August 31, Saturday
I had a 6:30 AM flight and tried to sleep early but the excitement didn't help so I ended up with about 4.5 hours of sleep when I got up at 4 AM. After a heavy breakfast I got to SFO after 5 and stayed awake the whole time, arriving at PHX around 8:30. From here I took a Supershuttle to the Renaissance Glendale and got there after 9. I got a text message from my roommates informing that they would be coming in a little later than their original ETA by 10 so I waited in the lobby and people watched the attendees and cosplayers arriving. After I stepped outside to talk to one of the valets about local places to eat, none other than Charles Barkley stepped out of the hotel and I was able to be photographed with him while he waited for his car to be brought around.
My roommates arrived around 11:30 and after getting our keys, I dropped my stuff off in the room and got my badge, an Eva design by Pixelduhst. However I had to exchange it for a VIP badge which had a Danganronpa design. As time was short and I wanted to be on time for the first signing at 1 (Amanda Winn-Lee, Spike Spencer, John Swasey), I had granola bars for lunch, the first of several such meals. Winn-Lee wasn't present and I didn't find out until after the signing that she had canceled. I also learned that for those unused to signing shikishi that smaller sized ones will probably work better they didn't fill them up the way a Japanese guest might, which has to do with writing vertically. I spotted Tiffany Grant at the signing although she wasn't signing yet and we talked about our respective Eva shirts.
As I had some time until the next signing at 3 (Grant and Matt Greenfield), I wound up at the ADR Direction and Production panel, which was by none other than Greenfield himself. I asked about the live action movie and what its status was. Greenfield explained that it had been greenlit and was going into production with a major Hollywood studio lining up a director. However the lawyers discovered that the rights weren't clear. Anno took them with him when he left Gainax and they're now owned by King Records.
At the Grant/Greenfield signing Grant brought a whole bunch of Eva stuff with her that she was selling and took 10 minutes to set it all up: DVDs, Newtype magazines, car decals, and even unused Platinum DVD boxes. There were a lot of people in line so I was late for the Miyamura panel, which was at the same time. I had Grant sign a poster that I was also going to have Miyamura cosign and told Greenfield that I wasn't sure how he would react to my movie question. He replied that he has gotten asked about it so many times and they were so close to getting it.
Miyamura's panel was her talking about specific aspects of Eva and not a back and forth Q&A as I had expected. Here are my notes:
After the panel ended the audience helped sing happy birthday for Miyamura's daughter, who came in carrying her son. Her husband did not attend the con.
My final panel of the day was the Eva cast group panel. Here are my notes:
Tiffany Grant (TG), Spike Spencer (SS), Matt Greenfield (MG), John Swasey (JS), Yuko Miyamura (YM)
Q: How did you feel when you heard about Rebuild? (my question)
TG/SS: It was new work and we would get paid.
Everyone else: Generally positive.
Q: Have you seen Pacific Rim?
A: No one has.
Q: What is your favorite line from the series?
TG: Are you stupid?
MG: Gendo - It's hot.
SS: Can't say, there are kids in the room (someone let their 2 year old run around in front and wouldn't keep him quiet so about half the time he was noisy).
JS: (does a Gendo impersonation) Mmmm.
Q: What was your favorite fight scene?
TG: Eva-02 vs. the Eva-05 series.
MG: Eva-02 vs. Gaghiel.
SS: Not sure but it might be in 2.22.
YM: The finale of Eva-01 and Eva-02 vs. Israfel.
Q: Who do you feel Shinji should end up with?
TG: I'd say Mari but I don't like her.
JS: Gendo (more of a non-answer).
Q: If you were in the same room with your character and giving them therapy, what would you do?
TG: Asuka is perfect.
SS: ...(couldn't get it) then bitch slap him.
JS: Ask Gendo what is wrong with you? He's a lost cause.
YM: Can't say anything due to 3.0.
Q: What attracted you to Asuka?
