NA VA News (Part One)

Alice Blue is Finally Being Released?

Via a Facebook group, a few days ago we learned that a movie shot in late 2005 involving two VAs is finally done the editing process and is being shopped around to film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. The Death of Alice Blue is a vampire movie intermingled with the advertising environment. Alice learns of the secret underminings of her advertising agency from her friends in an elite group known as “The Resistance”, and also that she is genetically predisposed to become a vampire. It stars Barbara Radecki (Serena’s Mom, Sailor Neptune) as Sherry, and Katie Griffin (Sailor Mars #1) as Katie. Katie’s husband, rocker Michael Kulas, also contributed original music to the film. This film was also shot in 35mm and converted to HD for effects. Fans can check out a trailer here, and we will keep you posted once we hear that this film has been selected for a festival!

Mary Long in New Play!

Mary Long (Molly Baker) can currently be seen on stage at the Victoria Place Petrolia in Petrolia, Ontario. In Separate Beds, she plays two wives who take a cruise ship vacation along with their husbands to celebrate their wedding anniversaries. You read right, two wives – she is playing both Beth Stone and Twink Fraser. Beth is a movie actress married to an orthodontist, and Twink is the co-owner of a hardware store along with her husband. The play is about two different couples, and her costar Ralph Small plays both her characters’ husbands. The revolving set features a cabin suite and a breakfast deck and both actors are transformed into other characters through different clothes, hair, speech, mannerisms and, of course, names. This definitely sounds interesting and from what we have read, the show sounds pretty good. The director also had lots of praise for the stars, saying: “I am indeed fortunate to have two artists of the calibre of Mary Long and Ralph Small to portray four wonderful characters. They are both gifted actors and talented comedians, and they bring the script to life brilliantly.” Mary loves the play, and said that this is the playwright’s (Mary Jane Cruise) best job, and added “Five seconds into the play, audiences will relate immediately to this first couple. It won’t be long before they recognize themselves.” The two even have their own rendition of Sonny and Cher’s I’ve Got You Babe! The play runs until August 9th, and Mary will reprise the roles later this year when the show hits Orangeville.

Opera on the Rocks Sings Again!

For those of our Moonies who are in the Toronto area this coming July, we highly recommend you catch Liza Balkan’s (Sailor Mercury #2) directorial masterpiece, Opera on the Rocks. We first brought you the news of this play last December, but here’s a refresher. This isn’t your ordinary opera, where you sit in your Sunday best in a large theater hall where Opera singers sing in languages barely understood in huge dresses. Opera on the Rocks takes place in a bar, and the singers sit amongst the patrons, singing songs about love, loss, hockey, and karaoke! Think this is innovative? Well, it gets better. It features the musical performance of David Ogborn, using an electronically modified guitar which he plays with a lot of unusual accessories, including kitchen knives. The show features librettists Leanna Brodie, Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington and Krista Dalby. The four opera singers featured in this show are among Canada’s top talents: Neil Aronoff, Neema Bickersteth, Jessica Lloyd and Keith Klassen. The initial run of the show last January sold out, and is now in full run, part of the Toronto Fringe Festival from July 2nd-13th. The play takes place at the Pauper’s Pub, in the heart of downtown Toronto at 529 Bloor Street West! Scroll down a little at this page for show listings, and to buy tickets, click here. The show is not for our younger readers. We would have loved to have been there had any of our staff members were in Toronto, and we encourage anyone that can go, to go. Take a Sailor Mercury plushie with you just for kicks!

Special thanks to Leanna Brodie for sending us Moon Chase’s first ever press release!

News From The Other Side Of The Pond #15!

This one is for all you Sera Myu fans – the majority of the stories have to do with former stars of the musicals!

