Nan Desu Kan 2016 - Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of Nan Desu Kan. I hope you all slept well and keeping well hydrated. Altitude alone can make this a tough convention to attend.

I started out my morning with a press roundtable with Shinichiro Watanabe and Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy). That conversation is the highlight of this convention so far. Following the press roundtable, I attended their Cowboy Bebop panel; much of which was Watanabe interviewing Sato about how they came to work together. These two men have had (and continue to have) a huge influence on the reception of anime in the United States. All of their shows have expanded the scope of stories, genre, and theme that are told in animation. Audio from the roundtable should be posted sometime in the next week, so please look forward to that.

Next, I had an interview with Roland Kelts, author, editor, and lecturer at the University of Tokyo. Kelts has recently written a book on the American experience of Japanese pop culture called Japanamerica. In the interview we discussed how Americans are currently exposed to Japanese culture and how this might change in the future, how American and Japanese creatives are increasingly free to enjoy each other’s work, and about his own experience growing up in New England and frequently spending summers in Japan.

After talking with Kelts, I went to the press roundtable with Johnny Yong Bosch and Eyeshine. We talked about the band, prospects for the future, and Bosch’s voice acting career. Audio from that roundtable will likely be up a little later, maybe next week.

Then, I attended Kelts panel on “Anime vs. Hollywood” where we continued the discussion of cultural exchange between Japan and the United States, starting with Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) and going to the present day. Tezuka reported watched Bambi more than 80 times and produced a fan comic about it prior to making a name for himself as an artist and animator. At the time that Tezuka was starting his career, transfer of media from one country to another was considerably more slower and more expensive than it is now. Kelts contrasted this with convention guests Watanabe and Sato who mentioned watching The Walking Dead on the plane from Japan to Denver. Exchange now is considerably faster and more affordable.

The next panel that I attended was Jan Scott-Frazier’s “Translating Anime and Manga”. She discussed her career in both Japan and America working as a translator on numerous projects, including an occasion where she found herself interpreting for Monkey Punch (Lupin the Third) unexpected at San Diego Comic Con.

Finally, I attended a panel on the portrayal of LGBT characters in Nerd Culture by Joshua Marin. The panel was well thought out and provided a good summary of LGBT characters in American media as well as anime and manga. He included some discussion about characters that are interesting and well-roundedversus those that are simply caricature or cardboard cutout.

And then I hoofed it back to the train and got myself a bit of sleep to get ready for the last day of the convention. Keep taking care of yourselves and enjoy the final day of the convention.