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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | Pokemon Radio Show! The Rocket-Dan's Secret Empire
Special Event: The Rocket-Dan's Secret Live
On-air: March 23rd, 2013
The Rocket-Dan's Secret Live was an event that occurred in Tokyo, Japan on March 23rd, 2013. It took place in the Grande Shibuya, a hotel located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. The event was scheduled to run from 2:00pm until 3:00pm (this includes entering / exiting the event space) but ended up going from 2:30pm until 3:30pm instead.
Animate, who sponsored the event, has an official write-up of the event here. What follows are my experiences at the Secret Live.
During the final few episodes of Pokemon Radio Show! The Rocket-Dan's Secret Empire radio show, the Rocket trio brought up the idea of having a "secret live," an event where the three of them would basically put on a radio show in front of a live audience. The trio would go back and forth about the event in the weeks leading up to the finale and, by the final episode, we knew that a secret live was going to happen on March 23rd, 2013.
Fast forward to February 2013, when details of the event were made available on Animate's website. According to the website, those who wanted to attend the event had to either buy or reserve a copy of one of the three Pokemon Radio Show! The Rocket-Dan's Secret Live CDs from any of the Animate stores across Japan. When you bought / reserved the CD(s), you'd get a white piece of paper with a serial number on it. Enter that serial number into an application, either by the mail or through the Club Animate website, and hope that your entry would be picked in a random lottery. The winners would receive a postcard in the mail that would serve as the entry ticket.
I bought my copy of the Musashi CD and submitted my application for the lottery on Wednesday, March 6th. I didn't really know what my chances of actually getting a seat were, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway. What did I have to lose?
On Thursday, March 14th, I received a postcard saying that I got in. And if that wasn't amazing enough, I was seat number 001!
Now that I had a spot at this exclusive event, there was no way I couldn't go. I was actually supposed to work on March 23rd, but I ended up using a sick day because, come on - Japanese Rocket-Dan. There's no way I was going to miss it.
So I arrived in Shibuya - a roughly 30 minute train ride from my home station - at around 1:00pm. Both the postcard and the Animate site said that the doors would open at 1:30 and that the event itself would start at 2:00, but I figured that I didn't have to line up super early because it wasn't like I had to wait in line to get my ticket, you know? I already had my assigned seat, and I figured it would just be a simple matter of waiting for them to open the doors and then walking in.
With some effort, I finally located the Grande Shibuya - it's on this weird side alley around the corner from the Disney Store - and was directed to the end of the line by the Animate staff. As I stood, an announcement was made to make sure we lined up in rows of three to help maintain an orderly queue. This reminded me of when were instructed to do the same thing at that Masuda Jun'ichi autograph event I went to back in December. That was also hosted by Animate, so I guess that's their procedure for these kinds of things.
So we're all standing in line, and 1:30 arrives. And...nothing happens. The staff apologizes for the delay and asks us to continue being patient, so we have no choice but to continue waiting. I decided to look around and see who all was there and came up with about 80% of the attendees being female and about 20% male. Pretty much everyone seemed to be in their 20s or older. And, as expected, I was the only white person in line.
Two o'clock hits...and we're still waiting in line outside. Again, more apologies. One person on Twitter wondered if they were going to extend the ending time because they were late in starting, and I wondered the same thing. Luckily, it was a warm-ish spring day, so even though we had to wait outside it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
You're probably wondering if I talked to anyone in line while I waited. The thing about that is that in Japan, you don't just randomly really chat up complete strangers the way you might do back in the U.S. Most of the people kept to themselves, played on their cell phones, played on their 3DS...anything other than talking to the randoms around them. So I did the same. The weird thing is, this didn't seem abnormal to me in the least. Like, earlier this week, this random American guy just started chatting up me and my friends as we waited in line in McDonald's. We all thought he this awkward weirdo, but after thinking about it a minute we were like "Oh yeah, I guess people back home do do that, don't they?" It's a difference in culture.
We finally get let in at around ten minutes past 2:00. I hastily snapped this photo as I walked in to avoid holding up the line:
We get led downstairs. After passing a bunch of flowers presented to the Rocket trio, we're led to the event space where the Secret Live was to take place.
Surprisingly enough, no one took our postcards as we walked in; we were just told to find our assigned seats and sit down. I figured that Seat 001 would be in the very front, so I headed that way immediately and sat down.
