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Ani-Me Con 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Ani-Me Con 2017, March 18-19th @ the Big Fresno Fairgrounds in Fresno California.

For my latest convention report for 2017, I traveled to Fresno, California for this year’s Ani-Me Con.

Attendance was just over 7,000 for the weekend, making this year their biggest convention yet.

Some of the things you would have found at Ani-Me Con this year included the live action role playing of “Terras Wars”. As well as Ani-Me standards such as the collector card game tournaments, comedy acts, band performances, panels, dance crews and a rave on Saturday night. And also a cosplay contest that took place on both days plus a fashion show.

Special guests include voice talent Erik Kimerer, Sarah Annie Williams and Erika Harlacher and on Saturday there were panels on voice acting, experiences in the industry and autograph signings.

Band performances by “Coast in the clouds” and “Light of mine” and on Sunday a performance by the band “For the record”. Artist panel was by Hyperbooster studio who displayed his talents including drawing manga and also there was a comedy act by Vanna Vandal.

There were three different dance crews on Saturday which include “Empire Dance Crew”, “Royal T”, “Corps Dance Crew” with their hip-hop sailors scouts routine, which was a lot of fun to watch.

On Sunday we had singing and dancing performances by “Lovely Rushers”, who I think did a fantastic job, even though they were not the last act onstage on Sunday, they were a hard act to follow.

On Saturday and Sunday, Ani-Me hosted a cosplay contest. I am really impressed with the level cosplay that’s happening in the Central Valley. From beginner to advance, people are putting a lot of effort and a lot of thought into the costumes of their making. This year they had a fashion show on Sunday, featuring the designs of Miss Alphabet. Very colorful, very fun and the presentation was done very well, quite impressive.

Overall, Ani-Me has definitely grown compared to last year. I have lightly touched, on a lot of the different things that was available at Ani-Me Con.

I haven’t talked about what was on the main floor all the different items that were for sale at reasonably market prices. Like items from Japan, PVC figures, hoodies, games, card games and etc.

The convention had an artists alley with very talented artists. Cosplayers had tables where they had on display items from their different costumes. On display were props, where they could talk about how they made it and the process of what they went through and also giving tips to other people that are interested in making props and costumes.

It was a pleasure to return to Ani-ME Con this year. It will be interesting to see what they do with next year’s event.

Photos By Derek Orchard

Visit the Ani-Me Con 2017 Photos Gallery


Bak-Anime 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Bak-Anime 2017 February 25 and 26 at the Kern County Fairground in Bakersfield, CA

The 9th annual Bak-Anime, Bakersfield’s one and only Anime convention was held in the final week of February 2017.

In previous years, the event has been held in a much smaller venue which they had outgrown. I have gone to other events where they had changed locations and the new locations were really too big for the event.

From my personal perspective, it was a smart choice for the convention to make the move, as there were plenty of dealers and plenty of attendees.

In fact, Bak-Anime had a record attendances with over 3,500 attendees.

The dealers room was not too crowded and t was really easy to shop around and find deals if you are looking for something special. And for those who were hungry, a Okamoto Kitchen Japanese comfort food truck and Pappa John’s Pizza were there on hand.

Bak-Anime 2017 had a returning favorite, Actor/voice actor/composer/singer/producer Vic Mignogna. And new to Bak-anime, Actress/voice actress/Producer Cherami Leigh and Voice actress/gamer, Danielle McRae.

On Saturday only, David Yost, Karan Ashley and Walter Jones from the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” were special guests at the event.

All the guest had panels and were available for signings.

All the lines seem to move pretty fast, I thought everyone was having a good time.

Pro Lab gaming was there at Bak-Anime for the video game tournaments, Paladins Game Castle and the Gaming spot sponsored the collector card games, demos and other hobby games.

They also had their 4th annual swap meet which is an event only for fans. On Saturday night, they had their late night electric dance party open for all ages. And on Sunday, the event had an art contest.

There was plenty a Cosplay to be seen throughout Bak-Anime 2017.

There were plenty of people walking around in different costumes from anime, comics, video games and movies. On Saturday afternoon, Bak-Anime 2017 had an adult cosplay contest, where just about everyone had skit or a dance routine that they did. And I actually think there was an actual marriage proposal that happened during the contest.

On Sunday, they had another cosplay contest which was for the kids only. Even though the kids had help sometimes, it is really amazing to see all the talent that is out there. People with the skills to make these elaborate and awesome costumes.

I have personally been really impressed with how Bak-Anime has continued to grow and has been so well supported by the community out there in Bakersfield.

I really do think it is a show that is worth your the time , even if it is just for one day.

If you’ve never been to a “Anime con” or a “Comic-Con” this would be a great first time show to get a taste of the con experience.

