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Animation on Display 2012 February 29, 2012

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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Animation on Display 2012

This is my coverage of Animation on Display 2012, a small convention that took place last weekend at San Francisco’s Japantown’s Hotel Kabuki. “Animation on Display (AOD) is a weekend convention celebrating anime, video games, recent American cartoons, and other fun and geeky stuff.” It was a two day event and I had a lot of fun; taking pictures, participating in the SSBB tournament, and hanging out with friends. At AOD, I cosplyed as one of Danny Choo’s mascots, Seiun Eiji.

I have also posted a photo post of Animation on Display 2012 on Figure.fm. Check it out if you want to read a more photo oriented post. This post here on Topic “Otaku” is more where I’ll summarize my whole experience of AOD 2012.

For all my photos from Animation on Display 2012, check out my Flickr set: Animation on Display 2012

Day 1

My friend and I arrived a bit late to AOD, as his GPS told gave him strange directions to get to Japantown from the Sunset District. I offered to lead the way there but he insisted to rely on his car’s GPS. Anyways we got to Hotel Kabuki at about 10:30 a.m. to see long lines for both pre-registration badge pickup and at con registration. Those lines weren’t too bad though as I think I got my badge in 30 minutes or so. I first darted to the game room which was actually a panel room when I got there, as I thought that it would be in the same place. Looking at the map of the con, I found out that the game room was actually relocated to a kind of out of sight room which was near con-ops. The room was a bit smaller than last year’s but it was still ok.

Animation on Display 2012

I looked around the game room to see if there was any Super Smash Bros. Brawl going on. I was planning to participate in Sunday’s SSBB tournament. I didn’t see any SSBB going on and decided to come back a bit later after doing a overview tour of the con with my camera.

I saw booths with artists selling fan art, people playing on the piano under the stairs, popped my head into a couple of panels that were going on, and looked at the schedule for future events I planned to attend. I was going to go to the NicoNicoDouga: Odottemita and Utattemita Showcase and the Vocaloid Animation Concert. The NND showcase started at 2 p.m. so I decided to just hang out at the game room after taking some photos to practice for the next day’s tournament.

Animation on Display 2012

People playing SSBB at AOD 2012.

Last year at AOD I decided to participate in the SSBB tournament for fun. I wasn’t really good but I did it for the heck of it. I didn’t even win one battle, and ever since then I wanted to achieve one thing at AOD 2012 Brawl tournament: Win at least one match/round. I practiced at home for the past few months and so when it came time to casually fight random people at AOD this year, I wasn’t that bad. My main is Kirby so you may know how my match ups were. At least for the most part I was winning more than I was losing. At a couple times while causally playing, I underestimate my opponent. There was this teenage girl that I thought just wanted to play for a bit and I thought she was at a “normal” level. I seriously underestimated her, she was way better than she looks. She had her (I think) parents with her and from a little conversation with them it seems that she is an avid SSBB player based on her skills. The first round I got grabbed so many times it’s unbelievable. It was only after a few matches later did I sort of notice her techniques better to counter them. I asked her if she planned to join the tournament that was to happen the next day, but she said she wasn’t sure. (She wasn’t there unfortunately.) I know that she would of done very well in the tournament if she participated, but for my sake I guess I’m a bit glad but sad that she didn’t use her skills to good use. I’ll talk about the tournament outcome when I get to Day 2 stuff.

Before 2 p.m. I decided to get to the main events room early for a chance to get a decent seat for the NicoNicoDouga: Odottemita and Utattemita Showcase. The two dancers are  Tiffany & Ami who are a part of my anime club at SFSU as well. They do dance covers of songs mostly associated with songs on NicoNico Douga and also from ones that Danceroid, a popular Japan dance group, do as well. I don’t know them much but I do notice them at events like this at Japantown and around club.

Animation on Display 2012

They were good at times though the singing parts was off due to them being tired and sometimes being off-key. I understand that its hard trying to do both so I do complement them of their effort.

Right after the NND Dance duo, we had the Vocaloid Animation Concert. First  we had some dances by a Vocaloid cosplay group associated with Vocalekt Visions.

Animation on Display 2012

I wasn’t expecting a great show like Mikunopolis was obviously; I was expecting just a projected video of one of those past live concerts from a projector that I was sitting next to.

Animation on Display 2012

When it was time for crews to set up for the concert, I was surprised to see what was going on.

Animation on Display 2012

Back stage crews used a projector screen to hide preparations for the concert. Notice the white transparent screen behind the projector screen.

I already know generally how a real Vocaloid concert works, where in the live concerts in Japan they use a glass screen that catches light from a projector behind the glass, thus producing the 3-D image of Vocaloid characters. I saw this set-up as a way to emulate a real concert in a small con setting. I became very interested in how the concert would turn out at this point, me being very curious on how a 3rd party system could make Vocaloid concerts more available to more people especially outside Japan.

Animation on Display 2012

"Editing Character" Hmm.. I guess Miku's being tweaked before showtime?

Animation on Display 2012

The stage ready to go before the show beings.

While I’m not a really big fan of Vocaloid, I like the idea of what it is and what it brings to the J-pop community. Some people don’t like it because Vocaloid are not real, real as in an actual human singer. I somewhat agree with that statement; I know that Vocaloids are not real people, but I do recognize the idea of it being as real as it gets.Vocaloids were made with the intent to make a singing synthesized program for musical artists to utilize as another instrument to use, but it’s growth in popularity created much more than just interested people in the program, it created a community for music lovers, J-pop fanatics, etc. In short, Vocaloid, while not real in person, created something as real as ideas can get. The concept grew to become a worldwide sensation.

