This is a follow up post to this entry here (K-TAI 2009).
On August 2nd, 2009, several voice actors and anime staff participated in an annual Go-Kart race known as K-TAI. Among those voice actors was Mizuki Nana, who was part of team known as Team Eternal Diva. The other 3 drivers of her team include: Nakahara Mai, Namikawa Daisuke, and Toyoguchi Megumi.
^K-TAI Entry list. The highlighted part, Team 37, is Team Eternal Diva.
As we all already know, out of these 4 drivers, Nana-san was chosen to be the lead driver. According to Megumi-san, the reason for that was because the K-TAI endurace race is SEVEN hours long and Nana = 7. XD However, as revealed by Nana-san on Smile-Gang 384, the real reason she was chosen was because everyone on the team agreed that “Nana is the only one who would go all-out right from the beginning without holding anything back.”
But things aren’t so simple. At the time when the decision was made, no one could’ve imagined that Team Eternal Diva would get a Pole Position Start.
Needless to say, Nana-san was nervous and doubtful of her abilities. In official races, those who get a PP Start are racers with a lot of speed. So it’s not all that dangerous.
HOWEVER. Robot Racing Teams are built more upon enjoyment than need to win (even if fellow team #25 Team Pikachu won 3rd place). Which means, of course, that it was a dangerous start. With a total of 120 karts in the race, Nana-san was to be in the lead for one lap (following the safety car) until they reach the START line — when the race officially starts.
I didn’t notice this until Nana-san talked about it on Smile-Gang, but apparently, she slowed down right when the race started. Re-watching the Mizuki Nana K-TAI 2009 PP Start, I realized it was true! (Thanks to my dad who pointed out that “How in the world can the car behind her accelerate THAT much?” when he saw me studying the video. XD) The car behind her didn’t accelerate THAT much (even though there’s no doubt the car behind her was faster), rather, it was Nana-san who slowed down! The reason?
As everyone neared the START line, Nana-san suddenly noticed that the signal was still red, meaning the race hasn’t started yet. Confused and unsure what to do, she loosened up on the gas pedal, but as soon as she did that, the signal turned blue (Go!). XD (Despite that, I think she waved when the race began? For sure she made a hand motion, as can be seen the PP Start video).
Amazingly enough though, even though she was tricked by the signals, Nana-san caught up! She was in the first or second position when they reached the first corner, but by the time they made the second corner, she was already in the 50th positon. XDD
Each driver is to drive for half an hour (or 10 laps) before switching. The order for Team Eternal Diva went like this:
Mizuki Nana –> Namikawa Daisuke –> Nakahara Mai –> Toyoguchi Megumi
Megumi-san mentioned that, even though she had to wait 1 and a half hours before it was her turn, she doesn’t remember where than hour and half went. All she remembers is dashing from the Pit area to the start line in hopes to record the start of the race. XD After that, she has no memory of what happened. Just that she was nervous and couldn’t eat anything while waiting for her turn to race. XDD
Not much went wrong for the first hour and a half. Everyone safely did their half hour drive safely.
But on Megumi-san’s 9th lap (she was the 4th driver), it began to rain. Due to the extremely hot temperature (along with the racing suits they were all wearing), the rain was happily welcomed. It cooled down the area by quite a bit. Nana-san commented that she was able to enjoy herself more this year than last year because she didn’t feel like she was about to faint from the heat.
But although precipitation was welcomed, there was a problem.
The tires on the kart were dry tires. It’s very easy to slip and lose control in the rain, so tire change is required. Megumi-san signaled (known as the embarassing “Tehe!” motion) to the crew that she’ll end her turn soon (which was coming to an end anyway as she already did 9 laps) and return to the pit for tire change.
9th lap. She only had one more lap to go before returning to pit. Yet that was when it happened. She made a turn. And the kart spun.
Or in Megumi-san’s own words:
A beautiful turn.
A beautiful spin.
An unsightly spin. T_T
But thankfully, she was all right. But the road was too slippery and it led to a ‘course out’. For the first time since Megumi-san started racing, she raised her hand (I’m assuming it’s some sort of signal to alert others that she can’t bring the kart back on course?). Whether it was good timing or bad timing, the Safety Car (SC) made its appearance then. When the SC is on the course, all karts must maintain their speed and position. So if the SC had arrived earlier, Megumi-san might not have met the same fate.
