NA Voice Actor Update for April

Dennis Akayama (Malachite) appears in the film Repo Men, as a doctor. Fans can also see him on TV in Mayday, a show which dramatizes real-life air disasters, as a captain; in Wingin’ It, a family comedy about an angel in training, as Mr. Nakamora; and in Warehouse 13 as officer Ogawa. Canadian fans can catch the premiere of Warehouse 13 on April 30th, on City TV. Description of the show from IMDb: “After saving the life of an international diplomat in Washington D.C., a pair of U.S Secret Service agents are whisked away to a covert location in South Dakota that houses supernatural objects that the U.S. Government has collected over the centuries. Their new assignment: retrieve some of the missing objects and investigate reports of new ones.

Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Venus #2) performed “You’re Driving Me Crazy” live on Canada AM on Monday, April 12th to celebrate her third Juno nomination. Her performance was delightful and the hosts enjoyed having her on the show again.

Stephanie Beard (Rini #2) will be appearing in an upcoming, untitled Seth Rogen film. The movie is a comedic account of a man’s cancer diagnosis and his struggle to beat the disease.

Little Shop of Horrors, featuring Naz Edwards (Queen Beryl) as Audrey II has been extended through May 16th. Fans can catch the show at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tracey Hoyt (Rini #1) can be seen in Pure Pwnage as Jeremy’s mom. So far, she appears in the first and fifth episodes of this television series about Jeremy, a L33T gamer who lives in his mom’s basement and is forced to get a “real” job. Canadian fans can catch the series on Showcase. Episodes are also available for viewing on the Showcase website, make sure to click on Pure Pwnage in the side menu to see all available episodes. This show was previously a popular web series, since 2004.

Tracey Moore (Sailor Moon #1) can be heard in the Care Bears to the Rescue movie. The release date is not yet available, but the movie will be centred around the Care-a-Lot Rescue Awards.

Roland Parliament (Melvin) was nominated for “Educator of the Year” at Niagara College recently and the award ceremony was April 7th. Although he didn’t win, he’s proud to say that his friend and colleague Barbara Mantini of the Acting for Film and Television program did win. Here’s what Roland had to say about it: “That’s 6 nominations and 2 awards for our program in only 2 years since its inception. Not bad for a fledgling program in a college with 700 professors! Major kudos to Martin Doyle for having the smarts, guts and determination to convince Niagara College to launch this program.”

Alice Poon (Catsy) will be appearing in the upcoming crime drama television series Rookie Blue as a paramedic named Caroline. The show is scheduled to premiere in late June. Fans can also see her in the film Repo Men as a TSA agent.

Sera Myu Sightings – Late March and April

More Connections to Sera Myu in Minky Momo Musical!

Two actors involved with Sera Myu have just been confirmed to be a part of the 30th anniversary Minky Momo musical! Yoshiya Yukimura (many characters from 2000-2004) and Takayo Ooyama (Sailor Neptune 2004-2005) will be starring as Mocha the Monkey (middle) and Pipil the Bird (right) in the musical. The two of them starred in only one musical together, and we wonder if they spent any time reminiscing about Sera Myu in rehearsals. Along with Sindbook the dog, the three of these animals serve as Minky Momo’s companions. And to remind you, the show is produced by Toshiyuki Takezawa, who produced the Sera Myu musicals and also worked as a producer on PGSM. Yoshiya and Takayo were revealed at a special performance and talk show that took place at the Tokyo Anime Fair on March 28th. They were not there, but images were shown. The other big piece of news about this series at the TAF? There’s a new anime series in the works! Perhaps this is something we can look forward to from Sailor Moon in another ten years?

A New Movie for Mikako Tabe!

Way back in January, it was announced that popular manga title Kimi ni Todoke was going to get a live action movie adaptation. KnT is a shojo romance about a girl named Sawako who unfortunately earns the nickname Sadako because of her resemblance to the character of the same name from the popular movie, The Ring. Everyone at school thinks that Sawako can also speak to the dead and see ghosts. Sawako feels so alone, until she meets the very popular Kazehaya, and the two of them fall in love. Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer) will be playing the role of Sawako, alongside the very popular Haruma Miura as Kazehaya. The film is set to open on September 25th in Japan.

Fumina Hara Appears with Salaryman!

