But now it's time for more Anime Expo. Last night I remembered there were two things I forget to mention about Masakazu Morita. First, there was a question we forgot about. His character in Sengoku Basara has a monkey, and someone asked him how he would feel about having that monkey as a pet. He said the monkey has everything pretty well together, so he thinks the monkey would be more like an older brother or his father than like a pet or even a friend. He went on to ask us all if we knew who was the original voice of the monkey. Nobody knew, but somebody guessed Norio Wakamoto. They shouted, "Wakamoto!" And Morita-san heard it and started cracking up. Then he did a Wakamoto-san impression (which we do every time we translate a scene in Kingdom Hearts manga that has Xemnas in it).
So Morita-san explained that now Yumekichi (the monkey) is played quite adorably by Natsuko Kuwatani, but before, Yumekichi was played by...Morita-san! Now (according to Morita-san), Yumekichi sounds like a cute little monkey, but before, he sounded like a chimpanzee. He demonstrated; it was pretty funny. I think the first Basara episodes are available on Hulu or something, so maybe we can all check it out!
After the panel, we went off to find a bathroom. While we were there, I witnessed a somewhat strange event. A pair of police officers came to the restroom. The man stationed himself by the door, and the woman came in and kicked open all the unlocked stalls. Then she kicked the trashcan, I guess to make sure nothing was in it. Athena pointed out that hey! what if there was a bomb in there!? They didn't find anything, so they left. They both were carrying shotguns. We don't know what they were doing exactly, but later Anime Expo posted to Facebook, thanking the LAPD for their routine checks.
As we made our way from the bathroom toward...wherever we were going next (I don't think we knew at the time), who should come walking down the hall but Masakazu Morita and his little entourage! We said konnichi wa, but he was busy talking and didn't even blink. One or two members of his entourage said hi back, though.
Aaaanyway. When we left off yesterday, we were in line for the Sailor Moon panel. Once again, they waited to start seating until after it was time for the panel to start. The line was gigantic, and we were close to the end of it, so by the time we got into the room, the panel had already started. The voice director was talking about why the series was so heavily edited. Something about how some things that are acceptable for child audiences in Japan are most certainly Not Acceptable for child audiences in America.
Now let's see how much of this panel I can remember. Somebody asked how people react, upon finding out that these actors were in Sailor Moon, now as opposed to when the show first started. Katie Griffin (Sailor Mars) said that when she was doing the show, she was really into kung fu, so she went...somewhere to get some kung fu stuff, and she went into a store...and saw a ton of Sailor Moon merchandise. She got really excited and bought all the Sailor Mars stuff they had, and when she went to pay for it, she told the cashier, "I'm Sailor Mars! I'm Sailor Mars!" And, the way she tells it, he backed away slowly.
Someone asked who their favorite characters were other than the characters they played (Sailor Moon: Jupiter, Sailor Mercury: Mars, Molly: (I'm going to remain loyal and say) Serena, Tuxedo Mask: always wanted to play a villain, Mars: just likes Mars, Artemis: Artemis, Jupiter: it doesn't leave this room, but I always wanted to play Artemis). Someone asked how Sailor Moon has influenced their lives. Susan Roman (Jupiter) told a story about one time there was a raccoon in her trashcan outside, so she freaked out, but then she thought, "Wait, Sailor Jupiter wouldn't freak out like this. What would Sailor Jupiter do?" So she put on a short skirt (but she didn't have any that short) and she went back outside to face the raccoon...which had disappeared! And her bravery paid off, because the raccoon was gone.
Someone asked about favorite scenes to record, and nobody really remembered, but Mary Long (Molly) said she watched some episodes to refresh her memory, and she came across Molly's Folly, and we were all like, "Awwwwwwww!" I don't remember what this was an answer to, but Katie Griffin talked about how they didn't really record everything in order, so she didn't really have any idea what was going on in the series until she watched it later. And while she was watching it later, she knew that Raye had a thing for Darien, but she couldn't help rooting for Chad, because he's so much better than Darien. I don't remember how Toby Proctor reacted to that.
Someone asked about things they learned from the show, and Susan Roman said that one thing she learned was the importance of being open and honest. Like if someone says something that hurts your feelings, it's a lot better to say, "You know, that really hurt my feelings," and talk it out, because chances are your friend will say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize!" and it airs everything out and you can be friends without holding on to those negative feelings.
Jennifer Cihi was there, too, so we had a miniature Sailor Moon sing-along. It was fun. And of course, despite starting late, the panel ended...okay, not right on time. They gave us an extra few minutes this time. And we all left.
