Thursday, April 29, 2010

NA Voice Actor Update for April

Dennis Akayama (Malachite) appears in the film Repo Men, as a doctor. Fans can also see him on TV in Mayday, a show which dramatizes real-life air disasters, as a captain; in Wingin' It, a family comedy about an angel in training, as Mr. Nakamora; and in Warehouse 13 as officer Ogawa. Canadian fans can catch the premiere of Warehouse 13 on April 30th, on City TV. Description of the show from IMDb: "After saving the life of an international diplomat in Washington D.C., a pair of U.S Secret Service agents are whisked away to a covert location in South Dakota that houses supernatural objects that the U.S. Government has collected over the centuries. Their new assignment: retrieve some of the missing objects and investigate reports of new ones."

Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Venus #2) performed "You're Driving Me Crazy" live on Canada AM on Monday, April 12th to celebrate her third Juno nomination. Her performance was delightful and the hosts enjoyed having her on the show again.

Stephanie Beard (Rini #2) will be appearing in an upcoming, untitled Seth Rogen film. The movie is a comedic account of a man's cancer diagnosis and his struggle to beat the disease.

Little Shop of Horrors, featuring Naz Edwards (Queen Beryl) as Audrey II has been extended through May 16th. Fans can catch the show at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tracey Hoyt (Rini #1) can be seen in Pure Pwnage as Jeremy's mom. So far, she appears in the first and fifth episodes of this television series about Jeremy, a L33T gamer who lives in his mom's basement and is forced to get a "real" job. Canadian fans can catch the series on Showcase. Episodes are also available for viewing on the Showcase website, make sure to click on Pure Pwnage in the side menu to see all available episodes. This show was previously a popular web series, since 2004.

Tracey Moore (Sailor Moon #1) can be heard in the Care Bears to the Rescue movie. The release date is not yet available, but the movie will be centred around the Care-a-Lot Rescue Awards.

Roland Parliament (Melvin) was nominated for "Educator of the Year" at Niagara College recently and the award ceremony was April 7th. Although he didn't win, he's proud to say that his friend and colleague Barbara Mantini of the Acting for Film and Television program did win. Here's what Roland had to say about it: "That's 6 nominations and 2 awards for our program in only 2 years since its inception. Not bad for a fledgling program in a college with 700 professors! Major kudos to Martin Doyle for having the smarts, guts and determination to convince Niagara College to launch this program."

Alice Poon (Catsy) will be appearing in the upcoming crime drama television series Rookie Blue as a paramedic named Caroline. The show is scheduled to premiere in late June. Fans can also see her in the film Repo Men as a TSA agent.

Sera Myu Sightings - Late March and April

More Connections to Sera Myu in Minky Momo Musical!

Two actors involved with Sera Myu have just been confirmed to be a part of the 30th anniversary Minky Momo musical! Yoshiya Yukimura (many characters from 2000-2004) and Takayo Ooyama (Sailor Neptune 2004-2005) will be starring as Mocha the Monkey (middle) and Pipil the Bird (right) in the musical. The two of them starred in only one musical together, and we wonder if they spent any time reminiscing about Sera Myu in rehearsals. Along with Sindbook the dog, the three of these animals serve as Minky Momo's companions. And to remind you, the show is produced by Toshiyuki Takezawa, who produced the Sera Myu musicals and also worked as a producer on PGSM. Yoshiya and Takayo were revealed at a special performance and talk show that took place at the Tokyo Anime Fair on March 28th. They were not there, but images were shown. The other big piece of news about this series at the TAF? There's a new anime series in the works! Perhaps this is something we can look forward to from Sailor Moon in another ten years?

A New Movie for Mikako Tabe!

Way back in January, it was announced that popular manga title Kimi ni Todoke was going to get a live action movie adaptation. KnT is a shojo romance about a girl named Sawako who unfortunately earns the nickname Sadako because of her resemblance to the character of the same name from the popular movie, The Ring. Everyone at school thinks that Sawako can also speak to the dead and see ghosts. Sawako feels so alone, until she meets the very popular Kazehaya, and the two of them fall in love. Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer) will be playing the role of Sawako, alongside the very popular Haruma Miura as Kazehaya. The film is set to open on September 25th in Japan.

Fumina Hara Appears with Salaryman!

On April 8th, NHK began to rebroadcast season 5 of the popular Japanese sketch comedy show, Salaryman Neo. Fumina Hara (Sailor Moon from 1998-1999) appears on the show, and also appeared at a promotional event at the NHK Broadcast Center on March 30th. Here she is posing with the rest of the cast - don't you hear her saying "I am the business-suited pretty soldier of love and justice, formerly known as Sailor Moon!" At the event, NHK revealed that there is going to be an addition to this rebroadcast - each episode will have a new short story. It makes mention of a skit where Aki Nakada dresses up like a member of the Takarazuka Revue, and played her role very convincingly.

