Ayako Kawasumi Otakon 2006 Redux

Ayako Kawasumi

The least I could do for my fellow seiyuu fans is to do a brief retelling of the Kawasumi panel at Otakon. You probably can find other retellings out there, but I’ll try to add more and flesh it out. Anyways, it has been only 8 days since the panel, so we’ll bound to see more (especially press coverages) in the coming months.

I do have to apologize, though. I spent a good amount of the time at the panel standing really close to the front, where the acoustics sucked. I missed out on some stuff, as a result. In fact, both of Otakon’s 400-level panel rooms had the same problem: it was very difficult to hear what the sound system is piping through if you sit at the very front, or on the panel. Actually in terms of the Kawasumi panel, the result was that the Q&A session was done AX-style–everyone lined up at the mic in front and we fired questions from the front of the line. Basically, we just walked right up to Kawasumi and The Ukulele Translator Guy (“Taka“) and delivered our requests and questions at a close proximity.

Also, since there were no flash photography to be had, pictures were not so easy to come by–good ones at least. The ones you see in this post are all props to Sapphire & Co. with the assist. I didn’t get any good ones….well. Short story which I’ll recite below.

Anyways, onto the juicy stuff. There’s probably no point to construct a chronological narrative, so here’s a memory dump:

  • The Promo. Ugh. I think at almost every industry panel we spent like 15-20 minutes watching clips and doing intros and/or hearing each of the guests giving some props to their sponsors. That’s fine and all but it really cuts into Q&A time. Same with this panel. Kawasumi likes to give very fleshed-out answers, too, so each question took a while. Admittedly the first 3-4 fans at bat at the mic (in which I am one), in essence, asked 2 questions, it made the line even longer and slower as other people continued to do the 2-question thing. Sorry! But hey, I think those of us who asked her to do a voice was perfectly acceptable. At any rate, Q&A time was precious.
  • She was doing a little jig when the video clip was showing her role in My Wife Is a High Schooler. Well, just the typical L-Suki hand motion.
  • She did the voices for…Lafiel, Mahoro, Aoi, and uh…is that it? Those were pretty cool when she did it at the panel. Even stood up for “Call me Lafiel!” and it was REALLY LOUD. Did the press interviews prep her for this? Thanks if that was the case :3 There was this guy who would have asked for Saber, but the line was too long for him.
  • The Crybaby Comment. It seems that her favorite Ichigo Mashimaro girl is still Matsuri (good for me, albeit predictable). She can relate to her straight-facedness. Especially when being bullied. And being somewhat of a crybaby.
  • She is definitely…not exactly brimming with confidence when it comes to her musical compositions. I think she has a good idea what is “good” and she can’t reach her standards? I’m just guessing here. But both times when I approached her with her musical stuff she seems a little bit embarrassed. The official excuse, of course, is that she’d rather focus on the voice acting part of her life. I just think it’s because she’s a tad of a “changed track” when she started to be so successful at voice acting, especially since she had a decent college education in musical composition. I suppose I can’t expect everyone to embrace their pasts the same way :3
  • It seems that her favorite voice actor to work with is Seki? I might have misheard the question, or didn’t understand it, but something about Tomokazu Seki. Mmmm. Seki.
  • She did say something about Lafiel; it’s one of her earliest roles (she debuted as Melfina in 1998), and also a character that is fairly different than her typical bishoujo offerings. But just out of that role she’s gotten a lot of confidence boosts from all the fans who loved her Lafiel performance.
  • There was one stooooopid fanboy who asked her about her knowledge about the English-language fansub scene. DIEDIEDIE. He got vetoed by Mr. Lead Interpreter! Thanks!
  • There were a couple Japanese-cultural questions, which she answered fairly elegantly (actually she did that for the most part for everyone)…but they were simple questions with obvious answers. Boo.
  • She does like Dragon Ball. That’s Shounen Jump for you alright.

