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Days 2 and 3 of AX: AKB48 Panel and Reflections July 7, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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The only idol related thing of note to happen on Day 2 of Anime Expo was the AKB48 panel. Since this thing started at around 11AM me and the friend that I was going with were actually able to get some sleep that morning which was quite welcome.

We actually got into the convention center at around 10:45 or so and she went off to the Nabeshin panel while I headed off for AKB48.

Figuring that it would be ran like last year I took a seat near the back of the panel that was currently running waiting to move forward when it finished. Not so. It turned out that they now empty the rooms between panels and there was a already a line outside for the AKB48 panel. A long line. A line that went all the way outside nearly to the end of the building, I would say roughly 250 people in front of me, and by the time we started to move in, about 80 people behind me. While waiting in line I met a guy in front of me that got into idols through Kayo Aiko and became a big fan of Koharu, really nice guy.

Once we actually got into the hall I was really surprised by the fact that I was able to get a decent seat. The Q&A was set up in Petree Hall, the same place as Morning Musume’s panel last year, but reversed, as in the guests now sat at the opposite end of the hall. I ended up about 6 or 7 rows back on the right side of the table for the guests. All in all I would say about 20 to 25 feet away from the members.

As for the overall turnout off attendees and audience energy I found them both to be much lower than for Morning Musume’s panel for last year. I came nearly an hour before their panel and got a horrible seat where I could hardly see any of the girls, this time though, I came only 15 or so minutes before hand and I got a pretty decent seat. As for the audience energy I would classify it as “appropriate” rather than insane as for last year. A nice benefit of that was that I could clearly hear both the girl’s answer’s and their translations. =D

Once the panel started they played a VTR explaining what AKB48 was and gave a short history of the group and then pretty much went straight into questions. Most of the questions were pretty generic so I’m not going to try and summarize them all but I would like to touch a bit on the first and last people to ask questions. The first guy was a slightly older (maybe early 50’s or late 40’s) Western wota who gave the AKB48 girls a warm welcome, which really was quite nice. Then he spent the better part of a minute brown-nosing about all the times that he has seen them live at their theatre and about how they’re the greatest performers on the face of the planet all before he even got to his question. I know all fans want to express their gratitude to their favorite idols, but in a situation like this you really need to try and be short and succinct in your praise. I would put the limit at a sentence or so, even if you have to make it a long sentence, but anything much more than that just seems slightly inappropriate for the setting. The other person whose question I would like to bring up was the last person, who asked the girl’s if they liked any k-pop girl’s group. Now, I dunno about the girls of AKB48 (their manager answered the question, and I have no idea what he was answering, certainly not the question asked), but I’m pretty sure he did. The question just annoyed me because he seemed to be looking for answer he already wanted rather than simply trying to find out more about the girls themselves. Meh.

On day 3 of AX there were no idol related events scheduled but I actually managed to meet up with Charles, the fearless leader of Group 1 from AX ’09 (I’m going to have to flesh this out in the future =D), and his two friends named Aaron, both of which I actually recognized from the Mano event earlier. We hung out a bit around the HelloStoreUSA booth, and it’s always good time to talk idols with people. Fun stuff =D

So, what were my overall thoughts on Manoeri? I must say, I was really impressed. Her acting in Kai-Ki: Tales of Terror from Tokyo was not only far better than I had expected, but she also seems to just exude this great charisma in person. I’ve never really paid too much attention to her in the past, but I’m definitely going to keep my eye on her now.

This picture was actually taken by my friend right next to me at her movie screening. You can really get an idea of how close we all were to the stage, plus she looks pretty cute =P

As for AKB48? While I must say I really enjoyed their concert, something had been bothering me slightly about it, and it wasn’t until after their Q&A panel that it hit me. It all seemed slightly sterile. While their choreography and MC were all quite excellent, the actual performances seemed to lack personality, like I could have watched them perform the same setlist in Japan and it would have been the exact same show. I believe that the fact that they don’t actually use live vocals contributes greatly to this, but the performance itself didn’t seem to have any interactions or spontaneity between the girls. Now, I know why the producers would want to stamp such things out in a group as large as AKB48, but I couldn’t help but find it slightly disappointing.

Now, don’t let this discourage any of you from ever going to see them live as they do put an a fantastic show, just know that it is a different type of performance from what you would expect from a Hello!Project group.

