SciFi Japan

    Anime Expo 2011 Updates

    New Guests, Musical Performers, and Events Added for Anime and Manga Festival Source: Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation press releases Official Site: Anime Expo, North America’s largest anime and manga celebration, has announced some new guests when it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 1 - 4, 2011. Tetsuro Araki, Masayoshi Tanaka and Kentaro Hashimoto of Madhouse Studios will attend as Guests of Honor. The trio will be present for a special July 2nd screening of the acclaimed zombie apocalypse series HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD and will host a creator’s panel. Video game producer and developer Sohei Niikawa amd voice actress and singer Miyuki Sawashiro are also Guests of Honor while Takanori Aki, President of Good Smile Company, will be an industry guest. Additional Guests of Honor include the production team behind LASTEXILE -FAM, THE SILVER WING-, giving fans of the series a chance to meet and hear from Koichi Chigira, Makoto Kobayashi, Takaaki Suzuki from GONZO and Hiroyuki Birukawa from flyingDOG. They all join the Anime Expo 2011 guest line-up that includes chart-topping Japanese pop trio Kalafina, Japanese TV Host and blogger Danny Choo, voice actor Vic Mignogna and video game developer Sohei Niikawa, as well as Anime Expo’s first ever Virtual Guest of Honor, Digital Pop Idol Hatsune Miku. Themed the “Year of the Fan,” Anime Expo 2011 will fully immerse guests into the world of Japanese animation, manga, music and fashion. Anime Expo is a non-stop marathon of Japanese pop culture that’s been likened to Halloween in July.


