From The Bizarre Ashes: Toradora

14 Nov

Hello readers,

After a few weeks I have finally returned. A few quite notes: As I expected the Halloween party wasn’t all that good. It was more of a touch and go from the get-go. Also I’ve gone back and updated the post on the NYAF Masquerade it should now be as comprehensive as I can make it.

But I’d rather not dwell on the past, rather I’d like to look at the present and toward the future.

Before I begin I would like to pose this question to you: What do you get when you put together a kind-hearted student with the face of a delinquent, a short and even shorter tempered girl and their friends? Well to many it should be obvious (some might know the series already, but for those of you who don’t know check the title of this post). That’s right, it’s the series called Toradora. It is a romantic comedy that mostly revolves around the lives of Ryūji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka (nicknamed the palm-top tiger, most likely due to her diminished stature and short temper) and their mutual friends Minori Kushieda and Yūsaku Kitamura (who Ryūji and Taiga are secretly, or not so secretly in love with respectively). A few other recurring characters, hilarious interactions and speech ensure that there is almost never a dull moment. One scene can make you laugh until it hurts, while another can put you on the verge of tears. We have already screened the first four episodes of the 25 episode anime series. Will we continue showing the series every Tuesday until we finish the series. So if you are interested and can make it to the meetings on Tuesdays, find the first four episodes (youtube is an easily accessible source for all the episodes) and show up on 11/16 and each subsequent week. I have gone further in the series since it was first screened on Tuesday (I am up to episode 19 currently; I somehow displaced my addiction for Detective Conan for a bit again) and I can’t wait for Tuesday in order to watch the episodes again. So if you are able please join us on Tuesday for the next four episodes. If you can’t make it, just watch it somewhere else.

So that is all. Until next time where I hope I can share some exciting news about some future events, rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your anime addicted secretary,


Seth Tobias Zeltzer

A shot of the audience from the first screening. Note that our club president looks crazy/evil. No idea how that happened.


From The Bizarre Ashes: Halloween Party

24 Oct

Hello Readers,

Well that special time of the year when all the ghosts and ghouls emerge from the shadows repeating the unholiest of mantras: “trick or treat”; yes Halloween is nearly upon us. For some of us this time of year gives us an excuse to dress up as a hero, villain, or other character from some bit of pop culture or history that we love or identify with. For others this is a time of great annoyance having to deal with costumed “weirdos” and frequent trick or treaters. And for some All Hallow’s Eve gives us an excuse to throw a party (usually a costume party). I am here to tell you that the Brooklyn College Anime Manga Club in conjunction with the Sci-Fi club and M.E.Do. (I am sorry but I cannot remember what it stands for all I am pretty sure is it the Dominican club though). I am not entirely sure what entertainment is planned but if you are looking for a nice little (or big) party to attend look no further than our Halloween Party.

The All Saint’s Eve Extravaganza begins at 7:00PM in the SUBO basement and lasts until 11:00PM. Admittance is $3 unless you are wearing a costume in which case admission is free. My advice, if you want to attend throw something together that can be called a costume so you don’t need to pay. I was thinking that I would not bother to go in costume (as I am not really one for parties and wearing a costume on my way to campus and in class might be interesting to see some people’s reactions is not a very desirable thing for me) but perhaps I will throw on my blue suit and don my Phoenix Wright persona yet again (I am still on the fence about it).

My prediction: I really don’t know what to expect mostly because I do not know what is happening during the course of the party. My initial reaction to hearing what this party would be like was this thing is going to be FUBAR (fouled up beyond all repair/recognition; a slightly censored version of what the abbreviation stands for). And unfortunately I still think this going to be the case at least to some extent. Normally at these kind of events we have people playing card games (mostly Magic: the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh) and that is not going to be allowed at this party.

While the ideal for the Anime/Manga Club would have been an event similar to last semester’s cosplay cafe, due to certain constraints we were unable to have an event like that for Halloween.

So expect to see me there, possibly rocking my blue suit. While my expectations are kind of low I am hoping to be proven wrong.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your (possibly) costumed secretary,


Seth Tobias Zeltzer

From The Bizarre Ashes: New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con; A Look Back

17 Oct

Hello all,

I know this piece might seem to be a bit late but the idea for this post just came to me. I realized (after reading a post on another blog) I spent so much time on the facts of what occurred to make my NYAF/NYCC experience that I didn’t even bother to share my own thoughts on this major event. A week after the end of the con is enough that I can share not only my thoughts but also those that I have found while online (and mostly on Facebook).