Oh, right, the story about pictures I tried to take. So when the panel shifted to Q&A, there was a bit of confusion as Taka wanted some assist from the staffers there. Because of how things were, they decided to switch to the AX-style Q&A queue, so we queued up. I was either the third or fourth in line thanks to the quickness of feet and the short period of chaos ensued, but nonetheless I was up close. I didn’t have my normal digicam with me so I pulled out my Sony Ericsson W600i. Ugh, I pressed the “play” button instead of the camera button. So it started to go “Haruka sora hibiite iru. Inori wa…kiseki ni…“. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t shut it off since the phone was lagging slightly. I removed the battery and apologized. But soon enough it was my turn to go up there, so I didn’t try with it again.

What is also interesting (but to my detriment) was that I got coerced to helping Mr. Lead Interpreter as a mic guide because we have a wireless mic going around. My job was just take it from the guy who asked the question and hand it to the next person, and tell the guy to go all the way up right next to Kawasumi. In retrospect I couldn’t have gotten back in line fast enough anyways to ask another question, so it made no difference besides making it hard for me to hear. I did it only for a few people’s turn anyways. But that would make this Otakon the first where I partially helped the con operations and partially cosplayed!

Ah well, that was fun. I think my most memorable moments are still when she stood up and went Lafiel on the crowd, and when she laughed embarrassingly as she signed my “…to you” single. Hah. She even made it out “To” me.

This is omo, embarassing Japanese guests and himself since 1998. See you, Otakon, in 2007.

Oh one more thing: cute and very…cute.

Thx Saph/Hubby!


9 Responses to “Ayako Kawasumi Otakon 2006 Redux”

  • Hinano

    I didn’t go to her panel but I went to her signing. I had her sign my Rave booklet….Rave is the series that she did with Seki Tomokazu by the way =P He played Haru and she played Elie. However, right before she was gonna sign for me, I heard her saying in Japanese to the guys sittin with her “I think I just said something rude to him” and laughing. That kinda gave me a negative impression of her and the whole “Japanese fake kindness” thing….so once she signed my bookie I was happy that I got to meet my fav seiyuu but there was a disappointing feeling in me.

  • omo

    Well while I can’t comment on the out-of-context impression I got from your impression (thanks for the scoop)…Rave would definitely be the show the two of them worked extensively together with. But I imagine having to deal with him in Fate Stay Night (as Gilgamesh?!!) and Yume Tsukai probably left her a fresh impression of Sekiman~ It’s definitely not the only times when the two of them worked on the same project.

  • Hinano

    Ah okay, I haven’t watched either of those shows (well I did but then I dropped them after a few eps) so I had no idea. I know there was another show besides Rave and the ones you mentioned that the 2 of them were in together..I just can’t recall what it is XD

  • omo

    They share credits in Initial D and Kanon, but I don’t think they have actual scenes with each other. Well, I can’t remember anyways.

  • Hinano

    oh yes Kanon! Actually I just realized the guy who seki voiced had a major crush on the girl who Ayako voiced so yep they did (even though the characters were support ones)

  • tj han

    Very interesting… Always nice to see some tidbits of infomation about our favourite seiyuus (ok not mine though) since most of these are always in Japanese and really boring to translate as 3/4 of the text will be pointless chatter.

  • Kenny Liu

    lol! I saw thatt. That kid was such a retard. First he asked her to show everyone that little dance she was doing during the promos (w-wtf??) and then he asked her if she was aware that a lot of her animes were being fansubbed. Goddammit. Good thing that guy ran over and stopped it.

  • Zero-Hour

    Whoa… lucky. I actually wanted to go to Otakon more than AX this year, but alas living in the West coast counts me out (and lack of funds).

    Seki was at AX’05 and I was lucky enough to get my Esca box signed and get a quick photo of him.

    Great recap of your adventures there. It was awesome that she did the requested voices. Man.. I wish I could’ve gone.

  • omo

    I saw Seki at AX2005 too. I didn’t think I was expecting it, but if you had something from Escaflowne you couldn’t go wrong at that con :) He was such a trooper that year, flying in for a day just for us \o/

    Too bad that just reminded me how I missed Nobuteru Yuuki’s autograph session at Otakon :(

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