    Madhouse Studio Creators Tetsuro Araki has engaged with a number of animated TV series, including DI GI CHARAT NYO and GUNGRAVE, as a Madhouse staff. He makes a shocking directorial debut, with the animation adaptation of the comic series DEATH NOTE. Since then he has directed the vampiric saga KUROZUKA and adapted the zombie apocalypse HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD. Mr. Araki is now working with Production I.G. on his new series GUILTY CROWN. As an animator, Masayoshi Tanaka has worked on popular series such as X, CHOBITS, EUREKA 7, HONEY AND CLOVER and many more. As character designer and chief animator, his most famous works include TORADORA!, the animated adaptation of the Shonen Jump series REBORN! and HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD. He is currently working on ANO HI MITA HANA NO NAMAE O BOKUTACHI WA MADA SHIRANAI at A-1 Pictures. Kentaro Hashimoto has produced mega-hit animated television series like DEATH NOTE and KUROZUKA. Mr. Hashimoto has brought out new animated interpretation of the classic literature by Ango Sakaguchi in AOI BUNGAKU: IN THE FOREST, UNDER CHERRIES IN FULL BLOOM. His newest series is the acclaimed zombie apocalypse action animated series HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD. Sohei Niikawa Sohei Niikawa, President of Nippon Ichi Software (NIS), will participate in attendee panels, meet-and-greet and autograph sessions. As a scenario writer and producer, Niikawa is the creative force behind such popular NIS games as the DISGAEA series, the PRINNY series, PHANTOM BRAVE, Z.H.P.: UNLOSING RANGER VS DARKDEATH EVILMAN, and more. Founded in 1991 in Japan, NIS has established a worldwide following for its role-playing games created for multiple console platforms. In many of its titles, characters from one series will appear as secret characters in other series creating innovative connections between the games. The games produced by Mr. Niikawa have been localized and published by NIS America, and are popular among hardcore, niche gameplay fans nationwide. His newest entry, DISGAEA 4: A PROMISE UNFORGOTTEN for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) computer entertainment system, will be available this August. ”I’d like to sincerely thank you for inviting me as a guest for Anime Expo 2011,” says Mr. Nikkawa of his upcoming appearance. “I’ve never been more honored than to be invited to such a large worldwide anime and game congregation such as Anime Expo. I plan to share some great news about Nippon Ichi Software, Inc., in regards to not only our games, but also on our focus to provide entertainment for everyone worldwide. I am extremely excited to have the chance to meet everyone in the near future.” Toshiyuki Morikawa During his career as a voice actor, Toshiyuki Morikawa has lent his talents to a long list of popular anime series and video games. He has also been the Japanese voice of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves and Adam Sandler in feature films and most recently as Will Schuester from the popular TV show GLEE. Morikawa’s credits include roles in highly recognizable anime series including AFTER WAR GUNDAM X, BERSERK, BLACK LAGOON, BLEACH, DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02, LAST EXILE, NARUTO, POKEMON, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS, YU-GI-YO!, X-MEN, ONE PIECE, SUPER ROBOT WARS and many, many more. He has also been featured in the world of electronic entertainment with roles such as the infamous Sephiroth of the FINAL FANTASY video game franchise and Heishiro Mitsurugi in the SOULCALIBUR franchise. In 2011, Mr. Morikawa expanded his involvement in the business founding the voice actor company Axlone. Takanori Aki The President of Good Smile Company, Takanori Aki, will be holding an attendee panel at Anime Expo. In keeping with its mission to connect fans with creative leaders and the latest trends from Japan, this panel will give attendees insights into one of the country’s most successful figure-making companies, famous for its “figma” (multiple articulated joint figures) and “Nendoroid,” (cute, pint-sized “chibi” figures). Known as one of the most charismatic entrepreneurs in the industry, Aki is the force behind the "Black?Rock Shooter” Project. Expanding on an illustration by the artist huke, famed of his character design works for METAL GEAR SOLID, Aki created a line of sculpted figures and produced an original animation (OVA) based on huke’s artwork. To date, more than 600,000 copies of the OVA and 160,000 "Black?Rock Shooter" figma and Nendroid figures have been sold. Growing the franchise, Aki introduces the video game, "Black?Rock Shooter THE GAME", this summer in Japan. Taliesin Jaffe Taliesin Jaffe started his career as a child actor appearing in films such as MR MOM, 2010 and EXPLORERS, and television shows such as SHE`S THE SHERIFF, AMAZING STORIES and THE FACTS OF LIFE. After a brief adventure living in Japan, he began working in the world of anime and video games. As a voice actor, Mr. Jaffe has portrayed characters such as Blanka and Adon (STREET FIGHTER IV), Darion Mograine, Admiral Ripsnarl and the Devourer of Souls (WORLD OF WARCRAFT), Edge (FINAL FANTASY IV), The Flash (MORTAL COMBAT VS DC), Takeya (DEARS), Joe (SPEED GRAPHER), Hatomura (PARANOIA AGENT), Hanasho (GIRLS BRAVO), Kenkichi (KAMICHU!), and Rufus (VALKYRIE PROFILE 2: SILMERIA) to name a few. He is also known as a director and script adaptor and has been involved with the production of shows such as HELLSING, ROD THE TV, HELLGIRL, THE END OF EVANGELION and MONSTER. He has directed the English voice over for many games including the STREET FIGHTER IV series, SENGOKU BASARA: SAMURAI HEROES and MARVEL VS CAMPCOM 3. Taliesin has won numerous awards for his efforts, and is currently working on no less then three secret projects about which he may not utter the slightest word. Miyuki Sawashiro Voice actress and singer Miyuki Sawashiro is a Guest of Honor for AX 2011. She will participate in autograph sessions, an attendee panel and a fan meet-and-greet. Sawashiro’s voice is recognizable to fans from such popular anime series as BEELZEBUB, ANGEL BEATS!, DURARARA!!, PERSONA -trinity soul-, ARAKAWA UNDER THE BRIDGE, in which she portrays the character Maria and also performs the theme song. In honor of Sawashiro’s appearance, Anime Expo will present a special screening of ARAKAWA UNDER THE BRIDGE. Over the last 10 years, Sawashiro has provided voice-over in more than 120 anime titles. She has also lent her talent to many video games and Drama CDs. Notably, she voiced Puchiko in the English dubbed releases of DI GI CHARAT- A TRIP TO THE PLANET and LEAVE IT TO PIYOKO! making her one of the few Japanese voice actors to have reprised a role in English in addition to the original Japanese performance. LASTEXILE -FAM, THE SILVER WING- Production Team In conjunction with the highly-anticipated world premiere of LASTEXILE -FAM, THE SILVER WING-, the production team of Koichi Chigira, Makoto Kobayashi, Takaaki Suzuki and Hiroyuki Birukawa will appear at Anime Expo. Acclaimed anime director Koichi Chigira is a frequent GONZO collaborator. Mr. Chigira is the director of such hits as FULL METAL PANIC!, GATE KEEPERS, LASTEXILE, THE TOWER OF DRUAGA –THE AEGIS OF URUK– or –THE SWORD OF URUK–, TOKYO BABYLON, TOKYO BABYLON 2, and BRAVE STORY. From production design to mechanical design to directing, Makoto Kobayashi has played many roles in the mechanized world of anime. Fans recognize his unique artistic touch from such classics as LASTEXILE, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION, MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM Z, MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM ZZ, SAMURAI 7, TRINITY BLOOD, and THE TOWER OF DRUAGA –THE AEGIS OF URUK– or –THE SWORD OF URUK–. Takaaki Suzuki is known as a creator who has developed the military, world and science fiction settings for LASTEXILE, GUNxSWORD, STRIKE WITCHES and STRIKE WITCHES 2. He has written scripts for some of these titles and has also worked as a planning assistant for WITCHBLADE In addition to his contributions in the anime world, Mr. Suzuki is the creator of the popular novel series The Witches of Africa. Anime producer Hiroyuki Birukawa is one of key forces behind the success of the first LASTEXILE series. He is also well known as the producer for LINEBARRELS OF IRON, THE KING OF BRAVES GAOGAIGAR FINAL (OVA), THE QWASER OF STIGMATA series, GUNxSWORD, BETTERMAN, METAL FIGHTER MIKU and GENERATOR GAWL.