More Photos By Derek orchard

ZappCon 2016 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

October 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Zappcon 2016 was held October 15 and 16th at the Valdez hall in Fresno California. ZappCon brings a wide range of talent from all kinds fandoms. You can learn about voice acting, building models from masking tape board, gaming and many more.

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I think this year at ZappCon, they improved on their organization of the booths and table, putting more like things together. If you are looking for cosplayers, go to one location, toys another location, videogames another location and so on.  I do think that made it easier if there was something that you wanted to buy, but you didn’t want to buy it right away, it made it easy to find that vendor later.

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Some of the special guest that were at Zappcon this year. Hynden Walch, she is The Voice of Starfire on “Teen Titans” and the new “Teen Titans Go!”, Princess bubblegum on cartoon networks smash hit “Adventure Time”, Harley Quinn on the Batman series as well as DCU animated feature “Assault on Akrham”, for which she received a BTVA People’s choice award. Lisle Wilkerson, she is a power house behind some of gaming industry’s most popular female fighting characters, such as Nina Williams, Christine Monteiro from “Tekken” and Sarah Brandt from “Virtual Fighter”. She’s acted alongside Bill Murray in the academy award winning film “Lost in translation” and had the lead role in the award winning in the film, “Kamataki”. D.C. Douglas the sinister voice of Albert Wesker in “Resident Evil”, The Voice of Legion in “Mass Effects” series and he was Bud in the movie “sharknado 2”. Chanda Hahn, a New York Times and USAID today best-selling author of “Reign (an unfortunate fairy tale)” she also writes the “iron butterfly” series. Eben Burgoon, started his career writing short fiction and sketch comedies for over a decade before embarking into comics, his first comics series was “Eben07: covert custodian”. Shawn Sutter, he is the creator of “Relicblade” and is the lead artists on the comic “B squad”.

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There were some familiar faces down Cosplay row, returning this year Holly Brooke, based out of northern California, right now she is studying to become a veterinarian. Loki Hates You return ZappCon, and this year for his 2nd appearance and Mighty ThorTV to continue the panel they did last year the “awkward family panel” where they interview the audience. Yes is true Loki’s running for President. And new to ZappCon this year, Princess Marley cosplay, she has been active in cosplay since 2007 she is an advocate for body positivity in the cosplay community. She is also a huge supporter of cosplay in the things you love no matter how many people may recognize you. Originally reached nor I are to the running the popular tumbler blog “the little cosplay things”. If you wanted to get a picture of or with one of your favor characters they had several cosplay meet ups for photos. So if you are dressed up your get got to gather together to should a photo together and I was a great place if you wanted to get your photo with your favor character. These happened multiple times each day plus they had the all ages cosplay contest on Saturday and on Sunday they had a kids cosplay contest.

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Kirby Krackle A internationally touring nerd-rock artist, featuring the music of songwriter and performer Kyle Stevens. Pioneering the genre in 2009. Kirby Krackle is known the world over as the go to band for heartfelt songs dedicated to the best in comic books, videogames, Pop and geek culture with youTube videos, totaling over 3.5 million views and I have been featured on MTV, i09, boing boing, Gizmodo and more.

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Okay, you walked the floor, I maybe you made a few purchases, found if you must have items like comics may be some art from a local artist, but you’re not ready to go home yet. What are you now? Well if you have young ones you could take them over to the kid’s own where there was  Bat party for kids, Todd the snake man, the discovery center, California arts Academy, pro martial arts. And if you don’t have any kids. outdoors there was iron gate sword fighting, Terras Wars. You could go and get a photo taken with the 501st in the photo area. And you could check out any board games and play them there at the show in the gaming area they had set up. They also had a video game area also set up so you can go play video games while you are at the show and at certain times,The Voice actors were playing there games that they had voice characters in, so you could smacked down our get smacked down in person by the characters you play in the game.  if that wasn’t enough, after all of that they had multiple panels starting at every hour. You probably could of watch panels all day and never seen the floor.

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I really do think this is a fun show. Sure maybe it’s not one of those huge shows that you hear about on TV. And they always have something new big and exciting every year. But not everyone can go to those shows. I do see the event coordinators doing their best to create a fun and happy environment for their attendees. I enjoy the smaller shows because I think they stay to the heart of why we have all gotten into the stuff. For the fun in the enjoyment, for ourselves and that what we share with one another. With events like this where just all people, we all can be kids and act like kids. Here we are all friends and we help one another.

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So if you didn’t make it this year, you should think about attending next year.

 

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Big WOW! Comicfest 2015 By Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

May 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article and Photos by Derek Orchard

Big WOW! Comic fest was held in San Jose, California on April 18 and 19th of 2015. At the San Jose Convention Center.

