What? Our romance? Heh, that's funny, no. I just called it that because it was the Romeo x Juliet day. But more on that later.
Sunday was the day of the Kingdom Hearts gathering we'd been invited to, so we dressed up as Donald and Goofy and then headed to the Halko Momoi panel. She was so cute and had a lot to say. Every time someone asked a question, she would go on and on. But it was all very interesting and not boring, so it was fun, though I don't remember much of it. She did make an announcement that she would be canceling all the other things she had planned for that day so that she could make sure her concert was totally awesome. We thought about going to it, but we ended up going to the character designers' panel instead. She also sent a book around the audience so everyone there could sign it and she'd have a record of all the people who came to see her at AX. Very awesome. We actually didn't sign it, though, because it never came to us and we got too distracted to go find it later. It's for the best though, because there are a ton of hardcore Momoi fans who deserve to be remembered more.
Let's see what I remember... Apparently her career got started when, after having her own fan site with her own web radio, someone from an anime company contacted her and asked if she wanted to play a character in a series. She grew up as an otaku, and she couldn't draw like all her friends who showed their love of anime through drawing doujinshi and stuff, so she showed her love by using her voice, with her radio and singing. Somebody asked her what her "moe" is and she said it used to be glasses, but they got to be done to death, so now it's "zettai ryouiki (absolute territory)," which the interpretor had no idea how to translate. Most of the native English speakers were very confused, until someone in a maid costume came out and helped illustrate that the "zettai ryouiki" is the area on the thigh between the top of your long socks and the bottom of your miniskirt. I have a feeling this knowledge will help us in future translations.
Then it was the maid's turn to ask a question, and he shocked us all with his manly voice, because he really looked like a girl. He asked, since he's a musician, if he could collaborate with her on an album, and she told him to e-mail her managing office. That would be so awesome.
At the end of the panel, a bunch of fans came up to shake her hand and give her presents and stuff, and she started crying. It was so sweet. *sniffle* It's awesome that she cares about her fans as much as they care about her.
We still had some time before the Kingdom Hearts gathering, so, since we had realized that it was in fact Sunday that Gonzo was having their Romeo x Juliet Day, we headed over to the designated room to take a peek. We had just missed a showing of the first two episodes, but they were showing a "making of" special, which is of course the main thing we want to see. So we stayed and watched for a while, and while we were in awe of the interviews with voice actors, directors, composers, etc., a couple walked in that immediately started us squeeing because they were dressed as Romeo and Juliet. We asked for their picture and they said, "Do you want to go outside and take it in front of the poster?" They were so accommodating. And very cute the way they held hands in the picture.
We didn't have time to wait for a showing before the Kingdom Hearts gathering, especially because the next showing was at the same time as the gathering, and we had to find where the gathering was. So off we went to find it! We ran into a Sora and Namine who were looking for it too, so we joined forces and together we were able to find it! Yay!! Because of lighting and stuff, it ended up being on the far side of Rainbow Lagoon. There were a bunch of trees there, and a Sora and Riku who had beat us to the place were standing in one of them. I was like, "Hey, a lot of the Tetsuya Nomura art has Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy standing or sitting on high places like rooftops and trees, so this could be a great photo op!" So I go up to the tree, and Sora says, "Get your own tree!!" At first I tried to be like Goofy and act all hurt, but it didn't faze her, so I said, "You're no Keyblade master!" and stalked off. The majority of the rest of the gathering was spent with the Olettes and the other Disney characters ranting about how self-centered Sora cosplayers tend to be.
But it was kind of fun anyway, and that's not really what we did the whole time, but there was a lot of dejection among the Olettes and other Disney characters. The first one we ran into was a girl dressed as the Magic Carpet from Aladdin, and she was very very cute. We also met a guy dressed as Pete, which is just one of the coolest things ever, and he was hanging out with a Maleficent. They had even made her magic staff, but they had to keep the green crystal on the top covered up when not posing for pictures, because, according to Pete, it would start fires. Awesome. We also got a picture of a couple of Heartless bowing to Pete and Maleficent. It was great. And then Hercules showed up!!! He even had the skin of the "Nemean lion" (read: Scar), which didn't show up in the game but was way cool.
There were also a bunch of big rocks in the area, and there was a Riku hanging out on them, which made for a very cool picture, though it probably would have been better at night. Ah well.
And now I'm going to talk about alternate costumes for Sora, so the next paragraph might be a little spoilerish if you haven't played both games.
