Sailor Moon Voice Director Appearing at FanExpo Canada

John Stocker, a Sailor Moon voice director will be appearing at this year’s FanExpo in Toronto!

Fans may recall that John Stocker directed episodes in the Sailor Moon television series (during seasons R, S, and SuperS) as well as the movies (Sailor Moon R Movie: Promise of the Rose, Sailor Moon S Movie: Hearts in Ice, and Sailor Moon SuperS Movie: Black Dream Hole).

A selection of some of the other titles John has been involved with are listed on his guest page on the FanExpo website. If you check out the list of anime guest stars at the convention this year, John is named under “American Voice Stars.” His website has more details about his voice acting and other talents.

If you’re also interested in other guests at the convention this year, the line-up of sci-fi featured guests is here. And the comic book guests are listed here. There are also Horror and Gaming guests and events.

Readers interested in attending FanExpo this year can find ticket information here. The convention has been extended to four days this year (August 25th – 28th) and will be held in the entire south building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We hope that the expanded location will help alleviate the crowding issues experienced in recent years. The FanExpo website also indicates that there will be a limited number of deluxe passes available. Although no total number is listed for the deluxe passes, the convention organizers note that the deluxe passes will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis until sold out.

(photo from John Stocker’s website)

BREAKING NEWS: PGSM Boxset to be released in Japan This September!

PGSM fans, mark your calendars! On September 22nd, a boxset of the entire PGSM series is set to be released in Japan. For those fans who are unaware, PGSM stands for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and is the live action version of Sailor Moon which aired on Japanese television from 2003-2004. An article at has a couple reasons for why they think this boxset is being released. The first is that many of the stars (most notably Keiko Kitagawa who played Sailor Mars) have gone on to bigger and better things in their acting careers. The second, is that some of the new generation of fans have never seen a live action version of Sailor Moon on TV. The timing of this release is perfect given the anime’s revival which is happening around the world. The boxset will include all 49 episodes, the two specials (Special Act and Act Zero), and Kirari Super Live – a live event in almost the same vein as the Sera Myu musicals, starring the cast of PGSM. All other extras included on the initial release will also be included. No word as of this writing if Super Dance Lesson will also be included. This dance lesson was part of a special offer, and fans had to fill out an application included with only certain magazines many years ago to get a copy. The boxset is currently on preorder at and will cost ¥23,210 before shipping (roughly $290 USD).

Sakura Con 2011: Post-Convention Wrap Up

By now readers have likely read through my previously posted convention coverage. I reported on a variety of events to give a well-rounded view of the convention and I hope our readers have enjoyed it!

In this final post of convention coverage, I’ll talk about a few of the other events I attended more briefly than the previous posts (which is why I’m putting a few together in this one). For any readers who did get to check out Sakura Con first-hand, we hope you had a great time!

I’m including photos of some Sailor Moon merchandise I purchased at the convention in this post as well. I bought a pack of trading cards and a pencil box.

Sailor Moon Pencil Box #2 by Lanisatu
Sailor Moon Pencil Box (top view)

On Friday afternoon, I met with a group of Sailor Moon cosplayers for a “Sailor Moon Picnic.” It was a lot of fun to participate in a Sailor Moon photo shoot! I got quite a few photos of me cosplaying Princess Jupiter taken with a Sailor Jupiter and some other cosplayers. It was this photoshoot that was one of the major reasons I decided to wear my costume all day on Friday. My costume also met the masquerade guidelines and was something I wanted to wear for the Sailor Moon panel.

In the evening, just before heading to the Sailor Moon panel I was leading, my boyfriend and I went to the masquerade ball for a short time. It was nice, but the song choices gave it a high school dance kind of feel, since there were a bunch of popular dance songs played while we were there. The selection did not include many slow songs, nor did we hear many j-pop or anime related songs. Last year it was mostly slow songs, so it was really nice for couples and gave those who checked out the waltz lessons a chance to try out what they learned. I would have liked to hear more anime, j-pop, and video game songs this year as well, since it was an anime convention. Those don’t tend to be played in public very much, but the latest pop songs are heard everywhere. It seemed like there were a lot more people dancing this year though, so the change appears to have been a good thing overall!

