Yeah, that's right. After a one-year absence Carl and I are returning to spread the good word once more. What is this panel about? Well:
If you've watched such popular anime as Akagi and Saki, then you've been witness to the ancient game of mahjong-- and you had no clue what the players were doing. Let us enlighten you on the basics of Japanese-style (aka Riichi-style) mahjong, its appearances in anime and manga, and how you too can experience the thrill of the tiles! We even promise to have a mahjong-playing dog!
That's the idea. This is half an informational panel, half an entertainment panel. It is aimed at the fan who enjoys Saki or Akagi but who has found the game itself incomprehensible. That covers the majority of viewers of these series.
To actually teach the game to a bare-minimum beginner level would take a workshop, one of us for every four attendees, a ton of tables and mats, and at least six hours.
We have one hour. So rather than full player's comprehension, we want our audience to walk out with a rough understanding of what's going on at the table during these shows. They're not going to know every in and out of the rule set, but they're going to be able to understand what the hell is going on. That's our primary goal. This is pre-beginner.
We also prioritize the connection between the game and the characters the audience loves: how their personalities and their approach to the game run parallel. In turn, the audience's appreciation of the series is increased. Perhaps they take an independent interest in playing Japanese mahjong themselves. That's great too, and it's something we encourage throughout, but at this event we obviously consider the anime connection high priority.
For those of you who were there last year: it's a very similar panel. We've tweaked it, and there will be some new video. One of the new videos, though quite brief, is something that's never been made available in English ever before! I will be bringing my Take set along to show off but not actually allow anyone to touch.
Here is a big catch: we are in close to the same time slot as we were before, among the very first panels of the weekend. 10:00 AM sharp on Friday, in Panel 4 at the Hilton. A lot of people who wanted to go told me that they weren't even at the con by then, and yeah, I understand. I'm sorry if you can't make it, and I'm double sorry if you can't make it the second time in a row.
Last year I was worried about it, but this time I'm really excited about the slot. It's actually a great time for a panel like ours... for us, anyway. That early in the con, the panels and video rooms are about all that's actually going on. Furthermore, we're not in competition with anything major (aside from ANN's panel). We're actually in a great situation for a bunch of walk-ins to come in, which is exactly what happened last time we did the panel. In a room that held 300 or so, we had so many people that they were lined up against the walls and sitting on the floor in the front. For two guys talking about mahjong. It was awesome. And we're in a bigger room this year. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens this time.
All that said, if you can, please come by and say hello. We'll be very happy to see you.