Second of all, it's time to get back to the AX report!
Since Friday and Saturday were kind of the biggest days of the con, and we wore our Risa and Riku costumes on Friday, we decided to wear our most popular costumes on Saturday--Donald and Goofy. They also happen to be our dorkiest-looking costumes, but I guess that just goes to show that it pays to not be afraid to look like a dork. The Kingdom Hearts gathering also happened to be that day, but we didn't make any plans to attend, because the last Kingdom Hearts gathering we went to was kind of dumb. Instead (only not really instead because there was no time conflict), we went to the Trigun panel!
We had originally planned to go to the Tsunku (music producer whose written songs for Shugo Chara!) panel before it, thus also securing seats for the Trigun panel, but I don't know why they started having panels at nine this year, and that was just a little too early. We got there just in time for Tsunku to give his closing statement. There was a little bit of time between panels, during which the Trigun cosplayers stood up for some attention, and finally Satoshi Nishimura and Yasuhiro Nightow made their appearance. They were really energetic and had a lot of fun posing and stuff. Unfortunately, I had really bad timing with the camera, so I didn't get any of the really fun poses, alas.
The first thing that happened was that they showed us the trailer for the shiny new Trigun movie they're making. It was a world premiere trailer! And the movie does look pretty amazing. Or at least very Trigun, but it's already been established that Trigun is Awesome. The narrator on the trailer was pretty cheesy, actually, but we ignored him. After they showed the trailer and everyone was cheering and stuff, Nightow-sensei was in tears. It was so sweet.
They explained about how an American company had approached them and asked if they wanted to make a Trigun movie, and told us that it's really the American popularity of Trigun that brought the whole thing about, so the movie really is for all of us. Though I kind of hate to take credit for it, because we didn't get into Trigun until a little late. Still, it's very nice of them to make a movie for us! And of course for all the people who are bigger Trigun fans than we are. They also said they'd watched the trailer like fifty times since they got it about a week before.
Soon it was time for the Q&A. That actually reminds me of some questions I forgot to mention from the Meet the Guests Reception, so I'll talk about those first. Someone asked if there was a specific reason Vash and Knives were Aryan, and the answer was just that it would be strange to have an Asian character as the hero of a western. Also, someone asked them both about fan mail, and the important information we got from that is that Nightow-sensei will answer the really depressing fan mail, because he feels an obligation to help the sender feel better, but Nishimura-san won't answer any mail, because if you answer one, you have to answer them all.
So back to the panel. Here's what we learned: Vash was created as a completely original character, but there was a model for Wolfwood. He was a singer (or something) in a Japanese band that had a name that sounds a lot like Wolfwood (only it's different), and Nightow-sensei really liked the shape of his nose. The world for Trigun came about from two things: Nightow-sensei's favorite movie of all time is Star Wars: A New Hope. He said he wishes he could live on Tattooine (to which we say, "Are you out of your mind?"). Also he really likes... I think the name I heard was John Woo? movies, so he blended the two together and came up with Trigun.
The guy who did the music for the Trigun series will be doing the music for the movie, too.
Somebody asked about the okama member of the Gung-Ho Guns (I think it was the same person from the Morikawa panel, but this time she asked her question in Japanese, so it might have been somebody else), and Nightow-sensei explained that, when creating all the different characters, he wanted to make them all unique, and that the physical strength of a man and the mentality of a woman made the strongest possible combination.
Someone else pointed out that Trigun has a lot of ethical and moral themes, and asked if Nightow-sensei drew on any particular religion to get them. He answered that he has no religion himself, so if he can have such high morals without a religion, he must be a really good guy. Athena thinks he was waiting for somebody to make a comeback on that one, but it didn't come.
This next one is going to be a spoiler, so if you haven't seen all of Trigun and want to, skip the next paragraph!
I'm going to leave the name out anyway, because even skipping paragraphs, names will stand out. Anyway, one guy got up and asked, "Why did that certain character have to die!?" He did warn everyone that his question would be a spoiler, but it was a really halfhearted warning and he didn't give anyone time to cover their ears or anything, which is probably why people groaned at him. In response, Nightow-sensei pointed at the screen where they had shown the trailer, and said in a whispery voice, "He is alive...!" Then he went on to explain in Japanese that as long as he's still working on Trigun, that character will still be in it, so in effect, he'll still be alive. I didn't catch what he said exactly in Japanese, but the interpreter said, "Don't worry about the death so much. It's not a big deal."