Japanese News Reports on Fansubs

We came across a very interesting article that looks at the popularity of anime in the United States. The first sentence reads something to the effect of: Japanese animation is popular abroad, and fans will gather together at “geek events”. We found it rather amusing they called conventions geek events! The article does draw a bigger distinctin between conventions in North America versus those in Japan. The North American ones have a stronger presence of cosplay, where the ones in Japan have a stronger presence of doujinshi. The Tokyo Anime Fair just ended, but one of the questions everyone there was asking was “How do we deal with P2P downloads and fansubs?” It goes on to say that while some titles like Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh are popular, when they air during primetime slots, the shows are edited for violence and content that doesn’t quite fit with TV/cultural standards here. This leaves the anime feeling choppy and storylines incomplete. This isn’t entirely new – and something we Sailor Moon fans are all too used to. Some anime can only be aired after 10 PM, and they give the example of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block, with shows like Blood, Death Note, and Crayon Shin-Chan. Given the advent and evolution of peer-to-peer applications and video streaming, within days of a cartoon airing in Japan, a show will be fansubbed. Scanlations of manga are also on the rise. Some industry execs comment that this is hurting DVD and Manga sales, though we think differently. Without fansubs, we think many anime series that would hit the stores would be relatively unknown and would probably sell less because fans wouldn’t know what they were getting. Thanks to the lockdown of Sailor Moon, all any of us have left is either spending hundreds of dollars on eBay or looking to fansubs. We’re not saying fansubs are wrong but sometimes there really is no other option. Many industry executives are angry about this situation and call U.S. otaku thieves. Many artists are attempting to broaden the market in the U.S. despite the expansion of fansubs and scanlations. Anime News Network covers this topic a lot more frequently and fans looking for opinions and facts should definitely check out their stories on the issue.

Sailor Moon is 8th Most Popular Anime in Japan!

Japan’s Masters of the Survey Oricon has done another survey to see which is the most popular anime among the Japanese. Sailor Moon scored 8th overall and 2nd with women! One fan recalled that it was only natural to play Sailor Moon in Kindergarten because she was a girl who always put up a good fight! The comments received by Oricon about Sailor Moon all showed that the girls knew a good story when they saw one! The entire ranking is:

1. Dragonball
2. Detective Conan
3. Neon Genesis Evangelion
3. Mobile Suit Gundam
5. Slam Dunk
5. One Piece
7. Doraemon
8. Sailor Moon
9. Full Metal Alchemist
9. Lupin the 3rd

1. Dragonball
2. Detective Conan
2. Sailor Moon
4. Slam Dunk
5. Neon Genesis Evangelion

1. Dragonball
2. Mobile Suit Gundam
3. Neon Genesis Evangelion
3. Doraemon
5. One Piece

Ages 10-19:
1. Detective Conan
2. Full Metal Alchemist
3. Sailor Moon
3. Dragonball

Ages 20-29:
1. Dragonball
2. Slam Dunk
3. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Ages 30-39:
1. Dragonball
2. Full Metal Alchemist
3. Mobile Suit Gundam

Marina Kuroki on Stage!
Marina Kuroki (The 4th actress to play Sailor Moon in Sera Myu) has returned to the stage in Nelke Planning’s production of Nakano Blondys! Nakano Blondyz is a musical all about Cheerleading! It was a comedic delight to the critics, and they were fascinated by the routines the cast performed. Marina played a Yanki (or better known as tomboys in our culture) who is very brainy and likes to read comics. She meets some other girls at a popular comic shop, and they form a squad! They rarely are ever in step or in time with each other, but these girls are set to make it! Sadly it ended on March 20th, but we would have loved to have gone and seen it! To check out more pictures of the show, click here!

Akiko Kosaka Plans New Release!

We keep adding more and more new names to this website! Akiko Kosaka is a very accomplished artist in Japan , and she composed several songs for the Sera Myu Musicals and the Anime! She wrote such hits as Tuxedo Mirage, Moon Revenge, and Everlasting Moonlight. On June 4th, she will release a new album called Pianade , and it is full of instrumental piano pieces. She will also be touring in support of the album, and will mark her 35th anniversary in the industry with a celebration DVD! She had her first hit in 1973 at the age of 16, Anata, and reflects on her career over the years. She has always loved to make music since she was a child. In 2001, one of her albums, Pianish was released all over the world and is still a seller on iTunes. She remembers the Sailor Moon musicals from 13 years ago, and how 400 people worked just on the music over it’s run. The staff would often walk to the Warner Music studios to record the songs, and it was a 7 minute walk from the Nogizaka subway station. She found it a challenge to work on Sailor Moon because the year that began was the year her youngest son was born. She wanted to be a Mom! Her two sons have also taken up music like their mother, her 18-year old son plays the bass in a rock band, and her 15-year old plays the horns in a brass section of his junior high school band. She looks forward to performing and continued success in music!

