-moi dix mois-
-eve of destiny-
Il a tout compris!
Live report of Mana's appearance at Japan Expo, Paris (France) on Sunday, 04 July 2004
Everyone, we are going to torture you as much as Mana tortured us before we got to see him. Look forward to a long report that slowly and evilly leads you to Mana's appearance at JapanExpo.
Nous sommes... hold on. We arrived to a HUGE queue at La Defense near le Cnit, and the queue didn't move. Rumors were all over us (in French) - Mana won't sign any Malice Mizer things and if he gets too tired, he will stop signing... that sort of thing. Having ticket number 195 of 200 that made me really happy. After an endless time of waiting in a bit of rain, we entered Japan Expo, went to the stand of Mabell who we believed responsible for Mana's appearance at JapanExpo. In fact, they only paid for Mana's trip. Anyway, I spent some money and then we asked for the room Mana would be in (we had tracked down some good Dir en grey cosplayers, but they were too arrogant to let us take pics of them without their Shinya, who took forever to get ready). The person at the info stand told us to go to the theatre Fujiko NOW, because when Mana arrives that theatre would be crowded. So we went and it was crowded - three hours before Mana's appearance, when some guy was talking about his movies to a bunch of clueless gothic lolitas.
By being there so early we got some really good seats, a bit away from the stage and off on the left a little. The people at the front were to crane their necks and we wanted to avoid that, too. Alas... waiting for Mana...
We got blessed with a Shinkendo demonstration for a while. It was much more interesting than the stuntman/actor answering questions and doing poses.
Then followed the "surprise projection" which turned out to be a screen-projection of Psycho le Cému clips like Excalibur and other songs. We were clapping outrageously, trying to put our pent up waiting-for-Mana-energy SOMEWHERE. But it was cool, because we were a bunch of Jrock fans, naturally, and enjoyed this quite a lot.
After they had swept the stage they presented us with yet another form of Kendo. This was a very interesting presentation and the team was really skilled. Yet, we have to admit that we wanted it to be OVER, because next was Mana.
You think I am going to tell you about Mana now? WRONG!
Mr. Kendo told us to meet him at his stand at 2:00 pm... Seriously; who was he telling that when everyone was waiting for Mana's appearance at 2:00 pm! Nobody CARED! Why did he think a bunch of gothic lolitas were watching his Kendo presentation????!!!
Anyway. Our hearts were pounding... the hall was filling until no seat was free anymore. All in a there were 1200 people, those standing outside without being let in, not counted: Everyone who was too late - for example those coming from the cosplay - were not being let in. And if they did not have a ticket for the autograph session, they would NEVER get to see Mana. It really was not very fair that way. We know people to whom this actually happened.
Instead of letting our queen of jrock on stage we were presented with a huge sign: A camera in a red circle, crossed through twice. In other words: International for DO NOT MAKE PICS OR WE WILL FRICKIN KILL YOU! After we heard and read that warning in French; we got presented with an (all-bad French accent-) English and a Japanese version. Basically it said that Mana does not want pictures to be taken of himself, or he will leave the stage. If someone disobeyes, the film of the camera shall be confiscated and the film inside will be destroyed. And the tons of guardians they had were certainly watchful. We were reminded repeatedly that this is "trés important"!!! And who on earth wants to be responsible for Mana leaving the stage??? Beware the wrath of the fans! Luckily, everyone behaved concerning the cameras and picture-taking cellphones, which were explicitly mentioned.
You think Mana came on stage now? Hahaha... fools.
Being all excited, our pulse going insane, we were forced to watch a history of Mana and the shortened version of the entire Moi dix Mois DVD. Awesome, really, when all you want is to see MANA... LIVE. Being as excited as we were, we were the first to start screaming whenever Mana popped up on the screen. No, I am not kidding, we WERE the very first. Nobody was saying anything and the stupid, but uncointrolled Mistoline starts screaming MAAAANAAAAAA!!!! .... and everyone joins. We think a lot of people got really scared by that. We restrained ourselves for the rest of the concert and felt each other's pulse.
