FanimeCon Special Report

Events

Mari was at the opening ceremonies, of course. She had a Q & A session on Saturday before the masquerade, and then she performed at the masquerade. The masquerade was held at the Santa Clara convention center, and seating was limited, but I made it in. Finally, she had an autograph session Sunday afternoon.

Opening Ceremonies

Mari sat at a table along with Ippongi Bang and Hiroyuki Yamaga. She introduced herself, and said hello in Lynn Minmay's voice. She also mentioned that she would be releasing her new English CD for sale through her web site!

When Yamaga-san (co-founder of Gainax) introduced himself, he mentioned that he had worked on the original Macross series, and that he had been at Mari's audition and had recommended hiring her because she had a beautiful voice. He also said that this was the first he had actually spoken with her.

Mari Iijima with guests. Mari introducing herself.
Mari Iijima with Ippongi Bang and Hiroyuki Yamaga. Mari Iijima introducing herself at the opening ceremony.

Q & A Panel

I showed up early to the panel to be sure of getting a good seat, and I did, in the middle of the second row. We were able to take photographs before the panel started, while the staff was setting up. Also, Mari remembered me from her show in Hollywood, which was very nice. I took notes on everything I hadn't heard before (and a few things I had).

Mari briefly introduced herself, and told everyone about her web site. She also mentioned that she would be selling her new English CD exclusively through her web site. She said that she hadn't realized she was so popular until she got on the Internet and did a search for her name. Also, this was her first anime convention anywhere! She will be appearing at A-Kon, and she confirmed that she will be performing there. She mentioned that she was talking to other cons about appearing, but nothing more yet. Personally, I'm hoping she can be at Anime Expo, since it's closest to where I live.

The audience had about thirty minutes to ask questions. There was a limit of one question per person, and the questions kept up throughout this period, with a couple of short breaks as fans overcame their shyness. I wrote down her answers, but I don't write very fast, so I had to omit the questions. I also left out questions for which the answers are available elsewhere, particularly on her web site or on this site. Here are the various answers she gave:

After the questions, she sold some T-shirts that she had brought along, and autographed them. There were two kinds. One had a picture of her with short hair, and the words "keep on believing" and her name--I got this one. The other had a picture with long hair, and the words "keep on shining". She said that these shirts would be sold through her web site as well.

Mari Iijima before panel. Mari signing a shirt.
Mari Iijima just before her panel starts. Mari Iijima signing one of her t-shirts.

Concert

Her concert was held at the Santa Clara convention center, under thirty minutes from the hotel by train and bus. The audience response was incredible--she got several standing ovations, and on the ride back to the hotel, some of the other passengers were saying, in awe-filled tones, "I heard Minmay sing." One of them said that he would keep the blue ticket which indicated that he had been in the main theater (simulcast rooms had different color tickets).

She sang five songs. The first two were D and More Than Yesterday, from Rain & Shine. I was very happy that she sang More Than Yesterday--it's my favorite song. I had heard it in January, but it hasn't been released on CD yet.

She sang a new English version of Sudden Kiss, which is on her excellent Different Worlds album.

Next she sang Elton John's Your Song, which is on her Good Medicine CD, and finally she sang Ai Oboeteimasuka. The first three songs she sang with recorded music, and the last two she sang with Jim Studer playing the piano. It was the first time I'd heard a different version of Ai Oboeteimasuka, and I liked it. Before singing Ai Oboeteimasuka, she asked if she should announce her next song, or just sing it--the audience said, "sing it!" As soon as the piano started playing, everyone recognized it and started cheering.

Finally, she introduced her sons, Andy and Ryan, who sang a Pokemon song. They got much applause as well.

Sorry, the convention didn't allow photographs at this event.

Autograph Session

There's not too much to say about this. The line started forming about three hours before the session. I had brought along my copy of Rosé, her first album, which she autographed. I took the opportunity to thank her for singing More Than Yesterday at the concert--I really like that song.

I didn't stay for closing ceremonies, since I had a six hour drive back to LA.


This page was last modified on May 6, 2000 at 8:29 PM.