This last sighting is for older readers only…

Manami Wakayama Has A New Idol DVD!

Manami Wakayama is a gravure idol who also as the last actress to play Sailor Mercury in Sera Myu (Sailor Moon Musicals) from Summer 2002 – Winter 2005. On March 26th, she released a Gravure Idol DVD entitled Mermaid Story. This DVD actually has a plot: Manami’s character was once told a legend of a mermaid by her Grandma in Okinawa. She is dragged into the sad and romantic tale in the life of this mermaid. We have a feeling she’s playing the mermaid in this one. Reviews of the DVD that we have read have been good, with some calling her presence as “Legendary Sexy”.

VA Sightings March 2008 (Part 2)!

Naz Edwards’ Souvenir Continues!

Naz Edwards (Queen Beryl) continues to perform as the singer who can’t sing across Michigan! She is currently in Lansing at the BoarsHead Theatre performing in Souvenir, a musical about Florence Foster Jenkins. She liked to believe she could sing, when in reality she could not. Naz is a very accomplished jazz and cabaret singer, and we wonder how hard it might have been for her to train for this role (or rather, learn how not to sing). We’ve read a few reviews of the show and we have heard that it’s really good, and recommend any fans in the area to go check it out!

Jeff Lumby Plays Showbiz Dad!

Jeff Lumby (Dr. Tomoe) can currently be heard playing Leonard, who is better known as the nerdy father of Ricky Sprocket in Ricky Sprocket, Showbiz Boy! The flash-animated TV show can be seen on both Nickelodeon in the United States, and Teletoon in Canada. The show uses a kid-friendly approach to talk about society’s infatuation with celebrity. Ricky is constantly fighting battles between how he should grow up, and how he should act in the public – or how he should avoid being seen the wrong way by the ruthless paparazzi! Jeff is still a radio host at Dave FM in Cambridge, Ontario. Fans can read his blog, here!

Dennis Akiyama Comes To Degrassi!

Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian TV show which is making waves all over the world. It has been a staple on CTV and has now begun on Nickelodeon’s The N and also the CW. Though sometimes controversial, we think this is a good drama for teenagers to watch as it’s very close to being true-to-life. Degrassi follows high schoolers and the challenges they face in and out of school. In the Season 7 episode “Death or Glory Part II”, school strongboy Gavin “Spinner” Mason was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Dennis Akiyama (Malachite) appeared in the show as the Oncologist (Cancer Doctor) who talks to Spinner about his options for treatment. Fans can check out the episode streaming online at CTV or The N.

Tracey Hoyt Dwells Into the Lives of Hockey Wives…

Tracey Hoyt (Rini #1) appeared on the last episode ever of CBC’s drama She played, (for the second time in her career) a nurse inj Mad Scramble. Though this time, she was in a more intense situation. The first time she played a nurse was in the movie Godsend, during the delivery of a baby. This time, she played a psychiatric nurse and got to inject tranquilizers into an athlete who was a little delusional. She handled that syringe quite fiercely! If you are in Canada, CBC has all of the episodes streaming online at the official site. We’ll warn our readers though,this series has some mature content.Tracey has also been teaching voice with Pirate Voice. Toronto’s CityTV went over there recently to pick up a few tips, and Tracey was there to teach them! Fans can watch the video they have posted here to see Tracey in action!

… And so did Allison Sealy-Smith!

Allison Sealy-Smith (various Monsters of the Day) also appeared on the episode playing Cadde Lawrence, a psychic who helps another wife in search of a missing child. Allison also appeared in the movie, How She Move. This is a Canadian film about Jamaican dance culture and identity. Allison played Mrs. Davis, and fans can try to spot her in some video clips here. The movie was released on January 25th to only a limited amount of cinemas in Canada. Allison also appeared in Global’s black hairdresser comedy, ‘da Kink in My Hair. The series is based on the play of the same name by Trey Anthony, and was inspired by the many West Indian salons in Toronto’s Eglinton suburb. Trey talked about her inspiration to the National Post last year. Allison played Leanne in the episode Empty Bag Can’t Stand Up . Unfortunately, it seems Global has removed the show from its site, so we can’t provide you a link to watch episodes. We can link you to a trailer, where you can spot the short-haired Allison Sealy-Smith for a quick second!