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I want to start this by saying I had a great time at big wow. Some may say that big wow is a small show, maybe it is; you don’t have to stand in a Digital line and in the first 5 minutes, If you’re not getting your tickets,  you are NOT  getting A ticket. Big Bow, still a very accessible show, for fans, families and it brings is a lot of big name guest, both international and domestic.

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I wanted to go to Big Wow for quite a few years but something is always come up. So this was my first year attending Big WOW! Comic fest. When I have attended, comic book conventions “Comic Cons” it is usually been the big ones like, San Diego comic con and WonderCon in Anaheim  and as I watch those shows growing bigger and bigger.  I think they have lost some of the heart of why these thing started in the first place. It’s not supposed to matter , if your boy or girl or if you’re black or your white or your pink and green or young and old, any of those type of things. Were there because we want to be a part is something that we all like that we all find a common interest in and  we think its FUN.  Big Bow is that type of show, where it is just about what is brought us all there, our fandom.

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They had areas set up for kids so they had coloring activities reading activities. games for kids. They had a they had a gaming area where people were able to play rock band and another videogame area set up to play a lot of the 3-D fighting games like street fighter 4 or dead or alive 5. They even had a mechanical bull, You could ride and if you hang on for the amount of time you got a prized. They had an art exhibit for Vampirella and the swamp thing. Then you have all the panels!!  too many to go though And also the coveted free stuff table.

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Big wow was celebrating the 45th anniversary of Vampirella with a art book, you could purchase it at the big wow table and they were also selling to different big wow T-shirts and with the announcement for next year the Silicon Valley, con they were selling the a T-shirt for that convention for next year for 2016. They had a lot of different vendors stuff for props for sci-fi comics artist tables both big name celebrity artist table little name artist and craft makers and I mean if just about assume. I just about any toy, they had their you they had their you could get, and if you were really smarting a really looking for a good deal you can to save money on buying stuff there.

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Some of the international guess they had their they had Dave Givens, the Co. creator a Watchman and Kingsman: the Secret Service and International best-selling French artist Claire Wendling. Adi Granov concept designer and illustrator on all 3 iron man films, Toshio Meada of Urotsukidoji and La blue girl. Some of their domestic guest some the new ones  first time at big wow this year was of the swamp thing creators, Steve Bissette, John totleben and Rick Veitch.  Some of the returning guest were Arthur Adams, that has worked on Books like Batman, Superman, X men Vampirella ,danger girl, Monkey man and O’Brien. Frank Cho best known for his work in liberty Meadows, jungle girl, Mighty Avengers. Adam Hughes,  worked on Wonder Woman, Before Watchman: Manhattan, Fairest, Ghost, Star Wars legacy. Don Rosa an artist for scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, the Son and the Sun and the life and times of scrooge McDuck.

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Cosplay, I that they had a lot of people in costume there. They did a special photo shoots on both days where they had everyone together. group shoot of  marvel and DC United where they had everyone dressed up in costumes altogether standing together for photo opportunities, then into just Marvel, just DC and then  groups of deadpool , just Batman groups  or  avengers groups. alot of people show up. They did everything to get everyone involved, I think for those who dressed up feel like they were part of the show. They had a cosplay contest, which in the in the end, there was barely standing room only for people wanting to watch the show. They had a with the called “Cosplay Row” and for the first time you would find Ani-Mia, Marie Claude Bourbonnais, Holly Brooke, Danquish, Bill Doran, Kit Quinn and many others. Some of the returning cosplayers from years previous was Riddle, Valerie Perez, Kelly Delcambre , Vegas Power Girl and many more.

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I know I spent a lot of time here, naming names and trying to wet your appetitive what is going on at this show. There’s a lot going on here. If you haven’t heard about this show, you should have it is pulling people from all over the United States and its even bringing in people in from overseas. I know you may be saying, “I want to go to the really big show’s were lots of things are happening”, There IS a lot to see and there is a lot to do here. Maybe, you just want to go to a smaller show smaller than the show that’s okay too, this show is small enough that you won’t be overwhelmed with people . you will get to see some of the big time stuff here, that normally at small shows you don’t get to see. I’m just saying that if there is A show, should be on list to check out, this is one.  if you’re making the trip from some far off land, it be worth your time to come and see Big Wow Comic Fest.

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Check back for more photos from Big WOW! Comic Fest 2015 in our J!-ENT 2015 Annual scheduled for October 2015

Ani-Me Con 4.0 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

April 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Ani-me Con was held at the Manchester Mall in Fresno, California, March 20th and 21th . This is Ani -me con 4th year of having a small two day show . they have a lot of independent artist/ craft makers of selling their wares. A small console game area and a lot of areas for trading card games there wasn’t any type of Anime viewing taking place. they do have two cosplay contest that takes place on both days of their event. they had a lot of people coming into the show


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Erika Harlacher, who is a voice actor, which right now you can hear her in the English Dub of Kill la kill. it was very nice meeting her.  Holly Brooke is a professional cosplayer  who attended their show and was, the judge of their cosplay contest on Saturday the 20th, she is a very nice person if you ever get a chance to meet her.


