AXでほっちゃん!Hocchan at AX!

ほっちゃん最高!Hocchan was great!


This day was the wonderful day. When I heard from our AnimeDiet staff that Hocchan, my idol, was coming to AX, my chest went chirping. Anyway, this Expo had really a lot of variety of top guests from the Anime world this year. I bet American otaku also got really excited.

さて、 私個人としては、ほっちゃんを一目みたいというのがありました。とくにAice5の『LovePower』という楽曲、『おとボク』の主題歌、そして私の永遠の憧れであるカトリック系女子校のお姉さま宮小路瑞穂ちゃんを演じた声優、それがきっかけですね。また沢近愛理のボサノバ調のFeel My Feeling、あぁ、黒主優姫も印象的でしたよ。もちろん今回のエキスポで他の声優では『ブリーチ』の一護の森田成一さんにも会いたいというのがありました。またシェリル・ノームことMay’Nのコンサートに行きたいという欲求もありました。とにかく、今回のエキスポは目白押しでした。なにしろ理想の二次元世界の立役者たちですからね!しかし、私のアニメ好きを決定させた声といってもいいのがほっちゃんでしょうね。

Anyway, personally, I wanted to see Hocchan just once. I fell in love with that Aice5’s song for Oto-boku, and she was the seiyuu for Miyanokoji Mizuho, Onee-sama of a Catholic all girl’s school, my eternal idol. And that was when I really started liking her. I also like Sawachika Eri‘s bossa nova song, Feel My Feeling. Oh, yes, Cross Yuuki from Vampire Knight was also impressive. Of course, for other seiyuus, I wanted to meet Morita Masakazu, Ichigo from Bleach at this expo. And I wanted to go to the Sheryl Nome (May’N) concert. Anyhow, this Expo was fantastically packed together with awesome guests. They are the main actors of the idealized 2-D world. But, Hocchan’s voice played a critical role in my falling for anime.


Well, our primary plan was to get Hocchan’s autograph. And all the staff members helped me out to grant my wish. AnimeDiet turned into Make-A-Wish-Foundation for hikikomori. Special thanks to DcBebop, Rev. Gendo, and Ray, I finally got the autograph! They are the heroes!


However, the autograph session had a long line. It was like the unemployed soup kitchen line during Great Depression. Then, when I saw Hocchan, she was rather very tiny. She was probably just 5 feet 1. So she was very tiny among Americans. That’s why I couldn’t really tell that was her from far. But, gradually as the line moved up, I got excited, “Oh, that’s really Hocchan!” “She really does exist!” My heart got thump thump, and I couldn’t breathe well. And then, when my turn came, what in the world, she bowed to me. Even though this was America, she bowed! Internally, I was very surprised. I haven’t really had an opportunity to bow since I came to America. Well, I was very surprised by her Japanese way of greeting, but I put my hand in front of her, expecting her to shake my hand. Then, we had a handshake. Gyoeeeii!!! I thought I would die from electrocution! OMG, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Then, she gave me the autograph. It was just a few seconds, but that few seconds made my day!


Next day, as a reporter, we went to the press conference of Hocchan and KitaEri. But Hocchan was very emotionally distant. She was very formal, she didn’t have body language, she sat straight like a nail, and she didn’t show her emotion, and rather very super Japanese manners, I couldn’t tell what was she really thinking, and very rigid. We can’t tell her “Mawatte! (Turn around!)” Of course, it was a press conference, so we woudn’t do that. But in America, a superstar throws a kiss at fans, and mingles with fans and exchanges handshakes. Elvis, Michale Jackson, Lady Gaga, everyone does that. Even to the press, they show a big smile and wave their hand. Even in Presidential race, candidates go into the crowd and shake hands. We can tell from Reagan and Obama self-evidently. Even in Japan, so was Koizumi, a big fan of Elvis. Skinship with fans is American way. That’s why Hocchan’s attitude was a culture shock to me. “Hum, this must be the right way in Japan.” I kind of rediscovered that. Japan is the world that lacks skinship. As if not having skinship is the polite manner. In America, meeting starts with handshake, but in Japan, bowing, then business card exchange. There is no touching involved. And that is also a pathological side of the Japanese society.


It was astounding that Hocchan, who has been playing that many emotionally abundant girls who love to have skinship in 2-D, was practicing a manner that symbolizes lack of skinship in 3-D. It was totally unexpected.


But, more unexpected was when she said that she didn’t have much experience walking with a boy together after school like romantic comedy school anime (this case Toradora!). And she wanted to experience that youth’s pleasure through anime. I was like, “Really!? Despite that fact that she is this pretty?” And I thought, “Oh, that’s why she joined the 17 years old cult!” Well, even that, probably I lived in America for too long, I couldn’t tell her emotions from her facial expression. From abundant expressions she shows in Aice5 performance, and abundant emotions she expresses in the 2-D world, umm, it was totally unexpected.


That was the impression I got from meeting real Hocchan. Yet, it would definitely be my life time treasure that I met with my idol Seiyuu.

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