After our adventures with stray cats, we were pretty relieved to get safely packed up and on the road, and we set off for the bus stop in high spirits. We were even more excited to get on the bus, and let someone else do all the transporting until we reached our stop. But our excitement was crushed somewhere on the freeway, when Athena's thought process led her to the realization that there was one potentially very likely hiding spot for the stray cat that we had neglected to check. Now we were faced with a dilemma--do we drop everything to find our way back home so we could either assure ourselves there was only one cat in our apartment or chase out the stowaway, or do we continue our journey and try to forget the whole thing while also hoping for the best? It really was a kind of Schrodinger's cat situation--there may or may not be an extra cat in our apartment, but there was no way of knowing until we opened the apartment up again.
We opted for a compromise--we'd stay on the bus and get settled in our hotel room, then download Uber and see how much it would cost for a ride home. Our roommate Cecille was extremely sympathetic to the situation, to the point where she tried to give us a sizable amount of cash to help pay for the Uber. And while her money would have more than covered the cost (one way, anyway), we decided $50 each way was too much and we would take our chances. Worst case scenario...was actually pretty bad, because if the stray cat was sick it could spread to Page. But we felt it was unlikely (the impression that she was sick came from her refusal to move (which could be stubbornness) and an odd smell we'd occasionally get whiffs of during our epic chase (which, on further reflection, was likely just her cat breath)), and overall I just had a feeling that everything was going to be okay, so we gave up on the idea and went to check out the convention center instead. To spare you all the suspense, I will say that when we got home, there really was only one cat in our apartment. The stray hasn't been back since she left; we're hoping that just means she hates us now and went to hang out somewhere else. As for Cecille's money, we tried to give it back, but she insisted on doing something to help us (she didn't give us a birthday present, was one of her reasons), so I agreed to keep half of it.
So off we went to check out the convention center. It was Day 0, but there were still some panels and things going on, and of course there was cosplay. And this is where our extreme pettiness shows, because one of the first cosplayers we saw was a woman in a ball gown adaptation of Ladybug's costume, complete with a giant ladybug accessory on her hip. The costume was beautiful, but we didn't take a picture of her because we decided we didn't like her attitude, even though we didn't talk to her! What is wrong with us? That's not what Ladybug would do! ...Actually, it kind of is what Ladybug would do, at the beginning of the episode, but then events of the episode would make her see the error of her ways and she would repent.
We wandered around outside to see if there was a line to get swag bags, but we couldn't find any, so we asked a staff person, and they said it was inside. So we found what looked like the line to get inside, and asked a staffer to be sure, and she told us that yes it was the line did we have our badges? We sure did, so we showed her, and she said, "Oh, you're industry? Then you can use the priority entrance with its infinitely shorter line!" And so we made it into the convention center, and we found what looked like the swag bag line, and it was kiiiiind of ridiculously long, so we decided who needs it, and wandered around instead.
Really, since there weren't any panels we were interested in, the only thing to see was the Entertainment Hall, where the first thing we noticed was Funimation's big Fire Force setup! Oooooohhhhh!!! They had life-sized cut-outs of all the characters! And we stood next to them and found out that Captain Obi is the only one taller than us. (Turns out Lieutenant Hinawa is, too, but he wasn't out that night.) Sister Iris is super tiny. They also had the Matchbox! And it was inflatable! It was so cool! And standing in front of the Matchbox was the Special Fire Force's mascots, Wone Wone Nyine! (We'd like to apologize again for the spellings.) They were so cute! And you could line up to take pictures with them! Aaaaaahhh! We decided not to, though, because we were in our Chip and Dale costumes, not our Fire Force outfits, which we were planning to wear the next day.
That was really the most exciting thing. They also had a demo of the new game Disney's about to release that teaches coding. We didn't play it, but I did like their Facebook page so I could get stickers of the main characters. And they had a demo of a VR boyfriend experience. That was tempting, since one of the voices you could assign for him was Masayoshi Hosoya, but there was a line, which caused our interest to plummet.
After wandering around some more, we met up with Cecille and our other roommate...I'll call her Camille. ...I think we just said hi and then parted ways again. Camille had a car, but it was still full of her luggage, so there was no room for us. We took the shuttle and beat them back to the room, because they also stopped for food. They offered to get us some, but by that time we had already eaten a box of fudge covered Nutter Butters, so we only asked for some fries (because Cecille would not take "No, it's okay, really" for an answer).
After chatting about anime for a while, we finally got the email with the go-ahead on Edens Zero, so we stayed up to work on that...and talk about anime some more. We were hoping to finish it before bed so we wouldn't have to worry about it on our Fire Force day, but this chapter wasn't quite easy enough for that. It was pretty entertaining, though, so it was still pretty fun. And we happened to wake up pretty early (sleeping in an unusual bed tends to do that), so we managed to finish the chapter before we headed out.
...And in retrospect, it may have been a mistake to do that. We were hoping to guarantee a face-to-face with Atsushi Ohkubo by getting an autograph ticket and seeing him at a signing, but by the time we got to the Funimation booth that morning (only twenty minutes after the Exhibit Hall opened), all the tickets for that day were gone. Boo. We probably didn't stand a chance anyway, though, because they let the Premiere Badge holders in an hour early. Le sigh.
