Yaoi Con 2012: Second Day: Let’s Get the Party Started!

Or so I thought. I think I had medium expectations about 2012’s convention.

The first panel in my agenda for the day was the DMI Industry Panel which was starting at 10AM. I got there just in time to be let in; the line wasn’t long.

The space itself was huge. There were lots of chairs and a raised platform with tables and chairs. Behind that was this cheesy looking “1001 Arabian Nights” motif with palms, curtains and screens. They were going for the Black Sun motif.

Off in one corner and out of the way was the sound equipment which reminded me of a ballroom getting ready for a party. The ladies running the panel were already sitting at the table. We had a full hour for the panel.

But it was all over in half an hour, including the Q&A.

The mods introduced themselves. They were all editors for the different DMI imprints. I noticed that Ben Applegate wasn’t present. I had watched one of those DMG videos and he seemed to be in charge of that division. It was the only video I watched so I don’t know if DMG was all he did. In any case, he was absent from the panel. I thought he was doing something else, like staffing the giant DMG table in the Dealer’s Room.

I could almost see the point of having the editors at the panel and considering they perved and giggled in between announcements, I expected more.

I should mention that DMI announced a lot of continuing titles. There was nothing new except for the hentai and gen titles. I’m not familiar with those genres, so who knows if they were really new titles or what. We got the announcements through a series of fast paced slides. There really wasn’t much time to live tweet announcements.

After that came the news that DMI titles would be available for download. They mentioned that titles already owned through their eManga website would be free for download, as you already own them. You’ll be able to download a DRM-free document, probably a PDF, and read it on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The next announcement was the revamping of the eManga website, along with the reader. From the screenshot we were shown, it looked like a huge improvement over the old one. At the time they said it wouldn’t go live until November, but sometime in November or December a newsletter was sent out announcing a delay in the website’s launch. I’ve lost the newsletter and cannot confirm when it was sent. The website is live now and it looks definitely different from the old one.

Another improvement from the old website is the currency system. They’re dropping the point system in favor of actual dollar amounts. If you still have points in your account, they’ll convert that to Reward Points that you can still use. If I remember correctly, a point will be worth a dollar. I don’t remember how many points I had and by now the website has gone live.

Another new improvement to the website is the addition of gift cards. They’ll sell them in set denominations and you can gift them or buy them for yourself.

Their last announcement was their hentai website. I haven’t visited and haven’t been curious enough to justify a visit.

Then came the Q&A.

There weren’t many of us to begin with. Some people asked some questions and there were times when we all looked around at each other waiting for a poor soul to ask a question. Then came the clincher.

A girl asked if DMI would consider licensing Love Pistols/Sex Pistols. The room got really quiet and all the editors looked at each other and one of them mumbled, “We’ll look into it.” Jennifer LeBlanc, editor for SuBLime, was sitting next to me. If you don’t know, SuBLime rescued Love Pistols and has been releasing it digitally for some time. She raised her hand and corrected them at the same time that somebody else in the audience was announcing to the world that SuBLime had rescued the title.

That was the most memorable part of this panel.

Right after this industry panel was Ogawawarea-sensei’s panel. I didn’t want to stay inside and risk having to get kicked out, so I went out and stood in line again.

We were finally let in only to find pretty much the same amount of people. It was this huge room again with just a handful of people so far apart, that the mod asked us to move closer. They were not allowing us to take pictures of the manga-ka. I can tell you that she was very slim and very Japanese. She was asked questions and to me it seemed that she was giving one-word answers, but the translator was embellishing the translation.

Both sensei and the translator kept looking at notes. I think sensei got a list of questions/topics in advance that DMI would talk to her about and she wrote down her answers because she kept looking at her piece of paper. The whole thing felt very awkward and stilted. It was as if it was too much bother on the side of the manga-ka and the fans. I kept thinking to myself, shame on the fans for not showing more support, but now in retrospect sensei fell short of expectations. Maybe she wasn’t the right manga-ka for this convention.

Up next was Jo Chen and Guilt|Pleasure’s panel. I sat in and squirmed for a bit until I realized that I didn’t need to be there. I enjoyed her meet & greet of the day before. So I left to have me some lunch.

The next item on the agenda was Ogasawara-sensei’s autograph session. I had realized earlier that day that I had forgotten to take with me my Japanese copy of Black Sun 2. So I had to get the English version so I could have her autograph something. This time around the line was long, but it went through quick. I got my autograph and went down to the Barcelona/Casablanca room to catch the SuBLime panel.

This panel and Jo Chen’s from the day before were worth the trip. I said it here and I’ll probably say it again.

Unfortunately the people who had the room before SuBLime were late in finishing up. After they left, Jennifer still had to set up her stuff and so we started the panel late. She was aware that time was of essence and would probably have no time for the Q&A.

She started off by announcing the new licenses. We were shown another set of slides, but this time it went slow enough that I was able to live tweet the titles. The room was small and it was packed to the brim. There were still some empty chairs at the front, but people seem to be afraid of sitting on the first row. With each slide Jennifer, the fans squealed louder. By the time she got to announcing the rescue of Harudaki, even I was screaming from the excitement.

Once the announcements were over, Jennifer started up the raffle. We had all received tickets with numbers and she had manga and drama CDs to give away. She wanted to do that as a thank you for the fans. Lots of people walked out with prizes, but sadly the panel was running out of time. Once we left, some of us stayed behind in the hallway to talk to Jennifer. That would be our Q&A.

And truly, it felt more intimate. There were probably a dozen of us crowded around Jennifer and we were asking questions left and right. My main concern was the traced images that Youka Nitta had done for Harudaki. Jennifer said that part of the license was having sensei redraw anything that she had traced in order to avoid copyright issues with the original holders (Diesel being one of them). She was also asked about rescuing other titles from BLU and she said that it was hard because of demand. If we buy more SuBLime titles, the likelyhood of particular lost licenses getting rescued is better. It all really comes down to the fans buying their titles. Unfortunately I didn’t write down any of the questions or answers, so I can’t really relay them.

I can say that SuBLime is a new imprint and they listen to their fans. They demonstrate that every day on all their social media outlets and Jennifer showed that at Yaoi Con. One question somebody asked her was why there wasn’t a SuBLime table in the Dealer’s Room and she said that the publisher doesn’t have enough inventory to justify paying a lot of money to DMI, the con’s organizer, for a table. So we told her for next year’s con (and by that, I mean 2014) we were willing to help her man the table. By then she’ll have even more inventory and she’ll need all the help she can get. She can even include Viz titles (can I say Loveless?) to fill up that table.

The SuBLime panel was the last thing con-wise I had planned for the day. The rest of the day I spent it taking pictures of cosplayers and spending money and stalking Guilt|Pleasure because Jo Chen is so cool and fun to talk to.

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About Azu

Fan of many things, cat owner, lazy, opinionated, and eternally broke.
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2 Responses to Yaoi Con 2012: Second Day: Let’s Get the Party Started!

  1. Geoff says:

    How many people went to the con in the end? Was it pretty full or sparse?

  2. aoi_aka says:

    I can’t give you a number. I’m sorry. DMI won’t give a number either. I believe, and I could be wrong, that the former volunteers/staff would have given us a number. There seemed to be less people around and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with moving the convention to Long Beach.

    And asking DMI for a number will only make you feel ignored. Scratch that. You ask and you will be ignored. So there’s no pointing in asking them. They already put on a brave face on an e-mail a few weeks ago and called it “a fantastic con for everyone.” I don’t know what con Sasahara went to, but I wouldn’t have called this YC fantastic. I’d call it tepid. *writes down for use in final YC review*

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