Crunchyroll Con 2017: Adventure to Santa Clara: The Drive

I headed out to pick up Heather from Monterey Park after I filled up my Gas tank. Traffic to Hollywood was a bit fuller than I expected (due to a couple of accidents), but I made it! We both packed light (just 1 backpack & 1 extra bag each). We made a quick stop at the Magic castle to drop off a package for a friend, then off we went on the 5 North.

This was my first time driving out of L.A.. I’ve gone out of town before, but I have been a passenger – in a car, on a train, or on a plane. I was in the driver seat and let me tell you, it was thrilling. I am so used to the city. On our drive there were long stretches of nothing. I was grateful that I was encouraged to get gas at half tank. We didn’t pass many gas stations on our way up – and boy am I glad we didn’t break down on the side of the road.

A friend I made at Crunchyroll Con (CRX), who will remain nameless, broke down a couple of times. He was lucky enough to get some help, but, at one point, had to walk over 2 miles. He also had spotty reception on the way up to Santa Clara (as did we), so that was not helpful to him at all.

Lesson of the drive? Carry a small gas tank in your trunk, just in case. Try to travel with a buddy. Be sure to take breaks to stretch your legs and get food. If possible, drive and be fed to get better travel time, be considerate of your passenger/s, be sure you’re air conditioner is in working order if you are going long distance in high temperatures, make sure your tires aren’t on their last legs, make sure your car is in fit working order, carry snacks, be sure to eat a banana a day for sore muscles. If you must pull over on the freeway, do so off to the right side & be sure to carry an emergency car kit in your car.

Crunchyroll Con: Checking in & Checking Out

Where should you check in first, your hotel or the convention? This depends on multiple factors. Did you come in from out of town? Will check in for the convention be open by the time you get there? Do you know the parking situation? Can you get shuttle to and from the hotel? Do you know how traffic is in the area you are going? I’ll tell you what we did and what we will do next time. Remember, life is a learning experience.

Having arrived on day 0 from out of town after a 6 hour drive, we chose to check in to our hotel first. We found our room and unpacked, so that we would not need to do so when we got back. We found that there was parking closer to us on our way to our room, so we made a plan to park THERE when we got back.

After checking in to the hotel & unpacking, we headed out to the convention center. Using google maps, we plotted our course. We got lost on our way to the convention center from our hotel, even WITH google maps. We arrived to the convention center after about 45 minutes and wound up parking in the loading dock. We couldn’t quite figure out what the parking situation was and gave up.

We are from Los Angeles, the city of free parking only in residential areas where a permit is not required and certain shopping areas. Picking up our badges took about 10 minutes. Getting back to the hotel took about 2 hours. Please note, our hotel was, technically, a 10 minute drive from the convention center. Having had this adventure on Day 0 & having found out that there was a shuttle available to and from our hotel (courtesy of the hotel), we used a shuttle to get to the convention on Day 1.

I got a lift back to the hotel with a fellow con attendee who I met in line for an autograph – he was also staying at the same hotel and was also going to go take a kip after getting his poster autographed. I drove back, in the night time, after a quick freshening up. Thanks to my fellow attendee, I found out about the free parking next to the convention center. It also helped that I now knew a direct rout to and from the hotel.

On day 2 I drove, boy was I grateful that I did. Getting shuttled would have been a madhouse. People were not being allowed to stop in front of the convention center, not even at the UPS parking section. I was just picking up a mystery bag I bout earlier in the day (it was huge). Having had a successful morning at the con & knowing check out was at noon, I headed back a bit early.

We checked out at 11 am on day 2, though check in was at 12. There was a misunderstanding about check out time, we had the correct time, the staff person who knocked on the door, however, thought otherwise. We made sure to let the front desk know about the lipstick on the mirror & the weird knock by the staff at our door.

Next time, because I hope there will be a next time, we will be better prepared. We will check in at the hotel, then we will ask to be shuttled to the convention center (on day 0) and ask to be picked up after getting our badges. We will drive ourselves on day 1 & hopefully be able to stay until day 3.

Before leaving Los Angels, we will map out where there are gas stations all along the way to and from our destination. We will be sure to always fill up at half tank, as we did this time. We will be sure our phones are never on silent (my bad). We will carry our charger with us(we thought we would be okay without this one time). We will check out by 11:45 and not a moment sooner. Also, if the hotel has apples and lemonade out for guests, as our hotel did, we will be sure to get some on each exit trip and not just on our way out of town.

