September 1, Sunday
I had time to kill before the first session of the Nerv Cafe at noon. Ran into Kevin and found that he had also opted for the Nerv Cafe, so we browsed the dealers. One was selling several Eva crane figures, but I held off on buying any after learning that it cost 100-200 Y for a try at winning them. We got in line for the first cafe session around 11:45 and had another wait before it got started around 12:15. The first session was moderately full and we sat a table with three other folks from the area. Mostly it was talking with a light snack of a slice of cake and some fruit. There were several Eva cosplayers but aside from bringing us the snacks and water, they didn't interact with the attendees much. At the end of the event they got on stage and posed for photos. As you can see below, the Rei cosplayer stayed in character the entire time. I had high hopes for the event but it wasn't worth it for $10 and I saw on the con forum that the second session was less well attended and more awkward. Although it was explained that the con was limited to serving the hotel's marked up food, I still couldn't recommend it.
I next hit up the second Spike Spencer signing at 1 but he was a no show. Next was the panel Putting Words in Asuka's Mouth - Writing for Dubs. The description had Greenfield, Grant, and Miyamura down but it was just Grant and Greenfield since the topic was dubs. I stuck around anyway and it was an interesting discussion.
After the panel I headed back to the dealer hall for the 3:00 signing with Miyamura, Swasey, and Spencer and discovered that a photo op with Miyamura had been squeezed in which could be had for $20. I had thought that she would be part of the Eva photo op on Monday morning but this would be of the dub cast only so I decided to spring for it today and take another one the next day when I would be wearing my third Asuka shirt, the one I wanted for the photo. It took three takes until I could get a photo with Miyamura that I liked as I was tensing up when the pictures were taken, but she was very cool about it.
Now because Spencer had flaked at his 1:00 signing, everyone who had wanted to see him then was in line at 3. I had him and Swasey sign a shikishi that I planned to have the rest of the Eva dub cast sign. As I had taken a photo with Miyamura that counted as a +1 item so I also had her sign a second shikishi for someone else who was helping get me Sumi Shimamoto's autograph from SacAnime, which was going on that same weekend. Me and Rich lined up again for a second attempt but were told when it got close to the hour that the line was being cut so we stepped out. However I found out after from Kevin that although the time was up, the last several people in line were allowed to get their items signed, so we missed our chance.
Grant and Greenfield were signing at 4:30, at the same time as Miyamura's Seiyu Class. I opted to get the signing in first and had her sign my multi-cast shikishi and the shitajiki and got Greenfield's sig on the former. Did not end up going to the Seiyu Class when Rich checked it out and reported that they were doing voice exercises. Next up was the second Eva panel at 6. There I found a guy with the biggest Eva dakimakura I've ever seen at over 4' long, although I doubt its authenticity. Here are my notes from the panel:
Tiffany Grant (TG), Spike Spencer (SS), Matt Greenfield (MG), John Swasey (JS), Yuko Miyamura (YM), Amanda Winn-Lee (AWL)
The panel began with playback of a video that Winn-Lee recorded to apologize for not attending, which is also on Saboten's Facebook page.
Q: What did you like the least about your character? (My question. Being unfamiliar with the dub I excluded Greenfield from this, but didn't know that he had done Hyuga and the Eva growls, so Grant called me out a little for this omission.)
TG: Asuka's not in the first 7 episodes.
SS: The screaming.
JS: The haircut.
YM: She's bad at cooking.
MG: Having something inside you.
Q: How did you get the role?
YM: I auditioned in 1994...(same story she told yesterday about casting)
JS: I had gained a reputation for being able to do different voices and was able to capture Gendo's voice.
SS: Amanda introduced me to anime and ADV. I had auditioned for the role 4 times.
TG: Matt did the Eva units and Hyuga.
MG: I did secondary characters as early on I had to fill in. We bounced around a lot with who to cast as who. Tiffany was typecast for Asuka and she spoke German.
Q: Pacific Rim vs. Eva?
MG: Eva beat it at the box office.
Q: What was the hardest do do in 2.0?
A (unsure who answered): Had to relearn the character as they're different.
Q: Do you keep mementos of the characters you've played?
