Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Heart of A Fan (Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Red Carpet Premiere and Public Press Con Event Report)

Just like most of you, I was also enthralled in participating SM's #RuroKenSMCinema promo in the hopes of seeing the RK cast and director upclose. I answered all of the questions in the FB page and it was only thru the Twitter contest that I won. And then, I scored 2 advance screening tickets in the event itself. 

While 2 of my closest friends were given an opportunity to interact with Takeru, Aoki and Otomo-san in Glorietta. One of them was given the title as the Ultimate RK fan. The other with her pic going viral as she received Aoki's tight tender hug. Who would have thought that in the game of pure chances, 3 in our group will get to experience this! 

It was a day before the red carpet premiere in Megamall and an impending fever is threatening my attendance to the event. My work's on a nightshift as an HR and I did my best to manage my dry throat and rising temperature. I was wearing a cooling gel patch on my forehead and drank lots of H2o while I was in the office. I also took 1000mg of Vitamin C that shift. Thankfully on the day of the Megamall event (August 6), my temperature became stable. I guess my fangirl immune system got boosted of some sort. LOL.  I got my presscon passes after lunch time. I checked Megamall's Activity Center and didn't see any fans yet. We were advised that the presscon will start at 6:00pm and knowing Japanese people, they'll be on-time. It was just passed 1pm so I decided to have my nails done so I can rest a bit since I took paracetamol.

L'arc~en~Ciel Philippines - #LArcMNL
From Yahoo! Philippines - Photo by Alora Uy Guerrero and Ramon Lopez
That's me at the right side. "Ate Hitokiri" because of my hair. ^^;;

I was thinking to line up at the Activity Center at around 3:30pm. But I received a message from one of my #LArcMNL friends that there's a long line already at the Activity Center.  I went downstairs to join them. We were allowed to enter the barricade or what we call it sheep pen (lol) before 4pm. I've to say our sheep pen's the best location. It was not cramped compared to the others. For the next 2 hours, we entertained ourselves by sharing stories, from fave characters to themes to arcs. We even learned those who filed for SL - Sinungaling Leave, haha, just to attend the event. We were also doing hand signs or gestures to the people across our barricades on how we adored the Rurouni Kenshin merchs that they have in their hands. The camaraderie was so amazing!

Gave my red carpet pass on the spot for her. I just met her on that day in Megamall thru a common friend. 

Local fanclub, Rurouni Kenshin Pinas

A Fuji TV reporter documenting the red carpet premiere.
I think it was around quarter to 6 when they started the program. Awesome cosplayers showcased their talent and love for their characters. John Valdevieso, who cosplayed Shishio, even did his character's notable voice. Jin Joson, who cosplayed Kenshin, was her adorable self when asked who's her favorite character and she went in-character by saying: Kaoru-dono. 

After the cosplay showcase, fans were reminded towards asking for autographs and taking pictures. They insisted on a No-Flash policy. All were anticipating on the arrival of the Japanese guests. Gestures of the security were being analyzed by fans and tries to get some hint if the RK crew has arrived. 

To entertain the crowd, the emcee gave out free tickets to the advance movie screening to those who can answer some RK trivia. I was one of the lucky five who got the movie tickets. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!!! My #LArcMNL team helped me out with the answer. ARIGATOU!!! 

When the screen popped a video that the guests has arrived, everyone went crazy. First to walk the red carpet was Director Otomo. Everyone was shocked when he went to one of the fans and signed an autograph. I heard the other fans behind me, praying that the cast will be just as accomodating as their director. If my memory is right, it was Emie who walked after Otomo-san. Then Aoki and last but not the last, Takeru. And to the fans' delight, they too were signing autographs! 

Fellow fans behind me were asking to have their event pass signed by Emie and I managed to have it signed by the star herself. Then I notice all of us in the sheep pen were helping each other to get autographs! Whether it was a pen or to pass around items, the camaraderie was so strong. Very Bayanihan indeed! When I had my advance movie tix passed around, I didn't see anyone attempting to snag it. It came back to me safely. Aoki easily won the hearts of the Pinoys. He enjoyed that the fans called his character's name: SANO! SANO! SANO! 

And when Takeru walked the red carpet, Megamall was never the same again. lol. SO MUCH FEELS~ It was also very monumental for me when I saw Takeru walked to a local AMUSE fanclub and signed their posters and uchiwa. They were just across our barricade. The Japanese guests brought with them some Tagalog phrases with Takeru having the longest line. The presscon ended around 7:30pm.

The RK crew also visited SM’s advance screening of Kyoto Inferno. They allowed 3 questions to be asked by the audience. One asked if they'll be coming back next month to promote the last installment of the movie. Takeru answered that they want to go back as the fans have been so amazing. Another fan bravely asked if Takeru developed some feelings towards Emie while making the film. The crowd was amused while the translator was at lost if she’ll translate it for Takeru as it was a personal question.

Takeru happily accommodating fans

I overheard Takeru asking the translator what the question was. It must have been hard for the translator to say it. It was a VERY PINOY question to ask about feelings being developed on the set of a movie project. And probably that made the translator hesitate to tell Takeru. But Takeru egged her to translate as the actor is curious why the audience was all smiles. When Takeru learned about it, he took it with stride by saying: You better watch the movie for you to find out. And it was a good answer to end the evening before they left SM Megamall.

