Mackenyu Arata, one of the hottest and most sought-after international stars, recently spent a few days in Manila. And while the Japanese-American actor’s popularity reached new heights after he played Roronoa Zoro in the live-action adaptation of the manga and anime series “One Piece,” Mackenyu had already starred and wowed in various series and movies before the Netflix show. Filipino fans, both old and new, had an opportunity to get closer to Mackenyu during his fan meet on Nov. 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Q&A with Mackenyu
The night’s event host, actress Denise Laurel, sat down with Mackenyu to get to know the actor a little bit more during the question-and-answer segment. When asked about his impression of Filipino fans, the actor said, “I feel the love. Thank you, everyone. I’m having a great time.” Mackenyu also said he tried chicken adobo and loved it.
He shared that he is an introvert and that it’s hard for him to “completely engage” at first, but seeing the fans and their reactions makes him happy. Mackenyu said he was made aware of his huge fanbase in the Philippines: “It’s the biggest fanbase outside of Japan. I’ve got numbers on my Instagram.” He also shared that he wants to visit Boracay.
Denise asked Mackenyu about fashion, and the actor described his fit for that night as “casual and comfortable.” He looked effortlessly stylish in his white shirt, black pants, and sneakers.
Mackenyu also talked about preparing for different roles. He has been an actor for years and has starred in “Rurouni Kenshin: The Final,” “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” and “Fullmetal Alchemist,” among others. The actor said that understanding the character is very important, as well as the script and storyline.
Here’s another important question that night: Is Mackenyu a cat person or a dog person? “I used to be a cat person … and then I met my dog.”
Some lucky fans, including a mini Zoro, also asked Mackenyu some questions. When asked to describe Filipino fans, he said, “This is easy. Passion!” In return, the actor asked the crowd about the places he should visit in the country. Mackenyu heard someone shout, “My heart!” And he replied as he put his hand on his chest: “Oh my god, that’s so beautiful! I’m always there.” The boy who dressed up like Zoro asked Mackenyu what makes him blush, and he said compliments make him kilig. He then asked mini Zoro if he would like to star in the second season of “One Piece.” Mackenyu invited the boy to come up on stage when mini Zoro asked for a photo with the actor.
During the Filipino 101 segment, Mackenyu learned the meaning of different Filipino expressions and phrases, including “sana all,” “salamat,” “masarap,” “mahal kita,” and “kilig.” Mackenyu saying “kilig” several times throughout the event made the fans — you know it — kilig!
Happy birthday, Mackenyu!
Some fans prepared a video for Mackenyu and wished him a happy birthday since he celebrated it just a few days before the fan meet. A cake was brought out, and the crowd sang the birthday song for the actor.
“Definitely coming back”
Mackenyu said that he had a lot of fun during the fan meet and said that he will “definitely” come back. “I’ll see you guys when I come back. Thank you, all!”
Closer To You: Fun Fan Meet is presented by MediaKing Corp. and Luxe Slim.
Words by Ava Sumortin
Photos by Seth Valenzuela