If you’re the sort of person who cringes in pangs of sympathy when someone on a game show fails an obvious question, this is not the event report for you. Even now, when I think back to moments from it, I physically recoil in horror to the confusion of those around me. Although I enjoyed the event overall, reliving some details will not be a pleasant experience for either of us.
The event in question was a special recording of Velvet Network, the internet radio show hosted by KENN (Dry) and Toyonaga Toshiyuki (Pawn) to promote Velvet Under World. This is a CD drama and character song series created by seiyuu Koyasu Takehito, casting himself as the main character (A.Y.A). While many fans of Koyasu’s previous creation, Weiss Kreuz (“Knight Hunters”), are curious about the recurring themes and names found in this work, others just adore the ridiculous characters and plots he creates.
I started lining up in Animate Akihabara about ten minutes before the doors were due to open and handed a questionnaire to fill in. First question was if I had any particular thoughts about past CDs, second I didn’t understand, third was if would participate in a game in front of the radio personalities and fourth was if I would be up for a ‘forfeit game’ with them.
I waited until the person in front of me started looking at her questionnaire, and asked about the second question. She asked if I’d seen the radio show, since it was a keyword game they played on air. I hadn’t (I bought this computer second-hand over three years ago and I’m lucky if I can even access the internet on it without it overheating and shutting down). So she explained the basics, which involved thinking of a keyword and three hints, although even she was unsure if she should write just the keyword or just the hints or both. She was mainly a fan of KENN and we chatted about the musicals he’s been in and his former band.
Anyway, I wrote a few thoughts about “VUW” as we were herded into the tiny room and they collected questionnaires from people who had already filled them out. Couldn’t express myself very well, since I was struck by a sudden rush of nerves and the
fear knowledge that I was writing down something really, really stupid. Finally, in a decision that is completely inexplicable in retrospect, I circled ‘yes’ for the final two answers. At the last minute, I added an apology for my bad Japanese.
We sat down; eventually the lights were lights were dimmed and there were some messages read out by KENN and Toyonaga Toshiyuki in character as Dry and Pawn. There was the usual request to turn off cellphones, with the clarification that even manner mode wasn’t good enough as it might interfere with the recording equipment, plus threats of hacking and requests not to hack. KENN’s character is a hacker, if you didn’t guess.
Then, they appeared. KENN was wearing a gold tiara and he briefly petted Toyonaga, who had dog ears and a dog ‘medical’ mask for Halloween. They started talking to the audience, trying to get the mostly female audience to scream as if they were actresses in the CD drama. Then they asked us about ourselves. Who was from Tokyo? Who was from prefectures outside Tokyo? One girl said she was from Hyogo. Then they asked who was from overseas and I… didn’t raise my hand high enough. Near the front, two hands shot up to say they were from China. Both KENN and Toyonaga were suitably impressed. Had I thought much deeper about it, I would have realised that they knew. Of course there had been sufficient time for staff to look over the seventy or so responses.
The recording started and they started by mentioning how pleased they were to see so many fans from all over Japan and the world. Some were from China, they noted, and I regretted not putting my hand up and putting my own country (Britain) on the VUW map. Oh well. They started reading out the questionnaires and suddenly… I heard my name being read out. I sank into the floor.
They puzzled out what I was trying to say. I don’t remember if they got that right or not, I was too busy dying. It was complete gibberish and I’ve no idea why I was hit with such fail at the start, because I should have been able to write something coherent. I also clearly remember they thought I was from China. If anyone reading this is from China, I am sorry for disgracing your country. I should’ve put my hand up more forcibly at the start.
They concluded by musing that Japanese really was difficult. I wish I could remove these images from my head. The show continued and it was soon time to play the keyword game. The first word to come up was pyramid, then spring and finally… giant anteater.
Guess who was called upon for that one?
They immediately saw I wasn’t from China and I apologised and whispered I was from Britain, which the audience passed on to the front. My voice really isn’t that loud. I was then handed a white board and I tried to think of a good hint. In the end, I decided on ‘nose’ and luckily I can manage that kanji more or less. Unfortunately, I should have chosen ‘tongue’ like everyone else. We didn’t make it to the front of the stage. More fail.
The radio show ended and I relaxed. But no, it wasn’t the end of my self-humiliation! We had a special rock scissors paper tournament to win signed posters. I got knocked out in the second round and KENN said with sadness that the Brit hadn’t made it. There were a number of tournaments, until there was only one poster left and I was crushing all opposition… which KENN remarked upon again. It was only me and one girl left… we both threw the same thing and I lost second time around.
Kenn handed out VUW information cards as we left. I took it, thanked him and ran away to a warring states era maid cafe. Overall, I enjoyed the experience; I just regret that it was recorded. And I wish I could erase certain memories of it.