MangaholiX ’09 and New Moon

I wish I had a more creative title, but I can’t think of any, so yeah, that’ll have to do.

Saturday! I went to the anime/comics/gaming convention at the World Trade Center’s East Pavillon. And it was COLD. Somebody should’ve told me to bring a jacket. Ok, somebody did. But somebody should’ve told me to definitely bring a jacket. Anyway, temperature issues aside, it was some kind of a lot of fun. 🙂

To those who aren’t privy to the geek world, what happens on these conventions is, there are booths selling comics, action figures, anime DVDs and other geeky stuff, there are some arcade games, and on stage there are bands performing, and maybe Q&A forums with renowned authors/artists, plus autograph sessions. There’s also cosplay, which explains why there are people who look like characters from anime/manga series or video games. Anyway, I’m saying this to let you know that all anime/comic/toy/whatever-related conventions here are like this. The differences are very small, e.g. if it’s a Toy Convention, there’s just going to be more abundant toys for sale, but the rest are pretty much the same, which is why, I think, one of my friends said that he’s sort of sick of going to these kinds of events and might stop going altogether. I told him that that’s why I only go once in a while (maximum of 3 times a year), so I wouldn’t easily get tired of all of it. Besides, the real reason I go there, is for the company.

The Kagaws at Mangaholix ’09

As if I haven’t mentioned it a million times before, I’m saying again that some of the people behind Mangaholix are my friends from high school. We’re really not that close anymore, I think one of them even hates me (as in really hates me — case in point: he deleted me as contact from Multiply and Friendster), but I still like to support them. I’m also friends with one of the bands that played at the event, The Kagaws, and one of the event hosts, and a bunch of volunteers/marshalls. Both my best friend E and my friend’s boyfriend A are marshalls. I spent most of my time with them, and The Kagaws’ girlfriends. So my attendance is really more of a social thing, than a hobby/interest thing. But I’m sure that most of the people who go to these things would tell you the same.

Anyway, like I said, I spent most of my time w/ A and E who were assigned to the door — to check if the people who went in had tickets. So yeah, we acted pretty much like bad guys, always asking to see everyone’s ticket, and having to check the ID of the VIP’s and exhibitors, etc. But you see, it’s because we found out (too late) that some exhibitors passed their IDs to their friends who weren’t exhibitors, so there was some hullabaloo regarding the ticket sales. But I think they eventually sorted it out.

Actually, the convention is for 2 days, but I didn’t get to go today because I woke up at 5:30PM. Yes, you read that right. I woke up at 5:30PM. And it’s all because of a movie, that I didn’t really want to watch, but what the heck.


Apparently, the tickets for this weekend at some cinemas (particularly the Ayala Cinemas) have been sold out since last Thursday, but E and I got to watch it at Mall of Asia. It still wasn’t that easy to watch it there, though.

Firstly, I checked on the internet to see the screening schedules and noted that the last was 9PM. We got to Mall of Asia at around 8:30PM and I thought that there would be plenty of time to buy tickets for 9PM showing, but when we got to the ticket counter, they announced that the only tickets left for Twilight (Yes, they didn’t make the distinction between Twilight and New Moon. Even the ticket said “Twilight”.) was for the 11:30PM screening. I think they actually only added that screening to accommodate the piles of people who still wanted to see it. Us included. So we bought tickets for the 11:30PM show (and they were quite expensive, too — P180 each), bought some popcorn, and was thinking about what to do for the next 2 hours when—