Tae Kimura Gets Fashionable and Controls Men in New Movie (and has a new book too)!

Tae Kimura (Fisheye) has a leading role in the upcoming movie Tokyo-Jima (Toyko Island). She plays Kiyoko, a 43-year-old housewife that suddenly finds herself in an icky situation when she is the only woman of 24 people stranded on an uninhabited island. Her character is tough, and she uses her charms as well as her body to control the men of the island. Even with all of the accolades that Tae has received in the last few years, this must be a challenging role for her to play! In the movie, she cooks for everyone and even caught a sea snake. She told everyone at a recent promotional event that she didn't worry, because she likes snakes! Tae thinks that the women in the audience will sympathize but isn't sure what the men in the audience will think. She hopes that everyone will wonder just what they are at the end of the movie. This movie also has a nice bit of a Haute Couture edge to it - French Luxury brand Hermes is the brand of choice for many of the cast members, and is featured prominently. Kiyoko wraps herself in a Hermes scarf during the movie. Japanese women who want the same scarf can purchase it in Hermes stores in Japan for the "affordable" price of ¥48300 (just shy of $520 USD). Fans can check out the R-rated Trailer at the official site (don't watch it if you are under 18).

Tae also just released a new book of essays about her life as an actress, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and other personas. Entitled Kakato (Translation: Heel), these essays highlight many of her ups and downs in life from her career to her family. She isn't much of a computer user, but really used it a lot to put this book together, staying up all night in hotel rooms just to get her thoughts written out. But, that isn't to say that she didn't write anything in longhand - in fact just to get the right meanings for the words, for some of her essays she wrote them out first. Despite her hardships, she knows that acting is her dream job and she is happy to be an actress, even though she is known as a very emotional and dramatic actress in Japan. As far as the title goes, there's a very interesting reason why she chose it. It is a symbol of a part of the body that is often neglected to people, so she thinks. We kind of understand it since she feels that she has to show a lot of herself to the public and is always on her feet, never really having the time to lie down and reflect on life. This book is available from Kodansha and costs ¥1350 (or $14 USD).

Yuu Shirota to Dub Voice of Popular Dorama!

IRIS aired from last October to December in South Korea (information in English here), and was a huge hit. So much so, that TBS decided to purchase the dorama for broadcast. IRIS is about best friends Hyun Joon Kim and Seung Hee Choi, who are brought in to work for the NSS, an intelligence organization. The two of them fall in love, but things take a wicked turn when Hyun is sent to Hungary for a solo mission, and he learns that Vick, an assassin from a top secret spy organization known as IRIS, is looking for him. As this mysterious and unpredictable series progresses, Hyun Joon learns what IRIS is. This show has shot episodes all over the world, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia! Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004), will be dubbing the voice of Hyun Joon Kim in Japanese. IRIS will start on TBS on April 21st, and run for approximately 6 months. This show has been renewed for a second season in South Korea, however the actor that plays Hyun Joon Kim (Lee Byung Hun) is unable to return to his role.

Yuu was also featured in another article about singer Jin Akanishi, who just announced that he will be playing two concerts in LA this June. Everyone knows that Jin and Yuu are best friends, but did you know that Yuu considers Jin to be like an older brother to him? The rest of the article goes into other friends of Jin and how they have been caught partying by the tabloids.

Kousei Amano Starts Nightclub Tour!

Hot on the heels of the success of Tough Times at Club Indigo, Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Mask in 1999) is joining some cast members in a special night club tour of 22 Japanese cities to promote the show. They are going to also serve as the club hosts! The first of these party dates happened on March 31st at the Shinjuku Kabukicho Host Club called Club Acqua. By the way, if you are trying to spot him in the photo, he is second from the right in the gray suit. The boys of the Indigo Club sure looked sharp that night, as they partied with clubgoers and poured champagne. Kousei was quoted, saying that he only hopes that he can work hard to please everyone at these 22 cities, and that he understands how hard these hosts have to work to please everyone at the club. Here's one last picture for all you fangirls to see these "dream hosts".

Maki Aizawa Represents the Typical Resident of Niigata Prefecture in Japanese Variety Show!

Himitsu no Kenmin Show (Translation: Secrets of the Character of Prefectural Residents
). This show aims to find out what makes the residents of each prefecture in Japan different from one another by looking at these local customs and attitudes in depth. On April 22nd, Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004), appeared on the show representing Niigata prefecture. We couldn't find any more about Maki's involvement in the show, but did learn a little bit about the episode's features. There is a new way to enjoy Soba in Toshigi, every February 1st, the people of Aomori look forward to a day of bargain sales, and in Sapporo, the 1972 Olympics inspired a large part of their population to take up the Bobsled! To learn even more about the show and the products seen, visit the other official site of the show here.

