In which there is further in-depth discussion of yesterday’s event, or more properly the events of yesterday (the “main event” falling far short of performance expectations). Also, a plea for suggestions: how can we quantify “moe” in the dorkiest way possible?

Given last night’s decidedly half-conscious attempt at an event report I thought I’d follow up this morning with more details on yesterday’s foray into the limpid otaku figureverse. I just checked the meaning of “limpid” and it’s totally not suitable for the context, but it sure sounds wacky!

Yesterday began with a wakeup call at six, after staying up ’til midnight the night before playing that accursed game. After performing various morning rituals and printing out a map to the event hall I bolted for the train, catching an eight o’clock rapid into Tokyo that had me at Shinagawa station by 9:45. I had agreed in advance to meet up with Will, and meet we did – he had picked up tickets for the event at Toranoana the day before, so we were set.

I should mention that this is only otaku event I’ve been to here that required actual tickets, instead of the more common system of a paper catalog or guidebook serving as the pass for admittance. This was annoying because nowhere in shops supposedly selling the tickets prior to the event were the tickets advertised or prominently on display – I knew tickets were required and had the chance to pick them up in advance, but being someone who tends to forget about things that aren’t immediately in front of my nose I forgot to ask a clerk at Tora about them. They should at least have put up a sign or something. >:O

Anyway, it all turned out fine as Will was able to pick the tickets up on Saturday without a problem. We met at Shinagawa and planned our route strategy to the event hall, some bizarre out of the way place near the Keikyuu Kamata station in some part of Tokyo that I have no idea where it was and will probably never go there again, or even bother to construct a grammatically correct sentence in which the location is mentioned; upon exiting the train station we were easily able to spot the hall as the place with the obscenely long line of people waiting to enter it.

We were directed around the block and another block and a half down the street to the end of the line, and having arrived a few minutes after the official opening of the event (at 10:00 AM) anticipated a long wait in line. Within minutes it started moving forward at a fair clip, however, and we made it into the hall before ten thirty.

We were greeted by what to me was a pretty pathetic sight: a hall about a third of the size of a single section of the Big Sight, dotted with maybe a dozen industry booths on one end and a small stage on the other, with the Paper Moon gallery display between them. The spread wasn’t anything even remotely resembling the industry presence at Wonder Festival; instead of flashy, elaborate desplays the booths were functional and nigh minimalist, with generic layouts and plackard labeling.

After walking around (struggling around through the press of people) it eventually became apparent that the event wasn’t much more than, as mentioned yesterday, an excuse for a bunch of mostly second-string makers to dump dead stock of unpopular figures and make a quick buck off of limited edition items. Very little pageantry involved of the type so beloved by us otaculture watchers, alas.

The one figure I had my eye on was the Yujin Asuka (Yujin, I know, but SRDX SP, so the quality was supposedly superior. And it looked awfully sweet from the promo pictures). Unfortunately it turned out that to be guaranteed a copy I would have had to reserve it in advance and come to the event to pay / pick it up (if I recall correctly a similar system was in place last year for a limited edition Saber action figure…). Patience paid off in this regard however, as they were handing out tickets for a line that would form at three o’clock to purchase leftover stock from preorders that didn’t show. I drew number 138 in line, and five hours later breezed through and picked up my Asuka. I’m not sure yet whether this was a good thing or not; watch for the review in the next day or so.

Anyway, we continued our surveillance of the rather small space for awhile, taking pictures occasionally of stuff I thought was new and / or worthy of note; Goodsmile / Max Factory had a presence there with a couple of new and in-production items on display, but photography was prohibited. I’ll grab the details on those when I get the chance to check Midareuchi later, it wasn’t anything earth-shattering though.

We decided to go through the Paper Moon exhibit because it was the only really well-done bit of the event, and in the process of snapping pictures of the undeniably spooky gang of 1:1 scale heroines of fame we bumped into Danny Choo. Quite a dapper fellow, I must say, and you can read his take on the event here.

In the process of meandering through the hall we noticed a scruffy fellow hauling in several carboard boxes and unloading them at an unmarked table in the corner. It seemed a bit suspicious, but it turned out he was the official Wafuudou Ganguten representative at the event – the fact that he showed up well after it started, with a few boxes of old goods and nothing to display at all – not even a generic card with the company name on it – shows you just how half assed this event was, but when he started unloading a box of Tachibana Reis I could care less. He was selling them straight out of the box as he unloaded them, and for 6,000 yen I grabbed one without a second thought. They’re going second-hand for 9,000 yen or so on Amazon.jp last I checked, and can’t be found new at retail anywhere. A real windfall, and it made my day.

Having some time to kill before three and the queue for the Yujin cancelled allotment we left the venue and grabbed some lunch at a nearby Sukiya, talking a mile a minute. I hope I didn’t abuse Will’s ear too much, but he was quite sporting about the whole thing and a very fun fellow to hang out with. He’s leaving Japan today to look at some job prospects in Hong Kong and mainland China, and I wish him the best.

To make a long story slightly shorter we returned to the venue after lunch, talked some more, looked at the same stuff for the second time (we could have done the complete rounds of the event hall literally dozens of times in the six hours the event was officially open, and the stage events weren’t anything special, just product promotions). Three o’clock rolled around, I stood in line for maybe fifteen minutes, grabbed the goods, and we bolted for Akihabara.

After some angst with a stupid ATM in the train station we decided to just head straight there, and found a post office that was still open where cash difficulties were resolved. We took a walk through Kotobukiya’s very crowded location on the first floor of Radio Kaikan – it’ll be a nice shopping experience once the place settles down, I’m sure – and then headed over to Toranoana, doing a pass over the doujinshi and settling down for dinner at Cafe With Cat. The pasta was decent, but I’d still recommend it as a dessert / coffee spot over a place to grab a full-fledged meal.

We hit up K-books and Uni Qlo, and then called it a day, splitting up at the train station at about 7:30. I hopped on the train, and was home by 9:35 in the evening. Quite a fun day all told, but not entirely because of the event. As Danny Choo mentions in his coverage, there were thousands of people in that queue, waiting to purchase items that were decidedly mediocre (for the most part) in an environment that seemed thrown together at the last minute. Not worth the price of admission, and not recommended unless next year’s event promises something more substantial.

Totally off the subject, but I’m thinking I need to come up with a rating system for things (events, figures, games, magazines, books, etc.) that is expressed in units of “moe”. Any suggestions? This event would rate perhaps 2 out of 5 on the moeometer…