We finished work early enough today that we were able to go to the grocery store and still have time for stuff! And that stuff is going to include getting back to work, because the edit on this series looks like it's not going to be easy. But it's also going to include more Anime Expo reporting! Woohoo! That being the case, Review Rednesday will be temporarily put on hold to become Review Rursday, because we're just too excited about this next part of the report to wait until tomorrow. [Edit: Obviously the plan changed on that last part.]
But first, something I forgot and wanted to mention. The reason we went to the Kodansha booth first thing on Saturday is that we knew very well that if we were lucky, a handful of people would be able to figure out the concept behind our cosplay. If anyone at the convention was going to have a higher probability of knowing, odds were it would be the people at the Kodansha booth, so we wanted to go show off...or something.
Sadly. The results were not great. One of the people at the booth at that time isn't reading Noragami (why?, we must ask), and the other...well, she figured out that we were Hiyori, but that's as far as she got. It was kind of a bummer, and it would have been nice if, when we pointed it out, she'd at least been like, "Oohhh, clever!" or something, but no such luck. Oh well, at least the visit wasn't a total bust--we had some nice conversation otherwise, and in the process of the discussion our editor let us know that if there was anything there that we translated and hadn't received five copies of, we could just grab it and let him know so he could mark inventory. So we grabbed a copy of Noragami 1, so now we have one with a special edition cover and a normal cover. Oddly enough, at the time we didn't think to get a copy of Your Lie in April to get signed.
So anyway, off to the Naoshi Arakawa panel! Actually, I think they video recorded the whole thing and put it up on the Kodansha USA website, so you can go watch it yourselves! ...Or maybe they didn't yet. We just checked the site to see if they posted it, or if they posted an edited version, or what, but we didn't find anything. They told us they were going to post it though, so maybe after they recover from the convention.
Anyway, this panel wasn't like most of the creator panels we've been to at AX, where they have the guest introduce him or herself and then open the floor up to questions. This one was hosted by Kodansha, and so it had a PR person there conducting an interview, with slides and everything. (The room was set up with a table for the panelists at the front, and a big screen on the right to show slides or video of the panel or whatever on.) First they brought everyone up on stage, because Arakawa-sensei didn't come alone--he brought his editor, another editor, and an assistant. But they don't really come in until later.
Now let's see how much of the interview I can remember. The idea for Your Lie in April came about because Arakawa-sensei wanted to write a series about music. He wanted to do a garage band kind of thing, but since the series Beck already existed, his editor (referred to lovingly as "Boss") nixed it. Somebody came up with the idea to do classical music instead, and then Arakawa-sensei wondered if he could get away with writing a shojo manga for a shonen magazine, and thus Your Lie in April was born. And thus it was proven that there are male manga artists who write shojo manga, so for anyone who wants to see how well they can pull it off, go read Your Lie in April! We personally think he did a pretty good job, but obviously we're a little biased.
Let's see, what else...Arakawa-sensei is actually more of a heavy metal fan than a classical music fan, and later admitted that it was his editor that did most of the classical music research, so there wasn't as much immersion in it as you'd think to change his tastes. He collects Iron Man figures...he used to read manga a lot as a kid, and he got into drawing it when a friend of his asked him to join the manga club in college. He said he didn't base any of the characters in Your Lie in April on anyone in real life, but he said "konkai wa", which a contrastive "wa" that indicates maybe he did for other titles, like Farewell, My Dear Cramer, which has a character named Kaji. Just throwing that out there. He also said that of all the characters in Your Lie in April, he was probably most like Miike.
They showed some scene from Cramer to illustrate the process of name to finished product, and they were like, "You're seeing this before anyone else!" and we were like, "No, that's totally old..." and then we realized that that chapter hadn't gone on sale yet. It was pretty interesting, though, because for the really action-packed soccer scenes, the rough drawings in the name were fairly articulated, but for the more low-energy, dialogue-y scenes, you were lucky to get a circle (with the first kanji of their name in it) for somebody's face. They also were like, "See? Because the action scenes are so much more memorable." But we had a much easier time remembering the dialogue-y scene. Oh wait, that's because we spend all our time with dialogue.