And for our Anza Ooyama (Sailor Moon from 1993-1998) fans, she is currently touring in Brazil with her band Head Phones President. Head to SOSMP BR for more, including a video of her band performing a moving, acoustic version of their hit song "Chain"!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Operation Moonrise: Phase 4 update

Hey Moonies, The Me here, I was very impressed by the immediate turnout after my last call for survey responses. You guys are awesome! I just wanted to let you know how the numbers are standing now and where we still need help.

The US has a healthy 584 responses; The UK is squeaking by our minimum goal with 103; Australia and New Zealand could still use some help with 67 and 65 respectively; but Canada.. you guys still need a significant boost, you're only at 224. D:

So, we're calling on all of our Canadian readers to get anyone you know who hasn't already taken our survey to go do so and get that number up above 300, even 350 if you can manage, and I know you can!

We're doing our best on staff to get this accomplished. We all want to see Canada be represented to its fullest extent. It might surprise you to know that out of our five regular staff members, I'm the only non-Canadian of the group. It makes me feel a little like the outcast sometimes, which actually reminds me of a funny story involving two...

*Ahem* If I may interject my Right Hand Man’s post to speak to all my fellow Canuckian Moonies...

*Summons a one hundred member string orchestra to play O Canada*

Canadians, do you remember a time when you would come home from school and Sailor Moon would be waiting for you on YTV? Do you remember every canceled play date, music lesson, or that time you put off homework just to see what perils faced our Sailor “Scouts” that day?

Did you enjoy a can of Heinz Sailor Moon pasta when you would watch Sailor Moon after school?

Do you remember the excitement you used to feel when a VA would appear on the Zone even for only a few minutes to talk about Sailor Moon? How you would leap every time out of your seats every time they would perform one of their character’s most infamous lines in the flesh?

Or the times when you were just learning how to use the internet and you would visit Roland Parliament’s to learn more about your favorite character’s voice? Or later, that wonderful time when there was that “Sweet as Sugar” VA on the Zone all the time?

Did you go out and make your mom make you a Sailor Moon costume the moment Wal Mart started stocking those patterns from McCall’s? How many of you would shout MOON PRISM POWER instead of TRICK OR TREAT when you were out on Halloween night?

What about all those glorious Irwin Toys that did not make sense half the time (The Moon Cycle? What the kay cee ewe eff was that?) ? Those beautiful displays and posters at every toy store made every Canadian kid feel like it was Christmas every day?

Yes, there was one thing that united all of these things together, and that was that they were all made in Canada. Canadian voice actors are an endangered species these days when it comes to anime, but back in the day Sailor Moon helped put voice acting in Canada on the map!

Canadian Moonies, if you want to relive these moments and share them with a new generation of Sailor Moon fans, don’t forget that we are trying to bring the very last season back home where it belongs. Just because every other cartoon gets an ending doesn’t mean Sailor Moon gets the shaft! Get involved with Operation Moonrise Phase 4 today, and let’s tell the companies that Canada is not just a speck on the map of Sailor Moon. Canada made that show happen, and we can’t let anyone forget about that!

*Sailordees Away*

... and so it turns out that Hockey is the one sport I can actually stand in large doses. I guess I have more in common than I thought. Anyway, come on all you Canuck Moonies, let's show them that you care deeply about Sailor Moon and want it back!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Toei Animation to Expand Mobile Offerings and AnimeBB Even More Around the World?

A recent article which we have been able to read a part of on C21Kids has us wondering if Toei Animation is going to expand their digital anime services to North America. In a piece featuring Kanji Kazahaya, the General Director and President of Toei Animation Europe, the challenges facing the delivery of anime are discussed, and there is a statement about how the digital switchover has created new opportunities for Japanese production companies. We are really hoping *fingers crossed* that this means that their hugely AnimeBB service could be expanded around the world through cable providers and the internet, as well as their popular mobile ANIMO service spread around as well. Some of this was hinted recently at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by some of Toei Animation’s other representatives. Late last year, SFR launched Captain Harlock and Fist of the North Star through a video demand service in collaboration with Toei Animation. Episodes (or better known as “mobisodes”) are shortened down to 3 or 5 minute clips, and are available to subscribers of Vodaphone’s Live Portal. French Otaku also have access to the episodes on their VOD service Club Video.

