summerqueen: (B&W Okiayu)
[personal profile] summerqueen
I started writing this a month or so ago, and have only made to, but not including, the auction. The rest will follow ... some day.

I promised the Okiayu LJ comm a write-up on the con, but truthfully, this is just for me, so I don't forget. I may at some point pull extracts and give them a belated report. Or I might not.

Most of you who can see this entry know full well my adoration of Okiayu, but to provide a little context…. 10 years ago I was just starting to get into the seiyuu fandom. I knew Miki's voice cold (this is what happens when you watch the Escaflowne fansubs repeatedly, followed by Weiss and Kaikan Phrase), and I was first a big Koyasu fan and then, for reasons I really can't remember, I became a huge Midorikawa fan. I was vaguely aware of other seiyuu, such as SekiTomo, Okiayu and a few others, but not all that well.

Cue Otakon 2001, where Midorikawa was a GoH. First, he shook up established fan belief that he was best friends with Canna Nobutoshi, by saying that he was closest to Okiayu … and then I spent a couple of hours in his autograph line with an obsessed Okiayu fan (is there any other kind?). After listening to her gush, I started to take note when he was in shows, and when the house got around to watching Juubei-chan, I fell head over heels for Koinosuke, and Okiayu's voice. My obsession was cemented when my friend Dawn picked up a Cyber Formula CD for me and I discovered his singing voice (same CD hooked me on Hayami Sho's singing voice; I owe Dawn big time for my fannish
tendencies) and the rest, as they say, was history.

Took me a while to actually get to see/hear him live: August 2004, at the Echizen live in Tokyo. It was a pretty intense experience for me, so probably a good thing it was a year and a half before I could get to another show, by flying over for the two Marginal Prince fan shows (I'm sure Okiayu doesn't remember, but that's the show I got to talk to him, Morita, etc. from the floor, since Morita saw me in the audience). I've been more fortunate since, catching him at a number of
different shows, but, despite having met various good friends of his, I was beginning to think I'd never actually get to meet him. In fact, I'd pretty much given up on it, aside from events where he would hand over items (like the Miracle Train Shinjuku card I got from him, and the Gundam DVD he handed me … and where I broke protocol, by handing *him* a gift).

And then summer 2009, Riko, Oyabun, Hide-san (Kiuchi Hidenobu) and I were out at an izakaya when I finally told Hide-san I was a big fan of Okiayu's. He said that on some future trip, he'd set up a dinner for me with the two of them, which made me grin from ear to ear. He also, since he knew Oyabun was looking for a seiyuu for the 10th anniversary show, said that she should consider Okiayu and Tsuda so we'd have the Meganes. Alas, Oyabun wanted someone not affiliated with an agency, as
negotiations would be easier, so I didn't set my hopes on it happening at all, although I did volunteer to help pay his way over …. And when Hide-san happened to be in Hokkaido while I was in Japan this winter (to see Okiayu in the 10th anniversary Haruka Matsuri show in Kyoto), and knowing it would be a long time, if ever, before I made it back, I gave up on the dinner offer.

But this summer, right before Oyabun was to head to Japan, Hide-san IM'd her and brought the idea back up, and thanks to Riko, Oyabun, Hide-san and Okiayu's manager, Ikeda-san, they managed to handle all of Okiayu's concerns and work it out in just a few days time. It's a sad statement about 2010 that I wasn't half as excited as I normally would have been at the news (not to mention getting thoroughly distressed at the amount of weight I've gained in the last couple of years; I had planned on taking September and October to focus on working out, but I landed the contract and had to work). And I'll continue to kick myself for not getting the full Thursday before
the con off, as not doing so shot down my only chance to spend any time with Hide-san and Okiayu away from the con…. Meh. I'm sure he would've been more comfortable with me sooner had we had that time.

What I also didn't count on is that Hide-san, Riko and Oyabun "ganged" up on me during that time to warn Okiayu that he had a scary fangirl at the con he'd have to deal with (something I'd like to think wouldn't have happened if I'd been there). Gah. I am still amused, though, that his response was that I'd be disappointed to meet him because he wears makeup on stage, etc. Oyabun assured him I wouldn't be disappointed, and, well, she was right. Far from disappointed. I'd
like to think I acquited myself decently during the con and didn't come across as a fawning, crazy fangirl who'd attack him if he turned his back. I *am* an insane fangirl who will fly halfway around the world to see him on stage, but I'm also civilized, polite and, well,
painfully, *painfully* shy, particularly around men I find attractive, let alone someone who speaks another language and who I've been a fan of for so long.

