WARNING: This is a long post. Read at your own risk. 😛
The moment that I had been waiting for has finally come. I got up at 5:30 am and traveled all the way from Las Piñas to Makati City where the presscon will be held. It took me two hours to get to Glorietta and when the mall finally opened at 10, I immediately looked for the Activity Center while my friend waited in line to buy a movie ticket to get a pass for the event. I went to the left side of the venue close to the stage and I just watched the dancers rehearsed for the program. The authentic costumes used in the film were also displayed next to the stage together with some posters and photos taken during the filming. However, a few minutes after that, the guards requested the fans to leave the area since they were still in the process of organizing the place. Therefore, I ended up positioning myself at the center, right in front of the stage though it was a bit farther than my first station. I also managed to be friends with the other fans around me (who, by the way, are also members of Rurouni Kenshin Pinas, an RK group on Facebook).
Let me just rant a bit. The guards who were dispatched in my area were really upsetting. As early as 1:30 pm, we already asked them if we wouldn’t be driven away later when the program starts. AND THEY TOLD US THAT WE WERE ALLOWED TO REMAIN IN OUR POSTS FOR THE EVENT. And much to our dismay and annoyance, later that day, at around 3 or 4 o’clock, they started shooing us away. To make my rant short, we ended up arguing with the guards and we really fought for our right to remain in our position. LOL. They were so disorganized and unsystematic. Before 6 o’clock struck, some performers signaled the beginning of the event with a dance performance infused with traditional Japanese martial arts/swordsmanship. The same cosplayers who graced the red carpet yesterday at Megamall also went on stage. The host of the show, Ms. Sam Oh, stirred the crowd as the screen showed the arrival of Takeru Satoh, Aoki Munetaka and director Keishi Otomo. An estimate of 6,000 fans roared in excitement as Sam Oh called the guests one by one to come up on stage. And believe me, Takeru Satoh looks much more handsome in person than on TV. I couldn’t actually take a clear shot of them since my friends were so agitated they kept on bumping me. (Hence the blurry pictures). They first greeted the crowd before the press started asking questions about the movie and the stars.
Aoki was just like Sanosuke in real life. He was so exuberant and his antics made him the crowd’s favorite. Both he and Takeru displayed their knowledge of a few Tagalog words such as “Magandang gabi”, “Maraming salamat” and our all-time favorite expression, “Mahal ko kayo”. I also give Aoki-san an A+ for his efforts to answer all the questions in English. He pumped his fists in the air as he encouraged the fans to chant “Sano! Sano!”. Takeru, on the other hand, stood afterwards and sent a flying kiss to the crowd, making us squeal in delight.
When asked whether they sustained some injuries during the filming, Aoki, who played the character of Kenshin’s best friend, Sanosuke, said that he lost a tooth. “But I don’t mind, because I’m Sanosuke!“, he added to reassure the fans. Takeru, however, said that he suffered from several injuries that he cannot point out one in particular. He was also asked if he knows someone who is similar to Himura Kenshin in real life, and he said he doesn’t know one. And Aoki, being the animated guy he was, raised his hand and answered, “I know, I know!” and pointed to Takeru, “…him”. Another person from the press asked the trio about their opinion if the Hollywood decides to do an American remake of Rurouni Kenshin, and obviously, we rebuffed in unison. Takeru exclaimed that his response is probably similar to that of the fans’, while director Otomo dared and challenged the Hollywood to take their chance. Aoki also surprised the fans when he described himself as “ASTIG”, which he learned from his Filipino friend. I would say that Aoki totally hyped and owned the stage that night.
Five lucky fans were also given the chance to be with them on stage as the three presented them the signed RK posters while shaking hands with the winners. Aoki also gave a hug to each of them, which made the other fans (including me) sigh in envy. Aww. :3 Afterwards, they gave their final message and expressed their deep gratitude to the Filipinos for the warm reception. Takeru hopes that “this will pave way for other Japanese films to be shown in the Philippines” and Aoki also asked the fans to watch and enjoy the sequel, because who knows, they might return to the country if Kyoto Inferno will become a box-office hit here. (And I’m really crossing my fingers for that to happen.)
The press conference lasted for about an hour, but the experience I had during this event will last forever. I didn’t expect that this day would happen when I could already see and hear Takeru Satoh LIVE. He is one of my favorite Japanese artists, and Aoki Munetaka has now been included in my bias list. It’s too unfortunate that I couldn’t catch a glimpse of Takei Emi’s beauty, but other fans around me confirmed how simple yet elegant she was during the red carpet event. Until now, I still have some regrets since I couldn’t make it last August 6, especially when many fan accounts testify that the Wednesday event was way better than the presscon (in terms of interaction with the artists). Many people got their autographs and others even shook hands with Emi, Takeru, Aoki and director-san. I thought I wouldn’t be able to see them in Megamall because I didn’t win any tickets/invites from Warner Bros PH and SM Cinema. (I guess I’m not just really lucky when it comes to raffle draw and promos) *weeps miserably* So I ended up filing a leave of absence from my company on Thursday. Turns out that the red carpet premiere was more fun than the presscon. Fans around me even dubbed Glorietta as “Ayala Inferno”, due to the guards’ exaggerated stringency and disorganized system.
Nevertheless, this experience is totally unforgettable. Until now, I’m still reminiscing every detail of the event. I hope that the four of them will return to Manila soon. And can I just ask for more? Can they bring the other artists with them? Like Tatsuya Fujiwara (Makoto Shishio), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Seta Soujiro) and many more? 😀
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno will be shown in the Philippines on August 20, and the third film will be screened on the 24th of September. Let’s all watch these movies and make them a blockbuster hit! 頑張ってください!