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Ani- me con had a lot of live music  band from the Bay area with a distinctive, J pops sound that are getting recognition on a national level. In the weeks before the event they had a drawing contests which the contest was then voted by attendee’s at the show .


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On their main stage, they had panels for Erika Harlacher, Holly Brooke, there cosplay contest, music bands came back and talk about their music and what their plans are,  some of the vendors  there talk about  what they were providing.


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behind the main stage, they had a mock fighting arena, if you were in costume or not could battle and fight for your own glory and triumph


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with the amount of people that are coming to the show.  I sure would like to see more vendors with more variety of different items to sell in different price brackets sold. . they did have a  variety of stuff, but some of the other things that are from an import market would be out of the price range of some young, Anime fan who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend and he or she has a very limited collecting experience  This is still a very young  show  i would like to see  some more variety , Anime is for everyone,  I think it would benefit from an anime viewing room.


 

Bak-Anime 2015 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

February 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article and Photos by Derek Orchard

Bak-anime was held at the Bakersfield Marriott at the convention center, on January 24-25 2015

Bak-anime, Where is it might you ask? Well it’s in Bakersfield California. Bakersfield? Where in the heck is Bakersfield?

It’s in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, just north of LA about maybe an hour and a half drive on the interstate. it is a small show, with a lot of people going to it.


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This is its 2nd year as a two-day show. The show had high attendance for both days. Had a very good selection of vendors, most of time when I attend a smaller show the vendors don’t have a lot of stuff or there isn’t a lot of variety of stuff, here they were many different vendors and the all had variance amounts of different things for every people who was attending.

the name of the show is Bak-Anime but it wasn’t just about Anime, the show covered just about all aspects of popular culture, comics, video games, Board games, card games and movies. Artist Alley was more was more like an artist hall because they had a room all to themselves. Special guests that attended was Christina Cabanos (Squid Girl of “Squid Girl”), Kyle Herbert (Kiba of “Naruto”) and Christina Vee (new Voice of “Sailor Moon”).


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You never know what your going to find when you go to a smaller show. I’m used to attending bigger shows where they have a lot of planning thoughts what they’re going to do and sometimes it just don’t work out how it is plan.

That was not the case here, Bak-Anime from what I can see, it was a well run and well maintained show.

Even though they had a lot of people coming to the show I could never see really any stress on any of the volunteers that they had working.

Everyone I talked to on the staff was very friendly and they really enjoyed being a part of it. You could always find some one to answer your questions.

I didn’t see any of the cliché clicks that are formed when you go to the shows of cosplayers vs. artist vs. whoever.

Everyone was there for each other This is one of the shows you can take your younger brother or sister, the neighbor’s kid and have a good time.

You won’t have to worry about them being lost in the crowd and sold into slavery for some Third World country. It was really nice being with people who were there to enjoy the same thing, were not looking at it to be real we are there because it’s fun.


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It was a really good time to hold a convention because here in California we tend to be hot more often then we are anything else. And of course we have some of that great Southern San Joaquin valley Tulle Fog! So with lower temperatures it allowed a lot of the attendees to hang around outside and not completely clogged in the show.

So, wherever you would go, people would be in costumes; whether you’re in the restaurant, out in the waiting area of the hotel lobby, by the pool in the parking lots, along the street there were people there dressed up in costume or just waiting in the line to get an autograph from one of the attending guests.

Don’t worry lines seem to move pretty fast. After the panels and autograph sessions you would see the guests walking through the vendors area and artist area, they would find stuff that they would be looking for and they would purchase from the vendors at the show.

The show was very accessible, I had a really good time, especially from someone who is used to going to bigger shows with all the Gilts, Glamour and overproduction.

This show competes with the bigger shows that are out.

I never felt that I was missing anything or that there was something else I wanted to see while I was there. The masquerade was handled very well and everything ran very smoothly, if there was any mistakes no one who was there attending noticed anything.


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The people running the show know that they are providing a service and they’re not just simply being “fans” running the show they are running to show that they want to compete with the bigger shows out there and they are opening up the way for people who are attending that may not be a to attend other shows, have a chance to win tickets to other shows.

If you are looking for show new to attend, trying to add another show to your list of shows that you attend, I think it be worthwhile to give the show a shot.

You don’t need to spend a bunch of money to have a “Great Con Experience” here there looking to keep it a family friendly event, affordable and have people attend. Which is good because I spent all my money inside at the vendors hall.

Overall, Bak-Anime 2015 was a wonderful experience and I look forward to covering it next year!

Check back for more photos from Bak-Anime 2015 in our J!-ENT 2015 Annual scheduled for October 2015

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