Streaming Service: New Convention: Fear & I: Crunchyroll & Overcoming Fear

A few years ago, I was in a car accident on the freeway. The accident made me weary of driving on the freeway. My love of Anime and Crunchyroll motivated me to push past my fear and drive to Santa Clara. The moral support of Heather, my friend, helped get me through it (& she taught me many road trip tips).

This was Crunchyroll’s first ever convention. I think the convention was well organized, considering this was their first time. I found the whole trip wonderful & was lucky to spend time with wonderful people. The best part was that I was able to walk around (so glad to be mobile again!).

I am glad I was able to attend. For a long while I was afraid my mobility wouldn’t be back enough for the trip, but the doctors have helped me recover. I am so happy. Not at 100% yet, but recovery is coming along. Thank you to everyone.

I had an easier time driving back to Los Angeles and even let Heather take the wheel. I napped for most of the time she was driving and trusted her implicitly. I am thankful she went with me. She dropped everything to go. She didn’t know what Crunchyroll was, but still, she went. I am glad to have her for a friend. We got lost a couple of times, but she made sure we got back on the right path (the misadventure sequences lasted a total of 20 minutes of our trip up to Santa Clara). Thank you for being such a good friend, Heather. Thank you Crunchyroll, for having a convention.

NOTE: My lack of mobility and car accident are unrelated. But, you know, one bad experience can sometimes follow you through life until you confront it.

Anime & I

I started watching anime when I was a small kid by accident. This was back when Blockbuster was still around and small mom and pop VHS rental places were EVERYWHERE. I saw Kiki’s Delivery Service when I was around 1. It was a mistake of my parent’s. Little did they know they would be introducing me to what is now a lifelong media consumption hobby.

When I saw Sailor Moon for the first time, I knew it was similar to what I had seen before, of course, this was still in my Barney the Dinosaur is amazing age and I couldn’t quite yet put into words why this animation was more captivating to me. When my mother and I would go to movie rental places, I would ask if they had anything new that “looked like that,” and take home whatever did. I would also take home stuff like “Conan the Barbarian” (I now own most of the original novels) & Horror films. My mom let me. Funny thing is, I was 7 when I first saw Conan & paused the film when the girl was changing because there were breasts explicitly shown and I thought it was too adult for me because of this. I was a prude at 7 & Anime was amazing to me.

In high school I joined an anime club at school & tried to socialize. I was terrible at it. I didn’t have much experience with people my own age and found social situations difficult. My first ever boyfriend hated Anime with a passion, but didn’t know what it was called. I played dumb when I found out, he apparently did not know that many of the shows I had described to him were anime – ha! Joke was on me.

In 2006 I attended my first anime convention, it would not be my last. The first year I went to an anime convention, I went with the anime club from school. It was very difficult to both play dumb and be super excited about being around other people who liked the things I liked. Coincidentally, 2006 was also the year Crunchyroll started.

I remember getting on the 30 (sometimes the 31) metro bus with my partner (he was the guy I had a huge crush on who didn’t think of me that way) & making a day of being in Little Tokyo. We would go to the book store and to the one store that was around that had anime and Lolita stuff. It was so exciting to eat mochie and discuss manga, as though it was the only thing in the world. There was also a small fish pet store over by “The College” that had a small collection of anime & manga (it is still there, to this day). I remember when companies went bankrupt and novels were shelved. I remember when tower records went out of business and I mourned another anime distribution place near me going away.

A lot has changed over the years. Anime is now “all the rage.” Anime Expo had 357,178 unique visitors this year (2017). The gold line now connects Little Tokyo to the little fish pet store, “that one little store,” it has expanded to multiple specialty shops across the street form the original place, & one can now ride the train from the LA convention center to Santa Monica.

I attended Anime Expo for 9 years (2015 was the last time I went) & have looked for smaller anime conventions since 2006 (including ALA) to get a better (not so crowded) experience. I have followed the expansion and evolution of Crunchyroll and almost missed the deadline to apply for the press pass because I was out of the loop for a few months due to a physical issue. I was stoked when I got the confirmation, but that quickly turned to lethargy. I was having difficulty because I wasn’t going to be able to afford the trip. Luckily, in the end, I was. My boss even moved my schedule around so I could go, come back, and work a normal week (I only recently started working more, again).

Cut to August 24, 2017. I never thought I would be here – living in a predominately Japanese area, with access to anime as it becomes available in Japan, with a partner who loves me and anime (and video games and fantasy and can debate world building and authors), working at my childhood dream job (funeral home), able to attend anime conventions, & adventuring with strangers who are as devoted, if not MORE devoted, to anime than I am.

Anime, I would be a different person without you. Thank you for the lessons, the friends, and the entertainment. May anime never die.