First of all I would probably be nicer towards the con than others simply because this is my first NYAF. I don’t know what the event was like as a separate entity. But that is probably a good thing since my thoughts might be more unbiased than others (although what people have told me will contribute to some bias but I will try to leave that out).

One thing that was apparent from the get-go was that NYAF was not going to be anywhere near the size of NYCC. NYCC had much more space. There was a dealer’s room (in which a small corner of the room was allocated for anime/manga merchandise). I am not sure if there was a NYCC artist alley but the NYAF artist alley was shoved in the basement. Also there were the rooms that would be used for panels. The major screenings (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and The Gundam 00 movie; sorry I don’t know the name) were put into relatively small auditoriums used for regular panels; at least the Haruhi Suzumiya premiere was I didn’t attend the Gundam screening. Would it have been possible to screen the movies in the IGN theater? Maybe. It would have been a better experience and have had more people attend if it would have been possible. Even when the IGN theater was used for a NYAF event (the Chihara concert and masquerade) there was no reference of NYAF on stage (maybe barring the podium). The backdrop only referenced NYCC.

My analysis and thoughts on this “issue”: While this might have been a major issue for many who went to NYAF/NYCC solely for NYAF it wasn’t so much of an issue for me. I have friends who have claimed that they will never set foot inside NYAF again if it is not a separate con. I don’t think it is such a big deal. There is one reason I can think of for the disproportionate amount of NYCC space/stuff and that is that I would assume more people attended this event for NYCC rather than NYAF. The reason I am hearing people complain about this is because I associate with more people who care about NYAf than I do who care about NYCC. I would expect the same reaction in a person who cared about NYCC if NYAF was the main proponent of the event. For me personally though this wasn’t a huge deal. I did everything I really wanted to and ended up spending my time wandering around anyway. I understand that those attending for NYAF felt that they got the shaft but looking back is it really that surprising? Thinking about it now I would say no, this should have been expected to some extent.

Another very obvious problem was the sheer number of people in attendance. At some points in both days I went, walking through the dealer’s room or even the main lobby was a hassle. I know they sold out of Saturday passes no later than the Friday of the con. There were many people who also brought their spouses and/or children. The only real issue caused by this overcrowding was walking around the con was hectic due to all the traffic. The dealer’s room was absolutely packed and moving around there was a nightmare.

My analysis and opinion: What I said above is pretty close to my own feelings. This hit a lot closer to home than others since I was carrying around a bulky sign that got destroy since many people at the con didn’t seem to want to or care to keep up with what was going on around them. This is pretty normal though. I attended NYCC back in 2004 for a Magic tournament and I remember that on that one day (Saturday) the con got so overcrowded that badge sales were suspended and the fire marshal was called in (which made moving around somewhat difficult as they blocked off key staircases. Now bear in mind that this is no one’s fault. This issue is simply the result of having huge events like NYAF and NYCC thrown together. All that can really be hoped for is that next year the construction that is currently underway will be finished and more space will be available for either or both cons (depending on whether or not they hold the events together next year).

Once you got into the con another, more serious issue rears its ugly head: the poor quality of the staff. Now I understand that working for a huge con must be a very difficult job but some of the staff seemed somewhat incompetent. I heard stories of staff misleading people, not being able to help people at all. I also heard that many of the staff were (possibly unpaid) volunteers.

My opinion and analysis: I like to have a game plan walking in to a con and making sure I know the layout of the event (for the most part; some things you can only learn by exploring) so I didn’t need to interact with the staff very much. They were very good at keeping people out from places they didn’t belong but that was really all I saw. Like I said I am sure that it is not an easy job but from the anecdotes I have heard it seems that the staff was fairly inept (and some people even described them as rude). One thing that left a weird taste in my mouth was the fact that some attendants thought I was staff. Now I don’t know how that is possible. I was wearing a blue suit. The staff was wearing either yellow or red t-shirts or black or purple polo shirts (that I think may have had security written on them).