The event space was quite nice. They have wedding dinners and other such events down there, so even though we were in the basement the room was clean and quite formal. Several chandeliers hung from the ceiling.
In the front was the white sheet that the Animate site said would be there to obstruct our view of the voice actors. After all, the Rocket-Dan's Secret Live is being performed by Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu, not Hayashibara Megumi, Miki Shin'ichirou, and Inuyama Inuko, and that white sheet was there to help preserve the illusion. It had about a million fold marks in it, though, so it wasn't so much a projector screen as it was a white bedsheet that they hung like a curtain. Oh well. A Powerpoint presentation was projected onto the upper left hand corner of this screen, but since I was seated on the opposite side of the room I could barely see it.
At around 2:30, the Rocket-Dan's Secret Live started. We were asked to turn our cell phones off and told that video cameras or anything that could record sound were not allowed. Some people seemed to take pictures anyway, but there was no way I was going to even think about trying to sneak a camera in. After all, I was only white guy in the room and was sitting in the very front row. So the overwhelming majority of the pictures you'll see on this page were taken from either Mima Masafumi's (who's the sound director for the animated series and the mastermind behind the radio show) or Inuyama Inuko's (Nyasu) Twitter pages.
The emcee of the event - a man with shoulder length hair in a suit - commanded us to stand as the 2013 Nen-do Roketto-Dan Shin'nyuu Dan'in Nyuudan Kenshuu (ロケット団 2013年 新人団員 団員研修), or "The 2013 Rocket-Dan New Group Member Enrollment Training Course," commenced. As we stood at attention, each member of the Rocket trio delivered a message welcoming us to the training course. I don't remember what Musashi and Kojirou said, but I do remember Nyasu welcoming us "to the Hell that is (this) training course."
The trio then took the stage, and by that I mean lights were shown on the screen to reveal the voice actors' silhouetted forms. Hayashibara Megumi had on a wig that resembled Musashi's and wore high heels (she has nice legs for a 45 year old!) while Miki Shin'ichirou had on a wig as well (called it!). The most amusing one was Inuyama Inuko, who had on an oversized Nyasu head and hands and feet.
(The picture on the left is from the rehearsal, by the way, which is why there isn't anyone in the audience)
The trio performed their Best Wishes! motto as the BW motto music played - the one that was used back when they still had their black uniforms - and strobe lights flickered from the stage. Which made me wonder what they were thinking doing this for a show connected to a franchise famous for giving children seizures.
Once the motto was finished, Nyasu took off its head! Musashi and Kojirou jumped back as they've never seen their pokemon friend like this before, but Inuyama Inuko put cat ears on to help make things less jarring. When the audience let out a collective "cute~" at the sight of Inuyama's cat ears, Musashi stepped forward and demanded to know what everyone thought of her. The audience responded by shouting out that she was cute as well. Not to be left out, Kojirou stepped forward and fished for compliments as well, and so everyone said that he was "cute." Kojirou was less than thrilled with this compliment.
I guess this is as good a time as any to bring up just how effing awesome Hayashibara, Miki, and Inuyama were. They remained in-character the entire duration of the show and were able to ad-lib as if it was nothing at all. I knew this trio of voice actors were veterans, of course, but I wasn't prepared for just how freaking amazing they really were. As you watched the Secret Live, you weren't thinking you were watching a trio of voice actors doing a performance; you were watching a show put on by the actual characters themselves. Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu are not fictional characters; they exist in our world, and I was able to see them in real life.
The trio walked over to a table that had been set up for them and took their seats. Musashi took off her wig ("it's in the way") and so Kojirou decided to do the same. Both Musashi and Nyasu commented on how he looks pretty much the same without his wig as he does with it on; the only difference is that his real hair is now messed up.
The Rocket trio announced that it was time to sing the Danka (団歌), or "Group Song." I assumed this was going to be Rocket-Dan yo Eien ni, especially after it was mentioned that those of us who listened to the radio show would know it. That was pretty much the show's (and, more importantly, the Rocket trio's) theme song, right? But instead, the Group Song ended up being...
Team Rocket's Live.
It's the song that was the drama in Episode 18 of the radio show and can be found on Disc One, Track 17 of the Musashi CD. As the audience clapped along, the lyrics to the song - Team Rockets Victory...Team Rockets Ii Kanji - were displayed on the Powerpoint slide.
