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Gloomy Bunny
last modified: Sunday, September 26, 2010 (3:53:58 PM)
Last weekend, I made the trudge to Japantown in San Francisco. Because of its relative inaccesibility(1.5 miles away from the subway & no bus goes anywhere near Japantown), I rarely go there. It's hard to justify the delightful 30 minute walk through some of the more savory parts of San Francisco when the local asian supermarkets carry what you're looking for. But last Saturday, though, Mori Chack, the creator of 'Gloomy Bear', was holding an autograph session to celebrate Gloomy's 10th anniversary. And, wanting to show support, I made the trek to Viz Media's museum, "New People".

If I ever hear an American anime distributor whine about how piracy has hurt their business, I'm going to point to the New People Museum and laugh. Real estate, as many know, is not cheap in San Francisco. Viz's center occupies one complete block of land in the middle of Japantown. On top of that, it's made with all new and 'green' materials, with lots of UV tinted windows to ensure minimal energy consumption. The museum features a small cafe (which serves 'fair trade' coffee), two small artsy stores, a movie theatre and a small gallery for art exhibits. All in all, it was definitely not a cheap place to build.

When I go to conventions featuring Japanese artists, I accept the fact that I'm one of the older people around. And usually, that's the case and I generally form con-bonds with other people in the same boat. But, this time was rather different. Most people waiting in line were my age and most of them were wearing various forms of Lolita dress. And all of them were obsessed with looking like candy.

It turns out that I was amongst four other individuals who were there for Mori Chack. Everyone else was there for the deeply discounted packages that the store was offering on Lolita goods. And, even thirty minutes prior to the signing, I was the only one in line. It made me think about Fanime and how, unless it was LMC, no one showed up for the autograph sessions.

Mori, though, is quite personable and ranks high amongst all the artist I've met at other conventions. In addition to signing an item, he'd allow you to take pictures of him drawing and gave out free stickers. This was a refreshing change from the Anime Expo 2010 debacle. Mori seemed like he was really enjoying himself, despite the small turn out for his event. In fact, that didn't even seem to faze him.

I'll add one of the shikishi(with Mori pics) on my next update.


And as an aside note, I'm rather disappointed with Viz Media's museum. While I understand that Viz is trying to expose Americans to different forms and style of Japanese art, I can't help but wonder why, other than the theatre, no portion of the museum is reserved for anime. You would think that they would have been able to acquire some fascinating artwork for exhibition purposes, but, no...nothing. If Viz wants Americans to learn to appreciate other forms of Japanese art, I think that it would be helpful to get them in the door by enticing them with anime.
re: Gloomy BunnySunday, September 26, 2010 - 4:53:10 PM

The fact that they have no area dedicated to anime IS very strange. I''m surprised they don''t have a permanent exhibit of anime art; even low-level art would be nice. But I suppose they''d have to get all sorts of permission to exhibit the work. Maybe they don''t want to deal with the hassle?