Philcon, the world's longest-running conference of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, is coming up quickly on November 21-23, 2014! Our friends at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society are busily making final preparations for their 78th annual convention, and we're very happy to be working with them to help put together a jam-packed schedule of programming for the anime track!
Philcon is located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. While the final programming schedule is yet to be released, we wanted to give you a preview of what we hope you'll join us for. (Of course, keep in mind that final schedules are subject to change.) Also, please give a big thanks to Sentai Filmworks, and FUNimation Entertainment, who gave permission for all of the great screenings that will take place.
First off, here is the programming you can expect as part of the Anime Track:
60 Years of Anime Openings: Style and Symbolism
The "Anime Anthropologist" Charles Dunbar presents a lecture on Anime Openings: Anime has only a short time to grab your attention, and a lot of that falls on the quality of its opening. Since the 1960s, anime openings have come a long way: from minimalist introductions to cast, to highly stylized music videos that can be more entertaining than the show itself. This panel traces the history and evolution of the anime OP from 1963-2012, highlighting artistic styles, symbolism and musical impact.
Anime and the Space Opera
We're all familiar with the great space operas of the US - Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, and many more. But anime also has its grand share of the genre. Let's take a look at the Japanese view of the space opera, and how it has affected the genre in the west.
Anime for Couples
Have your last 5 relationships ended because you showed your ex Wicked City? Have you forced your date to watch Hetalia, and then wondered why he never called you back? Come find out how to introduce your special someone to the wonderful world of anime, without them running for the hills...
Anime in 1994
What a difference 20 years can make, or has it? Let's travel back in time and take a look at anime and fandom in that "far-off" time. From Sailor Moon to Ranma 1/2, Dragon Ball to Shin Chan, it is sure to be a fun discussion!
Bad Anime, Bad!
The pain! Oh dear God, the pain!! How could you ever allow these shows to see the light of day?! Do you think sanity is overrated? Want utter oblivion to be your best friend? Strap yourselves in for the worst of the worst the animation industry has to offer! We take no responsibility for any psychological damage or spontaneous combustion during the panel. You have been warned!!
From Astro Boy to Naruto: the Anime that Captured our Culture
The anime that drew us in: gateway anime. These anime have affected Americans (and much of the West) on a grand scale from what we watch to what we create. This panel explores many gateway anime, and may provide a few surprises even to the anime veteran.
Even More Awesome Animation Not from Japan
Japanese animation has taken the world by storm, but Japan isn't the only country producing cool and compelling animation. Back for our third year, this time we head south of the border to sample animation from Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina with stops in Spain, a now-requisite clip from England, and many more. Don't miss it!
Favorite Scenes of 2014
Have you been watching anime in 2014? Maybe you are missing out? Here are some of our favorite scenes from the most current crop of anime this year. You'll see clips from Tokyo Ghoul, Tokyo ESP, Sailor Moon Crystal and many more.
Girls in Space
Shojo (Comics for Girls) set in space is surprisingly uncommon. Come explore shojo titles, examine the difference between girls and boys space adventures, and find new stories to love.
Celebrate the Anime Music Video as an art form with an hour of our favorites which may soon become yours.
Hayao Miyazaki: Views of War
Of all the many themes in the works of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the big ones is his feelings on war. From Nausiccaa to Grave of the Fireflies to the more recent The Wind Rises, let us look at what his works tell us about his views, how those views have influenced him, and how they affect us today.
Horror Anime [18+]
That visceral fear of horror can cause us to jump, or hide behind our couches. Here are some of the best horror anime of all time. We'll show clips from some of our favorite horror anime, whether thrillers or gore-fests, and discuss their roots and background. Prepare to be afraid!
Joseph Campbell Sends Out Mew: Pokemon and the Mythic Journey
The "Anime Anthropologist" Charles Dunbar presents a look into folklore and world mythology, using Pokemon as a lens.
Kickin' It Old School...Star Blazers Style!
