We're now on to Day Three of Anime Expo, our final day at the convention. Since it was also the day of the Sailor Moon panels, our original plan was to do our Cyprine and Ptilol bounding, but we failed to procure some red tights and blue tights, and the outfits would have been pretty meaningless without them, and most of all, I think I have a desperate need to be recognized so I sort of lobbied to go with another option. We had worn our Chip and Dale smocks on Day Zero, but it was Day Zero so they hadn't had a lot of exposure, and we chose to wear those costumes instead.
First up, our editor had emailed about meeting up somewhere, which is how we knew she was going to be appearing at Viz's Sailor Moon panel! We figured they'd have some introductory stuff to do first, so we took our time getting there...and arrived in the middle of her interview. We're sorry, Editor! We meant to see the whole thing! We should have been more thoughtful.
Oh wait, I just remembered the real reason we were late to the panel (and we'd told our editor we were going to do this in our email, so hopefully she understands.) We wanted to try again to get autograph tickets for Atsushi Ohkubo. And we actually made it to the dealers' hall before it was supposed to open at 10! ...But it was already open. But there was still a line at the Funimation booth for autograph tickets, which means they weren't out yet! But they ran out before we got to the front of it. So our effort was in vain. We tried not to be too broken up about it, and I think we succeeded well enough.
Then it was off to the panel, where our editor was already onstage. But we did get there in time to learn that she believes part of what makes Sailor Moon so meaningful to so many people is that it's about showing love and doing the right thing, not only in saving the universe, but in the everyday things in our lives (or maybe it was not only in the everyday things in our lives, but also in saving the universe...either way, it applies). They asked her who her favorite Guardian was, and she said Jupiter, because she's not the typically feminine type, but she can still do feminine things. And then they had her help with asking trivia questions for prizes. ...And I'm not sure I could have answered the question! Gah, I'm a failure as a Sailor Moon fan! It was how does Usagi meet Makoto? And I don't remember, and I feel really bad about that. (But not bad enough to look it up.)
Our editor was escorted offstage and they moved on with the panel. We decided we would rather see if we could catch her on the way out than stick around for the rest of the panel, and that turned out to be the right decision, because as we were sneaking out the back, they started playing a dub clip from Sailor Stars, and we just couldn't even. It kind of sounded to us like the voice of Usagi was using one of those mocking high-pitched voices people use sometimes. I guess it probably doesn't sound that way to most other people, because the new dub has a lot of fans, so that's good.
Anyway, we didn't catch our editor, and from her email we knew she'd be in meetings until the Sailor Moon manga panel, so it was off to kill time until then. We decided it was time for a more thorough investigation of the dealers' hall, since up until then we had only really had a cursory glance at it. It was at this point that we realized how uselessly gigantic the dealers' hall really is. I don't think we even got a third of the way through it before it was time for us to scamper off to a cosplay gathering. Since we had decided to wear our Chip and Dale costumes after all, it occurred to me that maaaaaybe Mamoru Miyano would be interested enough in cosplay to sneak a peek at a gathering for a series that meant a lot to him. It was a long-shot (and spoiler alert: it didn't happen), but last year's Kingdom Hearts gathering was pretty cool anyway, and if it turned out to be boring, we could always leave.
On the way there, we ran into a couple of girls cosplaying pirate Sora and Riku (Riku doesn't have an official pirate costume, so they made one up) so we all made our way there together, except that we lost them at the crosswalk, where the police officer directing traffic stopped everybody right after I'd gone into the street.
The gathering was fun. We were the only Disney characters there, which made us think that if we had been wearing our Donald and Goofy costumes, we would have been the most popular characters at the gathering. It would have helped with poses, too... Oh well. ...I'm trying to think if there was anything especially memorable... There were several fancy Aqua costumes... We met one cosplayer who was dressed as the King Flans...(we never found out what they were called in the English version of the game...) The guy running the gathering was pretty cute and wearing a really nice KH3 Riku costume, but he refused to pose in any pictures... We took pictures. They'll speak for themselves if we ever share them. We also talked with people about the translation quality. Oh my goodness, we had Things to Say about that. But they will not be said here.
Eventually we got bored and meandered back to the dealers' hall. Now I have to explain. Before the convention, we realized that our funds were running low, and we were discussing the fact that we might have to be extra careful with money. (We also, thankfully, got some money soon before we left, so we didn't have to be too strict, but we still wanted to be careful, of course.) In this discussion, we were imagining the things that might tempt us to spend money--we have to get a mystery bag from Bellzi every year now, there might be a pretty journal? and of course if Kodansha is still selling Sailor Moon phone cases, we have to get some for our fancy new smart phones (I think I already reported on that). But one thing we do not need is more ocarinas. We got the Ocarina of Time however many years ago, we got an ocarina surprise treasure box last year with two ocarinas, none of the ocarinas ever gets played (Athena really likes the sound of the one shaped like a Legend of Zelda rupee, but it didn't come with fingering instructions), we do not need any more ocarinas.