Athena and I still hadn't gotten that autograph for our brother-in-law, and we still weren't sure at that point if we would be coming back, so we went to the autograph room...and Keiji Inafune's line had been closed, so we ate lunch and went to the bus stop. This is where we had to start some problem solving.
While we were in line for the Sailor Moon panel, we got a text from our old neighbor--the one who had agreed to drop us off and pick us up, but who had been sick. There were some scheduling issues, and it looked like she wouldn't be able to pick us up--just drop us off. Not only that, but she still wasn't feeling so hot. She claimed it wasn't contagious, but even so, if she's not feeling well, we want her to stay home and get her rest! On the other hand, autograph voucher! She insisted that she wanted to do something for us because of all our babysitting, and she would still drive us to the expo if we needed her to.
We weren't too excited about being stranded in Los Angeles, but the autograph voucher had us thinking, "Well, maybe we could take the bus home, if we have to." It was iffy, though, because if we missed the bus, we wouldn't make it home in time for the baptism that I'd agreed to play the piano for. Also, for our neighbor's sake, we considered taking the bus both ways, but in that case we certainly would not want to get up early enough to go to the Kodansha panel, and it seemed silly to ride the bus two hours, get one autograph (maybe two), and ride the bus two hours back. With a twenty minute walk on either side of that.
So I sent a text message to our visiting teacher, who also happens to be the wife of our home teacher, aka the guy who takes us to Kinokuniya once a month. Of course, he was our first though when considering transportation to Anime Expo, but he has one of those jobs where you actually have to work more on holidays, instead of getting the day off. So we asked our visiting teacher if she happened to be available and want to spend a few hours at AX. She talked it over with her husband, and it just so happened that he had Saturday off. Long story short, neither of them joined us for AX, but we got a ride to and from the convention center. So we got home, translated a chapter of UQ Holder!, and went to bed very, very, very tired.
The next day, our home teacher turned out to be super punctual--almost too punctual! We never made it to Target to buy Hiyori clothes, but all the cosplayers going around made us wistful, so we determined to take a cat tail anyway. But it turns out we don't know where our cat tails ended up, and we didn't have time to find one before Home Teacher showed up. So we went without, alas. But we still looked cute and identical. We got there in time to find out about the fire marshal changing the line situation, so we had to wait outside for the Kodansha panel to start. The outside wouldn't have been a problem, but we were already annoyed with the queue practices over the weekend. Ah well. And of course, we didn't get seated until after the panel had started, so we had to rely on the internet to tell us what the first license announcement was. We reminded ourselves that announcements don't necessarily mean the title already has a translator. Not that we're desperate to translate that new stuff specifically, just that we always want to translate new stuff.
There were a couple of things that were said worth noting. Someone asked Ben Applegate what Kodansha looks for in a good translation, and he said it's not about translating word for word; it's about recreating the experience, which is exactly why you have to be willing to deviate from the text.
The other very important thing to note is that once Kodansha licenses a title for domestic release, they're not allowed to drop it--they're stuck with it until it's over, no matter how much money they're losing to keep it going. We suspect this is why they're so leery of licensing a certain beloved but long-running carta manga. (Somebody did ask about that series, by the way. The answer was still not the one people want.)
After the panel, it was time for autograph questing. The autograph system is a little complicated. In general, you go to the autograph room and get in line. When you get to the front of the line, you can get up to two tickets. Each ticket entitles you to wait in line to get an autograph from your chosen guest of honor. However, for some guests, like Masakazu Morita, there was a different ticketing system. You go to their panel, where you get a raffle ticket. If you're lucky, like Athena, you can win an autograph voucher, otherwise known as a fast pass, to get in the autograph priority line. If not, you wait in the long autograph line, and if you have your raffle ticket from the panel, you can get a ticket to wait in the Morita-san autograph line. Are we clear? Okay.
First, we went to find out where to line up for Morita-san's autograph, and were told to come back later. So we lined up to get a ticket to the Keiji Inafune line. But the line for the lines was really long, so we went outside and waited and waited and waited. That's mostly what we did on Saturday--wait. But we also got to talk to other attendees about fun things like Sailor Moon and voice actors and translating and stuff, so it was nice. After a while, someone came out distributing all the extra tickets for the Uki Satake line. We're not familiar with her work (she's a voice actress), but she was super cute at the guest welcoming thingie, so we took a couple of tickets. They told us we had to get in her line RIGHT NOW, because her autograph session was ending. Also, it was time for us to line up for Morita-san's autograph, so we got out of the line for lines, and had to find our way back into the big autograph room, because they wouldn't let us go back in the way we came, because that would be cutting in line, even though we weren't staying in line at all.
