experienced into my world.

(Follow up)

Translator’s question to Kawahara: Any particular titles?

Kawahara: The founding roots came from James P. Hogan’s novel about a character being trapped in a virtual reality world. The Japanese title is; Kasou Kukan Keikaku.

*Narmi’s tidbit: Realtime Interrupt is the novel Kawahara is referring to.*
Question: Right now you are busy with all of your success. What do you like to do when you are not busy and actually have sometime off? Do you have any hobbies?

Kawahara: In my answer, if I take online games out of that equation, I really like to ride road bikes. I even bought a trek bicycle. When I heard about what happened to Lance Armstrong, I felt, very, saddened.

*Narmi’s Tidbit: Kawahara quickly notes about him road biking in Sword Art Online: Volume 10 Author Notes*
Question: In your recent interview, you stated you tend to use strategy guides for RPGs (Role Playing Games). If you were to create one for SAO, what would you include? What kind of advice would you give? Other than “Don’t die”.

Kawahara: Ok, if I can’t put in “Don’t die” or other than “Don’t die”. It would be “Don’t leave the town”. (Panel laughs)

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Question: When was it that you decided to become a novelist, and decided this was the career you would like to follow? Did it start in your childhood days, or was it simply your love of writing, or reading stories that lead to your current career?

Kawahara: I always liked creating stories since I was little. The initial profession I wanted to strive to become was a game scenario or story writer but that dream never came to be. So, at some point I had become a writer.

(Follow up)

Question: At which point did you switch from wanting to be a game-writer to a novelist?

Kawahara: When I was a student at school, I definitely wanted to become a game-writer but there was a big hurdle to become a game-writer. You had to work for a gaming company and getting hired at a gaming company was an extremely high wall that I was unable to climb over. So I found myself becoming a writer after becoming a student, in my 20′s.

Question: Looking at the sales figures of the Anime adaptations of Accel World and Sword Art Online. If by any indication, Accel World sold about 8,000 to 10,000 units per DVD/BD combined sales in comparison to Sword Art Online selling at about 35,000 to 40,000 units per volume and still going. I believe about 131,000 volumes of the PSP game were sold in the first week, if I am not missing a zero here. The numbers here show that Sword Art Online is a lot more popular than Accel World. What do you think of these discrepancies of the sales? I heard one possible explanation that Sword Art Online is more girl-friendly. A lot of girls really like Kirito, so the girls went out and bought the DVD/BD and games. What do you think of that?

Kawahara: It is true that the fan base for Sword Art Online in various age groups is very high, including female fans. But for me, I wrote Accel World directed to a younger audience. Seeing the discrepancy in the numbers, personally disappoints me, that the figures aren’t like that for Accel World. But for me, worrying about numbers is the worry of our publishing company and the animation company, Aniplex. So I myself try not to think about sales figures.

Question: What did you expect coming to Sakura-Con and being at the end of it. What are your good, bad, or weird experiences you had?

Kawahara: I have to say, at Sakura-Con. I was very happy to see so many Kiritos here. Seeing the panel room filled with so many fans, and so many fans reacting so positively and openly in such a forum was a big surprise and a very happy experience for me. I can’t imagine such an event happening in Japan in the middle of such a large city, in such a large venue and the fans having the types of reactions that they expressed here in Japan.

Aniplex representative: We are out of time. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming to Reki Kawahara’s Press conference.

(Applause and thank you going around.)

Press Interview with Kawahara Reki @ Sakura-Con 2013 by Narmi

Transcriber & Photographer: Narmi – http://NarmiBlog.wordpress.com/

*Many thanks to SutoraikuAnime. For confirming the novel Kawahara referred too as, Realtime Interrupt*

*SIDE NOTE – Narmi: For the interview article, I wanted to keep it as close to the actual dialogue in the interview. Even though the grammar of the questions and answers aren’t correct. My belief is, by being as close to “word for word” from the interview. This style of writing will help you experience the interview for what it is. I hope you will understand my desire, to keeping it as close to the actual experience I had.*

*Side note [May 14th 2013] – UNCUT version of the interview is on on my blog site.*