TG: My Eva collection is mostly Asuka.
Js: Gendo underwear.
YM: I have this hat that Asuka wears in 3.0 (she was wearing it) and a Hello Kitty x Eva shirt I got from Tiffany.
At this point Spencer called Winn-Lee and got her on the line so she took some questions.
JS: I got into anime through AWL's husband.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Rei?
AWL: She never bothered to explain herself and just does whatever.
Q: A lot of VAs tend to keep the same range after they finish recording, does this happen to you?
AWL: I would get out of character when I leave the booth, snap out of the role ASAP.
Q: How do the clones know what happened to the prior versions of Rei?
AWL: Biological implementation.
My answer: There's no Misaka Network.
Q: What was going through your mind when you came up with baloney pony?
AWL: It was outtakes.
Q: What do you think of Asuka being hotter than Rei?
Back to general questions.
Q: Does Asuka really like Shinji?
TG: Are you stupid?
Q: What was your reaction when you heard about Rebuild?
MG: Anno getting paid.
SS and TG: Getting paid.
YM: A happy ending but it hasn't happened yet. I wasn't happy with the EoE ending. Shinji and Kaworu married.
Q: How often do you get approached about Battle Royale?
YM: Lots of people in Australia ask about it.
SS: I worked on it, did 3 characters (not true).
Q: How does it feel to do the Gendo pose?
JS: I love it for many reasons. You can't see his mouth, so it makes recording easy. He feels that everyone is a child and not up to him. Matt is like Gendo, he was committed to Eva.
Q: What was the funniest thing that happened while dubbing?
TG: The kissing scene between Shinji and Asuka. I nearly drowned myself by gargling and laughing at the same time.
MG: Around Episode 20 we recorded the Rei sex tape: 20 minutes of silence, then "Are you finished?"
SS: When Shinji does his thing in Asuka's hospital room, you can see the lower silhouette.
YM: The strangling scene (acted out with Grant).
Q: Do you have any ideas about 4.0?
Q: How do you feel about the new direction that the movies have taen?
TG: Not sure yet.
MG: Hard to say.
SS: I agree with them.
JS: Not our role to decide, we follow the creator's lead.
YM: I never knew how close Shinji and Kaworu were, didn't realize they were such good friends.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Asuka?
TG: She's not afraid to tell people what she thinks an is very confident.
Q: What are your thoughts about Anno?
TG: He's probably creepy.
MG: I met him once. Very. A lot of where Eva comes from is derived from Ultraman.
SS: I don't know.
YM: He's an otaku.
Q: How do you unwind?
TG: Thai or Japanese food.
MG: Not to go home and watch anime.
SS: Red wine, good food, hot sex with the fiancee.
JS: I'd like to do that with your fiancee.
YM: Asuka is really a part of my personality and it comes out into my personal life.
Q: Did you get the whole arc when you did the TV series?
MG: I told the actors what their characters thought they knew to make sure people were in the moment.
JS: It's not so important as we have to know what the Japanese did an almost doesn't matter what the story is. We listen to what they did and give it a full performance. You're not getting the whole gist of the story when recording. We will do what the director tells us.
Q: Did the series get emotionally scary for you?
TG: Several times.
MG: When Shinji falls on a naked Rei.
SS: Some scenes with Shinji when I initially got into the character, after a while I got used to it.
JS: Not so much, it's a very straight thing.
YM: When Asuka realized her mom was with her.
Q: How did you feel when Asuka was cut from the team?
TG: Disappointed. When she was cut it removed her reason for being.
Otaku Closet was right after the panel and recalling what had happened the prior night, me and Kevin postponed dinner until after we hit it up first. I came across a Rei swimsuit figure but hesitated to buy it for $15 right then. I decided to look around at everyone else and come back to offer $14 if it was still available. However when I returned there was a group of folks from the Eva panel at the seller and one of them got the figure. After dinner we walked through the closet again and I made another rare find, the Eva doujin compilation Comic Anthology 2 which came out in 1996. At the time it seemed semi-official as it mentioned Gainax on the publication page although the seller described it as a doujin, so I so picked it up for $3. I found out after checking E-Mono that it's legit.