Going to the Hibihata Kokomin 15th Anniversary Talk Event as a Literal Giant

Published : May 30th, 2023 Written by Anton Algren

I swear, something has to go wrong before every fan meet I attend. Whether it be my train running late, Arina canceling, or my unfortunate stomach bug, there’s always some random misfortune that drop-kicks me just before every event. In all cases, things turned out alright in the end, but it’s still quite stressful. And in this case, the misfortune before the event was my going to bed in a funny position a few nights before the event, and subsequently waking up to a screaming scapula. I’m a tall guy, so I’ve had these sorts of issues before, but in previous instances all I’d needed was a few stretches and some ibuprofen, and I’d be right as rain. This was different though, and while I have a few theories as to why that was, for the purposes of this story all you need to know is that by the Friday before this event, my right lateral was still quite sore.

This was a first for me, in terms of fan meet event locations. I’ve managed the trek to Osaka before, but this would be all the way in Tokyo, a journey I’d never made previously. And to complicate matters further, for whatever reason I couldn’t get a flight from Itami to Haneda, only being able to get one from Kansai to Narita. Readers might not fully understand the significance of this, but it basically meant that I would be going over the budget of my travel retainer, and would also be at the mercy of multiple public transit routes, any of which could be delayed, which would thoroughly ruin my chances of a safe and timely arrival. As such, I was very worried, especially given my past harrowing experiences with Kansai International Airport. I was so determined not to fuck this up, I learned and relearned the route I would take to Gotanda G4, where the event would be held, as well as learning and relearning several backup routes in case of complications. I remained restless the night before, which was especially stressful since I would have to get up at 5:00 AM.

Yet somehow, I managed to catch a few hours of rest, and then, against all odds, against all expectations, against all sense and reason, not a single thing went wrong with the transit. From the train to the bus to the airport shuttle, from the flight to the shuttle to the Yamanote Line, every single link in the chain operated exactly as it should have, and it was only because of my own unfamiliarity with Gotanda that I cut my entry close. But close still counts, and I was able to enter the event sweaty and breathless, just before the proceedings commenced.

I confess, I hadn't even heard of Cocomi Naruse until tonight. But for fans of hers, I hope you'll appreciate this pic.

Pulling up one of the last remaining seats, next to a kindly old woman to whom I apologized for my sweatiness, I proceeded to try and make myself comfortable as best I could in the tiny, tiny chairs given to us. This was not easy, especially with my back, but I was simply happy to have arrived safe and sound after a full day of travel. And, as if to comfort me, there was a technical difficulty that prompted a brief delay in the fan meet, before the announcer came out and briefed us on the night’s events. After finishing, he asked if we understood and had any questions. One cheeky chappie, chuckling, checked if the gals would be his girlfriends, to which the jovial announcer politely yet firmly shot him down. And then after we all had a good chuckle, the announcer brought out the MC, who then introduced the girls.

I’ve mentioned my love of Yui Hatano before, but I haven’t talked about Hibiki Otsuki (seriously, I need to make another “Top Ten” article). Honestly, a big part of that is simply that I love Hibiki for the same reasons I love Yui. They both fill that role of versatile everywoman, the vanilla flavor that goes great with just about every other flavor and scenario, and I think their ability to celebrate 15 fruitful years in the JAV industry largely stems from this adaptability. I hope they are able to celebrate 15 more good years in this industry, in some capacity or another. And, if you’re wondering who I like better, I can’t really give a definite answer, but I will say that that night, I found Hibiki far more attractive, simply because of what she was wearing (never underestimate the eroticism of bare shoulders).

This picture doesn't do them justice, but god-damn Hibiki's shoulders were so sexy that night.

I should also mention the venue. Unlike previous fan meet events, this one took place at a concert venue, the sort of area used by up-and-coming musicians and idol groups, and subsequently drew a far larger crowd than any I’d encountered before. It honestly reminded me of a school play, given the size of the stage and the simple, fold-out chairs the venue hosts used. And while the ingress and bathroom could be accessed through the right exit of the theater, and the bar and rest area could be accessed through the left exit, for the most part we all stayed in the theater.