The article then takes a short look at Toei Animation’s first foray outside of Japan – Europe. When they started, the concept of anime was foreign to Europeans so they would first ask their customers to watch an entire series instead of just a short clip to understand its value. This proved to be a huge success, and set up Toei Animation for international recognition. There were a couple other really interesting things that we saw in the article, in reference to DragonBall Z. He noted that the “show’s high level of acceptance in the global market stimulated cultural protectionism”. Watching the show episode by episode, he remarks, you can also find some negative and/or controversial elements but the backbone of the show is still very important for kids, teaching them important lessons about values like friendship and trust. Hmm… Can we say that about Sailor Moon too? We wish we could read the rest of this article but subscription fees even for one month are a little high (and with reports and projects going out by the end of May, we’re on a bit of a tight budget). Nonetheless, if we hear any more about this new development, we will let you know!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sakura Con Coverage - Day 3

The Dark Horse Industry Panel was also on Sunday, but here are more events from the final day of the convention.

Women in Anime Panel with Ellyn Stern
Panel description: Ellyn Stern talks about the evolution of women in anime and how this perspective differs from the East to the West; she also explores the different roles that women play in anime.

This panel was really more like an analysis of female characters in media in general, as a lot of what Ellyn Stern said applies to more than anime. Sailor Moon did come up in the conversation, mostly in the sense of "why does a strong woman need to wear a short skirt?" There was also some talk about Ranma 1/2, yet nobody mentioned that Ranma hated being cursed to turn into a girl mostly because he saw it as losing his manhood.

Mrs. Stern seemed to think that one of the reasons the sailor senshi wear short skirts is because it appeals to men, and Takeuchi's editors were men. I've got to say though, their battle costumes were never revealing and were always practical considering the types of gymnastic moves they do at times. But I can understand disliking the fact that the senshi essentially become naked as they transform; though I've always considered that to be more symbolic than literal. Like they're shedding a disguise to reveal their true selves.

Cosplay Chess Unscripted:
The game started with an announcer wishing the teams to play fair and for players to "die dramatically." The battles between chess pieces were often hilarious, especially when a Honey-chan cosplayer (from Ouran High School Host Club) went berserk and "killed" another player.

In the end, the team led by a Jesus cosplayer won, which was only fitting for Easter Sunday.

Showings: Ouran High School Host Club, Romeo x Juliet
These were aired in the theatre room dedicated to Funimation titles and both were shown in dubbed format. Having seen all of Ouran in subtitled format, I can honestly say the dub is just as hilariously enjoyable. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is a very comedic commentary on fangirls, differences in social status, and the assumptions people make about others based on physical appearance. Preview episodes online on the Funimation website.

Romeo x Juliet is a new spin on William Shakespeare's classic play. In the anime series, the Capulets are almost all murdered in the beginning, and Juliet narrowly escapes into hiding as a small child. Years later, she publicly masquerades as a boy who likes to help those in need (especially young women). She only sporadically goes out in public as a girl, and randomly runs into Romeo a few times in the first episode. Funimation has episodes of this series available online for previewing here.

That's all for our Sakura Con 2010 convention coverage. We hope you enjoyed it! And we hope any fans who attended had a great time too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

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!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

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.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

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.

PGSM Update April 2010 – Part 3!

Dancing, Plays, Video Games, and Doramas make up this round of PGSM Actor Updates!

Aya Sugimoto Dances, and Teaches!

Aya Sugimoto (Queen Beryl) is not only known for her acting, modeling, "modeling", and "writing", but also for her great dancing ability. Last March marked the Japanese premiere of the popular movie musical Nine, starring Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, and Daniel Day Lewis (is it not sad that I know them all by heart). At the premiere, Aya did a re-creation of Fergie’s infamous "Be Italian" routine from the movie with another dancer, Steven Haynes. This drew rave reviews, not only for Aya’s immense talent, but for her "talent" as well. Fans can check out a video of her performance here! Aya also did her part to repair Toyota’s image with women. The disgraced car company launched a new car in Japan called the Passo + Hana. As part of a special marketing campaign targetting women, Aya hosted a class with newhalf idol Ai Haruna. Entitled the “Girl Power Improvement Course of the Passo+Hana Women’s University in Spring”, the two of them gave women dating advice. Aya noted that a woman on a date sitting in a car, needs to make her legs look beautiful. There was also something else discussed at this class, but this blog is rated PG-13, and we're not going to write about it.

Masaya Kikawada is a Detective!

