Now that Fanime Con 2007 has finally ended, and I've gotten a good fifteen hours of sleep, I can give a good report on just WHAT happened at the convention with regard to anime music. And boy, was there a lot.
The con unofficially started on Thursday, with a free (with pre-reg) concert at 8pm by Japanese rap-rock band ZZ, the group responsible for One Piece ending theme #11, "A to Z". If that's not enough, they're also featured on Ouendan 2 with one of the bonus songs, "Samurai Blue". Anyway, ZZ is great. They were a really fun band to watch and their music is very cool, even if they used a recording of the rhythm guitar during the concert, since they've only got one guitarist. But they rocked the crowd, played some great music, and I got their "ZZ Best" CD with all their signatures. Nevermind that I paid an import $28 price for it (and therefore 28% of my con budget). "ZZ Best" doesn't have Samurai Blue on it, but it has the similar song "Samurai Crew" on it. (Samurai Blue has similar lyrics, but it's a very different song that was created to promote Japan's World Cup 2006 team. Perfect for a song about a cheer squad.) Good times overall, though. Among other events of Thursday night, the swap meet was bargain central. I also scored an unopened $10 copy of the first volume of Erementar Gerad Elemental Gelade, an anime with an outstanding soundtrack, complete with bonus materials; a $1 Nadesico pencilboard, and a $5 copy of Polarium for the DS.
Friday night had the Fanime rave/dance, among other things, and while I was unable to attend, I've heard great things about it. Someone posted a video on the Fanime forums, which I'll repost here. It includes some pretty neat remixes of recognizable anime themes. I'm hoping I can convince the DJs to submit their mixes to Anime Remix.
Saturday I was looking forward to with a passion, since that was the night that the PLAY! Video Game Symphony came to the Center for Performing Arts diagonally across the street from the convention center. It was seriously amazing. Starting with Super Mario Bros, continuing through many other arrangements, recognizable and not (Sonic, Metal Gear Solid, Halo, Zelda), it was just over two hours of pure aural bliss. The San Jose event featured the premiere of Play!'s renditions of Oblivion and Blue Dragon music, as well as the as-of-yet-unreleased Lair for PS3. I can confidently say that all three of these were quite good. The Lair arrangement for play was conducted by special guest Kevin Kaska, who was one of the two composers for the game; it was an intense piece of music but it went on almost too long, thanks to anticipation for other big hitters like the Zelda medley, which hadn't yet been played. The one that brought tears to my eyes, though, was the Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross medley, in spite of the flute coming in half a beat late. It was just too amazing to hear Frog's Theme and all the rest played in a full, live orchestra right in front of me. Now, I didn't get the $100 seats, but I was still in row 11, and I still got a fair number of freebies, including posters for Dear Friends, Lair, and Play!, the program for Dear Friends, and a 14-day sample of World of Warcraft (ugh - gave that away, to someone I didn't know). I had to buy the T-shirt, though, for $15. A couple of composers, including Jeremy Soule of Morrowind and Oblivion, were there but I didn't get their signatures. I think OC ReMixer Hemophiliac, whom I met at the con, might have managed to get them. He told me he chatted with Jason M. Paul, the producer of Play!, before the show, and - get this - Jason said that he checks what's going on with OC ReMix once in a while because it's his job. Man, I wish it was my job to check OCR. Anyway, Jason was also pretty enthusiastic about a big-band arrangement Hemo did of Castlevania, but I don't know all the details so I'll let you know what happens later. After the show, I chilled with a friend who was actually in the choir, and he let me in on some juicy (and frustrating) gossip - six pieces were dropped from the show, including Dancing Mad, Aeris' Theme, and Liberi Fatali, because the orchestra's union won't allow them to play for more than two hours. Boo to that, eh? Regardless, it was an awesome concert, and those of you in Sydney and Stockholm have even more goodies to look forward to.
So that about covers it for Fanime 2007, as far as anime (and game) music goes. There were some other bands I didn't end up seeing, and a box set of .hack soundtracks I couldn't quite afford, but that's life. Now I just have to live with post-con depression syndrome.
P.S. Out of at least 3 Haruhi cosplayers, I was deeply disappointed that none of them wore a ponytail.
Sounds like lots of fun. Too bad you can't go to AX in Long Beach. Gackt will be there as well as the three main voice actresses from Haruhi Suzumiya (I think...) and they'll perform a concert, too! I don't know too much about music (except how to read it and occasionally play it on a string instrument), but I can at least tell you how awesome it was! Feel free to quote me on this uber site of coolness ^.~