We went to the FREEDOM screening in the morning. After the screening, we had a fan interaction session. Morita and Sato-san were very happy to see the US fans' reactions.
After the screening, we all headed to LAX to pick up the FREEDOM team's 3rd member, Gichi-san. He came to take footage of Morita & Sato-san's stay in LA. I think it's for a bonus feature in one of the DVDs? Not sure.
We ate at In-N-Out. I usually take Japanese guests to In-N-Out. They love it. (By the way, I think In-N-Out is only in California).
We went back to AX so that the FREEDOM team can see the lively anime/manga/video game fans.
Gichi-san was so excited about the cosplayers, here is a picture of him standing up on railing to take pictures.
No, this isn't Sato-san trying to push him off. It was support in case he fell.
This is Morita and Sato-san checking out the FREEDOM screening.
I heard every screening was full. So if you haven't watched FREEDOM 1 yet, please do!
By the way, Morita said thanks to the FREEDOM commercials in Japan, many young teens are watching FREEDOM. So they are a generation who don't even know AKIRA and stuff. The power of commercials...is great, isn't it?
This is Morita and Sato-san talking about Anime Expo and the market in general.
They were really happy that the US fans are much more enthusiastic about anime. In Japan, they are more harsh. Sato-san was amazed that people would come up to him and talk about Cowboy Bebop, something he worked on 10 years ago. In Japan, no one would talk about Bebop. They don't even talk much about Haruhi now, I think. It's all about Raki Sta.
Both Morita and Sato-san said they got a lot of encouragement and energy from the US fans. They will continue to work hard on FREEDOM.
Afterward, the FREEDOM left for Silverlake to meet up with a friend, so I got some time off. This is the cab they took.
Sato-san said he got sick from facing backward.
Since I was free, I went to dinner with Company C. It was delicious. I had a whole lobster! It was a total of 14 people, and the bill was...about 2 manga's worth of pay. Thank you, Company C!
And here are extra pictures I took of cosplayers.
Spread the Gyakuten Saiban love!
Here are 3 girls as Flonne, Etna, and Fallen Angel Flonne.
We had breakfast at the Queen Mary. Morita overslept so he came later. Even as he was waiting for his food, he was signing FREEDOM sleeves. I think these are bonus items for Otakon at the Company BV booth. So please check it out.
By the way, this is a dome located next to the Queen Mary. The FREEDOM team were amused because it looks like EDEN.
Morita kept saying that the weather is so nice in Southern California, and it would be nice if we can go to the beach. So we went to Venice Beach.
They wanted to check out Muscle Beach. But unfortunately there were no bodybuilders this day. They went into the water, though. I didn't, because I think the California ocean is dirty.
This is them taking a break.
We had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant near my old apartment. Since I live in the Venice Beach/Culver City area, it was easy to show them around. They really liked the food!
After lunch, we headed back to Long Beach before we hit traffic. We did hit a little, and I had to stop by IKEA in Carson to go to the restroom. It was good that I chose IKEA, because Sato-san really likes it. He took a catalogue home.
Back at Long Beach, we saw the AX exhibit hall for a bit. Then we ran into my friend and voice actor, Stephanie Sheh!
Actually, the night before Sato-san was saying how he and the director of Eureka 7 had LOVED Stephanie's English voice. So Sato-san was very happy to meet Stephanie, and Stephanie was really happy to meet Sato-san too. Maybe one day they can appear at a convention together. If there are any convention guest relations persons reading this, please contact me if your con is interested! The email box is located on the right hand side.
Then we had the FREEDOM panel. It was in such a big room! For those of you who attended, it was Sato-san's idea to run down the center of the room.
We showed pictures of people at work at Morita's studio, and then gave away exclusive posters to the first 10 people to ask questions. We also gave away buttons at the end, too.
After the panel we had an interview with Anime Insider, then dinner at Rock Bottom.
Today I attended the FREEDOM team and people from Company BV (Japan). It was a total of 8 people, so we took 2 minivans. The FREEDOM team was in my car--director Morita, Sato-san, and interpreter Ryan.
First we went to an anime store to show them the market. They had really good selection. Sato-san was happy that there was a corner with a bunch of his work displayed. Displayed more than in Japan! I guess Eureka 7 and Ergo Proxy didn't do so well in Japan...
We had Thai food for lunch. Here is a picture of Ryan drinking coconut juice.
Next we went to Suncoast to see FREEDOM lined up in stores. They were really happy to see it in stores, since the anime store had sold out of their copies.
Sato-san was amazed at the horror selection of Suncoast. He bought Hellraiser 1, 2, and 3 which I guess are not available in Japan or something.
We took pictures with Suncoast employees. They are having an anime event on July 15, so please go check it out.
After a stop at Best Buy we went to Target because director Morita brought one small bag. He said he only had 30 minutes to pack before he left, and all of his clothes that he gave to the cleaners was closed.
