October 16, 2010

New family member

"Um..it's nice to meet you. Please treat me well"


Just to get it out of the way, NO I did not take up the bottomless money pit of a hobby that is doll collecting, nor am I interested in that particular subculture. Due to certain reasons I had to pick up Sakuno. She will be the only DD I ever buy, and it was a careful decision after weighing a lot of options.

That said, I'm pretty satisfied with it. It's like a gigantic figure! Well worth the...uh forgot how much I spent. But she'll be my photo model and will occasionally help present goods.

Here she is after meeting the only other fashion doll in my house, the evil Sister B (still in box). Like a mighty conqueror she towers over all the other puny figures I have.

Posted by Paranda at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)

October 12, 2010

Minorin day at NYAF

Though I missed Friday's events entirely, I had a pretty good Minorin-centric Saturday, starting at 2AM when I went to line up at Javitz for autographs. It was cold, but at least not too boring after moy and alexd showed up a few hours later. After the con opened up at 7 and we got tickets, alexd went back to his apt, while moy and I went to the nearest couch and promptly passed out dead for a bit. The moment of rest was short lived. By 11AM I was back camping the panel room for Minorin's Q&A.

Though there was no fan participation this time, the East Meets format is pretty interesting. It consisted of Minorin (east) opposite several western voice-over actors (west) having what amounted to a semi-scripted and friendly dialogue to discuss their different experiences in voice acting. Welcomely absent from the panel...

- Biographical questions that could have been looked up 2 seconds on Wiki
- "Who/what is your favorite" dilemmas
- What's your inspiration? x 10000
- Guys more concerned with promoting themselves than asking the guest anything

Admittedly I do derive a bit of guilty pleasure from seeing the occasional oblivious fan ask questions of a career-ending/bridge-burning nature if talent were to answer truthfully. It's funny to see seiyuu rack their brains trying to formulate fluff non-answers to dodge things that most people would know better than to ask.

There were good bits and pieces which will no doubt make it onto youtube. In one part, some of the western actors talked about how they auditioned for a role by recording a demo-tape at home. Minorin misheard and thought American voice actors could phone in entire sessions in their own home and flipped the fuck out for a while before somebody picked up on her confusion and re-clarified that it was for audition only. Minorin totally froze up and went "Oh yeah. Of course, we do that too!" with a REALLY embarassed look on her face and started laughing. It's ok Minorin, nobody thinks you're an airhead for missing a translation (they think it for the million other reasons). Probably the funniest part was after Minorin learned that for American cartoons, voice actors would record with only a script and some storyboards, but no video. She just burst out with very loud and cute "EEEEEEEHHH?" several times while the translator was explaining things. The english VAs thought she was adorable with the reactions. I think that may have also been a bit of misunderstanding at work though - Maybe Minorin didn't get that for our cartoons, the animation is done to match dialogue after the voice recording, because she was asking stuff like "how do you know how the pace of the lines?" and remarking how incredibly hard it sounded.

After the panel, we took the group picture that is now posted on Minorin's blog, and then immediately rushed to autographs. I previously got a name-personalized pinup thanks to moy, and this time a non-personalized autograph on Kimi Ga Kure Ta Ano Hi, an older single. When I brought out this CD, one of her handlers (anyone else feel she looked like an older version of a certain other seiyuu?) was really amused and called over another handler to share like there was some inside joke associated with this item. I wish I had asked what was so special about this item but I was momentarily starstruck by Minorin being way too close, and didn't really have time as they were rushing us through the line at top speeds. So I give my CD to the handler, and she gives it to Minorin who signs it in just a few seconds - even faster than May'n. But even though the encounter was brief, Minorin has a way of looking straight at you and delivering a killer smile that makes all that time waiting in line overnight worth it.