So, that wraps up my coverage of Anime Expo 2010 and Mano Erina’s movie premier at Club Nokia. Really, a fantastic idol-filled couple of days. I really do feel lucky that in the span of a year I was able to see three of Japan’s major idol acts all within 30 miles of my humble abode. Los Angeles truly is a lucky city!

Note: So, I just realized that all the events that I’ve talked about so far actually took place on day 1, and not day 2 lol. I’ve updated the titles but I left the permalinks alone.


Day 1 of AX and Club Nokia: AKB48 (Part 2) July 4, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Jpop.
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Okay, so let’s talk about the second big event of Day 2: The AKB48 concert!

So, after Mano’s movie screening I went to go meet up with my friend that worked at AX’s ticketing booth. Now, he had told me beforehand that these were “Premium” tickets but he never really expanded on it any more than that. Turns out these things were second row. SECOND ROW. Now, they weren’t center (more like on the far right side of the stage), but they were second row, and they were amazing.

With my tickets secured I killed some time in the AX exhibit hall with a couple of friends I had made in line waiting for Mano’s event. Since we all had assigned seating there really was no rush to get over to the Nokia Theatre and line up early. It was actually nice to be able to go somewhere without worrying about a line! I think it was the first time something like that has ever happened to me at Anime Expo!

The interior of the Nokia Theatre itself really is pretty grand, a proper concert venue even. It completely trumped the stage that was set up for Momusu last year. The sound and lighting were really far better. Really, the only negative thing I could say about the Nokia Theatre is that my 6th row seats for Momusu’s performance last year were about the same distance from the stage that I was for AKB48’s concert due to the much larger gap between the seating and the stage.

There seemed to be some sort of delay before the start of the concert, as it began about 30 minutes after it was supposed to start.

As for the concert itself? Here’s the setlist from makistar via SacredCultivator:
1 – River
2 – Aitakatta
3 – Iiwake Maybe
4 – Kuroi Tenshi
5 – Seifuku Resistance
6 – Bird – Takamina, Rie (Mariko), Sasshi (Maimai)
7 – Heart Gata Virus – Haruna, Ami (Nozomi) , Mocchi (Maimai)
8 – Blue rose – Sayaka, Sae, Yuko, Miichan
9 – Boku no Taiyo
10 – BINGO! (English version)
11 – Oogoe Diamond (English version)
12 – Sakura no Shiori

13 – Namida surprise!
14 – Ponytail to Shushu
15 – Hikouki Gumo

To be honest I only recognized three of the songs: River, Ponytail to Shushu and Sakura no Shiori. I actually kind of enjoyed their live performance of River, which is odd because I really don’t like that song. It just grates on me. As for everything else? Pretty solid. Except for Sayaka, Sae, Yuko, and Miichan’s performance of Blue Rose nothing really stood out to me. I really liked not only the song Blue Rose, but the performance that went along with it was pretty good as well. I can’t say that the costumes didn’t help, as I was close enough to make out the definition on Akimoto’s abs without the help of the video displays =D

Something else that really surprised me was how well the girls had practiced their English for the concert. Each girl introduced themselves entirely in English, and you could actually understand most of their cute engrish to boot. Another pretty impressive thing was the MC after Blue Rose was entirely in English, and actually very entertaining. The same girls that performed Blue Rose discussed what tourist spots they’d like to visit and mimed various scenes from popular movies for the audience to guess. It really went over fantastically well.

As for the not so great parts of the concert? The lip syncing. You could actually distinctly tell when their microphones were turned up for their self introductions after Iiwake Maybe because their suddenly was feedback >< Also, Sakura no Shiori is very boring live because of this as well, as they just stood around their microphone stands essentially. For someone like myself hearing these songs for the first time I really can't comment on how they "should" have sounded, but I can't help but think that it was just a bit stale. Understand though, that I'm used to watching Matsuura Aya and Morning Musume concerts where everything is live.

Something else that I found a little disappointing had nothing to do with AKB48's performance, but with my section of the audience. Last year at Momusu's concert I was smack dab in the middle of all the other fans and the energy was intense. This time I was surrounded by Anime Expo volunteers who really didn't care about the concert and most likely came just because they got free tickets. To really get the most out of an idol concert you just need to let yourself go and enjoy it. Clap and shout along. Not to say that nobody in my vicinity was as into it as myself, but really, the only part of the crowd that really seemed to embrace the concert was the front center. Their encore chants really were impressive, not that I didn’t help!