I don't think there was a single person in the audience who wasn't absolutely delighted to hear this song. We all knew it. We all loved it.
What was amazing about this performance is that Inuyama Inuko missed her cue both times. The instrumental track was pre-recorded, of course, so Miki Shin'ichirou would mime playing drums, Hayashibara Megumi would rock out on her guitar, and Inuyama Inuko would hit the one piano key...about half a second late. The room erupted with laughter both times this happened.
Once the song was over, it was time for the Secret Live's first segment!
The first segment was a Dare yori mo Pokemon ni Kuwashiku are! (誰よりもポケモンに詳しくあれ！), or "Know More About Pokemon Than Anyone Else," and was basically a silhouette quiz. The Rocket-Dan members would contort their bodies to resemble the silhouette of a pokemon (Musashi made a dog shadow puppet as the rules were being explained) and those of us who could correctly identify the pokemon would receive a signed bromide.
The first silhouette was Nyasu standing up straight with his arms to his side. About halfway through, Nyasu remembered to take off his cat ears. One person in the audience thought he was Sonansu, but that wasn't correct. A hint was given that the pokemon was brown, so someone guessed that it was Digda. This turned out to be the correct answer, so the emcee gave her (?) a bromide. A picture of Digda was shown on the Powerpoint screen, Dare Da? style.
For the second pokemon, Musashi and Kojirou stood behind one another and presented themselves as a four armed monster. One person guessed Goriki, but while that was close, it was unfortunately incorrect. Another person guessed Kairiki, which was the correct answer.
Musashi got up to do the third pokemon silhouette. She flapped her arms and, according to Kojirou and Nyasu, was making an amazing face. But, of course, we couldn't see that since it was just a silhouette. Koduck as thrown out there as an answer, but that wasn't right. Musashi then turned to her side and made a bird beak with both her hands, but that didn't really help things. Someone else guessed Potchama, but that wasn't it either. I raised my hand thinking that it was Achamo, but before I could get called on we were all given a hint that the pokemon's name began with ne (ネ). Finally, someone guessed that it was a Natio (ネイティオ).
For the final pokemon, Nyasu got up and...just stood there. The first person guessed that he was being Nyasu, and that was, surprisingly, correct! Wow!
With the silhouette quiz over, it was time to move on to the next segment:
The next "training exercise" was called the Ninmu wa Subayaku Juunan ni! (任務は素早く柔軟に！), which I'm awkwardly translating as "Think On Your Feet During a Mission!" We were to take each of the Rocket-Dan members' names - Nyasu, Musashi, and Kojirou - and create a sort of mad libs story using the letters in their names. For example, Musashi is written out as ムサシ (Mu-Sa-Shi), so one part of the story had to start with ム, one part had to start with サ, and one with シ.
The first name was Nyasu's (ニャース), so it was decided to use 「ニャ」, 「ア」, and 「ス」 as the three starting points. Three audience members were chosen by the emcee and asked to give their name and where they came from. After some amount of time, the sentence the group came up with was 「ニャ」ー ンてニャ! 「ア」し たの希望 「ス」べらない～ ("What nya - I won't slip up - because there's hope for tomorrow~").
The second name was Musashi's (ムサシ), so we had to use 「ム」, 「サ」, and 「シ」. The first person said 「ム」ら さき色の ("purple"), and the second person said 「サ」くらそう ("cherry blossoms"). This prompted the Rocket trio to comment that they don't think there's a such thing as purple cherry blossoms. The third person couldn't think of anything that began with 「シ」, so the Rocket trio, seeing that she was nervous, tried to calm her down. "Take a deep breath in~...and exhale...take a deep breath in~...and exhale." After a while, she finally came up with 「シ」んじら れない ("I can't believe"), producing "I can't believe - there are purple - cherry blossoms." This caused Kojirou to fall out of his chair laughing, which in turn caused the rest of the audience to laugh as well.
At the end, Musashi abruptly said 「コ」ん な時になんだけど！ ("What is it this time!?"). This caused Kojirou to start panicking, though nobody could really tell why. Musashi ignores him and continues by saying 「ジ」つ はあんたに言っておきたいことがあるの ("I know you have something you really want to say") and then 「ロ」ッカーにあったおやつ、「ウ」まかった！ ("...and that's that the snacks you had in your locker were delicious!"). In this way, Musashi effortlessly creates a sentence using Kojirou's name (コジロウ).