On April 8th, NHK began to rebroadcast season 5 of the popular Japanese sketch comedy show, Salaryman Neo. Fumina Hara (Sailor Moon from 1998-1999) appears on the show, and also appeared at a promotional event at the NHK Broadcast Center on March 30th. Here she is posing with the rest of the cast – don’t you hear her saying “I am the business-suited pretty soldier of love and justice, formerly known as Sailor Moon!” At the event, NHK revealed that there is going to be an addition to this rebroadcast – each episode will have a new short story. It makes mention of a skit where Aki Nakada dresses up like a member of the Takarazuka Revue, and played her role very convincingly.

Tae Kimura Gets Fashionable and Controls Men in New Movie (and has a new book too)!

Tae Kimura (Fisheye) has a leading role in the upcoming movie Tokyo-Jima (Toyko Island). She plays Kiyoko, a 43-year-old housewife that suddenly finds herself in an icky situation when she is the only woman of 24 people stranded on an uninhabited island. Her character is tough, and she uses her charms as well as her body to control the men of the island. Even with all of the accolades that Tae has received in the last few years, this must be a challenging role for her to play! In the movie, she cooks for everyone and even caught a sea snake. She told everyone at a recent promotional event that she didn’t worry, because she likes snakes! Tae thinks that the women in the audience will sympathize but isn’t sure what the men in the audience will think. She hopes that everyone will wonder just what they are at the end of the movie. This movie also has a nice bit of a Haute Couture edge to it – French Luxury brand Hermes is the brand of choice for many of the cast members, and is featured prominently. Kiyoko wraps herself in a Hermes scarf during the movie. Japanese women who want the same scarf can purchase it in Hermes stores in Japan for the “affordable” price of ¥48300 (just shy of $520 USD). Fans can check out the R-rated Trailer at the official site (don’t watch it if you are under 18).

Tae also just released a new book of essays about her life as an actress, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and other personas. Entitled Kakato (Translation: Heel), these essays highlight many of her ups and downs in life from her career to her family. She isn’t much of a computer user, but really used it a lot to put this book together, staying up all night in hotel rooms just to get her thoughts written out. But, that isn’t to say that she didn’t write anything in longhand – in fact just to get the right meanings for the words, for some of her essays she wrote them out first. Despite her hardships, she knows that acting is her dream job and she is happy to be an actress, even though she is known as a very emotional and dramatic actress in Japan. As far as the title goes, there’s a very interesting reason why she chose it. It is a symbol of a part of the body that is often neglected to people, so she thinks. We kind of understand it since she feels that she has to show a lot of herself to the public and is always on her feet, never really having the time to lie down and reflect on life. This book is available from Kodansha and costs ¥1350 (or $14 USD).

Yuu Shirota to Dub Voice of Popular Dorama!

IRIS aired from last October to December in South Korea (information in English here), and was a huge hit. So much so, that TBS decided to purchase the dorama for broadcast. IRIS is about best friends Hyun Joon Kim and Seung Hee Choi, who are brought in to work for the NSS, an intelligence organization. The two of them fall in love, but things take a wicked turn when Hyun is sent to Hungary for a solo mission, and he learns that Vick, an assassin from a top secret spy organization known as IRIS, is looking for him. As this mysterious and unpredictable series progresses, Hyun Joon learns what IRIS is. This show has shot episodes all over the world, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia! Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004), will be dubbing the voice of Hyun Joon Kim in Japanese. IRIS will start on TBS on April 21st, and run for approximately 6 months. This show has been renewed for a second season in South Korea, however the actor that plays Hyun Joon Kim (Lee Byung Hun) is unable to return to his role.

Yuu was also featured in another article about singer Jin Akanishi, who just announced that he will be playing two concerts in LA this June. Everyone knows that Jin and Yuu are best friends, but did you know that Yuu considers Jin to be like an older brother to him? The rest of the article goes into other friends of Jin and how they have been caught partying by the tabloids.

Kousei Amano Starts Nightclub Tour!

Hot on the heels of the success of Tough Times at Club Indigo, Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Mask in 1999) is joining some cast members in a special night club tour of 22 Japanese cities to promote the show. They are going to also serve as the club hosts! The first of these party dates happened on March 31st at the Shinjuku Kabukicho Host Club called Club Acqua. By the way, if you are trying to spot him in the photo, he is second from the right in the gray suit. The boys of the Indigo Club sure looked sharp that night, as they partied with clubgoers and poured champagne. Kousei was quoted, saying that he only hopes that he can work hard to please everyone at these 22 cities, and that he understands how hard these hosts have to work to please everyone at the club. Here’s one last picture for all you fangirls to see these “dream hosts”.

