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Manga Answerman - Do's and Don'ts of Meeting Convention Guests from Japan


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Engineering Nerd



Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 457
Location: Southern California
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:36 am Reply with quote
Thanks for the advices! Although for some of the entries I thought they are pretty much the common sense (then again, maybe there are people that insensitive or just being plain dumb)

This summer will be my first time to attend an American anime convention (anime expo. Can’t believe I have never been to one until now after moving to USA a decade ago) , can’t wait all the excitements! ( Kinda curious if the waiting lines are as scary as some of my friends suggest)


PS: Bonus question: Am I allowed to greet and show my earnest appreciation towards creators in Japanese? (I mean, English is not my first language any ways) I hope that wouldn’t be too awkward to do in an American convention.
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VORTIA
Otaku ExtraordinaireOtaku Extraordinaire


Joined: 26 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:47 am Reply with quote
Great list, although you forgot "don't ask them about their personal relationship w/x" & "don't ask them about their work under a pseudonym in an erotic game/anime". I see overly enthusiastic fans ask those questions way too often at Q&As & it makes everyone uncomfortable!
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 2781
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:51 am Reply with quote
Quote:
DON'T ask questions in the Q&A about events or characters that have not yet appeared in the official English releases – That also says “I read the scanlations!”
That just brought a large mischiefs smile to my face.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:52 am Reply with quote
As someone who's gotten numerous things signed by Japanese guests, they tend to be much easier to line up for than English guests (major name seiyuu, notwithstanding), there's nothing wrong with greeting them with a "Konnichiwa" or "Ohayou" (depending on the time of day), handing your item to them with a simple "Hai, douzo", or thanking them with a standard "Arigatou (+ gozaimasu, if you want to be fancy)". Beyond that, & this is coming from experience, there are interpreters with the guests during autograph sessions for a reason, so unless you are mostly fluent, just rely on them to get your question or remark to the guest. Early on in my autograph efforts, I tried saying very basic lines, but after I got into an excited & hectic bit with Yoshiki Fukuyama at Anime Boston '14 (who was going through a nostalgia bomb of emotion with the item I had him sign, so he wasn't much better), I realized that I should just take advantage of the interpreters that are there from then on out. Since then, I've had some really neat moments with the guests, and the interpreters definitely make both me & the guest comfortable to communicate with each other.

As for asking a guests in Japanese during a Q&A panel, it's a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure, the guests likely find it awesome that someone's learned Japanese enough to converse with them, but at the same time it can give off a feeling of showing off to every other fan in attendance. Plus, the interpreter may very well just ask you to repeat the question in English, so that everyone else knows what you said, which kind of dulls the point of showing off your Japanese skills in the first place. Also, unless you're really damn good at Japanese, it will simply take longer to ask your question than it would to simply ask in English, & have the interpreter translate for the guests, which in turn leaves less time for others to potentially get their questions asked & answered.

Beyond that, everything Deb said is true. Respect them, their work, the official efforts to get them released over here (if they exist), & respect everyone else who is there to see the guests, and a fun time will be had.
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Dessa



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:01 pm Reply with quote
I'll note that if you are a fan of something that's not available in English, if you've imported something to have signed, they often really enjoy it. Last time Gen Urobuchi was at Sakura-Con, I brought the Kamen Rider Gaim Mook, and he was really [happily] surprised that someone had something from Gaim. He was like "Gaimu?!"

As for fan art, etc., some conventions even have policies banning unlicensed merchandise for autographs (I heard a story about Travis Willingham being presented a Roy/Ed doujin, and he flipped through it to see what it was...).
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Kadmos1



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:08 pm Reply with quote
Dessa wrote:
As for fan art, etc., some conventions even have policies banning unlicensed merchandise for autographs (I heard a story about Travis Willingham being presented a Roy/Ed doujin, and he flipped through it to see what it was...).

Oh, boy!
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Engineering Nerd



Joined: 24 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:09 pm Reply with quote
@Lord Geo

Thanks for the reply!! Now I know what to expect. Since it’s my first time here, didn’t know there is a interpreter even in the fan-autograph session) Nah, of course I won’t do that during a public Q and A, now that would be too awkward for everyone involved, I probably will just restrict to a simple greeting or a sentence or two in Japanese during a autograph session (of course, respect the presence of interpreter as always)

Anyways, thanks again!

@Dessa

Wait, so there ARE folks who dare to bring a doujin in an autograph session? That’s just insane, what’s next? Hug pillow? I thought there are written rules that restrict what kind of items you are allowed to bring
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Triltaison



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:19 pm Reply with quote
I was super surprised when Nobutoshi Canna shook my hand at a signing once because of the reasons you mention in the article. But maybe he appreciated that I told him that I liked one of his character songs. Smile
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:28 pm Reply with quote
What a great list! I have another one to add: "Don't try to monopolize a guest's time." I've been in crowded autograph lines where the creator/voice actor/producer/director only has a specific amount of time to meet and greet with fans, and It is really nice that you want to create a special moment with your idol and make yourself stand out, but please allow everyone else the time and opportunity to do the same! Details of why you are a fan, how much you love their work, what it means to be an foreign fan, etc are all wonderful things to share with a guest, but be respectful and keep in mind that all the people in line behind you are sweating and seriously stressed out that they might get turned away because the end of the event is rapidly growing closer.

