Pacific Media Expo
ASN's Avatar cosplayer extraordinaire Gowa-Chan posted an excellent convention report for the recently concluded Pacific Media Expo, which we offer here for you in full!

Thanks Gowa!

It's time for Avatar Kyoshi's PMX report! (As Promised). It started off as any other day at a convention: wake up, get into costume, get to convention..., with one big difference: the creators of my favorite show were going to be there, and I was dressed as Avatar Kyoshi.

A lovely schedule had been planned out for Avatar Fans, with the Avatar Cosplay gathering at noon, the 'Meet the Creators of Avatar' panel at 1:00, an Autograph session at 3:00, and a panel by Sifu Kisu at 4:00. The lovely flyer they had can be found here: PMX Schedule.

12:00PM: Cosplay!

So, first off was the cosplay gathering at noon. During this, only five of the eight cosplayers showed up: Azula, Aang, Katara, Zuko, and Avatar Kyoshi (me!) We were sitting around talking to each other, waiting for the informal/formal gathering to start, when one of us turned...and saw Mike and Bryan in the back of the room watching us, with big smiles on their faces. The rest of the 'gathering' was of us introducing ourselves to the people in the room, saying who we were cosplaying as, how long our costumes took us to make, and who our favorite characters were. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures on my camera during this part, but I shall be searching the net for pictures others took.

Three more cosplayers showed up: Toph, another Zuko, and another Katara. We all crowded together and got to take a large group photo with Mike and Bryan:

1:00PM: Panel!

Next off was the panel:

The panel started off with one of the PMX people talking about how they would bring Asian guests of honor to America for the convention, and take them to the Nickelodeon studios, where they would comment on how it was no surprise that Nickelodeon came out with some many creative ideas with the creative environment it has, compared to the cubicles they work in. He also said how they had been shown the first two episodes of Avatar, before it had been released, and that they had been surprised that it was an American show, and not an Asian one. Next we were shown two clips of "Lake Laogai": the beginning and a fight scene later on, which they said was the best fight scene they had (I would go more into this, but if you are reading this, you've most likely already watched the episode, or will see it in the next week. You can wait.) They talked a bit about what influenced Avatar, and Miyazaki was their main answer (and apparently FLCL is Bryan's favorite anime).

The rest of the panel was mostly a question-answer session. As people hesitated to raise their hands, I got dibs on the first question, and asked "What is the name of the Female Airbender shown for five-seconds in Avatar State?" Because I'm obscure, and am almost done with her costume, but didn't know her name yet. Their answer was "Well, we don't know. How about Avatar Susan?" One of the other questions was how the characters were named: Fire Nation got plenty of Z's and R's, Water Tribe had Inuit sounding names, and Momo...well, he was called Momo because it apparently fit, and he had already been drawn eating a peach before they found out that 'momo' is 'peach' in Japanese.

One question that everyone kept silent for was about Iroh's new voice actor. Although no names were mentioned as for who it is, they stated that the new voice actor had studied underneath Mako on Broadway during a show they did together, and had succeeded Mako in that role when Mako left the show. When the new voice actor had come in for a reading, they thought that he had studied the part ahead of time (they used an already aired part of Iroh's dialogue), but he had done the reading cold. They feel that Iroh's new voice actor really captures Iroh and Mako's spirit/acting.

Another question that came up involved Foamie (everyone's favorite Foaming Mouth Guy). Apparently in the original storyboard, he was just a guy that fainted, but when it was sent to Korea for animation, one of the animators (I wish I'd caught his name) added more to that character with his foaming and hysterics-when Mike and Bryan received the animations back, they apparently stared at it, wondering where that amazing character had come from (and while the rest of 'Avatar Day' was with a different animation studio, they sent the Return of Foamie back to him to animate, and he added even more to the character with the embarrassed getaway.

A bit also came up about the percentage of benders per nation. According to them, each nation has a different percentage of benders, but the Air Nomads had 100% benders, due to them being more spiritual; civilization reduces spirituality. Sifu Kisu only had a couple of questions aimed at him, but they did talk a bit about how he wasn't planning on being active in the entertainment industry when Bryan found him-Sifu Kisu mentioned how Bryan had come to him saying, "I'm an animator and I wanna learn kun-fu-" to which he simply replied "Shut-up and get in a horse stance." Bryan mentioned how Sifu Kisu had influenced a lot of their ideas about bending-bringing in the different styles of kung-fu for different styles of bending, and even mentioning the idea that airbending could be used to create a tornado.

Then a bit was asked and answered about upcoming episodes. In response to a shipping question, Mike and Bryan said that they wouldn't say anything about relationships except that Zuko and Katara are trapped in a cave together at the season finale. A bit was mentioned about season three as well-Into The Fire Nation! Someone asked a bit about what the Royal Girl's Fire Academy is like, and one of the enjoyable things they answered that with was "Everything is a propaganda machine for the Fire Nation. Even the grocery store." For season three, they said they had a lot of fun designing the Fire Nation citizens of all classes, mentioning that they wore lots of clothing, which is interesting for people that live so near the equator, and also mentioned that they were very hot-headed people (pun intended) that ensues in many fights on the streets, and even gave us this entertaining quote: "Lets take our clothes off and fight." As you can see, a lot was talked about during the panel, and I barely covered half of it.

3:00PM: Autographs!

Next was the Autograph session! I waited at the end of the line with the Azula and Aang cosplayers, chatting as we waited. When we got there, I got two of the older fans for my costume signed, so I could retire them:

Aang got her (yes, her-this is the girl that shaved her head and painted an arrow on it) head signed:

4:00PM: Airbending with Sifu Kisu!

Sadly, I missed the beginning of the Sifu Kisu panel, and before I could get to it, my non-Avatar friends dragged me to the arcade, making me miss the entire thing. So beware, there are Avatar Kyoshi playing air hockey and DDR videos out there....

Post Scriptum

~edit 1~ As my friends and I remember things that happened, I'll stick them in: Azula remembers their talk of their favorite fight scene (the one in Lake Laogai-the one that starts with people hanging from the ceiling) that it was influenced by Samurai Champloo and the scene in Cowboy Bebop where Spike is fighting in the poncho. And I remember from that: Toph is very similiar to the Blind Swordswoman/spearwoman, and Sifu Kisu mentioned that Kung-fu lore says it was created by a blind woman, which Mike and Bryan now pretend they knew all along.

~edit2~ Oh yes, I'm not sure if this is known news or not, but Season Three is supposed to begin with the New Year.

~edit 3~ Lychii's comment of 'new hair' reminded me of something else they mentioned about season 3-new hairstyles FOR EVERYONE!
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