There are few things that really astonish me in local convention organizing, mainly how bad it is. Sure, the conventions are held by amateurs but that is no reason not to aim for the best possible outcome and professionalism. These people seem to think that they’re having a small event for their friends while in reality at the moment their event has taken a world stage step.
Norio Wakamoto is a somewhat famous voice actor within the animation circles, and pretty damn famous in Japan. For the first time he steps outside Japan to visit foreign conventions. This is a huge event inside the scene, and I do know a slew of people that are coming from other European countries to see this man in the flesh. Why do the organizers not realize this?
First of all, their site is still only in Finnish. The organizers need to realize that there is a need for an English language mirror, but because these people are idiots such thing won’t happen. The second is that these people are as underhanded as any scheming moneygrubbing bastard organization would be; there’s no signing event.
Now that link is in Finnish, so here’s the short version; Wakamoto doesn’t give out signatures in general, but the organizers are having a competition where five people get one. Then they explain how Japanese do their signing events.
I respect Wakamoto’s wish to not give out signatures. It’s the choice he has made. Nevertheless, we need to remember that this person is nothing special. He is here to work. He does not only represent himself while being in the convention, but the Japanese animation industry and voice actors in general. This sort of special event demands him to go all out in promoting his works and give out fanservice to a point. Wakamoto has no real reason to refuse a signature event when all previous visitors have gladly taken part in them.
But Aalt, Wakamoto’s Japanese and Japanese people do it differently and we need to respect that. What are you, racist? When in Rome, do as the Romans do. I do respect Wakamoto’s wish not to give out signatures, but the competition turns the tables completely around. It’s not uncommon for signature events to last only for a certain amount of time, or only serve some fifty to hundred people. Even these would’ve been more preferable than a goddamn competition. It’s lazy and the fault is on the organizers’ back.
You do recognize that this is an event that celebrates Japanese cartoon, so going with Japanese standards is expected? This would be an otherwise solid argument, except we follow the American convention format with Finnish supplements, and previous visitors have agreed to go full out to make their event something special. Hell Tohru Furuya released the opening song of Kamen Rider Climax Heroes, which he also sang live on-stage. He specifically asked nobody to record it because the song had not yet been shown in Japan. I need to emphasize that this was a huge thing he did.
To Wakamoto this seems to be a small vacation of sorts, and not anything related to work. For him this should be a huge PR event. While he doesn’t have any obligations to do anything for the fans, it would be in his own best interests to go all out, and spread positive view on everything he is associated with. Right now he comes out slightly asshole-ish.
Still, the organizers are money-hungry idiots of sorts. At least idiots. There is no chance in hell they didn’t know beforehand that Wakamoto wouldn’t give out signatures, so they chose to negotiate this competition and announce it a month after the tickets went on sale. They knew that releasing this information beforehand would also mean that the ticket sales would take a hit. If they didn’t, then these people are not even amateurs.
Where the organizers come out in this whole ordeal is being underhanded and holding out important information. Openness in this sort of events is highly important, and they fail in that on pretty much every occasion. Not to mention that these people are releasing information rather late. Well, the same thing can be applied to our local event, but that’s another story. I wonder if those people have realized that their ad campaign is already late…
I want to iterate; I am disappointed in Wakamoto’s decision to act according to Japanese standards in a Finnish event that follows other Western conventions. I am extremely disappointed and offended how the organizers have handled the whole situation surrounding Wakamoto. And I’m extremely disappointed in every single fan who eats the spoonfed propaganda without stopping and critically thinking for a while. I really hate to put it this way, but a lot of people need to stop sucking up on these organizers and voice actors. Ultimately, these people can only thank their fans. The fans are why they are in the position they are now. While I agree that they don’t have any obligations to do anything more than their job, it is in their best interest to go overboard and promote themselves. As customer we may ask them to sign something, but they have all the rights to refuse.
Of course there are too many fans who do not recognize that when a visitor steps down from the stage, he is off-duty. Ultimately, a Wakamoto producing a service, and not meeting the set expectations is not a job well done.