Hitoshi Ariga's Panel from Fan Expo, Featuring Helmetless Bass

Well, this is nothing short of a bit embarrassing on my part. As you may recall, we told you back in August that to celebrate the release of Mega Man Megamix to a North American audience, UDON was bringing its creator, Hitoshi Ariga, over for FanExpo Canada. There, he would meet and greet fans, as well as host a very special panel.

I was fortunate enough to attend the panel, and even got to ask a few questions of the man himself. I even snapped some pictures!

Unfortunately, while the panel went well, things on my end were anything but, and my hopes of providing a good accounting of the event for The Mega Man Network pretty much wound up dashed.

For starters, I had hoped to record the panel, but as I would soon discover, my recently-purchased iPhone would fail to do so. Let this be a lesson to those with cats: never leave your phone charging where they can easily reach the USB cord. The phone itself soon stopped working, so I was unable to even operate the device to retrieve them.

Oh, and the day following the convention, I found myself afflicted with a kidney stone. I will spare you the details, but between that and the phone not working, I eventually forgot about the whole thing.

But, in the spirit of us finally bringing you the Otakon 2010 panel "The Anime and Manga Ream of Mega Man," we bring you some bits of interest from the event held earlier this year.

I was going through my phone's picture album earlier, and it turns out that it wasn't a total wash; some of the pictures actually survived. Most aren't very good, given the nature of the phone camera itself, but here are a few mildly-decent ones.

The first isn't much to speak of, but came from the honorary Megavent held just prior to FanExpo:

The next one came from the panel itself. I honestly cannot remember what he is doing:

And finally, something of a treat: during the panel's Q&A, I asked about what Bass might look like in a civilian form, and he later produced this at the request of another fan:

Of course, it may not come as a surprise to some of you-- clearly, I wasn't the only one with plans to report back from the event, just the only one who failed miserably in the task.

In addition to a chibi-Treble, you can also see an image of "casual" Proto Man, and even what Ariga believes Ice Man is hiding beneath that parka of his. On top of that, one lucky fan (not me; I said "lucky," after all) got to take home this piece as the result of a ticket raffle.

As for the panel itself, I had hoped to at least post some of the more interesting Q&A portions, but sadly, those have long since been forgotten. Fortunately, via an UDON blog post I completely missed while incapacitated, it appears that Jamie Coville of TheComicBooks.com managed to record the thing, and you can find the MP3 of it here.

Of course, Mega Man isn't the only thing Ariga is involved in, and so he does answer some questions related to other things throughout, such as The Big O. Nonetheless, here are some of the Mega Man-related questions I was fortunate enough to ask:

LBD: There are about seven different iterations of Mega Man; if given the opportunity, would you be interested in creating your own version of Mega Man?

Ariga (via translator Michelle Hayashi): As a huge fan of the series, he would like to make his own, but he kind of enjoys more taking what's there and giving it his own spin. As games go, he knows how hard it is to make games, so he would rather leave that work to other people and play the games they produce.

But if they were willing to use his ideas, he would be happy to provide them with many, many ideas of his own.

LBD: We just heard about how you came up with Blues in his civilian identity; do you think we'll ever get to see Forte in a civilian-type form?

Ariga: Since Forte is a full-on combat robot, he says "I doubt it."

He says Forte really would probably not have an everyday life-type scenario, and he probably would not even try to blend in to the human society. And just considering Forte's personality, it would probably be impossible for him to blend in to human society.

LBD: I'm curious... Maverick Hunter Axl: Thumbs up, or thumbs down?

Ariga: He's kind of in the middle; he thinks it could have been thumbs-up, but maybe if they had done a little bit more with it...

He feels like they wasted a good opportunity there.

Be sure to listen to the full interview to learn who his least-favorite character is, what age he portrays the characters in his manga, how he came up with Proto Man's civilian form, and who he loves-- and hates-- to draw the most, among many other questions.