So we went to the Kodansha booth to say hi to our Kodansha friends and whine about our lack of autograph tickets. They had so many cool displays, too! Of course they had a Fire Force art gallery with manuscript pages from the manga. ...Suddenly I'm wondering about that, because I thought they had shifted to doing things mostly digitally...but there was one that definitely had some screen tone on it, so I don't think it was just print outs...interesting...
We saw one of our friends and made our way over to say hi...but then I noticed the giant In/Spectre panel, and I had to take a picture! It was super cool! Even though it was the same promotional art that's on all the In/Spectre stuff! ...And by the time I was done taking the picture, our friend had disappeared, never to be seen until the Sailor Moon panel on Saturday. (Actually, we saw him come in and sit down for the In/Spectre premiere the day before, and we spotted him handing out Company 8 headbands at the live drawing...but we never got a chance to say hi.)
But that was okay, because we had another goal at the Kodansha booth, and that was to buy Sailor Moon phone cases! When we got our fancy smartphones at the beginning of June, we knew we'd want cases for them, and we also knew that Kodansha would be at AX with pretty Sailor Moon ones, so we waited to check them out before shopping around. And we were not disappointed! They had two different designs, and they were both super cute! They had a couple other iPhone cases, but our phones are not Apple. And that's okay, because we adored the all-purpose designs! Still, we had to make sure those designs really were all-purpose, so we asked! And the person we asked turned out to be someone we met at AX last year! And she remembered us and that we translate Sailor Moon, so she made sure to tell the guy who was working with her, whom we didn't recognize. He was pretty nice, too.
Anyway, the benefit of knowing the people working the booth is that when you say, "Will this work with my phone?" they say, "I don't know, let's find out!" And they take one out of the package, and let you put your phone there to see if it fits. And my phone did fit, so we bought one of each design! So now my phone is in an adorable case with Sailor Moon and (illustrations of) rhinestone stars in the colors of all the Guardians, and Athena's is in an adorable case with Princess Serenity.
We continued our investigation of the Kodansha booth and lined up to play their Infernal shooting game! Since I had a fancy new phone (not in the case yet, because I didn't want to mess with things while in a crowded exhibit hall), I took a video of Athena shooting the Infernal! Only I was way too close to her, so first I shot her, and then I panned over to get the "bullets" hitting the Infernal. Anyway, it was neat. And she got an Arthur pin! Woohoo!
Oh right! I forgot to mention! When our friend recognized us and we recognized her, and she said we translate for Kodansha, we said, "And we're in our Fire Force outfits today!" and she said, "Ah, honto da!" And apparently she went and told all our other Kodansha friends about it, because word got out.
Next we went to say hi to people at the Yen Press booth, but nobody we knew was out, so we wandered the exhibit hall. We took pictures at the Toei Booth with the Sailor Moon display, and after a quick look around, we headed off to the first panel on our schedule, which was the Bang! Zoom recording engineer panel. It has recently come to our attention that many of our close friends and relatives like anime but only dubbed, and last year it came to our attention that dubs are still not great, so we were hoping we could learn something about recording dubs that would help us in our quest to improve the situation.
And the main thing we learned is that the people at Bang! Zoom really know their stuff, and they're very passionate about doing their job well, and they're really good at it! ...but they're not in charge of making sure the actors are personality-ing. Mostly what they do is make sure all the sound flows well. It was really pretty fascinating. First they gave us a photo tour of their recording facilities, then they pulled up the program they use to do their editing and showed us how they time things and crop things and do this that and the other thing to make sure everything flows and is timed right and matches the lip flaps in a believable way, etc. They showed us how sometimes the actor will record a line, and the director will like one part of it but not the other part of it, so they'll re-record just the other part of it, and the sound engineer will splice them together. It was really neat.
The hard part, for us, was listening to the dub actors. ...Maybe hard isn't the right word, because we wanted to hear it for our own edification. It's just that whenever they played a voice clip, it didn't sound like the actor was becoming the role so much as it sounded like they were reading lines. And you could tell they put more into it than just a monotone reading, but there still wasn't much life in it. It was kind of like, "Do you understand what you're saying and why?" But based on how the actors read the lines, it seems like they did understand that much, but they couldn't quite put themselves in the character's shoes. It's hard to explain.
Towards the end of the panel, they let the audience participate in a "walla" recording. They asked us if we knew what walla was, and as a matter of fact, we did, because we've always been interested in voice acting, so we've been to voice acting panels before and they talked about it there. And that's why in some manga we will use the word "walla" for a sound effect. (We once had an editor or a letterer ask, "What's with this 'walla'? Is that really what you want?" and we were like, "Yes, that's the official sound engineering word for what's going on.") Walla is when there's a crowd and they're all talking. A lot of the time they let the actors just talk about random things, or even just say "walla walla walla", but at this particular panel, they had some very specific walla they needed. First, they wanted us to chant "Joe! Joe! Joe!" for a scene in Megalobox. Then they wanted us to count to three for a Beyblade battle.
I'm not sure if they really recorded this for use in those things, or if they already had the recordings done and just wanted to use these clips for a demonstration, but either way, it was pretty fun. I think I hurt my throat shouting Joe! for so long.
And that's all for today! The report will continue tomorrow. (This will also give me time to review and remember what we did next...)
Today I'm thankful for our shiny new Sailor Moon smartphone cases, the cool displays they had at the Kodansha booth, the pretty Sailor Moon cameo gachas we got, getting to learn some neat stuff about audio engineering, and not having an extra cat in our apartment all weekend.