Over the weekend, Ozine held its annual Ozine Fest in MegaMall, one of the biggest malls in the Philippines, celebrating all things anime. I’ve been out of touch of the anime scene for quite a while now but I still love looking at people in cosplay. There was another reason why I went to the event. Jinri Park, who’s a local celebrity in the Philippines and someone that participates cosplay, was going to have a meet and greet with fans at the Big Boy’s Toy Store booth.
I actually like the fact that she does dress up in anime costumes as that makes her seem more approachable and down-to-earth seeing that she doesn’t dismiss “childish” fantasy. She actually was the first “popular” person to have her own “gravure” book… which I have. So, I was pretty excited to go have it signed by her and take a picture or two of her.
The meet and greet was to take place at 4pm on Sunday. I got to the place at around 3:30PM and I wasn’t surprised that there was already a long line of people ready to get their stuff signed as well. So, I went to the end of the line and prepared myself for the wait. At around 4:20, I heard a bit of a commotion behind me. Jinri had arrived, surrounded by security. She was kind of late but, no biggie. I’ve been to other meet and greets before and it is pretty normal for the star to be fashionably late.
But this is where it went all wrong.
Jinri was ushered to the main stage where she… well, I don’t know since the line was blocked by other booths so I couldn’t really tell what she was doing. There were the obligatory yells saying that she was cute and everything, but I couldn’t tell. Okay, a bit unfair but no problem. I’ll be able to see her for myself later.
15 minutes passed and the line hasn’t moved yet. I can tell she’s already at the place since a whole glob of people swarmed to that area and were taking pictures. One of the people ahead of me started shouting “No cuts!” A staff member then went to that person and yelled at him to be quiet or else he’ll be removed. By this time, I was getting annoyed, especially since I’ve been waiting for almost an hour.
Finally the line started to move very quickly. I mean, REALLY quickly. I was at the front of the line in 5 minutes. The person in charge of the booth then told me to hand to gravure book to him and tell me his name so Jinri can sign it. I told the guy the spelling of my name (since it’s pretty hard to spell) but I don’t think he heard me. Oh, and she can’t pose for pictures. The guy told me that I’ll have to take a picture of her WHILE she’s signing it. I couldn’t even get a good picture of her in costume since she was wearing a jacket!
After Jinri signed my book, I was quickly ushered out. My total time to actually get to see Jinri Park up close and personal: less than 1 minute. I when back and joined the glob of people, thinking I could get a better picture, but the girl fanning Jinri kept getting in the way!
To top off the rushed experience, she didn’t even spell my name right!
Look, I’ve been to other meet and greets before and this was definitely not the way to do it. For one, I did not get to “meet” and/or “greet” Jinri. It felt so impersonal and extremely rushed. I’m not sure whose fault it was why I had such a terrible experience. Ultimately, I don’t blame the organizers of Ozine Fest or even Jinri Park. I feel the fault was with the ones who hired Jinri in the first place. I think if the thing was handled better or made to be more organized and not rushed, it would have gone much better. Ultimately, I waited for over an hour and I didn’t even get 1 minute to get a good look at the star I wanted to see while the people why swarmed the booth got a much better time looking at her.
How fair is that?
I’m probably in the minority in thinking that the signing went well. But I’ve been to other signing events before. I’ve had stuff signed by other celebrities and I felt that I was given adequate time to actually meet and greet them. The stars took the time to pose for pictures and actually spell my name right. Heck, a few of them even asked me if they wanted to pose with them and my autographed item after they were done signing them.
For now, I’ll have the remembrance of this bad experience immortalized in my misspelled name on my Jinri Park gravure book. Thanks… I guess.
If you attended the Ozine Fest and the Jinri Park “meet and greet” but had a more satisfying experience, please feel free to leave comments below. If you just have something to say about Ozine Fest as well, please add them in the comments as well.