we saw that outside the Premier Cinema, there was already a line. It was 9:30PM and already people were lined up for the 11:30PM show. So it’s nothing as drastic as the people who camped outside cinemas in the U.S. to see Star Wars Episode I, but still, lining up that early just seems ridiculous. But, despite the ridiculousness of it all, we lined up as well, and just waited. We sat on the floor, because everyone was already sitting. By 10:30PM, the line was already up to the other side of the cinemas. And that’s saying a lot, considering that Mall of Asia is the 4th largest mall in the world.  Anyway, when the doors opened at 11PM, the people actually applauded and hooted and made other kinds of noise. From the excitement maybe, or they’re just thankful that we’ll finally get to sit on proper chairs. The cinema wasn’t full, but it was more than half full, which is really something, for a screening that wasn’t even supposed to happen. The movie ended at 1:30AM and it would’ve been really hard to get home if my dad hadn’t had a dinner that ran late and so was able to pick me up. Still, it’s an awful lot of trouble for something I didn’t even really want to see in the first place. Oh, who am I kidding? My curiosity trumps practicality all the time. And I have to admit, despite not really liking the Twilight series, it has made me curious enough, so I actually really did want to see it. I mean, it’s got a gazillion fans. Surely, there’s something that makes them love it, right?

Unfortunately, I still got bored with the movie. So Taylor Lautner was hot, but even his hotness could not save the movie. (Not like Matt Lanter in Cutting Edge 3 haha!) Anyway, here are some random thoughts:

  • Not enough Charlie Swan. – Really, he was my favorite character in Twilight, and I don’t know why they didn’t make use of him a lot in this one. Or okay, maybe he really doesn’t have much to do at this point, but, you know, I love Charlie Swan.
  • Too much Jacob Black. – Right. I’m not saying I didn’t like him. Truthfully, I like him more than Edward. Say what?!?! I don’t know, I just never really warmed up to the fact Edward only likes Bella for her blood. I mean sure, he says he loves her, but he’s never said why he loves her, he’s never said what little things about her that he likes, or what it is about her personality that he admires. On the other hand, with Jacob, you kind of see what he likes about Bella— because they have things in common (like the truck, and the motorcycle), and they have things they laugh about and stuff. But still, there was just too much of Taylor Lautner being shirtless, and all his shirtless friends. Oh, but the part where he first took his shirt off, actually surprised me so much that it kept me awake for the rest of the movie. So yeah, if it weren’t for Jacob, I might’ve slept through the whole thing. Thanks, Jacob! 🙂
  • Soundtrack was a bust. – I mean, the soundtrack was the only thing I really liked in the first movie, so how come there were hardly any songs in this one? 😐
  • Dakota Fanning! – I probably wouldn’t have watched this if it weren’t for her. Wala lang, I just really wanted to see how she would look and sound now that’s she’s no longer a “child star”. And her part was actually kind of cool. Although it was a bit too “pa-cool”, and so ended up being lame. Oh well. The entire Volturi thing is lame anyway.
  • Not enough people from Forks / School Stuff – I think one of the reasons Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell are great series because they juxtapose supernatural stuff with the normalcy of “high school life”. I mean, there are episodes where Buffy’s more worried about what she’s going to wear to a date, rather than what kind of monster is killing Sunnydale residents. So when Bella is alienated from everyone and is just in vampire/werewolf world, well, it just seems like she’s not going through a whole lot. And that makes the story boring.
  • First and last scene was WIN. – No spoilers here, but I have to say that the opening (even in the book) was actually pretty cool, which proves my theory, that the idea for the Twilight series, is actually really good. But the execution is just… Blah. I really wish Stephenie Meyer wasn’t such a bad writer (and same goes to whoever wrote the screenplay. I’m not even going to learn his/her name). Anyway, the last scene (or the last line of dialogue, I should say) was also WIN. And not just because it meant that the movie was over. Really, what Edward said, was the perfect way to end the movie, and to leave the audience wanting more.

My brother asked me if it was a good movie and I said that it’s sort of fine, except that the beginning was boring. And then I said, “And when I say beginning, I mean the first hour.” And he said, “Ha!? Isang oras ang boring? Ok, hindi na worth it panoorin.”

So, yeah… That’s it for my weekend. What about yours?