Another surprising detail of the audience was its makeup. I’ve mentioned before that past fan meet audiences could largely be divided into otaku and photographers, but this event’s audience was far more diverse and varied than that simple binary. You had people from all walks of life, and about a third of the total attendees were women. I mentioned one such woman before, the little, old lady I sat next to. And as the event was just getting started, a friend of hers arrived, upon which I gave up my seat and took up a stool the staff gave me. While it was nice to be able to rest my back against the wall, this would later lead to some issues. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


The first section of the event involved Yui, Hibiki, and Cocomi Naruse (the third guest of honor) discussing their history in the industry. Telling funny stories, explaining certain shoots, and recounting notable firsts during their time in JAV, the throughline of this discussion being a series of pictures highlighting their careers. You would assume, given this throughline, that all the pictures would be placed and numbered in order. But for some reason each actress had a separate folder of images, and the images, whilst numbered, were not ordered sequentially (so for instance Hibiki’s 4th photo could be the 8th file in her folder, and it could come before the 3rd photo, that sort of thing). So what this meant is that, instead of simply pressing the enter, space, or right arrow key buttons, the person in charge of showing the photos had to exit fullscreen, go out of the current folder, go into a new folder, and then skim the photos there until they found the appropriate one. This got annoying pretty quickly, though people had as much fun with it as they could, the photo-person often deliberately picking the wrong picture so that the MC and actresses would berate them.

After that was over, we had a brief break, where I went to get a drink, purchase a harem shot, and meet drk! Yes, that’s right, ya boy drk was at the event. And he’s a pretty cool dude. We chatted about this and that, conversation topics ranging from AIKA to importing goods from Poland (long story), before I went over to ask the staff if they wanted ice cream. Because I’d had to spend all day traveling, I hadn’t had a chance to grab some of my signature ice cream for all the people working there. I was assured that such a gift was unnecessary though, and besides, the second part of the event was about to start, so I should toddle off and take my seat again.

The second part was much like the first, except a lot more relaxed and sans photos. It ended with a minute for all of us to take pictures of Yui, Hibiki, and Cocomi posing on stage. At once. Together. So, a little bit different from previous fan meets. But this is where my seating arrangement became an issue. I was sitting right by the exit, where even in the darkness there was a light shining directly above me. As such, there was a nasty glare when I pulled out my phone to take pictures, and it got so bad that all the photos I took had white voids where the actresses’ faces should be. Perhaps drk had better luck with his pics, but for me, I failed to capture a single decent snapshot. And, naturally, to prevent chaos we all had to stay in our seats when taking pictures. So by the time Yui, Hibiki, and Cocomi all turned in my direction, I could do nothing but sigh glumly back at them, hoping they would see the light shining down on me and understand my predicament. One could hope.

Some professional group shots and the best one I could take. You can see the difference.

After that, we were given another break, before the announcer came back and asked all those of us who had purchased a harem shot to line up. As one of those people, I took my place in line with drk, and patiently waited until my turn. The little old lady I’d met at the beginning of the event was first in line, and reader, I must confess, I hope someday I can experience the sheer joy that was evident on that elderly woman’s face as the three beautiful actresses leaned down and smiled with her. Also, if I may have one last brief tangent, I managed to see this lady’s phone’s wallpaper, and while I’m not familiar enough with Silk Labo to say for certain, I’d bet my eye that it was a scantily-clad Ittetsu who graced that woman’s phone. I must confess, I admire the surety with which those two old ladies I met know what they like and are unafraid to show it.

Anyways, back to the line. It was during this time, as I saw the MC join in for one of the photo shoots, that a devious scheme hatched in my brain. Turning my neck to test my ligaments, I found that I was still sore, but not as sore as I’d been that morning. Perhaps I was even well enough to attempt the mad plan I had just devised. If I was, then I would probably entertain the whole crowd of attendees watching. But if not, or if my plan was not allowed, it would certainly be embarrassing, if not also potentially dangerous. There were risks, but as I stayed in line, my resolve to see this plan through only grew stronger, even as my heart began to beat faster and more nervously.