So, overall I really did enjoy the concert, a lot more than I had even expected to. Heck, I didn’t even mind River! At a deep level I really do love idol pop, and AKB48 is definitely a good idol pop group. While I can’t say I’m a convert or anything, they’ve certainly piqued my interest.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up with my impressions on AKB48’s Q&A session and a general review of everything that’s happened over the last couple of days. It has certainly been a busy week!

I want to apologize for the lack of photos in this post. I was so excited after being able to meet Mano earlier in the day that it kind of slipped my mind, sorry!

Day 1 of AX and Club Nokia: Mano Erina (Part 1) July 3, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Anime Expo, Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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So, yesterday was THE big day with both Mano Erina’s movie premiere and the AKB48 concert, so without further ado, I’ll get right to the events of the day!

I had originally planned to get to get in line at Mano’s event at 8:00, so I thought that leaving at 7:00 would be a safe bet for a 25 mile or so journey.  Ehh, I was off by about 20 minutes or so, which really wasn’t too bad.

At least it kept moving, even if slowly

When I got there a short line had already formed down below Club Nokia of about 30 dedicated Mano fans.

A que of people to see Mano-chan!

Here’s a picture of Club Nokia from the line:

Sure, you may not really be able to see anything (its actually on the third floor), but I'm an idol fan, not a photographer...

A really cool thing that happened while we were in line was that Mano-chan walked in front of us to get into Club Nokia! I had made friends with the people standing in front of me in line and I was talking to one of them when we noticed that the people in the front of the line were getting really excited for some reason. We look over and lo and behold there’s Mano-chan smiling and waving at us walking over to the escalators to get up to Club Nokia with a small group of people who I assumed to be her managers. Very, very neat, it’s just a shame we didn’t even notice her until she was right on top of us ><

So, after a little while they move us up top and we wait there some more.

Now were queueing in front of Club Nokia!

That “Red Carpet Event?” Yeah, that never happened, at least for us general attendees. They might have done it for press, but none of us fans were there, that’s for sure.

So, we were started to be allowed in a little bit before 12:00 and all of us pretty much mobbed the HelloStoreUSA booth to throw money at buy some goods. I picked up a pretty nice visual book of her. I was originally going to pick up a 2L photo set, but I didn’t particularly like the only one they had left when I got up there. Oh, and they gave us a free keychain, that was pretty neat.

So after that I made my way into the actual theatre/club area of Club Nokia. They had set up a fair number of folding chairs theatre style in front of their stage for us. The chairs were really quite close to the stage, so even though I was a couple rows back it really didn’t make too much of a difference. Also, my friend suggested we sit on the right side of the aisle, which was a very fortunate decision as I’ll explain later.

Not long after we were seated some musician came out with some people dressed as ghosts and introduced the winner of a short horror film contest and showed the video clip of the winner’s film. It was about some teacher who hung one of their students who couldn’t count, and when the person in the video corrected the miscounting ghost they got strangled. Honestly, it really wasn’t too bad for a one minute film made by an amateur.

Finally, they actually started Kai-Ki: Tales of Terror from Tokyo. I’m not going to summarize the plots of either of the short stories the movie consisted of (there were two), but they weren’t particularly great, nor for that matter bad. The first short story contained nearly every horror movie cliche that you could think of, and the second’s plot was resolved in a rather unsatisfying way. I have to say though, both of them were very, very unnerving. The way many of the shots were drawn out really gave me a huge sense of dread. So, despite the cliches and plot holes they were still pretty scary, so I have to say in that regard the movie was a definite success.

I also have to applaud Mano-chan’s acting. While her performance didn’t blow me away, it was several orders of magnitude better than her performance in Hanbun Esper. I always thought she seemed slightly awkward in that series, but it added to the quirky behavior of that show, and as weird as it sounds actually fit in pretty well (compared to everything else that is, it’s certainly an odd series). So, I’ll admit I was actually kind of scared to see what she would be like in a horror movie, but she pleasantly surprised me. She was completely competent in her role, for the characters she was playing were about what you would expect to find in a standard horror movie, and she put up a standard performance. After seeing the amount of improvement she’s made in her acting skill between this movie and that series I’m actually quite interested in seeing her do another drama, even a more serious one. If she can keep up the same level of improvement that could be a very impressive performance. =D

So, after the movie ended the credits naturally started to roll and the ending theme, Returning Home, started to play, lo and behold Mano-chan comes on stage to sing it! It took pretty much everyone off guard, and for myself at least, it was a total surprise. It was actually a very sweet ballad-style song, and something that I think wouldn’t have been too bad if it had been released as a single. Hopefully it might be included in her next album or something.