First, there was a Pride Lands Sora, a la The Lion King on Broadway. It was a very cool idea. She seemed nice enough, but we didn't talk much. Who we did talk to, though, was Space Paranoids Sora, with his originally designed Space Paranoids Kairi girlfriend. They were super nice, and! they said their costumes actually lit up. It was bright daylight outside, though, so we couldn't see it. They said they'd be wandering around at night, but we never caught them, alas.
As we were walking away from the gathering with Sora and Kairi, since they were both so nice, I said, "See! There are some nice Soras!" And he talked about how sometimes cosplay goes to people's heads. We must all be careful that doesn't happen to us. But I have developed the theory that the nicest Soras are the ones with a Kairi or a Namine with them. Maybe having a girl around forces them to pay attention to someone other than themselves. Okay, done ranting now.
Our next stop, of course, was the Romeo x Juliet room! We got there early again, so we watched the making of special again, and then it started up again so I pulled out the CMX sampler and started reading until time for the episodes. While we were waiting, Romeo and Juliet came and sat in the row in front of us. They were so cute! During the episodes, they would watch for a while and then look at each other and smile. I wanted to take a picture when Juliet was leaning on Romeo's shoulder, but since I would have had to use the flash, I decided I'd rather not be killed. It would have been adorable though. It was kind of surreal watching the episodes, because there I was watching them, but I didn't get the feeling I was watching them. I'm not sure why that is.
After the specific showing we went to (and we did sort of plan it this way, but it sort of just worked out that way) was what we were really there for--the panel! One of the producers of Romeo x Juliet had come all the way from Japan. From everything they said, it really seems like the whole production staff is just like, "This is the coolest thing ever! We have to show it to the WORLD!!!!" And we happen to agree, though I'm sure some people may not like it as much--different tastes, and all. But the main message the producer was trying to convey was, "Talk about it to as many people as you can, and ask anyone who might bring it to the US, 'When do we get to see Romeo x Juliet!?'" He talked about how much effort went into the music, and so I asked when we get to buy the soundtrack, be it in Japan or America, and he said they're still in negotiations, so, just like with the show, start asking people, "When do we get to buy this soundtrack!?"
One of the things that really surprised me about the panel was that a bunch of people seem to think that Romeo is very feminine. And we're like, "Wha?" I actually think he's pretty chivalrous. I mean, one of the first things he does is help a couple of people who are running from the law. Very Prince Charming. But then again, Yuki is the Prince Charming of Fruits Basket, so maybe Prince Charmings are feminine? I don't know. But the producer didn't think he was very feminine either, so maybe he was just very Japanese.
The main discussion, of course, centered around how it was going to end. One of the first things the producer said was that the last two episodes are still in production so he doesn't know how they're going to end it, but that didn't stop people from asking. The most certain thing we got out of him was that he promised to make it a "happy tragedy." One guy asked, "Is this version going to be a tragedy?" And the producer asked, "Did you think the ending of the original was sad?" And we're like, "Duh." Thinking on it, if I remember our Japanese history classes and all the reading we did on Japanese history correctly, at one point they had to outlaw plays ending with couple committing double suicide, because there was a rise in double suicides and they thought the plays might be influencing that. Considering that, it's possible that, to a Japanese person, dying with your love like that might be very happy, and his question may have been serious. But personally, I think he was just being evasive. He also said that one of the main things they're keeping in mind is that it's "based on Shakespeare." He even said it in English. But because English isn't one of his strongest points, we don't know if he was emphasizing "Shakespeare," indicating they would stay close to the original, or "based on," indicating that it's only "based on" Shakespeare, and could be in the sense that Disney's Little Mermaid is based on Hans Christian Andersen.
Another thing that I felt was interesting is that after somebody asked how they came up with the flying horses (they felt that the best thing for nobles to ride would be horses, and thought wouldn't it be cool if they flew), he said that he often gets the questions, "How did you come up with...?" And the answer to that is almost always that the people making it get together and talk about what they want to see, what they want to draw, etc. And so keeping that in mind, it's possible that the whole thing started with, "You know what I'd like to see? Romeo and Juliet ending up happy together." Everybody working on it seems to have come through Junichi Sato, after all.