Aaaanyway. After interviewing Arakawa-sensei, they told us that he brought some pencil drawings and he was going to do a live inking demonstration. He had a drawing of Kosei and a drawing of Kaori, and they asked us who we wanted and we all voted for Kaori, but come to think of it, the Kosei one would have been more interesting, because Kaori is all outlines and Kosei has black hair. Oh well.
While he was drawing, the interviewer turned to the editors and assistant to give us all the really good dirt on Arakawa-sensei. An editor started out by telling us that every time he went to Arakawa-sensei's place for whatever reason, there was either a comedy program or a soccer game on. Well, that was no surprise--the man is clearly in love with soccer. And the assistant said he talks a lot, and he likes sweets even more than girls. That prompted somebody in the audience to ask if there were any American sweets he wanted to try, and he said he wanted to try a hot dog, but that's not sweet, and he'd already had ice cream a couple times, so any recommendations? People shouted out a bunch of things, but one very enterprising fan got out of his seat and handed Sensei a chocolate bar, thus winning everything. Why? Because later somebody asked if she could have the drawing when Sensei was finished, and Sensei said, "I was gonna give it to the guy who gave me chocolate." So now of course, because there were two drawings, everybody in the audience is clamoring to give Sensei whatever candy they happened to have on hand. But the interviewer said no, we're going to have a jan-ken battle. One of the last two people standing was cosplaying Kosei, but alas he did not win the drawing of his beloved Kaori. (The guy who gave Sensei chocolate got the pencil sketch of Kosei.)
Then they announced that Sayonara Football is going to be on ComiXology, and we were like, "What!!" because if we hadn't heard about it yet, that meant we weren't translating it. Not only that, but Arakawa-sensei said that Cramer is a sequel to Sayonara Football, so now we have to read it and we don't have it magically sent to us every however often they want it translated. Well, that's okay; we'll just order it online.
And soon the panel was over and it was time for the really exciting part. I'm pretty sure I never mentioned this, but our project manager for Farewell, My Dear Cramer sent an email a little while before the convention that basically said, "By the way, Arakawa-sensei's going to be at Anime Expo. If you're going, I can see if I can arrange for you to meet." WHAT!! Yes, please! That's why we went to Knott's Berry Farm last week--since Peanuts gets quoted a few times in Your Lie in April, we thought a Snoopy plush might make a good souvenir...or bribe for a sketch of our own. (Opportunists? Us?) So we got a little plush of Snoopy dressed like a sheriff, because it's very American, and a little package of boysenberry cookies, because that's Knott's Berry Farm's thing. We were pretty nervous, though, about explaining the
So when we sat down at the panel, I was just about to text our project manager when she texted me and said let's meet in front of the screen after the panel. So when the panel ended, we raced over to the screen (which was not exactly easy, what with all the fans lining up to give Arakawa-sensei candy) and met up with our project manager and Cramer's letterer.
Project Manager got the attention of the Boss Lady and got us permission to hide behind the screen with all the Kodansha people as they kicked everybody out of the room for the next panel. There were a bunch of rushed, "Hello, these are the translators for Cramer!" "Hi, nice to meet you! Thanks for your hard work!" "No, thank you!" to almost everyone in Arakawa-sensei's entourage except the actual panelists, oddly enough. It was kind of chaotic as the panelists were taking stock of the bounteous candy harvest (it was almost like Valentine's Day in shojo manga, seriously).
