The girls took several breaks to talk to the crowd. Some of it was rehearsed with notes, but there was some ad-libbing going on too. I think Yumi's English has gotten a lot better. My favorite bit was when they started asking the audience for beer/bar suggestions.
Audience: "POUR HOUSE!" (a pretty good bar right across the street from the con)
Yumi: "w-whore house...?!"
Audience: "NO, POUR HOUSE!!"
Ami: "Your house?"
Audience: "POUR HOUSE!"
Ami: "...your mom's house?"
I wasn't expecting to hear a classic 'your mom' joke from Ami Onuki, but hey, it happened. Anyway, on to Saturday.
|Photo Credit: Japan Times|
Yep, they had a sales team going up and down the line, selling the merch offerings: tote bags, t-shirts, and CDs. I'd brought my old copy of AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY to sign, but I happily paid the $30 for a copy of the 20th anniversary compilation. It was fun to talk to other fans while we waited - some folks were oldsters like me, others were kids when the Cartoon Network stuff happened and were waiting to meet their childhood heroes. Just outside of the autograph suite (we were filed in a very orderly fashion through two lineup rooms to get there), I bumped into another old pal, who was helping with interpreting. They pointed out something that wasn't obvious - Ami's daughter was with her! I guess she'd be about 14 now? Anyway, she was off in the back of the room. Cute kid, seemed pretty chilled out.
So then I got to meet Puffy, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Just said a quick hello, and that I'd been at the 2002 show in Boston and had waited patiently for them to return since 2005. They warmly thanked me, I got my signature... what can I say, my hopes are pretty modest!
Then it was time for the panel. It started a little late, and opened with a promo video, including all of the "Puffypipoyama" music video. I've been to a lot of these with Japanese anime creators, and they're a really mixed bag. Sometimes the A/V is screwy, sometimes the guests are tired or confused since public appearances at Japanese events aren't this interactive, and sometimes the people asking questions are real goofballs. The girls took the stage with an interpreter/moderator, who asked them some general, pleasant questions about their career (at one point, Ami said "there are some of you in here who saw us way back in 2002!" while looking right at me. neato!), what they've been doing lately, and the Cartoon Network show.
Ami: Dude. We both have kids.
Yumi: Yeah, that's actually a really surprising question! Do you guys not get Japanese celeb news here?
At this point, the crowd has a giggle, and the clearly flustered cosplay dude quietly returns to his seat... where he gets his big prop, and BOLTS for the exit. I guess he was really embarrassed!!
Yumi: Hey, wait! Wait a minute! My answer is 'no!' Where you going, dude?!
|Photo Credit Moshimoshi-nippon.jp|
Anyway, soon it was over. The focus panel started late and ended a little early, but that was my only complaint. One odd wrinkle is that, while anime con attendees will roll DEEP for concerts and autographs, they're way less likely to attend the focus panels. There were only about 150 of us there! I was right in the front row!! It was cool to be up front, but I kinda wish more people stopped by...
A couple of final thoughts. First of all, I was really happy that Puffy came to my hometown con, and double-happy that I got to see them at every event (I'm usually super-busy at these things and have to miss stuff). I listened to "Spike" and "Illustrated History" constantly back in 2001-2002, a happy and interesting time in my life. I associate Puffy with that feeling of contentment. They were fun to see live in 2002. I took a miss on them in 2005, figuring that the audience would be packed with kids and this show was for them. I was actually at New York Comicon in 2010! But I was on the speaking program and didn't make it over to Irving Plaza in time to see Puffy. At this point, eight years after seeing them live, I glumly accepted that I'd never get to see them again. So this concert was a real gift. I'd like to see Puffy again, and at this point, I think it'll happen.