Tales of Osaka

November 7th, 2010

Time to back up to the beginning.

So, as you know, Bruce and I arrived in Tokyo, stayed in our nice room in Shinagawa, which is becoming an increasingly bad idea, as the hotel is so nice, every other hotel is awful in comparison.

The next morning, we hopped the Shinkansen out to Nagoya. On the way there, we failed to see the life-size Gundam that is in Shizuoka, (I thought they had dismantled it already!) and I’m very annoyed at myself that I didn’t look for it. ^_^;;

We arrived in Nagoya and managed to be found by William Flanagan, whom you may know as the translator of Lucky Star (the good one, that took over halfway), Tsubasa Chronicles, Code Breaker and many other manga. It was our pleasure to have met Bill last spring at Tokyo Anime Fair and he was nice enough to ask us to drop by for some local specialties if we were in the area. A local specialty happens to be katsu and it also happens to be one of my favorites meals, so when the stars aligned we had a really nice lunch, thanks Bill!

We eventually made it to Osaka, where we found that the hotel did not have our reservation. Always a good feeling. The hotel found us a room, where we tried to spend as little time as possible. The only reason I picked the hotel was its proximity to the theater and that was, in the end, the only good thing about it. ^_^;

We met up with Komatsu-san, who took us on a tour of Osaka, including the geek district. I really like Osaka, there’s a lot of energy and a LOT of food everywhere. But then, I finally crashed and burned and we went back to our rooms without even eating dinner. I had one rice ball and fell asleep by 9:30.

The next morning was the big day! Of course Bruce and I were awake very very early and we sat outside at the mall where the theater was. Eventually we were joined by Komatsu-san and we waited for the mall to open. Originally, we were first on line, but then two VERY motivated otaku came up and basically cut everyone off to be first. I didn’t fight them. It wasn’t worth it, so I was #3 ticket. Now that we had tickets, we relaxed and went for a walk – to see the Heartcatch PreCure movie! Marimite was only being shown twice that day and the first showing was at 3:45, so we walked a bit to another mall (which had a very southwestern canyon look about it) and stood in line with a bunch of 4 year olds and their mothers (and a Dad or two). The girls got a little flashlight and a PreCure visor, I was apparently too old for such things. ^_^

Bruce, who is not watching PreCure, described the movie as a “High decibel fruit salad.” It takes place in Paris and while it had no original elements, it was still fun. Of course we all had to lend them the power of our heart flowers to help PreCure beat the bad guy. And in case you consider trying to be clever, no my heart flower is *not* a lily. So there, nyah. Bruce didn’t lend his power, because, he said, if all of Paris wasn’t enough to help, he didn’t think his would matter. What a meanie he is – we might have been destroyed because of him!

We had a ramen for lunch, with a side of fried garlic and happy, full and ready to be disappointed by the movie we made our way back to the theater. The two motivated Fanboys were first in line and they were let in first, then me, Komatsu-san and Bruce. The one Fanboy changed seats like three or four times, then sat there and fidgeted in a really creepy way, thus fulfilling every creepy otaku stereotype possible. The audience was split about 60/40 men/women, and mostly everyone was normal, with only about a half dozen really creepy otaku types. The two guys sitting next to me were both young and seemed kind of unlikely an audience. There were a number of younger women, as well, so overall, I was impressed with the crowd. Then the movie began….

…with an absolutely hilarious animated short voiced by Itou Miki and Ueda Kana about things we should not do while the movie is on. Yumi explained that we should not use our cell phones, take pictures, eat food loudly (illustrated by a picture of a bowl of ramen, because you know you might eat that in a theater…) or give rosaries to your soeur. Then Sachiko recapped and it was time for the movie.

Which was…really fun! They rewrote some bits, but I think it worked. The beginning was a scene in which Yumi comes into class and finds Miyuki crying tears of joy because she received a rosary. You remember Miyuki, right? She was one of the first Yoshino-wannabees in Yellow Rose Revolution. Total drama queen. This gives Yumi a chance to “explain” the soeur system to us. Also kind of fun was that *every time* Yumi comes into the school, she says the “walking slowly is preferred here” bit. Like she’s mentally preparing herself, or something. Oh, both Bruce and I loved the fact that the floors squeaked in the school. Like old wooden floors do.

Yumi and Sachiko actresses did a much better job than any of us expected. And then it started to dawn on me – every actress was picked for a specific reason. Yumi, because she could make her eyes big, Shimako for her smile. The voices were all very good, so the casting people were very mindful of what we wanted to hear and what we were used to. Kashiwagi was the worst choice, his body language was terrible, but his voice was really good. So, they were obviously thinking about it hard.

The rewrites were small, didn’t affect the major plot points, gave Yoshino lines she might otherwise not have had (poor Yoshino!) and by the end, all of us were right there with Yumi and Sachiko as Yumi and Sachiko.

In the end, Bruce, Komatsu-san and I all gave it a 9 out of 10.

Then we made Komatsu-san take us for okonomiyaki, because we were in Osaka and since neither Komatsu-san nor I like takoyaki, we had to do *something* typical! Dinner was delicious (of course,) then we went on a nice, wandering long walk around Osaka Shinsaibashi/Nihonbashi area. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful night and the company was pleasant. It was perfect.

The next morning we met up for breakfast (a little challenging on Sunday AM) then we parted with many thanks. I know I thanked you many times Komatsu-san, but once more – thank you so very, very much for everything! We both had a wonderful time. Here’s a link to the pictures I took, which include some of Komatsu-san and Osaka.

The train ride to Tokyo was long, the subway ride to Ikebukuro was long, the walk to the hotel was long, but here we are! Today, we meet up with my commanding officer, Ana, and do some shopping! See you later!

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One Response

  1. Ojisan says:

    Wow – I’m sold. I’ve never made the leap to live recreations of anime, in tv or movie format (I understand Nodame Cantabile’s not bad, but Moyashimon enraged me after five minutes) – now I’m sold on making Marimite my gateway drug.

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