The third day at A/X was definitely a little more low-key than the first two. The only major premiere that really interested me was the TV version of Mahoutsukai no Yome, but it was happening at night and I had a prior commitment. I did manage to make this my “fan day” – walking around the industry hall and the artists’ alley. The latter is always interesting – this is effectively an American take on Comiket (on a much smaller scale). The focus here is not on doujin, though, but arts and crafts more generally. Judging by the alley this year, Boku no Hero Academia continues to soar in popularity in the West. I probably saw more material connected to that than any other current series.
Miyu Irino Panel
My first event of the day was the Miyu Irino panel. As you may know Miyu-Miyu is among my favorite seiyuu ever (ironically another of them, Horie Yui, was also at Anime Expo on the same day), so this was kind of a big moment for me. Alas there was no time for press questions and the moderator from Funimation predictably steered the topics towards their properties and Miyu’s most popular works – so no mention of the roles which I consider his best.But I expected that going in.
Miyu-san has had an incredible career when you take a step back and look at it, especially at his age. He introduced himself in English and in fact his English is quite good, though he slipped back to Japanese when the answers got more complicated. His on-stage persona very much matches his reputation – quite cheeky, high-spirited, very chill. He was here specifically to promote the Code Geass OVA and Koe no Katachi, but the discussion did swing to a few other areas…
- He started in theater as a 4 year-old, but his seiyuu breakthrough came when he was cast in Spirited Away as a 7th-grader. Because the recording was done with Miyazaki in the room and not in a traditional recording studio (where the director’s comments are not audible) Miyu said he was terrified for much of the recording. Being 13 and having Miyazaki critique you will do that, I suppose.
- As a kid, Miyu spent 8-12 hours a day playing video games when school was out. His favorite console is a PS4 with the Kingdom Hearts skin.
- Speaking of, he said Sora is his all-time favorite role. That might seem a bit off, but the fact is that he’s played that character now for 15 years- more than half his life.
- He approached Jintan in Anohana as a “non-anime” character. He also said he considers that a great series to introduce to non-anime fans.
- The biggest crowd reaction to any role? Totty from Osomatsu-san. Bigger than Haikyuu!!, bigger than Garden of Words or Silent Voice.
- Miyu-san seemed very surprised and puzzled that American fans love Osomatsu. “Even Japanese don’t get a lot of the jokes”. He actually flipped the audience Q & A a couple of time trying to get people to explain why they liked Osomatsu-san, but no one gave him a good answer.
- Someone asked him for funny Sugita stories from Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou and he said “All of them”.
- Shinkai is very different than any other film director he’s worked with. He has the animation competed before he records the dialogue (but you knew that).
Boku no Hero Academia Panel
The other major event for me was the BnHA panel, featuring Bones Animation Director/Character Designer Umakoshi Yoshihiko (that C.V…. Wow) and All Might dub seiyuu Chris Sabat. What struck me here is what an incredibly huge and passionate fanbase this show has. The energy here was really amazing – it’s such an upbeat and knowledgable fandom. As huge as this series is, I think by the time it’s over Boku no Hero will be even more of an institution than it already is (if Horikoshi-sensei holds up physically).
There were lots of great moments here. Umakoshi drew a couple of amazing pieces at ridiculous speeds, and joked at how badly Bones overworks him. The moderator asked him what his quirk would be if he were a character, and he said it would be faster to draw it (note the tears and trembling). The notion of favorite characters came up and a spontaneous “Froppy! Froppy!” chant erupted in some parts of the room (and an audible groan when the moderator said hers was future top boss Mineta). The three adults on the panel basically agreed that Deku is the son everyone would love to have (I can pretty much confirm that sentiment).
No real news on the show, of course – there was a PV for the new cour, and a general hinting that more seasons are a virtual lock to follow, but no scoops.
I may swing by for the final day – it’s a light schedule, though, and I’m exhausted. Stay tuned.