In response to how the idea for Kuroneko-sama came about, Nightow-sensei said that manga artists don't put that much thought into those things. It's kind of like the answer we got anytime anyone asked about how they came up with anything for Romeo x Juliet: We all thought it would be cool. At the end of the panel, they showed the trailer again, and then we all left.
Some of us immediately went to the Nightow/Nishimura autograph line! Tadah! Actually, we stopped at one of the food places to pick up some breakfast, because we'd forgotten to eat any and we were starving. Then we went to the autograph area and found a line that College Friend was standing in with his Friend Who Hates Us, so after quickly checking with College Friend and the volunteers at the front of the line, we determined that we were in the right place, and stood in line. And that's the real reason we didn't even catch a glimpse of the Kingdom Hearts gathering. We even passed by a Sora on the way to the panel who even told us where it was! (Several Saiyuki cosplayers had been informing us of a Saiyuki gathering at six on Friday, but none of them ever told us where it was.)
I think we were waiting in line for... a lot of hours. I don't know. It was long. Fortunately, we happened to get in line right behind someone we would often have brief conversations with at AX, and we were able to spend the whole time talking, so it wasn't nearly as boring as the Morikawa-san autograph line. We talked about all kinds of things, too, like the Evangelion movies and how many different releases of 1.0 they were releasing, and how they made a completely new animation studio for the sole purpose of creating said movies, and it will be disbanded as soon as they finish the last one. There was another guy who joined us briefly who saw our camera and said, "Isn't that an awesome camera? I have the exact same model." It is indeed a very awesome camera. We talked about the first guy's internship at Madhouse's US office (we didn't even know Madhouse had a US office!).
At one point, the conversation turned to Disney, and it was during that time that Translator Guy showed up and joined us for a while. We all lamented the dying popularity of classical animation, Translator Guy saying he wished Atlantis and Treasure Planet had been more popular. We talked about Pixar and how they're awesome because they always think about story first, and we even forgot why we're mad at them. After Translator Guy left, the line had configured itself such that College Friend was able to easily join in. Friend Who Hates Us had mysteriously vanished by that time. I really should just let it go, but I'm kind of in an "expose nefarious deeds!" mode right now.
We finally got to the autograph room, and we had decided that we would get both Nightow-sensei and Nishimura-san to sign the poster in the artbook, but to only have the manga artist sign the manga. So I took the artbook and got in the Nishimura line, and when he saw me, he paused for a second and said, "Kyou wa sono kakkou desu ne (So that's what you're wearing today)." It made me a liiiittle self-conscious, because the Goofy costume is pretty dorky, but it was neat that he recognized me without help from a costume or a twin sister. We weren't allowed to ask for sketches, but Nightow-sensei drew a little Kuroneko-sama with each of the autographs. It almost makes us reluctant to part with them, but we promised our friend!
The autograph line took so much of our time that we missed the first half of the Power Rangers panel. We got there just in time to see all the good guys leaving. Now it was just Rita Repulsa, Lord Zed, and the Quantum Ranger from... I think it was Time Force? Anyway, we liked him a lot because he was cute and funny. He was kind of an attention sponge, too, but in a way that also shared the attention with everyone else, so he was forgiven. We heard a lot of interesting behind the scenes stuff. For example, the guy who plays Lord Zed... he kind of reminded me of the Woody Allen portrayals we'd seen on Tiny Toons and Animaniacs. There's no way you would see him and think, "Hey, it's Lord Zed!" (Incidentally, this is the voice actor, not the guy in the suit.) So when he auditioned for the role, they really liked his voice so they sent his tape to the higher ups, but there were a bunch of holdups and he had to audition like three times because nobody believed it was really him doing the voice.
The guy who played the Quantum Ranger is also a stuntman, and before he got to be a face on the TV shows, they had hired him to do all the live events, so he said he actually got to wear all the colored suits. We shouted out, "Did you wear the pink one?" And he got up and started doing girly poses and said, "No, I just don't have the right figure for it." He also told us about the times a couple of the Lord Zed suit-wearing people had to improvise. There was one who used to sweat a lot, so he always had a towel with him, but he forgot to leave it behind one time when he got out on stage. As soon as he noticed it, he started acting like he'd just gotten out of the shower. Another time, Lord Zed had missed his cue and came out too soon, but the Power Rangers were looking for him, so he was supposed to be out of sight. It wouldn't do to have the Rangers being all like, "Where's Lord Zed?" when he's right there in front of them, after all. So he posed like a statue.
