crystal_tiara (crystal_tiara) wrote in fm_alchemist,

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A very belated (and long) entry on the FMA seiyuu event in Yokohama

Hello everyone! Last time, smea_chan posted an entry about, among other things, a DVD of the FMA seiyuu event that took place on November 1 in Pacifico Yokohama last year. I was fortunate enough to have been picked to attend the event (it was only limited to 5000 attendees, which were picked by lottery), but I didn't have confidence in posting my account of the event here since I didn't feel that I had any significant information to contribute.

But, just in case anyone is interested in knowing what transpired during the event, here's my rather long narrative. A disclaimer, though: my Japanese isn't very good, so some of the things written might be mistaken. So when the DVD comes out, I'll stand corrected!

The seiyuu event took place from 5 pm to around 8 pm, but before the event, lots of FMA merchandise were on sale, and anyone was free to look around (even those who weren't picked for the event). There were even exclusive merchandise of the event, such as glow-sticks, a poster and a pamphlet containing messages from the cast.

The pamphlet that I bought. I also got a poster with the same image.

Opening the pamphlet

The selling of merchandise ended at 2:30 and everyone was told to get out because the organizers were to prepare for the event. At 4 pm, I was able to enter the grounds. This time, there were staff dressed in the FMA State Military uniform. I'd also like to note that no more pictures were allowed beyond this area (the ground floor).

An Ed cosplayer asked for a pic with the military ladies

Cute freebie pack given to the attendees

Stuff inside the freebie pack - mostly flyers, though there was a postcard (or two), and a glow stick

Glow sticks!

After a while, I made my way to my seat, and the event began. Things capped off with our favorite Major, Alex Louis Armstrong, explaining the rules. He did so in a very amusing way: he'd say a certain rule, and then a scene from the anime would display on the screen. For instance, he'd say "no pictures" and the screen would show Hughes with a picture of Elicia, he'd say "no using of cellphones" and the screen would show Roy and Riza creating false reports of Scar sightings at Fuery's place, he'd say "no smoking" and - to everyone's amusement - the screen showed Havoc smoking, and so on. Everyone was laughing heartily because it was just so hilarious! Armstrong was even hamming it up - towards the end, the screen showed him randomly flexing his muscles, as he always does.

When the rules were sufficiently explained, the familiar melody of YUI's "Again" filled the hall, after which nine silhouettes could be seen behind a screen. Following a burst of fireworks, the stage lit up, and the beloved voice actors of Ed, Al, Winry, Roy, Riza, Scar, Greed, Ling and Mei - namely, Romi Paku, Rie Kugimiya, Megumi Takamoto, Miki Shinichiro, Fumiko Orikasa, Kenta Miyake, Junichi Nakamura, Mamoru Miyano and Mai Gotou - bowed and waved to the audience amid delighted squeals and loud applause. The host introduced each of the voice actors, who were escorted to their seats.

It was time for the first part of the event - the seiyuu talk show! A few questions were posed to the voice actors. I couldn't understand all of them, but here's what I remembered and understood: "Ed became a State Alchemist at the young age of 12. When you were 12, what did you want to become?" and "Al has a list of foods that he wants to eat (when he gets his body back). If you were to make a list of foods you like to eat, what would be number one on your list?" and, to Kenta Miyake, "You voice Garfiel and Scar ; the gap between those two characters is interesting. How do you act as Garfiel and as Scar?" The voice actors were all very enthusiastic as they responded to the questions. Romi Paku and Mamoru Miyano stood out for me, because they were the most cheerful and playful; they were clearly as energetic as their anime counterparts. Also, the last question I mentioned was very funny, as Miyake struck a feminine pose to show how he portrayed Garfiel.

After the questions for the voice actors, it was time for Q&A with the staff (particularly the director of the anime) and Hiromu Arakawa. But since they couldn't attend the event, the Q&A with Yasuhiro Irie, the director, was presented as a pre-recorded video, and Hiromu Arakawa's answers were relayed through the emcee. Again, I couldn't understand everything that was said, but I learned that the FMA anime is ending in June.

I can't remember the exact order of the next few events, but don't worry, I remember everything that happened. But anyway, there was a yon-koma theater featuring a special yon-koma that Hiromu Arakawa created just for the event. The yon-koma for this event was basically about the FMA characters being excited to go to Yokohama. Ling and Mei were especially excited to go to Chinatown in Yokohama. The voice actors were asked to act out the yon-koma and, if possible, to do ad-libs. Mamoru Miyano was even given shumai (Chinese dumplings) as props! Romi Paku asked if Mamoru Miyano could read his dialogue with his mouth full. Miyano was up for the challenge! Initially, he just stuffed a few pieces, but after much prodding, he stuffed all four shumai in his mouth until he could no longer talk, and the shumai just fell out of his mouth! It was amusing to see how dorky he acted and how much camaraderie there seemed to be among the cast.