We had dinner at the Queen Mary, where the FREEDOM team was staying. I had accidentally told Morita that it might be haunted, and he got freaked out. According to him, demons aren't scary because you have a way to defeat them. Ghosts can disappear, float, and come through walls and said they had no "rules." So that's why they are scary.
We all finally got to rest after a long day of driving around Southern California.
By the way, you can find more pictures of what Morita did at AX on the Company BV FREEDOM page.
Today I attended to the people from the Company C Group. A total of 9 people.
Judging from the numbers, you'd think it's a lot of work. But actually these people are so fun, it's not that bad.
But an incident happened at the airport! M-san and his wife came out without their luggage! They didn't see it, and had assumed that someone else in their group took it. So we had to wait for the area to clear, then go to customs, then clear customs. I think I was at the airport for 2 hours.
There was a little trouble preparing for one of Morita-san's requests, and I had to drive out all the way to Westminster. (about 40 minutes away from where I live, and to LA people that's a long drive).
I checked out the Long Beach area, figured out where the supermarkets and other stores were located, etc, etc.
I also got an email from a company who's looking for more translators saying they wanted to meet me. ...I had to tell them that I'm only free on Sunday night after dinner and Monday afternoon. Hopefully both of our schedules work out...and hopefully they like me so I can get more work.
I'll be at Long Beach starting from tomorrow all the way until the next Wednesday.
Hopefully I can blog during AX, but I do have to work on With the Light #4, so I don't know. And attending to Japanese guests is a 15-hours a day job.
I guess Company BV announced the stuff happening at AX regarding FREEDOM.
First, they'll be screening FREEDOM throughout the convention. They're building a "mini-theater" in the booth that seats 30 at a time to show FREEDOM in HD! It's really nice in HD... I saw the mock-up layout for the theater, and it's pretty stylish too.
The booth number is 1605.
Director Morita & series planner Sato will be at the first screening on Saturday to interact with the fans.
I already talked about the panel, so moving on to the autograph session.
The autograph session will be at the booth on Sunday at 4:30pm. Fans who buy FREEDOM DVDs or FREEDOM-related goods are eligible for autographs.
I finished Title S for Company T today. I still have a few more volumes in it.
I'm trying to finish the two huge video game files (my last two...phew) so I can focus on preparing for Anime Expo.
Today I spent half the day with A-san from Company BV to check out the AX area.
Then I met with her and K-san about a few things.
I'm happy they actually listen to my suggestions. They're really respectful.
I wish I can say what director Morita will be doing, but since it's not final, I have to wait.
After my meeting with Company BV, I met up with my multi-talented friend S (she's a voice actor, ADR director, writer, etc, so I don't know what to call her) to watch Paprika.
We went to a theater that just opened June 1, and it was really, really nice. And it's so close to my house! It's just too bad that I don't watch that many movies on the big screen.
Then we met up with A & S from Company B to have dinner.
My comments about Paprika.
I was a little sad that some parts were changed to clarify but in the end changed the meaning slightly. (Does this make sense?)
It's not a big deal (not important to the main story), but there was one line toward the beginning that bothered me a lot and I couldn't focus on the rest of the movie. Oh well. Maybe my translations need to be more clear.
I don't want to point out the change here; I'll keep it to myself. Or at least, I'll only tell my friends. Hee hee.
There will be a FREEDOM panel at Anime Expo on Friday, 6pm at Live Programming Room #1 (the ballroom?). Director Morita (he also worked on Kakurenbo) and series planner Sato (screen writer for Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Samurai Champloo) will be there.
It seems that director Morita is very fan-friendly. He's very interested in what the viewers think of his work, and I'm sure he'd love to hear opinions of USA fans.
So please come if you can! I'm studying really hard to make the panel satisfying for the fans and the creators.
I'm assuming there will be an autographing session too, so please stay tuned for more info.
Since I had to do something for work before that, I missed Donald Young's game...again!
Thank goodness he won, so I can see him tomorrow.
And my main event...Kei Nishikori won! His score was an amazing 6-1, 6-4.
He played well, even though I was the only one cheering for him (audibly), while the opponent had a whole entourage cheering.
Here is a picture of him:
To the right of the picture you'll see half of the entourage.
Sorry the picture is not so good; you're really supposed to get close to the subject as much as possible (even with a crappy camera), but I didn't want to look like one of those teen idol okkake women, who chase after young boys 10 years younger.
Okkake is defined as a groupie...I think.
It's a modified term for "oikakeru" which is to "chase."
Anyway, Kei will be playing in the quarterfinals tomorrow, so I guess I'll be going.
I met a line judge who's Japanese and was also rooting for Kei, but she can't show it because she's a line judge.
We have the same first name, which is why we hit it off.
...Once Kei loses, my tennis entries will be done with.