A week later (sorry about that! XD), here’s my report of the 3rd day of Japan Expo, 2nd and final day of CLAMP’s activities.
Picture by Stephane Viallon
They did two signing sessions and one public conference at the end of the day.
I can’t make a faithful transcript of the conference because I can’t speak french, but I will try to point out the highlights.
I was in the 4th or 5th row, but the stage was really high so it was very difficult to see it even at the front row. The hall supports 15.000 people but I don’t know how much of its capacity was used, but there was a lot of people in there.
They screened CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 twice, the audience cheered every time a popular character appeared (CCS and TRC got the loudest feedbacks). Then the hostess (the same as the CLAMP Cosplay Contest) appeared and introduced the CLAMP members. They bowed to the audience and introduced themselves.
They sat on chairs and the talk show started. Before starting asking the questions submitted through Japan Expo official website, they were asked about their first impressions about the country. They answered that they were very happy to be there and that the architecture and the people are beautiful.
Then the questions. The most asked question was the meaning of CLAMP’s name. Nekoi answered that it means a “pile of potatoes” and Ohkawa completed saying that it wasn’t any of the four of them who came up with it.
Some of the other questions included:
– How they met each other:
Mokona answered that Satsuki, Nekoi and herself studied in the same school and they met Ohkawa through a mutual friend.
– Who does the home tasks such as cleaning and cooking:
Satsuki answered that at the time of their debut, they all did home tasks. Nowadays they no longer live together so they are responsible for their own homes.
– Why most of CLAMP’s main characters are orphans:
Ohkawa answered that these characters are more vulnerable and it’s easier for the reader to feel attracted to them.
– Continuation of CLOVER:
Ohkawa said they were very sad to answer such question, but it will be finished one day and they are aware of its popularity.
– Continuation of X:
Same answer for CLOVER, “it will be finished one day”. Ohkawa joked in protest saying to the other CLAMP members “why is it always me the one answering this question?”, and they replied “that’s the leader’s job”.
This was very funny because after she gave her answer, Ohkawa LEANED sideways laughing, almost reaching the translator’s lap, which was sitting next to her xDD She was totally expecting the question and feeling a little embarrassed about it xD
You can check them answering this question at the end of this video.
– What was the “business” that Syaoran had to take care of at the end of CCS:
Ohkawa said that we’ll have to check out their future works if we want to know the answer. She also asked everyone in the hall to not post this on the internet xD
– Why there are no kisses in their works:
Ohkawa pointed to Nekoi and the latter answered that there is one small kiss in Wish and Ohkawa (I think) added the one in CLOVER too. Ohkawa then said “but maybe that’s not enough for the french people?” (audience laughs). She also said that they have never been asked this question in Japan.
– Favorite works:
They went with the usual “we like them all” answer, but later they went into details.
Mokona said she liked working in Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, Nekoi likes XXXHOLiC, Satsuki likes Duklyon and Ohkawa’s answer was CLOVER.
– Sources of Inspiration:
Ohkawa replied to this one saying the usual answer that she has no major sources of inspiration, but sometimes dreams serve as such. The others mentioned a few manga titles that inspired them that I don’t recall right now. Mokona’s inspiration comes from Fine Arts which she used to skip school and go watch exhibitions at museums, she actually said she didn’t read manga when she was younger.
– Turning points in their 20 years of career:
For Satsuki it was when she moved to Tokyo for the first time after their debut. Her parents were very worried, but they called to tell her they saw her manga in the bookstore (I thought that was the sweetest answer).
For Mokona it was seeing her work in a bookstore shelf.
For Nekoi it was seeing her work in a tankoubon instead of being just in the magazine.
For Ohkawa, everything the other 3 said, plus their visit to France (this was followed by huge cheers from the audience, of course).
After the questions, they were asked to draw an illustration live. It was a XXXHOLiC illustration with Watanuki, Yuuko and the Mokonas, so the drawing was made by Mokona and Nekoi at the same time, with Satsuki’s assistance.
