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Otakon 2007: Lunar Panel

Last weekend, July 20th - 22nd, 2007, the Baltimore Convention Center hosted Otakon, an annual Japanese anime convention in Baltimore, MD. For the second year in a row, thanks to the help of Lou Arruda (a.k.a., "Dragonmaster Lou"), we managed to get another Lunar panel going. The title this year was Lunar: Past, Present, Future. We had four panelists: Lou and myself (Kizyr), but also Danni and Paul ("Zophar") who came to talk about their fan-based project (more on that in a bit).

(from left to right: Lou, Danni, Kaiser, Paul)

Before continuing, I want to give another huge thanks to everyone who came! The panel was a success again this year. And, all of us really appreciate that applause after mentioning LunarNET's name! I hope all of you enjoyed the panel as much as we enjoyed putting it on.

To recap on the panelists:
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.
Danni: a.k.a. "PrettyGirlJean". Another Lunar fan and talented artist, responsible for some of the fanart here and also working on the "Lunar: The Eternal Sapphire" project.
Paul: a.k.a. "Zophar". Another Lunar fan and the main guy behind "Lunar: The Eternal Sapphire".

Lou started us off again with the Lunar games. Although, this time around, the number of people who started on the Playstation remakes outnumbered those of us old-school Sega CD fans--so, we hit on some of the changes that occurred between the Sega CD and Playstation versions (the Dyne backstory, Burg and Ghaleon, Ghaleon freezing Hiro before Pentagulia, etc.).

One of the things I've been spending a lot of time on is reviewing some of the changes between the Japanese and English version. A few of them were minor--such as the transport pads in TSS and EB, NPC dialogue, the townsfolk in Meryod, etc. A few were a bit more significant--Jean's backstory in EB, who Ghaleon was really targeting when he froze Hiro, etc.

We also got to talk a bit more about Lunar: Magic School than last year--including the Magical School Lunar anime.

Since, for some reason always unbeknownst to me, Lunar: Magic School is the one incarnation of the series that's gotten the most 'extras': an anime short, trading cards, and a tabletop-RPG book (pictured at right).

Unlike last year, we only briefly touched upon the manga, novels, and other books. There were a couple of nice, relevant highlights to the artbooks, however., such as early design sketches for the use of wyverns, or early sketches of Leo as a centaur:

And it simply must be mentioned that Mr. Tomokazu Seki, the voice actor for Kyle in Lunar: Silver Star Story, was a guest at this year's Otakon. Now, Mr. Seki has gone on to do some incredible things since then (X, Initial D, Escaflowne, Gravitation, etc.). But Lunar was apparently one of his first roles, all of 8-9 years ago. He was quite nostalgic when I showed him the sketch that Kubooka drew of him in the Lunar: SSS Newtype artbook (right).

Lastly, Paul and Danni talked about their ongoing project, Lunar: The Eternal Sapphire (check either Paul or Danni's DeviantArt pages for more information on that). We also managed to fit in showing the trailer as well. It's a fan-based animation project that Paul has been heading up and devoting a lot of time to, as well as recruiting some help from Danni for artwork, and from several folks for voice-acting.

So, in closing, the panel was tons of fun yet again. I certainly hope that we can manage to pull off another great panel next year! We should have even more new material to present and talk about, and we should have more time to take questions and talk with the folks in the audience (which, unfortunately, was the one thing that was lacking this year with only five minutes left!). So, once more, thanks to all of you who came to the panel, and we hope to see you again! KF

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