Monday, November 10, 2008

Post NYAF 2008 with Joseph Luster

Check out my Pre-Anime Festival with Otaku USA

Hello fellow readers! Here we are with another wonderful and humorous employee of Otaku USA. Presenting Mr. Joseph Luster! (Applause please) So how has Joseph been feeling since the conclusion of the festival? “Fantastic. Thanks for asking!”

Joseph is the 27-year-old videogames editor and writer for the magazine. Along with his duties as the editor, he is also the contents manager for the website of Otaku USA. He recently moved from Louisville, Kentucky and now living in Hoboken, New Jersey. On his background and heritage, “I am a pale American glowing constantly with the light of my laptop's monitor.” You cannot tell me what he just said was not funny. Seriously, he is funny! Look at what he just said!

Ok enough about funny man and his personal life. On with the New York Anime Festival! As with Benjamin Boyles, Otaku USA’s Account Executive, this was Joseph’s first New York Anime Festival. So what is his overall experience about it? “I really enjoyed my first time at NYAF. I didn't have a chance to attend any panels, unfortunately, as most of my time was spent in the Exhibition Hall, but I dug the venue and all the attendees seemed to be having a blast.”

So how did he know about the New York Anime Festival? “I've known about it for a while, since I usually like to at least keep tabs on what cons are going on around the country.” Did he have any initial reactions from the news of it? “Now that I live so close to the convention center, though, this was the ideal first year for me to attend.” Less travel time is good (^_^)

Now it is time for work. When he first stepped in the convention, his initial thought “was honestly just how big the Javits Center is, since I had never been there before. It kind of made the con seem small in comparison, at least until I walked into the heavily populated Exhibition Hall.” He attended the convention on Saturday and Sunday, but he was there most of the time attending the Otaku USA booth. “Honestly, I was behind the booth 95% of the time. On average for the two days I attended, I would get home around 8PM or so.” I am guessing the 5% of the 100% is break time and maybe sleep… ;)

Even though this is his first NYAF, Joseph has attended other conventions, both anime manga and non-anime manga related. So I had to ask did he notice any differences or similarities between those conventions he attended and NYAF 2008? According to Joseph, ”I'd say the only real differences I noticed were in the variety of fans that were present at the convention. Big and tall, old and young. It may just be a sign of the times, but it was a really diverse crowd and I enjoyed that aspect of it.” Diversity is good (^_^) Maybe because it is the Big Apple or is it something else that made this difference catch his eye? “The fact that I picked up on this might have had to do with the fact that the convention I attended prior to this one was Comic-Con '08 in San Diego, which was much more densely populated. With the comparatively smaller gathering in NYC, I had more of an opportunity to observe everyone that came.”

Ok, split personality career time. Remember that Joseph is both the editor of the Video Game section and the Content Manager of the Otaku USA website. So I had to ask and understand his position in doing both in regards to the festival. As the editor, his goal of attending the festival and his responsibilities “was pretty much solely to support the magazine and work at the booth, which was cool because I was able to meet quite a few of our awesome readers in the process.” Now, as Content Manager he had certain things to do after and in regards to the festival. Remember the Cosplay Contest at the Otaku USA booth? Otaku USA took photos of anyone in cosplay that wanted to participate and the photos chosen would be posted on the Otaku USA website after the show. “My web content partner-in-crime, Julian Gnam, did a lot of hard work to get them up quickly and keep the whole thing organized, and you can see the results in the Events section at our website.”

In regards to his expectations, which were to represent Otaku USA, “get an opportunity to talk to some readers and see what's going on in the NYC fan community in general—were all met. I would have liked to have met Yoshitaka Amano, as well, but I didn't get a chance, sadly!” Awww. Work got in the way (u_u) , but it pays the bill (^_^) ! So where there any pros and cons for him then? “Not to sound all purposely rose-tinted about the experience, but I can't think of any downs. The major up was certainly the location. Aside from a decent-length walk to and from the PATH station, it was a really painless commute. The cosplayers at the convention were also all really awesome and impressive.” Go NYAF! Yee-Ha!

Since there was not much down for him, did he have any memorable moment? “This one dude dressed up as Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho came to our contest two days in a row, both times sporting a variation on the character's costume. He also let out a massive battle cry for the (microphone-less) camera.” Wow! What a fan!

Since it was more of ups at NYAF, was Otaku USA’s goal met? “I think so, for sure. We had a lot of fun and met a lot of cool people, and managed to sell some subscriptions and magazines in the process, so that's always a good thing. We also gave away a lot of free stuff, none of which I saw littering the floors of the subway on the way home!” Would he do NYAF again? “Well, my dogs were barkin' after standing up for two days straight. I'll definitely go back next year, though.”

Thank you Joseph Luster for participating in the interview!!!
Thanks Julian Gnam for the logo and the picture Otaku USA booth banner!!!

For more information about Otaku USA please visit
Photograph of the Otaku USA NYAF 2008 Booth by Linda Thai.
© 2008 Linda Thai

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