While there were several Japanese industry people at NYAF most of them were only present for the what they were presenting and never appeared in any formal panel where you could ask them questions about anything outside of what they were there to present. But voice actress and singer Minori Chihara not only had a panel but she also had a concert to promote her appearance in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. I would assume almost everyone who went to see her was there because of her work as Yuki unless Sakutarou has a huge fan following I was unaware of. And a lot of fans were very thrilled to see her at the convention because of that.
Schadenfreude. I must reluctantly admit the best part of question and answer panel with Minori Chihara came from being filled with schadenfreude due to some the most extreme idol otaku making complete fools of themselves. Animemiz posted a transcript of the whole Q&A from the Spotlight on Minori Chihara on Anime Diet. If you are really curious to what was asked you can get it all there. What the transcript leaves out is the horribly embarrassing details. Like the fact that several people had to be told “do not try to approach the stage” and “we cannot accept random gifts now.” The best part was one audience member that started off with Q&A sin number 1 which is asking their question in Japanese and then not even bothering to say it in English as well so the audience can understand. He then tried to have a conversation with Minori in the middle of the panel. She politely replied to whatever he said but the translator had to tell him several time to ask a question so they could move on. You could tell about half way through the panel the translator and the man running the panel were getting slightly aggravated with everyone. But after the third time they asked the man to either ask a question or sit down you could tell they were a hair’s width from just yelling at him. To give her credit Minori Chihara was always super polite and friendly no matter what was going on. The fact that he then asked to hand her a gift was merely the Pièce de résistance. It was quite amazing. If nothing else the panel was a prime example of how not to act in front of a celebrity.
The concert itself was right before the masquerade so Minori Chihara was playing to a completely filled IGN theater. The first thing I noticed is while she is a very attractive woman her hairstyle was completely hideous. Half of her head was long and pretty but the other half of her head was in cornrows. If that is a popular style in Japan they can keep it there. Other than that the blue dress that made me think of Rinoa Heartilly for some reason but I am probably the only person who thought that. She only sung songs from anime she has been in which was probably a wise move considering the audience she was playing to. She had a pleasant voice and a decent variety in the ballads and pops songs she sung. But she ended with Hare Hare Yukai and she did the Haruhi dance which made the audience go wild. Overall I had a good time and then zipped away before the masquerade started.
It is always nice to get some insight into people who help create the cartoons that entertain and occasionally enlighten us. Despite all the antics of some of the fans I enjoyed seeing her and hopes she comes to the U.S. again. While she was no Tomino (and who is) she was a great Japanese guest. I am curious to see who they will bring over next year.
More NY Anime Festival and Comic Con 2010 posts:
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Tweets
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: General Impressions
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Anime and Manga Industry
NY Anime Festival 2010: Artist Alley – Making it Big!
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Exhibitors Hall
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Premieres
NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Panels