Anime Expo 2010 Updates
Located in Los Angeles, CA, Anime Expo is the nation’s largest anime/manga convention. The event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2010 will be held July 1 – July 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California.
This year’s Anime Expo is offering several interesting registration options for attendees. The new Premier Fan package, filled with fun and exclusive benefits, is available to anyone who registers for a 4-day pass and books a hotel room within the AX hotel block before June 21st. Attendees who purchase tickets to the AX concert will save 50% when bought along with a 4-day Expo pass. Visit the official site for complete details.
Anime Expo will be launching its own all-new iPhone application complete with maps, schedules, games, photo galleries and more. Look for it this month in the iTunes store.
GUESTS OF HONOR
Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe is among the most well-known anime directors in Japan. Mr. Watanabe is a favorite among fans for his directorial work on EXCEL SAGA, PUNI PUNI POEMY, THE WALLFLOWER, TENCHI MUYO!, GXP and NERIMA DAIKON BROTHERS, among many other titles. His off-beat comedic take on anime has earned him a huge fan following.
“Anime Expo is thrilled to have Mr. Watanabe join our line-up,” said Convention Chair Joyce Lim. “We are looking forward the excitement that he will bring to our convention!”
In addition to his work as a director, Mr. Watanabe also appears as the voice of Nabeshin. This caricature and his likeness have appeared in such titles as EXCEL SAGA, PUNI PUNI POEMY, DOTTO KONI-CHAN, EYESHIELD, HAYATE NO GOTOKU, AND TAYUTAMA. Mr. Watanabe frequently appears in public as Nabeshin, so keep a look out for his signature red blazer and afro at Anime Expo 2010!
Yuu Asakawa has enjoyed much success over her career as voice actress. Her extensive list of credits include work on some of the most famous anime titles in the industry, such as the LOVE HINA series (Motoko Aoyama), SCHOOL RUMBLE (Otoko Osakabe), the VANDREAD series (Jura Basil Elden), BUBBLEGUM CRISIS: TOKYO 2040 (Priss S. Asagiri) and AZUMANGA DAIOH (Sakaki). Ms. Asakawa has lent her vocal talents an impressive 70+ anime titles, including such others as KALEIDO STAR, IKKITOUSEN: DRAGON DESTINY and FATE/STAY NIGHT.
Ms. Asakawa has captured the heart of fans all over the world for her work not only as a voice actress but also as a musical artist. The theme songs for both BUBBLEGUM CRISIS: TOKYO 2040 and LOVE HINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL were recorded by Yuu Asakawa. Over the course of her career, she has worked on several video games, as the voice of Lebreau in FINAL FANTASY XIII and Shalua in DIRGE OF CERBERUS: FINAL FANTASY VII.
MELL is scheduled to perform Friday evening, July 2, in Nokia Theater as well as participating in guest panels, meet-and-greets and autograph sessions.
MELL comes to Los Angeles as an accomplished vocalist, heavily influenced by the trance and techno genres. Her 2006 debut single, “Red Fraction,” was a smash hit through which she rose to instant fame. MELL’s subsequent singles and debut album, “MELLSCOPE,” helped establish her as the successful, one-of-a-kind artist that she is today. Her unique sound and extraordinary stage performances have proven to be the driving force behind her increasingly large fan following.
“We are honored to host MELL at this year’s Anime Expo,” said Convention Chairperson Joyce Lim. “Fan support and excitement continues to grow with each 2010 Guest of Honor announcement, and we trust their reaction to MELL will be no different.”
MELL has lent her vocal talents to various anime titles, singing the openings for RIDEBACK, SKY GIRLS and BLACK LAGOON. She is also featured on the soundtracks of HAYATE THE COMBAB BUTLER and KILL, a live-action feature film by Mamoru Oshii.