That last makes it very ironic and funny that the first thing Hide-san did on Friday morning when we spotted each other in the 9th floor lounge was to tell me to go introduce myself (the first of many "enabling" actions Hide-san performed that weekend, managing to embarrass me, make me laugh and generally make me grateful to him; I owe him a meal or something). I did so, in adequate Japanese, which I think surprised Okiayu since his first instinct was to just shake my hand. I then proceded to ask them about SF the day before, though the conversation was really between Hide-san and I, since it was half in English. I ran into them again before they took off for SF for the
day, because I was catching up with Riko (which is when I found out my fangirl status had been played up….). Amusingly, Okiayu and I were wearing pretty much the same shade of blue, which Hide-san took delight in pointing out. I talked briefly with Yamane-sensei, who remembered me (probably as "that seiyuu fanatic," no doubt), but didn't really get to talk to Okiayu – and given I now knew he probably thought I was crazy, scary fangirl, I really didn't want to push the point.

Given that Fridays at the con are pretty much a wash for me, I would've loved to go out with the guests, but that wasn't to be. So I didn't see Okiayu and Hide-san again until opening ceremonies, where I got to admire the awesome leather shoes Okiayu had picked up (embossed with dragons). I attempted to get a few pictures of the two of them, which Hide-san quickly derailed by grabbing Okiayu and me and shoving us up near the stage to take pictures of us. *dies* Hide-san had no
way of knowing just how much I *hate* having pictures of me taken. Especially now, when I don't need 10 more pounds added to me in any way. Really, I just wanted pics of them! I apologized to Okiayu, but he was a good sport about it. Hide-san took a few photos, because he was trying to get me to smile – I do NOT smile in photos – and then finally started laughing when I managed a smirk and told me not to smile. Heh. I was nervous as heck, which meant I really couldn't manage a nice smile (and I never do for pics, anyhow). In retrospect, I thank him, because now I have visual proof that I met Okiayu, but at the time, eeek. There's some more pics from that time on their
cameras, but I have no way to get them right now, alas.

Saturday was a migraine day for me. Thankfully, by time I had to meet Riko to go to the guys' suite to go over the questions for the panel,the Zomig had kicked in. We had asked people to send questions in to me in advance, so we could screen them and avoid anyone asking something personal or rude (particularly BL requests). What ended up happening is we got a handful of questions for Okiayu that I could repurpose for both seiyuu and a handful that were pretty much Okiayu-centric. So I added a few in to flesh things out. Riko translated each question for the guys and took notes about their answers, if they gave her one. Mostly it was to get a feel for what they'd be comfortable answering. Which seemed to be anything. Okiayu was even fine with the BL question I snuck in there, though we never got to it in the panel.

I was enjoying getting to listen to Okiayu talk lots, and was glad that he was game to answer anything. Amusingly, when we got to the question about being a part of the Neoroma seiyuu and whether Hide-san would like to do a Neoromance game, Hide-san was emphatic that although he'd been asked, he had no desire to ever be in one. And then, as Riko was noting this down, he then teasingly said that no, no, he'd love to do one, prompting a chorus of "Uso!!!" from all of
us.

Another question we never got to in the panel was about Okiayu's penchant for flowery shirts on stage. He laughed and looked down at his t-shirt, which was long-sleeved and black, but with a subtle, flower-filled cross and was like "No flowers here…." (in fact, his wardrobe all weekend was fairl y subdued, and included a lot of black ... especially black leather – so I'm assuming that either he was trying to dress inconspicuously for the con, or, more likely, based on photos
of him that show up online, he only wears the flashy stuff on stage).

It's worth noting that Riko had told the guys about people saying they wanted their boobs signed and both of them were fine with it. More than fine with it, it seemed (Hide-san pointed out he'd signed someone's ass before – clothed, of course). Faugh, men! I made a face and said if they were fine with it, then so be it, but I wasn't going to tell anyone they could ask. And thankfully, no one did ask. Phew. Though I joked with friends that *I* should've called their bluff on
it. Heh.

After we wrapped up the questions, we left the guys to their own devices and went to Riko's room, and then ConOps, so she could type up the questions in Japanese, along with her notes. The actual panel started late, so the guys had some time to kill in ConOps with us, which led to them discovering a pair of wings, which they promptly put on Okiayu, who posed with them while Hide-san and I snapped some pics. Alas, Will flipped a gasket over them messing with lost and found, so
Okiayu never did get to put on the bunny ears that Hide-san found….