Sailor Moon Merchandise at Sakura Con 2011 by Lanisatu
Sailor Moon Merchandise at Sakura Con 2011

On Sunday morning, the first thing I attended was the Kotono Mistsuishi and Dreamcatchers event. Although the title of the event as written in the pocket programming guide listed Kotono’s name first, she was actually only on-stage for the last twenty minutes of the event. Some audience members obviously grew tired of waiting and left early, before she was called up on stage. The majority of this event was comprised of skits by the “Dreamcatchers” that coincided with some anime clips from properties I didn’t recognize (the titles of the anime that these clips were from were not revealed at the event). This portion of the event was plagued with technical difficulties, and one of the skits was re-done in its entirety, although the only problem they had for that skit was during a live song performance. The skits did not seem very well rehearsed overall, and the fight scenes seemed a bit lacking in choreography as well. Some performers visibly showed hesitation during sword fights, which wasn’t particularly entertaining to watch. Although I understand the importance of safety during sequences like this, perhaps additional practice and choreography could have made for a more interesting performance. The anime and skit sequences didn’t seem to have any correlation to Kotono Mitsuishi that myself and at least some other audience members could discern. If anyone knows what anime the different clips were from, please share the details in the comments!

When Kotono was finally on stage, she was asked to do some live dubbing of scenes from a variety of her past anime roles. This seemed a little awkward, since the scene would be played in original, usually without English subtitles, and then the scene would be played again while Kotono voiced her role but all other audio was muted. Kotono did a good job, even approximating the “echo” of one of Boa Hancock’s lines at the end of one of these scenes. Unfortunately, it was a little hard to understand for those of us in the audience who don’t speak Japanese. English subtitles would have been helpful on all the clips so that more fans could understand the demonstration more clearly.

To close the show, Kotono sang “Moonlight Densetsu,” accompanied by a live band and the Dreamcatchers who also sang along. With so many voices singing, and the band being a bit loud in comparison to the vocals, it was difficult to hear Kotono’s voice among the rest (we were seated near the front, so the sound may have been more intense that close). The event ended with a disappointing apology from one of the Dreamcatchers, claiming that they had planned a two hour show, but didn’t realize they were going to have a one hour time-slot. This meant that a competition that Kotono was going to judge had to be cut.

Later, people complained about this event (perhaps you’ve already seen some comments on other websites?); regarding the timing and how short Kotono’s appearance was.

My boyfriend e-mailed convention staff to say that we were disappointed with some of the technical difficulties this year, while also mentioning that we were highly impressed last year with how smoothly everything went. He also asked about the Dreamcatchers event. The convention representative who responded indicated that there was some faulty equipment that will be replaced before next year’s convention. Also, the representative stated that the Dreamcatchers were told on multiple occasions how much time was actually allotted to them. Convention staff tried to give them extra time, but they were not willing to set back other events in the same room because of an oversight by the Dreamcatchers.

I think it’s worth noting that the pocket guide schedule was released on April 7th, a full 15 days prior to the convention. As a panelist, I made a point of looking out for the schedule to verify when the panel would be and how much time I was allotted. It’s strange to me that the Dreamcatchers made it seem as if convention staff was responsible for there not being enough time, when the timing details were released in advance and they should have modified their event if there were unexpected discrepancies; instead of unprofessionally blaming convention staff. I must admit, I was disappointed in the event to the extent that I felt it would have been much better for me to attend something else instead. It may seem harsh, but if I see Dreamcatchers listed in the programming guide of a future convention, I’ll choose to miss their performance.

