Anime North / Harami North 2014

First in the series of “HAHA OH WOAH SO LATE” post, I present you my post on Anime North, written couple of hours after the event, publish only 3 months later.  Basically, some of the things in it are out of date, but eh Sasuga Average MikiP;

Oh Anime North, Never in my wildest dreams imagined I would get to see you again after Eriko North last year.

Thank you for proving me wrong.

So many things done, so many things to say, so many feels, I’m not sure I’ll properly be able to convey it all as a week later I’m still charged with all sorts of emotions going from a post-convention to Euphoria about the amazing weekend I had.

As mentioned earlier, I never expected to see Anime North again, until they announced Harami as a Japanese guest a month before the convention.

By then the weekend passes were already sold out, so my group ( HPT) and I had to resort to buying individual passes for the weekend (+ extra which I will get back to later ) . I ended up being a very pricey convention entry fee, but it was worth every penny.

Having had experience and learning from our failures , HPT was able to plan better this year.  Quickly we coordinated to wear Suits with neckties that matched the color of our main idol. For those of us with jerseys we also agreed to bring them as well( I was unconvinced about wearing mine though ) .

A little bit before Harami had been announced I was going to cancel my OFA Produce box order with Play-Asia to get the one from AmiAmi with extra Miki LED , but thankfully I didn’t because otherwise I’d never have received it in time for AN.

Circumstances also wanted that I attended my sister’s wedding in the Bahamas the weekend before AN, and I was to spent the first part of the week there.

Not being much of a beach person I did find ways to entertain myself.

And yes before you ask, I also went into the water, no I didn’t spend my whole time playing OFA there.

But I digress, back to Harami North;

Day 0

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The crew of HPT room A gathered on Thursday in Toronto. We split the job of Lining up to get the Badges (SukeP, NeoP and Moi-P) and ordering flowers for Harami (ExcielP, 7thP & RanP)

After the crew of HPT room B arrived, we had Hibiki (and other kind of alcohols) in HPT room A while watching 8th Live.

It was an amazing experience, I’m not so such our room neighbours appreciated though w.

Day 1

On Friday we went for Ramen downtown Toronto, because how could we not ? it’s Harami/Takane’s favourite food.

We then attended the opening ceremonies at 4PM .

with the Japanese Producers in front of us.

Inori cover

Cyalumes came out when we got a performance of koto, some laugh from the public were received. Same when the winner of last year’s idol event came in and performed a magnificent cover of inori- you raise me up.

Gotou Mai

Harami

=====

Soon after we rushed to Mai Gotou’s panel. The panel felt a bit stiff as people didn’t really know what to ask, I vaguely remember asking her about her singing preparations vs. her regular seiyuu job and she said the main difference was that for a song she’d put it on repeat over and over to learn it.

I did get to learn of her love for Tokusatsu, so I followed by asking what her favourite Tokusatsu shows were, and she replied that she liked Kamen Rider OOO and Kyoryugers.

After her panel, we lined up for Harami, it was then that we started breaking a bit the ice with the JP Producers. Harami panel was wonderful, we got to find out how cute she is, to borderline dangerous levels. I didn’t write down anything of the Q&A because I’m sure other people did it.

After the panel was the signing session, and people in HPT Room A almost got cut because they went to pick up the flowers for her. In the line I stumbled upon another P from my area (Montreal), which I didn’t know was a thing.

But anyway, Harami was even cuter up close, and I may have died from cuteness overload for a couple of minutes.

No party happened that day for we had to wake up early to iron our suits for the P-Mafia.

but on the way back to the hotel, we played Ready and Onegai Cinderella on our portable devices, cyalumes went out again and we did calls and didn’t afraid of anything.

Day 2

This is when the weekend hit it’s best part.

First on the agenda was the brunch with the Guests of Honor ( this is the extra I was mentioning earlier ) . HPT had coordinated suits and ties with colors that match our idol, so we were pretty popular when we all arrived in suits. Many people took our pictures while we were waiting for the brunch to open. P mafia / SP / crazy people in suit, we heard it all. The Japanese producers certainly didn’t expect this level of “producing” from us. It was great.