Masaya Kikawada (Motoki) is starring as a detective in the new dorama Keishichou Shissounin Sousaka (The Metropolitan Police Missing Person Investigation Section) that just started on TV Asahi this past April 16th. This show is about a strange case that the aforementioned division of the police is called in to investigate. A physicist disappears into thin air during a supernatural show, and in their search to find him they uncover a lot more than they expected. And of course, there are always relational complications between team members. Masaya plays Junichi Morita (he's at the end on the left side) a mild, passive, and sincere detective with a strong sense of justice. He has one flaw, and that is that he has a constant tendency to say more than he needs to. He's also got a sharp mind and is very good with technology. Masaya also appeared at the Paul & Joe Fall/Winter 2010 fashion show in Tokyo just a few weeks ago. And to top things off, Masaya also appeared at the opening of Forever 21's Asian Flagship Store in Ginza on April 29th. Who knew our shy Motoki liked couture?

Akira Kubodera Voices Legendary Shogun Leader!

Capcom is going to release Sengoku Basara 3 this summer for the PS3 and Wii in Japan (it will be on its way here and will be called Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes). This is the latest in the popular game series set in feudal Japan where states are at war with each other. Akira Kubodera (Nephrite) will be playing Nobunaga Oda, but there's a twist. He has been one of the evil characters in the two previous games, but is killed sometime between the last one and this one, and will only appear in flashback sequences. Capcom may bring his character back in a future game, and this new one features all sorts of new characters from the North and South of Japan. The game was presented on April 9th at the Ikebukuro Sunshine Theater, and many of the game's seiyuu showed up in full cosplay. Akira dressed up as his character (first on the left). We almost couldn't recognize him until we read the caption! What do you all think of his cosplay?

Unfortunate Tale of a Betrayed Woman Features Mariko Tsutsui!

Youkame no Semi (The Cicada on the 8th Day) is a 6 part dorama airing on NHK as we speak. It is the sad tale of a woman named Kiwako, who has an affair with Takahiro, a married man. He gets both of the women pregnant, and forces Kiwako to get an abortion. Kiwako learns right after her abortion that Takahiro's wife was also pregnant and had a baby girl. She feels betrayed that she was not allowed to have a child of her own, even though Takahiro loves her more than his own wife. One night, she kidnaps the baby and spends the next 5 years on the run in Japan. The show picks up two decades later when the daughter (renamed Kaoru from her birth name of Erina) turns 20 and begins her own affair - Kiwako shares her story with her, finally. In the third episode entitled "Sad Women", Kaoru's first four years are shown. Kiwako has found a womens' commune (the House of Angels) to live in, and has started a new life there with Kaoru. Everything seems calm and peaceful, until she is forced to go on the run again after her face ends up on television and Takahiro spots her. Mariko Tsutsui appears in this episode as Dr. Sakakibara. From what's been seen of this dorama, it is pretty powerful and gripping.

Kaori Moriwaka in 80's Rock Band Battle!

Kaori Moriwaka (Ikuko Tsukino) will be one of the special guests at this year's Nexus Annexus festival at Japan's Studio Coast. On June 6th, there is going to be an "epic" rock battle of the bands with artists that were popular in Japan in the 80s. Kaori got her start in the entertainment industry as the lead singer and songwriter for the popular girls' rock band the Go Bang's back in the 80s and 90s, and she will be one of the competitors in this rock battle. This should be a fun show to go see, no matter who the winner is! If you're in Tokyo this summer and want to check it out, here's some more information!

Narushi Ikeda Tries His Hand at Directing!

Narushi Ikeda may have played Minako's agent Sugao Saito, and appeared to know everything that he was doing. But, this is not the case in his real life - he has always been an actor, never the director... until now! Playing at the Tokyo Globe Theatre right now is the play Hakurankai, presented by Parco Produce. It is about a team of artists getting prepared for a world's exhibition in the very tropical Taiwan during World War II when there is much tension all over. The comedy stars Narushi, and he also makes his directorial debut in the play. He said that it was tough initially, but it was something that he had aspired to do. He always got feedback from the other actors to make sure that his decisions were working with everyone! The play has been running since January and has been a resounding success! He is pictured here in the bottom left corner, and fans can check out an interview with him here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sakura Con Coverage - Day 1

This year, I represented Moon Chase at Sakura Con. I arrived too late on Friday morning to catch the opening ceremonies, so I took the chance to walk around the convention centre a little, including a sneak peek at the Dealers' room. Although the dealers were still setting up for the most part, it was interesting to get a preview of the variety of products that would be available for sale later. As I've seen at other conventions, there were plenty of manga graphic novels, plushies, figurines, and more. I noticed there were also a lot of T-shirts available, from a few different vendors, and there were a few artists in the exhibitors' hall selling their artwork. There were definitely plenty of products that would attract a variety of congoers later, when the exhibition hall was publicly opened.

The pre-registration wait times this year were about two hours for congoers. Total attendance was 18002, which is surprisingly only a 9% growth from the previous year. The convention was busy and full of people at all times (including quite a few Sailor Moon cosplayers!), yet there were never lineups to get into rooms and rarely was a room too full to allow more congoers to go in. I also thought the automated video rooms were a great idea for maintaining scheduled airings.

