Sakura Con Coverage – Day 3 (Dark Horse Industry Panel)

The upcoming release dates of quite a few titles were announced at this panel.

Gunsmith Cats: Burst – volume 5 to be released April 18th. They hinted that something exciting that fans have been waiting for is going to happen, so if you like the series, be sure to check it out.

Shinjuku – April 14th

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project – volume 4 on April 21, volume 5 on June 9th

Card Captor Sakura – July 14th

Hellsing volume 10 – May 19th

Vampire Hunter D
– May 19th

omnibus volume 2 – May 26th

Blade of the Immortal
– no new volumes until 2011. They have a new translation team working on this series now. The good news is that The Art of Blade of the Immortal will be available this June 2nd.

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Art of the Animated Series
– June 2nd. It will be hard cover with 184 pages and include lots of behind the scenes, development, and concept work. It should be a great collector’s item for fans of the series.

Oh! My Goddess!
volume 15 – June 30

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse
– August 11th

More upcoming graphic novel releases are listed on the Dark Horse website.

Note that the omnibus editions from Dark Horse (for any series) always include extras. That could be more art, interviews, or other things, depending on what type of special content they can acquire and add for the fans.

For fans of Kenichi Sonoda, Canon God Exaxxion is currently on hold because it hasn’t performed well thus far. However, if the numbers go up, Dark Horse would be happy to work on making future volumes available.

An audience member asked for Dark Horse’s opinion on libraries, wondering if it negatively impacts sales. The representatives said that they love libraries and think they are a great place for people to preview titles and actually encourage sales. They also said that public libraries and school libraries are now both developing collections. So if you’ve heard about a series and you’re not sure about it, check out your local library.

The representatives also said that Dark Horse would be interested in looking into any series that fans would like to see. So feel free to send your suggestions to them! They have been publishing action titles for quite some time but are more recently adding shoujo titles. So they really mean suggest anything. A fan in the audience mentioned Sailor Moon, and they made a note of it. Maybe they will be looking at the Operation Moonrise manga survey results when we post them?

Stay tuned for more Sakura Con convention coverage! There’s still more to come.

Sailordees’ first interview!

Hey Moonies, we have a special treat for you! A short while ago, our very own Sailordees was interviewed about Operation Moonrise by Twitter follower BlueSwim!

In addition to general details about the campaign and its reception, she reveals some very interesting details that Emily just recently discovered about how far your opinions have reached!

So go visit Cheap Ass Gamer and give it a read!

Sakura Con Coverage – Day 2

Saturday was a busy day at Sakura Con! After I attended the Mayumi Tanaka press conference, there were plenty of events to keep all congoers entertained.

Tea Ceremony Demonstration:

This quiet demonstration was a look at a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, with explanations and commentary about the process as well as the actions of the demonstrators. At the end, audience volunteers were given the opportunity to go up on stage to whisk tea and experience a tea ceremony first hand. This panel was more popular than the Kabuki panel, although there were two separate tea ceremony demonstrations scheduled that day.

Funimation Industry Panel:
Here there were more previews of videos currently released and soon to be available. This was followed by a question and answer period with the audience.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will be released on May 25th. And a Geneon “rescue” series, X, will be available on June 15th (the complete series and OVA). My Bride is a Mermaid will also be coming soon.

For our readers in the US; Funimation is currently in talks with Comcast about offering the Funimation channel as a linear cable channel. An HD Funimation channel is also coming, thanks to AT&T. currently, the Funimation channel has free and pay per view options. They not only air Funimation titles, but quite a few Viz titles as well.

One of their new acquisitions is Black Butler. Casting is currently in progress and will be announced in the summer. The series should be available in early 2011.

More new series soon to be available for purchase are Spice and Wolf season 2, Chobits, and the Eden of the East movies.

It was not surprising to hear an audience member mention the recession and ask how well Funimation is dealing with it, especially considering that other anime licensors have been doing poorly. Funimation is dealing with things well though and said that having episodes available online for screening is helpful as a way for customers to preview before purchasing. However, they are a bit disappointed that there aren’t more successful licensors out there now as healthy competition can be encouraging.

When asked how to get their attention and let them know that fans are interested in particular series, they said that fansubs are not helpful because they can’t be tracked. Petitions and comments, however, do get their attention. After the panel, I spoke with Lance Heiskell briefly and he was enthusiastic about our Operation Moonrise report! So rest assured, fans, Funimation is listening.