When we got in the brunch, HPT managed to secure the first seats with Harami. I can’t tell if we were too star struck but we were obviously very nervous, save for maybe 7th who managed to always keep engaging conversations with her during moments of silence. She was also kind of curious about us so she asked us a couple of questions , but I don’t remember any of them because EUPHORIA.

In order to not hog the guests, we did table rotation and went to mingle with other guests.

I went for Mai Gotou’s table and exchanged a bit with her about -GARO- and Hokkaido until Shibata did a momiji award acceptance speech after which I table rotated again.

That’s when I noticed the suited up HPT member gathered around Misako Aoki’s (Fashion GoH) and her Designer’s table. They were intrigued by our dressing style , and somehow they knew a bit about iM@s. We told them about how gaming and spending habits in that hobby of ours, or rather as it was mention our “main Job” (Producer).

We took a group shot with them too.

I then went to Shibata’s table after to get a picture, but was greatly intimidated by his presence.

He’s a great guy , always smiling, it was great (briefly ) hearing mentioning his voice over career. I chose to escape promptly as soon as there was a silence because I was scared of bothering him. Not that he ever showed sign of being bothered, if anything I think he would have loved to chat more. But it’s like that feeling when you meet someone you greatly admire/respect you tend to be at loss of word and instead of making of yourself you choose the best escape route.

Anyway after that the brunch was more or less over, we headed for Harami’s panel (which was tragically schedule after Mai Gotou’s panel that we had to sacrifice in order to get good Harami seats ). While waiting, we stumbled upon a P head.

Pic by @Mahshoe

Again I’ll let someone else transcribe the panel.

Panel over it was time to get autograph. Things could have turned a bit sour there as Anime North wasn’t? Ready for Harami’s level of popularity with people wanting to line up two hours ahead of time. As such when they announced that no lines would be made, I went to get something 2mins, when I returned I found out a line had been made and I was to be axed from it for having “forfeited” my place.

After much arguing with the line staff Adam ( who was in the same situation as I) and I were let back in the line. And so were a couple of extra other people . Thankfully managed to get my figure signed.

After all this we headed for Chop were we had set up an official Offkai ( unlike last year’s at the same place ). We managed to gather 38 people for that.

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We jumped on the occasion to celebrate Ami&Mami’s birthday with cake and by singing happy birthday in the restaurant. But really the best part was when we played 「READY!!」on an iPad and started doing calls. It was pretty much one of the most insane things I’d ever witness, but also one of the most fun thing to do ever.

I want to take a moment to thank the amazing staff from CHOP for all their effort during this whole dinner, we tried to help them as much as possible to take orders, but it certainly wasn’t easy for them.  Thank you, thank you so much. We’ll try to be less crazy next year.

Back to the dinner. It was crazy fun, we cracked UOs and put them in our drinks ( don’t do this at home,or elsewhere for that matter, it’s super dangerous if the liquid inside the UO leaks ).

We got to talk and know more about the Japanese producers. I think that’s when we found out that no matter your nationality , Producers are the same all over. We have the same (imas) spending, our rooms are full of stuff that a same person would avoid buying, and we tend to like the same things. I remember one of them shouting ” We are all slaves to Namco” .  Truly, we are.

Then they did something crazy awesome, they gave us piles of Harami goods.

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Exciel , 7th and I did a Dogeza in response to this.

After we finally got to eat the AmiMamiケイキ! We distributed the loot, headed to the Sheraton for a group shot with the unfinished banner  we would give to Harami on the following day.

We didn’t get to after party, but after that dinner, I’m pretty sure it was unnecessary.

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Day 3

The final day , we got to relax a bit in the morning as the first thing schedule was lining up for Harami final autograph session around noon. We watched Anim@s in the morning while Exciel was prepping the banner.

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At the autograph /picture session, I successfully replicated my fist bump ( from last year with Eriko) with Harami, expect his time with an outfit that made me look like a gangster.

(Average NA MikiP indeed ww)

Exciel gave the banner to translator-san who handed it to Harami.

It’s only then that I was able to secure Mai Gotou’s autograph

And I finally got the guts to ask Shibata for a picture , great success !

