Despite me being unemployed at the time, we were not able to attend the Comic Con on Thursday because Mayu had to work that night. I had to just be satisfied watching G4's coverage of the Con on Attack of the Show. They had a special announcement from the set of Indiana Jones 4, which will be released on Memorial Day weekend 2008, in which Harrison Ford and Steven Spielburg addressed the Comic Con attendees. The big surprise was that the character Marion Ravenwood will be in the new movie.
Day 2: Friday, July 27th:
Early Friday morning we drove to San Diego in a rented Dodge Calibur, which makes excellent gas mileage. We could've possibly made it all the way to San Diego from Phoenix on one tank of gas, but we filled up in El Cajon or some place like that before getting into town, just to be careful. Halfway there, we stopped in Yuma for breakfast/lunch at Burger King. I really do not eat Burger King very often, especially since there are way better places to get a hamburger where I live (Lenny's Burgers in North Phoenix FTW!), but the BK in Yuma is especially good. Maybe the food is fresher there because they make it on an as-needed basis since it is a smaller town; I dunno. But we scored a cool Simpsons toy there from the new Simpsons movie that was released nationwide while the Comic Con was in progress.
When we got to San Diego, our first destination was our hotel, the Old Town Inn in Old Town. Our first choice, La Pensione Hotel in Little Italy, was booked solid way in advance in January or so, and I had bought our Comic Con tickets back in April even. Old Town Inn was located very conveniently to the Old Town trolley station, so it was very advantageous. Well, the trolley was packed solid when it finally arrived and we had to wait for the next one to come by. They now have direct connections to the Con on the trolley this year, which we didn't get six years ago. We learned that it wasn't so crowded to just take the regular trolley and transfer at the Amtrak station. Pre-registration is now entirely essential at the Comic Con. Ten years ago I was able to show up on a Saturday and pay the one-day admission, but that is now out of the question to do so. Since Transformers was the big movie in July, we saw plenty of Transformers cosplayers wandering around in the upper deck (aka "the sails") where the pre-reg is located. Some of them were crappy, but some were very great. I'd taken pictures of a cool Soundwave costumer as well as a Macross Valkyrie, but stupid me deleted these by accident. D'oh!
I saw Stan Lee! He was up on a pedestal and they were giving him an award for something. Probably the award for "having the most fun a person should be allowed to have" or something.
In the last row of pictures you'll see Anime Gamers, a branch off from the Gamers stores in Japan. While not nearly as cool as the type of Gamers store I'm used to in Japan, it is cool to see Gamers in the USA. The next picture is Jungle, and offshoot of the Jungle store in Japan. The first Jungle I ever went to was in Osaka's Den Den Town, and it was well-known for its selection of anime laserdiscs. The Jungle store in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo does have a decent-sized selection of laserdiscs in the back corner of the store, but it is mostly known for its awesome selection of PVC figures and miscellaneous anime merchandise.
One of the big announcements was the release of the USPS Marvel Super Heroes stamps. Incredibly cool, especially since I really didn't care much for the DC Super Hero stamps because I really do not like DC characters one bit.
Doug Tennapel was there, the creator of Earthworm Jim. I told him that my friends and myself loved the cartoon series, and asked him if the show will ever see the light of day beyond hard-to-find VHS videos. He said that there's no chance of Earthworm Jim ever being released on DVD. This made me sad, but it was cool to meet him in person.
There is just so much going on at the Comic Con each year. I really should have spent more time studying the entire schedule of events. We showed up early to the 30 Years of Star Wars presentation, only to catch the last half of the Blade Runner presentation. Ridley Scott was there, along with Syd Mead, Sean Young, and a few other actors from the movie. When asked if he would make a sequel to Blade Runner, Ridley Scott said he'd consider it. But has Ridley Scott ever done a sequel to any of his films? I remember many years ago there was talk on the Net about Scott doing a movie called "Metropolis" that was going to be based in the same universe as Blade Runner, but not necessarily a direct sequel. Apparently this "final" cut of Blade Runner will make it definite that Deckard is a Replicant. He said that a sequel would hang around the words, "It's too bad she won't live, but then again who does?" Only in the original release of the movie was there a happy ending where there was no expiration date for Rachel. Sean Young then said, "Well hey, if there's a sequel, I'll be in it!" I really doubt it, but then again, maybe Scott was testing the waters at the Comic Con this weekend to see if he should make a sequel. He did mention that he's making plans to make a movie of Phillip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle." If they do make another Blade Runner movie, I want it to be full of 80's technology like the original. I want to see CRT monitors instead of flat panel screens, noisy neon signs, etc!
Left: David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader, was there (got to shake his hand), and I got to shake his hand. Right: Lego Spongebob.
Neat toys at the Toynami booth: Mospeada on top and Golion/Voltron at the bottom.
I stopped by the AnimEigo booth. Yawara has been delayed, as can be expected. But it is in good hands with Animeigo, since they truly love the classics. (I'm so glad I picked up their box sets of Orange Road and Macross before they lost those licences). I did get a freebie DVD of the first four Yawara episodes!