After the Kabuki panel (see below), the dealers' room was officially open. I went again then, with my boyfriend, to see everything set up and check out what new and different things were available for sale. I also got the chance to meet Jesse from Zannen, Canada (currently on hiatus).

Kabuki with Kent and Todd:
Led by Kent William, the panel was not merely a discussion of Kabuki, but an interactive panel that encouraged audience participation. Quite a few audience members put on costumes provided, and everyone was given a fan to practice with. Todd, with full Kabuki makeup, participated along with the audience volunteers in acting out a short sketch from Sleeping Beauty. The way that emotions were represented by using hand movements, head movements, and the use of a fan was intriguing. This is the type of panel that I would love to see more of in the future at anime conventions. It encourages audience participation and is a lot of fun to watch.

Funimation Sneak Peek:

This was primarily a collection of previews of upcoming releases from Funimation, including the recent Evangelion revival.

Masquerade Ball:
Attendees were encouraged to dress up for this event, and there were many who donned formal wear and wore masks. Earlier there had been a workshop available to teach attendees how to waltz, and quite a few couples were waltzing on the dance floor. The music selection was interesting, if a little random. It included songs from Phantom of the Opera, Final Fantasy, and Evanescence.

Silver Millennium Today:
Although I arrived a little late to this panel, there was an animated and almost non-stop discussion of Sailor Moon. the audience was particularly interested in discussing the Sailor Stars season, which was never dubbed for North American audiences. The lead panelist was very engaging and used a lot of humour to share information and opinions.

The discussion was so continuous that I didn't get a chance to say hello to any of our readers who might have been at the panel or share our manga survey results. Sorry, fans! I hope you had fun anyway.

I did speak to the panelists for a little while after, and the lead panelist said he thought I should be leading a Sailor Moon panel. We are working on it for an upcoming Toronto convention and we'll be sure to keep you all updated!

Stay tuned for more Sakura Con convention coverage! There's lots more to come with Saturday and Sunday events.

Sailor Moon Manga News From Japan!

And A Creative Manga Sighting in a North American Magazine!

Japanese complete series only manga retailer Mangazenkan just published their March sales rankings, and Sailor Moon was the 17th most popular series sold, surpassing Dragon Ball which was the 20th most popular! And for those of you interested in knowing their shopper demographics, 52.4% of shoppers were male, and 47.6% were female. Congratulations, Sailor Moon!

And in other manga news, fans may be relieved to know that it appears that the Sailor Moon manga has gone back into print. Before, the Kodansha store pages would read that the titles were out of stock and a reprint date to be determined. Now, they are linking to other stores which have an abundance of copies available. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this is a sign of better things to come and a return for the manga around the world. Each manga costs ¥460, which works out to $5 USD. The entire set from Mangazenkan comes to $60 USD. Not a terrible deal for fans who want the renewed edition of the manga!

And now, an update on Operation Moonrise Phase 4!

We're still making tremendous progress, Moonies! As of right now, we have 875 surveys in, but we still need your help! As we mentioned before, because Toei Animation Inc. of LA handles the worldwide rights of all their English-language properties, we would very much like to be able to represent all of the English speaking countries of the world, not just those in North America.

Our goal is to have at least 500 responses from the US, at least 300 from Canada, and no less than 100 from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Right now, we are less than 10 away from our US goal, and the UK only has about 15 to meet this bare minimum, but Canada is just under 175 responses and Australia and New Zealand are both under 50! D:

Spread the word, and let's shore up these numbers as high as they'll go! We're especially counting on our Canadian, Australian and New Zealand readers to spread the word any way they can! Our contacts have been very receptive to our last two surveys and we hope to include as many fans as possible in this one! We've already surpassed the total from our very first survey, but that's certainly no reason to stop, send us your surveys and lend your voice to SAILOR MOON!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hay Togashi!

We're up to 13 weeks in a row for Hunter x Hunter now, and Togashi's latest anecdote leaves us wondering about his previous absences.


Without waiting for next year, the hay fever in my head has healed.
The treatment is to leave it for seven years.

Togashi mentioned his hay fever once before, but seven years seems like WAY too long a time to go without doing something about it. Your regimen of non-treatment has certainly taken a long time to work, or maybe all that video gaming is just keeping you inside and away from all the pollen. :P

There is some good news however, Togashi is close to breaking a record.

Prior to 2006, Hunter x Hunter was published frequently since its debut in 1998. His longest continuous publication string was 79 weeks in a row! But since Togashi's long hiatuses, he has only published 4 continuous strings of weeks and the longest was 13 in a row. Just one more week to go and you'll be back on track Togashi-san!

