Today’s post is a report from Bruce Pregger, a long-time Yuricon staffer, one of my best lackeys and a very good friend. We’ve been in the habit of visiting Japan at New Year’s with him, for Comiket and shrine visits. This year he had to go by himself – which makes this a very good time to thank him from the bottom of my heart for all the crap he picked up and lugged home for me. I love every single thing. Bruce – you’ll find yourself (somewhat belatedly) on the Okazu Superhero roll.
On New Year’s Eve this past year, there was a Maria-sama ga Miteru event held at movie theaters country-wide. Happily for all of us, Bruce was able to go. Here is his report:
As I was about to leave on a holiday trip to Tokyo, Erica informed me about a Maria-sama ga Miteru New Year’s Eve Special Event, taking place in connection with the start of the fourth season. The event was going to be held at all Warner-Mycal Cinemas throughout Japan. It was something I knew I had to try to see. As luck would have it one of these cinemas was in the suburban town of Tobu-Nerima, a relatively easy train ride from my Ikebukuro hotel. So on New Year’s Eve I headed out through the blue holiday lights to see how Yumi and Sachiko would fare in a Warner Brothers setting. The cinema was on the top floor of a department store, along with five or six restaurants, just one floor up from the smiling tofu furniture. The event ticket was 1300 yen, a little over $14. Next to the theater there was a concession area selling mostly Warner Brothers character goods, but in the center was a kiosk stocked with all kinds of Marimite items. It was a breathtaking sight. Up until then I had found dreadfully few Marimite goods anywhere in Tokyo. So I happily piled armfuls of the stuff onto the counter. To her credit the woman behind the register reacted calmly, as though hyperventilating American Marimite fans show up in Tobu-Nerima all the time.
After cheerfully taking all my money she inquired whether I had gotten my cup. Cup? She led me around to the the drink counter, where my ticket entitled me to a limited edition Marimite New Year’s Eve Special Event lidded drink cup (click on photo for larger image). The lids came in yellow and red. I don’t know what happened to the white ones. On entering the theater I was handed a pair of 3-D glasses. The special event was getting more special by the minute.
The theater was about half full, maybe 150 people, approximately 80% male, every one clutching a pink cup. The theater manager came out and welcomed us to the event. The first part of the show was the premier of the new season’s first episode. It was great seeing it on the big screen, though the opening was startling – the song bright and snappy, Yumi and friends hopping in and out of magic portals, white sailor collars fluttering wildly…. But the episode itself was back down to earth. And the ending credits were exceptionally charming. Next came a video greeting from Kana Ueda and Miki Ito, the voice actresses for Yumi and Sachiko, who asked us to put on our glasses as they mugged in 3-D for the camera. Then came the final presentation. This was a long music video made from clips of the first two seasons that had been fully three-dimensionalized. It followed the three rose families in turn, with music from the series. It was wild. The audience was simultaneously brushing away a tear and ducking out-thrust rosaries. And I have to state that Sei is every bit as fun in three dimensions as in two. It was wonderful, and at the end I thought some applause would be appropriate, but the audience enjoyed it all in silence. When the lights came on the manager reappeared, thanking us for attending, and urging us to purchase even more items at the concession stand. It was all a tremendous amount of fun, and a great way to end the year.
Erica again: Bruce, no doubt the waves of jealousy and envy will batter you appropriately. But thank you so very, very much for my teen-weeny little mascot figurines and the towels and the report! Next year in Tokyo.
Before I forget, today was the Girls Love doujinshi event in Japan. I’ll see if I can’t find a report on it to share. ^_^