    Hosts and Judges Announced for Fan-Favorite Event "AX Idol"

    Anime Expo has announced the AX Idol 2011 hosts and judges that will be participating in the event’s 9th season. The 2011 AX Idol competition will be co-hosted by voice actor Kyle Hebert and Jonathan Meza. The judge line-up will feature BangZoom! President Eric Sherman, producer and BangZoom! Vice-President Kaeko Sakamoto, musician/voice actor Jason C. Miller, AMERICAN IDOL runner-up Blake Lewis and a Special Guest judge courtesy of VIZ Media to be revealed at a later date. One of the most coveted and attended events at Anime Expo, AX Idol gives attendees the unique opportunity to display their voice acting and singing talents in front of both fans and respected industry professionals. Each year, attendees audition with the chance to win amazing prizes. Thousands of fans gather around to root for their favorites as AX Idol competitors battle it out on stage. AX Idol is brought to you by Bang Zoom! Entertainment and VIZ Media. AX Idol will be held in Nokia Theater on July 3rd from 12:15pm – 3:30pm.

    Japanese Electronic Dance Act Nirgilis Performs Live in Concert

    Anime Expo is pleased to present a live concert featuring electronic dance act, Nirgilis. Famous in the Japanese music scene for their ability to fuse a variety of music styles with melodic songwriting and mash-ups, Nirgilis will perform on July 1 at 7 p.m. in Club Nokia. As Guests of Honor, the band will also participate in a meet-and-greet, autograph signing and focus panel. Through four albums on the Toys Factory and DefStar Records labels and four animation tie-in singles, Nirgilis has established its popularity among both fans of rock music and anime. The band’s biggest hits include the singles “sakura” from the anime series “Eureka Seven,” “Kiseki” from “Tetsuwan Birdy Decode 02” and “Snow Kiss from “D.Gray-man.” Their latest single called “Shiny Shiny” is being featured on the anime series “Deadman Wonderland,” now airing on TV in Japan. Nirgilis’ members are Acchu Iwata (Vocal, Piano, Keyboards, Programming), Minoru Kurihara (Bass, DJ, Programming) and Yuki Inadera (Drums, Programming, Chorus, D? A-VJ).

