So even though I have lived close to Hoboken, NJ for the entire time that Castle Point Anime Con has been running (since 2008, making this the 6th year) I’ve never actually attended until now. Castle Point Anime Con is the annual 1-day anime convention run at Steven Institute of Technology. The first thing that I noticed when I arrived was the large crowd of people waiting in line to pick-up badges. This is really impressive to see such a large crowd so early in the morning (the program guide expects 2100 people to attend). The crowds were sizeable throughout the day; luckily it was a nice day so the crowds were able to expand to the nice lawns between buildings, giving it something of an AnimeNEXT feel. Something that struck me as interesting was the number of people who were blasting music out of their windows. This was pretty surprising to me since this didn’t happen during the other college con I attended, Genericon 2013, and didn’t happen too much where I lived but then again, there are no big events near the residences at Cook.
The dealer’s room at this convention was quite impressive. It wasn’t a massive room, like at Otakon (but honestly nothing is as big as Otakon’s except NYCC’s but both of those pull 5 or 6 digits of attendees). There were the usual standouts like Sci-fi Continuum, who I always manage to find something I haven’t been able to get my hands on, this time I managed to grab both Next World and Lost World by Osamu Tezuka. There was one booth that stood out to me, I neglected to get the name but they had the oddest collection of dolls and action figures I have ever seen. I was surprised to see things from Fist of the North Star but what really threw me for a loop was the presence of Cat’s Eye figures. Yes, I’m sure the one Cat’s Eye fan out there is shocked that someone is selling this stuff. I feel like they could succeed with this merchandise on eBay or at a bigger convention but the attendance of this con is too small and too young (vast majority under 35) to even know or care about those properties.
I presented a new panel at CPAC this year, What is Anime?, which I requested to have an early slot and was given one starting at 10AM, which was the first timeslot other than Opening Ceremonies. The panel wasn’t perfect and I tended to use clips that ran a little long and a little violent but other than that people were interested and ask questions. I hope to improve this panel for AnimeBoston. I expect to talk over the clips a little more and shorten them a little bit. I will be posting my notes for that panel soon.
After this I stopped in the Evil Greg Productions panel. Evil Greg Productions seems to be a group of people who make short films that are released on YouTube. I sat through part of one and that was painful enough. They really suffered from laughing too much at your own joke. It was near painful at times.
As I am sure the regular readers know I am mainly a watcher of subtitled anime. However, sometimes I find myself in a panel room with an American voice actor, this happened to me at CPAC. Two of the guests of the con were Kyle Hebert and Mike McFarland, and I decided to attend the Video Game Voice Acting Workshop. This seems crazy of me since I barely watch dubs and play even less video games. The panel had two parts, first was the standard Q&A, and second was the workshop portion, where members of the audience got to try to be voice-actors at the direction of both Kyle and Mike.
The Q&A portion was fairly tame only once did someone ask the question of “how do I take your job,” which is surprising, maybe at least people are learning that this is a terrible thing to ask. Not that much interesting came out of this part. However, the second part of this panel was a ton of fun to watch. What essentially happened was that an audience member would come up and be asked to make a few attack sounds, each stronger than the last, and a few sounds getting hit, again each stronger than the last, and finally make the sounds of dying. This was fun to watch and probably the most informative part of any voice-actor panel yet. The two of them were not particularly mean to any of the people but they went into some of the more obnoxious details of the work, like having to stand still and having someone nit-pick your work as you make silly sounds, but having to make the right silly sounds. I highly recommend this one if you see it on a con’s schedule.
So the final panel I attended was in fact my own panel, Science in Anime. This is the second time that I presented, the first time being last year at AnimeNEXT, and my co-host, Walt Amos, has taken this panel and run with it, this being his fourth time presenting, having presented at Anime Weekend Atlanta and Genericon, in the past year. This panel felt more polished than it did at AnimeNEXT and hopefully I can pull it off at AnimeBoston this year. I will
also be posting notes for this panel fairly soon.
All in all I had a great time at the con. It felt much more relaxed than say an Otakon or even AnimeNEXT. I fully hope to attend next year and present better panels next year.