Big Time

Things just change, I guess. Hindi naman pwedeng ganun nang ganun na lang parati. Siyempre, tumatanda tayo, so nagbabago ‘yung mga role natin sa mundo. So nagbabago ‘yung mga priorities, ‘yung mga pangarap, ‘yung mga pangyayari.

In an earlier post, I promoted the Mangaholix Convention ’08. And I said that my friend J and I wouldn’t be able to go because we both had classes that day. I had a Nihongo class in Makati, and she had review classes in UST for her impending Board Exam. But as it turns out, she was able to go. She got there at 7PM, and the convention was almost ending, but she still paid the Php100 entrance fee. I told her that if she talked to the organizers, she may have been able to get in for free (Note: Some of the organizers are our friends from high school), but she said she didn’t want the hassle, and that she wanted to go anyway, “Even if alam kong lugi ako,” she said.

If only she’d told me sooner that she was going, then I probably would’ve gone as well. Of course, I wasn’t able to because other than my Japanese class, I also had to work that day (I’m talking about last Saturday, May 31, by the way). It’s not because our company’s a slave driver, the overtime is really due to my own irresponsibility. Ayoko nang mag-elaborate dahil baka kung ano pa ang masabi ko. So I’ll just stick to the topic. The Mangaholix Convention. Right. So, I wasn’t able to go, but from the looks of the pictures posted in my friends’ Multiply pages, and from J’s story, I’d say it was a lot of fun. But other than that, it looked like a really big thing, nearly as big as the Hero Channel Convention (perhaps because the venues were the same?), and that was organized by a big TV Network.

I guess because we started so small, that’s why it’s hard for me to believe that my friends have gone this far, to actually being hosts and organizers of a big event, getting famous bands (like Urbandub and Kala) to perform, and famous celebrities as their hosts (I don’t know who the host this year is, but last year it was the model, Sabrina Asano). Did I ever think that our after-school hangouts at Carl’s Jr. in ATC would get them to where they are now? Not even when they began to hold weekly art workshops in Ortigas did I ever think that they’d ever be able to get this “big time”. Maybe others think they’ve “sold out” (it’s usually the case in the art world, right?), especially since their material is more inclined to cater to the mainstream, rather than the serious artists (I say this because they have a lot of articles featuring mainstream stuff that I think are more for publicity rather than the “art” value, but of course I could be wrong), but I admire them for sticking to what they like to do, and making it this far anyway. I don’t think they ever compromised their integrity as artists anyway. Even if they have a lot of “publicity stunts”, the art they produce is still very good art. Although personally, I would’ve been happy even if they just published at an indie-comic level and people got to know them from that. I’m a fan of those “underdog” stories, after all. But again, this isn’t about that. What am I talking about, really?

I guess I just feel weird, because I wasn’t able to attend the convention. I haven’t attended one in a long time (It’s been exactly half a year, today, that I haven’t gone to one.) you see, and I kind of missed it. J said she had a lot of fun because she saw a lot of old friends and acquaintances, and she felt like she really belonged. Although we’re really close friends, she really knows more people than I do, mainly because 1) She played Ragnarok and so has an entire “guild” of friends, and 2) She’s really a lot friendlier/sociable than I am. There was a time when I did feel like that, like in the Mangaholix Convention last year. I didn’t have a Staff ID (don’t ask me why), but hung around the Mangaholix booth. One volunteer (I don’t know who, he must’ve been new), called my attention and told me that only volunteers were allowed inside the booth. I raised an eyebrow and the friend I’d been talking to at the time said to him that I was with him, so it was okay. Before the other guy could react, other staff members of Mangaholix showed up and they all greeted me by my name, thereby proving that I really was friends with them, and therefore it was okay for me to be there. I wasn’t just some random convention-goer, trying to get access to something I shouldn’t have access to. It actually upset me when he told me what he did, because he looked like he was asking me to leave. Hmph. Didn’t he know who I was? (Obviously not. Well, I’m not that popular anyway, and I didn’t have an ID, so yeah, it was an honest mistake, but I’m a brat. Haha.)