After she finished her song, the musician/translator came out, several of the events sponsors, the writer, and some fashion designers(!?). Apparently the fashion designers made a couple dresses for Mano-chan, but I found it still slightly odd that they brought them out and especially odd that one of the questions from the Q&A was directed at them specifically. They were asked how Mano’s charm points had inspired the fashion, and they managed to answer it with varying degrees of success, but it was pretty apparent that they didn’t expect to be asked anything either.

It was actually rather funny, that despite the fact that they told us no photography was allowed nearly EVERYONE pulled out their cameras and taking pictures of Mano. Someone even managed to get a bit of her at the end on video:

As you can tell we were all really close to the stage, and by extension pretty close to Mano. I have to give her props, she really is cute in person. I dunno how seeing her in person would suddenly make her ugly or anything, but I was still quite impressed nonetheless.

After her Q&A she sang Sekai wa Summer Party and that was it. That was our mini concert. What the heck? A mini concert is like 5 songs. Two songs is an appearance, not a concert. Gah.

So, at the end the musician guy told us that there would be 25 autograph signings and to line up over on the right side of Club Nokia. This is where the luck of sitting on the right side of the seating came into play, as no one was in my way to get over there. It was actually pretty funny that it was my friend still that was pushing me over in that direction as I was still standing still and waving to her and saying goodbye… lol

So, when I actually get over there there really weren’t that many people in front of me (there were 10 in fact, as I found out when they counted us off). It was at this point I realized that, “Hey, I’m getting an autograph. HECK YEAH!” I should point out that the writer, Hirokatsu Kihara, was actually signing autographs as well, and that’s his signature on the postcard down below. I have to say, I felt kinda sorry for the guy, because honestly, no one was there to get his signature. I still tried to be as courteous and gracious as I could to him, but he seemed like he was still a good sport about the whole thing.

When I actually got to Mano, I handed her my visual book and she signed the cover, handed it back and offered a hand shake. It may sound stupid, but man, she had really, really soft hands. While we shook hands I told her she had a cute smile in English, which she looked at me for a second blankly as she tried to figure out what I said, then smiled again and said thank you. I imagine “cute” was probably the only thing she understood in what I said, but that’s good enough really. The person standing behind me in line waiting to get into the club and myself actually talked about what we would say to her when we got up there, and I am sorry for stealing your line. I actually checked if you had made it before the cutoff first, but once you suggested that I really couldn’t think of anything more fitting. She really does have a cute smile.

So that wraps up Mano’s event at Club Nokia. While her mini concert might have placed a little too much emphasis on the mini rather than the concert, the fact that I got to get her autograph and shake her hand more than made up for it for myself.

Since it’s 3AM in the morning, I’m going to call it quits for tonight and write about AKB48’s concert tomorrow.

Later Days!

Exhaustion July 2, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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So, Day 1 of Anime Expo and the Mano Erina Event at Club Nokia have come to a close, and I have far, far too much to write about those events to do so now as I am completely and utterly exhausted. So, I’ll leave you guys with just a couple reflections on the day:

  • I really wished Mano would have performed more than two songs at her event.
  • She is actually very, very cute in person and has almost unbelievably soft hands
  • I really enjoyed the AKB48 concert, actually a good deal more than I expected
  • Akimoto Sayaka has a-mazing abs

I really want to write about everything that happened in detail, but I’m just too tired.  Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to update on both today’s and that day’s events.  As for now, sleep!

Oh, and I also managed to acquire these... =D

Anime Expo Day 0: Let’s Queue! July 1, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Jpop.
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So, for those that don’t know, Day 0 of Anime Expo has nothing happening but the collection of your attendance badges and concert tickets. Nothing else. And I was there from about 10:00am to 5:00pm. AWESOME! Lets get to some pictures!

Here are the number of people ahead of me in line to get their badges. Those green doors way up there are the front of the line.

Here are all the people behind me at about 11:30, or a half hour after I took the other picture (when I was in the back myself). It looks like a giant mob of people because they already had the line snaking back and forth to prevent it from being too physically long.

Same shot, a little better angle, and a little later in the day.

A little later still. Notice the increase of the queue’s density, and the growth in its width.