Also, for any fans leading anime clubs (at the high school or post-secondary levels), check out Funimation’s Operation Anime to get free anime for your screenings.

For those unfamiliar with this game, Risemball is essentially dodge ball with a Fullmetal Alchemist fan twist. Edward Elric’s Risembool Rangers played against Roy Mustang’s Miniskirt Army, both intent on winning bragging rights. Although the Rangers did win one match, the Miniskirt Army won many more overall. I’m sure the Rangers were very disappointed, but it looked like everyone enjoyed the game anyway.

It was fun to watch, especially with the playful commentary of the hosts representing each team. It’s too bad Vic Mignogna wasn’t there to cheer on the Rangers, he was busy signing autographs elsewhere.

The Miniskirt Army host said at one point that the Rangers have complained that there are always big college guys in the Miniskirt Army and that it isn’t “fair” because they don’t wear miniskirts. She said that college guys LOVE miniskirts, so it made plenty of sense for them to support the Miniskirt Army.

Live Dubbing Panel with Todd Haberkorn:
Just like how it sounds, this panel was a live dubbing of a scene from an anime series. Audience volunteers were given the opportunity to try out their voice acting and did really well! Todd Haberkorn adjusted the timing of the voice acting and when it was all cleaned up and timed correctly, he played back the scene for us. It was a fun behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the dubbing process.

Dazzle Vision Concert:
This was followed by a concert by High and Mighty Color, but we left part way through the setup and switch over. Dazzle Vision has a very unique sound. The lead singer has a really cutesy speaking voice, but when she sings she ranges between melodic and almost screaming. I’ve never heard a band like that before.

Stay tuned for more Sakura Con convention coverage! There’s still more to come.

Dorothee is Back in France!

Thought this would be posted since a few of our readers in France enjoyed reading a past article about another personality associated with Sailor Moon there. When Sailor Moon was experiencing her first run in France, she appeared as part of a special programming block fused with a variety show known as Club Dorothee. It was hosted by a popular children’s singer, Dorothee. There were songs, and sketches, and of course many cartoons for children. However, when the block was canceled in 1997, it was in the midst of the run of Sailor Moon SuperS, and Dorothee was barely seen or heard from again… until now. She has released a new album that hasn’t been selling well, but is now performing her old hits to her fans who are now much older! And, her first concert at Paris’ Olympia Hall yesterday was a resounding success – concertgoers were happy and marked that she had not changed a bit! They were happy to see someone that was such a huge part of their childhoods again. She has a few more shows in the next couple days, and for fans who cannot catch her in concert, the show is being live streamed on IDF1.

Sakura Con Coverage – Press Conference with Mayumi Tanaka

Mayumi Tanaka had two translators at her press conference, where representatives of the press were able to ask her questions about her work. Tanaka-san debuted playing a boy character and said that she finds playing women the most challenging. She also said that she has played some animals, including Babe the pig (in the Japanese dubs). She even sang the signature “La la LAAA!” for us.

When she was asked about cosplayers, she said that she likes seeing American cosplayers. She noted that, in manga, the proportions are more idealistic, using eight heads high. This is unlike cosplayers in Japan. So, when she sees American cosplayers, who are taller, she said it is like seeing what the characters would look like in real life.

Nevertheless, Mayumi Tanaka is surprised by the enthusiastic response of fans in North America because all of her roles are in Japanese, not English. So it makes her wonder if people in North America are watching in Japanese. (I guess she’s not familiar with how popular subtitled anime is here, so it must seem very strange!)

Mayumi Tanaka likes to play parts in coming of age stories. She has had some roles that are rather lengthy or extended and she said that preparing for tales about a character who is growing up is a lot different from preparing for a role as a character that never changes. She does not get as attached to shorter roles, or even ones that last about a year or so. She finds longer roles are more important.

Becoming a seiyuu was never Mayumi Tanaka’s first choice, it was not something she intended to do at the beginning of her career. She actually found voice acting strange at first because she’s naturally very physical in her acting roles.

Most of Mayumi Tanaka’s voice acting experience has been in shounen, even though there are boy characters in both shounen and shoujo. She is usually not called to even audition for roles in shoujo anime, but she remembers her role as Robert in an episode of Sailor Moon (she appeared in Sailor Moon Supers, in episode 143 as the victim of the episode). She said it was different for her because she’s used to shounen.

Stay tuned for more Sakura Con convention coverage! There’s lots more to come.