On the other hand, I also have a feeling that writing autographs and talking to so many enthusiastic fans may also take a toll on the guest himself/herself, particularly if they are from another country and don't understand (localized) language very well. I have seen many guests choose to generously choose donate more of their time to their fans even after the event was stated to end, but it shouldn't be a stressful decision for them and the convention staff trying to keep everything running smoothly!
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Romuska
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:52 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
DON'T ask questions in the Q&A about events or characters that have not yet appeared in the official English releases


Oh man! Lol. That reminds me of when I went to the dub premiere of the first Fullmetal Alchemist movie at Anime Expo. One of the guys in the audience (who unfortunately was the lats person chosen for the Q&A) insisted that there was a scene missing that he saw in a fansubbed version. First off, he unknowingly was referring to a scene from one of the episodes of the show. Second, he basically announced to the entire audience as well as the film's director and staff that he pirated the movie. I just feel bad for whoever had a legit question for them.
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Fluwm



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:10 pm Reply with quote
If I eve meet Adachi Mitsuru, you can be damned sure I’m going to complain to him about how hard it’s been over the years to import his manga.

I’ll then ask him if he is or has ever been a member of the communist party, because the lack of English publications can only be explained by blacklisting.
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Zalis116
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
DON'T ask questions in the Q&A about events or characters that have not yet appeared in the official English releases – That also says “I read the scanlations!” I've seen this happen again and again, and it's really uncool. At Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail)'s panel at New York Comic-Con a few years back, a fan did that and the publisher had to pointedly remind him that he was basically spoiling the story for almost everyone else in the room, and implicitly that he was being a jerk.


Do manga authors really keep track of exactly where the official English releases are in the story? I agree that it's still not a good idea to ask about those characters/events, but let's be honest: half or more of that room is probably reading scanlations as well. As for explicitly telling them you read scanlations, Greg Ayres can tell you how that goes. Though as a silver lining, the encounter became the origin story for Ayres' half-decade or so of antipiracy activism.

As for talking to them in Japanese: even if your Japanese is reasonably good, it's probably better to let the interpreters do their job. Whether you're in an autograph session with an impatient line behind you, or standing up in front of a panel room full of people, you're excited to meet/talk to an artist you admire, and likely going to feel a bit nervous and pressured. And depending on the situation, you might be short on sleep/food, and/or slightly intoxicated. Those factors don't up to a fluent foreign-language performance. Though it's probably better to do in a 1-on-1 autograph setting, since as Lord Geo mentions you'll probably have to repeat the question in English anyway. Meaning that with autographs, you're only using your own time, whereas in a panel, you're chipping away at everyone else's.

Dessa wrote:
As for fan art, etc., some conventions even have policies banning unlicensed merchandise for autographs (I heard a story about Travis Willingham being presented a Roy/Ed doujin, and he flipped through it to see what it was...).
There are plenty of infamous incidents involving Vic Mignogna (who has religious objections to signing such material) and similar items, too. Either the fangirls never learn, or they're deliberately trolling him at this point.
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Scalfin



Joined: 18 May 2008
Posts: 148
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:56 pm Reply with quote
Engineering Nerd wrote:
@Lord Geo

Thanks for the reply!! Now I know what to expect. Since it’s my first time here, didn’t know there is a interpreter even in the fan-autograph session) Nah, of course I won’t do that during a public Q and A, now that would be too awkward for everyone involved, I probably will just restrict to a simple greeting or a sentence or two in Japanese during a autograph session (of course, respect the presence of interpreter as always)

Anyways, thanks again!

@Dessa

Wait, so there ARE folks who dare to bring a doujin in an autograph session? That’s just insane, what’s next? Hug pillow? I thought there are written rules that restrict what kind of items you are allowed to bring


Oh yeah, there was a big controversy when Vic Mignogna refused to sign a doujin depicting him having fun taking it in the butt and the fujoshi internet mounted an organized campaign to smear him as a homophobe.


Meanwhile, seeing the header image applied to a "do's and don't's" article makes me want to see a Goofus and Gallant series starring Bakugo and Deku, with the twist that, no matter the context or lesson that the setup is designed to impart, Bakugo's just trying to murder someone with his explosion hands.
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samuelp



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:03 pm Reply with quote
I'm not sure that it's practical to try and enforce the non-spoiler to the release in the country i which the convention is being held rule.

Especially for the bigger conventions, people will fly in from around the world. Maybe the fan speaks Japanese and imports the books in the original language... There's plenty of legitimate ways to have read beyond the release in the country the convention is in and I'm not sure we can expect every fan like that to pay attention to the local language release.

This would go especially for conventions in countries other than English speaking ones, where the local release might be far behind the English, but many fans just import the English releases for example.

At least with anime itself, near everything is simulcast these days, but for manga, well, enforcing some kind of "don't talk about stuff that hasn't come out officialy in English yet" is a rule that will just get harder and harder to enforce and will eventually become meaningless.
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Keen Fox



Joined: 06 Dec 2017
Posts: 55
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:12 pm Reply with quote
I wish I could go.
You lucky ones don't miss the chance no matter what as the creators are important.
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