Here’s a picture after the line had already started to move at 3:00pm. Notice how the “snaking” of the line continued so far up.

So, after I picked up my badges I get sent into the MAIN EVENTS TICKETING LINE. Yay. I love queuing.

Here’s the main events ticketing queue at about 3:30. This line took a PAINFULLY long time to start moving. We all knew that the line for the badges wouldn’t move anywhere until 3:00, but apparently the tickets were all “mixed up,” or something or another and we waited for almost two hours to get inside (where there was a another small line in front of the booth)

Inside I picked up my tickets no problem, and even tried my luck into getting into the exclusive AKB48 meet and greet that was taking place that afternoon. Apparently, they placed 500 tickets into a box with 32 winners, and only those winners would be allowed to go to the meet and greet later that day. While I was still in line for the tickets themselves, one AKB48 wota told me he would pay me $60 for my winning ticket if I were so lucky. About 25 or so dejected AKB48 wota were gathered around the raffle box when I tried my luck, and a female one even made sure that I was a fan before my attempt. Can’t say that that I didn’t feel really bad for them.

After I picked up my tickets and badges I headed down to LA Live to check out where Club Nokia was for Mano Erina the next day. I didn’t take any pictures of it because I forgot to, lol. Expect a couple for the next days entry =P

And in a sadistic turn of events one of my good friends got a job as an AX volunteer working in ticketing. A couple of hours after I got home he called me up to tell me he hooked me up with some premium seats for every single event at AX. Now this is both awesome, and totally disheartening. Awesome because I am getting some crazy close seats, but also cripplingly depressing because all the waiting that I did today trying to get a good concert ticket for AKB48 was for naught. Yay.

So tomorrow I plan to get to Club Nokia at about 8:00am to see Mano Erina, which means I have to get up around 6:30 to battle traffic and get there. Supposedly there will be some sort of red carpet event or something at 10:30, I have no idea what that entails, but it should be interesting at the least.

Tomorrow has both Mano Erina and AKB48. It’s going to be crazy. =D

Off to Anime Expo 2010! June 29, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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So, tomorrow morning I’ll be heading off to the Los Angeles Convention Center for Day 0 of Anime Expo. I’ll be leaving at 9PM with one of my good friends with the express hopes of getting a decent seat to see AKB48. I’ll also scout out the location of Club Nokia so I can find out where to wait for Thursday after I get my badge and concert tickets. I’ll document each day of Anime Expo and Club Nokia for you guys, so expect plenty of images of queuing tomorrow!

An Update on Nearly Everything! May 13, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Anime Expo, Jpop, Mano Erina, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.

Wow, so it has been a little while since I wrote in here, huh? No worries, I haven’t forgot about it, I’ve just had some recent computer troubles (viruses and failed hard drives FTW!), and a general increase in my other workload has kinda kept me away for awhile. Also, what little free time I’ve had over the last week or so has been spent in states of varying inebriation. That was somewhat of a factor as well. ^^

Update 1: Mano Erina Industry Guest at AX, AKB48 Musical Guest of Honor
Well, it turns out that Manoeri’s role at AX is NOT of that of a musical guest of honor, but rather as an industry guest there to promote her new horror movie Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro Kaiki. GAAAAAH. I mean, really? Why the heck is there going to be a sneak preview of a horror movie at an anime expo? The only real reason I could see behind that is if that movie is based on some manga or anime (which to be honest, it could be for all I know). Now on the bright side, she is supposed to be singing I believe two songs (I can’t find the names of them right now, a bad side-effect from waiting so long to post about this… ><). This isn't bad, but it's not a concert. For me, I was really excited about the idea of a concert, and not so much by the other sideline events like Q&A panels. I know I've said it before, but I'm just not that into her, so stuff like a screening of her movie and other things just don't interest me that much. Sure, I still plan to go, but I’m far less excited about it than I was just previously.

