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Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

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Ah, Fourth of July weekend.

For many, this means a few days to kick back and enjoy time with friends and family, fire up the grill, eat some good food and see some fireworks.

For those of the otaku persuasion, the place to be will be at Anime Expo 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California, beginning on Thursday, July 2 through Sunday, July 5, 2009.This year, there's more reasons than ever to be in L.A., thanks to AX's star-studded line-up of guests from the worlds of anime, manga, gaming, J-Pop and J-Rock, including three manga-ka visiting from Japan, two major headliners from the top of the Japanese charts, anime directors from some of the top studios and so much more.

Here's some of the this weekend�s mostly manga-centric highlights:THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2009 Better eat your Wheaties � Day One of Anime Expo kicks off at 9:00 am with the opening ceremonies.

Then after that, it�s a full day of fun as manga artist Yun Kouga, visual-kei goth rock band Moi dix Mois, cheery pop supergroup Morning Musume and the GAINAX gang give fans reasons to stick around all day (and all evening) long.

9:00 am - 9:50 am: Opening Ceremonies, Main Events Hall LACC Hall A The fun kicks off bright and early Thursday morning as Anime Expo gives fans a chance to see what�s in store, and get a few opening words from the all-star group of anime directors, manga artists, actors, game creators and pop/rock stars from Japan and beyond.

The hall opens at 8:30 for early-birds who want the best seats.

10:00 am - 10:50 am: Digital Manga Publishing Industry Panel & eManga Demonstration, Room LP 1 See what DMP has in store for 2009 and beyond and get a preview of their eManga online manga rental service.11:00 am - 11:50 am: Guest of Honor Spotlight: Yun Kouga, Room LP 1 Meet the camera-shy manga creator of Loveless, Earthian and Gestalt, plus grill her on her role as character designer for Gundam 00.

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Moi dix Mois in Concert, Main Events � LACC Hall ASee the man, the legend, the band that will set a thousand Gothic Lolitas� hearts a-flutter, Moi dix Mois with charismatic (and frighteningly gorgeous) frontman Mana, the pop star who�s so revered, fans refer to him as �Mana-sama� (Lord Mana).

Seating for this event starts at 1:00 and you better believe you should get there early if you�re planning on attending this visual-kei rock extravaganza.

2:00 pm - 2:50 am: Guests of Honor Spotlight: Morning Musume, Room LP 1 So you say you want something softer, happier and just cuter this afternoon? Get yourself over to the Morning Musume panel and coo at this oh-so-sweet pop songbird supergroup.

3:30 pm - 4:20 pm: Guest of Honor Spotlight: Hiroyuki Imaishi and Atsushi Nishigori, Room LP 1Meet two of the creative powerhouses from GAINAX who brought you that Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

5:00 pm - 5:50 pm: Right Stuf & Nozomi Entertainment Industry Panel, Room LP 1Get the low-down on some new and upcoming anime releases, plus grill their marketing team with all of your random licensing requests.

They love that kind of stuff.

6:00 pm - 6:50 pm: Anime News Network, Room LP 3Meet the editors, reporters and reviewers of Anime News Network, ask them questions, and if you�re really good, you might take home some free schwag too.

7:30 pm - 8:20 pm: eigoMANGA Industry Panel, Room LP 2Check out how eigoMANGA is making plans to branch out into new ventures like a J-rock website and much more.

10:00 pm - 10:45 pm: GAINAX Focus Panel, Room LP 1Representatives from the legendary studio that brought you the anime you love to love such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL, and will be on hand to talk about Gurren Lagann and answer your questions.

10:45 pm - 11:50 pm: GAINAX Presents: The Making of Gurren Lagann Documentary Room LP 1They debuted this film at FanimeCon 2009, but in case you weren�t in the room in San Jose this past May, you now have your second chance to check out this �making of� feature.

FRIDAY, JULY 3, 2009 Day Two of Anime Expo will feature several manga publishers� panels, a concert featuring J-Pop sensations Morning Musume, a session with Afro Samurai�s creator Takashi Okazaki and the ever-popular Anime Music Video competition.

9:00 am - 9:50 am: Bandai Entertainment Industry Panel, Room LP 1So you want to know what�s new and coming soon in anime and manga from Bandai Entertainment? President Ken Iyadomi and Marketing Dude Robert Napton will be there to give you the scoop.

10:30 am - 11:20 am: Introduction to Anime/Manga Studies, Room LP 3Did you know that you can turn your love of anime and manga into your college thesis? These bright folks have and they�ll share their tales of anime in academia.

11:00 am - 11:50 am: CMX Manga: Moving Ahead, Room LP 2 Hooray! CMX Manga has finally got a panel timeslot that doesn�t conflict with my dinner! Get a peek at some new and recently released manga titles, plus maybe a new manga announcement or two.

12:00 noon - 12:50 pm: Guest of Honor Spotlight: Yosuke Kuroda and Seiji Mizushima, Room LP 1Meet the screenwriter of anime faves like Excel Saga and Love Hina, and the director of the upcoming Mobile Suit Gundam 00 movie.

1:30 pm - 2:20 pm: Guest of Honor Spotlight: Mana and Moi dix Mois, Room LP 1Even if you�re not in the room, you should bow in the general direction of Room LP 1 at 1:30 because one of J-Rock�s most legendary luminaries will be holding court.

I�ve seen video interviews where he doesn�t say a word, so don�t expect many pithy quotes from Mana-sama.

