The first thing I did was go to Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV demo. While Square’s booth was on the main show floor, the FFXV demo was actually off in another section to the side of the building. They only gave out about 300 tickets a day because the demo was 45 minutes long!
Playing 45 minutes of Final Fantasy XV is a great way to start a convention! They gave out a different shirt each day but with so little tickets being given out, they asked that you only get 1 shirt for the convention. Luckily, I liked Thursday’s shirt best!
The Viz booth had a wall of signed shikishi boards on display from a huge array of manga artists! These were all done for their 30th anniversary and included the likes of Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Nobuhiro Watsuki (Rurouni Kenshin), Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist), Tsutomu Nihei (Blame!) and much, much more! I’m building up a decent shikishi collection myself, but this blew my mind away!
I first went to Kim Jung Gi’s table to buy his latest sketchbook. Last year they ran out by Sunday so I made sure to go the first day this time around! I said my hellos and gave them an art print, which they always seem to enjoy, and bought his new 2016 sketchbook. Now, if you buy a sketchbook, they ask you to come back in about 2 hours to pick it up. I happen to get back JUST in time for my sketchbook, so Kim Jung Gi knew it was mine he was about to draw in next. The result? He drew me! It’s not like I asked him to do it either, as he normally doesn’t do requests. He just realized it was me a minute into the drawing haha. Here’s the video of the drawing!
I just went to say hi on Thursday, but planned to come back later to get my Kabuki Vol III Oversize Edition signed. This year he had a table next to Bill Sienkiewicz so he was nice enough to introduce me to him which was awesome. I gave Bill a print as well which he seemed to like, so hopefully we’ll stay in touch!
I actually met him a few years ago at NYCC when he did a signing for Darkstalkers at the Capcom booth, but it was nice to be able to have an actual conversation with him. When I think of Stanley, I immediately think of Street Fighter, so I bought a print of my character Chun-Li! He was also nice enough to take a selfie with me.
Now hold on, I actually had two more events after the con ended! The first was a signing to Isuna Hasekura, the author of the original Spice and Wolf light novels. This was held at Kinokuniya on 42nd street at 6 pm, where you had to buy a special anniversary edition that collected all of the Spice and Wolf novels in a single volume, with full page illustrations by the original illustrator Ju Ayakura. This book was limited to 2000 copies, and I got number 36!
I also got tickets to an early screening event for “War for the Planet of the Apes” at Empire theater on 42nd Street. We got to see some behind-the-scenes videos on the making of the film but most of all the director Matt Reeves, producer Dylan Clark and “Caesar” himself Andy Serkis was there!