Reactor Report Wrap-up
It's been a week now since the first ever Anime Reactor
powered down. It was a fun three days of superstar treatment and fan community interaction at a Holiday Inn near the Steven's Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
The day after our panel, we had very little to do. The folks at AR decided to let us enjoy the convention unfettered except for one scheduled press interview at 3pm. It was just as well since Friday night was our first evening together in over a year where we didn't have to worry about our infant son, and 'celebrated' by staying up until 3am playing video games. We woke up early enough to eat something and still make it to Tsutomu Nihei's panel at noon. We had introduced ourselves the night before. He was, after all, one of the reasons we were out there (we were fans and we wanted to meet him). The Halo shirt someone had teased me about came in handy when I introduced myself and Robert, saying how we work for Bungie and both worked on Halo. Nihei-san understood the first part of my sentence but was at a loss at the rest until I pulled my scarf aside to reveal the Halo logo on my shirt. I wanted to mention how much his work inspired us, but at the sight of the Halo logo, his face lit up and turned away to practically drag the translator into our conversation. Robert and I were extremely pleased and quite surprised that Nihei-san played Halo a whole lot with his fellow mangaka
at home and was thrilled that there he was at his first anime convention and he has come across members of the Halo team! At Nihei-san's panel, we joined the fans in asking him questions. When an attendant staff recognized us, he took the mike to introduce us to Nihei-san and the audience. We waved hello and Nihei-san surprised us by asking if he could have our autograph!
During the panel, we found out that the name of Nihei-san's book "Blame!" was actually pronounced "Blam!" and, he admitted, the "e" was there by mistake. Which brings us to this cool coincidence. Robert and I picked up "Blame!" at a Japanese book store because we thought it said "Blam!" -- which was Halo's code name before it was announced. Nihei-san was pleased to no end and couldn't wait to get back home to brag about it. At the end of the panel, I've discovered that Robert and Nihei-san had a lot in common: a love of monsters, zombies and Guinness. The three of us decided to enter Anime Reactor's Halo Xbox Tournament. With Shi Kai we would have made a good team but the guy went missing that night, probably revelling in some party...? (He still doesn't want to talk about it!)
The game room was a mass of people that evening. Between trying to get a hold of Shi Kai and trying to get my phone to work (I had lost my wall charger), I missed the opening matches. But the staff made sure we still got in at the last. I already forget the game type but we played on Chiron -- you know... the one with all small rooms with teleporters everywhere. It was crazy! The moment I respawn, I die. I was killed at the teleporters at least five times. I ended up placing last but at the very least I didn't score zero. :: sigh ::
The first place winner was a guy named Ryan, who worked at EB. He came away with Anime Reactor's first place trophy, a Master Chief action figure, a Bungie shirt, a Sybex Strategy guide and a handful of Bungie stickers (I can't recall now if he got anything else). Second place winner was Chong Lee -- who, at this time I still can't verify if he collected his prizes. We met Ryan outside the gameroom. He was awfully thrilled and can't wait to show off his trophy and prizes to his boss -- who apparently had been trying to get Halo action figures and not been able to!
The last day of the covention promised to be a short one. The closing ceremonies began with a charity auction benefiting the Child
ren's Rare Cancer Fund, aka "Hideyuki's Fund". Guests and staff bid against each other while Steve Bennett ran the mike, calling out factoids and egging on every bidder to go even higher. The remaining con goers were too broke from shopping in the dealer's room all weekend. Robert, Shi Kai and I contributed four pieces to the charity auction, one piece having art from the three of us. Tsutomu Nihei won the bid on all four pieces. Robert could not be outbid for one of Nihei-san's ink drawings. I couldn't let go of Kia Asamiya's "Steam Detective's" sketch. In all, it was a good day at Reactor for the Children's Rare Cancer Fund.
And that pretty much wraps up our stay at Anime Reactor. Next time, I promise to get more sleep so I can remember every single thing!!