Those were the main issues that came up. I am sure there are other issues but if I can’t think of them off the top of my head they might not be important enough to bring up. Do I think the event had it’s fair share of problems? Yes. Are all of them the fault of the staff/those in charge? No. Are people always going to complain about something? Yes. Should NYAF/NYCC figure out a way to try to fix some of these problems? Yes. All I can say are these few bits: I have been to two anime conventions (Otakon 2010 and NYAF/NYCC 2010) and Otakon was so much better than NYAF/NYCC. Will I attend NYAF in the future whether or not it is associated with NYCC? Probably. Did I have a good time? Yes. And finally was the con as bad a people are saying? Probably not, they might just be biased based on their own disappointment.

So there is my take on NYAF/NYCC. If you attended and enjoyed the event then I hope to see you there next year. If not, well all I can do is hope for one of two things: 1) They fix the major problems that people have with the event or 2) You get over the problems that you think plagued the con this year; so you will decided to attend in the future. I am sure they did the best they could given what they had to work with.

If you are so disgusted with NYAF/NYCC as some of my friends are, someone started a Facebook group dedicated to “saving” NYAF by having it run once again as a standalone event.

Now this might not be necessary but if people want change then they need to make their opinions known.

Looking back it is easy to see what is wrong and what is right with not only NYAF/NYCC but almost everything in life. To get through something in the present you need to focus on the positives and let all the negatives take a backseat.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your analytical club secretary,


Seth Tobias Zeltzer

From The Bizarre Ashes: New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con Convention Report Part 3

11 Oct

Welcome readers to the last installment of my Convention Report,

This should be a short piece. I would just like to discuss the bits going into the con.

Mostly it involved going to Staples and making a large over sized print out of the OBJECTION! vector about a month before NYAF. Then a few weeks later (the weekend before NYAF) I ran over to Staples and bought the larger size foam board so I could mount the print out on something. I bought wooden sticks to tape together to use as a handle.

The other bit that I should have been involved with that I wasn’t was getting the badges early. That ended up falling into the laps of the other executive members of the club. That included traveling to Image Anime and getting jerked around by the college waiting on the check to pay for a decent amount of the badge cost (this was for not only me but about 9 other people).

Finding food/drinks is not very difficult at all. There is a full food court in the Javits center and a plethora of vending machines. However like any center or stadium the food is criminally overpriced. There are cheaper (and probably unhealthier) alternatives. There is a McDonalds, Five Guys, Subway and many restaurants (which I am sure is more expensive than the con food).

My advice is this: Make sure you eat a good, big breakfast to try and make it through most of the day and either bring a bottle of water or buy one from the vending machine and keep it. Fill it up for free water wherever you are.

A bit more advice: Try to do everything you can in order to not get sick right before a con. I started coming down with a bug and attending a con while sick is not very pleasant.

The last thing I can offer is this: Make sure you have something to do. Anything that you might enjoy, either visit panels, hit up booths in the dealer’s room, check out the artist alley, even do something as simple as hang out with friends. Hell even make new friends or meet people you’ve met on the internet. Spending 6 hours in the dealer’s room on day one felt like nothing since I was constantly walking around looking at booths, meeting up with friends and even meeting some of my online friends for the first time in real life.

So finally parting ways with NYAF/NYCC all I can say is this (courtesy of Uncle Yo; let’s hope I quoted this correctly): live, laugh and glomp.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your thorough club secretary,


Seth Tobias Zeltzer

Me and my online friends.