Since I didn't have a VIP ticket, I figured I had to line up as early as possible to get a decent chance at finding a seat so right after the autograph I grabbed a quick lunch and then headed straight to IGN theatre. By this time, the lack of sleep combined with the effects of post-lunch food coma caught up with me and made those 3 hours wait in line an absolute torture. I was in a zombified state yet unable to sleep because of the hard floors and cramped space. Finally the doors opened a little past seven. I wish the staff had allowed people to file in a bit earlier and in a more orderly manner, because as soon as they started letting people in it turned into a mad dash for the best remaining seats. Originally, I was in 6th row all the way on the sides, but somehow got moved up to 4th row center-right into VIP seats reserved for people that were no-shows. Still I was away from the main FC section to my left (see video - I'm the lone UO guy on the right side while most fans with UO are on the left). As I tweeted earlier, there are advantages and disadvantages to this. First, in my section people were sitting down while the FC section was all standing up. At first I was really low key with my glowstick and actions because I felt like a bit of a jerk being the ONLY stander blocking the view of people behind me, but by the middle of the first song I decided "hey how many times do you get to see Minorin perform this close live, if people aren't going to stand up...well fuck-em" and went into full-on concert mode. It was also harder for me to see what others were doing and follow along since it meant I would have to turn to the side and divert my attention from the main act (I decided to just do whatever felt right based on experience from other concerts, and it turned out all right and mostly in synch). Some advantages were the extra space from the aisle being so empty and the fact that being the only standing and participating person in the area, whenever Minorin came over she waved to me a bunch of times (yayyyy).

Minorin came out in a short blue dress and thigh high leather boots, but more impressively she was rocking the same hairstyle as she had during Anisama 2010. She must have gone straight to dressing room right after the autograph session to get it ready in time. Similar to what MELL did at AX and Otakon before, Minorin's MCs were 100% in English for the entire night. The sentence structure wasn't very good, and the english wasn't polished at all, but it only made the MC better because she was trying so hard with what she had memorized and added a certain charm like she prepared her speech herself with only minimal translator help. "Do you like Haruhi? I like Haruhi too!" *trademark minorin giggle*

As predicted, the set list was dominated by Haruhi songs. In order:

Yuki, Muon, Madobe Nite
FC went UOs. I should mention though that it's well known that full blown "otagei" is frowned upon at Minorin concerts, so even though we were standing up, we just did calls with high intensity and standard stuff. No craziness. Still I was kind of pissed that most people near me were sitting down though, even though they got free glowsticks. WTF, didn't you line up for hours to get to the front and all you wanna do is take crappy cellphone pics (despite the ban on photography), check mail, and watch the jumbo screen?

Almost 100% blue glowsticks

Junpaku Sanctuary
Slow song, but pretty popular. Got a decent reaction when she announced it. FC went all white

Tommorrow's Chance
UO. Crowd starting coming alive at this point. Couple of people starting standing up as well and coming up behind me.

Freedom Dreamer
UO. It's VERY fun to do live with all the call and response, and especially the coordinated jumping. This is probably what broke the ice for most of the crowd though and people starting getting up and participating as they got the hint during "everybody jump". Frankly she should have opened with this song as it set the tone for the rest of the night. I was doing leaps at full power several feet off the ground, so I can't walk now.

Paradise Lost
UO. Because Minorin doesn't want us to rest.

Keikenchi Joushouchuu
When Minorin did MC and said "Do you know...Minami-ke?" the crowd erupted into cheers. FC went UO again. She must not do this very often live though as there was a bit of confusion about the glowstick waving pattern. Even FC was confused, so it was very much a learning experience for all of us.

Yasashii Boukyaku
Blue/White. Break time from excitement.

Hare hare yukai
UO finisher. For the final song, Minorin called out Christi-nyan and another dancer Carrie and they all did the Haruhi dance. Minorin called for everyone to do the dance. I think it was the only time the FC got outmatched though, most of them, and myself didn't really know the moves and had to resort to hasty copying. In a reversal of roles, a lot of random people in the audience without glowsticks DID know the dance moves.

At the end Minorin read her thank you message in English and said how much fun she had coming to NYC. After she left, the FC "leader" put up his beacon and tried to start an encore chant but unfortunately it kind of fizzled out since not enough people were chanting "Mi-no-rin". Lights came up soon after so we left the arena and freed up seats for people who were there primarily for masquerade.

Afterwards, some fans had BBQ and afterparty but given how much energy I expended at Minorin concert I was on the verge of collapsing so I headed home for the night.

Final goods:

Autographed Minorin poster and CD

Not pictured, signed Puffy Ami Yumi CD.

