Almost two weeks ago–forever in Internet time, I know–I went to a live taping of Ramen Revolution, a late-night TV show on local channel KSCI that just started. It was one of the stranger episodes in my years of fandom. (See Benu and Dancing Queen’s posts about this.)
I heard about Ramen Revolution because one of my friends, Benu of Anime Genesis, was guest hosting that evening. He’d told me about it about a month or two before, so I’d set my calendar for it a good while back. Nevertheless, I didn’t leave early enough to get there on time–though, fortunately, the taping didn’t start until half an hour after the designated time on the ticket. I entered the non-airconditioned theater a good 15 minutes before showtime.
And I immediately felt old, to tell the truth. Most of the audience were definitely in their teens. Many were cosplaying. My guess is that an entire anime club was present as in the opposite side of the room, a large contingent of cosplayers were sitting together, and that corner would be one of the most reliable sources of cheers and squeals. I was kind of reminded of being in high school church youth group, where the front row would be taken by the group I called the Hallelujah Corner. Except instead of cheering for God, they were cheering for the various bishies that would parade in front from time to time. Or something like that. It also reminded me of being at pretty much every anime convention I’ve been to, albeit on a much smaller scale. I’d estimate there were only about 100 people in the theater when the taping started.
I sat by myself for the first half of the show, which featured some fairly amusing pre-recorded sketches and featured Benu guesting–especially during the anime trivia section. I knew the answers to most of the questions, but I wasn’t picked by the random microphone passer. The heat was beginning to get to me by then, and especially for everyone else–Benu would tell me it was pretty bad on his end, since he had to stand under the glare of hot spotlights too. Still, I could see he was having fun, and I saw him bouncing around when Makenai band, an excellent local anime song cover band (I’ve met them before at Anime Souffle), played their well-rehearsed rendition of “God Knows.” Benu has a video of it in his video diary of the event below.
The second half of the show went by even more pleasantly as I not only met Benu–and sat next to him–but also met fellow aniblogger Dancing Queen, of How a Girl Figures. We all traded war stories of being in the blogging trenches and she even gave me advice about some figures that I inherited from our very own Ray. In her account of the event, she talks about a creepy guy who sat in the row in front of us, and it’s true–he was harassing me in particular, randomly asking if I was a Trekkie, threatening with two glowsticks to kill me because he was a borg, and even chiming in about how engineering IS sexy (I was talking about my then current post about the lack of Japanese engineers). Beware of otaku. :p
I felt a bit sorry for the producers during both the first and second half of the show, because it took quite a bit of work on their part to get the audience pumped up and excited, especially during the bands. I confess I was one of the hard-to-impress folks, not terribly inclined to stand up and dance; it’s something that I generally don’t do even for bands I love, and doubly so if I’m not familiar with a band’s music–as was the case with many of the songs that evening. Which is why there was an odd kind of poetic justice when near the end of the show, the lead singer of L2D, a J-rock influenced local band, pointed at me and presumably Benu to get up up front to the stage and join the rest of the crowd that was headbanging and dancing. (No moshing, though, according to the rules–though I’d pay to see some people do that.) Sheepish, I relented, went up front, and joined the crowd, Benu in tow. It was the first time I headbanged to anything since I was a teenager.
All in all, it was a raucous show with a surprisingly fierce amount of energy and excitement for such a small, brand-new outfit. There were definite growing pains–some transitions, sound checks, and the like were clearly a bit underehearsed–but since this is only their second episode, Ramen Revolution has plenty of time to grow into what they’re doing. The mini-convention like atmosphere is a little draining for someone my age, but like I once said about cons, it’s also simultaneously refreshing. So I wish the producers all the best and I hope to meet more new friends, like I did on that odd Saturday night two weeks ago.