Well, it seems like I’m just rambling on and on without a point. I guess what I really want to say is that I feel bad that I wasn’t able to to go the convention, but at the same time, for some reason, I do feel sort of like, I don’t belong to that world, at least, not anymore. I don’t think I’ve “grown out of it”, because I don’t think I’ve grown at all, and it’s not like I’m no longer interested in anime and comics and toys and games. I still am, but somehow… maybe… I was content with just sitting on the sidelines, watching the cosplayers, and just going around the convention having fun. I don’t think I’d have any fun if I had responsibilities (like if I were an usher or a cosplay judge (not that I’d ever be one.)). I never really want to make it to the big time, after all. But I am real happy for my friends that they’ve achieved their goals (or at least one of them).

Doodles No More

(Click on image to enlarge)

Hola Patolas! The 2nd Mangaholix AniManGaming Convention is just a few weeks away! Can you believe it? I can’t. But then again, of the two of us, I’m more likely the only one who knows (unless you’re one of my close friends from high school) how long it’s been since the people behind Mangaholix have wanted to produce comics on their own, and hold their own conventions. I have to admit I had my doubts about such big dreams becoming reality, but I guess the world is a lot nicer to people with dreams than I originally thought.

Did I ever think that my friends would hold their own animangaming (this, by the way, for those of you who don’t know, is a combination of the words anime, manga, and gaming; meaning the convention covers those 3 areas) convention? Of course not. Not, cynical little me, oh no. I thought they’d be doodling behind their notebooks forever. Okay, that’s a little harsh, considering I’d seen how their art has improved through the years, but good artists aren’t all that’s needed to make a good comic. Enter, the other people invovled whom I didn’t know in high school. I guess they covered the marketing strategies, and all the other official stuff, and it’s mostly due to them that my friends have come this far (that is, of course other than because of my friends’ hardwork (naks, may ganon?)), but I think it’s cool to have so many people collaborating on something that just used to be a dream, or a joke that you would throw around at parties along with the other crazy ideas that you never thought possible.

Of course, success (or fame?) doesn’t come without a price. I guess it’s inevitable, especially with a big group of people, that because of all this commercialization and official-ness, the get-togethers with high school friends at the local fast food while doodling each other’s faces and making new private jokes is no longer possible. And neither are the free art workshops where you could just hang out and talk to the other artists whom you’d feel like you’ve known for a long time but really have just met that day (and then never see again, haha!). Not that I’m an artist, but I did meet a lot of people, despite the limited no. of Saturdays I spent on that workshop. (Even if I wasn’t a participant of the workshop and I just, er, handed out sandwiches. :P) I guess I managed to make a couple of new friends along the way, and still see some of ’em now in events like these.

I honestly liked how things were before, when everything was just fun and games, and we didn’t have to think too much about money, and legal issues, or strategic marketing (not that I think about those things now, I’m no longer part of the comic group after all, but I can imagine that they (those involved) are thinking about it). It was fun, just drawing (for them), and thinking up weird concepts, and joking about cosplaying (and then eventually going through with it :P). But I guess change is inevitable (whoa! did i really say that?! :P) and I’ll just have to accept that this is how things are now:

There’s an Animangaming Convention on May 21st of this year and

  1. Two of my friends from high school are right in the middle of all the organization and preparation (being the Editor-In-Chief and Circulations Manager and all)
  2. My other friends who are in a band (The Kagaws) are playing during the event, along with a number of other bands, some even mainstream popular, such as Urbandub and Kala.
  3. My closest friend who’s into comics won’t be able to attend because she has Saturday classes (she’s reviewing for the architectural board exam taking place in June); and
  4. Neither will I. (Because I have Saturday classes as well–I’m learning Nihongo.)

So, this is really just an advertisement for those of you who can come. I really hope you do. I was at the 1st Mangaholix Convention last year, and if this one’s anything like that, then it’s going to be a LOT of fun.