...Unless they have one that really speaks to us, you know? Because never say never. And seriously, never say never, because we found the (a?) ocarina vendor, and almost immediately I spotted an ocarina I didn't remember ever seeing before. It was pink with a star that had a crescent moon in the center and rhinestones on the inside points... In other words, it was an ocarina that looked just like Sailor Moon's brooch from the Black Moon arc. So apparently we did need a new ocarina. We didn't even spend much time deliberating about it, because it was the last one and it was only $25 dollars. There was no deliberating, in fact, it was more of a, "Shut up and take my money," sort of situation. And now we had a beautiful new ocarina.
We went through a few more aisles after that, but eventually we decided the hall was too massive and we gave it up. We had our ocarina, what more could we ask for? (Our mystery bag from Bellzi, but we already knew where the Bellzi booth was.) We think we made it about two-thirds of the way through. So we went and talked to editors at the Yen Press booth. And then we realized oh wow, it's time for us to go to the Sailor Moon manga panel! So off we went!
Back to the Marriott to the fateful LP2. We didn't quite get there in time to beat the Premier Badge holders inside, but because we're industry, they let us go in right after them, and this is the panel where we learned that the first two rows were reserved for ADA, press, and industry. Tadah! So we snagged some seats, and then we went about trying to get our editor's attention while they set everything up. We succeeded and we all hugged and said it's great to see you! and we chatted for a little bit, but then our editor had to get back on stage.
But the panel was a lot of fun. ...Now let's see what I can remember. First they introduced the panelists--the Eternal Edition English editor, the...producer? I'm not sure what her title is, but I think she's in charge of all the events and merchandise that happen. And of course, Fumio Osano, the editor of Sailor Moon from way back in the day. He started off the panel by taking roll. Sailor Moon? Present. Black Lady? Oh, there actually is a Black Lady! (We're talking cosplayers, of course.) Sailor Mercury? Present. Sailor Neptune? No? Well, okay, we'll leave it at that.
They talked about the Eternal Edition, and how it's available digitally now. They talked about all the Uniqlo shirts...oh! The Uniqlo shirts! Did we mention them? There's one that has the scene from when the Guardians all call on their castles, and each Guardian does it in a different language! We helped with that one! (I think I talk about it in our review of volume eight, so stay tuned!) They had a picture of the image used at the Kodansha booth, so the first thing we did was identify all the languages and find out who was speaking English. It was Pluto! We're guessing that's because the guy in charge of the print side of Kodansha Comics USA likes Pluto the best. I love the concept, because it represents how Sailor Moon is such a global phenomenon. It was funny, too, because after they announced the Uniqlo shirts, both of the representatives from Japan took off their nice shirts to reveal their Uniqlo t-shirts.
They talked about the dinner show theater thing they're opening in Japan this summer, and they showed the commercial for the attraction at Universal Studios, and for both of these things, Osano-san referenced his roll call and said, "Black Lady will be absent." They also announced the new movies, of course, and Osano-san said that Naoko Takeuchi really loves the character designs for them so they're really hoping this gets a US release (heck, they had a US release for the new dubs of the S and SuperS movies, so we're thinking that's going to happen). Also, Black Lady will be absent.
There was some discussion with the Japanese and English editors. They started by asking them who their favorite Guardians are. Osano-san said his favorite is Sailor Mercury, but some people are like, "Hey, I thought your favorite was Saturn! Make up your mind!" The American editor, we'll call her Elle, said Jupiter for the same reasons as at the other panel. Then the MC asked what their favorite character's Instagram accounts would be like. Osano-san said Ami's would be about books she likes and really be pretty boring. Elle said Makoto's would have pictures of all the food she makes. Then Osano-san backtracked and said actually Ami wouldn't have an Instagram, and we all agreed. The MC asked what each of their favorite characters would do at Anime Expo, and Osano-san said that Ami would cause problems for the people at the booths in the exhibit hall by asking so many questions, while Elle said that Makoto would enjoy all the cosplay and then go on a bakery tour of LA. To that, a lot of people responded that now they wanted to do that, too.
Then it was time to announce a very special guest. So Osano-san said, "Come on!" (in English) and gestured offstage. Nothing happened. He tried it again. He was just a lonely man on stage, sadly saying, "Come on..." and then! music starts playing, and I don't remember if she said anything or not, but there was Kanae Yumemiya in full Sailor Moon costume in the middle of the room, running down the aisle to the front, where she did the speech pose. And then she went up onstage, and she was super adorable.
I remember they asked her about any behind-the-scenes gossip she could tell us, and she said that when they were in Paris doing the Super Live, they all stayed at the same hotel, and she and the actress who played Sailor Mercury were in the same room, and they used their free time to practice. So one morning (maybe the first morning), they were practicing, and Yumemiya-san looks over and sees that her costar has a face pack on, while they're practicing. So that was a funny memory she had.
