MNL48 Mini Handshake Event 2021: A Field Report

HalloHallo Entertainment, a subsidiary of HalloHallo Inc., has organized a mini handshake event for the AKB48 sister group MNL48. It was held at the sixth floor of Novotel at Cubao, Quezon City on December 18, 2021. This would be my first, and only, HSE for now.

I believe this serves two purposes but we will get to that later on, let’s look at the days prior to the event first.

Prior to December 18th, there were apprehensions around the requirements needed for COVID-19 safety (yes, the coof is still here) because HHE didn’t clarify if the fully vaccinated needed to provide a negative antigen testing certificate and this was mentioned 5 days before the event.

Sure, there’s ample time to produce such a thing but the fact that you were asked to bring both a certificate of negativity and your vaccination card makes no sense since the reason you get the vaccine is to get protected from COVID-19. Good thing they clarified that you only need ONE of the two documents depending on your vaccination status.

This is not the only faux pas that HHE will commit when it comes to public relations regarding the event.

On the event itself:

I arrived at Novotel at 12:20 PM and when I saw the line, I was a bit confused.

As a regular patron of cosplay conventions, usually there’s a line for people who already have tickets and a separate line for those who don’t. This is not the case and since my brain is hardwired to expect two lines, I think that this makes the whole process a lot confusing.

So the Novotel peeps have let us in to the building, and we have to climb six flights of stairs for that and the line situation gets a bit worse.

It also didn’t help that HHE didn’t explain this on the day of the event itself, because when the first batch of handshakes were announced, nobody even explained what batch 1 means. Is it the first few people in front of the line? No. It’s the first batch of oshis, aka the third generation of MNL48 members.

Yes, there’s an infographic about the batches but nobody explained the line situation, and the line traffic should’ve been handled more efficiently and it should’ve been explained beforehand in my opinion.

Once you’re inside the tent, there are five stations and you have to fall in line, show your ticket, leave your bag, and interact with your oshi for 15 seconds or more depending on how many RIVER CDs you bought…and this is where I will never get the logic with the relationship between the idol industry and the wotas themselves.

For one thing, sure the more tickets you get the more time you get to spend time with your oshi (1 ticket – 15 seconds) but what are you going to do with the extra CDs after that? Surely you only need one copy of it and unless you can sell the other copies to your mates or anybody else, what are they going to do with those? Drink coasters?

You can also buy merchandise as well there, so there’s that too.

I already went home once I shook hands with my oshi, Jamie, thus I missed the second part of the event and this is where the second purpose of the event comes in: it’s to announce the title of MNL48’s seventh single.

An aerial view of the line.

To no one’s surprise, it’s NO WAY MAN. I can understand that it’s a long awaited announcement but I think the element of surprise was already gone when people knew the title of the new single BEFORE it was announced.

I’ll be honest here, I wished it was Flying Get and that’s because I stopped following the 48g system when Atsuko Maeda graduated and I didn’t care about them until MNL48 came along so NO WAY MAN will be something new to me. I hope the mix won’t be as horrendous as RIVER’s.

The mini HSE is by no means a mini event in terms of magnitude as it just shows how MNL48 fans and MNLoves really adored the group and are willing to support them to the best of their abilities.

It was, as expected from them, mired by HHE’s mismanagement when it comes to public relations because there are some things that should’ve been clarified, should’ve been told in advanced, and should’ve been made clearer at the day of the event itself.

It seems that there was little planning that happened here because the timeline between the announcement and the event proper is so short that I don’t think a company as small as HHI can organize and plan an event without a hitch in as little as five freaking days.

As a little bonus, here’s what happened with my experience with my first handshake in comic form.

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