So now that even the press has stopped making fun of you for your hiatuses and with your hayfever gone, maybe you can finish everything you want to?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Police Play Silly in Taiwan

We came across this crazy story on a Chinese website, and even though we had a hard time understanding what exactly was going on, we have understood enough to bring this silly story to you Moonies. In Taiwan, to celebrate Lunar New Year, many police officers decided to hit the streets dressed up like characters from Sailor Moon. They sang and danced some popular steps (featured in the popular Wonder Girls' video for Nobody) in the streets, but the public response was mixed. Some didn't enjoy it, but some children and adults came, laughed, and joined in on the streets. Mothers and their children were especially attracted to this spectacle in the streets! They had the full get ups on, including wigs and stockings. A female offier also pretended to arrest them, and another officer dressed up as Superman also joined in the fun, and led a drum troupe. This was an effort to soften the police's image with the general public, but no one knows what sort of effect this will have on them long-term. We only wish we could have found photos from this event, but for now Sailor Venus pretending to be Sailor Moon will have to do.

(Image from The Oracle)

BREAKING NEWS: European Sailor Moon Revival Imminent, Still No Word About The English Version

In this month's Kazachok Licensing Magazine (which we presume was handed out at their recent conference), there is an article about the return of Sailor Moon. We've patched together the image here large enough for you all to read - and everything in the pink box says nothing different than what the black text in French says (click the image to view). One note though - when they say "textiles" they mean "clothing". Here's hoping they have a lot more t-shirts etc. available for us older fans!

Anyway, back on topic. There is nothing mentioned here for the UK or any other English language territories, but the article does confirm a return for the following countries for the Winter/Spring TV Season in 2011: France, Germany, and Scandinavia. As of this writing we don't know which Scandinavian countries will be included (we have gotten a lot of responses from Finland, on our last survey - did you Finns not get it?). It also said that new merchandise will be available in Italy from Backstage at the end of the year, including luggage, clothing, accessories, stationary, and books. As of this writing, we are unsure if "Books" includes manga. Bandai, is also going to be manufacturing some toys such as dolls, plushes, playsets, and figurines. We hope to see a return of the gashapon in Japan! It is important to note that it is possible that not every market will get all of Sailor Moon if they did not get it before. Many Sailor Moon fansites are reporting this but they are forgetting this key piece of information - this is why we started our latest campaign.

And, a word to the fandom around the world - please try to keep your sites updated with all the different versions of Sailor Moon with as much information as you can find (such as a cast list), now that the revival is happening this should be a lot easier. There have been so many times when our site (and several others) have been in a pinch for information about a different version and it simply could not be found. Your readers will thank you :).

Monday, April 12, 2010

We’ve Surpassed Our Goal!

But It’s Not Over Yet!

Hey Moonies! This weekend we surpassed way over 750 surveys for Operation Moonrise Phase 4! But, we’re not done yet. As you can probably tell from some of the things we’ve had to post lately, we’re really busy behind the scenes and we probably aren’t going to be able to get any of this report started until the beginning of May. We have also learned, that Toei Animation Inc. of LA deals with the worldwide rights of all of their English-language properties. This means, anywhere that the English dub is going to air in the world, they have to work with this Los Angeles office. Which, is where we have been sending our report. Before, we were under the impression that Toei Animation Europe alone handled the UK.

We need a lot more responses, specifically from the following countries – Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. We fear that while the surveys are mostly showing an American response, that if Toei Animation does not see interest in these other countries that it may not look too favorable to bring the series back there. It isn’t so much a problem with Canada, but when you’re seeing responses in the double digits for Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, it doesn’t look too good (these countries are all making up for less than ten percent of responses and we are hoping we can have that rise a little). Canada is currently representing under 20% and we were hoping to see that get to at least 30% of responses (it made up 35% of the last two surveys). This isn’t meant to deter Americans from taking the survey if they haven’t yet already, but we really need to see more fan representation from the other countries! We feel for you all having to suffer through limited DVD releases (although you Aussies got to hold on to them for a little longer than the rest of us). This survey is just as important to these other countries for a potential re-release as it is to the US. We need to show everyone involved how much everywhere else that got the English-language dub cares about Sailor Moon! Please, if you are in any of these countries, let your friends know about the survey. Don't be shy - everyone will remember Sailor Moon once you start talking about it!

The plan for the American responses is to specifically make charts for that part of the fandom with respect to the FUNImation channel and The Anime Network to give the companies a better picture of what the channel landscape is among the Sailor Moon fandom, since the other countries don’t have options for 24-hour a day broadcast specialty channels for anime. We have a good American sample size to work with already, but don't let that stop you from voicing your opinion.