At last, it was my turn, and as I gave my camera to the announcer, I asked if I might princess-carry the MC in the picture. The staff was confused at first, unsure of what I meant, but after I explained myself more thoroughly, the actresses squealed with delight, and insisted I do it. And so, my heart swelling with anticipation and pride, I scooped the MC up and held him aloft like a newlywed bride.

Instantly I felt something in my back. From the base of my neck to the southernmost tips of my scapulae, an audible pop, akin to that one experiences when knuckle-cracking, erupted from within me. My eyes bugged out, and I also then realized that in my haste to see this plan through I had failed to remove my mask. So, squealing as I tried to not drop the MC, I asked if someone could remove my mask, to which Yui happily obliged. I thanked her, and with a final burst of strength, kept the MC afloat as my picture was taken and onlookers smiled. I must confess, I was about as happy as that little, old lady when I succeeded in my scheme, and while I make it a point to not divulge my identity, I can assure you that in this picture I am beaming just as brightly as everyone else in it.

As I bade adieu to everyone onstage, I returned to the safety of the crowd, and allowed myself to grimace in pain. Drk, if you saw me sullenly slouching after my picture was taken, it’s because I was not feeling all that great in my upper back. And while in a few minutes I was okay once more, at that point I just felt kind of lousy.

By the time I felt better, drk had finished with his photo op, and the MC had also come down to talk to us. We chatted briefly, before he went back onstage, and he seemed like an okay fellow. At that point though, I was feeling exhausted from traveling, and sore from lifting. So after going back to the bar and getting myself another drink, I asked the staff what else there was to do, now that I had gotten my purchased shot. The response was “nothing”, so, saying goodbye to drk, I decided to make my way to the net cafe where I’d be staying the night. I also made sure to take a picture of an Ai Uehara fan’s shirt (with his permission of course), and then that was the end of my Hibihata event experience. Drk, if I missed some big, important thing that happened after my departure, I’m sorry. But I hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your night.

Now, would I go back to Tokyo for another event? I want to say yes immediately, especially since Tokyo is so wonderful. But I also know that any trip there would put me over my travel retainer, even if the flight was between Itami and Haneda. Even so though, I had a lot more fun going to Tokyo than I’ve had going to Osaka, and the ability to reserve an event ticket is, I must admit, a really sweet deal that I think is really only possible with big, major events like this. I know that at some point in the future, I will be going back to Tokyo to write about SODLAND. But for now, I think I’m just going to rest up from my Tokyo trip, and find some way to get those Polish goods I wanted.

In the meantime, if you’d like to help pay my way to the Asia Adult Expo in Hong Kong, you can do so at my GoFundMe page. The event is only a few months away, so any little bit people can contribute helps. Thank you.

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drk 11 months ago

Likewise, it was nice to meet you.

Re: women in attendance, I believe those are 'hibiyan girls'. Hibiki Otsuki has quite the legion of rabi... devoted female fans.

Also these photos, the convention 'TITLE - NUMBER' got old quickly, unless it was intentional to set-up the 'accidental' showing of wrong photos over and over.

I chatted a bit with Yui and I'm shocked that she remembered my name from live chats like 1.5 years ago and what exact small gifts I sent to her office. Same for Hibiki. However, I guess at their level of business, handling fans is more important than the actual content.

Not much happened after your departure, I queued to take my solo shots and left like 20m after you.

Anton Algren 11 months ago

Re: hibiyan girls - Ahhhhh, naruhodo.

And yeah, if there was one complaint I had about the event, it's that I didn't get a chance to chat one-on-one with any of the actresses. I'm glad you at least got to do that. My vanity is curious, did any of them mention me and my height? I know the MC asked about our relation to each other.

drk 11 months ago
I'll hurt your vanity - they didn't ask. Very much a volume business - 20-30s per person tops.
Anton Algren 11 months ago

Ah well. Still, that just means you had their full attention when you met them. :)

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