There was a short story from the voice actress who played Rita about when they took her off the show. She was worried that she was gone for good, so she put on the Rita costume for the first and only time, took a picture, and sent it to the producers with a note that said, "Evil empress looking for work." Soon after that Rita and Zed got married.
Someone commented about how the show seemed to lose something once Disney took over the rights, like it got too dark or something, and everyone started shouting about how Disney ruins everything. The Quantum Ranger explained that actually, while they all seemed to think Disney took the fun out of the show and made it too dark, he had been set to play a character who was taken out of the show when Disney took over because his back story was too dark. He did agree that the show seemed to lose something, but not for the reasons everyone seemed to think.
After the panel, it was off to the dealers' hall again to get Power Ranger autographs! Yay! ...More waiting in line...! But while we waited in this line, we remembered that the Hi-Chew booth was giving away free candy, so Athena held our place while I went off to get some. In fact, when we passed by their booth the day before, they gave us candy and it made us so happy that we went to buy some later, but they said they weren't selling. Just giving away candy for free! Wow!
Then we got our autographs from the villains, and they were all very nice, and it was neat to talk to them in person. And then we went to buy the shiny Kingdom Hearts shirts we'd had our eyes on. Then we headed back to our hotel for a short break, and to put stuff down so none of our shiny new autographs would get injured while being carried around. As we entered the hotel, an old Japanese guy indicated down the hall and said his store was having a sale--70% off like everything. He seemed to really want people to go check it out, so I thought we might as well oblige. I didn't realize he'd follow us there!! But he had to follow us there, because his store was closed and all the lights were off. That had us a little nervous, because it would be really hard to refuse to buy anything with him being right there and so cute.
His store was a luggage store, which didn't help, because we have luggage already. So we were looking around to see if maybe there was something little we could buy and lo and behold I spotted a fanny pack. I love my fanny pack dearly, but it's old and so worn there are starting to be holes in it. I'd been covering them with electrical tape (black to match the black leather) to keep everything inside. But now, by a miracle, we found a place that was selling fanny packs! And they were having a major sale! And when I asked for a smaller one, he indicated the ones on the counter, and I picked one to look at, and he took it and showed me all the pockets, and there was one just for a digital camera! And we'd just gotten a digital camera! It was too perfect, so we bought it. Yay! And it was only about $20, as opposed to the like $80 or $90 it was originally (it is made of leather, after all).
Then it was back to the convention center to see if we could find eternia_aurora after the Gaia Online panel. The panel was still going on, but we figured it would be easier to spot her coming out than to go inside and scan all those people, especially because we weren't entirely sure what she looked like. While we waited, we got some chips from the vending machine that made us very very happy (we really need to figure out a better food rationing system for conventions). As people left the panel, Athena spotted someone that looked like it might be her, so we followed her. Instead of grabbing her and having a potentially very awkward situation if we'd gotten the wrong person, I called her name and she turned around! Yay! So we spent a good deal of time talking and we discovered that her boyfriend was Hamel the year before, and we said we probably took his picture. He didn't think so, because only about three people recognized him. Then he revealed that his friend was Captain Animate, and we knew we had taken his picture! And I was going to link to the LJ entry where we posted it as proof, but apparently we didn't get that far in our posting. But we did take it! Here's proof!
eternia_aurora and her boyfriend hadn't eaten all day, so they went off to obtain sustenance and we headed off to watch the end of the Masquerade, in case we still had a chance to catch chibidrunksanzo's skit. They were even handing out free tickets at the entrance! The Masq itself was pretty average, but there was a really awesome Princess Tutu group, cosplaying Drosselmeyer, Adel, and Uzura! Wao! And a really cute group of girls cosplaying the female characters in Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. While the judges judged, they had a halftime show, where the drum corp. from a local middle school and then a small band from a local high school performed anime music, with last year's AX Idol winner as lead vocalist. The students were all adorable, but the singer was a little underwhelming. She had a pretty voice and some good energy, but she didn't seem to be able to keep time very well. The band was constantly ahead of her on Sorairo Days, and since the rest of the band was all together, it's a little hard to blame them. Maybe they didn't rehearse enough.
After it was all over, we headed back to the hotel and another day of Anime Expo came to a close.
Today I'm thankful for line buddies, awesome Trigun panels, shiny new fanny packs, Hi-Chew!, and having a ride to Han and Leia's wedding reception.