While they were drawing, the hostess and Ohkawa kept exchanging a few words. She asked why Ohkawa doesn’t draw, for which she replied “you would be disappointed”. Upon hearing Ohkawa’s answer, the hostess then asked if the other 3 members wouldn’t want to ever write the scripts for their mangas. Ohkawa said that the scripts are only written by herself, but Satsuki writes essays and she mentioned her book that was recently released in Japan.
When the drawing was almost done, the hostess asked Ohkawa to check if the drawing was “Ok”, and Ohkawa replied that since the director of XXXHOLiC is Nekoi, she should be the one to answer that question (but Nekoi didn’t say anything because she was still drawing xD).
Ohkawa said that they aren’t used to draw in that size of paper and when they are drawing, they can turn the page around to meet their needs, but they couldn’t do that this time. The frame was also a bit shaky so Satsuki was holding it all the time.
It was really a precious moment to see all 4 of them working together, looking at the same paper, with Ohkawa coming in and out to give the other 3 some directions (she really looked like a boss, just coming from time to time to check them on xD).
Ohkawa asked if all mangakas that come to Japan Expo must draw something and the answer is yes.
It took them around 20 minutes to finish it. You can check some great pictures of the drawing in this link.
Picture by Benoit Gilbert
After that, the CLAMP members walked to the front of the stage and the whole audience stood up and greeted them. For me this moment was very special, it was like a mentor-student situation. My biggest idols, CLAMP, up above the stage and myself, long-time admirer, standing up and clapping to them. I was clapping for all the joy they have provided me for the last 8 years. And I felt proud of them to see the entire huge room clapping them.
Next, the hostess said they had a surprise for them, that’s when Yui Makino (Sakura’s seiyuu) appeared on the stage.
Yui Makino was wearing a Kimono that she borrowed from Mokona. She said that as soon as she found out she would be going to France, she asked Mokona to borrow a few of her Kimonos. Also, all the coordination (jewelry and stuff) was given by Mokona.
Later Makino said that she actually asked Ohkawa to come into their conference (so it wasn’t really a surprise xD).
The hostess asked Yui Makino to say something in Sakura’s voice, and she goes “What should I say, Ohkawa-sensei?”. Ohkawa has a hard time to remember any lines and Yui adds “You can’t remember Sakura’s lines?” or something xD
Then, Ohkawa says that Yui Makino will say a line that is not in the manga at all, which turns out to be “Syaoran daisuki!” (I love you, Syaoran!), Ohkawa said that it was “specially for France”.
Yui Makino goes to the front of the stage and says the line. And the audience goes crazy.
Before she leaves, Yui Makino says that she was doing her live show a few hours before and she noticed how popular Tsubasa is and so she is very thankful to CLAMP for creating the manga. And then she leaves.
Next, the hostess asks CLAMP to show a few of the exclusive CLAMP products being sold at Japan Expo (t-shirts, postcards, etc). I thought this was a very weird moment and rather unnecessary, with the CLAMP members showing up the t-shirts (as if they needed this sort of advertisement).
Finally, they show the extra costume that CLAMP designed for the Tekken 6 game. They said to be very satisfied with the 3D outcome as they knew it would be hard to do it.
Mokona joked that in the original plan for the costume, the lion on Jin’s shoulder spills champagne xD And the knees spill wine and red wine xD She added that she doesn’t think these features are available in the game, though. But she concluded “if someone from the game staff is hearing this, please take it into consideration” xD
Before leaving, they thanked everyone for coming to the conference and the sign sessions, and also that they were inspired by France’s architecture and for that reason we might be seeing some of it on their future drawings.
And then they left the stage followed by another huge wave of clapping.
In my opinion this wasn’t a very insightful conference as very little new information was given. My favorite moment was probably seeing them drawing live, that was one of a kind. I would like to thank Benoit who was sitting next to me and translating the whole conference to me ^^
In the upcoming days I’ll be sharing the complete audio recording of the conference.