Meanwhile the workers brought out six chairs, puzzling us about the amount of people Mana needed to sit on stage. We seriously thought for a moment he'd bring Juka and Kazuno with him.... until they took three chairs and a table away. Lets mention at this point that Mana drinks Cristaline (French water) like Kisaki and Jui of Kisaki Project, and not volvic like Gackt. Let's also mention that in the history part, Gackt never appeared. Please draw your own conlusions.
At the end we were applauding, sitting on the edge of our seats. A guy came out (yes, we know Mana is a guy, but we don't mean him) and asked us whether we were ready for Mana (what a stupid qustion, come to think of it... - no the gothic lolitas came here for KENDO!!!). And then he presents Mana-sama!!!
And we hear a bunch of music. Moi dix Mois! And nothing happens. To us it seemed like hours in which our hearts were very close to an attack, and Mana just didn't appear... Until suddenly, he steps out into the light and spreads his arms out.
Nothing could keep us on our seats, we got up to clap and scream but were quickly forced back into a sitting position by the guardians and workers of Japan Expo. Okay, so we set back down gawking and screaming still as Mana prances up and down the stage, waving at us, pointing at us, holding out his pretty arms to us. Can you believe it? Mana, there, real and as pretty as you have never seen him before. No magazine can catch the real beauty of Mana. No, I mean it, he IS more beautiful in reality, more feminine, with an aura that will make your mind spin. Mana, standing on the stage on his high black boots, walking gracefully and then crossing his arms and tilting his head...
He was in the same outfit he wore at the Moi dix Mois concert Dix infernal: Long black pants with a skirt-like drag attached to it. Else all black with his necklaces of Moi dix Mois and a bunch of rings on each hand. His hair was really long and professionally poofed, leaving only a long strand in the back to hang down his elegantly curved back. How he can walk in his shoes...? We don't know, but it works quite well!!!
He let his eyes glide over the audience for a moment, before the guy said we could ask him questions, presenting the translater of US and the tranlater of Mana, to who he would whisper.
"So, who has a question?"
Next to a very surprised Mistoline, Asuka SHOOTS her hand into the air and is indeed immediately noticed, not only by the staff who gave her the microphone, but then also by Mana, who was looking at us. Yes. US!
Anyway, so Asuka poses her question in French, asking him about the true meaning behind "Moi-dix-mois". A moment of consideration and Mana leans over, whispering into his "translators" ear, and we can see his lips move!!! The answer: Because his name is Mana and he wanted the title to have two "m". Then he wondered what to put inbetween and decided on "dix", because the number has a 1 and a 0, meaning beginning and infinity, which are the parts for creating human. Whoever had thought that question was strange was now taught better.
A bunch of other questions followed, which we will list as much as we remember in a moment, but not in order. Before that, however, we want to say that after a few moments, someone on stage had the smart idea to ask Mana to sit down, after he had been standing center stage for a while, shifting slightly from one leg to the other, answering questions. Mana followed the invitation and crossed his legs ever-so-elegantly and partly unfriendly for male organs. He seemed quite calm (and beautiful), considered questions properly and then calmly leaned over to answer. One question was a bit complex and required a lot of thinking, so our translater commented "C'est complexe comme question." We will mention it later.
Here now our records of questions and answers, posed at Mana for the first time outside of Japan by European fans, the very first being, as mentioned, Asuka!
One girl was asking where Shadow X, the mysterious new member of Moi dix Mois, was. Mana replied he would not say that yet. Much more interesting was the question: "How long will you stay in France?" We were quite excited to hear that Mana will stay two more weeks for photo shoots (and of course we will never catch him trying to stalk him in Paris). The theatre was filled with screams of excitement from the mostly French fans...
Mostly? Waiiit! It seemed all of Europe and more was there. Not only me and some other Germans, but also a girl from Spain, bringing her greetings and asking how long Mana had needed to compose "Shadow Temple", to which his reply was that he started at the beginning of the year.