Anyway, this was the very very scary part. In fact, we listened to "Something There" that morning, too, only instead of motivating me, it made me sick. See, we had an elaborate plan that would have involved explaining stuff in Japanese to people we very much did not want to make a bad impression on. We're not sure we're ready to reveal it yet, but some of you may recognize it if we say "Peter Pan" and "Evil Stepsister." Anyway, it turns out they wouldn't let us do it anyway, so we breathed a huge sigh of relief and asked Morita-san to sign our copy of the remastered version of Final Fantasy X.
Morita-san seemed pretty happy...well, he seemed pretty happy in general, but there definitely seemed to be a positive reaction when he realized that we had a Final Fantasy X thing. Like, maybe neutral positive, but maybe like, "Oh, yay! Final Fantasy X!" or, "Wow! I'm impressed you know I was in this!" or something. We don't know. We were too nervous to notice much of anything. But he signed our game, and we got it personalized, and it says, "Dear Athena & Alethea" and it's so cute! And! AND! He shook our hands! (Oh, and course he asked to confirm if we were twins.) And when he did, he used both hands! And when we think back on it, we feel very much like the fangirls from Disney's Hercules: "I touched his elbow!" "I've got his headbaaaaand!!!"
And thus our trip was complete.
Only it wasn't, because we still waiting in the line for the lines, where we got two tickets for Keiji Inafune's autograph. Then we waited in the Inafune-san line for a looooong time...and then his autograph session was over before we even got close. Alas. Sorry, Brother-in-Law. But the adventure was not entirely in vain...or was it?
While we were in line for the lines, we saw a cosplayer with a really nice wig, that we were wondering if we should recognize. She said she was from Space Dandy, so we were like, "Oh. I guess not." And she said she was reeeeally hoping for Uki Satake's autograph. Well, we happened to still have our tickets, so I gave her one! ...But I also had Athena hold our place in line while I went to see if the Satake-san line was still open. They told me it was not. But the cosplayer took the ticket anyway and hoped to cry her way into the line or something. We don't know how that turned out.
Also in the lines line, a staffer came along distributing tickets for Masakazu Morita's autograph, but ONLY to people with raffle tickets from the panel. There were a couple of girls who desperately wanted an autograph ticket, but they didn't have raffle tickets. I tapped the staffer on the shoulder and said, "I have a raffle ticket!" He said, "I'll get to you!" I said, "No, I'm giving it to her!" But alas, I only had one, and there were two girls! And Athena had traded hers in for the voucher that she won, that we had already used, and that we wouldn't have given away even if we hadn't, unless we had decided not to go to AX at all on Saturday. They took the one ticket anyway and took their chances, I guess. We don't know how that turned out, either, but we do know that Morita-san was signing autographs for an hour after his session was supposed to have ended.
Finally, we failed to help someone to get an autograph once again, because when we got to the front of the lines line, they said we could get tickets for each of Inafune-san's autograph sessions. We figured there was no sense getting a ticket for the later one, because we wouldn't be there. But if we had gotten tickets, we could have given them our Keiji Inafune Line buddy, who waited and waited and waited and was not even close to the front of the line when Inafune-san stopped signing autographs, but would have been there later, for the other session. Alas.
After that, we made a quick stop at the dealers' hall to see if we could find some cool One Piece merchandise for our home teacher, but we couldn't. We'll have to think of something else to thank him for being awesome. Then it was time to go, and traffic was very kind to us. We would have crashed for the rest of the weekend, but we had a baptism to go to and a lesson to prepare. But after church on Sunday, we Relaxed.
And thus concludes probably our least eventful Anime Expo to date. But just because we had fewer events doesn't mean it was anywhere near less awesome. ...oh wait, the panel line thing did make it less awesome. But there still awesomeness. And it was awesome. And it made us miss cosplaying sooo bad.
Today I'm thankful for managing to work out our Saturday transportation issues, getting a shiny autograph, the super delicious Cheesy Bites Pizza we had last night, the people from our ward listening politely to our stories about meeting "the Japanese voice actor we have a crush on" (of course he's one of many, but he was the only one we met this weekend), and getting to (sort of) meet the Japanese voice actor we have a crush on.