Posted by Paranda at 12:44 AM | Comments (7)

October 6, 2010

Momoi tour weekend - Hajimete no Live House

10/2 and 10/3 were my final concerts for this year's Japan trip. The first day, I actually was dead tired as I only just crashed after a huge 30 hour run involving of 2 trips to dearstage, all-night karaoke, and a DisneySea trip with jouttex and gin_update. I had to force myself up and onto a train at 10AM in order to get to Niigata again.

Live #1 took place in Niigata, and LIve #2 took place one day later in Koriyama. The fan prep this time was pretty serious. Lots of people came in with fully loaded UO belts and Momoi branded hosters, couple of guys in sailor uniforms, and one guy came in a flight suit totally covered in ivy and green lights (see Momoi's Ivy album cover). Hiro, the dude I met during MOSAIC.WAV live in Kyoto also changed into touhou cosplay with UO waist belts, boot holsters, crisscrossed light bandoliers, Momoi wrist guards and handcuffs, and pulled out both light claws which now had ivy draped all over it.

For set list, I'll list Niigata and contrast with Koriyama. Both halls were pretty small, though the layout for Koriyama was superior. Left is Niigata, right is Koriyama.

1. LOVE.EXE (Hide and Seek)

During day 1, Momoi came out in a cute plaid outfit. During day 2, she had a complex looking silk dress and headpiece. Both days, she started out with old favorites that pump the crowd. Though I like LOVE.EXE, since I've heard it so many times at lives it was nice to hear Hide and Seek on the second day. When she opened with the new song on day 2, it confirmed that she was going to vary the set list so I got really excited again not knowing what might come next.

2. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

A fun song with call and response with fans. Before the start of the song, Momoi introduces herself in a short MC. During this, it's a tradition for fans to do a rallying call where whoever is in the center-front lights a UO and goes "Se-no" and rallies a huge single coordinated cry of "Momoi". In Koriyama, we actually messed up the first call so Momoi changed her MC around a bit to set up a really obvious second chance for us to repeat. There was also an amusing moment when Momoi asked who was local to the region. The number of locals were really dwarfed by the number of traveling fans, who were all up at the front. It really shows how her events are primarily dominated by core FC groups.

3. Shouri no megami

During this song, there are unique "Momoi Haruko" chants, "aoi romance" which leads into romance, and coordinated claps. Throughout the song, people held up blue towels matching Japan's World Cup team color. That's because it was written by Momoi for the 2010 World Cup. After this song, everyone was sweating really hard including Momoi.

4. Koi no recipe (GURA GURA)

Nostalgia corner. For both songs, Momoi did an MC introducing the track and circumstances of their production. Koi no recipe was a surprise because it's an UNDER17 song outside of her usual "Angel Rabbie." When it hit, a lot of possibilities for what else could be in the set list was swimming through my head. Unfortunately, the ultimate song on my still-haven't-heard-live wishlist "Ichigo Go Go" did not make it in on either day. If it does appear eventually on any of the dates, I will kick myself for not scheduling better.

5. E.S.P. Thanks to Mamichan

Participation involved making the hand sign (like "kira") and waving during the beep beep beep beep parts. This song was released on the new album, but it's actually been out for a while. Unfortunately before the release the only way to get the CD was by buying a $500 Mamichan DVD box set or bidding off auctions sites at around $150.

6. Mail Me

During introductory MC, Momoi made comments on both days reflecting on how times changed since she released this song ten years ago. She said in 2000, if you got keitai mail from someone you liked that would be really special, but now it's just really common occurence since everybody mails everybody now.

7. Jienotsu Song 2

This is nearly as good as the original, and just as tiring. There's was a lot of punching and yelling.

8. The Wall

The break song that couldn't come soon enough. We just did simple claps and not much jumping.

9. Eien no Orusuban

Same as above, but I like this song.

10. Figure ni Naritai (Ima anata ga suki)

Similar to what happened during Yukarin's acoustic corner, fans just stay quiet and just enjoy the singing without worrying about calls.