Unfortunately, the Dark Horse Industry panel was scheduled at the same time, so I was unable to catch it. Sorry about that one readers, but I’m sure they have a list of newly released and upcoming titles on their website!

Sailor Moon Trading Cards #1 by Lanisatu
Sailor Moon Trading Cards. A few of the card fronts, a card back, and the package.
A view of all the card front is available in an alternate photo.

One of the other events I managed to catch a portion of on Sunday, after lunch, was the “State of the Industry” panel, which had representatives of Funimation, Bandai, Dark Horse, and MGS. One of the major topics of discussion during this panel was the problem of piracy and how it hurts the anime industry. Companies are currently making efforts to lessen piracy and illegal downloads, but there is no expectation that piracy will disappear any time soon. The panelists even indicated that they expect piracy to always be a problem in some form.

Panelists encouraged the audience to use legal methods of viewing anime such as authorized streaming and simulcasts (many of these are free, but ad-supported). There are also companies who sell combo releases of Blu-Ray and DVD together. Costs are able to go down for these items as they take up less shelf space while offering multiple viewing options for buyers. It seems to be just one of various efforts being made to keep anime affordable, in order to encourage ownership and reduce piracy.

Regarding e-manga, there is currently no simulcasting type efforts in place for manga series. However, Dark Horse is interested in having releases online sooner and making efforts to find a way for faster online publishing to become a reality.

Sailor Moon Pencil Box #5 by Lanisatu
Sailor Moon Pencil Box interior
Sailor Moon Pencil Box #4 by Lanisatu
Closeup of the pop-out pencil sharpener

My boyfriend and I had to leave the convention early (it was Easter weekend and we had plans with family) so we did not catch the closing ceremonies this time around. All in all it was a great convention experience. Although there were some technical difficulties, staff was great about dealing with issues as fast as possible. I have seen things get much worse at other events when there were unexpected (or sometimes even plausibly expected) issues that had to be addressed for a safe and pleasant convention experience. I’m quite glad that Sakura Con staff shows that they care about having events run as smoothly as possible by dealing with any unforeseen issues quickly and professionally.

It’s also encouraging to know that faulty equipment will be replaced before next year, to ensure things run even more smoothly. I’ve only been to Sakura Con twice now, but I have to admit it’s one of my favourite conventions to attend. There’s an awesome variety of events, a large dealers’ room with a plethora of items to entice fans, and you get to see some of the most interesting costumes – from anime to video games to Disney princesses. It was also exciting to lead the Sailor Moon panel, despite my initial nervousness in front of a large crowd. I plan to be on more Sailor Moon (and other!) panels in the future. It’s a fun way to interact with fans.

Here’s hoping I see more readers at future conventions. And maybe I’ll make it to Sakura Con next year too!

Check Out This Blog!

There isn’t a lot happening in the Sailor Moon world right now, but for those of you who are craving the revival through a fan’s perspective in Japan, I recommend you check out the blog “Moon Light“. I’ve been following this blog for a while now, as this blogger was one of the few that blogged about her experience at the DVD Collection Launch Event in December of 2009. She was also there at Anza Ooyama’s recent concert, and just visited the Toei Animation Gallery and has lots of photos of the cels there (Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure included) as well as figures. Kind of a neat blog to check out for anyone who wants to know what the fans in Japan are experiencing!

Hunter x Hunter to Return with New Volumes, But No New Chapters Yet.

We read about this a long time ago, but we wanted to wait till there was official word before we posted it. Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter X Hunter is set to return with two new published tankobon/volumes in July and August. #28 is scheduled for release on July 4th, and #29 on August the 4th. While the series seems like it has been going on forever (since March of 1998), fans aren’t going to get anything new in these two volumes. There are 20 chapters which appeared in Jump over a year ago, and these will appear in the volumes. As of this writing, there is no word on whether the manga will finally have an ending or new chapters published in Jump. Togashi’s most recent work were a drawing and message in support of victims of the Earthquake last March.