Thursday, June 01, 2006

Karachi Anime Convention 2006

Granted this post is a little late, I should have posted when the anime convention actually took place (May 20th), but I was slowly dying under a pile of deadlines and exams.

Anyhow this was the first occasion in my entire career at SZABIST that I actually was involved in the organizing of the event, which just goes to show how pure unadlterated laziness can keep you out of doing any work for four years if you let it. Anyhow, so having infected me with the bug, Zeesh-san asked a friend and I to assist him in organizing things at the university end while he focused on getting the other otakus together, most of whom he knew personally. Finally, on the day itself, as is usual for any event, everyone was running around like chickens with their heads sliced off while Zeesh-san himself remained elusively "on his way" to the venue.

Luckily, all went according to plan in the end. Cameras, sound, projector, PC, all were up and running, even the AC which the administration, hiding behind some odd admin-logic, would not let us turn on before the convention was due to start. The actual turnout was close to a hundred people, far more that I could have anticipated. I suppose, however, that the lure of watching cartoons on a large screen in the auditorium appealed to the inner child within many, and boy did they get their money's worth (figuratively speaking) when the presentation started off with several AMVs based on clips from the very popular series, Naruto (pictured above), including one developed by our very own Zeesh-san and comrades with music by a local death metal band, and one of the most popular AMVs today, called Whisper of the Beast. The presentation addressed most of the issues related to anime today fairly comprehensively, from outsourcing oppurtunities for Pakistani animators to the no-no that is the selling of anime rather than trading for free. As predicted, the time for trading of anime fell short since there are literally terabytes to be copied back and forth and only three actual machines to do it all on. I made off with Zeesh-san's PC, which contained a large chunk of the data being traded and gleefully plugged it in at the labs and leeched away about forty gigabytes of anime. Bwahahaha!
Anyhow, that being said, a few seried I have been watching and would recommend are:
  1. Naruto, the story of a kid with no friends, family or relatives who strives to become the most powerful ninja in his village to finally get the acknowledgement of a village full of people who seem to hate him. Little does he know, sealed within him is a very powerful demon that attacked and killed many from his village when he was one year old.
  2. FullMetal Alchemist, a story about two brothers who believe in the Alchemist principle of equivalent trade, and are out to find the fabled philosopher's stone to be able to restore themselves to their former form and maybe even bring their dead mother back to life.
  3. Hellsing (english version, Crispin Freeman rocketh), a secret organization in Britain which specializes in the eradication of vampires and demons and ironically, uses a very powerful vampire named Alucard to do it. Alucard is bound to his master, the decendant of the Hellsing family, Integral Hellsing, who has taken it upon herself to carry on the proud Hellsing family tradition of serving Her Majesty the Queen and her country by ridding the world of the supernatural.
  4. Rurouni Kenshin, the story of a wartime assasin who takes an oath never to kill anyone again and chooses to repent for his sins by becoming a wandered who helps people too weak to help themselves.
  5. Bleach, which follows the adventures of a 16 year old boy named Ichigo who appears to be able to see and hear spirits and consequently becomes a death god when he helps out an actual death god slay an evil spirit.

Out of the above, Kenshin, Fullmetal Alchemist and Hellsing are the only ones that are now finished, and both have many OVAs out as well, which are truer to the manga (graphic novels that are the source of most anime series) that the series have been. Bleach and Naruto are still ongoing, stretching out to a hundred episodes and beyond.

So now, my patient reader, if you have stuck with this post so far, you are familiar with the basic terminology of your average otaku/anime-freak and you may choose to check out some anime yourself, just to see what the fuss is all about. Anime, as opposed to popular opinion, is generally different from cartoons in that it has a very specific way of animation that sets it apart from, say Disney or Hannah-Barberah style animations. It is, however, the last stand of the two dimensional animation style of storytelling seeing as how most major studios in Hollywood have moved on to three dimensional animation instead. Additionally, people will try to sell you anime... don't fall for it. Anime is and should be free since the dubbing (known as fansubs) are done by the fans, for the fans and you will find a hundred people willing to share their collections with you if you want to check some out. For more information or general discussion, you can check out the fairly well-populated and active Orkut community for Anime lovers in Pakistan.

Misha at Thursday, June 01, 2006