BREAKING NEWS: Yoshinori Kanada Public Memorial Details Announced

Moon Chase has just learned a few more details regarding a public memorial for Yoshinori Kanada. It will take place on August 30th at Suginami Kaikan Hall. Suginami Kaikan Hall is in part home to an “Animation Museum” since many animation studios have their headquarters in Suginami Ward. It has become known as the “Heartland of Anime”. We think this is a wonderful place to honor such a legendary animator! It is expected that many famous animators will attend, and New Akiba Online reports Hayao Miyazaki will be there as well. Anido has also posted a guest list which includes not only Hayao, but another legendary director at Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata. Hiroshi Takahashi, president of Toei Animation, anime producer Masao Maruyama, Tezuka Productions President Takayuki Matsutani, and Square Enix President Yochi Wada are also listed to attend. Legendary directors Rintaro and Hideaki Anno will also be there, as well many other animators which worked on Sailor Moon. These are Kazuhiro Ochi (a key animator on Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies), Hideyuki Motohashi (Animation Director of Sailor Moon R and S TV seasons), Keisuke Watanabe* (Key Animator Sailor Moon R TV), and Mamoru Kurosawa (Key Animator on the Sailor Moon R movie, and an Animation Director on Sailor Moon S TV). Some animators which also worked on Yu Yu Hakusho will be attending. As of this writing we cannot say for sure whether Naoko Takeuchi and/or Yoshihiro Togashi will attend. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the service will run from 7 until 9. Fans are allowed to attend (and admission is free), however each fan which is lucky enough to get a ticket will only be given a maximum of two, as the venue capacity is only 1200. A website will be posted here with details. Children under 5 are not allowed. Events will include memorial addresses from a few of the special guests, and a presentation of flowers. There will be no collection of any kind for fans to send their condolences.

We have learned in the last few days, Kanada was a much bigger influence on anime than we ever knew. Yoshinori, we are glad to have had you work on Sailor Moon, even if it was only for one season, and your contributions to the anime and video game industry will last forever. We send our deepest condolences and sympathies to your family, friends, and colleagues across the anime and video game industry. You will truly be missed.

*Keisuke is a Key Animator on current hit Gurren Lagann, and recently spoke of how Kanada has influenced his animation, calling himself a heir of the “Kanada System”.

In Memoriam: Yoshinori Kanada

Moon Chase has just learned an animator on the SuperS TV series has passed away. Yoshinori Kanada suffered a sudden heart attack and died yesterday in Japan at the age of 57. Yoshinori was a legend in the anime industry, having worked on many prominent Studio Ghibli films, anime series, and was even a layout artist on the innovative US CGI masterpiece, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. He was known to many as a “Superanimator” having been an animator since the 1970s. Yoshinori began studying animation at Tokyo Designer Gakuin College, but later dropped out and began working for Toei Animation. His debut was a magical girl series called Mahou no Mako-chan. He also worked on the epic series Galaxy Express 999. He later left Toei and worked for a few years as part of an independent animator group under the leadership of Shingo Araki, before moving to Sunrise where he worked on mecha anime such as Getter Robo. Later in his career, he would return to Toei to work on a few series, including Sailor Moon SuperS. In the mid 80s he worked with Studio Ghibli on their biggest films, including Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro, Porco Rosso, and Princess Mononoke. In 1998 , he worked as a layout artist on Square Pictures’ Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and it was during this time that he was given the opportunity to be in charge of video game production for Square Enix. He worked as an animation director on Final Fantasy XI, worked storyboards for Final Fantasy IV on the Nintendo DS, and directed two Egg Monster Hero games. He continued to work in anime as well, including the 2001 movie Metropolis and Great Sky Demon Dragon Gaiking in 2005. He was also an esteemed member of the animators collective ANIDO, and the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCa). Anime News Network has also posted an article, here.

He was most influential since his debut, always finding new ways to use animation to thrill viewers, despite the limits of technology at the time. He developed his own personal style, and this later inspired many other animators to do the same. His funeral has yet to be announced, but sources say it will be relatives only. A public memorial will be held at a later date – ANIDO writes that it may be on August 30th, with time and location TBA. Our entire staff sends out our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. May he rest in peace.