Kyle Hebert is a Los Angeles-based anime and video game voice actor whose list of credits includes over 80 individual projects. A favorite among fans, Kyle has enjoyed much success over the course of his career. Some of his most notable anime roles include GURREN LAGANN (Kamina), BLEACH (Sosuke Aizen), NARUTO (Kiba Inuzuka), STREET FIGHTER IV (Ryu), FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (Vato Falman) and DRAGONBALL Z (narrator and Teen Gohan).
Kyle also provides voices in many popular video games including FINAL FANTASY XIII, WORLD OF WARCRAFT, DEVIL MAY CRY IV, DYNASTY WARRIORS, and STAR OCEAN. You can also catch him as the voice of Rai ‘Uk in James Cameron’s AVATAR: THE GAME. In addition, he co-hosts a weekly podcast called “The Big Bald Broadcast” that has recorded over 150 episodes to date. Kyle’s personality and great talent has also led him to become a voice acting coach, offering lessons to budding stars.
Rei Hiroe comes to Anime Expo as an established and respected manga artist, known for his many contributions to the manga industry. Mr. Hiroe is the sole creator and artist of the popular manga series, Black Lagoon. Since its creation in 2002, the manga has sold over 4.5 million copies in Japan alone, and has been translated into multiple languages and published throughout the world. The English version released in North America has been a smash hit for VIZ Media since the series’ debut in 2008.
Black Lagoon was first adapted into a very successful anime series in 2006. The highly anticipated third installment, BLACK LAGOON: ROBERTA’S BLOOD TRAIL will premiere at Anime Expo in honor of Mr. Hiroe’s appearance.
Mr. Hiroe has also received much praise for the manga works Hisuikyo Kitan, Shook Up! and Phantom Bullet, for which he created both the story and the art. In addition, he has used his talents as an illustrator to compile several art books, including Barrage Rei Horie Artworks and REIGHBORHOOD!
Toshihiro Kawamoto is among the most well-known animators and character designers in the industry. His impressive career spans over two decades in which he has worked on such beloved anime titles as COWBOY BEBOP, the MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0083 series, GOLDEN BOY and WOLF’S RAIN as chief animation director and character designer. Kawamoto-San has most recently acted as key animation director for SWORD OF THE STRANGER, ESCAFLOWNE: THE MOVIE, FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST and EUREKA SEVEN.
Toshirio Kawamoto has also co-founded Bones, a Japanese anime studio that has produced over 30 popular titles. Such series as OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB, SOUL EATER, WOLF’S RAIN and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST were all produced by the famed anime studio. Kawamoto-San is currently working on his next title, HERO MAN, as chief animation director along with Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee.
Danny Choo is an accomplished writer, blogger, television personality and anime enthusiast. His website features his musings on all things anime, including Japanese and Otaku culture, cosplay and gaming. One of the most popular bloggers of his time, Danny Choo’s website records over 2 million unique users per month. His official YouTube page boasts an impressive 12 million video views to date.
Known internationally for his antics as the “Tokyo Storm Trooper,” Danny Choo has been regularly featured in web, print and broadcast media such as CNN, BBC and G4TV. Danny Choo will next be launching a new TV show, CULTURE: JAPAN, on Tokyo MX TV and Animax Asia, airing on June 12, 2010.
Sophia is set to perform at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday in the Nokia Theater. Along with their much-anticipated performance, Sophia will also participate in an attendee panel and autograph sessions. Sophia comes to Los Angeles to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their impressive career. Formed in 1994, the Japanese rock band consists of vocalist Mitsuru Matsuoka, guitarist Kazutaka Toyota, bassist Yoshio Kuroyanagi, drummer Yoshitomo Akamatsu and keyboardist Keiichi Miyako. Sophia has enjoyed much success through the years with the release of more than 15 albums and 35 hit singles. The band has embarked on over 40 tours, rocking out with fans all over the globe. Sophia has also shown great interest in promoting anime through their music. The band’s single, “Boku wa Kokoni iru”, was used as an ending theme for the anime KALEIDO STAR.
