321 MOTHER Only Event ~ 3rd Melody
Yesterday, Mark (Kyosuke) and I headed to Tokyo for a one-day Japanese MOTHER Convention. It consisted of a cosplay corner and rows upon rows of tables filled with doujinshi and fan-made merchandise. I was so excited to finally be in the right place at the right time to be able to make it this time around; the events are not regular, and this is the third time it has ever been held. We came with a mission: To promote Fangamer. And oogle over all the awesome stuff.
Very, very, very unfortunately, they had a strict no-photography policy.
But I did a little shopping. Here are some pictures of my spoils.
For the record, I deeply regret only buying one of those cups. (To be fair, for having hundreds of visitors, everything they sold was extremely limited in quantity.) The quality of it is incredible. I really think Fangamer needs to make something like that; it was cool having the old ones, but this one is like, embossed? I don’t know where they got any of their stuff done, but out of all the stuff I bought, that cup is my favorite. I hope we can make something like that! The one-color textured design. <3 <3 <3 I only wish we could make it so blatant.
The room sort of reminded me of a classroom. A long one. It wasn’t particularly flashy, just some bright white room, and it was on the 3rd floor of some public building, and it was crowded as heck. Definitely not the set-up ideal for as many people as there were. And there were the desk-tables lined up in rows, with a width for about three people for each aisle. Hard to walk and look at stuff, but it was doable. (As my stash proves.) So it was just about two people per booth, representing their “circle”, with their doujinshi or other fanmade item sitting on the table for you to buy. One cool thing I saw, not for sale, was the MOTHER 3 Squawking Stick hooked up to a Lego contraption, where a little gear turned in circles and made the stick bob up and down from the little paper “dirt ground” they constructed above the gear. (By the way, we unexpectedly ran into Izumi at the event, too. Starmen.net takin’ over, wheee!)
Another guy made some really incredible plastic-looking figurines. He didn’t sell the figurines, but what he did do was photograph them in entirely constructed scenes and sell the photographs.
Mark (a.k.a. Kyosuke) and I first focused on passing out pins (We had about 300 sets, each with a Japanese advertisement and URL on it) to all of the people sitting at the booths. I felt too embarrassed to hit up all the customers too and interrupt them while they were busy looking at the circles’ stuff. The response was excellent. A couple people sort of hmph‚ “thanks,” and put it down, but that was only like one or two circles out of like 80. Most people were fascinated and totally moved that I was giving them this free pin set. I was like, oh no don’t worry about it, I’m giving one to everyone, but I still got some free doujinshis out of the deal Woot. And when they were really like ohhh~~~ and peering at the back and the front, I went into the Fangamer Sales Pitch to explain what it was for. I lost count of how many times I pitched the site yesterday, so I’m glad I came out of that event with no regrets as to productivity. Everyone was really excited about it, and said they were rooting for us, so please do our best! We were definitely in good company.
One very shocking Incident: At one point during the day, I noticed some guy standing next to me nonchalantly… wearing THIS!!! I literally gasped. Then I literally thought about touching the hem of his garment. Then I freaked out again inside and was too afraid to talk to him and ask WHAT ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?! That jacket, for the record, is extremely rare and was only given to important people who worked on MOTHER 2. Perhaps he is the mystery person who bought one off of an auction in said Winter of 2003?! He didn’t look very old. Maybe 30 or so? But who knows. I’m sorry I didn’t strike up a conversation with him, but I didn’t know that when I was in the presence of one, I would have a medical seizure.
Then after the event, at the after-party thing, they gave us the mic at some points, and we got to hold up the products and introduce stuff to everyone. I tried really hard to explain the packy slips, because I think they would love those, but I’m not sure how well I got the idea across. They seemed a little confused by it. But they thought everything was awesome, and I knew by the end of the day that Fangamer would explode in Japan in their gaming community out here. They kept complimenting on the style and I’d heard people looking at our pins after I walked away how different American fashion sense was when it came to design, and how awesome it all was. They really seem to appreciate the way we’re approaching these designs and products. At that convention, it was mostly stickers and doujinshi and drawing and art stuff. So at the next MOTHER event, I really really want to set up a booth with t-shirts and bags and stuff. They FREAKED when they saw the Escargo Express bag! These are kind of new mediums for game merchandise out here, I think. Americans always get jealous of Japan for all the game stuff they get, and yeah they have cool toys and stuff but I’m really impressed, after what I’ve seen, with the new level that Fangamer is taking this to. They really don‚Äôt have anything like it out there, just blatant copyright merch straight from Nintendo. I almost feel like our dancing around copyright issues is giving us an advantage by pushing us to make unique designs that anyone can enjoy. I had my Snow Wood hoodie on over my Ness shirt and one Japanese girl said that before I even pointed anything out about it, she thought my hoodie was really cool, but when she really looked at it, she noticed the MOTHER references and was really excited about it. I told her that’s pretty much what we’re going for.
And I didn’t know the MOTHER 3 handbook was so famous in Japan! When they gave one away in a drawing they had me and Mark come up and explain it, and when I took a little poll to see who wanted one, all ~300 people in the room raised their hands and started fussing about it. One person was like, I don’t care if it’s German or French or Portuguese, I want that book!!! And at the end of the night one girl almost seemed in tears as she waited to talk to me and begged me to please, please release the book in Japan. It was amazing. American MOTHER fans and Japanese MOTHER fans, their hearts so closely connected. /dramatic truth
I hate to start bringing up new crazy projects for Fangamer to slave over again, but the response was so overwhelming that they thought it would only be a far-off dream for them to, sigh, actually get a Japanese copy of the MOTHER 3 handbook. They all said it made their own official guidebooks look pitiful. I felt it was really ironic. We are always the ones that drool over Japanese stuff. Perhaps we, unlike Nintendo of America, can make their dream come true?
Also, I didn’t know how little people know that MOTHER 1 and 3 are not released in America, and won’t be. There was a gasp throughout the crowd when we told them that. And I made sure to say, yeah MOTHER 3 ain’t comin, so we just went and did it ourselves. They got a big kick out of all that, we got some applause.
I’m probably missing some stuff, but basically Fangamer was a hit. I’m so, so glad they let us up to talk to everyone, we got some maaajor airtime in. It makes things so complicated when people rarely have credit cards, and when they do, they freak out about using it online. Subsequent options are in the works.
So yeah, huge success. The Japanese website might take some time to really polish, but we’ll do our best. I know there’s not a whole lot written on it right now, we need a lot more descriptions for stuff. But there are good things waiting here for Fangamer. I knew Japanese people would love Fangamer, but the response even surpassed what I’d expected. Maybe they’ll even start getting into some English version stuff, like stuff with “Earthbound” written on it, and call Mr. Saturn “Mr. Saturn” instead of Dosei-san. Probably to the same extent that we embrace some of the Japanese-version parts of the game.
Seriously, though, at the next MOTHER Only event, I am absolutely getting a merchandise booth and plopping my butt down like I was MEANT to be there. Hope they have another one next year!