Animation on Display 2012

Miku appears live on stage.

The mini live concert was pretty good, despite a bit of lagging when there was two characters simultaneously being on stage. When one character was present on stage, the lag went almost all away and the movements looked better. Here is a video of the VOCALEKT VISIONS AOD 2012 concert, credits to 

Animation on Display 2012

The crew responsible for creating the Vocaloid concert, VOCALEKT VISIONS. The main guy of the group is Re:VB of AniMiku (the guy in the white shirt). “Re:VB is the software developer of the AniMiku software, the first program available to the Vocaloid community capable of producing animations used in an environment for Vocaloid concerts.” Check out their website for more details: www.animiku.net

Animation on Display 2012

After the concert, I went to take a look at the dealers hall which was pretty much just like last year. I didn’t buy anything though.

Animation on Display 2012

The time after the concert I just took my time going around taking photos of things around the con. There wasn’t much I planned to do like panels and guests so I decided to do more experimentation with my camera. All photos were taken by my Canon EOS Rebel T3. Thanks to the Photojournalism class I’m taking at my college, I’m now at least more able to take night and dark shots, something I previously could not do because I didn’t know how to set the more advanced settings on my camera.

I was at the masqurade but didn’t get any good photos from it because I was far and also because masquerades aren’t really a good event to take photos of anyways. I think of masquerades as a good way to end the day or the con as usually masquerades at anime conventions are done near the end of the con.


Day 2

Day 2 of AOD was like a ghost town when compared with the day before. This was probably because most of the big events happened on Day 1. For me I had an assignment I had to to for my Photojournalism class. I had to take photos of people at far, medium, close distance with my DSLR camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T3. I decided for this assignment to take photos of cosplayers. This was my first time asking cosplayers to pose for me which was kind of cool.

Animation on Display 2012

Animation on Display 2012

Animation on Display 2012

Animation on Display 2012

Animation on Display 2012

Cosplayers are such awesome models. Maybe I’ll practice more to get better shots of cosplayers in the future.

Animation on Display 2012

The main thing I was looking forward to of Day 2 was the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament. I played a bunch during Day 1 and felt a but more confident that I would do better this year, as in at least winning one battle. At 3pm the tournament started with role call with about 20 some people in the competition. Some of the tournament rules I remember them saying was that Meta Knight was banned, chain grabs were banned, and there was a limit on ledge grabbing. Shortly after I got called up for my first round, which was a pretty good game. The match was a bit easy in my opinion, but not as bad as the next guy I fought in my second round. This guy I fought in my second round was a joke, I’m sorry, he was that bad. In the second round he should of at least done better than what he did, or maybe he just got unlucky. He didn’t even knock out one of my stock and barely did much damage. I barely knock him out of Final Destination and he couldn’t make a simple recovery. While it sounds like an two easy wins, it was but it does have its drawbacks. Because I passed two rounds, that meant that I made it to the semi-finals. I was quite surprised I made it this far, I didn’t think I’d make it to the top four. When my semi-final match came around, I was totally out of my league. I did fight people of this level during casual play the day before, but the first two battles I had prior was nothing compared to this one. As usual I was using Kirby as my main, but against R.O.B., Kirby’s weakness as a tournament character clearly showed. If you know how Kirby plays, you should know that he does not have a good long range strong attack, meaning that in order for me to kill with him, I need to get close. My opponent was excellent in grabs and movement and saw he was exploiting my weaknesses a lot. Once I figured to try and keep my distance and get close only when I thought I saw the chance, he would use R.O.B.’s laser, down-B move to attack and that in turn made me get close to him thinking that I could get an attack in after the opening made after attacking. I ended up getting combo’ed a lot. I think I got one of his stock balls but that was it. It was a good game and made me realize that I need to work on some new characters with strong long range attacks. After the semi-finals I still had one more battle, the battle with the loser of the other semi-final round to figure out who would take 3rd/4th. It was me (Kirby) vs G&W. I don’t know if it was because of the small mistakes I was making or the fact that my opponent had good timing that I lost so bad and quickly. Now that I think about it, I guess G&W was a lot faster than I thought. I didn’t stay for the final round of the SSBB tournament because I had to leave the con early. Overall I had a lot of fun and accomplished what I set out to do and a little more (in a sort of given to me way). This tournament has made me want to practice more in hopes of doing better next year at AOD 2013. I don’t plan to enter any other SSBB tournament than the one at AOD because I know there will be way better players around there and competition can be fierce and frustrating, remember I mainly do these tournaments for fun.

Overall, Animation on Display 2012 was another great experience and I do plan to come back next year. I didn’t really buy anything at AOD, mainly because there wasn’t much I wanted to get and also because I tend to be thrifty with my money (or you could say cheap). The main things I got from AOD was photos and memories which are now written here for all of you to read.



1. A Monthly Post – February Edition « Topic "Otaku" - March 1, 2012

[…] During President’s Day weekend, a small convention called Animation on Display 2012 happened at San Francisco’s Japantown’s Hotel Kabuki. Check out my separate post about it at this link. […]

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