But today we have other crazy things to work on, so first we wanted to get our AX reporting done for the day.
The Meet the Guests Reception happened to be in the hotel we were staying in this year, so we didn't have to worry about getting up extra early to take the shuttle and find it like we did last year, especially because we made sure to find the right place before retiring to our room the night before. So we got to wake up at seven instead of six! Yay! We put on our cute girly twin costumes and headed downstairs. As we waited in line for the event to start, we talked with some friends about various things. One of our friends had sworn she wasn't going to come to AX this year, but then they announced Yun Kouga, her favorite manga artist of all time, and she couldn't stay away. But she's afraid she's getting too old for AX, and she doesn't want to be one of the creepy old fans. We told her it should be fine as long as she stays not creepy. We're older than she is, after all, and we don't plan on ever stopping, unless we really can't afford it.
When the breakfast started, Toshiyuki Morikawa's table filled up super fast (voice actors tend to be our favorites, so we usually aim for them first), so we headed over to Seiji Mizushima's table. We didn't realize that the guests were (almost) all teaming up this year, so it wasn't until we sat down that we realized it was also Yosuke Kuroda and Yun Kouga's table. Basically it was the Gundam 00 table. Our twin costumes were effective immediately, as Kouga-sensei asked, "Futago-chan desu ka?" I like that she used -chan♥
The first table we go to almost always ends up being a little silent and awkward. Eventually we'll learn to come up with a question for every guest, so we'll always have something to ask at any table we sit at. Actually, we did have a question for Yun Kouga, but I didn't think of it until halfway through the fifteen minute session, and I couldn't work up the nerve to ask. We've been noticing that people seem to realize that in Japan, editors are heavily involved in the creation process, but they don't seem to realize what exactly it is they contribute, so we thought we'd ask the manga artists who were there. We think it would have been easier to ask if she hadn't also been sitting with a director and a screenwriter, because it feels kind of awkward to single people out.
I actually don't remember much. Mizushima-san asked if we'd all seen Gundam 00, and when we said no, he said it should be on the Sci-Fi Channel, and then I said that we didn't want to see it dubbed, we wanted to see it with the Japanese cast, and then he said that the DVDs should really be coming out soon. Seriously, we would have bought them a year ago, but they kept having these delays. But he said they sent him his comp copies, so they really do exist now. Oh and he asked us who we were cosplaying, because he thought we looked familiar. We think that might be because they were the same costumes we wore when we met him last time he came to AX. (We even have a picture!) But apparently he has seen DN Angel.
Somebody asked Kuroda-san (who, incidentally, spells his first name Yo-ske, which makes me wonder why the MCs kept putting the emphasis on the U) what he's working on right now, and he said there are three different things, but he couldn't tell us any of them. There were some Japanese attendees at the table who asked Kouga-sensei about a series she had done and if she was ever going to continue it. I think the answer was yes? and I think it was something about Genji? Anyway, those attendees told us, and Kouga-sensei agreed, that twins are very popular among Japanese manga artists. We had noticed the trend ourselves, but, maybe because we translate so much Hana to Yume, we thought it mainly referred to female manga artists.
But sure enough, when we sat down at Yasuhiro Nightow and Satoshi Nishimura's table, Nightow-sensei asked, "Are you twins?" And then I remembered oh yeah, there are twins in Trigun. Sitting at their table was pretty fun, though, because it was just like, "Let's all get to know each other!" Nightow-sensei and Nishimura-san asked everybody where they were from, and then somebody asked a question like what TV shows do they watch, and Nightow-sensei said he likes comedy programs, and Nishimura-san said he doesn't watch TV. Then he remembered pro wrestling, and he and Nightow-sensei got a little excited talking about that. They said they use pro wrestlers as inspiration for their characters, especially for the Trigun movie, which apparently has over a hundred villains! Wao! At one point, somebody said their job, and then Nightow-sensei was like, "Oh yeah, I wanted to ask you all what you do." So we got to talk about being manga translators, and they asked us which titles we've worked on, so we listed some, and then I said we translate a lot of Hana to Yume. Nishimura-san commented that Hana to Yume is a little otaku-like.
For the next round, we made it to Morikawa-san's table. Somebody asked if the contract for, for example, Sephiroth was a contract for him to be Sephiroth for time and all eternity, or if it was just on a game by game by movie by what-have-you basis. His manager had to answer that question, and I think it was the latter? Why am I not remembering things better? Athena says she's pretty sure it was the latter, too. Somebody else asked if all the Square-Enix voice actors were close, and if there were any behind-the-scenes stories he could tell us. He answered that they are all really good friends, and they have a party for Tetsuya Nomura's birthday every year. I wanna go!