Maki Aizawa Represents the Typical Resident of Niigata Prefecture in Japanese Variety Show!

Himitsu no Kenmin Show (Translation: Secrets of the Character of Prefectural Residents
). This show aims to find out what makes the residents of each prefecture in Japan different from one another by looking at these local customs and attitudes in depth. On April 22nd, Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004), appeared on the show representing Niigata prefecture. We couldn’t find any more about Maki’s involvement in the show, but did learn a little bit about the episode’s features. There is a new way to enjoy Soba in Toshigi, every February 1st, the people of Aomori look forward to a day of bargain sales, and in Sapporo, the 1972 Olympics inspired a large part of their population to take up the Bobsled! To learn even more about the show and the products seen, visit the other official site of the show here.

And for our Anza Ooyama (Sailor Moon from 1993-1998) fans, she is currently touring in Brazil with her band Head Phones President. Head to SOSMP BR for more, including a video of her band performing a moving, acoustic version of their hit song “Chain”!

Operation Moonrise: Phase 4 update

Hey Moonies, The Me here, I was very impressed by the immediate turnout after my last call for survey responses. You guys are awesome! I just wanted to let you know how the numbers are standing now and where we still need help.

The US has a healthy 584 responses; The UK is squeaking by our minimum goal with 103; Australia and New Zealand could still use some help with 67 and 65 respectively; but Canada.. you guys still need a significant boost, you’re only at 224. D:

So, we’re calling on all of our Canadian readers to get anyone you know who hasn’t already taken our survey to go do so and get that number up above 300, even 350 if you can manage, and I know you can!

We’re doing our best on staff to get this accomplished. We all want to see Canada be represented to its fullest extent. It might surprise you to know that out of our five regular staff members, I’m the only non-Canadian of the group. It makes me feel a little like the outcast sometimes, which actually reminds me of a funny story involving two…

*Ahem* If I may interject my Right Hand Man’s post to speak to all my fellow Canuckian Moonies…

*Summons a one hundred member string orchestra to play O Canada*

Canadians, do you remember a time when you would come home from school and Sailor Moon would be waiting for you on YTV? Do you remember every canceled play date, music lesson, or that time you put off homework just to see what perils faced our Sailor “Scouts” that day?

Did you enjoy a can of Heinz Sailor Moon pasta when you would watch Sailor Moon after school?

Do you remember the excitement you used to feel when a VA would appear on the Zone even for only a few minutes to talk about Sailor Moon? How you would leap every time out of your seats every time they would perform one of their character’s most infamous lines in the flesh?

Or the times when you were just learning how to use the internet and you would visit Roland Parliament’s to learn more about your favorite character’s voice? Or later, that wonderful time when there was that “Sweet as Sugar” VA on the Zone all the time?

Did you go out and make your mom make you a Sailor Moon costume the moment Wal Mart started stocking those patterns from McCall’s? How many of you would shout MOON PRISM POWER instead of TRICK OR TREAT when you were out on Halloween night?

What about all those glorious Irwin Toys that did not make sense half the time (The Moon Cycle? What the kay cee ewe eff was that?) ? Those beautiful displays and posters at every toy store made every Canadian kid feel like it was Christmas every day?

Yes, there was one thing that united all of these things together, and that was that they were all made in Canada. Canadian voice actors are an endangered species these days when it comes to anime, but back in the day Sailor Moon helped put voice acting in Canada on the map!

Canadian Moonies, if you want to relive these moments and share them with a new generation of Sailor Moon fans, don’t forget that we are trying to bring the very last season back home where it belongs. Just because every other cartoon gets an ending doesn’t mean Sailor Moon gets the shaft! Get involved with Operation Moonrise Phase 4 today, and let’s tell the companies that Canada is not just a speck on the map of Sailor Moon. Canada made that show happen, and we can’t let anyone forget about that!

*Sailordees Away*

… and so it turns out that Hockey is the one sport I can actually stand in large doses. I guess I have more in common than I thought. Anyway, come on all you Canuck Moonies, let’s show them that you care deeply about Sailor Moon and want it back!