Come and share your memories of this classic anime series with Amy - the voice of Nova in Star Blazers - who will also share tips and advice for breaking into the wild and whacky business of voice acting!
Kill la Kill and the Transformation of Japanese Legend
The "Anime Anthropologist" Charles Dunbar presents a lecture on how the battle between Lady Satsuki and Matoi Ryuuko is more than just gratuitous shots and blood letting. It actually highlights a very interesting criticism of periods from Japan's past, and modernizes them for an audience used to the flashy style of Japanese animation. This panel aims to explore borrowed imagery, incorporated symbolism, and social commentary, and how Kill la Kill chooses to present it.
Leiji Matsumoto: Beyond Yamato
Most people are familiar with Leiji Matsumoto for his work on the breakthrough series - Space Battleship Yamato (known as Star Blazers in the US). But what about Galaxy Express 999, or his seminal character Captain Harlock? In this panel we take a look at Matsumoto's other works.
The Coin is Mightier than the Sword: Economics in Anime
We've all seen any number of shows where the mighty invading army uses its awesome military power (whether it be thousands of sword-swinging troops or thousands of sleek space battleships) to subjugate other civilizations. But is armed force the only way to project power? Our modern world is far more entwined by economic power, and though this concept is not nearly as popular or widely-used, there are plenty of examples of it in anime! We'll look at examples of the "power of the purse" in anime from "Spice & Wolf" to "Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic" and how sometimes the banker can be a more dangerous enemy than the warlord!
The Other 362: Zenkaikon & The Local Anime Community
The staff of Zenkaikon presents a brief overview of other conventions, events, and clubs in the local community where you can share your love of anime with fellow fans the rest of the year!
Unsung Heroes: The Greatest Anime & Manga Artists You've Never Heard Of
Osamu Tezuka, Leiji Matsumoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Go Nagai…all monumental creators who left an indelible mark upon the anime and manga industries. This is NOT about any of them! Instead, we will explore the unsung artists who, despite their relative obscurity, have had a tremendous impact on the world of Japanese entertainment.
[17+] As the leader of a group of young robust delinquents, Kaneda spent his nights tearing through the urban wastes, racing his motorbike against rival groups. One night, while riding with his gang, his friend Tetsuo suddenly encounters a strange boy - the product of human experimentation - and is injured in the ensuing crash. Shortly thereafter, a military squadron appears on the scene to take the boy and Tetsuo away to an army research lab...
Screening: Attack on Titan
[17+] When the man-eating giants called Titans first appeared, humans retreated behind massive walls. After a hundred years of safety, a colossal-sized Titan smashes through the defenses, unleashing a flood of giants and carnage in the streets. Eren Jaeger watches helplessly as one of the creatures devours his mother. He vows to kill every Titan walking the earth. Eren and his surviving friends enlist to fight against the insatiable monsters. The future looks bleak, but there's more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity's last hope against extinction.
Screening: Casshern Sins
[17+] Casshern - a cybernetic assassin with no memory of his past - awakens in a corrosive wasteland where nothing survives for long. A plague known as the Ruin sweeps across this once-vibrant world, reducing everything in its path to rubble and scattering any chance for salvation. Robots and humans alike - or what little remains of them - seek vengeance against Casshern for the life he took and the role he played in their Ruin. A machine built to kill, Casshern murdered the last hope for this world, but now, lost in a future he does not recognize, he will fight to save the dying.
Screening: From the New World
[14+] Born into a world a thousand years in our future, Saki and her friends have lived their entire lives in what seems to be a perfect utopia. Not only is their small, idyllic community overflowing with clean rushing water and abundant green foliage, but almost all technology has been rendered irrelevant by the power of "Juryoku," the psychic ability to materialize anything one desires. But when Saki discovers a long-lost artifact from the past, the facade of their world is shattered and the cracks that split the foundation of their reality threaten to swallow them whole!
