1-4 July 2005

Anaheim California


Robocon-20 Mission Report

The Do's and Don'ts of attending Robocon-20

Written by Kenneth Olson

(Version 1.00 - Last updated: 10/08/05)  

Two members of the Robotech Research group attended Anime Expo and Robocon20 on Saturday July 2nd and Sunday July 3rd 2005.  This was my first Anime Expo and nothing could have prepared me for the number of attendees and the size of the convention.  The official Anime Expo site states that over 30,000 persons attended during the four day event with the highest attendance on Saturday and Sunday.  As one would expect, the convention floor was dominated by small retail booths offering a wide variety of common to rare anime videos and collectables.  However, the convention is much more than vendors trying to peddle their wares.  Some of the other events which took place include:  karaoke, console gaming competitions, table-top gaming, dances, scavenger hunts, anime library, and anime theater showings.  The four theaters in Marriott Anaheim showed a wide assortment of anime videos 24 hours a day throughout the convention.  I had a great time at the convention and would highly recommend that anyone interested in anime attend the Anime Expo at least once.  However one piece of advice, if you attend Anime Expo pre-register.  I decided to purchase the tickets at the door on Saturday morning and waited in line for approximately two hours to get into the convention hall.  As you can imagine, this was very frustrating and therefore if you attend get your tickets before hand or pick them up at the convention as it will save you hours.

Robocon-20:  The Good

I was able to attend most of the official Robocon-20 events which were held at the convention center, the concert by Michael Bradley, autograph signings and documentary filming at the main Harmony Gold booth.  Tony Oliver (Rick Hunter), Melanie MacQueen (Lisa Hayes), Reba West (Lynn Minmei), and Dan Woren (Roy Fokker) all signed autographs and took questions from fans at the main Harmony Gold booth in convention hall.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking to the voice actors as they had been such a part of my life.  Granted, there were approximately 100 other fans in line and Harmony Gold officials tried to move the line along, but each fan did get a minute to talk to their childhood, and in some cases adulthood, heroes.

The Shadow Chronicle panel on Saturday was attended by approximately 600 persons.  Fortunately, I was able to get a seat near the front; however, the line to enter the hall was quite long.  The highlights of that panel included the Shadow Chronicles preview, which was a slightly different version from the one posted above, and the question and answer session afterwards.  During the session Harmony Gold showed some pre-animation of the new series which included a modified Cyclone, Alpha fighter and several new starship designs. As one would expect, Tommy Yune was very vague on most questions however some interesting things did come out in the Q & A session.

The Robotech Retrospective panel on Sunday was not as well attended as the Shadow Chronicle panel the previous day, but in my opinion more enjoyable.  I would estimate that there was 400 persons in attendance.  Most of the voice actors told stories about how people on the street recognized them from Robotech.  Frank Catalono (Rand) told an especially funny story about the time he was working at Universal after the series had concluded and he had an intern that kept staring at him because he was "Rand".  Melanie MacQueen (Lisa) told a story about how she is the spokeswoman for the Virginia State Lottery "Lady Luck" but still gets a substantial number of Robotech requests whenever she attends functions for the lottery.  Each of the voice actors said a couple of lines as their characters but the three biggest rounds of applause came from Greg Finely (Captain Gloval) when he said "Thundering Asteroids", Eddie Frierson (Lynn Kyle), and Paul St. Peter when he said "Good-bye Dana".  They were seated right to left as follows:


Photo of the panel starting on the right with Eddie Frierson "Lynn Kyle".

Lest we forget Frank Catalano "Rand".

I was a little disappointed in the concert that Michael Bradley "Yellow Dance" had to conclude the official events.  Not because of the concert itself, but because of the low attendance.  I would estimate that only two hundred fans stayed for it but those that did were treated to arguably the best part of the entire Robocon.  Granted that the concert was at the end of the Robocon; however, after the huge audience at the earlier panels, I had thought that most of these fans would have remained for the concert.  After a late start, the concert was delayed for 30 minutes to allow the actors and fans which attended the barbeque after the Robotech Retrospective to arrive, Michael Bradley sang for approximately and hour.  Michael Bradley told the audience that there was a possibility that Harmony Gold might release a "Yellow Dancer:  Live" CD.  Reba West got on stage and the audience asked her to sing, but unfortunately for us she declined.  To the best of my recollection he sang the following set in no particular order:

Robocon-20:  The Bad

I understand that some fans are upset with the direction which Harmony Gold was taken Robotech in recent years.  However, I can not find much fault in the way which they put Robocon-20 together.  I did not expect that Tommy Yune would be anything other that sufficiently vague in answering all of the questions which the fans had about the upcoming Shadow Chronicles.  To do anything else and they would be giving away the story line.  However, I did have a couple of minor complaints.  First, in my opinion it was a mistake to have Robocon-20 in conjunction with Anime Expo.  My informal survey of fans at Robocon indicated that most were there specifically for the Robocon itself and would have traveled to Anaheim in any case.  I am sure that there was some cross over from the Anime Expo from the casual fan, but I felt that this small advantage was not worth the major distration of having Robocon completely overwhelmed by the Anime Expo.  In my opinion this greatly lessened the importance of Robocon-20.

My other major complaint is directed at myself and not Harmony Gold.  I did not fully realize how much of the Robocon was going to be held at the Day's Inn and not at the Anime Expo.  There were several smaller events, such as the Robotech Battlecry tournament, which were difficult to attend if you did not stay at the hotel.  If you are going to attend the Robocon, stay at the official hotel otherwise you will be missing numerous informal events not listed on the official program.  With these two issues I still thought that Robocon-20 was a wonderful experience and look forward to the next event.

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