When I went to HollyCon Tokyo #5 back in August 2015 I thought I’d be going to a load more events after that. However, I was never too enamoured by the guest list (mostly comprised of actors from American TV series which I don’t watch!) until I heard about who would be present at HollyCon #18.
Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett-Brown) was back in Japan again and with him were Tom Wilson (Biff Tannen) and Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines McFly). The latter was originally going to be at HollyCon #5 but for whatever reason she cancelled it and was replaced with Claudia Wells (Jennifer). Getting your 30 seconds with the stars is a fairly expensive transaction so I didn’t bother with Lloyd this time although I was later only a metre or two away from him when I was lining up for my photo opportunities with the other two.
I should also add that there were four actors and actresses from ‘The Walking Dead‘ TV series which I know is hugely popular but I’ve never ever seen it. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that the majority of the people in attendance were there to see those four people (Steven Yeun, Tom Payne, Emily Kinney and Christian Serratos) rather than the ‘Back To The Future‘ trio.
There seems to be a few of these events each year but I’ve always been a bit miffed by the timing of this year-end one. At first I thought it wasn’t good for many people but I was thinking from a foreigner point-of-view (many of my fellow teachers head back to their own countries during the festive season) rather than that of the locals who are off at this time of the year. Likewise for the stars but if they are free and want to make some money in that weird bit between Christmas and New Year then it all makes sense to host it so close to the end of the year.
HollyCon Tokyo #18 was held at the Tokyo Prince Hotel in Shibakoen Park which was actually the same place where my school held a big anniversary party in 2017. It did mean I knew exactly where I was going on arrival in the hotel. In return for my photo tickets I gave the ticket I’d got on payment at the convenience store but was told I should have received an e-mail with a special code in it. A quick search on my phone and I was mightily relieved to find the mail and the number.
My photo tickets were in my hand but things were running a bit behind schedule so I had to wait over 90 minutes for anything to happen. These events really are a far cry from the Tokyo ComicCon ones as there really is not much to do other than get the signature or photograph you want. There was a big spacious room to wait in which had some beautiful and luxurious chandeliers hanging above the tables where lots of people were just sitting around playing on their phones whilst waiting for their magical moment.
The adjoining area consisted of just over a dozen stalls selling movie and pop-culture merchandise with particular reference to the main two franchises dominating this event.
The final booth was a photo opportunity with a professional ‘Walking Dead‘ cosplayer charging 2500 yen for a few pictures on your camera of choice. I thought it a bit steep for a cosplayer but he did look awesome and those getting their pictures with him seemed to be enjoying it. Nice work if you can get it!
The section that fans were most interested in though was of course the end one which was where the lines were to meet the seven celebrities for an autograph or photo. I was first in line to meet Tom Wilson and many things were racing through my mind as to what I might say to him. I needn’t have wasted my time as the reality is that these things go by in a flash. He entered the photo studio area, said a quick hello and waved to the fans waiting to meet him and then it was business. He really is a big man which is of course why he was chosen to play Biff but I don’t think I ever really believed it or thought about it much before he entered the fray. A handshake and exchange of pleasantries, a pose for the camera and that’s it. Next person! It went by in no time but I did get to ask him if he was heading back to the States for New Years Eve to which he confirmed he was.
Five minutes later and I was back in the same spot for my photo with Lea Thompson. She plays the game well and all credit to her for that as it is a bit of a procession. She greeted each and every one of us waiting with a cheery hello, gave us a hug, made eye contact and wished me Happy New Year. I also asked her is she was staying around for the new year and she said she was as she didn’t want to waste the opportunity of spending some extra time in Tokyo while she was here. The conversation didn’t go too deep though as I was pretty much ushered along so that they could do her photo with the next fan. That’s how these things work!
I hate to be one who always harps on about best past events but it’s hard to top the Tokyo ComicCon trial event in 2015 where it was intimate and the actors even wandered round and did impromptu speeches on a small stage in the middle of the room. Credit to the organisers now though who have got a fairly smooth operation in process which almost resembles a conveyor belt.
Back in the “waiting room” it looked like a load of BTTF cosplayers (including many Marty McFlys!) were starting to assemble in the corner so I jumped on that opportunity whilst much of the room, presumably ‘Walking Dead‘ fans, just stayed in their seats.
My friend Robert is an ever-present cosplayer at all of these HollyCon events as well as Tokyo ComicCon, and he arrived just after the group photos were taken. There was of course opportunity to take a few more and after chatting to a few other people I decided to leave.
I wonder how long it will be before I return for my next HollyCon Tokyo appearance!
Click here to read ‘Back To The Future Event At HollyCon #5 In Tokyo’
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: Back To The Future Cafe In Ikebukuro’
Click here to read ‘Back To The Future‘ L.A. Filming Locations’
Click here to read ‘Back To The Future‘ Secret Cinema In London’
Click here to see my collection of ‘Back To The Future‘ Trilogy Props’