Julie Lemieux on Global Warming Cartoon!

Julie Lemieux (Sammy, Peruru, Young Darien) was heard as the voice of Becky Sue in the movie Chilly Beach: The World Is Hot Enough. It was just released on DVD , and follows the successful 3-season Canadian series all about life in the way-up-North!. Canucks Dale and Frank are tired (like we all are) of Canada’s infamous deep-freeze winters. So they experiment with climate control, but end up destroying the planet in the process. Now it’s up to them to go back in time and undo the damage before they do it! We hope to catch it soon, as we’ve mostly seen Julie play younger male roles more than she has female roles.

More VAs Appear on Little Mosque on the Prairie!

Last season, Maria Vacratsis appeared on the groundbreaking comedy, Little Mosque on the Prairie!. Now, it seems two more VAs have visited Mercy, Saskatchewan. These include David Huband (Serena’s Dad) playing a Radio Manager in Crush and Meet J.J., and Norma Dell’Agnese (Prisma) who played the hairdresser Marsha in the episode, Wheat Week.Martha has blinds in her windows, which allows for Muslim women to get a haircut without men seeing them without their Hijab. Of course, things change when Martha takes away the blinds. David plays the manager of Mercy’s only radio station, and is easily swayed from making decisions by getting bribes from Fred, the disc jockey who is desperate to save his job. It seems this show is airing all over the world these days except for the United States. We recommend fans look around for episodes posted on Youtube or Veoh to catch these VAs in action! Fans may be interested to know that while the show still features lots of shots of Regina and area, the production moved to Toronto after the pilot episodes were shot. In the first season, you may have noticed shots of the “Novia Cafe” – the Cafe actually exists and is one of the greasiest places to eat in the city!

Wendy Lyon in Two Movies!

Wendy Lyon (Queen Serenity)had a role playing Luanne in Kaw, a Canadian film about ravens that attack a small town. The indie flick also stars Sean Patrick Flannery. From the reviews of this movie that we’ve read, it didn’t have more to the plot than that and it was not very well received. For those of you adventurous enough to watch it, the movie is on DVD. Wendy can also be seen in a TV Movie based on the horrible Mayerthorpe Incident in 2005. Four RCMP officers visited the tiny town of Mayerthorpe in the hopes of capturing a farmer who was growing marijuana in a barn. Unfortunately, the farmer shot and killed all four officers in an attempt to evade the law. The movie aired in February on CTV, featuring Wendy as Sally Ranfield.

And Now, We Leave You With…

A wonderful performance from Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailors Mars & Venus #2)! Here she is singing O Pato on Quebec’s Belle et Bum show! Check out her blog to learn all about what she’s been up to! We wish you the best of luck Emilie-Claire – the National Jazz Awards are just around the corner!

News From The Other Side Of the Pond #14

Ruria Nakamura Shares Her Plans For The New Year!

Ruria Nakamura (Sailor Saturn in the Mistress Labyrinth Sera Myus) recently wrote an entry about her 2007, and what she hopes to achieve in 2008. She released a CD of her own producing entitled You Must Want last March, and in May she released her first single You Wish which did quite well with internet download sales. In August, she got to meet some of her fans and returned to the stage again in the play Memories 2. This year she hopes to meet more fans, and will be releasing a third single, titled Good Morning in February. She thinks this is her best song, because it reminds her of the love and kindness she gets from all her fans! She wishes that this year is the best that it can be for all of her fans!

Ayaka’s New DVD!

Are Any of Us Really Surprised?

Note: Ayaka has released another one of those DVDs intended for mature audiences. Click the link below to read the article.

Ayaka Komatsu (Sailor Venus in PGSM) has had quite a different career since her PGSM days. Though she continued to do some acting, she has become more notorious among the Sailor Moon community for her Idol DVDs, usually outfitted in teensy-weensy swimsuits. Though she was barely 18 when the show ended, to many fans she seemed a little young to be making these sorts of DVDs. However in Japanese culture this is pretty normal considering the nature of their idol industry. We were doing our newsrounds when we learned of a new DVD entitled, Dream Note II: A Happy Ending. Ayaka has a notebook where she writes about her dreams of wearing a variety of costumes, and magically Ayaka is wearing them herself! Boy, people will find any excuse to make a gravure idol DVD with Ayaka in it.