July 19, 2008
Story by Kei Sato (Sraw Rats)

 

Welcome to the Show: 

Hey troops! This is Sraw Rats reporting in from the Land of the Rising Sun! While many of you are waiting, and some frantically searching, the arrival of the new Clone Wars figure line, I am anxiously waiting the start of what I hope will be something out of this world! As we all know this Celebration is another big step for Star Wars and its fans. It will truly be a great opportunity not only for fans within Japan, but also for fans world wide, to come together under one roof to celebrate one single topic: Star Wars!

Running around Tokyo for about a week, I saw flyers and posters all over the place hinting at this grand event! There are many events planned including new footage from the new Clone Wars movie to be released on August 15th and a session with director Dave Filoni, never before available exclusives, and, of course, collector panels and their highly sought after medallions! This will be a very tough Celebration for one trooper to get around, but I will do my best to report to you guys as much as I can! 

Day 1 did not start well, to say the least. It was very disorganized and hardly any of the staff new what they were doing. All of the directing/control of will call/ticket exchange was handled by Japanese members who I believe have never attended a single Celebration. To no surprise, there were hardly any English speaking staff members. After some confusion, rage, and impatience, I was finally able to get my 3-day Premium ticket. However, I was forced to move back in line by about 1~2hrs of waiting. Got there at about 6am and probably walked in with the 7~8am crowd. Once in, it was pretty cool! Everything was really open and laid out nicely. Some may have considered the layout a waste of space, but, unlike previous Celebrations, I was able to walk around the floor without having to push my way through crowds of people. I was able to grab everything I needed right off the bat, which allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day quite nicely. The Celebration Store was run differently than at CIV but more like it was at CIII, except they had 2 lines: one for regular and one for premium ticket holders. The premium line was possibly longer, but they had 1 register for regular and about 15 for premium! It worked out pretty nicely! The day included some translating for a fellow fan, allowing me to meet and translate for Steve Sansweet and his "team," Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Orli Shoshan (Shaak Ti)! That was a great, and different, experience! And the most important of all, I stopped by Anthony Forrest's table to say hello from all of the troops back home! He seemed really cool and I enjoyed meeting him! He also says hello to all the troops who couldn't make it! The 2nd half of the day was spent mostly in the collector's panels! I was unfortunately too late to get in for the first panel, but was able to get in for the 3 remaining panels for the day and acquire the medallions! The panels became busier and busier with every one. It was nearly full by the last panel of the day. I'm sure it was due to people from the previous panels showing off their newly acquired medallion! The day ended with another one on one with Sansweet! I would say that overall, Day 1 went well!

Day 2 was just as eventful! I had acquired an exhibitor's pass the previous day so I had no need to stand in line and wait! The day started out with translating for my friend and meeting Mark Hamill (no autograph however). I was a little raged that he didn't show up until 1hr after the show had started, causing a very long line to start the show. On top of that, they were not allowing photographs with either Mark or Anthony Daniels. A person pays $200+ for an autograph and they cannot take a picture? Ridiculous...but that is just my opinion. I was glad though that Mr.Hamill did allow my friend to get a picture with him, I believe more from the fact that he had a translator with him! The day continued on with seeing Dave Filoni's and the exclusive footage of the new Clone Wars movie. I unfortunately did not get to see footage at CIV due to time issues so I cannot say what was
"new." However, I am glad to say that this should be a very exciting new addition to the SW motion picture universe! I had some time afterwards to walk around artist alley and vendor displays. There obviously were not as many artists or vendors as past Celebrations, but it was still a great showing. And it was great to see a few Japanese artists in the mix!

The rest of the day was spent in the collectors' panels, collecting the medallions! I am sure many of you have attended these before and so, many of these should sound familiar. The panels included "Intro to Collecting," "Plush Toys," "Unproduced Toys," and "International Collecting Panel." With some friends I had made, I was able to enter the panels without having to wait in line! This allowed me more time to wonder the rest of the show when I saw fit. I was able to snag the 4 medallions for the day, and through some contacts, the very first medallion that I had missed! The turnout for the panels was wonderful!! There were one or two panels that were so full that they ran out of medallions (oops!) 

