Sakura-con (was) Live on Nico Nico

Sakura-con this year decided to broadcast a stream LIVE directly to Nico Nico Douga, giving Japanese viewers perhaps their first REAL glimpse at American otaku. I jumped on the stream, eager to see not only what the con itself had in store for us, but also what everyone REALLY goes on Nicovideo for: the comments.

The camera was at the con karaoke bar, and it’s amazing just how much the song selection was indicative of the American fanbase. I jumped on a little late, but highlights include the first Naruto ending theme, the first Inuyasha ending theme (TWICE!), BOTH “Simple and Clean” and “Hikari” (English and Japanese versions of the Kingdom Hearts opening respectively), the Sakura Taisen opening and the dub Pokemon 1st opening sung by almost everybody. The show stealer though was a 10 year old girl who sang the entire 1st Japanese Pokemon opening, Mezase Pokemon Master. Showing more showmanship and honest love of anime than any of the other singers, the Japanese crowd cheered her on, knowing that this was truly a fan, a fan of anime.

Of course, not all of the comments were nice, as they referred to an overweight girl as “Totoro” and “Pizza.” But they were also enamored by some of the more attractive cosplayers. And there was also a bit of a clash between Japanese viewers and non-Japanese ones such as myself, as the latter tended to send comments in English and the Japanese did not appreciate this. Still, things managed to cool down and karaoke continued.

After karaoke was over, the camera hovered over some people organizing their figure collection, which was an unusual mishmash of Warhammer, moe PVC figures and shounen action. At this point I had to stop watching, but I began to wonder if the Japanese people would want a convention like this in Japan. I asked on Nico, and at least one person said he would definitely want to see something like this. The American fanbase’s lack of shame is both its greatest weakness and its greatest strength.