[14+] Kurumi's heart was broken by the sudden death of her boyfriend in a tragic airplane accident. Forced to carry on without her beloved Hal, she fell into a reclusive and joyless existence. Kurumi had given up on the world, but a brilliant scientist devised a plan to win her back. By melding futuristic technology with the binary equivalent of human emotion, they created an ultra-lifelike robotic surrogate to take Hal's place - and lure Kurumi from her shroud of solitude.
[17+] Welcome to a world where just thinking about a crime is enough to make you guilty. Bad intentions can no longer be hidden, and the police know exactly which tainted minds are about to cross over to the wrong side of the law. The great equalizer in the war on thugs is the Dominator, a futuristic weapon that can read minds and assess the risk that a citizen will turn criminal.
Screening: Wolf Children
[10+] Winner of the Japan Academy Prize for Best Animation (2013). Hana was a student before she was a mother. Then she met a man, who turned out to be a wolf, and together they built a family. Hana loved her mate fiercely, but fate took him from her, leaving her alone with two unusual kids she didn't know how to raise. Frightened of being discovered, Hana and her wolf children fled to the countryside to build a new life. Raising her little wild things was an adventure. It left Hana bruised, scratched, exhausted, and joyously overwhelmed as her pups grew stronger and wandered further every day. Teach your children to chase their dreams - and smile through the tears as they disappear into the world in search of who they will become. Hana wasn't always a mother, but it was always what she was meant to be.
Of course, the Anime Track isn’t the only thing to enjoy at Philcon. As the nation’s oldest science fiction convention, Philcon has a variety of panels, workshops, and other programming related to literature, art, television, film, anime, comics, science, gaming, cosplay, music, and other topics of interest to fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
Here is just a small selection of other programming we think our members might be interested in:
Adding Electronics to Your Costume
How to make it sparkle, flash, and beep. And where do you hide the battery pack?
Hey DC Universe: Grow a Sense of Humor Already!
Marvel destroyed the box office this summer with a machine-fun toting raccoon, a walking tree, and an action packed patriot. What will it take to get DC heroes to crack a smile and stop taking themselves so seriously? Is this serious take on heroes key to retaking control of the superhero box office?
The Women of Comics
Ms. Marvel, Thor, Lumberjanes, Rocket Girl. Gotham Academy, The New Batgirl, X-Men, Black Widow, Harley Quinn, Storm...This year the lead women in comics put their foot down. Hard. But is the industry REALLY changing? Are they finally listening? And HEY, WHAT ABOUT THAT WONDER WOMAN MOVIE, HUH?!
Sailor Moon Is 21 Years Old
Sailor Moon is 21 years old, so let's give her a toast. It's been a big year for Usagi and her sister soldiers. A new anime Sailor Moon Crystal premiered world wide and has brought them back into the spotlight. So let's talk about Amy, Raye, Lita, Mina, & Rini, their story and their legacy. We salute them and take a look at what's ahead.
The Capaldi Report: A New Who
With the first season of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor concluded and fandom awaiting the Doctor Who Christmas special, what has worked and what has not? Has this new "alien" Doctor worked out well? How has Moffat's new season helped or hurt the arrival of the new Time Lord? Where do Capaldi and Doctor Who go from here?
What's So Special about THE GAME OF THRONES?
There are hundreds of fantasies about kings, mages, and the politics of empire. What accounts for the extraordinary success of the George R.R. Martin series, both books and television?
The Best Game EVAR!
Pathfinder is SO much better than D&D, right? Or is it the other way around? And which one's cooler... Munchkin or Cards Against Humanity? Or are card games passe, and board games are where it's at... now, how about some Settlers of Catan? What exactly is... THE BEST GAME EVAR?
There will also be a variety of other panels and workshops, an vendor and artist hall, a tabletop gaming lounge, an art show, a Friday night dance, and the Saturday night Masquerade.
If you're planning to attend, you can still pre-register for a full weekend membership for $45. There are also discounts for students, children, teens, and active duty military. More info is available on the Philcon website.
We hope to see you there!