Otakon 2009 – Day 1 – MELL A Forever17 Dancing Meme Director
I think when you get unfortunately woken up at 6AM after way too little sleep, you just know it’s going to be one of those days. If it was any other day, I probably would have just tried to crash and put off as much of whatever I have to do as I could, but this being Otakon meant the complete opposite. And it with the motivation to see a lot but have little will power to do so in the morning, I started off Day 1 of Otakon 2009 wishing I could sleep more. A LOT more.
Cursing the fates for this year’s Otakon crazy schedule I hauled my sleeping butt to the convention center around 9-10AM to attend Yutaka Yamamoto (aka Yamakan) first Q&A session at 11AM. This unfortunately meant missing Kikuko Inoue’s first Q&A session since they were being held at the same time, but given the fact I wasn’t sure if I was going to make his other session tomorrow, choices were made. What was asked and answered I’ve completely forgotten by now but I can say it was definitely the right choice to go to his panel as Yamakan is pure class act, thoughtfully answering everyone’s questions without sweating one bit. Really just an awesome guy that doesn’t mind being truthful yet insightful at the same time.
After Yamakan’s totally kick arse panel which helped waken my sorry self, ran to Kikuko Inoue’s autograph session that was two hours away. Yes, two hours early. Pretty much my golden rule for cons when one must line up to attend X-panel especially if it is someone(s) famous; obviously Kikuko being no exception. Being one of the first 20 in line, it was a peaceful wait time as I chilled with other fans getting to know them a little and seeing what others would get signed. Things ranged from DVDs to LDs (yes I kid you not) to games to even photo albums of her (younger) self. On the actual signing itself, pretty straight forward although it was pretty cool they were allowing photos with Kikuko (even though it had to be in front of the table versus behind) if you wanted; my group being the “veterans” we are went for a group photo to save time and to allow other fans the same opportunity.
With Kikuko related goods signed, some of us split ways while Jabel, Omo, and myself headed to the dealers’ room to get Kannagi volume 1 that was recently released in only a few places. $37USD for half the season definitely was not a bad deal and not too much higher than MSRP price. A bit more lurking around the Dealers’ room, really didn’t find anything else I wanted so headed to the panel where Kikuko Inoue’s second and final Q&A session was going to be held. Sat in on the previous panel which was showing some “great” HK fighting scenes from different movies but nothing I really cared about. When the panel did finish, however, I hauled arse to front row seating so I can get the most for my money, scoring the middle of the front row.
The Q&A, I have to admit, was probably one of the best seiyuu related one I’ve seen so far since I have started to go to cons. I think a lot of it had to do with how relaxed the Q&A was but also how it ended up turning into a talk show of sorts mid-way through thanks to Kikuko pulling in Hidenori Matsubara to the front as he was attending the panel to (assumingly) kill time. There were a lot of highlights to the Q&A but I am sure they are either posted by now or will be shortly by others. I can say however, one of the easiest highlights that sticks out in my mind was when the audience got Kikuko Inoue to sing randomly for us; she belted out the AMG opening song (god don’t remember if its the OVA or TV one), Eva’s “Zankoku na Tenshi no Te-ze”, and the choir to Ranka Lee’s “Saikan Hikou” (no kira pose though). Also getting her to explain her Forever17 club was hilarious in its own right. I can easily say if I had to leave or the con had to suddenly cancel, I would have been satisfied at that point; that’s just how great the Q&A was!
But as with all great things, the second Q&A did eventually end. For some of the group I was with, it was a made dash to her second autograph session while the rest of us headed to line up for MELL’s concert at 7:30PM. Thankfully with a decent sized group, lining up for anythingbecomes a lot easier to handle since you have people to chill with and one can step out for a bit to do other things if needed. If I had to say there was any issue with lining up for MELL’s concert, it was simply us semi-listening to random folk (that I at least thought) was Otakon staff telling us about no bags and moving the line over a bit (we were in the beginning of the line, more or else). The bag thing was fine, not a big deal (at the end, the dude was someone also lining up as well. Probably some n00b who doesn’t do this much) but moving the line was a little annoying as we almost lost our spots. Thankfully, the other folks in line after us (who were told to move over as well) knew so there was no major issues but it was pretty stupid some random people try to act like they can do or ask what they want (or at least that we’re stupid enough to listen). I know now that unless it’s Otakon or the convention staff, I should really take whatever people say with a grain of salt. Heh.
Weird line issue aside, MELL’s concert was pretty epic. No where Jam Project EPIC but great nonetheless and probably the best concert out of the four over the weekend. Once again I don’t remember the set list but 3/4 of her songs were from popular anime like Rideback, Sky Witches, and Black Lagoon. What I do remember was the awesome wardrobe malfunction that resulted us in the front rows to see a bit of black if I am not mistaken. Funny thing before MELL went to fix the issue was I semi-thought it was part of her act; it was only when she was holding onto said piece of clothing that it became obvious that was not suppose to happen. Anyway good songs overall and Mell kept things going pumping up the crowd and like, making the concert a great way to end the con related events for the night…
… except it got even cooler while we waited for her autographs. The cool Mell related part was that the fact she actually stayed the whole time to sign everyone’s merchandise. We were towards the back of the line and she got to us around 11PM, a good hour or so after her concert ended so props to that as she must have been tired from flying in and preparing for everything. It did stink that they quickly ran out of her CDs completely (probably within 10 minutes) but still came away with a signed photo of the lady (plus a Tshirt and drawstring bag), which is currently framed and looking good. The other thing that made the night “cooler” or at least funnier was while we were waiting in line for Mell’s autograph/goods, her crew was taping the folks in line asking what they thought of the concert, etc etc. Fine and dandy but if they ever got to our group, we all wondered WTF they would have thought as we had one guy wearing a Jam Project tshirt, another with Nana Mizuki, one with MOSAIC.WAV, and one other with Puffy Amiyumi. Much to say they didn’t say anything to our faces when they did reach us although they probably got a kick out of that and Omo doing a bit extra for the camera ^^;;
There was another mini-meet with MT folks (or at least Omo’s friends) that I went to, once again at Pickles where I killed my lifespan again by eating fried foods to end the night. It was all worth it though as man, that bar’s french fries and fried pickles are insane! Loaded with fried goodness and tired way beyond belief, everyone parted ways and I headed back to the hotel to crash so I could be someone coherent for the next day’s events.
For the first day of Otakon, I think this must have been my busiest as I was all over the place getting on lines, attending panels, getting signatures, meeting folks, etc. I must admit 1/2 my con goings usually involve waiting on lines anyways, but you gotta do what you gotta do if you want the good seats and/or signatures! I do think, however, if I wasn’t with the people I was with, there just wouldn’t have been any way I could have done everyone solo so a big thanks to everyone I hung with on Day 1 for making the con 100x better than it would normally be. Also big thanks to Jabel for letting me use his con photos to help make this post prettier!