“We feel that under the new and experienced leadership of SPJA President and CEO Michael Lattanzio the Expo serves as a great ambassador and platform for bringing Japanese culture to America. We are excited to support the efforts of Anime Expo by performing at this year’s event,” said Sophia lead vocalist Mitsuru Matsuoka.
The band will feature several songs off of their latest album, “15,” along with other hit singles during their July 3rd performance in the Nokia Theater.
Lead vocalist, Mitsuru Matsuoka, lends great star power to the fame of Sophia. He has been featured in several Japanese J-dramas like KOI WA TATAKAI (LOVE AND FIGHT!) and YAMADA TARA MONOGATARI (THE STORY OF YAMADA). He also had starring roles in the critically-acclaimed musicals NINE and TITANIC. Matsuoka-san writes much of his own music as it is important to embed meaningful messages within his lyrics.
Megumi Nakajima and May’n will perform together on Friday afternoon, July 2, in Nokia Theater as well as participate in guest panels and autograph sessions. Anime Expo attendees will have the opportunity to see both duet and solo acts from the two artists. A mystery guest will also join them on stage for a surprise performance.
Megumi Nakajima entered the industry with the ambition to spread her love of music to her fans worldwide. She is most known for her role as Ranka Lee in the anime series, MACROSS FRONTIER. Ms. Nakajima also performed the theme song for the popular anime, as well as various other songs featured on the soundtrack. In addition to her work in MACROSS FRONTIER, she has also lent her voice acting and singing talents to the anime titles KOBATO and KAMPFER.
Since her debut in 2005, May’n has made her mark in the industry as an accomplished musical artist. She found fame when she was chosen to be the singing voice for Sheryl Nome in MACROSS FRONTIER. Since landing that role, May’n has released several hit songs as her MACROSS FRONTIER character, including DIAMOND CREVESSE and LION. She has also performed theme songs for the anime titles SHANGRI-LA and the upcoming series OOKAMI-SAN TO SHICHININ NO NAKAMA-TACHI.
EDEN OF THE EAST trio, Kenji Kamiyama, Satoru Nakamura and Tomhiko Ishii: The three gentlemen come to Anime Expo in anticipation of the FUNimation Entertainment release, EDEN OF THE EAST . The U.S. Premiere of the TV series will be screened exclusively to Anime Expo attendees throughout the event. Creator and director, Kenji Kamiyama; animation director, Satoru Nakamura; and producer Tomohiko Ishii, are proud to represent the EDEN OF THE EAST creative team through their Guest of Honor appearance.
Kenji Kamiyama is an accomplished anime creator, director, artist and writer. Some of his most well known roles include director for EDEN OF THE EAST , director for GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX, writer for BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE, and animation director for JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE.
Satoru Nakamura has made his mark on the anime world through his involvement with several popular anime titles. He is most known for his role as animation director in EDEN OF THE EAST , GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX, LIBRARY WAR, GURREN LAGANN and ANGEL COP.
Tomohiko Ishii is excited to attend Anime Expo to promote his work as producer of EDEN OF THE EAST. Mr. Ishii has also worked as producer for SKY CRAWLERS, SPIRITED AWAY and HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE.
AKB48 will perform live in Nokia Theater on Thursday, July 1, 2010, at 4:30 p.m. The members will also participate in attendee panels, meet-and-greets and autograph sessions.
The all-female musical group, created in 2005 by award-winning songwriter and producer, Yasushi Akimoto, has enjoyed much success and increased popularity over the course of their career. In addition to releasing several popular singles and albums, the 63 members of AKB48 perform regularly to a full-house crowd at their exclusive theater in Akihabara. Many members of the group are also featured in movies, television shows, magazines and various other special appearances.
AKB48’s latest single, “Sakura no Shiori,” sold an impressive 370,000 copies in its first week of release in February of 2010. Shortly after, the group released their second studio album, “Kamikyokutachi,” which debuted at the top spot of the Oricon album chart. It’s no secret that the spunky, fashion-forward members of AKB48 have captured the hearts of fans all over the world.