So, the other big story of AX2010 is that AKB48 has been secured as a musical guest of honor. This absolutely infuriates me for one reason: AKB48 will perform in the Nokia Theater. The one year that AX decides to cut costs and dump the Nokia theater for a crappy convention hall with atrocious sound and questionable lighting was the one year that they manage to get an act that I DESPERATELY wanted to see. Then the next year, they just HAPPENED to get Morning Musume’s biggest rival and then have them go back to performing in the Nokia theater. Argh. Now, I have nothing against the AKB48 girls, its just that they really just aren’t my cup of tea. Well, I’m still going to their concert (I’m going to AX, and it’s idol pop, so why not?), and I imagine I’ll watch a concert or two of theirs in preparation. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a vid of them live, so I don’t know what to expect. I’ll be sure to share my findings with you guys right here. =D

Update 2: Morning Musume Seishun Collection B-Side Preview (Tomo) and PV Costumes

It’s not bad. I can’t say I’m crazy about it, but I don’t particularly like it either. It’s a nice soothing song, and actually seems like a fitting pairing with Seishun Collection, which I significantly prefer at this point. I’ll try and reserve final judgment until I get to hear the entire song though.

These costumes don’t require me to reserve my judgment at all though. Which is because they are so awesome. On their official profile page you can check out full body shots. Now, I admit that I think the black tights that everyone but Ai, Reina and Aika wear are a little bit more flattering, but everybody still manages to look pretty good. Heck, Aika even has a fairly flattering haircut, take note for the future, Momusu stylists. Quality stuff.

Update 3: Morning Musume Member Blog Translations
Okay, so this isn’t so much an update, but an addendum. Work with me here.
The guys over at Hyakupa Subs have picked up the translations for Sayu’s, Linlin’s and Junjun’s blogs.
turbos86 has a running translation of Reina’s blog.
Then there is Hello! SG Fans. These guys have running translations for pretty much EVERYONE’S blog. So not only can you find Sayu’s, Reina’s, Linlin’s and Junjun’s blog translated over there, but also Koha’s, Risa’s, the S/mileage girls and others. Their English can be a little rough at times, but its certainly not so bad that it detracts from it.
I gotta say how much I appreciate the effort that all these people put into translating all of these entries for us that don’t understand the native language. I understand that its a lot of work, but I truly do appreciate it. I absolutely adore reading the little behind the scenes stories that they often share on their blogs, which is something that I could never before have gotten. So, if you happen to be one of the blog translators reading this, then thank you for your work.

So, what do I have planned for future posts? Well, I want to start a series where I go over all of Matsuura Aya’s B-sides in a sort of review/overview fashion. There are some amazing songs there that I feel that many people have overlooked, so I’d like to correct that to the best of my abilities. Additionally, I’m almost done with watching the dorama Q.E.D. Expect a quick overview of that before I start the series on the B-sides, though, as I haven’t really figured out how I want to handle that yet.

So, to end this rather long post I leave you with the fine, fine cover of Ai-chan’s new solo DVD [Figure]:

To date this blog has had far more Ai-chan content than I ever originally intended. Looking at this picture causes me to feel that that is justified.

Mano Erina at AX 2010? April 19, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Anime Expo, Mano Erina.
This Summer, AX is gonna get [i]hot.[/i]

I had already gimp'd together a photo for this article, but once I saw her with that flamethrower I knew I'd have to redo it. =D

So a little while ago it was announced that Manoeri would be having some sort of an event in Hollywood during July, which was then clarified to be that she was to attend Anime Expo 2010.  Cool news, huh?  I gotta say, though, that the first thing that went through my mind was that I hoped they would give her a real honest to goodness event, instead of just going to Anime Expo (in Hollywood, and in July?  Yeah, it was pretty probable before they even announced it). I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had some of the best times of my life at Anime Expo 2009, but I had those experiences many times in spite of the convention itself.  I had a great time because of the amazing people I met there, which includes the fellow fans (GROUP 1!), and the amazing Morning Musume girls themselves.  To say that many aspects of that convention were run or organized poorly would be an understatement, but I’m getting off topic.

So, will I attend AX 2010 for Manoeri?  Yeah, I really can’t imagine myself not going.  I can’t say that I particularly like her, but the LA convention center is less than an hour away, so It would be a shame to let such an opportunity pass by.  Honestly, though, the thing I’m most looking forward to is getting together with more Hello!Project fans again.  In comparison to other fan groups, like anime for example, Hello!Project fans are quite uncommon, so much so that the first time I had even met somebody else with a passion for them was last year at AX.

Also, I’ll be going to show my general support for Hello!Project in the United States.  To get two acts two years in a row is an amazing achievement, and I’d definitely like to see a third next year (Buono! or even Berryz, perhaps?).

I am going to wait until AX officially announces her before I order my tickets, though.  To think that Manoeri’s staff would announce it when it wasn’t going to happen is a little unlikely, but I still don’t want to get a full pass if she isn’t going or is only going to be there for a day or so.