Soon after they announced that Morikawa-san would be coming to AX, someone started a thread on the forums asking everyone what they thought about that, titled something like, "Sephiroth," and somebody else was like, "If Sephiroth is the character he's most remembered for, I will be very very sad." So my question to him was which character he himself would most like to be remembered for. Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to figure out exactly what I wanted to ask in Japanese, because actually it's pretty hard to phrase even in English. The interpreter had a hard time with it, so she turned to all the people at the table who knew Japanese, and nobody could really think of anything. We managed to figure it out eventually, and he said he figured everyone's going to remember Sephiroth anyway (we did not mention Sephiroth in the question, by the way), so that aside, he hopes people remember D-boy (I don't know if I'm spelling that right), who we think is from Te... Tekkaman? Anyway, it was his first major role. Incidentally, I forgot to mention that in his panel, he said one character that was very important to him was a character he played in Berserk (I think it was Berserk), who was the character that paved his way into playing lots of villains.
When they told us to move again, we realized we were starving, so we decided to partake of the breakfast foods they had laid out for everyone. Sadly, they didn't have quite as awesome muffins as they did last year, but they did have scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls. But we would have felt awkward eating in front of the GoHs, so we sat at an empty table. Translator Guy took that opportunity to sit down and talk to us, which was very nice. He let us rant about how most of the fans don't really seem to care so much about the anime they're watching as they do about how much the other fans of that anime love them and their fan works. At one point he mentioned talking to somebody from Geneon, who was lamenting the fact that they spend so much more to get better quality dubs, but they sell the same amount of DVDs as another company that spends less and has worse quality, which sent us into our other rant about how fans seem to take the idea of a character and ignore all the details--quality of translation or dub doesn't seem to matter. We used our Final Fantasy VII example.
The translation of FF7 is not very good, this is a fairly indisputable fact ("This guy are sick"? What is that?). Yet it's still one of, if not The most popular Final Fantasy game, and Final Fantasy is a pretty popular game franchise. But people have the idea of FF7, and they fill in all the details with their own fan works, and that's more than good enough for them. We all agreed that Sephiroth gets by on his looks.
When those fifteen minutes were up, we said we were going to go sit at a GoH's table, but we didn't know which one yet, so Translator Guy suggested that we go see Kari Wahlgren; she's pretty fun to talk to. So we sat at her table, and indeed she was very very nice. We mostly all just chatted pretty much like you do with any random fan you happen to be waiting in line with. Like how she noticed that when they announced Toshiyuki Morikawa at the opening ceremonies, all the members of the super idol pop band Morning Musume started twittering in excitement. Two other people sat with us, and they told horror stories of trying and failing to speak Japanese while traveling in Japan. A friend of one of them wanted to tell someone that a meal was delicious, but instead of saying "ippai" (which he said means delicious, but actually means "full," like "I ate until I was stuffed" might have been the target sentence?) he said "oppai," which means "boobs." So Ms. Wahlgren told about when she was in Italy and she wanted to order penne pasta, but if you don't pronounce both Ns, the word refers to a certain manly piece of anatomy. And we said, "See, that's why we're afraid to go to Japan." And she said, "But you have to go to Japan!" She was very nice and I decided I like her.
For the last session, we found ourselves at the Nightow/Nishimura table again. We were going to try to work up the nerve to ask our question about editors, but again we failed. But it was really fun listening to everybody talk about pro wrestling again. At least half the people at the table, including the interpreter, went through pro wrestling phases in middle school. They were all like, "It was so weird. I just couldn't get enough!" And it was always middle school. At the end of the session, the interpreter asked us more about translating manga. She seemed interested in getting into it herself, so we promised to give her our card (we had forgotten to bring any, d'oh) at the panel the next day.
After they shooed us out of the room, we hung around for a while to see if we could catch any guests, but then we remembered that Morikawa-san would be signing autographs and we still didn't have the item we wanted signed. After our Trigun Quest, we thought we should see if we could find a copy of Advent Children Complete, because how cool would it be to have a copy of that signed by Sephiroth himself!? (I know I said we all agreed he got by on looks alone, but apparently those can get you pretty far. Especially when you look like Sephiroth *grin*) But I really wasn't kidding when I said we forgot every booth as soon as we determined that it didn't have a Trigun art book, so we weren't entirely sure where to look. Our first guess: Kinokuniya! But Kinokuniya only had the import version, which of course is very expensive. Still, it was really really shiny, and we do want to see the Final Fantasy XIII demo, so, since this part of our journey happened the same day as our Trigun quest, we decided to think about it. On Friday morning, we decided to throw caution to the wind and spend the money! It was actually less expensive than Saiyuki: The Musical, come to think of it.
