WUGner for a Weekend @ Anime Central 2014

Posted on May 31, 2014

I still remember very well how I brooded over missing the chance to meet Wake Up, Girls in a hand-shake meet/greet event in the weekend I was in Japan. It was rather strange in a sense in that it surprisingly took me a long time to get over it. Did I really like WUG that much or was it just that feeling of helplessness when you’re pushing your luck to get a limited amount of slots for an event and you’re up against locals who have a head start. Whichever the case, hearing that the girls were going to Chicago out of all places sure did take things into a surreal turn. I’d like to think of it as a chance for redemption. It was obvious that I had to go.

“WUG Central” began for me when we lined up for OP ceremonies - the first of their many appearances at the con. We first saw Angela’s Atsuko and Katsu passing by what seemed to be the sole entrance to the hall where the ceremony was supposed to take place. Didn’t really take much to figure out that our WUGchans were going to pass through the same entrance, and we were right. We said our initial Hellos to the girls, Producer Hiro and Director Yamakan. As if that wasn’t already enough, I had the pleasure of personally getting introduced to Hiro-san thanks to a good friend from the days of the uni anime club (thank heavens) who happen to be escorting these esteemed guests . Much gratitude also goes to the WUG Festa shirt I was wearing for the lulz that day to which Hiro-san noticed and inquired about. I really wished I could have told him that I went to WUG Festa but I instead told him about the missed opportunity above. If anything, we were told to come and visit the next time we’re around in that side of the world, which is okay I guess because I know I would. Oh yea, got to shake Yamakan’s hand too. Guess I too now have the power to save anime huh. No?

As far as the girls were concerned, it goes without saying that they are much much more adorable in person than I’ve ever imagined. It also helps that each one had their own little distinguishing “feature” because frankly, I still had a little trouble which girl played which part on the anime (save for the ones I’m pushing for). The most memorable girl definitely had to be Minyami. I’d recognize her うんめぇにゃ~!and her general excited expressions several feet away, blindfolded. This held especially true for me while we were waiting for their autographs. The queue was turning in several places around the booth where the girls were which in turn killed any direct line of sight to them. One would think that it would be difficult to hear anything in this kind of setting, especially when the booth is somewhat dead-smacked in the middle of the industry + dealer’s room + artist alley booths with heavy volume of traffic, but this wasn’t the case for her at all. As if that wasn’t enough already, we were lucky to have her grace us with her in-person うんめぇにゃ~!. I thought my heart failed for a moment but that was, for lack of better words, dangerously cute.

Not to trail behind but Kaya-tan is in every bit pretty. WOW. This is something that a lot have already known but as they say, you have to see it to believe it. She is however shorter than I imagined but I digress. I really had a good time attempting to chat with Yoppi. If anything, she’s arguably the most approachable out all of them probably because of her demeanor, you know, someone who is somewhat down to earth and very “chill”. If there’s one thing I learned you can say to her that would make her happy, it’s calling her a good leader. Keep it up, Yoppi! Nanamin is not that far behind Minami in terms of cute, albeit a different kind of cute. Case in point, she joyfully introduced us to the bunny portion of her signature whom she named Momo. If that isn’t cute, I don’t know what is. Seriously.

What I remember the most from Ai-chan if not for her very cool smile is her very powerful stare. It’s so powerful, you’ll know when she’s looking at you, regardless of whether she’s right in front of you are several rows of chairs away. Whether or not these she’s staring out of curiosity is another story altogether. Who knows. I never had the chance to interact with Mayushii as much as the other girls because of her poor placement in the autograph line, and by poor, I mean first. I never really had the chance to think of anything to start a conversation which was very unfortunate. Anywhere else, Mayushii comes off as the most ‘lady’ of them all. I don’t quite know how to explain it but I guess there’s an air of gracefulness around her? I don’t know. Once again, I digress. Got to shake her hand though where others couldn’t so that’s more than enough for me.

Last and certainly not the least is the Wake Up Girl I’m pushing for, Myu. Unfortunately, I blanked out when it mattered the most. I didn’t even get to talk to her about mahjong! That was such a waste of opportunity. It hurts. Especially when I found out the day after that I’ll only have that chance for the rest of the weekend to talk to her. Ah well. It was all in good fun. Despite appearing the hardest to approach (at least for that instance), Myu remains my favorite. Though I have to say Kaya’s climbing up in my ladder very quick! Watch out, Myu.

The mini live performance was another experience altogether, partially due to it being the first WUG performance we’ve been to but mostly due to a series of technical issues. The setlist included Tachiagare! (タチアガレ!)Kotonoha Aoba (言の葉 青葉) , and a cover of Hare Hare Yukai (ハレ晴レユカイ). Tachiagare was played twice for an encore. If it weren’t for the technical difficulties, we probably would have seen 7 Girls War. Maybe. My hands would have died if that song did get performed. As the girls sang the song in a particular predetermined color (based from their performance in WonFes), one can prepare for which color of light (either by KingBlade or cyalaume) to use and when. Unfortunately, if you have a KingBlade that you can’t program, switching manually is your only option and you would have to click your way to the right color as fast as possible.

My favorite part was probably _Kotonoha Aoba . _I really liked how everyone was mimicking the girls’ hand gestures. I thought that was very touching. It also helped that a lot of us had cyalumes. You can thank the Japanese WUGners for that. They came in with the intent of distributing cyalumes for free. That was pretty nice of them to do that.

It is actually partly because of the JP WUGners that made this whole experience so much fun. We’ve had a couple of encounters throughout the duration of the convention but the most significant one would have to be when we (us Americans + the JP WUGners) all went to the local Fogo de Chão where we helped ourselves to as much meat as we can stuff in our stomachs. There we dined while we exchanged questions in attempt to get to know about each other a little more as fellow otakus. Along the way, we all discovered that we had a lot more things in common than WUG, much to the surprise and delight of the JP WUGners. Topics that got thrown around (at least in my portion of the table) included but are not limited to KanColle, Yahoo Auction Japan, Uchida Maaya, how Hanazawa Kana was omnipresent, and even Hitsugi no Chaika’s “Kansha”. We even had a minigame where we were even gauged by how extensively we know our seiyuu. It was just that much fun. They really feel like fellow Producers from another mother™, if you get what I’m saying. Given the chance, I would hang out with these guys again without hesitation. Given the chance, I would hang out with these guys again without hesitation. On a funny note, I have to say though that we probably skewed their view of American Otaku as a whole, which I find so hilarious that I’m still laughing at until now. Thank you guys, all of you (thanks for the presents too!).

You know, if it weren’t for my being a Producer first, I can imagine myself getting dragged to this ship, easy. That said, I’m really considering to see the girls perform at a proper live one day and even hang around with these WUGners  again.