From The Bizarre Ashes: Minori Chihara Concert and NYAF Masquerade

10 Oct

Dear readers,

So one of the highlights of day 2 for not only me but many of those attending NYAF is the famous masquerade event. For those of who don’t know the masquerade event is where people (while cosplaying) perform rehearsed skits. There is a stark difference between NYAF’s masquerade and Otakon’s masquerade and that is that the skits at NYAF are screened so only the good ones will make it. One difference was that for the first time ever they allowed walk-ons (which turned out to be just like a fashion show of sorts). So after snagging a good seat I was ready for the Chihara concert. While I was not terribly excited for it, it was still a great event. Minori Chihara is a great singer (she also provides the voice for Yuki Nagato from the series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya). Some of the music was just amazing and the crowd was electric; they really got into it. The concert lasted about 45 minutes. After 10 minutes to set up for the masquerade, the event was about ready to start. We were introduced to the MC for the event; Uncle Yo. Uncle Yo, for those you know aren’t familiar with him, has been the MC for the NYAF masquerade every year since it’s inception and he also does stand up (at cons I believe). He is extremely funny and boasts many skills from jokes referencing 4chan to interactions with the performers (which I am almost 100% sure were ad-libbed) to being able to kill time during long set ups for skits (apparently he pulls his material during this time from his stand up). I will attempt to put together a decent list of the skits and walk-ons. I will warn you in advance that some skits will have much more information than others, simply because I might only know the series and not the characters or in an extreme I won’t know anything about the skit. As I am not entirely sure some of my info might also be incorrect but i hope to fill this out completely.

UPDATE: The list should be complete now thanks to American Cosplay Experience/Paradise. Video from the masquerade should now be found on youtube courtesy of ACP/ACE.

Skit 1: Legend of Zelda; Zelda and Ganondorf (I believe they were out of Twilight Princess). They sung a song based on the stigmas of cosplays, especailly those around women cosplayers; like how girls might make full body armor to wear even though most characters who wear armor are male).
Skit 2: Clover; not sure what was going on.
Skit 3: Sailor Moon Super S; Sailor Moon. I am not too sure what was going on in the skit.
Walk-ons 1: Aku (Samurai Jack), Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), Madame Mirage, Seras Victoria, Thor (comic).
Skit 4: Code Geass; Dancing with some violence.
Skit 5: Muramasa: The Demon Blade; Some battling against cardboard standups. Note: Beforehand (while the skit was being set up, Uncle Yo did a great job at stalling, no wonder he loves stalling).
Skit 6: Super Mario; Mario. mario dancing to some of the music from early Super Mario games.
Walk-ons 2: Character from How to Train Your Dragon (movie), Allen Walker (D. Gray-Man), Big Boss (Metal Gear Solid) and (I believe this was a skit).
At this point there were a few songs sung as a small break: World Ends and Morphin Time sung by “Scott Pilgrim”
I am not sure if this was a skit or a walk-on: X-men, (comic) many of the X-men together dancing.
Skit 7: Saiunkoku Monogatari; Not really sure what was going on but there was a lot of dancing.
Skit 8: Naruto; I am not sure of all the characters but I know there was a Kakashi. Reenactment of the Family Guy, The Bird is the Word song (mostly Peter’s spoken bits and song)
Skit 9: Avatar (movie). This skit included a very well done Na’vi (with a bow and arrow) and a human wearing an amazing, huge (seriously it was almost as tall as the entire set) mechanical suit.
Walk-ons 3: Werewolf Sonic the Hedgehog (Video Game), Codex (The Guild), Carnage (Spiderman), Venom (Spiderman), Thor (comic).
Skit 10: Pokemon; Ash, Misty, Pikachu and Togepi. Answering an important question: Is Misty a female?
Skit 11: Devil May Cry 3. I think there was something regarding RPGs.
Walk-ons 4: Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe), Wonder Woman (Comic), Steam Punk Iron Man, Tali (Mass Effect), Ares (comic).
Skit 12: Paradise Kiss: I believe it was similar to an acceptance speech.
At this point there was an intermission; a skit from the same guy who sang the songs earlier (Scott Pilgrim). He was dressed as Scott Pilgrim and the intermission skit was about Scott Pilgrim traveling to NYAF/NYCC and having to fight people, duel (a la Yu-Gi-Oh), etc.
After the intermission the winners of the Awards were given. First were for the Walk-ons
Anime Walk-on: Faye Valentine
Comic Walk-on: Wonder Woman
Best Web Series: Codex
Best Dance-off: X-men
Best Overall: Steam Punk Iron Man
Gaia Online Viewer’s Choice 2nd: Avatar (Skit 9).
Gaia Online Viewer’s Choice 1st: Super Mario (Skit 6).
Yume Cup Honorable Mentions: Revolutionary Tango (Skit 4), Avatar (Skit 9).
Yume Cup Craftsmanship 2nd: Clover (Skit 2).
Yume Cup Craftsmanship 1st: Muramasa: Demon Blade (Skit 5).
Yume Cup Best Performance Runner Up: Mario Dance (Skit 6).
Yume Cup Best Performance Winner: Saiunkoku Monogatari (Skit 7).
Yume Cup Winner: Zelda (Skit 1).