11. 21 Seiki (Friendship)

Friendship is another one of those songs we haven't heard a lot in the US so I appreciated her including this in the set list. Speaking of US, on day one, Momoi did an MC about her overseas tours and asked if overseas fans were here. Since we already met so many Momoists, it was kind of funny how a bunch of people in the crowd just turned around and started pointed at us before we even said anything. Germany and New York got to represent, as Momoi later tweeted.

12. Akihabalove (Space Love)

During Space Love, a couple of times I was like "uh wow, it's like she's singing right at me" and thinking it was really nice that she was singing to the crowd instead to some vague central point above our heads like many singers tend to do. This was later confirmed during MC, when she actually asked if everyone got sung to. She wanted to remember all the faces and didn't want anyone to be missed.

13. WONDER MOMO-i (Ichigo Ichie)

For Niigata. It was already unbearably hot ever since the first song, but when we all rushed forward for the final UO segment of WONDER MOMO-i, we ran into a WALL of heat. The stage was like an oven.
For Koriyama, my reaction: Ichigo (OMG) Ichie (Awwww). Well nothing against Ichigo Ichie but I was waiting for the OTHER ichigo song.

14. music as muse

I guess we take english titles for granted, but most people actually didn't know what a muse was so Momoi explained it during MC.

15. Break down, break dance

The beginning of the end. Starting from here, every song was fast paced and there were few/no MC breaks. The chorus for Break down, Break dance contains complicated hand motions that I still don't really know. Guys in front of me were doing them, but I just did regular cheering at my own pace. I was next to kiriwari the second day and it seems like he just did normal calls as well.

16. Henji ga nai, tada no shitsuren no you da (Naito de naito)

Henji ga nai was survivable, but Naito de naito = death. I did max jumping during this, and it was so hot... After we finished, people were gasping for air and just laughing nervously at what would come next. Momoi had a smirk like she knew we were at the limit.


18. Motto, Yume, Miyou (Tenkuu no Sprite)

Another bonus you get when you go to a Momoi "live house". Free sauna. But be careful, floor is slippery when wet! Tenkyuu no Sprite has a similar "crunch" verse, which means people piled into the front. If you're not familiar, when I refer to crunch I mean this:

19. IVY

The "last" song, and ultimate finisher. For Ivy, everyone uses ultra green glowsticks. I heard IVY a couple of of times on mokomoko and youtube but I never really appreciated it. It wasn't until on day 2 in Koriyama, that I just got hit with the realization "oh...damn this is REALLY good live." Through a combination of factors, this performance pretty much provided one of my highest concert experiences probably rivalled only by those times running onto the stage with Momoi. On day 1, I was kind of distracted trying to keep up with the specific hand signs for "I", "V", and "Y" to do during the chorus but having gone through the learning experience once, I was in full participation for the next one and Momoi really made it worthwhile. There were no barriers of any kind between the stage and us, so she leaned way deep into the crowd and was nearly grabbing peoples' outstretched hands.

Finally we yelled the special "mitai" chants for Momoi

20. Saigo no Rock (WONDER MOMO-i)

During day 1, the layout didn't really allow it due to the support posts but the UO crunch for WONDER MOMO-i was extremely tight. It was really fun way to end the concert. Momoi got a long UO from a fan and the same moves back to us. She was also so close she started high-fiving people at the end.

Aside from the awesome live experience, it was good to meet all the Momoists again. I saw coverman, tetsu, panda, omit, nyol, E_A_moto, kiriwari, vesper, shiraju, kusamaru, hiro, plus some new faces. About an hour after the Koriyama live, Silli and I randomly bumped into Suzuki-san on the street. I thanked him for the tickets, but he said "No I want to thank you for making the trip." He also asked if we were gonna stay in Koriyama or not. I told him my schedule, and in usual Suzuki-san fashion he reciprocated by revealing his own schedule for the night. They were gonna take the train back the same day, but I decided not to be crazy stalker this time since I already checked into my hotel.

Final goods: I picked up the new 10th anniversary themed red and blue glowsticks, a yellow version of the new shirt, extra Ivy album with stick poster, and towels. I also tried to pick up shirts for priz and tenton, but Nakano searched all of his boxes for a while and couldn't find the correct shirt size. He also explained they weren't stocking between Niigata/Koriyama, so Gin is gonna have to try grabbing those shirts in Nagoya.

Posted by Paranda at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

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