So, are any of you guys going this Summer as well?  If so, let me know in the comments below and maybe we could meet up there!

A bit from Anime Expo 2009 April 13, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Anime Expo, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
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I know I still haven’t posted up my article about how I got into Morning Musume, and this may be jumping the gun a little bit, but I think you’ll get a good preview of what that post will be like after reading this one.  I wrote this bit about the autograph sessions only a couple of days after it happened.  I was still really excited about the whole thing, and as such, I was pretty descriptive.  I’ve edited this mildly just for spelling, grammar, and a little bit of context, but otherwise, its exactly as I wrote it on the 6th of July:

At the end of the Q&A session on Day 1, one of the AX staff guys announced that they were going to pass out 500 little yellow tickets to the people up in front that would give us priority in the AX autograph sessions. He then told us that the session was being held in Hall K, behind Artist Alley. The session was slated to start about 30 min after the Q&A

So… 500 rabid Momusu fans more or less ran to the back of Hall K from Petree Hall across the convention center. And you know what we found? Absolutely nothing. 500 rabid fans turned into 500 panicked fans running around the exhibition hall. This was not cool. Turns out that the autograph session was up on the third floor of the South Hall and we were supposed to line up PAST all of the exhibition halls next to an escalator. Fortunately one of the fans that I became friends with found this out and called me and I got in the right line; which was lucky because a lot of people never even found it at all.

So, I’m in line and we eventually get moved up to this little waiting room up on the third floor where we get handed little numbered tickets for the session. I got #74.

So, we’re waiting in this room and the line is actually moving, and that’s when all of us realize that we were actually going to be able to meet them. Everyone was really getting excited. It was pretty surreal.

So, the line keeps moving and I get to the area between the door of the waiting room and the room where the autographs were and I trade in my tickets to some staff member, and I get this glimpse of Sayumi in the room from outside. Totally crazy.

So, I get inside and everyone is really nice. They tell us to get all our stuff unwrapped and ready. The one translator lady held up the front of the line, letting people go one at a time down the table where the girls were, lined up in order of seniority: Takahashi, then Niigaki, etc. So I step up to Takahashi and its totally surreal. She says “Hi” and I say “Hi” and hand her my poster. She signs her signature really quickly. So I’m just standing there in front of Ai because Risa hasn’t finished for the person in front of me. And we just look at each other. I’m just smiling ear to ear because I can’t believe that I’m standing right in front of Ai Takahashi. It seemed like we were just staring at each other for a really long time so I kind of giggled and she giggled back. So surreal. =D

So, I moved down to Risa and she signs my poster, and when she finished she puts out her hand for a hand shake. I was all like no way! So we shook hands. It was totally unbelievable.

Everyone else went by pretty much normally as one could imagine it going. With the girls saying “Hi” when I came up and “Thank you” when they finished, and me barely being able to match them out of pure nervousness. The only other really neat event that happened was when JunJun finished she forgot her marker on the poster when she finished and helped me hand it to Lin Lin, which was pretty cute.

That session was absolutely awesome. All the staff were really nice and the girls all worked at their own pace and it didn’t seem like they were rushing anyone.

The autograph session on Saturday was absolutely nothing like that. For some reason the staff seemed like they were in a massive hurry. We weren’t even allowed to talk to the girls while they were signing.

We were originally promised that for that session that we would be allowed one signature per member on any official item. So we could get up to 9 items signed. Well, they changed that too, without telling the people in the front of the line. One of my friends up in the front saw the first person in line hand Reina one of her photobooks to be signed (they were lined up out of order for some reason as well) and when she went to hand it back, one of the staff members grabbed it out of her hand and thrust it down the line to be signed by everyone else. He said that all the girls kept saying sorry to that poor guy for that too =(
The same guy that saw that happen also forgot about the no hand shake rule and accidentally extended his hand out for a handshake from Takahashi. One of the staff members swatted his hand away so hard that it left a visible bruise, that he even showed me. She even yelled at poor Takahashi because she was bringing her hand up for the hand shake as well. Really mean stuff.
When I finally got through I could totally tell they weren’t enjoying themselves like they had been two days earlier. The same fun atmosphere just wasn’t there anymore. It was still really cool to be able to see the girls up close again, but it really sucked that the staff had to ruin it for both us fans and even the members themselves.

I plan to elaborate on a couple of the things that I mentioned in a later post, so I guess you really can think of this as just  a teaser =P