Toei Animation to Expand Mobile Offerings and AnimeBB Even More Around the World?

A recent article which we have been able to read a part of on C21Kids has us wondering if Toei Animation is going to expand their digital anime services to North America. In a piece featuring Kanji Kazahaya, the General Director and President of Toei Animation Europe, the challenges facing the delivery of anime are discussed, and there is a statement about how the digital switchover has created new opportunities for Japanese production companies. We are really hoping *fingers crossed* that this means that their hugely AnimeBB service could be expanded around the world through cable providers and the internet, as well as their popular mobile ANIMO service spread around as well. Some of this was hinted recently at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by some of Toei Animation’s other representatives. Late last year, SFR launched Captain Harlock and Fist of the North Star through a video demand service in collaboration with Toei Animation. Episodes (or better known as “mobisodes”) are shortened down to 3 or 5 minute clips, and are available to subscribers of Vodaphone’s Live Portal. French Otaku also have access to the episodes on their VOD service Club Video.

The article then takes a short look at Toei Animation’s first foray outside of Japan – Europe. When they started, the concept of anime was foreign to Europeans so they would first ask their customers to watch an entire series instead of just a short clip to understand its value. This proved to be a huge success, and set up Toei Animation for international recognition. There were a couple other really interesting things that we saw in the article, in reference to DragonBall Z. He noted that the “show’s high level of acceptance in the global market stimulated cultural protectionism”. Watching the show episode by episode, he remarks, you can also find some negative and/or controversial elements but the backbone of the show is still very important for kids, teaching them important lessons about values like friendship and trust. Hmm… Can we say that about Sailor Moon too? We wish we could read the rest of this article but subscription fees even for one month are a little high (and with reports and projects going out by the end of May, we’re on a bit of a tight budget). Nonetheless, if we hear any more about this new development, we will let you know!

Sakura Con Coverage – Day 3

The Dark Horse Industry Panel was also on Sunday, but here are more events from the final day of the convention.

Women in Anime Panel with Ellyn Stern
Panel description: Ellyn Stern talks about the evolution of women in anime and how this perspective differs from the East to the West; she also explores the different roles that women play in anime.

This panel was really more like an analysis of female characters in media in general, as a lot of what Ellyn Stern said applies to more than anime. Sailor Moon did come up in the conversation, mostly in the sense of “why does a strong woman need to wear a short skirt?” There was also some talk about Ranma 1/2, yet nobody mentioned that Ranma hated being cursed to turn into a girl mostly because he saw it as losing his manhood.

Mrs. Stern seemed to think that one of the reasons the sailor senshi wear short skirts is because it appeals to men, and Takeuchi’s editors were men. I’ve got to say though, their battle costumes were never revealing and were always practical considering the types of gymnastic moves they do at times. But I can understand disliking the fact that the senshi essentially become naked as they transform; though I’ve always considered that to be more symbolic than literal. Like they’re shedding a disguise to reveal their true selves.

Cosplay Chess Unscripted:
The game started with an announcer wishing the teams to play fair and for players to “die dramatically.” The battles between chess pieces were often hilarious, especially when a Honey-chan cosplayer (from Ouran High School Host Club) went berserk and “killed” another player.

In the end, the team led by a Jesus cosplayer won, which was only fitting for Easter Sunday.

Showings: Ouran High School Host Club, Romeo x Juliet
These were aired in the theatre room dedicated to Funimation titles and both were shown in dubbed format. Having seen all of Ouran in subtitled format, I can honestly say the dub is just as hilariously enjoyable. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is a very comedic commentary on fangirls, differences in social status, and the assumptions people make about others based on physical appearance. Preview episodes online on the Funimation website.

Romeo x Juliet is a new spin on William Shakespeare’s classic play. In the anime series, the Capulets are almost all murdered in the beginning, and Juliet narrowly escapes into hiding as a small child. Years later, she publicly masquerades as a boy who likes to help those in need (especially young women). She only sporadically goes out in public as a girl, and randomly runs into Romeo a few times in the first episode. Funimation has episodes of this series available online for previewing here.

That’s all for our Sakura Con 2010 convention coverage. We hope you enjoyed it! And we hope any fans who attended had a great time too!