The final segment, called Subete ni Oite Saikyou de are! (全てにおいて最強であれ！), or "Put All Your Cards on the Table to be the Strongest" was designed to test the luck of the new Rocket recruits. Musashi would ask questions to random members of the audience and reward a poster to the person deemed to have the best luck out of all the recruits. The poster was that "Farewell Rocket-Dan!?" poster from Best Wishes! Season 2, the one that acted like the Rocket-Dan was going to leave the show that turned out to be complete bullshit. It was a proper sized movie poster, though, so it's quite rare.
The Rocket trio supposedly couldn't see out into the audience past the sheet (there were a few moments where I wondered if that was true), so the emcee went around and chose people for them. The Rockets would then ask what their names were, where they came from, and what they had for breakfast, and as the audience members answered they would take notes. OK, that's random, I thought, but whatever. After a few people were called on - one person came from Shizuoka, which is pretty freaking far! - the emcee looked at my direction and headed over to where I was sitting. Gulp.
The emcee tells the Rocket trio that I'm a blonde foreigner and that I'm the only non-Japanese in the room. He also tells them that I have blue eyes. He asked me what my name was, so I, my face completely red by this point, tell him. Musashi repeats this. The emcee asked where I was from, and since everyone else said where they came from to get there, I told them the part of Tokyo where I live. This caused Kojirou to fall out of his chair for the second time during the event because you know what we mean. Once the laughing died down (the audience was cracking up at Kojirou) I told them that I'm from America. I was then asked what I had for breakfast, and I said cereal. Nyasu commented that that was very American of me.
So, to review: THE REAL LIVE MUSASHI ADDRESSED ME BY NAME. I MADE THE REAL LIVE KOJIROU FALL OVER LAUGHING. NYASU CALLED ME AMERICAN (which, OK, that's not as amazing as the other two, but whatever!). It's amazing I didn't faint or something like that. I felt a tiny bit tense when I met Masuda Jun'ichi back in December, but this was in a totally different ballpark. I just know my face was red this whole time, and I think it probably remained that way for the duration of the event. There's also the fact that Japanese is not my first language, so I had the stress of using the wrong vocabulary and pronouncing words strangely in addition to the regular star struck deer in headlights thing going on.
Next, Musashi changes gears and starts to ask random questions of the entire audience. Who here has never played a Pocket Monsters game before?" Maybe four or five people raised their hand. Next, Musashi asked if anybody "has that game where you hunt monsters in their DS right now?" When several people raised their hands, she let out a curt "we're going to have to ask you to leave" (退場！) before reassuring them that she's only kidding. Next, she asks if there's anyone there who doesn't shop at Animate (who sponsored the Secret Live) but instead do most of their shopping at rival chain Tora no Ana. A few more people raised their hand, prompting Kojirou to comment on how well versed Musashi seems to be in geeky things like this.
Musashi then starts to ask us if there was anybody who had gotten married the day before. Nobody raised their hand. Did anybody get married today (it was close to 3:00pm at this point)? Nope. Anybody get married this month? Nobody. The last question in Musashi's self-titled "marriage series" (結婚シリーズ) of question was "Is anybody planning to get married this year?" One guy raised his hand.
The guy - who I'm assuming is in his twenties - said that there was someone there he would like to marry this month if she's OK with it. The girlfriend, who's seated a few rows in front of him (our seats were assigned, so friends were often seated separately) was asked to stand up. Suddenly, the guy asks her to marry him! At this point, everyone gasps and sits up at attention. Will she say yes?
Do you remember me talking about how amazing the voice actors were for staying in-character throughout the whole show? This was another great example of just how kickass they were. The Rocket trio, without missing a beat, kneel down together and huddle together like they've done so many other times in the past as they wait for the answer. Totally unplanned, totally spontaneous, and totally in-character.
The emcee comments that this is really stressful for him too! What if she says no? The emcee walks the mic over to the girlfriend and everyone in the room anxiously awaits for her answer.
And...she says yes!