Another eventful day of Celebration had ended with one more to go! However, the day itself was not over yet! They had a night of fun and excitement planned with a sort of a Fan Celebration of Celebration. Sadly it was not very well planned. They had many celebrities on stage, including Peter Mayhew, Jeremy Bulloch, David Prowse, Orli Shoshan, Anthony Daniels, Dave Filoni, Amy Allen, Ray Park, and of course, Mark Hamill! However, the stage was very low to the ground and with so many of the fans standing in front of it, you could not see much at all or even take pictures from the back. Few of the celebrities decided to walk amongst the crowd. Mark was one of them and he was swarmed the whole time! Couldn't believe he decided to come out in the crowd! He was lucky to get back on stage! The night ended with Sansweet giving away "prizes," which included framed filmstrips and POTF2/ROTJ era collectibles (nothing to get too excited about). It was, to put it nicely, a waste of my time. 

The third, and final, day of CJ started out early, getting in before it opened to the public, to get pictures of everything! I was able to snap pictures of almost every displayed item from every booth. They had a few props displayed, including a full size snowspeeder, a speeder bike, hallway and holochess of the Millennium Falcon, and, of course, the Dewback! They also had life size Anakin, Obi, Ahsoka, and Captain Rex from the Clone Wars movie/TV Series, and a life size Jabba and throne! Lego had the new Death Star set on display, and about 20 Republic Gunships with different designs and 10 or so AT-TE's climbing the wall! Tomy Direct had many of the Hasbro figures, Muggs, Titaniums, and vehicles, including the Millennium Falcon and AT-TE, on display! Kotobukiya had the Clone Wars ArtFX line displayed, as well as the X-Wing and Bounty Hunter line.

Other exhibitors included Blister, Hot Toys, Rubies, Fine Molds, Yoshitoku (makers of Vader/Stormtrooper Japanese Armor), Sankyo Pachinko, Nikko (R2 Projector), Ensky (Real Magnet Collection), Star Tours from Tokyo Disneyland, and other Japanese companies. As 10am rolled around, the doors to the convention opened and I was scared for my life! There was a stampede rushing through the exhibitor floor heading for the Celebration Store! All I could do was stand against the wall and become the wall as much as I could to save myself from getting run over! I heard later that the store did not consider spreading their inventory over the 3 days so they had sold out of many of the items within the first 2 days!

After avoiding the stampede and getting the rest of my pictures, I met with and translated for Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett). Such a great guy! His wife too! It's great to see them both there together! Then headed on over to see Amy Allen (Aayla Secura)! Very friendly, and gorgeous! I then had a chance to walk around the local shop booths and managed to acquire some micro droid series remote controlled droids at a great price! I then wondered around and made my way over to the Art Show Gallery to see Lawrence Noble's masterpiece and to enter the raffle for this masterpiece to be held later that day. To my surprise, he was actually sitting at the table, working on the Luke Skywalker head. 

Talking with him for a little bit, I managed to get a shot with him, Luke's head, and myself! He is an awesome artist! The gallery was filled with artists from around the world, including a few from within Japan! Obviously not as many as CIV, but it was still a great turnout! I returned to the Official Pix area to speak with Peter Mayhew once again. While waiting for Peter to return to his booth from break, Dave Filoni was over at Orli's table chit-chatting. I was able to snag an autograph from him. Most people did not seem to know who he was. I guess that's why he was able to go out onto the floor without a mass of people rushing at him! I also managed to get a photo with Orli for all the help with translating the previous day! By the time we got done with Peter, it was time to head to the collector's panels. The next 4hrs were spent sitting in last of the panels. These included 'Food Collectibles,' 'Japanese Coca Cola Collectibles,' 'Trading Cards-Japanese Edition,' and 'Humorous Star Wars Items.' By the end, I had managed to grab the last 4, completing my set of 12 Medallions!

This also meant, however, the end of CJ had come. The breakdown started by 6:05 and you had to be there to believe it. By 6:30, they had torn down at least 25% of the convention, but probably more! By 7, it was a good 50%+ done. Those Japanese people work fast!! In the breakdown process, I was also able to meet the creator of that great dewback! I never had a chance to get on it, but maybe at another Celebration. This wrapped up another great Celebration! The attendance was awesome and the show was eventful! I'm sure there are still many kinks to work out, but I believe it was a great first step for LDG, being it as that not only was this their first Celebration, it was in Japan! I can't wait for the next Celebration, and I'm definitely pulling for Chicago or Indianapolis!! Hope you guys enjoy the many pictures I took and have enjoyed my report.!

PHOTO GALLERIES
Day 0: Pre-Coverage  7/18/2008
Day 1: Initial Invasion
  7/19/2008
Day 2: Showroom & Autographs  7/20/2008
Day 3: Wrap-Up (Showroom)  7/21/2008