Me and Shibata ~

On the way to the final panel, those of us in HPT with cycling jerseys took them out.

It once again got popular and lots of group shots were taken.  During the panel you could see all of us lined up in the back, must have been a great sight.

The final event of the panel was RanP giving Harami a Namassuka Challenge.  An English tongue twister.

It was glorious.

And finally, at the of the panel we got to take a group shot with Harami and the banner.

( head over to her blog to see it: http://yaplog.jp/heavenly_cafe/archive/1286 )

And that concludes my Anime North 2014 report.

Anecdotes/comments that didn’t make it into the narrative. (in order that I remember them)

1) During the Q&A , after Rin finishes translating the answer, Harami will say “desu” and tilt her head. It’s potentially the deadliest cutest thing ever. She did it for 98% of the answers.

This was me every time:

2) The JP Ps said we are the type that in japan would be called “yakkai” . ww.

3) When the staff of CHOP came to give us the cake, they asked where to put it, Exciel pointed to the space next to AmiMami figures on a table set aside. The server then asked who the cake was for, and he was pointed to the AmiMami figures.  P-P-P-POKER FACE

4) When Harami eats and she needs to speak , she will hold her hand in front of her mouth and keep speaking. I’m told it’s common practice in japan, but you don’t see this being done in North America.  As a result…

5) Harami’s manager this year is the same Eriko had last year. While she may seem intimidating at first, she’s really only doing her job. We got the chance to see her crack a smile during the brunch, it was great.

6) During one of the Q&A Harami was requested to answer something about Osaka and to say it in kansai-Ben, And so she did for a couple of lines.

7) Also during a Q&A she messed up and called Mingosu “Asami-chan” which was super adorable.

8) Linda Ballantyne tried to photobomb our group shot with Aoki

that covers it.

I more or less had to precipitately leave so I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone .

As such the rest of this will be TL;DR of me thanking people.

First off I would like to thank Anime North for making this possible a second year in a row.

Then, I would like to thank my fellow producers and partners in crime from last year.

– 7th, enabler of many things, creators of many Yayoi’s ( can also be read as poorducer) , the “さすが IoriP” . I can’t thank you enough for so many things, for believing in us who believe in you and your car amongst others.

– Neo, thank you for making this trip again with us, for being the token me- your presence made our HPT gathering much stronger. Keep on Hibikin~

– RanP, often taking one for the team in silence, your awesomeness knows no bounds !

-Suke, my Japanese Brother I never knew I had, I’m not really sure what to write here that wouldn’t sound like a love letter. Thank you for your hard work, for being awesome, for everything basically KANSHA!

-Exciel, DA MAN, the CHEF, oh man Exciel. First of all, damn you for making me fall further into this whole thing. I’m not sure how but somehow it’s your fault. Secondly, Thank you for so much, organizing the offkai, the banner, the PS3, the EVERYTHING

shout-out to the Ossans room;

Omo, Paranda and Moy. I never got to party at your place unfortunately, but it was pretty rad that you all suited and Jersey’ed up.

Kei (*high five for MikiP*) and Adam it was short, but awesome meeting you guys.

We are HPT, we are all united one way or another. May we do many more calls together in the future o/

Also I learned that there was a MTL region im@s community, this blew my mind this weekend . shout-out to my new producing friends Rob, Maya o/

I would also like to give my thanks to my good friend Kirby for finding me a ride despite the circumstance of his AN trip.  Also Aki because of reasons.

I want to thank all the Japanese Producers who made the long trip from Japan for this event.

Thank you for the gifts, thank you, thank you.

You guys are the greatest.

I would also like to thank Art Visions for enabling this.

A trillion thanks to Yumi Hara, the main star for coming, for the pictures, the signatures, for eating breakfast with a bunch of idiots in suits ( us / HPT)

And for being so adorable and nice to us.

Regrets: Missing HPT members, Shini, Landro, Basu, Shinn and Fox; we will be waiting for you

next year should art vision X Anime North delivers again.

Until the day we all get to do calls together,

THE WORLD IS ALL ONE.

Read also:

Exciel’s report

Omo’s report(s)

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