RIP Carlos Meglia

Sad news to report this morning. Famed Cybersix* creator Carlos Meglia passed away at the age of 50 last Friday in Spain. World news agencies report he was suffering from heart problems for the last few years, and they are in disagreement over what it was exactly that caused his death. Some say it was an aneurysm, others say it was a stroke, and another says he died on the operating table during heart surgery. Update (Sunday Evening): We have just learned that it was in fact a heart attack after a second operation for a heart ailment which took his life. Carlos made his debut in 1974 as an illustrator for children’s books in Argentina. From 1983-1986, he worked in animation on the cartoons The Smurfs, The Flintstones, and Scooby Doo. He had even worked in drawing the layouts for Batman: The Animated Series. In 1987 he teamed up with another artist, Carlos Trillo, and created some of the most memorable Argentinian comics ever, including Irish Coffee about a detective with supernatural powers, and of course Cybersix – the story of a renegade cyborg with enough humanity left within her to stop an evil scientist from destroying more lives. After Cybersix ended, he settled in Spain and began working for the US market, collaborating with Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel on many titles including Star Wars: Underworld, Adventures of Superman, and Elektra. In 2005, he created the popular series Canari along with the Belgian comic artist Didier Crisse. There is a very warm tribute to him posted by one of his friends on his official blog.

Cybersix was by far his most well known work. The comic lasted for 6 years in Argentina, and spawned a live action version in 1995 starring one of the hottest models at the time, Carolina Peleritti. An animated series also debuted in 1999, and was dubbed in English, French, Japanese, Malaysian, Polish, South American, and Thai. The cartoon was a hybrid anime, as it was produced and dubbed in Canada, and animated in Japan by Telecom Animation Film (a subsidiary of Tokyo Movie Shinsha) and it literally bought his artistic style to life. You could watch it alongside a typical anime and never know the two were animated in Japan! In an interview we were able to find, he told of how the series came to be. After the live action version was canceled, a friend of Carlos’ named Alejandro had animated a pilot on his computer. A few months later, another friend tells him of a Canadian who is looking for animation projects, and Carlos told him of Alejandro’s Cybersix pilot. A week after the pilot and some scripts had been sent to this Canadian, he flew to Buenos Aires to sign a contract. He had also been in talks with TMS to animate the project, and they had gained worldwide fame as being the animators behind the legendary Akira. Carlos called Carlos Trillo, and he was also happy about this deal and agreed. It took a year after that for the 13-episode series to be completed. He loved the cartoon, and though the first season ended on a cliffhanger , he never heard back from the producers. Even if he did, he said he wouldn’t have known how to continue because Adrian (and Cybersix’s) companion Lucas had discovered their true identity. Though fans are still hungry for a second season, the show was never picked up again. It starred Cathy Weseluck (best known for playing Kagome’s mother in InuYasha) in the dual role as Adrian Siedelman and Cybersix. The cartoon also won the Special Mention for the Best Science Fiction Program at the Pulcinella Awards in 2000. Carlos also noted in the interview that this was one of the first times Japan had produced something for the world market – usually Japan produces work for the Japanese market and then it is adapted for the world. An Argentinian fan had told him once that the only thing they had seen from Japan before Cybersix was Studio Ghibli’s Porco Rosso, and Cybersix was more beautiful than it.

We send our deepest condolences to Meglia’s family, friends, and colleagues. He was a great talent and he will be missed.

*A lot of you may be wondering, why report about Cybersix on a Sailor Moon site? The two cartoons had one very big thing in common – gender bending superheroes. The Sailor Star Lights were men by day and women by night, and Cybersix was a female cyborg by night, and a male English teacher (Adrian Siedelman) by day. Cybersix aired uncensored on Canada’s Teletoon during the late evenings, and a censored version was shown during the day on both Fox Kids. This was proof enough that if Sailor Stars aired late at night, and unedited, it could have thrived on television and kept the fans happy, while a censored version would have been just fine for those parents concerned about what their kids are watching. Carlos mentioned at the end of the interview that this was the same conflict they had when they were discussing how to market the cartoon. If they had left in all the adult scenes, it would have sold but the market would have been reduced. This was the best solution to stick with most of the integrity of the original and yet to make it marketable to countries around the world. For more information, go visit CyberSeries 5000, the best Cybersix fansite on the web! The series is one to watch, and it was only released in limited quantities on VHS in Canada. We’re pretty sure that the episodes can be found somewhere and we recommend every reader of this site watches it!