The host then proceeded to show certain scenes that the staff picked ("Hagaren Staff Selection" - scenes that stood out for the Hagaren staff, I guess). After each scene was shown, the voice actors were asked for their reactions on those scenes, such as how they felt while dubbing them. First to be shown was the "It's raining" scene, and Shinichiro Miki and Fumiko Orikasa talked about how they portrayed Roy and Riza with the grief of losing a dear friend. Miki also said something along the lines of how he'd miss having Keiji Fujiwara, Hughes' voice actor, around.

At that point, the screen cut to a video of Keiji Fujiwara saying "hi" to everyone. He said something along the lines of, "Do you want me to be there at the event?" Of course, the audience said yes! To encourage him, they chanted, "Fujiwara! Fujiwara! Fujiwara!" Aaaaand... Fujiwara came out from backstage! It was something that no one anticipated, since his name wasn't on the list of attendees. What a pleasant surprise! Anyway, the other scenes shown were Riza's breakdown and Roy saving the day just in time (at which the ladies in the audience screamed because of Mustang's fantastic abs); Mei's introduction; Ling's introduction and the scene where Ed sees Alphonse's emaciated body at the Gate and swears him to get it back.

Next, the host said that since it's a Sunday (FMA airs every Sunday at 5 pm, Japanese time), we'd be treated to a screening of the week's FMA episode. I can't remember the exact episode number, but it was the mostly-flashback episode that was set in Ishbal and that featured young Mustang and Hawkeye.

After the screening was a brief intermission, and when we returned, Mamoru Miyano and Junichi Nakamura had something like a mini-talk show called "GreedLing Radio," in which they discussed random topics under the sun. The two seem like really good friends, even though in the anime and manga, the two are a bit antagonistic.

Then, it was time for the voice actors to show their mettle, as they were to do a live dubbing of certain scenes! First up were Miki, Orikasa and Fujiwara, who talked about the Ishbal War, Gracia and Elicia, and making it to the top, among other things. Next was a hilarious scene among Takamoto, Miyake and Gotou, which referenced the fact that Miyake voices two characters with totally different personalities. At first, Miyake (as Scar) would talk to Gotou (as Mei) about Shao May (Mei's panda), trying to hide the fact that he finds Shao May cute. Then, as Garfiel, he would talk to Takamoto (as Winry). It was amazing how he could switch voices without getting confused! Then, Takamoto and Gotou started calling him at the same time ("Garfiel-san!" "Scar-san!"), causing much confusion. Miyake would deliberately respond to Gotou in Garfiel's voice, leading Mei to ask, "Scar-san, are you all right? Just now you sounded..." and would respond to Takamoto in Scar's manly voice, prompting Winry to ask what's wrong. Everyone was laughing so hard! The third scene was between Miyano and Nakamura and it was about Greed and Ling sharing a body but having different consciousness.

The last scene was the most special. It was the scene in which Ed swears to get Al's body back from the gate. Paku and Kugimiya were doing this scene, and Paku dubbed the scene with so much emotion. For those who haven't seen this scene, let me describe it to you: Ed does a lot of shouting in this episode - not out of anger, but out of determination to reach his goal: to restore his younger brother's body. Paku was so awesome that she blew me away! She was shouting with such raw emotion, and I had never seen someone put such heart into a performance. Paku threw her head back and shouted, and when Ed was trying to break the Gate open (before making it out of Gluttony's stomach), Paku took on a determined stance, pointing her finger just as Ed did, and shouted, "ALPHONSE! Someday, I'll definitely get your body pack! Wait for me! WAIT FOR ME!" "Let It Out" started playing, and some fans (me included) started crying because of the sheer poignancy of the scene.

Next up was a continuation of "GreedLing Radio," in which Miyano and Nakamura asked the audience random questions, such as, "Did any of you not sleep the night before because of this event? I didn't get enough sleep because I was nervous and excited!" "Are any of you in cosplay?" (after which they squinted to look for cosplayers, and then complimented them on their costumes), and more. Then, they showed a trailer featuring Olivia (bear in mind that she hadn't appeared in the anime during this time).

Done with GreedLing Radio, the theme songs were then played. I love all the FMA theme songs, so I got emotionally charged listening to them. Soon, SID appeared onstage to play "Uso" live! After performing "Uso," SID sang a song called "Drama," the theme song of the FMA game.

The event was coming to a close by then. It was time for the voice actors to say goodbye, and each one of them thanked the crowd profusely. Gotou, who is just as cute as Mei is, said that she couldn't sleep before this event because she was so nervous, but that she enjoyed the event. Kugimiya, who is also quite cute, cried tears of joy, and Paku had to slightly console her (which was really cute, because it's nice to see that they seem to be such good friends in real life).

Overall, words cannot express how grateful I am to have seen the voice actors of FMA. I'm also glad to see that the voice actors seem really nice and friendly in real life - they were a mix of personalities that seemed to hit it off well together. I wish I could've taken pictures and asked for autographs, but such actions weren't allowed (apparently meet-and-greet and photo sessions are virtually unheard of in Japan), but just being able to see them in person, even though I was seeing them from the second floor of an event hall and not really up close, is enough for me. Whoever was in charge of the lottery for this event certainly made a foreign FMA fan's dream come true that day!
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