Further, Mana was asked whether Moi-même-moitié was also going to be in other cities, because of a rumor that said so. Mana is indeed negotiating currently to open a shop in France. Again, the theatre was filled with screams of excitetement. But it should even get better! Being asked about possible fashion shows in Europe, he replied if he has a shop in France, he will also have fashion shows. But to raise the hearts of the present Europeans (the Japanese might have been less excited), he also announced that Moi dix mois plans to have tours in Europe (if we behave, which I think we did). He also mentioned the countries he wants to tour, but we only remember France and Germany (for personal reasons). To another questions about a possible return to France and Europe he replied that he was probably going to return this year, even. And of course we were screaming our lungs out once again!
It was time to post Line's question which she did in Japanese without that Mana would have understood more than "Konnichiwa Mana-sama" to which he nodded in formal greeting (so cute!!!) at Line. Being defeated by the puzzlement of EVERYONE on stage, I (Line) said "Je ne parle pas beaoucoup de français,..." and proceeded to ask my question in English (though I did not repeat that German people love Mana). I asked whether he has yet been to Paris and to the cathedral Notre Dame and whether he liked it. If the question sounds stupid, I am quite sorry, but the question I was originally going to ask had already been posed. So Mana told me (after the question had finally gotten through to him via English-French-Japanese translation) that he like dit because such buildings do not exist in Japan.
The question I had been about to ask was the one how long he would stay in France. So... I was kind of lost with my bad Japanese. Anyway, Mana was very kind, looked at us and did so; too a little later on in the question thing. It might have been because I was the only one dressed up as Moi dix Mois Mana and not a pretty-girl Mana or a gothic lolita - and the only one really trying to be Mana as he is recently... and the only one with the trademark lips and the dix on my forehead. Maybe though, Mana is just cross-eyed like Toshiya and was looking somewhere completely else?
The "complex" question was the one where they asked Mana why Moi dix Mois does not have an official drummer, whether that is about Kami and what he would like to say to him. Asuka and I went insane about this question, because we did not think it was appropriate to ask Mana about Kami. Mana SAW us huddle together and be like "nonono", he was looking over and we really wondered what he was thinking.
He answered very nicely though, saying that Kami is forever part of Malice Mizer, but that there might soon be a drummer for Moi dix Mois. What he would like to say to him is only Mana's to know.
More questions followed that we didn't quite agree with to be asked, but we understand that this was a unique chance to ask some of the questions that really interested us. So is Malice Mizer really over? Mana says no, Malice Mizer is on pause, but right now he wants to concentrate on Moi dix mois. Maybe in the future Malice Mizer will do something to give their story a complete end. Whether or not Mana was saying this to keep our hopes high and honor Kami as the eternal member of Malice Mizer, or whether something is going to happen, we do not know, yet, but the future will maybe show.
Further, he was asked two questions concerning his current style of music - is Moi dix Mois keeping the same style or is it going to change, maybe in a direction towards Malice Mizer? That should be an answer to listen to for those people especially who claim that Moi dix Mois songs always sound the same: No, Mana wants to try all kinds of styles. The next album will maybe contain a song dedicated to Kami.
The other question aimed at the lyrics. Some guy was wondering why the titles of Mana's songs are in French and his lyrics in Japanese. Mana replied, that he simply likes French, but that he wants to try to let other languages influence him.
In a question Line totally missed (due to bad French or a lot of screaming) but Asuka fortunately picked up, Mana was asked how he had discovered Schwarz Stein. Mana said he had seen them in a magazine and then went to one of their concerts. We wonder how he remeined unrecognized there, but appearantly he decided to produce them because of it.
He was also asked whether Midi:Nette was going to produce other bands and promised that if he'd find some good bands in Europe, they might produce them.
Another question about Moi-même-moitié was posed by a guy in drag (if Line remembers correctly), asking whether he intended to design more male-clothing in future. Mana said he is thinking about it.
Also very interesting: some guy wondered what the Moi-dix-mois hand sign was supposed to be, to which Mana answered that he liked malevolent things and that the sign is such a thing.
Now, let's get deeper into Mana's personality... or so the guy thought asking Mana whether there actually was a different Mana than the one on stage, or whether it was the same.
"There is only one Mana."
And does Mana really understand French, or is it just a rumor? "I understand everything." ... yeah, right Mana. That's why the guy next to you is repeating everything in Japanese, right???