BREAKING NEWS: Miyuki Kanbe Mourned

Miyuki Kanbe’s funeral was held on June 21st in Kawasaki. Many of the office staff of her agency Rouge attended, as well as family and friends. One of those friends was popular idol, Shoko Nakagawa. There was a large portrait of her dressed in her Sera Myu costume (complete with odangoes) among the sea of flowers at the altar, along with around 20 other photos of her life. When everyone at her funeral saw her smiling pictures, they all began to cry. Shoko Nakagawa also fought tears many times at the service. She was very sad that she had lost one of her best friends so suddenly. Her tearful father spoke at the funeral, just before the casket was moved out. He said that Miyuki was very lucky to have so many people at this funeral whose lives she had touched. She was cremated afterwards.

Shoko wrote two heartbreaking entries mourning Miyuki. In the first one, Shoko says that when you close your eyes it is dark, much like what it is like to die. But the light that Miyuki gave will stay shining in everyone for eternity. She is comforted in knowing that wherever Miyuki is now, she is smiling down on everyone. Even though she is hurt, she will still have the many happy memories of her dear friend. In the second one, Shoko wishes she could meet Miyuki at Disneyland again or go out to eat, and wishes that they could have hung out a bit more in the last few years. She ends with a note asking Miyuki to rest in peace until they can meet again, so she can see her smile.

In another news story we read today, the entire cast of Miss Saigon was both saddened and shocked to hear of her death. One of the stars of the show, Seiko Niizuma, was quoted as saying “I thought her death was a bad joke”. Miyuki was scheduled to be a part of Miss Saigon as well, but unfortunately she never got that chance.

On behalf of all Sailor Moon fans, we are very sorry to hear of what happened to Miyuki last week, and we send our deepest sympathies and condolences to her family, friends, and Rouge.

In Memoriam – Miyuki Kanbe

EDIT: Some users have reported that this page is crashing because of the MIDI. I am working on a solution to this problem, for now though if you want to hear the song, open this link in a new tab or window so it plays and you still have the ambiance if you want to listen to the song while reading the page.

~Miyuki Kanbe – 1984-2008~

We have some sad, breaking news to report to you all this morning. Beloved Sera Myu actress Miyuki Kanbe unfortunately passed away June 18th at 4:08 AM in Japan. Originally from Kanagawa Prefecture, she was best known for being the third actress to play Sailor Moon in the Sera Myu musicals (2000-2001), and for playing the student Kyoko Kakei in Battle Royale II. She also had a role in Kamen Rider Hibiki as Hinaka Tachibana. She played the same role in the companion movie, Kamen Rider Hibiki & The Seven Fighting Demons. Miyuki was the best of 500 girls who had auditioned for the part of Sailor Moon. Miyuki also appeared on the popular Japanese variety show, Ucchan Nanchan no Urinari. There will be a small, private funeral and wake, to be arranged by her close relatives. This news has hit the Sailor Moon community pretty hard, as many fansites are mourning her loss. One fan has even uploaded one of her more memorable Sera Myu performances here.

Her health took a turn for the worse just as she had landed a starring role in the Japanese production of Les Miserables in February of 2007. She was supposed to play the tragic role of Eponine. Her agency, Rouge, had released a statement apologizing for pulling out of her six-month stint in the role, but that she needed to rest and get strong again. They also thanked everyone for their warm wishes for her recovery. Since then she had been in and out of the hospital. The producers of the show had left her a standing offer that she could return when she was better. Just a few weeks ago on June 9th, she had enough energy to meet with the President of her agency, Masaki Honda, in Shibuya to talk about her career. She expressed that she didn’t only want to act, she loved fashion and wanted to work in the industry. She especially loved rehashing old clothes into new ones! The President remarked that she was looking a lot better and had more energy than she did before, and everyone around her thought her woes were over. Sadly, in the last few days, her health condition took a sharp turn for the worst, and the emergency department at the hospital couldn’t save her. She was hit by cardiac arrest while she was undergoing some medical treatment. Honda remarked that he felt like he had lost his own child, and ever since she was young she had the power and the drive to be the best performer she could. Once again, this is truly devastating news and our deepest sympathies and condolences are with her family and friends at this time. She will truly be missed.

The song you should be hearing in the background is Ayumi Hamasaki’s Memorial Address. We chose to play this song in her memory because just as Miyuki’s star was rising, her life ended tragically, and suddenly. This song was written by Ayumi for her own Grandmother, who was her rock all throughout her childhood as her dad had walked out on her own mother. She wasn’t there for Ayu very much when she was growing up, and she was raised for the most part by her Grandmother. She died just as Ayu was recording her first single Poker Face, and this song was written for her and released many years later on the mini-album of the same name. To read the translation of the lyrics, click here, and to hear the song in full, click here.