So we got our Advent Children Complete and got in line for our autograph. And waited. And waited. And waited. It was pretty uneventful. The people in line behind us started to get very concerned that Morikawa-san might stop signing autographs right before they got to him, but they were like, "No. Let's be optimistic." It was really cute, actually, because one of them was a teenage boy with his mom. But we all got our autographs safely, and, since we figured he'd been signing and signing and signing stuff, Athena said, "Otsukaresama desu," and he said, "Otsukaresama." And! and! andandand!! he personalized it♥♥♥♥ So we have our names written in Sephiroth's handwriting!!! (To be honest, we're bigger fans of Sephiroth now that we have his autograph, but we do like Morikawa-san for other roles. And for his sexy sexy laugh. I was actually really sad to realize that we didn't think to bring him a purple rose, since he's the purple rose guy from Glass Mask.)
Incidentally (I use that word a lot; maybe I should use "by the way" a little more... hm...), Morikawa-san's manager was really cute, too. He waved to us as we left the autograph room, and then we were talking to our line buddies about yay! we all got autographs, and he had come out to go to the bathroom or something but was heading back to the room. And since we were still talking about Morikawa-san, I pointed and said, "There's his manager!" I didn't think I was that loud and I was certainly not speaking Japanese, but he reacted anyway, so we got to wave again.
Unfortunately, the wait for
So now that we missed CMX panel, it was time for lunch. We shared an exorbitantly priced cheeseburger that tasted alright despite being made with stale cheese, and then I think there was more shopping before heading to the Viz panel. We figured we should probably, like, try to drum up some more work, and nobody had a booth, so we had to resort to panels. We caught the end of whatever panel was before Viz's, and we were going to hang out in the room until it started. They even had a screen where they projected some really good art from I guess it was Deviant Art, and some were really funny and some were whoa that's awesome, and it was really very fascinating. But we also felt like maybe we were wasting time when we could be meeting up with people, or at least taking pictures of cosplayers. So off we went to wander the halls!
By the time we got back, the panel was starting, but the room was packed and they had a line of people waiting for seats to open up so they could get in. Included in that line happened to be our boss from CMX! So we got a chance to talk to him, despite missing their panel, which he told us was practically empty. We felt bad for not going, but still happy that we have a personalized autograph from Sephiroth. We also saw someone we suspect was a certain senior editor at TokyoPop hanging out around the line, but we only saw them from behind.
We actually weren't that interested in the panel itself--just talking to the reps afterward--so when someone came handing out promotional bookmarks for the manga cafe, we decided to go check it out. They had Violinist of Hameln manga! We were tempted to sit and read, but we were also like, "We can't spend our convention sitting and reading!" even though that's what the convention-sponsored cafe is for, so we left. But we did pick up several extra bookmarks. They seemed eager to get rid of them.
Having run out of alternatives, we sat and waited in the Viz line. We did finally get in, and the Viz reps were a lot nicer than the evil overlords we had envisioned (though that's (ever-so-slightly) partially based on past experience with Viz reps), but they were in marketing, not editing, so when we asked about translating positions, they directed us to, gasp (note sarcasm), Viz's jobs e-mail address. But it wasn't entirely fruitless because one, we probably might as well try that again anyway, and two, there was a girl there dressed as Moko from Skip Beat!, who approached the Viz people with a similar question to ours. But the difference was that she doesn't want to translate--she wants to do lettering, which is awesome. So Athena said we should team up with her, and we decided to catch up to her and tell her so. Unfortunately, none of us really have anything we could team up on, except for like scanslations or something, but, since we have connections to manga companies, we gave her our card, and now we're asking around to see if anybody outsources lettering work.
We did some more wandering after that. There may have been more shopping and more cosplay photography. But we were pretty worn out and all the Kingdom Hearts cosplayers (many of whom were cosplaying Organization XIII) were reminding us that oh yeah, we're in the middle of the new Kingdom Hearts game, so we headed back to the hotel and played until it was time to get ready for bed.
Today I'm thankful for finishing work early again, personalized autographs (if we'd known he would do that, we would have been more proactive about asking friends if they wanted us to get anything signed for them), alphanumeric cinnamon cookies, meeting aspiring lettering artists, and knowing what to do next for work.