And there you have it. The two responsible for bringing us the Zelda skit won a trip to Japan and some serious spending money. They definitely deserved. It was one of my favorite skits; with the Mario one a close second or a tie. And before leaving I was able to get a pic with Uncle Yo. So that was the masquerade.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your sick club secretary


Seth Tobias Zeltzer

Me and Uncle Yo

From The Bizarre Ashes: New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con Convention Report Part 2

10 Oct

Hello my readers,

A quick note: This segment will be only 2 parts. I have been sick since Thursday and I pushed through the first two days but Sunday was not worth attending. There wasn’t anything I really cared about. The only thing I would have really had to report about was having pictures taken of me. I hope this turns out a good as part 1, but my brain has been frying for about 4 days now.

So anyway, my second day was interesting. After getting back from the first day I fixed my sign and did some assorted work on the internet to share what happened on day one. I slept for 2 hours or so and then made my way back to the Javits center. When I got there I got on line; which was huge. The line was to get to the dealer’s room (which I didn’t even want to go to). I met up with friends and we walked around a bit. One of my friends bought some Magic: The Gathering and we sat down in the food court while he popped the packs. Afterwards I believe that we headed over to the artist’s alley where my friend picked up and asked for commissions. The time I spent in the artist’s alley was filled with pictures being taken of me. Literally one person asking for a picture ended up being 10+ pictures taken of me. While in the artist alley I saw my friends from the forums I post on (same ones as the previous day minus the one who was working in the dealer’s room). I sat with some friends and paid a small amount of attention to the stage where there was some type of entertainment. Nothing too good. While there I also ran into the ones responsible for The Wild Card Photo Shoot that I was planning on attending a little later in the day. I walked over to the food court and waited for the photo shoot to start up. I would just like to say to the two responsible. I am so sorry how poorly it turned out. Not many people showed up. I understand the difficulty of organizing a photo shoot. All of my efforts since Otakon ended really amounted to nothing. Anyway during the photo shoot I actually sat down against the wall and napped for about 10 minutes. I guess the bug I got and the lack of sleep caught up to me. Afterwards I met up with some of the BCAM corps members and decided what to do with the masquerade. After a little mix up and meeting up with some other friends (whose secret costume I finally got a chance to see). We got in line to the masquerade. After realizing there was a special line for Press we were able to get in before the general public (and after the people with the Chihara badges). The concert and masquerade were both done extremely well. I will not cover that here, rather I will make a separate post for the Chihara concert and masquerade. After the masquerade we left and I returned home. I proceeded to pass out and spent the entirety of the third day sleeping.

So that was my NYAF/NYCC experience. As I was writing this post I realized that I can still make this con report a three part special. So hopefully tomorrow I will have finished part three which will just be the odds and ends; stuff like what I needed to do to get ready far in advance from the con.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your crazy club secretary


Seth Tobias Zeltzer

From The Bizarre Ashes: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

9 Oct

As I mentioned in my previous post. The panel most of the club attended had the New York premiere of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. I was not thrilled when I decided to attend the panel. I only went because almost all my friends who attended the first day were going and I usually follow the crowd. My train of thought was pretty much this: I haven’t watched the series (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and thus I will probably not enjoy the movie. The movie had a pretty slow beginning and this only reinforced my displeasure (especially once I realized the panel was scheduled to go from 8 to 10PM). Fortunately the movie picked up pretty quickly. The plot was extremely interesting and there was a perfect mix of seriousness and humor. There were parts that caused most of the audience to laugh (myself included) and others that made me forget that my mouth was agape. The plot got a little convoluted and I also didn’t understand every last thing (especially since I haven’t watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) but in the end it didn’t take all that much away from the movie. Near the end I was near tears (just at the threshold but not tears surfaced) one moment and laughing the next. That (in my opinion) is not an easy feat. All in all the movie was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who like anime whether or not they have watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Some may disagree with me but I am usually not that hard to please. Watching this movie was a great end to an amazing day.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your dedicated club secretary


Seth Tobias Zeltzer