...And that's the main thing we remember. After that, they had the audience ask questions. Someone asked if they could ask Takeuchi-sensei to come, and Osano-san said she did want to come but the timing is bad, because it's exam season, and Takeuchi-sensei is very strict about her kids' education, but maybe next year. Someone asked what everyone's favorite season was. Osano-san said Stars...well actually it was more like, "Is that a Sailor Cosmos costume you're wearing?" "Yes." "My favorite arc is the one with Sailor Cosmos in it." Elle said her favorite is always the one she's working on, which, despite our having recently turned in the second half of the Dream Arc, was actually the Infinity Arc. The producer lady said her favorite is the Black Moon Arc because Demande's in it, and Yumemiya-san said the Dark Kingdom Arc because...well, I'm sure you understand why.
There was a raffle and we didn't win anything, but then we got to talk to Elle! Yay! The MC had to rush over to the Kodansha panel, but since Elle wasn't on it, we were able to walk together and take our time a little bit. But first! Elle summoned us backstage where we got to meet Osano-san and Yumemiya-san! Woohoo!
The first thing that happened after we were all introduced is that Osano-san indicated our Chip and Dale hats and asked if we'd just come from Disneyland. I said no, we were cosplaying Kingdom Hearts...and later wished I'd added that we live close to Disneyland, though, so if you need anything from there, let us know. Alas, hindsight is 20/20. On the bright side, instead of being like, "Kingdom what now?" he nodded like, "Aahh, okay," like he actually knows what Kingdom Hearts is. We know that Takeuchi-sensei was a fan of video games back in the day, so maybe...
We said (in Japanese) that we're honored to work on Sailor Moon and that it was the reason we started learning Japanese in the first place. Osano-san said our Japanese was very good, and I wanted to reply with, "Well, we translate, so we hope it's good," in our typical self-deprecating manner, but my Japanese is not good enough to remember in time that that kind of phrasing really does not work in Japanese the same way as it does in English, so I'm a little worried that it came across wrong. At any rate, the Japanese guests were all like, "Oh right, it's your job." Hopefully it was all taken in good humor. I don't want them to think I was scolding anybody or anything.
And that was pretty much the extent of the conversation. We all dashed off to the Kodansha panel, where they announced a bunch of really interesting-sounding titles and I'm totally interested in translating all of them, but there was one announcement that truly shocked me, even though (we found out later) we were the ones who made it happen. I think the MC threw me off by announcing it as BL, because even though we know it has a huge fujoshi following, we don't think of it as BL. So he was like, "A more old-school BL...[something something (I don't remember what it was, but there was something else here)]...based on a Chinese legend..." At that point, Athena and I were both like, "Wait a minute, could he be talking about...?" And then he showed the slide, and sure enough, it was Saiyuki. We were in the second row, and we just shouted, "WHAT!" (For everything else, we did our usual cheering.)
We just couldn't believe it, because we hadn't heard anything about it since we made the suggestion to Elle at Anime Expo last year. Turns out (Elle told us after the panel), after we said, "So Kodansha owns Ichijinsha now. Did you ever consider rescuing Saiyuki?" she went back to the office and said, "Guys, we HAVE to do this." And now here we are. We don't know if we'll be able to do the new translation. We sent an email the Monday after asking if we could, got a response that was along the lines of, "I think that will be okay, but I have to talk to editorial," and now we are on standby. We may hear something as soon as everybody's recovered from Comic-Con, or we may not hear anything until the release date is announced. In the meantime, we've just been taking as much time to recover from everything as we can.
After the panel, we finally got to hang out with Elle. We went to the dealers' hall to see if Yumemiya-san was still doing photo-ops...and it turns out she wasn't. They started halfway through the Kodansha panel and ended before it was over! WHY!? Oh well, at least we got to say hi to her. We met up with some other Kodansha people and continued to wander around the convention center for a little while. We found ourselves by the press lounge...where Yumemiya-san was being interviewed! But we didn't bother her--we hung out with more Kodansha people outside and talked some more. It was really nice.
And then after that, the Kodansha people went back to the hotel to get some rest, and we went back to our hotel to pack, get something to eat, and then head out. We decided, since the whole cat fiasco meant I had Uber on my phone, we might as well take advantage and pay for a ride instead of taking the bus, and oh my goodness, it was so much nicer. It was a little awkward being in a stranger's car, but we made it home so much sooner, and we were happy not to get murdered. There's a reason having smartphones doesn't already have us taking Ubers all over the place.
And since we had extra time from taking an Uber instead of the bus, we watched the first episode of Fire Force! I think I already talked about that, though, so let's just wrap this up.
And that concludes our report of Anime Expo 2019. As usual, we had a pretty good time. Now it's back to life as usual, and we're still not sure what to do with ourselves, two weeks later. Our schedule's a lot lighter, and we're taking advantage. We don't know if we'll ever have enough time to completely recover from burnout, because we still have bills to pay, but for now, we're just enjoying the time we have. ...And spending a lot of time at the park playing Wizards Unite.
Today I'm thankful for another nice Kingdom Hearts cosplay gathering, having a beautiful new ocarina, finally having instructions for the fingering on that style of ocarina, getting to meet Osano-san, and having a great time talking with our industry friends.