The panel went well, I think. I was busy for the first part, handing out autograph tickets, and then I wandered the hall to keep an eye on anyone who might try filming, so I really didn't catch all the questions/answers. I did catch that Okiayu would like to be a kindergarden teacher if he weren't a seiyuu (how adorable!) and that they both really like their Onegai My Melody characters, Okiayu in particular because of Usamimi's pink bodysuit (!). And bless him for voluntarily doing Usamimi's "Ikemen beeeeeeeeam!" (happy!) Okiayu's responses were startlingly forthright, which is very unusual for Japanese guests. I was particularly struck by his answer to my question about whether either of them would be doing any solo CDs in the future. Okiayu's answer was no, because he didn't feel he had anything to say/sing about, personally, as opposed to, as a character,
where there's motivation and purpose. He also made it very clear he doesn't really like being cast in roles that don't talk much (Tezuka,Byakuya). Hide-san decided to be honest and say he wasn't really into the idea of being a Neoromance seiyuu, because he's not keen on the idea of doing the live shows – but between the fan response and Okiayu's cajoling, he said he'd consider it. On this question, Riko had a little trouble with terminology, which led to some amusement over dating sims being called "ladies simulation." Heh.

We ran out of time, so didn't get to do all the questions. I'd asked beforehand if they'd be willing to do voices for the audience and got agreement to do a couple – two decided in advance and two chosen by the audience. So Okiayu did Jinnai's (El Hazard) insane laugh – omg, perfect! If you've never heard the laugh, you owe it to yourself to give it a listen. It's the BEST evil laugh in all of anime. Hide-san did Hei, from Darker than Black, and then the audience asked for
Tezuka (Yudan seizu ni ikou!) and Ryouhei from Reborn.

There was just a little time between the panel and the first autograph session, so I ended up going to the fan market briefly (bought two prints from one booth, Durarara's Izaya and Hetalia's Nihon) and then hung out in the manga library until time for the session. It went pretty quickly, and everyone was well-behaved. Interesting assortment of things to be signed. Afterwards, Riko, Wayne and I escorted the guys to the fan market,which really ended up being Riko, Okiayu and I.
He was … probably not prepared for the fan market, which leads me to believe seiyuu at Comiket must never wander around, 'cause what we have is pretty mild. He did comment on how all the characters in the artwork seemed to be shirtless (and indeed, there were prints of several of his characters –Dark Mousy, Byakuya – who were). Right around the time I saw Nakamura-san from Comiket in the corner, Okiayu saw something he did not like at all – what, I've no clue (it was *before* we found the, ah, inflagrante Byakuya/Renji print), but he said "Mazui" and peeled off towards the exit – Riko had to bring him back so introductions could be made.

His reaction makes me so very, very glad we didn't allow doujinshi for the autograph sessions. Or allow people to request BL scenes/voices. It would've been too overwhelming, I think. Anyhow, we met back up with Hide-san and Wayne and went through the Dealers' Room and then braved photograph wanting fans in the lobby. At one point, when some girls were getting their picture with Okiayu in the DR, Hide-san grabbed me and stage-whispered "Keep him safe!" Heh. Everyone was fairly polite, thankfully. Angel was adorable as she found a Byakuya print (fully clothed!), signed it and handed it over to Okiayu. He was amused at someone signing for him after having signed for others. He
was also amused at DR Chair Liz, whose corset had made a substantial shelf of her boobs under her chin. His cupping hand gesture, made as he turned away, needed, as she laughingly pointed out, no translation.

After the DR,we went our separate ways, which meant Okiayu crashed hard and Riko, Hide-san and I ended up in the 9th floor lounge for a snack. Hide-san took the time to lobby Susan to let he and Okiayu take off to SF for the evening. Only, when he went to get Okiayu and his cell phone … Okiayu was down for the count. Hide-san joked about trying to wake him up, but getting no response at all. Heh. Anyhow, he went off with Wayne to get dropped in SF and I headed downstairs to wait until I could get into the main events room … which led to an amusing moment when I had to lead someone dressed like a serial killer through a wedding party as they were organizing for photographs.

Riko eventually joined me in the main events room and we sat up front with Wendy, Susan, Angel, Tiffany and Jo Chen (Riko was lucky enough to snag a nap while we were waiting).

....

More later.
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March 2012

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