Culturally, Historically, or Aesthetically Significant Film #1: AKIRA: ANIME FILM: Premiered in 1988

 

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  ⭐  ( 5/5 stars )
 _______________________
Length:  2h 5m
8.1/10 IMDb
87% Rotten Tomatoes
Based on Manga by Katsuhira Otomo & contains a condensed plot with less characters than the manga.
Post-Apocalyptic/ Apocalyptic, Cyberpunk, Political
Deals with themes of: Social Isolation, Corruption, Power
Available in Sub & Dub. on HULU
  _______________________
This film revolutionized anime. It was the first to prerecord dialogue, i a time when animation would stay still and the mouth would move. The lines were recorded, then the animation was made, to match the words. The film even used computer generated imagery to outline where falling debri would be and  help animation bes fluid.
The visuals linger in your mind. This is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. It was a film ahead of its time. The animation, to this day, is superb. This film greatly influenced modern films (animated and live action), t.v., & anime around the globe. The beginning, well, it alone had not been seen before. Wondering what modern film was greatly influenced by AKIRA? The Matrix, for one.
I have watched this film many times over the years. Every time I watch it I am immediately immersed. Something I love about the film is that each time I watch it, reactions seem real, the background (buildings and lights) have real world lighting – oh my. My favorite non-main character is the waitress.
You may need to watch this film  couple of times to understand what is going on.
 _______________________
IMDb PLOT SUMMARY:
A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop. (124 mins.)
  _______________________
Google Film Synopses:
In 1988 the Japanese government drops an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP  experiments on children go awry. In 2019, 31 years after the nuking of  the city, Kaneda, a bike gang leader, tries to save his friend Tetsuo  from a secret government project. He battles anti-government activists,  greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military  leader until Tetsuo’s supernatural powers suddenly manifest. A final  battle is fought in Tokyo Olympiad exposing the experiment’s secrets.

Article #1: CRUNCHYROLL

“Crunchyroll started as a passion project that I created with my buddies from Berkeley (Go Bears). It’s grown to a global streaming platform that brings Japanese anime and drama to millions of fans around the world. By partnering with the leading Asian content creators, we’re able to bring the most popular series…to millions of fans internationally.”
~Kun Gao, the Co-Founder and CEO of Crunchyroll, ( written on Reddit 2+ years ago)
—————————————-
Crunchyroll was founded by graduates from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Crunchyroll hosts over 20 million users world wide, with over 1 million of those being paid subscribers. “Crunchy,” as Crunchyroll is often shortened to, by users, started out as a for profit video upload & streaming site. Unlicensed fan subbed versions of shows were uploaded by users for other users of the site. It is now a legal distributor that is committed to hosting only content with legitimate distribution rights.
There are over 950 shows available, with over 8,000 hours of officially licensed content available in multiple languages.
At home, we have “Crunchyroll Premium.” This means we have access to shows minutes (sometimes an hour, sometimes a couple of days) after they air in Japan with no ads, in High Definition quality. Shows are, generally, available an hour after they air. Their library (what is available through them) contains anime, manga, & dramas. There are three membership options, Free ($0.00 a month), Premium ($6.95 a month), & Premium+ ($11.95). I find Premium to be enough.
The downsides of Crunchyroll are few, but they can be quite annoying. Sometimes show lists take up to 10 minutes to load. Sometimes Crunchyroll is down on Premium (nothing will load) but is available on the free version, but then we have to deal with commercials – and sometimes the commercials freeze, so they take, what feels like forever. Sometimes both Free & Premium won’t load, even after they have been exited, or uninstalled, then reinstalled, & signed back into. Sometimes you have to exit the app completely then log back in to scroll through shows, then repeat when you want the next episode & it won’t load. We keep using it though. It has the shows as they air in Japan, & there are few things we enjoy more than fresh content that is good.
Not all anime is going to be your type of anime. To find out what you like, watch it all, at least a bit of each show. Sometimes the first episode won’t hook you, but the 3rd one will. Sometimes it is all bad, but you watch until the end anyway (Why I have done , I like to call optimism.) & then go nuts asking yourself ‘why, ‘ while you go over everything that was bad in excruciating detail in your head and out loud to someone else who watched the show. Just because a friend liked a show, that doesn’t mean you will.
A recent show that was worth watching through until the end and had a great pay out ending, for me, was ‘Coffin Princess Chaika’. Conversely, a recent show I found to be terrible and unsatisfying, but I watched every agonizingly bad episode of was ‘Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World’.
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 http://www.crunchyroll.com/
https://m.facebook.com/pg/Crunchyroll/
https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2b26ou/im_kun_gao_the_cofounder_and_ceo_of_crunchyroll/

 

ANIME SUMMER PICKS OF THE WEEK

Jul 16 at 8:00am
This week was another one filled with summer premiers on Crunchyroll. Of the new shows that came out, I found four to have stood out above the rest! There are five shows in the picture, you say? Yes, well, one has been top on my list of summer anime since it came out. I just have to include it on my anime watch list (Knight’s & Magic). Surprisingly, ¾ shows are slice of life with no magic.