Instead, just be content to bask in his Goth-y glow, mortals.

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm: Morning Musume in Concert, Main Events LACC Hall A When you�ve had your fill of the darkness in LP 1, take a walk on the sunnier side of the street and see J-Pop supergroup Morning Musume weave their spell of undeniable musical cuteness upon the Anime Expo crowd.

The hall opens at 12:30 pm so you can camp out for the best seats.

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm: Manga as High Art, Room LP 3 Manga is more than just comics, it�s art, darn it! ART! Translator and manga expert Jonathan Tarbox and the Arashi Productions will be on hand to make the case for manga that deserves your respect.

3:30 pm - 4:20 pm: VIZ Media Anime and Manga Panel, Room LP 2 They brought you Naruto and Bleach, but are the VIZ Media crew content with these huge anime and manga hits? Not a bit! Check out their panel and see what�s new and coming soon for Fall/Winter 2009 � 2010 and beyond.

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm: Guest of Honor Spotlight: Takashi Okazaki, Room LP 1 Meet the man behind Afro Samurai, the swordsman with the �fro and the bad-ass attitude.

Ask Okazaki-sensei all of your burning questions and find out if there really is a live-action Afro Samurai movie in the works.

6:30 pm - 7:20 pm: FUNimation Sneak Peek Panel, Room LP 1You know you want to know � you know you want to be the first in your gang to say you saw these cool new clips from FUNimation.


Check it out.

It should be chock-full of films you�ll be dyin� to watch.

9:00 pm - 11:50 pm: Anime Music Videos Contest, Main Events LACC Hall AWhile you�re off having fun with your friends, somewhere out there is some fan toiling over their homemade anime music video.

Why? So they can unveil their creation and rock the house as fans roar in approval, and maybe, just maybe, win a prize for their hours of effort.

So this one�s for you, oh tireless AMV creators � you deserve a little love.

The hall opens at 7:00 for this hugely popular event, but if you don�t make it in, fear not.

It�lll replay again on Saturday at 4:30 pm, when the awards will be given out.SATURDAY, JULY 4, 2009 It�s the birthday of the United States of America.

And what will be happening? Me and a couple thousand fans will be celebrating the pop culture of Japan by checking out manga artist Yasuhiro Nightow, dressing up for the Masquerade and dude, a huge Power Rangers reunion.

Gosh, I love the USA.

9:00 pm - 9:50 pm: Self-Defense for the Otaku, Room LP 2Tired of trying to justify your passion for anime and manga? The smart folks at Arashi Productions are here to give you a couple of smart, snappy comebacks to all who would dare scoff at your otaku obsessions.

10:30 am - 11:20 am: Guest of Honor Spotlight with Yasuhiro Nightow and Satoshi Nishimura, Room LP 1 Meet the manga creator who created Trigun and get the latest updates on the upcoming Trigun anime.

11:00 pm - 11:50 pm: Yaoi Press Industry Panel, Room LP 2Meet publisher Yamilla Abraham, and find out what she�s got up her sleeve from the wonderful world of international boys love publishing.

Also, find out how you too can submit your art and stories to be published by Yaoi Press.

Juicy, no? 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm: FUNimation Industry Panel, Room LP 1You love everything they release � now show a little love (and maybe a little sympathy for that One Piece anime � incident) at FUNi�s panel.

They could use a hug.

2:00 pm - 3:50 pm: Power Rangers Reunion, Room LP 1Can the time-space continuum handle having this many former Power Rangers (and Barbara Goodson, a.k.a.

�Rita Repulsa�) in one room at one time? You�ll just have to be there to find out! 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm: Robotech Industry Panel, Room LP 3Ask almost any anime fan of a certain age what was their favorite series was when they were growing up and you�ll likely hear Robotech.

Oh, those misty, watercolor memories of the way we were addicted to this space-faring mecha drama� Now you can relive them once more as Harmony Gold and Tommy Yune, the director of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles will chat about this popular series that lives on in our hearts.

4:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Anime Music Videos Contest Rescreen & Awards Ceremony, Video Room 1 So you didn�t make it to last night�s showing of the AMV competition? Ahh, you�re fine.

You can see all the entries and see who won.

See? It was worth getting that extra hour of sleep last night after all.

5:00 pm - 5:50 pm: Nozomi Entertainment & Right Stuf Premieres, Room LP 2Get a peek at the recently released Gakuen Alice anime series, plus clips from The Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV series, now remastered for your pleasure.

6:00 pm - 6:50 pm: Anime and Manga in Academia, Room You know how your mom would tell you to turn off that darn anime and do your homework? For these studious sorts, watching anime and reading manga is their homework, and the basis for their thesis.

Howdya like them apples, mom? 8:00 pm - 11:50 pm: Anime Expo Masquerade, Main Events � LACC Hall AAnime Expo is famous for attracting a lot of amazing cosplayers.

Now you can see many of the very best strutting their stuff, and doing a few skits too at the AX Masquerade.

The hall opens for seating at 6:00 pm, so be prepared to do a good deal of waiting before you are amused by the cavalcade of costumes.SUNDAY, JULY 5, 2009 If after all that fun and overstimulation you make it to Day Four of Anime Expo, you are certainly made of stronger stuff than most of us.

But hangovers and lack of caffeine be damned, you are here to enjoy every little bit of this weekend, so here goes with the last day�s highlights.
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