NYAF 2009 – Day 3 Final Thoughts – Fluttering Skirts
Surprisingly, this will probably be a short entry on Day 3 and my overall thoughts on NYAF simply due to the fact I’ve forgotten 50% of it already. Seriously. My brain literally is drawing a blank for random parts of the day and trying to remember the other days is already becoming a blur.
So without further ado, Day 3 of NYAF 2009. Day 3, just like the other days, still involved me getting up early-ish due to being generally paranoid plus I wanted to make sure I got good seats to Yui Makino’s Q&A. Arrived on-site around 9-9:30AM, picking up yet another Yui Makino autograph ticket (not for me!) killing the rest of the time in the VIP line trying to stay up and get cell phone service. I don’t know what it was, maybe the sake or lack of sleep finally catching up with me, but I had to drag my sorry self to the actual panel room where Yui Makino’s Q&A was being held when they let us in around 10AM; thankfully it being in one of the bigger room, I had no issue getting whatever seat I wanted. Trying not to fall asleep, spent the rest of the hour and fifteen minutes just waiting eventually at one point, seeing Omo and his crew make it to the panel with a few minutes before it started. There were some great podcast moments that I know wah got during that time, but look forward to those whenever he releases them, if ever.
On the actual Q&A itself, it was pretty boring to be dreadfully honest. Omo pretty much touched on the major points and I completely agree with him as well. Just to add on though, I’m surprised no one asked for Yuuchi to say x line(s) from y character in series z, which is usually a staple (and sometimes awesomely amusing) question with seiyuus and the audience. I know at Rie Tanaka’s last year, there were a few. Really the only other thing I could possibly mention is that I personally thought Yui looked her best today out of the multiple times I saw her prior at the con; probably most likely due to her having her hair down or something (yea I’m a sucker for simple hair styles and females with long hair).
After the Q&A finished, I believe we just bummed around the dealers’ room for a bit since Yui Makino was going to be in another panel where Japanese and American voice actors/actresses talked shop. Once again, check Omo’s post if one is curious as I pretty much just tagged along following him and his crew around. We did happen to catch the tail end of the prior panel while waiting, which was Voice Acting 301 with the American VAs giving tips to the audience plus having them dub parts of Animation Runner Kuromi 2. I thought that was pretty cool and even though I don’t care for dubs much, I thought the audience did a good job given the time frame and whatnot.
Surprisingly enough, on the “East vs West” Voice Actors/Actresses panel, I learned the most about how things are done over here in the states versus anything in Japan. Part of it mostly due to the fact that I generally know the ins-and-outs on how the Japanese do it, the panel was pretty educational nonetheless. One of the biggest tidbit that was a bit shocking to me, as it was with Yucchi, is that American VAs generally do cold reads; i.e. they only get the scripts when they actually start recording. I figured they would get something to work with prior, like how the Japanese get the scripts ahead of time, but I guess not and all I can say is, more power to the American VAs for doing as well as they do.
After the panel finished, including the VAs taking group photos for themselves, we hauled our arses to Alex D’s car so we could make our way to Webster Hall for AKB48’s concert. Took about 30 or so minutes to get there but boy, there was already a line up to the next intersection! Waiting involved a lot of trying to stay conscious and getting split up with the group as Omo and StarCreator had “VIP” tickets for special seating while Alex D waited with paranda a little further up in the line. Pretty crazy how long the line was getting although from overhearing random conversations, seems it was a 50/50 split about whether or not people knew who AKB48 were. Still, I thought it was impressive how many people were going given the circumstances at hand; fear the power of “everyday idols” I guess?
Anyway, around 4:30-5PM they started to let people into Webster Hall. On my way to the actual main area, stopped by the booth they had setup selling various AKB48 wares including CD+DVD singles, posters, and photo sets of the girls. The photo sets were probably the scariest in my humble opinion cause you could buy all 12+ (forgot how many they had out exactly) at $3.25USD per photo if you wanted! If I was a crazier man, and still had a job, I may have done it but while they are cute in their own ways, I knew I had to avoid doing so at all cost; explaining why I have photos of under-aged girls (even if they’re an idol unit) was a bridge I did not want to cross, if possible. After scoping out the various goods, eventually made my way to the main hall which was setup with a stage at the back center while the rest of the area was standing room only with a second floor for the VIPs guests (aka Omo & StarCreator) who could also watch and chill (and sit!) at their leisure.
On the concert itself, honestly it’s all a blur to me other than that it was awesome! Youtube would probably be the best place to go to see just how crazy and lively it truly was! On the various songs and acts, minus the constant fluttering of skirts which was awesome onto itself, I enjoyed the full group songs and pop-rock unit song probably the most. On the pop-rock unit song, one just cannot beat tight leather on good looking females, period. But yes, definitely a crazy concert with two encores that lasted a good 1.5-2 hours which I thought was pretty amazing considering the girls had little to no breaks besides for quick costume changes. Overall, as I’ve mentioned like multiple times already, the concert rocked and color me impressed with AKB48’s stage presence as songs I don’t think I would have liked normally were actually pretty good live. Now I wouldn’t call me a new (crazed) AKB48 fan but I will definitely be looking into their various music and other media in the future. I think as others have mentioned, and when the money starts to flow again, if I can pinpoint one or two as my “favs” I may make it alive as a potential long-term fan otherwise don’t know how long I can keep up with such a huge group! Nana Mizuki and Minori Chihara already kill me as is darn it XD
Potential financial suicide (again) aside, after the concert and multiple encores, eventually met up with the usual crew for some much needed dinner. For the random food antics, I once again point to Omo’s and will add that Otafuku was worth every penny (plus was like 5 mins from the yakinuku place we ate at the day prior). Definitely going back next time I’m in the city (which is like never, but still)… There are a few random things I could still mention, like getting lost again going to the subway and instead catching the tailend of AKB48 boarding their bus, but for me dinner wrapped up this year’s NYAF for better or worse.
Just quickly skimming my posts last year about NYAF, including my final thoughts, and unsurprisingly enough they are still the same, a year later. NYAF is still too new of a con (although the management group does NY Comic con so wtf) that things like general management issues, little to do between panels, badge privileges, and lack of (good) guests keep coming to my mind anytime I think of it. I want to say hopefully with NYAF merging with NYCC next year, things will be better but honestly I have a feeling they may get worse. I mean if at the small con level there were all these issues, god forbid what may happen at a major level that is NYCC!
I think if I do end up going to NYCC/NYAF/whatever next year, I’m going to try my luck as press. Given the fact it’s easy as cake, at least for NYAF, to get a press badge, I’m hoping it won’t be that bad for NYCC but who knows. And if not, unless they have some really uber Japanese guest(s), I’ll probably just pass and save myself a few hundred dollars and a lot of potential headaches… all of which NYAF VIP was suppose to do this year but miserably failed at instead.