After the discussion, they had a raffle! Yay! And the producer asked that everyone who won something come up and give their thoughts on the Romeo x Juliet anime, since the idea was that everybody just watched the first two episodes. The general consensus seemed to be either they liked what they saw, or they'd seen it already and were in love with it and you could watch it a million times over and not be bored. There were a couple of people who sounded like they might have just been being polite because the producer was right there. And! I won a Gonzo pocket watch!! It's very shiny. We both wanted the Romeo x Juliet t-shirt, but thinking on it later, the watch was the best thing we could have won, because of the other things we really wanted, if one of us had won it, we'd probably feel bad that the other didn't. But Athena already has a very pretty Little Mermaid watch, so it all worked out. And I said that I love everything about the anime, and I'll probably be so obsessed with it by the end that even if they do kill off Romeo and Juliet, I'll probably forgive them and love the series anyway.
After the panel, we wandered around looking at cosplayers some more, and then we went to our room and played some Band Brothers before changing back into our Eisen and Yasuaki costumes. We never did get a confirmation on whether or not Tenma and Yorihisa would be able to make it to a mini-gathering, but we had a tentative time and a tentative place, so we figured we might as well give it a shot. So we headed back to the Rainbow Lagoon and wandered around looking at cosplayers and waited. The lesson we learned this con: Yasuaki dresses like a Jedi. Maybe it's just the fabric I used. At any rate, a girl dressed as Jareth from Labyrinth saw us and came over to give the Jedi a hug. She discovered we weren't Jedi, but gave us hugs anyway because our costumes looked good. We also ran into another girl who actually recognized the costumes, and told us that she actually had a Ran costume from the same series, but had left it at home this con because of the heat. This was not a good year for HaruToki cosplayers and getting together. My goodness. We never did run into Tenma or Yorihisa, so we apologize for the bad communication. Maybe some other con? Maybe we should make a mini HaruToki con or something.
While there, we also ran into our friends who have a habit of cosplaying Sailors Uranus and Neptune in the Masquerade, who were at the lagoon for a SailorMoon photo shoot with their whole group. Sailor Neptune told us we'd better watch the Masquerade or else, so we thought if we could find an overflow room we'd do just that.
The HaruToki costumes were getting hard to walk in. I think the bridges at the lagoon killed my shoes. So we went back to the hotel again and returned to being Donald and Goofy. Seriously, I think we stopped for more pictures in those costumes than the rest of our costumes combined. But we like the attention, so it's all good.
After we changed, we went to the hotel front desk. Our reservation had been made to last until Monday, but we weren't leaving until Tuesday, so we had to get it extended. We were good girls and got that taken care of on Saturday, but the guy told us to come back Sunday night to make sure it had actually gone through. At the front desk we talked to a different guy, and told him we'd been told to come back to get confirmation on extending our reservation. He said that's weird, they're not supposed to extend reservations from the front desk--they get all their reservations from another place, should I give you the number? This is where I discovered that when something sounds too stupid, it literally causes my brain to crash, because I could not understand a single thing he said after that.
So we sat down to try to calm down for a while, which didn't work because we were too upset, but at least there was some guy playing very pretty Final Fantasy music on the piano the hotel had hidden somewhere near the lobby. We thought we'd try waiting until the guy we'd talked to the day before became available, but he kept disappearing. So we headed back to our room and called the stupid number. Only the number actually wasn't stupid, because I called and told the guy what the stupid guy told me, and the guy said that the stupid guy was dead wrong--they get in trouble if they alter reservations. So, angry but vindicated, we made our way back down to the front desk, where we talked to a lady who apparently had a far better idea of what she was doing, and told us our reservation was already set for Tuesday, and all that stupidity was over.
We set out to wander again, but we didn't get very far, because as we neared the exit, we realized the piano music was getting louder, so we headed up the stairway, and there indeed was a guy playing the piano. There was a girl there, too, who asked us if we were there for the piano music, and we ended up talking for maybe an hour about random things, and it was very nice and calming after the annoyance at the front desk.
Then it was back to wandering to see what cosplayers were about and to maybe find an overflow room for the Masquerade. I don't think there was a whole lot worth noting, because I can't remember anything. We did catch a little bit of the Anime Last Comic Standing competition, which wasn't entirely impressive, though that was perhaps just bad timing. Finally, it was back to our room to play some more Band Brothers before going to bed.
Now there's just one more day left. I like writing up all the stuff about AX, for our own benefit mostly, but also in case anyone else is interested. I just wish it didn't take so long. That's what I get for having so many details. But if I don't write the details, that defeats the purpose of making a record, since the details are what I want to remember most. Ah well.
Today I'm thankful for nice Soras, light-up costumes, hotel staff that know what they're doing, pretty piano music, and Romeo x Juliet.