AKB48 comes to America to deliver a one-of-a-kind, powerhouse performance exclusively for Anime Expo attendees. The group members are passionate about representing and spreading Japanese pop culture to American fans. “We are delighted to welcome AKB48 as our special dream ambassadors to this year’s expo and experience the smiles they will create for our fans,” says SPJA President and CEO Michael Lattanzio. “Hosting these superstars in Los Angeles will no doubt help bridge the gap between America and Japan, and create a global culture that each of us can connect to.”
Katsuyuki Konishi comes to Anime Expo to promote his work as Kamina in GURREN LAGANN THE MOVIE CHILDHOOD’S END. The film will be screened on Saturday, July 3, 2010, at Anime Expo courtesy of Aniplex Inc.
One of the most popular and established voice actors in all of Japan, Mr. Konishi has lent his talents to hundreds of well-known anime titles. His role as Kamina in the GURREN LAGANN TV Series, Johann Trinity in MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 00, Komui Lee in D.GRAY – MAN, and Ozma Lee in MACROSS FRONTIER, have helped solidify his position as an accomplished Japanese seiyuu.
In addition, Mr. Konishi has worked on such famous anime titles as BLOOD+ (Haji), KYO KARA MAOH! (Shouri Shibuya), RUNE SOLDIER (Louie), SHAMAN KING (Amidamaru), as well as countless others. He also performs Japanese dubs for popular American films such as TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, SEX AND THE CITY and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.
Yui Horie and Eri Kitamura come to Anime Expo in a joint appearance to promote their work in the upcoming North American release of TORADORA!, an anime published by NIS America, Inc. Ms. Horie and Ms. Kitamura voice the roles of Minori Kushieda and Ami Kawashima, respectively. Both will participate in attendee panels, meet-and-greets and autograph sessions.
Yui Horie has been an integral part of the voice acting industry since her debut. She has been featured in more than 125 popular anime titles, including LOVE HINA (Naru Narusegawa), FRUITS BASKET (Toru Honda), SCHOOL RUMBLE (Eri Sawachika) and NEGIMA! (Makie Sasaki). Also an accomplished singer, Ms. Horie has performed the theme song for anime titles such as TORADORA!, LOVE HINA AGAIN and OTOBOKU.
Eri Kitamura found success in her first major role as Saya Otonashi in the anime BLOOD+. Soon after, her list of credits grew to include several well-known anime titles, most notably MINAMI-KE (Yuka Uchida), GA-REI-ZERO- (Natsuki Kasuga), QUEEN’S BLADE (Alleyne) and KODOMO NO JIKAN (Rin Kokonoe).
BLACK LAGOON: ROBERTA’S BLOOD TRAIL: The world premiere of the third and the latest installment of the popular Black Lagoon anime series, ROBERTA’S BLOOD TRAIL, will be screened on July 1, 2010, at 1:30 p.m.
The BLACK LAGOON anime series began as an adaptation of the manga by the same title, created by one of Anime Expo’s 2010 Guests of Honor, Rei Hiroe. The series debuted in 2006 to much critical acclaim and has since been released worldwide. BLACK LAGOON made its North American broadcast debut on the Starz Edge channel in February 2008. The DVD version of the first two series is currently available through FUNimation Entertainment.
BLACK LAGOON is known for its hard-boiled storytelling, clever dialogue and its ultra-violent and stylized gun fight sequences, often compared to Hong Kong noirs and Hollywood action films. Its high-quality animation is produced by MADHOUSE Ltd., one of Japan’s most prestigious animation studios, known for titles like HELLSING ULTIMATE, DEATH NOTE and TRIGUN THE MOVIE: BADLANDS RUMBLE.
The world premiere screening of BLACK LAGOON: ROBERTA’S BLOOD TRAIL will precede the Japanese Blu-ray/DVD release scheduled for July 17. This special screening is made possible by the courtesy of Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, LLC, and Shogakukan Inc.
About the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more popularly known by its entertainment property Anime Expo. More information can be found at its website spja.org.