There also was a question as to why he stopped speaking. The music, said Mana, is his voice.
Finally, Mana gave a wink to the MC and translator and he immediately reacted, saying that this would be the last question. We learn that Mana was holding the reigns here most securily, completely unaware of what they would do to him later on that night...
"What do you think of the number 666 and do you live in hell?"
I hope the question amused Mana as much as everyone else - we were all chuckling. The answer surely amused us even more. Mana said that while he likes dark and devilish things, he is...
As pure as gras! ("Pur comme du gazon.")
We suppose that is either a Japanese expression or that the translator made a mistake, because his French wasn't too great. He corrected it with "He is pure as a boy." (The French words for boy and gras are very much alike - gazon and garçon).
Can we say we don't believe him?
So it was time to say goodbye. Mana uncrossed is elegant legs and pranced to the front stage, meeting no less than the voices of 800 screaming fance, repeating his little set of posing and waving and pointing movements.
Suddenly, Mana held out his hand and was promptly delivered with a microphone.
He raised it to his lips....
"Bonjour!" (everyone screams...) ... "Je vous aime." (Hello. I love you.)
And shall we talk about his voice here...? It sounded a bit different from the two voice files we knew, where he sounds a little more like he his mumbling. This time he talked for real, and that in French, something that has certainly never happened before in front of any audience. We are the first, and we shall remain the first! Mana, we love you, too!
You can imagine that the theatre was going insane about this... And Mana could once again present himself on all edges of the stage and make everyone go beserk - and we mean it - he has never looked so much like a girl before. We always believed that seeing him in reality it would be easier to tell that he is male, but it is just the other way round. Mana looked like a pretty girl walking around the stage, and all that threw us off that image was his voice. Some even adressed him as "elle" and "madame". It's partly surprising that Mana remained completely expressionless.
Eventually, he walked to the side near the exit, holding his hand up with the dix-sign which was gratefully mirrorred by the audience. And this time we were standing, and nobody would have gotten us to sit!!!
And just as easily as Mana had walked onto the stage, he walked off the stage, waving with his left hand just a bit...
While Mana's face is like stone, we got a very strong impression that he was happy. Not only, because he talked - he surprised even the translators - but also because he seemed like he was enjoying the strong reaction... and maybe he was suprised by the amount of fans from all over Europe who had come to see him. When everyone was doing the dix sign, he seemed to really enjoy himself, which makes all of us twice as happy.
Now, on to the second part: Mana's signature and how he's been played with...
After we ran around a few miles aimlessly to find the room in which Mana would sign autographs, we found ourselves at the end of the not-moving queue.
Mana had appearantly not been informed of the fact that he didn't only have to sign something but give no less than 230 autograhs! We were kind of scard that he would quit and the people from JapanExpo did not really help the impression. But let's start at the beginning, just to torture you all.
Upon selling Moi dix Mois CDs an DVDs people could get a ticket for the autograph session. There were 100 to be sold on Friday and 100 on Saturday for the autograph session on Sunday. Unfortunately the idiot who was supposed to sell the tickets sold almost ALL tickets on Friday. So by the time Asuka's friend Cédric who works at the Expo came to the stand to get some tickets, only five were left. Cédric got us one, and Asuka quickly decided that I should have it (Line). I can't even begin to say how thankful I am to the both of them!!! I still cannot believe it... Asuka says she had promised that I would get Mana's autograph, because he is my favorite of them all, and she really did everything to make that promise come true. She even managed to shove me further up front in the line (some friends of her were there), because we were afraid Mana would cancel at some point - because he was not prepared to sign 200 pieces of paper from Mabell.
But alas, Mana loves his fans, and so he took up the challenge to write "Moi dix Mois" in romaji and "Mana" in katakana. But he cannot have been too happy about it, because the people of Japan Expo told us that we were not to give him anything to sign other than the piece of paper from Mabell. They told us he might just leave if he has to bother with other things or even more than one signature. We were not to talk to him other than saying "arigatou" and they took everything from us when we went into the room, except for the piece of paper from Mabell with our number on it. I was very very scared of screwing up. Yes, Mana has quite some influence, when he is not even present...