As everyone applauds, the couple is brought up front. The guy proposes again, this time on one knee. The Rocket trio, meanwhile, do an intro dance from Exile's Choo Choo Train behind them, though I'm not really sure why. Maybe they just wanted to make some reference that they knew everyone in the audience would get? Once she officially says yes, everyone applauds loudly again and the Rocket trio shout out Bikutorii (ビクトリー！), or "Victory!" The emcee announces that they're obviously the luckiest people in the room and have therefore won the poster, but then there's that little problem with them having only one poster to give to two people. Musashi says that this is OK because after this, the two people will become one.
Once the couple is seated, it's time to bring the Rocket-Dan's Secret Live to an end. You could hear a few people in the audience shout out "already!?" when the announcement was made because we were all having so much fun and didn't want things to come to an end.
Before the show ends, we were asked to help the Rocket trio recite their first motto. They would say the first part of the sentence and we were asked to finish it for them. So, Nanda kanda to __________, Kotaete ageru ga ____________, etc. The part we were meant to say were projected on the Powerpoint slide, but I don't think any of us actually needed it.
Once we practiced one time, we all did the Rocket-Dan motto together with the music of the first motto.
Only one more item on the program!
To end the show, we were asked to help sing Rocket-Dan yo Eien ni. I'm so glad I recently went over that song for this site and therefore had it fresh in my memory. It was a shortened version of the song, similar to what was heard in the first episode of the radio show.
Let me tell you - singing Rocket-Dan yo Eien ni in a room with over 150 Rocket-Dan fans (the official number given by the Animate site, by the way) is like nothing else. Seriously, the amount of energy and joy emanating from that room could have powered the hotel the event was being held in. There is absolutely nothing like it.
Like the Team Rockets Live before it, the lyrics were displayed on the Powerpoint presentation, but I don't think any of us needed it.
When the song came to a close, the Rocket trio said goodbye and then left the stage. The event was now over.
Once the Rocket-Dan left, we were told that the Training Course had come to an end. To commemorate this event, we were told to collect souvenirs on our way out - a Rocket-Dan "R" iron-on logo and a Pokemon Radio Show! The Rocket-Dan's Secret Empire bumper sticker. We were also asked to hand in our postcards on our way out.
I noticed that there was an area to the right of the exit that had boxes labeled "Musashi," "Kojirou," and "Nyasu." Additionally, there seemed to be T-shirts for the event hanging up. Could those have been prizes for a segment that had to be scrapped because of the impromptu marriage proposal? Or were they going to let people buy them after the show, but then they couldn't because the event ended about 30 minutes late and the event organizers had to hurry up and clear the room?
The Animate site started selling these T-shirts on April 25th, 2013 for 2,500 yen apiece, and I wonder if those are the shirts they couldn't give away / sell at this event. Right now there are only two sizes listed - (Japanese) M and (Japanese) L.
I also noticed a sort of boxed seat area above the room as I was walking out. There was a projector up there - obviously for the Powerpoint presentation - but there was also a video camera pointed to the stage. Was an official recording of this event made, and will it ever be released to the public? The Animate site for this event did say that this was going to be a "public recording event" (本イベントは公開録音イベントになります), so I'm thinking "yes," but as of this writing no timeframe has been given for any sort of public release. It's possible that they're taking the time to edit out the parts where audience members give out their personal information (names, where they're from, etc.) because Japanese privacy laws are pretty strict, but it's also possible they just recorded it so they could refer to it later when making their official write-up of the event and actually don't have any intention of ever releasing it publicly. I guess only time will tell.
After I was up on ground level, I hung around and chatted with a few attendees (who now knew my name thanks to me being called out earlier) and then we all eventually went our separate ways.
The Rocket-Dan's Secret Live was seriously one of the most amazing events I've ever been to, and I unfortunately lack the vocabularly and writing skills to accurately portray just how much fun it was. Those of you who weren't in Japan to attend the event are right to be seething with jealousy right now. The Rocket-Dan's Secret Live rocked.
Hayashibara Megumi, Miki Shin'ichirou, Inuyama Inuko, and the entire staff of the event put on one hell of a show, and I don't know if there's a single person in attendance who wouldn't go to another one of these if one it was held. I hope the event organizers view this event as a success because we fans sure as hell see it as one.
Fingers crossed that I get to write another one of these reports for you guys in the future. Victory!!
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