Anime Expo 2007
Closing Ceremonies

by Jonathan Mays, Jul 6th 2007
The Closing Ceremonies crowd is still streaming into the arena at 6:05 Monday evening. Ten minutes later, a short fan film called Otakus draws everyone' s attention to the video screens. It's quite funny, but don't take my word for it.

The MC from Opening Ceremonies steps to the podium: “Well, we're almost at the end.” He cites some of the convention's highlights: the Transformers premiere, 24 hour video rooms, and otaku parliamentary debate among others. The AX Idol winners are congratulated:

Mandy Metford – Best Singing Performance (and 2005 winner as Mandy Andrew)
Kira Buckland – Best Voice Acting Performance

And the Masquerade winners:

Runner up: Hanabee as .hack//GU (#5)
3rd place: Moogle as Rosewine from Final Fantasy (#38)
2nd place: Kaolinite as Ultima from Final Fantasy (#35)
1st place: Nekoyaki as Hell Girl from Jiguku Shoujo (#9)
Best of Show: The Crazy Crazy Rainbow Stars as One Piece (#26)

“And now, let's give one last thank you to our Guests of Honor. Unfortunately, several guests were unable to attend.” But from the number of microphones lined up, it looks like the turnout will still be strong.

Michael Arias thanks the audience via video message and reminds them that his Tekkonkinkreet film, which debuted the night before, will open July 13 at Landmark Theaters.

Anna Tsuchiya has a video message, too: “I had a great time here, and I hope to see you again. Let's rock again. I have good news for you. We've decided that my songs will officially be available for download by foreign IPs as well. So enjoy.”

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn apologizes for having to leave before the Closing Ceremonies, teasing that she has to work on a “top secret project in LA.”

The six members of ORESKABAND take the stage.

Ikasu: “How are you? I'm happy to have met you through anime. Thank you for the wonderful time. Thank you for a great show and thank you for Anime Expo.”
Tai-chan: “I want to come back to Anime Expo next year.”
Tomi: “I had so much fun. You too? I'm very very happy. Come see us again.”
Moriko: “I had a great, great time in Long Beach. You express yourselves well. We'll come back to America next month.”
Leader: “I'm Leader. Hi! I'm happy because I met you. I've never been so happy before. See you at our live show again. Thank you!”
Saki: “Hi, I'm Saki. I was happy to come to Anime Expo. Your cosplay is better than Japan's. I won't forget you. Thank you for a fun time. o-kini.”

Halko Momoi enters, video camera in hand. “Hi. Are you otaku? Me too.” Through a translator on stage: “This morning I had my closing concert. There were a lot of things that took place, but right now, I feel very happy. The language barrier was a hindrance, but I learned there is no border to otaku. By the way, I got this t-shirt from an American fan. Thank you very much. I'll tell you American otaku are just as hot. See you again.”

Chiaki Ishikawa shows off a Haruhi armband. In formal Japanese: “Thank you very much for this invitation. I was very happy to have met everyone. I'd like to use this opportunity to thank all of the AX staff. I'm sure people are ready to fall asleep, but I hope they have enough stamina to continue and bring more music from across the ocean.”

Yuko Goto and Minori Chihara arrive. Goto: “We're members of the Japanese SOS Bridge. You too, I think. I really enjoyed this convention, AX. I'm so happy. I'm very glad to meet you. I'll never forget Long Beach, AX, and you. Thank you.”

Chihara: “My invitation was my first opportunity to travel overseas. I was very happy to have met overseas fans, and it was great singing and dancing with you. Thank you very much.”

Masaru Kitao: “It's been a long stay here, and a priceless stay. The LA sun was hot, but so were you. Thanks.”

Tetsuro Araki: “I had a great time interacting with American fans at Anime Expo.. I'd like to thank the staff of AX and everyone else. I was able to have good food and enjoy my stay. Thank you.”

And Eisaku Inoue in a Converse t-shirt: “These days at AX were just great. I'm Eisaku. I just saw Transformers and I'm just in awe. This was my first time coming overseas, and as a member of the human race, I always thought I should visit the US once before I died. I'm very impressed that anime is very popular in the US. I now know that One Piece will finally be released here in its original form. And I will tell you that pirates beat ninja.”

The crowd gives a standing ovation, and the guests return the favor.

Anime Expo Chairwoman Joyce Lim takes the podium at 6:45. “This year's theme of music has been tremendous.” She is proud of the “record six concerts” in the arena. “Thanks for making this the best convention ever. We'll see you next year, July 3-6, at the LA Convention Center.”

She introduces Vicki Koda, Community Relations Representative for the Children's Hospital of Orange County, who discusses the hospital's new six-floor expansion with 30 additional intensive care units and a Family Stay Zone. “The Anime Expo Charity Auction raised over $25,000.” Koda presents an award to Lim, who accepts it on behalf of Anime Expo's staff.

The MC calls on Masaru Kitao to fill in the second eye of a Daruma doll; the first was colored at the Opening Ceremonies. The doll appears to have been signed by all of the guests earlier.

6:53. “I hereby declare Anime Expo 2007 to be closed.” There's a long, collective moan from the audience of about 500. The MC starts laughing. After two minutes, the moan turns into a cheer. The MC is still chuckling. “I have to work tomorrow. Thank you for coming, and see you next year.”

Thanks to Kaitou Marina for help with the Masquerade winners' names.

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