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Morning Musume
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Added 10/28/2010
Updated 2/28/2016
Oh boy, there was a lot of chaos in getting this autograph at Anime Expo 2009. I have to say AX really dropped the ball on handling lots of matters. You needed to attend the panel to have a shot at the official AX autographs and they held the panel early on day 1 (Thurs). This is bad for fans since a lot of people cant make day 1 due to work and other commitments. To make things worse they implemented a new policy where autograph tickets were only passed out to the people who sat near the front. This screwed people since in previous years, that was not the case. Theres 2 autograph sessions, 1 right after the panel and another 2 days later. For the session after the panel they announced the WRONG autograph location leading to many people running around for nothing. I was lucky and I skipped the 1st session since I assumed it was going to be chaotic.

Now the 2nd session was 2 days later (Sat) at 11am. Knowing the line was going to be long, I arrived at 8am to find an interesting situation. There was a line and a group of very angry Momusu fans. Apparently on some websites it was listed as "first come first serve" so fans who missed the panel thought they had a chance at this session had waited 6-8 hours+ for a chance to meet Momusu. Many of these fans flew in from all over the world ONLY for Momusu, but they are being told that they have to leave. Needless to say, they were freaking angry and from what I can tell, have been arguing with the AX staff for hours. I got there in time to hear the AX staff explain that "its first come first serve, but only for those with autograph tickets." I show my ticket and they literally freak out as I walk past them into the line of people with tickets, some of them yelling in Japanese "What the hell? Why is that guy going?!." I guessing it was because I showed up only 3 hrs before while others have been there for who knows how long. So now Im standing in front of this angry group of people and wishing I wasnt there. The AX staff then leads the group of people with tickets to go up the escalator to the room where the ticket holders were supposed to wait, but theres a problem! Im at the end of the line and am out of the sights of the AX staff. As I head towards the escalator, I am stopped by the convention staff and am told that theres a limit to how many people can ride the escalator and I am forced to wait. The problem is I was never told to go up so I am sorta stuck at the bottom of the escalator near the angry group (who are still arguing with anyone and everyone who looks like they may be in charge). 20 min later the original AX staff who lead the group upstairs comes down, sees me and asks why I was still there and not in the room. I explain my situation and was instructed to go up the escalator. The angry group, seeing me go up the escalator, explodes. Theres a lot of yelling from confused Japanese fans and other people as I slowly ride this escalator upstairs. The last thing I hear is several AX staff yelling "STEP BACK! Did you touch her? I will throw you out right now! STEP BACK!". After 3 hours waiting in the room of safety, I met Momusu, had a nice short conversation with a few of them and shook all their hands. They were very nice and was glad I got to meet them.

Now this is not the end of this story of pain. A booth in the dealers room called Japan Files gave out special tickets that guaranteed Momusu autographs if you bought their CD. I had purchased their CD on day 1 so I had one of those tickets. I already had their autographs so now I was going to get a CD signed for my friend. The signing was from 2-4pm that day and seeing as I was guaranteed, I planned to arrive at 3:45pm, get the autograph and leave with little fuss. I get there at 3:45pm and I see chaos. It turns out that Japan Files was only supposed to give out 100 tickets according to Momusu producers, but Japan Files gave out 200. Now there was a huge argument between Momusu staff, AX staff and Japan Files staff over how to handle the situation. Momusu staff didnt want them to sign so many since they were tired and probably had cramping hands from a full day of signing, Japan Files didnt want to go back on their promise to their customers and AX wanted this situation with the mob of people in the dealers room resolved.

Now at this point I wanted to sneak out of the chaos and get out of there. I already had their autographs and so did my friend (she was with me at the earlier signing), so this autograph session was simply omake. I was fully willing to give this up to get out of the chaos. Unfortunately one of the staff (I think she was the translator the Momusu staff hired for translation purposes at AX) suddenly yells out "I dont care what is going on, but I am going to make sure this fan gets his autograph" while pointing at me. Now I cant leave and am sorta in the spotlight. After some more arguing, they eventually usher me and a few other people into the autograph area saying that we are the last group. I look at the girls and man do they look tired. Seriously, they look utterly exhausted. As I walk up to them, they suddenly brighten and appear to be excited (though I am sure they were acting). I get the autographs and get out of there as quickly as I can. I also think they probably remember me since the conversation I had with them earlier in the day was rather unique in nature. All the more reason to leave asap. I tell this story to my friend as I give her the autograph and she laughs saying "If I knew you were going to go through all that, I wouldnt have asked."

Though I was lucky enough to technically get 2 sets of autographs, I really felt bad for the many many fans who got screwed over. The Japan Files tickets sold out within the 1st hour of the dealers room opening on day 1 and you literally had to be sitting in the 1st 5-6 rows in the panel to get the AX tickets (the panel took place early on the 1st day too). Those were the only 2 opportunities to get autographs and you literally had to be at AX right when it opened on day 1 with your badge and everything ready. You would have had to either run to the dealers to or the panel and have an idea of what was going right as the con began. This pretty much screwed almost everyone except the extremely lucky and those who were familiar with AX.

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Curator: drscorpio
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