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Anime Expo - Opening Ceremonies
By Jason Yeh
July 02, 2006
The first event of the Saturday was opening ceremonies, and as usual it started about 30 minutes late.
Mandy ? hosted the opening ceremonies and in her introduction speech she covered the many AX activities and events including AX Idol, AMV, Contest, and Masquerade, etc. 2006 marks the 15 year anniversary of AX. To me, it seems like there's just too much stuff going on in 4 days.
Mandy then handed off the microphone to AX Chair Joyce Lim who gave a short speech. Joyce highlighted the 15th anniversary party at the AniMatsuri Summer Festival, Charity Auction (which raised $60,000 in 2005). At the end, she thanked the many sponsors and attendees.
Back to Mandy, she mentioned that this year's Charity Auction proceeds are going to the Children's Hospital of Orange County. Monica Garcia (CHOAC public relations) and another hospital representative from the hospital spoke briefly.
Switching back again to Mandy, she then welcomed and introduced all the Guests of Honor. Romi Park unfortunately couldn't make it to AX. CLAMP was not present for Opening Ceremonies, but the audience erupted in thunderous clapping and yelling when Mandy listed off their works (one could say AX this year should have been renamed "CLAMP-Con"). Mana of MALICE MIZER also could not make it to Opening Ceremonies.
In order of appearance:
- Laura Bailey was the first GoH to appear on stage, and the spinning / twirling returned from last year.
- Crispin Freeman returned to the con this year. He twirled around to the delight of fans. I think he said it best in the following quote, "I want to meet all of you, but not all at once."
- Vic Mignogna was next up on stage and there was more screaming and yelling from the audience. He did the twirl and the first words of you his mouth were, "Oh my gosh." He mentioned his autograph sessions in the dealers room.
- Mick Takeuchi walked on stage and was obviously somewhat nervous. She twirled after being instructed by other GoHs.
- Koge Donebo was the second Japanese guest and also had some difficulty following the twirl thing.
- Atsuko Nakajima is making a 2nd appearance at AX. More twirls and another short speech.
- Yutaka Izubuchi twirled after being helped out by Mandy. AX 2006 is his 2nd appearance too.
- Yozuca* did the twirl looking like a deer caught in the headlights. She mentioned this is her 1st time in US.
- Rino slightly twirled, albeit a bit embarrassed. (someone in the audience shouted "kawaii"). She was very nervous, but made a good effort in her speech.
- Hiroshi Nagahama performed a very nice twirl (I'd rate it 9/10).
- Tomoki Kyoda did a quick twirl.
- Toru Furuya twirled while running along the stage (10/10) and then took off his sunglasses. To the surprise of the audience, he spoke in English (not too shabby). He tested the audience by voicing lines from various characters he's played. These included Amano Ray from Gundam, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya, Kyosuke from Kimagure Orange Road, Yamcha from Dragon Ball Z and Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.
- Ishiguro Noboru pointed to his back, but did a quick twirl nevertheless. He greeted everyone in English and then switched to speaking in Japanese.
- Vic Mignogna introduced Seiji Mizushima, who twirled a bit fast and lost his balance (Vic had to hold him up). Vic brought out a gift for Seiji which was a custom made Italian bracelet that has different pictures of FMA characters on each "jewel".
After GoH introductions, they showed the winning entry for Hamacon 2 opening animation contest.
Nippon Engineering College (NEC) came on stagewards the end. Unfortunately, Akira Kamiya couldn't make it to AX this year. NEC came with 200 students to AX. Like in previous years, they performed a voice acting demo. They used a piece of animation their students made in their freshman year, "Snowball Battle".