During the time the SC is out, the Rescue Team made their way to Megumi-san. They got her kart out and put her back on the course but… Megumi-san still had to drive herself back to the pit. Which means… There are corners awaiting her arrival.
By this time, Megumi-san wants nothing more than to get back to the pit. Slowly, she makes her way back…
Going by order, since Megumi-san’s turn just ended, it was Nana-san up next.
However… Nana-san has no experience with driving in the rain… It’d be way too dangerous to send her out.
Megumi-san, on the other hand, has quite a bit of experience (provided she has rain tires equipped). But seeing what had happened, asking her to race for another half hour was not an option. This left Nakahara Mai and Namikawa Daisuke. K-TAI 2009 is Mai-san’s first race ever, so, much like Nana-san, she has no experience in the rain either. So the only choice is Namikawa Daisuke.
Yosh! Leader change!
After putting on rain tires, Daisuke-san heads out.
No troubles. Daisuke-san comes back, and it’s Nana-san’s turn again! I think it’s okay to assume the rain has stopped by that time? As Nana-san was getting ready…
The team was called down to see the officials.
Megumi-san thinks Leader Namikawa must’ve done something wrong again. XD
…But as it turns out… It wasn’t Namikawa, it was Megumi-san herself. XDD
She apparently pulled off a dangerous move at some point, leading to the team being deducted 2 points.
Nana-san to the rescue! With her safe driving skills, those 2 points were neutralized. (Go Nana-san!)
For the most part, nothing big happened afterwards. Except for Megumi-san continuing to use rain tires even when the course has already dried up and then running an extra lap that she was supposed to. XD
And so… the 7 hours race came to an end. Megumi-san was the last driver, and she said that as the checker came into sight, she started waving to everyone while crying. To the point where she couldn’t even see where she was driving anymore. By the way, she was following behind Team Rocket’s Paku Romi-san this entire time, choosing not to pass her because she thinks having two Robot Racing cars in a straight line would look cool on TV/in photos. XDD
At any rate, after Megumi-san parked the kart in its rightful place, she hugged Paku-san and they both began crying (well, in Megumi-san’s case, she was already crying before she got off the kart XD).
Apparently, this is the first time Paku-san has participated in K-TAI, and… due to her busy schedule, she wasn’t able to practice all that much. Megumi-san wrote that she must’ve been insecure the whole time.
Megumi-san first met up with the pit crew (who had been waiting for her at the course exit). They praised her on a job well done (which caused her to break into tears again). It was because of these members that the drivers were able to drive with confidence.
But Megu-san was slightly disappointed that the others didn’t come out to meet her. Deciding to go see the others, she suddenly realized Paku-san wasn’t there with her anymore. Wondering if she went ahead without her, Paku-san rushed by her. Making sense of the situation, Megumi-san concluded that Paku-san must’ve wanted to see everyone else as much as she did that that she began running towards the pit area. Following her example, Megu-san sprinted towards where everyone was waiting.
As she was running… The majority of the people began running away. Her reaction was hilarious.
I’m finally back but everyone seem to be running off elsewhere.
Naze (・_・)? (note: Naze means why in Japanese)
Does everyone want to go to the closing ceremony that badly?
Poor Megu-san. XDD
As soon as Megu-san entered the pit area though, waiting for her were the crying figures of Nana-san and Mai-san.
Mai: Thanks for your hard work
Nana: I knew I’d definitely cry when I see you (Megu-san)
Yes, the reason for Paku-san disappearing, rushing to the pit area, and then everyone running off somewhere when Megu-san arrived was because Kart #63 (Team Rocket’s Kart – the one Paku-san drove) was on fire.
It was safely put out though and everyone went to attend the closing ceremony.
The result of the race for Robot Racing teams? They are as follows:
Team Pikachu: 3rd Place
Team P Sunday: 19th Place
Team Rocket: 27th Place
Team Eternal Diva: 29th Place
Team Alseus: 30th Place
Team Professor Layton: 36th Place
And so… that was K-TAI 2009 for our voice actors and anime staff. Everyone crossed the finish line and came back safely. Happily.
よくがんばったね、みんな！あたしも感動しました！Looking forward to next year!
The majority of information are taken from Toyoguchi Megumi’s blog and Mizuki Nana Smile-Gang 384.
Whew. Finally completed and posted! I know if this doesn’t get posted this weekend, it’ll never be posted. And because I promised I’d get this done. Here it is! 😀