I finally got to meet Peter Payne at J-List. I had corresponded with him years ago about teaching English in Japan in the mid- to late-90s before I got the job in 2000. It was cool talking to him in person. I asked him if they'll ever release their Seishun Shitemasu fandubs on a DVD, and he deferrred me to the guy known as "Dr. Teeth" who did the sound for the shows. He says they may leak them out on the net sometime, although I think they may already be floating around somewhere. The ones I've known about were Robotech 3 (using Gunbuster footage), Kimagure Orange Road the Armageddon (using KOR and Akira footage), Laputa 2 (Nadia), Ranma 1/3: Notes from the Closet, and Voltron. Apparently they did a Robotech 4 (Macross II) and a Sailor Moon fandub. These are hilarious fandubs and it makes me wish I would've been able to attend AX when they used to get away with showing this type of stuff there.
More cool pics:
Left: "I'm on a never ending quest to save my girlfriend!" Right: Shogun Warriors.
There was a really cool Japanese R2-D2 pachinko game there too.
Left: How many nerds have considered naming their daughter's first and middle names Ellen Ripley? Right: "This is my boomstick!"
Vinyl toys on display: Gloomy Bear and that fat Ronald from Super Size Me.
On the trolley to the convention center.
We got to see the Star Wars panel that morning. The new Clone Wars show will be a CGI animated show, not a cartoon like it was years ago. However, the character designs are similar to the original cartoon. We also learned that there will indeed be a Star Wars TV show. Hopefully it's more interesting than the new Battlestar Galactica. Seth McFarlane was there (not a big fan of his), to announce that the season premiere of Family Guy will be a spoof of Star Wars episode 4. In other Star Wars news, Seth Green was there for a Robot Chicken panel. I missed the panel due to a small room and too many people in line. He was showing the making of the Robot Chicken Star Wars episode.
The Simpsons panel's Q&A session featured the most inept, incoherent dorks I've ever seen. Holy crap, I wonder if some of these people leap into line to ask a question without even having a question to begin with, and hoping that by the time it is their turn that they'll think of something. I think one guy was mentally handicapped, and several others had weird speech impediments. I felt sorry for Matt Groening and the rest of the panelists to have such retarded fans. One jerk even insulted Al Jean by asking if they'll ever change the head writer/director of the show. I could tell that Al looked flustered after that and even said that it was a very insulting comment. I was tempted to just get up and walk out because the questions were so inane. The best thing they showed was a preview of the upcoming Simpsons Halloween episode where Marge kills Peter from Family Guy with an electric screwdriver.
Left: Uglydolls! David Horvath! Right: Kaiju Big Battel. Goofy stuff.
Left: Chairman Mao...se? Right: Alien Hominid is about to eat that kid!
More Fate/Stay Night merchandise.
Left: This robot just looked cool. Right: The infamous lamp from A Christmas Story.
Left: The Mach 5 was on display. Right: Objection!
Left: More goodness at the Toynami booth. Macross! Right: Mayu fell in love with Caveman Robot!
The Futurama panel was awesome. Matt Groening was there of course, along with four of the voice talents from the show: Katey Segal (Leela), Billy West (Fry, Zoidberg, Professor Farnsworth), John DiMaggio (Bender), and Maurice LaMarche (Kiff, Morbo). A small Futurama comic book was passed around, and the cast did a reading of the book with the characters' voices! It was awesome. They also showed a commercial for the new upcoming series. 4 full-length movies will be released on DVD, and they will also be split up into 16 episodes for viewing on Comedy Central.
That's it for Saturday. I was unable to see the Family Guy Star Wars episode because the long was way too long. I'll have to wait until it airs on TV.
Day 3: Saturday, July 28th:
On Sunday my wife and I woke up super early before sunrise to go sea fishing at Point Loma for a half day expedition and didn't catch anything. She really enjoys fishing, but I don't. We bought a one day fishing license for her and I went along for moral support. Last time, I got seasick and I had to lie flat on the back of the boat most of the time just to calm down. This time, I came prepared with Dramamine, so I was actually fine on the boat. It really is a waste of money, and the only real fish being caught are the long trips out to sea. For the price we paid for this boring boat trip, we could have had an expensive dinner at a sushi restaurant.
We ate lunch and returned to the Comic Con. We finished up Comic Con and got a few good closeout deals in the last few hours of the con in the dealers room, and hit the San Diego Zoo for a few hours. We bought special passes from AAA, so we got to ride the tram and learned some stuff we wouldn't have learned normally. For example, there is one animal that has oil glands that makes it smell like buttered popcorn. I bet it doesn't taste like popcorn though. It was the end of the day, so we got to see the pandas and there was no waiting in line. Mainly we got to see some lazy animals lounging around and taking naps.
Left: Zzz. Right: Zzz.
Here are some signs I noticed at the zoo:
Left: I just wouldn't call this critter a "lesser" panda to his face. Wouldn't want to hurt his feelings. Right: I sure hope this doesn't mean that there's no such thing as a "flock" of seagulls...
The day after SDCC, Monday, July 29th:
I bought a lot of neat stuff and I felt good about it. Here's my final loot from the Con:
SDCC06Excl. Bunny Girl Bome figure; Murasame model; 08th MS Team Gundam model; Galaxy Express 999 model; Macross dipsplay stands for Valkyrie models (never knew these existed!); SDCC07 Star Wars T-shirt.
Robotech Max Valkyrie super poseable figure; Revoltech figures of Megatron, Optimus Prime, and Saber Alter; Tick comics.
Tick bumper sticker; Sam&Max sketch book "The Effigy Mound" signed by Steve Purcell; Madox-01 DVD; Caveman Robot comic books; Yawara sample DVD of episodes 1-4 (from AnimEigo's booth).
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