...and impact!!! People coming out of "the room" showed the most different reactions. Some were crying, some were jumping, some were all quiet, some were smiling. One girl in particular, a gothic lolita, came out jumping and screaming crazily with joy. I think Mana really made her happy. Mainly - maybe - because she got more than just and autograph:
Walking into the little area between the two doors, no less than three workers of Japan Expo were waiting for me and taking my bags from me. I, in absent, stupid politeness, told every single worker "bonjour". They probably thought I was going crazy. I was IN the room with Mana, while Mana was signing the autograph of the girl before me, and all I can do is tell the lady who plays "living human barrier until Mana is free" a sweet and shy "bonjour". *lol*
Then she took her arm away and there was me and... Mana. It only took like five or ten seconds. He looked at me briefly and then leaned over to sign the paper in a speed that would make even my mother look pale when she is writing... I am not surprised - at the prosperity of signing 230 autographs I'd really try to increase pace, too. As for him being mad or annoyed about that - Mana has no expression. I don't remember getting a chance to look at his eyes because he was leaning over so quickly, but what I remember is perfect make-up on not-too-white skin and the perfect lines on his eyes. His skin could have passed for that of a young boy or man and there were no smushed edges or anything like that anywhere. Even from up close I couldn't have told he was a man, it's scary. He was sitting at a wooden table or counter, framed by JapanExpo workers and most of the time I saw his eyelids, as he was looking down and doing the signature, and the poof of perfectly titanium-sprayed hair... no hairclips, just megawatt-japanese-spray. No sign of recognition, anger, joy, annoyance, boredom... but insane prettiness all over, it makes you melt. We would not be surprised if he can get whatever he wants. He puts a feeling on people that cannot be described. I have never met a person with so much personality, even though there was nothing like that in his expression and all he did was sign a lousy sheet of paper.
But Mana has something about himself that goes beyond that. And while I knew he would reach out his hand to me and give a little nodd, because I had seen him do that to the girl before me, I was almost surprised when it was already time to do so. There, for a brief moment, Mana had my hand in his, a move he indicated, because fangirls are too confused to do so, and I found myself glancing at his short, black nails and the red and black decorations drawn on his fingers. He wore less rings than he had when he was on stage.
"Domo arigatou..." and I swallowed the "gozaimasu" because I was already half on my way, when Mana nodded once again in reaction to the phrase.
I almost forgot my bags, and the guy at the door had to remind me - smiling knowingly - that I was a little too dazed to think about that.
A camera was pointed at me as I came out, just filming the girl that came out before me. I tried not to smile, being in Mana-make-up, but did a bit, and showed my autograph. Then I made a dix sign and ran off, missing Asuka and her friend completely. At least I did not scram, cry or stop breathing. I was calm, but confused and dazed. I am sure I did not quite know what I was doing.
But I saw Mana up close and touched his hand as one of only 230 people... That is kind of cool, considering... But none of this is really my fault. If it hadn't been for Asuka telling me this and inviting me, if it hadn't been for Cédric getting the ticket and then Asuka leaving it to me, and if Mana hadn't agreed to sign these autographes, even though nobody had informed him before, none of this would have happened. And despite Mana being scaringly much in control of things and maybe enjoying that a little too much sometimes (?), he has done this for his fans and given us something that not many people can have, I believe. I am very thankful, and the "trophy" is only a tiny part of it.
We have had so many priviledges today: Asuka got to ask the first question, and despite sitting right next to her, I also got to ask one. We talked to Mana!!! And he replied. Further, I got to touch him and get such a rare thing as an autograph, because he does not do that often, even in Japan. And... we heard him talk... in French. Impressive.
(You didn't think I'd share my autograph with you, did you???)
Thank you Mana, the man as pure as gras. (^_^)
Mistoline and Asuka
Edit: A few more notes that I have heard from other people who were there when I was already gone. Appearantly Mana took a break because his hand hurt, but he did not stop signing. He continued a while later when he was finished taking a break. The guards who talked to him also said that he is very nice in person. I just thought I'd share. ~Mistoline~