TG: Her personality, which I can relate to. Only knew about her after I was cast.
YM: Her positive attitude, looking forward to living life every day, can relate to the character.
Q: What scene made you go WTF?
TG: The last episode.
MG: The Sea of Dirac.
SS: Shinji in Asuka's hospital room.
YM: When Eva-02 was eaten.
Q: What don't you have in your collection that you wish you did?
TG: The full scale figures, although I have a lot of figures. I also have a fridge, toaster. Want to get more Hello Kitty stuff.
Q: Why is Asuka so competitive with Shinji?
TG: Her nature, she wants to be the best.
YM: I agree.
MG: She's afraid she couldn't beat Rei.
Q: Have you been to the Eva cafe in Japan?
YM: They have a Shinji cocktail which sucks.
Q: Was it hard for you to portray Shinji due to your personality?
SS: It's a role.
Q: Were there changes that you made to your character that stayed in?
SS: A lot.
TG: In Magma Diver.
MG: For Spike's role.
JS: When you get into a role you want to say in it. I try to stay in the role as much as possible as it's important to honor what Gendo's seiyu brought to the character.
YM: There were changes in the script due to localization. I did quite a lot of ad libbing, e.g. Asuka's last line in EoE.
MG: We really took advantage of the alternate universe (SS, TG, Winn-Lee), e.g. the riding his baloney pony line, which has been translated into French and German.
Q: Do you look into the symbolism of the series?
TG: When I was working on it not so much but more towards the end or after it finished.
MG: I knew the ending but had to make sure the actors didn't color their performances by knowing what was actually going on, so I told them what their character knew was going on. So they got a whole lot of BS.
YM: I didn't know as we didn't have the script. Anno would respond with rhetorical questions.
Q: How did you get to work on Rebuild?
MG: I offered to do it but had issues due to my position. I don't think it's the same Eva and it's good to have different people due to this change.
TG: The producer Mike (Mike McFarland) appreciated the idea that the previous actors had worked on it and had seen the original series.
SS: It was different due to the changes in technology. Both Mike and Matt want to do the best job possible.
JS: Working with both is great. Funi was very deliberate with casting. Some prior actors worked, some didn't. They respected Eva's roots.
MG: When we licensed it, Eva wasn't known. Mike inherited a juggernaut.
The final question was someone requesting that Grant do her get in the damn robot, Shinji! line.
The final signing of the day was after this panel and was supposed to be Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, and Miyamura. I found someone in line I had just met last week at Japan Expo, Kevin, who I had told about Saboten Con and he had booked last minute and flew out. It turned out that Willingham and Bailey didn't show so it was just Miyamura signing. On top of that, all of us VIP members discovered that one of our privileges was priority for signings, so we got to go first and were allowed to reenter the general line again. First I asked Miyamura to sign a shikishi and requested that she sign as Asuka so she added Anta Baka. Using the relining up method I was able to get my 2 posters signed. I would have kept doing this but no one else got in line after 45 minutes so the signing ended early. I also met this guy who flew in from Kansas, Rich, who is about the same age as me, and I think he was the one who mentioned evamonkey.com.
I had checked out the dealer's hall during the day and the Eva pickings were very slim, which was a surprise. The vendors really missed out by not stocking up as much as they could have. People even resorted to having this artwork by Pixelduhst (who designed the Eva classroom badge) and another Asuka/Rei print signed. I did run into Tatsu Hobby, who was at JX last week and who had supplied the Eva-05 LM HG model kit, the only piece of Eva merch I bought there, and the guy recognized me. Despite having packed a storage container in my luggage I was wary of picking up something like a model kit that could get damaged.
After dinner me and Kevin checked out the swap meet, AKA Otaku Closet, and discovered that I had missed the chance to get an unopened Platinum box for $4. I made the mistake of checking out Club Sabo, which was a Gainax-themed waitress cafe, although the only Eva cosplayer was a Rei. I only stayed for an hour before returning to my room as it had been a long day.