Happy Memories courtesy of Megamall
About the movie, I really enjoyed seeing the action scenes come alive on the big screen. My fangirl heart was looking forward to see Aoshi Shinomori. But Soujiro Seta stole it before he appeared. OHMY! I felt guilty about it. Because when Aoshi showed up, I know his ranking went to #2. Mind you, I never looked at Soujiro that way on anime and manga. He was never on my Top 5 too. It’s not that he’s not bishounen enough. He is a bishounen and a very skilled swordsman but I prefer men like Aoshi and Enishi.

So here’s like a summary how my feelings evolved towards Soujiro.
1st appearance of Soujiro in the movie: Hm.. he looks good as Soujiro. Bagay.
Next scene with Soujiro: *looks at his face* Amputi nya masyado. Pero cute.
Soujiro's close-up: /felt some butterflies in the stomach/ *wait* Bat ba ako nakatingin sa face nya lagi? I don’t do that naman sa anime ha.

Another scene with Soujiro: Mas gusto ko yung actor ni Soujiro compared kay Aoshi. /tries to understand her heart/ Am I inlove with the actor and his character? HUH!

Kenshin vs Soujiro scene: WAAAAH… It’s official. I’m in love na talaga.

The movie was well-received by the audience. And as we stepped out in the cinema, you’ll hear the assumptions and hopes of the fans on the last installment, The Legend Ends, which will be shown next month. During the time I was at the cinema, my friend Kid was declared winner of Glorietta’s The Ultimate RK fan contest. She tried to contact me as she can bring 4 friends with her onstage to meet Takeru, Aoki and Otomo-san. Thank you, GLOBE. I was unreachable! I missed my chance as Kid decided to send a group message instead to our other RK friends.

The 2nd day of the press con for Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno in Glorietta proved to be more challenging than Megamall. Actually, it can’t even be compared to SM how they managed the event. SM was WAY more organized starting from giving out tickets/promos.

Fans were up as early as 6AM. I arrived at 11:30am (due to my morning dizzy spells, still trying to gain my health back) while my friends got in line around 10:30am yet they weren’t able to get presscon passes because Glorietta’s Events Team underestimated the demand. They also advised too late that they’ll only give out 300 passes only. And to think that Glorietta required fans to buy Php500+1 movie ticket = 1 press con pass.

From Kid's FB account.
An Ultimate RK fan gets this kind of treatment from Glorietta mall. naks!

We met a mother whose receipt is Php 4K worth. She lined up for her child and was planning to meet in Glorietta after school to attend the presscon. Our hearts felt sorry that she has to endure such disappointment. The Events Team also made fans wait for 2 hours and gave misleading infos such as that they’re going to print tickets/passes. BUT the ticket booth was no longer there! Fans were assertive and asked relentlessly if those tickets are even getting printed. Finally, the truth came out. “No more tickets.”
And this prompted me to give a special name to this event: Glorietta Inferno. (lol)

This will go down in fangirl history as the best hug. EVER. Right, Nei? ;P
Photo by Mark Cristino/ Rappler
Emie was not able to join Takeru, Aoki and Otomo-san. She left PH around 2:30pm according to the news. However, it didn’t deter the fans’ reaction. It was crazy as Megamall. But the pace is more controlled compared to SM. 

Only the Press is allowed to ask questions. Glorietta is more strict with the protocol on a No-Autograph singing and No-Flash in taking pictures. HONESTLY, the best scene that happened there was when my friends, Kid and Nei went onstage. Nei shared to me that Aoki saw her uchiwa and waved at her twice. While Kid appreciated that Aoki does eye contact with them. Kid described Takeru as a rockstar. He's cool with what's happening around him while everyone was fainting their hearts out. When Nei screamed onstage, they knew something awesome happened and yes.. that was the epic hug of Aoki.
In fairness to Kid, she really made sure that the 4 people who'll be on stage with her to meet Takeru, Aoki and Otomo-san are certified RK fans like herself. Most of us were secretly wishing that Kid wore her Soujiro Seta costume when she went onstage but wearing her fave Kenshin shirt is not bad too. 

The event ended at 7:00pm. Kid was kind to give me a signed poster even though I didn't go onstage with them. We entertained ourselves by doing Q and A with each other. We also planned when and where we're going to watch the movie once it comes out on August 20. I'm also working on a Yumi costume as Kid and I has this agreement that she'll wear her Soujiro Seta costume again if I do a Juppongatana cosplay. hehe.. pressure!

The 2 day press con fell on a weekday. Imagine if this happened on a weekend! They definitely will need a bigger venue. Nevertheless, it'll be one of my fondest fangirl memories. 

Lupin the Third live action movie will also be shown here by SM but no confirmed date yet. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Shun Oguri and crew will also come here. Just today, another Japanese act noticed us. L'Arc-en-ciel, one of the bands who played in Rurouni Kenshin (4th Ave. Cafe, Niji). So you want to hear the songs live then join us in showing our enthusiasm by telling them our favorite L'Arc song .
It's not everyday that Japanese artists come to the Philippines. And I hope there's more to come for us, fans to enjoy. 

Images by Freepik