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Otakon 2006: Lunar Panel

Last weekend, August 4th - 6th, the Baltimore Convention Center hosted Otakon 2006, an annual Japanese anime convention in Baltimore, MD (and one of the largest in the US). This year, Lou Arruda, widely known as "Dragonmaster Lou", was the panels coordinator and so we managed to host the first ever Lunar panel at Otakon. The four panelists were Lou / "DM Lou", Nadia Hemady, Nicole Peters / "Mia_Ausa", and myself, Kaiser / "Kizyr".

(from left to right: Lou, Nadia, Nicole, Kaiser)

First of all, a tremendous thanks to all who attended! The panel, I think, turned out to be a great success. It was packed, folks asked all sorts of questions, we (panelists and audience) got to talk about one of our favorite RPG series ever, so on and so on. I sincerely hope that all of you who managed to come by enjoyed it as much as we did.

As for the panelists, we had:
Lou: Lou Arruda / "Dragonmaster Lou". A long-time Lunar fan and usually credited with the first Lunar website on the internet.
Kizyr: Kaiser Farooque--that's me. Another long-time Lunar fan, and VP here at LunarNET.
Nadia: Nadia Hemady. Yet another long-time Lunar fan with tons of information on all the Lunar goods and merchandise out there.
Nicole: Nicole Peters. Long-time Lunar fan and friend of Nadia's, with yet more information on Lunar merchandise and Lunar fandom back in the day. Both her and Nadia have also been big on the Lunar-based IRC RPG circuit.

And content-wise... Lou started us off going down the line with all the Lunar games. Starting with the Sega CD versions, Lunar Walking School / Magic School (with me filling in for a bit), then the Playstation / Saturn remakes (with some memories of the entire Saturn vs Playstation ordeal back them), and finally the latest handhelds of Lunar: Legend and Lunar: Genesis / Dragon Song--which prompted some discussion of how Dragon Song turned out, and how it could have turned out.

I still should add in here that folks shouldn't lose hope for another Lunar game in the future. Lunar: DS came out of the blue, so there's still no telling what may lie in the future for the series.

Moving on, I had a bit more to add in here on three fronts: the Sega CD imports, manga, and novels. Beginning with the Sega CD imports, I hit on a few interesting, yet slight, storyline changes with Lunar: Eternal Blue. Nothing mind-blowing, but it's something that might be worth another write-up altogether once I assemble all these screenshots.

Regarding the manga and novels, of course, I had to plug LunarNET, the manga translations, and novel summaries that are up on here.

Onto the merchandise... Nadia took over from here. The Lunar keychains, the artbooks, and that incredibly rare set of coins all came up. 'Course, who can forget the extras like the Ghaleon punching puppet, or Lucia's pendant, that came with the US releases and preorders.

We started drifting over into the classic Lunar fandom--with some emphasis on the early years, say 1997-1999, when things were real interesting. Nicole, Nadia, and Lou all took over from here. Some of you might already know about the things that were brought up: the announcement of no Lunar: SSS for the Saturn, or the Dark Scimitar (of course that topic came up).

Nicole and Nadia also brought up some of the (extensive) IRC RPGs that were based off of Lunar--new ones are still going on, by the way.

Anyway, in closing, the panel went by really well. Will there be one next year? I'm not sure; most of us will probably be there again, and if some major news like Lunar: Dragon Song breaks out, it's a definite possibility. Time will tell. Until then--and another round of thanks to everyone who came to the panel! KF

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