    Club Nokia Performers

    Tune in Tokyo brings its global pop sound to the Club Nokia VIP Lounge as part of Anime Expo 2011, presenting a night of J-Pop, K-Pop, Japanese Electro and Indie, and International Club Beats on Saturday, July 2nd. They will be joined by AX Idol Winner and J-Pop singer Stephanie Yanez, and LA-based hard rock band Dig Jelly, in a special acoustic performance. There will also be a Vocaloid-inspired fashion show sponsored by Q-Pop, featuring Japanese labels Sexpot Revenge, Algonquins, Super Lovers, and the Putamayo x Vocaloid Collaboration. The event runs on July 2nd from 9 PM - 2 AM, and is welcome to all ages. The Club Nokia VIP lounge is located on the second floor, accessed by the elevators on the left side of the entrance. A convention badge is required for entry into Club Nokia. Tune in Tokyo Tune in Tokyo has been spinning J-Pop, K-Pop, and International Club beats since 2008, bringing the sound of modern Asian dance pop to clubs and special events throughout Los Angeles. This five member DJ unit, featuring co-founders Greg Hignight and Del Martin, and DJs Tora, Ally, and Leett, hosts monthly events at Royal/T Maid Cafe, Shop, & Artspace, and 2nd Street Jazz in Little Tokyo, and have also presented an array of live performances featuring musicians from the United States and Japan. Tune in Tokyo presents the best in Asian and global dance pop, weaving together cutting edge electro, dance rock, and Indie with the bold Japanese street fashion scene to create a unique club experience. For more information, visit or Stephanie Yanez Stephanie Yanez is an American Jpop singer, Virtual Idol of Japanese anime avatar site, and Anime Expo’s AX Idol. She has toured all over the States and in Japan. She has been seen on T.V. as the Tokyo Reporter for Anime Select’s Comcast On Demand documentary “Crazy Sexy Tokyo”. Miss Yanez has released numerous CD’S and singles which are all on iTunes, Amazon,etc. She has worked with Crypton Future Media, Gcrest, Aniplex USA, I’VE Sound, Geneon USA, Victor Entertainment, and Broccoli on numerous projects. She has opened up and shared the same stage with Kotoko, Yousei Teikoku, and Nikka Costa. She recently officially collaborated with Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku and TinierMe with “Ultimate Miku World”, an exclusive song and music video. For more information, Dig Jelly Dig Jelly, fronted by female Rock `n` Roll wild child Rayko, has been described as "Energetic, hook-driven, mind-blowingly, in-your-face modern rock with a lethal dose of pop." Featuring the alluring Japanese-born singer-songwriter/guitarist/pianist on lead vocals and piano who one critic acclaims, "Possesses the pipes to belt it out and scream with the best of them," Dig Jelly are ready to take the world by storm with the release of Predicate! For more information, please visit Q-Pop Q Pop is your one stop destination for unique artist made goods, vinyl toys, rare records and japanese funky street fashion. Q Pop is the exclusive west coast seller of Harajuku fashion labels Algonquins and Sex Pot Revenge, as well as the exclusive US seller of Super Lovers. We also carry Swimmer, Hip Hero and many other creative and fun designers. Located in the historic Little Tokyo area of downtown Los Angeles, Q Pop features beautiful interior design by Justin K Thompson. It also features 2 large murals by renowned artists Kevin Dart, Chris Turnham, and Elizabeth Ito. Q Pop is also a mini gallery space. Exhibitions, events, and performances take place regularly. For more information, visit

    About Anime Expo

    Held annually in Los Angeles, Anime Expo is North America’s largest anime and manga event. Anime Expo gives fans the rare opportunity to meet and hear from some of the most famous anime, manga and musical artists from Japan and get into the action through everything from costume play, karaoke and video competitions to exclusive screenings, non-stop video gaming competitions and the wildly popular Masquerade, in which fans transform themselves into their favorite characters through creative costuming, accessories and make-up and put on their own show before an audience of thousands. AX 2011 will be held July 1 – July 4, 2011 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. To register or for more information, please visit

    About the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation

    The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more popularly known by its entertainment property, Anime Expo. For more information, please visit
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