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First Ever Senshi Matsuri in New York City!

After New York Anime Fest was gobbled up alive by New York Comic Con, it is nice to see a small event focused on a specific fandom that was pulled together by real fans instead of some corporate machine. Senshi Matsuri, hosted on Usagi’s birthday (June 30th) brought together over 200 Moonies under the roof of the tiny event hall in the Amsterdamn Houses next to Lincoln Center. It wasn’t overcrowded and it was far from empty - the perfect combination because I really can’t stand the sweaty and rude crowds that plague most big conventions.

Senshi Matsuri 2013 opened up with Twinkle Twinkle Sailor Stars presented by Lilith Oya:




After which was followed by a Senshi Fashion Show by Lil Hevn. Unfortunately the participants walked by so quickly I couldn’t get any individual shots.


The fashion show was followed by Uncle Yo’s standup geek comedy routine. For any readers who are unfamilar with him - he is basically a normal person making normal jokes. No, actually his humor is quite topical - if you don’t play video games, watch anime, or engage in other ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ activities I don’t think you’ll understand anything he’s talking about. Today he poked fun at Big Bang Theory (a show I happen to like) and how it’s a very poor representation of geek culture but allows ‘outsiders’ to claim they understand us because they laugh at us from a safe distance. Of course he was funnier and I’m just going all English degree on a comedy routine.


His comedy act was followed by an event titled, “So You Wanna Be a Starlight” where some brave moonies took to the stage to show off their skills. Various acts involved singing and dancing.

The event wrapped up with one last performance and a cosplay contest.

The panels were engaging and well thought (descriptions taken from Senshi Matsuri 2013 agenda):

Sailor Moon & Feminism: It’s no secret that Sailor Moon is all about “girl power”— but just how much does this beloved anime measure up to feminist ideals? This panel looks how Sailor Moon deals with female empowerment, LGBTQ issues, body image, and more!”

Sailor Moon Cosplay 101: Lilith Oya brings you info and DIY tips on making the perfect Senshi Cosplays.

Basic Guide to a Magical Girl’s Wardrobe: There is no question that the gifted have a specific style, this is also true for the heroines of manga * anime.

Overall, I am happy with how the event turned out. I really do hope the turnout this year will allow the event to continue on next year and perhaps outgrow the small event center so it can find a home at the Hilton on 57th street or another very nice place suitable for a small convention. There are a few things that I would change for next year - but hopefully the crew who made this event happen will send out a survey asking for suggestions and comments. As I stated previously, it is really nice to go to an event that is truly about the fandom and not about lining the pockets of huge corporations.

Editorial: Turning Award Anger Into Action

This week the SAG and Golden Globes Awards announced their nominations for the best in film and television. As usual, the anger of millions of sci fi/fantasy/action/international television fans can be heard all across the internet. I am definitely guilty in past years shouting about unfavorable results. The more I studied the industry, I realized that rants on social media sites will not influence critics and awards voters. Flame wars with fellow fans and/or people who disagree won’t force a change in industry attitudes. Lobbying the press and those in charge of making decisions will. Ideally, new categories recognizing the best in sci fi, fantasy, and international television will be added to US awards. However, until the bias within the industry goes away, fans who want to do something about the issue should consider lobbying for more recognition. [Image courtesy of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association]

Before you send those persuasive emails to the studios, do your homework on a few issues. People will ignore what you have to say if it is very obvious you are citing incorrect or wildly exaggerated information. If you’re worried about having to do as much research as you have to for college essays, don’t be. A lot of what follows is easily found via Google, Wikipedia, and industry websites.

First, read the eligibility rules for the Emmy’s/SAG/Golden Globes. These rules are firm and cannot be changed unless the Powers That Be decide to behind closed doors. Next, research the production process and how it is financed. For tax and regulatory reasons companies have to make this information public. Don’t bother campaigning for international television shows whose production is not financed at least partially by US companies. An excellent example of this is Doctor Who. It’s aired on BBC America but the production is financed by UK taxpayer’s money. (In contrast, BBC America/PBS nominees from 2011 and 2012 The Hour, Luther, Sherlock and Downton Abbey fit the production rules.) Campaigning for shows that are outside of the US airing date window of each award is also an excerise in futility.

Once you have this information down, consider what your ultimate goal is. What major award do you want your favorite considered for? What can persuade the average television viewer to consider watching? What can help critics to write positive articles and reviews? With all of these goals, think about what your favorite offers in writing, directing, and acting (leads, supporting, and guest stars) that makes it stand out. Campaigns rise and fall on stragegy. Knowing what the competition is saying and doing is extremely important. Yes, you have to step outside of the Fandom Bubble and know what Hollywood and the Real World are saying and doing.

As a specific example, many people were upset after the Emmys last year because Game of Thrones lost Outstanding Drama Series to Homeland. Arguments that critics will listen to can’t be built on “everything that isn’t my favorite sucks”. What are the competing shows strengths and weaknesses? What have critics said about the competition? What are the competition’s fanbase saying? How many people watch your fave as well as the competition? If you’re serious about spotlighing your favorites, you need to be able to say “I support X show because the direction has been amazing, but I do recognize Y show also has a strong director.”

You’ve worked on developing your argument, the next step is to use it. Here’s a few options:

1) Convince the Press: If none of the well known entertainment publications and blogs are paying attention, write letters to their editors asking for reviews/news/entertainment TV coverage. Smaller media outlets can help out as well by writing positive reviews and recording fan reaction.

2) Contact The Network/Studio: Awards are heavily influenced by how much and how long studios campaign for. A large reason why so many genre shows can’t even get past the starting gate is due to nonexistent or inconsistent campaigns. Find out who is responsible for PR and email them asking for more lobbying in the industry.

3) Spread The Word: Ratings are an important part of award show consideration. Increase your favorite’s PRIME TIME viewership by convincing them to try it. In many cases only the Nielsen ratings count, watching shows on Hulu/cable and satellite On Demand isn’t enough.

4) Use Social Media Positively: Work with fellow fans to get your favorite trending on Twitter. Talk about it on Facebook. Funny or cute Tumblr photosets and gifs will get you attention from like minded people. If you blog, positive articles/reviews/editorials have the potential to get linked by more established sites.

Fighting years of industry bias is definitely going to be an uphill battle. Even if you try and no one responds, if more people do the same things will change. This article is not a quick fix, but it’s a start. If you have any additional suggestions, let us know!