Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mike Toole's Anime Boston Puffy Concert Write Up (Part 2)

Here is the second part of Mike Toole's concert write up for Puffy at Anime Boston.  Again thanks to Mike for doing this.  Totally above and beyond.


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

I made it in time for autographs this time! Each session lasted 90 minutes, and they capped the line at about 100 attendees both times, and you better believe both of those lines were FULL. So each of us were allowed to have one item signed, no photos and no special requests please! As I got settled into line and looked at my 3DS (gotta get my streetpasses! Events like nerd conventions are great for streetpasses.), a lady in front of me turned to me. "Hey, want to buy a t-shirt?" she quipped. I declined. "I got CDs!" she said, and then I realized that this was the official merch seller!

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.

Photo Credit
Then it was time for audience Q&A! And this got off to a pretty hilarious start, as a dude in cosplay (didn't recognize the outfit, but he had some kind of big sword prop... maybe a Final Fantasy character?) got up first, and asked, in cute, stilted Japanese: "Do you have a boyfriend?"

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
Pretty funny stuff. They talked about how the cartoon deal happened (Sam Register heard them on the radio and called Sony to get them for the Teen Titans song - it all snowballed from there), about how they're still goofy-ass best friends (sample remark: Yumi goes into Ami's hotel room to get her phone cable, and the dozing Ami, in between sleep murmurs, says, perfectly clearly, eyes still closed, "it's gonna rain all day today, so don't wear your uggs"), and I got to ask them what music they'd been listening to. Ami said she was into a lot of k-pop, and Yumi said she was listening to one particular song by the band Dresscodes. In fact, she had it on repeat all morning, and it was really getting on Ami's nerves...!

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.

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