Eventually we all found ourselves out in the hallway. This is where the continuity of everything gets very fuzzy. We were trying to get our bearings and figure out where all everybody was going and who to follow and everything, and I don't know if this next part happened before or after Sensei's entourage absconded to the green room where they told Project Manager to meet them. But anyway, we were getting our bearings, and Project Manager commented on our costumes. We told her they were from Noragami, and she looked confused (she even said, "What's that?"). Fortunately, we happened to have a copy of volume one on hand, so I pulled it out to show her. We showed her, "See, she's in her middle school uniform there, but she goes on to high school, and..."
And while we were trying to explain this, out of nowhere a voice says, "That's my series." It took us a second to process that, possibly because it was said in English, and the voice added, "I edit Noragami." And we were like, "!!!" It was Yohei Takami, the guy who edits Noragami! (As indicated by his two statements.) And the guy who played the editor in the OAD with the serial killer episode! And we had no idea he was even at the convention! I mean, we kind of hoped Arakawa-sensei would come with an editor, and that it would be the same editor, but then there were two editors at the panel and neither of them were him...which we kind of suspected would be the case, because Arakawa-sensei's series don't use the same ellipses as Noragami does.
Anyway, we all confirmed that we knew who each other were, and he said, "They told me what you did [he may or may not have said "for Noragami" or "for the series" or something, but memories are fuzzy because we were completely starstruck by the next part]. I've been wanting to meet you." And we were like, "!!!!!!!!" So let me get this straight--the guy in charge of Noragami, our current favorite series of all time, wanted to meet us!? This is so huge! I mean, all my life I've been a big fan of things and wishing that those things would acknowledge my existence and maybe like me back! This is like a dream come true. (And in case anyone was curious (I know we would be), his attitude was that of someone who thought positively of these people he wanted to meet, and not like, "I've been wanting to give you a piece of my mind," or anything like that.)
And he took our picture, and he said he was going to send it to Sensei, and we assume he meant Adachitoka-sensei, not Arakawa-sensei, because that wouldn't make any sense. We talked a little and he said he'd lived in New York for a while, and Athena said, "So your English is pretty good, then," and he was like, "No." But he was speaking English pretty much the whole time, I think. He told us he had a panel and asked if we would go to it. It was the Kodansha USA panel, so it was already on our agenda. Then we parted ways, and Project Manager was very apologetic about our missing Arakawa-sensei, but we were like, "Who cares? We just met the guy in charge of Noragami!" And thus our weekend, which started out being painted all Your Lie in April, transformed into all Noragami. But we did still have a chance of seeing Arakawa-sensei at his autograph signing--or so we thought, which is why we went to the Kodansha booth to pick up a copy of April 1, but that's where we found out the signing was at the same time as the Kodansha panel. I think you all know where our priorities are--we chose the panel. But we picked up a copy of the manga anyway, because we can't find our other volume ones, currently, and because we weren't convinced we'd really missed the signing. We tried going to the signing venue to see what was up, but left due to lack of signage, ridiculous crowds, and poor ventilation resulting in a furnace-like temperature.
Instead, we got in line for the Kodansha panel and partook of our emergency rations. We did see Arakawa-sensei pass by on his way to the autograph signing, and Athena called out to him, but only once because we didn't want to be pushy and we still didn't know what we'd say anyway. We also saw Junichi Suwabe pass by with his entourage, and Takami-san passed by on his way to the panel and saw me and waved (Athena was off getting water at the time).
Aaaand, we thought we could finish this in one entry, but apparently not. So I think we will save this for tomorrow after all and post a Review Rednesday instead.
Tadah! And that's what we've been dying to tell people about for the last five days. But we didn't want to do it without all the proper buildup, so there it is now, finally. Oh man, it was so awesome.
Today I'm thankful for boysenberry cookies, the pace picking up on this Nekogahara edit (oh my gosh, you guys, it's so hard), the kittens being back in the neighbor's patio (they painted the building over the last couple of days, and since the kittens are strays, we thought they might be gone forever, but they're not!), getting to meet new people at Anime Expo, and having Milanos to eat later.