Frostbite and Wakamoto, I’m disappointed

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.

And the audience outside few selected individuals didn’t appreciate it. It’s like feeding pearls to pigs

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.

 

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11 thoughts on “Frostbite and Wakamoto, I’m disappointed

  1. He’s a person, he has personal rights. He wouldn’t have come at all if he had to give out autographs for free. Would that have been better?

    1. I hope read the follow-up post as well before commenting this one. Actually, I hope you read this one as well rather than jumping the gun. Both of them have arguments against and for autograph event, and it is largely the organizers’ fault of not informing this earlier. Naturally, lack of information will yield inaccurate deductions.

      When it comes to Wakamoto’s visit, it’s understandable that he didn’t signatures. It’s not what he does and it’s a respected decision. While a proper showman would’ve done it, there are situations surrounding that outside Wakamoto’s own preference. However, the organizers not informing about it was a mistake, and something they have already learned from. Hell, they even got that English language webpage now up and that’s awesome. I hope you will stay tuned next week I put out a review on the event, where I go through this matter some more, and discuss the matter further if you wish.

  2. I think you’re a bit too full of yourself. His success in his career is not because of his fans, it’s because of his own skills in the trade. And what would he profit if he would offer signs unconditionally for PR? Why would he need it? He’s plenty popular, in a good status and a high age. I believe he doesn’t need to satisfy any over-the-top fanboys needs in his position, but enjoy the ripe fruit he has sowed. And retire peacefully after that.

    1. It’s not about being full of anything, it’s about thinking the customers’ side on the whole deal.

      Nobody is successful on their own rights outside farmers and other people living off their own food. In entertainment business you do not succeed because you’re good or not, you succeed because there are people who like what you do and how. Just because you’re skilled at something doesn’t make you successful automatically, it just gives you leverage over others. Within the music business alone there’s more than enough examples of bands and people who are incredible what they do, but ultimately they are not as successful as your current pop-idol because the audience just can’t give damn.

      Wakamoto, while popular for sure, could’ve promoted the industry and gain more attention with this sort of PR stunt. I’ve stated this before already. Not all people on the spot knew of Wakamoto from the get-go, or within the general fandom. This is not a surprise. Wakamoto was very professional in his approach, but kept from promoting any of his works, which is more than respectable considering the possibilities he had, but time was also a key issues here outside his own preference. Gaining more interest is never a bad thing, even if it is in this scene where majority of the participants pirate their material. While the stage show Wakamoto had (and the clocks) was very well executed on his part, giving autographs is a tradition locally. Again, the blame mostly is in the lack of information given to the audience. It’s not just about Wakamoto in the large picture, as one person can stain the image of an industry/ genre with his actions. Again, music has loads of examples of this. Positive actions can also further help the image, and for people who were at the site for the first time (and there were plenty) this sort of thing would’ve been exceptional. If you look the situation objectively, the comparison with eg. Kohei Tanaka is very stark. Tanaka gave out signatures and had a good concert. That’s some extra service, and it seemed like he really loved every second of it. Kudos for him.

      As such, Wakamoto doesn’t need to satisfy fanboys. He has already satisfied them within the works he has been in and there’s nothing more we can ask from him, but to further ensure customer loyalty a service provider may want to do some special promoting. It’s just business 101. As fans we pay for the products he appears in, and that’s where he gets his money from in the end. It is completely up to him if he wants to go that extra mile, but as a VIP he should also consider the locals’ traditions. I’m going circles with this now, but I do trust you get what I’m aiming at here.

      We know him mostly from his voice acting parts, but the man is a great host as well. I do recommend finding out TV-shows where he is in. Much like on stage, he manages to control he stage equally between him and whoever is there.

      It’ll be interesting how long he will be doing voice acting. If signs are correct, he will most likely continue doing them as long as he can.

  3. If this is not a troll: I don’t even.

    Hint 1: The organizers don’t get any money from organizing this event.

    Hint 2: You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. Wakamoto’s policy is not to give out autographs, so he won’t give any. (Just think for how much they would sell if he gave some in one and only one event…) The competition was a very generous move towards some real fans and I’m sure they will cherish their special autographs. People wo REALLY want those autographs would give it all they have in this competition, right?

    Hint 3: I can’t even take you seriously after you saying that the info on Wakamoto not giving out autogaphs would have meant that the con would not sell out. If you are a real fan, you would like to see Wakamoto live, right? Staying at home because he does not give out autographs… yeah, you are a real fan, aren’t you?

    1. 1; I know. That’s never an excuse for anything, ever.

      2; It was never case to force Wakamoto to do anything. I recommend you to read previous comments and responses once more, and the follow-up as well. I wish not to repeat third of fourth time things that are already there within comments section.

      3; If you can’t take someone seriously, I recommend laughing it off and moving on. It is as much a waste of my time as it is yours.

      Being a fan has very little do with business and showmanship. Would the con still be sold out? Most likely, but in a slower pace. It also shows that the event is getting a bit too small for the audience when it runs out of tickets with this relative speed, which we will come back in the actual review later on.

      1. 1) You said “the organizers are money-hungry idiots”.
        2) I’m talking about your blog post, and there you say that “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
        3) I like how you ignored my arguments in #3. A real fan would not stay at home only because they don’t get an autograph.

        About the size of the space: I agree, but Desucon has become strongly associated with Sibeliustalo inside the anime scene, and nobody really wants it to move to another place.

        1. 1) You can be money hungry and still not make profit. Wanting to sell your product while withholding information and/ or knowing its faults by default can be applied to that. It’s stupid, but the point still stands.

          2) It is completely natural to respect local ways and traditions. No individual is a an exception to this.

          3) The example you used was a fanboy and how Wakamoto has no need to cater these people. The thing goes the other way as well. A fan with sense can balance between his wishes to attend only to see one person against the rest of the event. Much like a prise of a game, the prise of the ticket to Frostbite in reality is a combination of lodgings, tickets itself and travel expenses. It can rise rather high pretty quickly. For a student or an unemployed you have to wager your what’s really important. It would be nice if everyone who would like to attend could, but reality is a bit crueller than that. As such, it would be more correct to say that ‘an obsessed fan would attend no matter what.’

          While Desucon has been associated with the Sebelius Hall, it is apparent that it is getting a bit too small. The organizers can either scoff it off, or ponder whether or not a larger place is needed if there is more possible attendees out there. We’ll be getting back to this point in the proper review later on.

  4. https://aaltomies.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/sometimes-a-service-provider-takes-it-to-their-heart/

    I hope that most of the people who visited here just to read this one single entry would take it to their hearts to read some more of the texts in here – namely, the one I linked here.

    Looks like the organizational body of the event took the criticism presented in here much better than people who decided to get on a personal level with their comments and downright insults (some of which were already deleted). Not that I don’t think you don’t have a right to express an opinion, I merely wish that all of you are aware that the conversation actually went on after this post.

    So, I warmly recommend you to read also what the organization body of the event had to say to the criticism.

    1. If he has changed his views, then why does he keep defending this blog post? Why did he need to reply like that and not just say that he was sorry and wrong about some parts? It also doesn’t fix his flawed logic.

      1. Where, exactly, is his logic flawed? I think he presents fair points in this text, points that are worth defending.

        Also, not to be unfair or impolite, but the comments towards this blog post have been far less constructive than his responses. Especially when it feels that many comments in this post have been made by people who either didn’t read the comments, or chose to deliberately misunderstand them.

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