The panel Megumi Nakajima held on Day 3 was one of the two panels I was looking forward to the most throughout this 4-day venture into all things anime- and manga-related. And boy, did it deliver! I’d read some reviews of the panel after AX drew to a close, and they confirmed what most panel-regulars fear would typically happen during these types of Q&A sessions – superfluous fanboy/fangirl questions asking her to attend meet-ups, act out scenes of her other roles, begging for her to clarify if she would date a real life Alto (Macross F’s lead male role) – but darnit, you just couldn”t help but smile as she eagerly answered each question with a slight sense of cute naivety (whether in her true nature or not)!
Nevertheless, her panel was full of life, and her translator was a lot better than what we’d all witness at May’n’s panel. Despite most of the mundane questions she was asked of, she did point out some interesting tidbits of her career and what made her the kind of singer, voice actress, and person she is today.
Apparently, not many people (if any) know she is of mixed Filipino-Japanese heritage. Most of her life was spent being born and raised in Japan, so any exposure to Philippine culture she’s had was really only through her mother, who sang many Tagalog songs around her. Whether that had an impact on her current singing career is left a mystery, but she does hope to someday learn the language if given the time to; I certainly wouldn’t mind her releasing a future album in the language. Aside from her heritage, she gave some insights on the impact of her Vocaloid voice and how she hopes it will change with her growth as an actress and singer. In general, she was very excited and honored to come to America for the first time, delighted to realize that so many people here are already big fans of her career, and hoped that her fan base will continue to enjoy the work she’ll be putting out for years to come.
I could create an entire post about Megumi’s panel and how much of a privilege it was to meet her, but that could take up this entire post. Besides, she had her actual signing the next day, but more on that later.
The rest of the day actually went rather downhill quickly, partly due to how popular both May’n and Megumi were, and the fact that what could have been a fantastic opportunity to get both May’n and Megumi’s autographs on this day wound up being a pushing and shoving debacle amongst crazed fans wanting to fall in line as closely to the first position as possible.
It didn’t help the fact that I missed Megumi’s post-panel session due to a higher priority to nourish my hunger for a decent lunch before falling into any sort of line for hours. Further adding to my frustration was that after being squished in between sweaty otaku (myself included to a certain degree) and AX staff finally being able to make a sensible queue for the autograph session a half hour later, the exhibit hall announced its closure and the staff’s decision to cut the line right in front of me. This basically meant that I stood patiently and politely followed rules for three hours of expo time, only to be turned away due to time constraints and organizational failures.
Still, I was at least fortunate enough to have seen Megumi at the start of the day, as well as catch many great cosplayers in the halls prior to the lineup disaster.
Among my favorites were Mio and Yui from K-ON!! posing like they did in their recent ending theme, Ed from Cowboy Bebop, Celty and Shinra being sexy, Sheryl Nome and her songstress microphone, and Eruka Frog from Soul Eater holding her signature tadpole bomb. Like Jonno noticed from the photos he took over the scope of AX, I realized that I’d taken many more cosplay photos this year than I ever had in the past – hopefully an indicator to a style that’s coming into fruition with the most recent batches of work I’ve put into my photography.
Before catching the AX Masquerade, which I’d never been to, I decided to go see Adrian Zaw do his thing once more on-stage at the Laser Light Spectacular in the Nokia Plaza once more. It was there that I ran into Jonno and a few of his friends as we saw some of what I personally thought was some fantastic taiko drumming by the Senryu Taiko group. Erik, I finally know what you’ve been posting in some of your festival pics; such awesome percussion performance!! It was also at this moment that I ran into Marc Maestre, whom I invited over to the rest of the group during the opening of the Laser Light show. Great seeing you there, Marc! Hope to see you again next year!
Even though Masquerade allowed for photos to be taken, I personally didn’t find any worthwhile shots to take. Durarara!! and a Sailor Moon magical-outfit-changing segment were among my personal favorites of a rather dry overall presentation. What really got the crowd excited was when the winners of each category were announced and played on the Nokia Theater big screens. Who would have thought the PSA for Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and KFC would win? I saw it coming from miles away. But basically, every video that I voted for wound up winning, so at least I was on track with the hundreds of others who initially voted last Thursday.
I truly believe that if it weren’t for a mediocre Masuerade, an enlightening revisit of old friends in the Nokia Plaza for some Taiko and lasers, surprisingly more good cosplay, a good conversation with Melinda towards the end of the expo day, and a rewarding Megumi panel, this day would have been easily forgettable. One thing I really hope the committee organizes better for next year is the manner in which to line up its attendees for any type of autograph or panel session, especially for autographs. What I had to go through in Day 3 was completely unacceptable and very discouraging for someone like me who was probably one of the most patient and forgiving attendees all weekend. Nevertheless, Day 3’s shortfalls really helped make Day 4 a breath of fresh air for me and subsequently restored my faith in the Expo itself, which I’ll detail in the next and final entry for this year’s Anime Expo.
To all of the readers who have been following me since the Day 1 recap, thank you very much for your attention and interest in these notes! It’s been a while since I was in the blogsphere, and I felt that Anime Expo really reopened the doors for me to explore what worked in the past, as well as what didn’t work, and put my photography into practice while attempting to polish the lost blogger’s touch. Day 4 wound up being more like a half-day, so I’ll be talking a little about the convention’s wrap up according to my experiences, as well as a final synopsis of all four days into a short paragraph or two.
For the mean time, here’s one more photo of the banana from the peanut-butter-jelly-time meme with yet another vuvuzela, and a slightly annoyed Cloud (Kingdom Hearts version) right next to him.
See you again in Day 4!