Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto will be appearing at September’s New York Anime Festival. That’s cool — although I won’t be going, I’ll be at the Baltimore Comic-Con that same weekend — but what does he have to do with anime?
“…but what does he have to do with anime?”
As I opined over on Heidi’s blog, I’ve come to realize that manga/anime fandom in the U.S. isn’t just about comics and cartoons; it’s more about some level of appreciation of Japanese culture. And the convocations and conventions for that fandom tend to reflect that–touching on cultural points broader than just buying and selling comics and magazines and books and DVDs.
So if NYAF has the resources and the wherewithal to make other bits of Japanese culture part of their show, I say more power to them. I’m sure their audience will be pleased and impressed; I sure am. (Even though I’m more an Alton Brown/Ted Allen fan…)
I guess I’d like to see, if that’s really their intent, it called the Japanese Culture Festival instead of an anime convention.
But the term “J-Pop” has no (economic) cache. Heck, all props to them for not renaming themselves the NY Manga Fest.
It would be cool to see Morimoto (we’ve eaten at his Philly restaurant), but like Johanna, I’ll be at Baltimore.
(And if not in Baltimore, would probably choose instead to goto the Natl Book Festival in DC, which is ALSO the same weekend.)
Johanna, just to expand on Ali’s post. At Otakon you can buy everything from kimonos to household wares. Even at the smaller cons, like the one that used to be here in Richmond, vendors sell small household items like chopstick sets and sandals. So it doesn’t suprise me to see a Japanese chef at an anime event. I hope he does a panel where he critiques all the various cooking manga. I would attend that to see which series he liked and didn’t like.
Hee hee, I bet he doesn’t read manga though.
I guess it just struck me funny after hearing all the complaints about San Diego not being about the comics anymore, to see people going “aw, cool” about this. But if the history has always been different, then so be it.
I’d say there’s a difference between a “special attraction” at a show and a shift in the show where the main is now overshadowed. I’m sure loyal attendees of the Anime Festival would complain if they briught in so many Japanese TV stars and athletes that the toons had to play second or third fiddle.
Personally, I think it’s great if you can have a vareity of popular culture type guests at a convention, as long as they don’t take away from the main focus.