Check out out “Crunchyroll Pick of the the week” to read more about Knight’s & Magic: https://www.patreon.com/posts/review-3-of-week-12802158

Top Premiers of the week:

1. Gamers!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I want to see how this plays out. It could, easily go bad. So far it is pretty entertaining. Perfect for anyone who has ever been terrible in social situations and knows what it is like to keep your cool on the outside while freaking out on the inside. Also,  have you ever thought you found people with similar interests only to find they are way more intense than you? Then you may just find this entertaining. *slice of life*

2. Classroom of the Elite

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I want to see how this unfolds. Interpersonal relationships & human character analysis play a big part. This is an intense show that could turn into a favorite. The protagonist isn’t driven to do anything, but he is obviously capable. He seems like a reasonable & well adjusted guy who puts in as much effort as is required and has a good moral compass. So far, he is no hero though. *slice of life*

3. Angel’s 3Piece

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A male high school shut in, three lollis, a church, wonderfully rendered animation and pleasant music. Yaasss. This is perfect for anyone who loves music and for whoever wants to watch a show centered around young people who love music. Perfect for a music & instrument buff.

4. In Another World With My Smartphone

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

OP protagonist who is kind & rational, with God intervention, reincarnation, magic, & implied harem story line. This is definitely not for anyone who lacks a sense of humor or is part of the conservative religious right. Also, ice cream!

This week was another one filled with summer premiers on Crunchyroll. Of the new shows that came out, I found four to have stood out above the rest! There are five shows in the picture, you say? Yes, well, one has been top on my list of summer anime since it came out. I just have to include it on my anime watch list (Knight’s & Magic). Surprisingly, ¾ shows are slice of life with no magic.

Check out out “Crunchyroll Pick of the the week” to read more about Knight’s & Magic: https://www.patreon.com/posts/review-3-of-week-12802158

Top Premiers of the week:

1. Gamers!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I want to see how this plays out. It could, easily go bad. So far it is pretty entertaining. Perfect for anyone who has ever been terrible in social situations and knows what it is like to keep your cool on the outside while freaking out on the inside. Also,  have you ever thought you found people with similar interests only to find they are way more intense than you? Then you may just find this entertaining. *slice of life*

2. Classroom of the Elite

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I want to see how this unfolds. Interpersonal relationships & human character analysis play a big part. This is an intense show that could turn into a favorite. The protagonist isn’t driven to do anything, but he is obviously capable. He seems like a reasonable & well adjusted guy who puts in as much effort as is required and has a good moral compass. So far, he is no hero though. *slice of life*

3. Angel’s 3Piece

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A male high school shut in, three lollis, a church, wonderfully rendered animation and pleasant music. Yaasss. This is perfect for anyone who loves music and for whoever wants to watch a show centered around young people who love music. Perfect for a music & instrument buff.

4. In Another World With My Smartphone

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

OP protagonist who is kind & rational, with God intervention, reincarnation, magic, & implied harem story line. This is definitely not for anyone who lacks a sense of humor or is part of the conservative religious right. Also, ice cream!

Review #3: CRUNCHYROLL FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: Knight’s Magic

Published on: Jul 9 at 7:00pm

The summer season began earlier this month, much to my delight. There are a few shows that seem interesting. Top on the list is the show Knight’s and Magic. This show deals with reality, parallel worlds, & reincarnation.

This show is perfect for those who like fantasy, magic, the middle ages, mechas, & assertive male protagonists.

What do I like? The protagonist is a precocious and intelligent white haired, assertive male, who is guided by his own moral compass, is fearless, & doesn’t have difficulty forming friendships. That’s it. That is the show. The world has a set of laws and the protagonist basically does things because “why not?” His cute factor helps. Sure, he jumps in blind, but it isn’t annoying (like Ash from Pokemon, or Tai from Digimon, or Rin Okuma from Blue Exorcist). He jumps in blind because he reincarnated into another world and remembers his past life in modern day Earth. He has no fear of death. It helps that he isn’t a “chosen one” though. He doesn’t do things out of any type of obligation.