Cardfighters and Buddyfighters meet Key Staff up close at Chara Expo 2015: Part 2

Buddyfight Special Stage

The second morning of Chara Expo’s Entertainment Stage kicked off with the Buddyfight Special Stage, inviting 4 of its VAs who also voiced for Cardfight!! Vanguard.

Guest speakers and their voice roles:

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Syuta Morishima – Baku Omori

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Mikoi Sasaki – Kuguru Uki

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Izumi Kitta – Noboru Kodo

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Aimi Terakawa – Kiri Hyoryu

Apart from his role in Buddyfight, Syuta voiced himself in Vanguard as a shop assistant of Card Captial, a common setting in the Vanguard anime. TCG players know too well the stereotype of the owners of the stores they patronize – a job requiring one to amass much knowledge on the price and effectiveness of the card singles himself, and perhaps a shopkeeper eager about playing the very game he carries. From his manner of speech and TCG-verse, Syuta inferrably fit this impression. He is thus informally dubbed the professional card player amongst all on stage, one that might have contributed to his common impression as a Bushiroad employee, though he clarified that he preferred to be referred to as just a VA.

Two main questions were asked that day:

What similarities are there between you (the VA) and the character you voice for?

Syuta: I build many decks like how Baku does. I have over ten thousand Buddyfight cards at home from which I build original decks from.

Kitta: I’m arrogant and have an “oresama” personality. I look down upon Syuta for fun sometimes.

Sasaki: I’m like a big sister to my younger brother whom I have a close sibling bond with. Like Syuta, we girls collect a lot of cards, but fewer than him; assume it to be 3000.

Aimi: I have an admiration for becoming stronger but hate to lose in TCGs, and have what some would call a “junior high school syndrome”.

What do you find fun about the game of Buddyfight itself?

Mikoi: The game is simple to pick up. Like Syuta,myself and Kitta also collect a lot of cards from the show we voice for, but fewer. We didn’t count, but assume its around two to three thousand.

Syuta: I like collecting Buddyfight cards, so much so that this is the only game that I have over 10000 cards for. The fights can be made to feel like actual fights, and to replicate so, I like to equip Weapon cards as part of my strategy.

Kitta: (Shows punching action and speaking in a zealous tone) I find it exhilarating to inflict a lot of Damage in one turn!

Aimi: We can build the same deck as the characters in the anime. I won’t use cards that are explicitly strong but not aligned to my characters.

The responses elicited for the second question were relatively common opinions that fans have expressed publicly throughout the anime and game’s run, factors that enable its demographic of 9-to-11-year-old children embracing simplicity and fond of roleplaying as characters in the anime would appreciate.

For Sasaki, Buddyfight‘s charm was the simplicity of the game, a point many fans who have played multiple Bushiroad TCGs affirm. In their opinion, the mechanics of calling Monsters to the field are less restrictive and time-sensitive compared to more complex to Buddyfight‘s sister games, Vanguard and Weiss Schwarz. It also lacks the uncertainty of Trigger cards, random damage modifiers that have a chance of altering damage and stats in battle, which add a heavy element of luck dominant in her sister games.

For Aimi, the building of decks based on characters is encouraged in the physical game as some sealed products, namely  the Trial Decks for beginners and character-centric Character Packs, comprise mostly cards that the character uses in the anime. Morishima‘s Weapon strategy refers to a somewhat risky technique of equipping the player with an offensive Weapon card to participate in battle directly, but with an increased risk of being attacked directly and thus losing Life at a faster rate.

The talk ended with a challenge to draw a portrait of their favourite character from the Buddyfight anime or a Monster card, after which their reception were ranked according to volume of audience applause. Syuta, the only VA who drew a Monster, placed last, and was made to eat a “controversial” fruit, the durian, as penalty. The king of fruits, though considered a local delicacy in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, has a smell notoriously shunned by foreigners.

The latter appeared such for our VA as he was cringing over his few bites and milo to cover its taste, to much comical applause from the audience, ending off the panel on a high note.

Other Meet the Staff sessions
Apart from the entertainment stage, opportunities for the TCG players to meet the staff of the games they play were aplenty.
The Mini Stage were allocated to autograph sessions of Vanguard and Buddyfight illustrators. At the start of each day, TCG vendors (most who are from existing brick-and-mortar hobby stores in Singapore) were given autograph tickets to be given out to patrons who purchase S$10 or more worth of card supplies in a single receipt.
These are pictures of shikishi signed for our reporter, Mikeru.*
Protagonist of Buddyfight, Gao Mikado

Protagonist of Buddyfight, Gao Mikado by Mitsuhisa Tamura

Protagonists of the G and Original timelines Vanguard, Chrono Shindou (left) and Aichi Sendou (right)

Protagonists of the G and Original timelines Vanguard, Chrono Shindou (left) and Aichi Sendou (right) by Akira Itou

Card unit Dragonic Overlord The Ace from Vanguard

Card unit Dragonic Overlord The Ace from Vanguard by Daisuke Izuka

Card unit White Lily Musketeer Cecelia from Vanguard

Card unit White Lily Musketeer Cecelia from Vanguard by Kaoru Hagiya

Card unit Infinite Glendios from Vanguard

Card unit Infinite Glendios from Vanguard by Masami Obari

During the queue, some of more well-versed TCG players who played games outside of Bushiroad‘s properties eagerly shared about the other games that the illustrators drew for. For instance, franchise author Akira Itou was also the author of the alternate-ending spinoff of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, and some queue patrons also remembered how Izuka is also an illustrator for the Japanese-only TCG Duel Masters.

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Galaxy Blade THE FINAL, a Cross Gear card in Duel Masters novel and infamous for granting creatures the ability to inflict massive damage to both players. It is also drawn by Daisuke Izuka in a style similar to his Vanguard unit illustrations.

There were also live-drawing sessions in which Hagiya, Izuka and Mitsuhisa drew the characters depicted on their shikishi in front of an audience.

Hagiya (left) and Izuka (right) drawing for the audience (Source: Kaoru Hagiya's Twitter)

Hagiya (left) and Izuka (right) drawing for the audience (Source: Kaoru Hagiya’s Twitter)

Completed Dragonic Overlord The Ace, drawn in the pose of its predecessor, Dragonic Overlord (Source: Daisuke Izuka's Twitter)

Completed drawing of Dragonic Overlord The Ace, drawn in the pose of its unit predecessor, Dragonic Overlord (Source: Daisuke Izuka’s Twitter)

There were ongoing tournaments for Vanguard and Buddyfight under the Bushiroad Spring Fest 2015 title, with the novel Gunslinger Sessions present at other major conventions events making an appearance too. Attendees could play either of the above games or Weiss Schwarz against Mikoi Sasaki, Aimi Terakawa, Morishima Syuta or Dr O, shortlisted through a lucky draw.
To build up hype for Bushiroad’s presence in Chara Expo, Aimi Terakawa was previously invited to various hobby shops throughout Singapore in the afternoon of 20th May, in which fans could get her autograph on an item of their choice.
– Mikeru
* J-Network was unable to take photos of the unsigned shikishi as they were given out right before the signature.

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