Thanks for your continued support Moonies – it really means a lot in what is probably going to be our last big survey for Sailor Moon. In the future, it will probably be all left up to the letter-writing campaigns unless another surprise comes our way.

More About Sailor Moon at MIPTV

Last week, ICV2 posted an article saying that Toei was offering 200 refurbished episodes at MIPTV, which is underway as we speak. There's a few things worth mentioning here. Not every market will be able to receive refurbished episodes (such is the case with Albania). The source of this is an ad in Total Licensing's Spring 2010 issue which is featured on the left (since it contains sensitive contact information that fans should not make use of, we have cut off that part of the ad). And, this is an ad exclusively for the European market - and is probably not going to include the English language market because Toei Animation Inc. out of Los Angeles handles that (and not Toei Animation Europe). We can see there being some good news for France, Germany, Spain, and some other European countries possibly coming out of MIPTV. It does not appear that FUNImation or Navarre will have representatives there, but there will be reps from Corus (YTV's parent), Cartoon Network, Viz, and Phase 4 Films (a distributor of Navarre in Canada) attending MIPTV. Keep your fingers crossed, Moonies!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Quickie North American VA Appearances

We've got a couple quick VA appearances in the United States for fans to check out!

The Little Shop of Horrors Musical is running at Ann Arbor's Performance Network Theatre until June 9th. It features none other than Queen Beryl herself, Naz Edwards as the star of the show, that gigantic plant named Audrey II. Fans can check out rehearsal footage on the Theatre's site (Naz is in the first clip on the left, bopping along to the guy next to her). We wonder what Naz will look like in her plant costume? Fans in Michigan should definitely go watch this if they have the chance - we'd love to hear more about it!

Stephanie "Sugar" Lyn Beard (Rini #2) is going to appear at next week's Wizard World Con in Anaheim! Stephanie loves to meet her fans so if you are attending the con, say hello to her! And if you really want to find out what she's up to, ask her about her latest movie - you may be surprised! As of this writing the schedule has not been released, but we think it's a safe bet you'll be able to find her in the Voice Actors Pavillion. In other Sugar news, we're working together with her people to bring you fans something soon that should be fun. Another reason to hit this con? It looks like the original cast of the 1960's Batman is going to be mostly all together at once. Adam West. Yvonne Craig. Burt Ward. AND the Batmobile. All with a good dose of Sugar. Anyone planning to attend?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Smile Moonies, We're Bringing You The REAL Sailor Moon!

So yesterday afternoon, I spoke with Linda Ballantyne's agent again, and the agent told me that she is interested in doing an interview! This was a wonderful surprise among all the terrible news from the last two weeks. We promise you (Senshi/Scout's Honor!) that this is not an impostor. So, here's what we have decided...

We're going to redo the last interview, but we're going to let the fans get involved as well. We have room for a few questions from fans - but in order to keep things fair for everyone involved, fans are only allowed to submit a maximum of 2 questions each. We had people submitting too many questions for the phony Sarah Lafleur interview and we had an interview that was 7 pages long - it was just too much to handle. Fans can send us an email (, comment here, or post questions in our forums (we've posted it under the campaigns subforum). For those of you who want to see what questions we'll be asking, we have posted them in the same thread. For fans who just want to send comments to Linda, we will allow those as well and send along those too. Fans only have until Sunday APRIL 11th at Midnight to send in all of their submissions. (Sorry I got the months mixed up, it was a crazy day yesterday!)

Smile Moonies, we told you some good was going to come out of this! If there is one thing we have all learned since becoming Sailor Moon fans, it is to never give up. We haven't given up on the show, and we will never, ever, give up on the fandom.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Another Voice Actress Imposter

So: last night, we got a comment from a fan saying that the image featured on our Linda Ballantyne interview, was not really her. We were tired of the bad news about the Sarah Lafleur interview, but then I had a hunch last night to check some old email headers. Sure enough, something from the Linda Ballantyne emails matched something from the Sarah Lafleur emails. I called her agent in Toronto this morning to explain the situation, and she did in fact verify that the blonde was not her at all. Whoever you are that is pretending to be the voice actors, note that now we are going to take extra measures to verify that the person we are speaking to, is in fact a star of Sailor Moon. We have since removed the interview and will be going through the site trashing all the other references to it.

For those of you who want to see what she really looks like, we have confirmed that two other photos on this site are actually her. The images on this post are real.

On the bright side: The official spelling of her name is Linda Ballantyne (so every time you see it spelled differently on a TV show including Sailor Moon, note this is how it is supposed to be spelled). And, some good is going to come out of this. Stay tuned Moonies. Please don't lose faith in us.

Our apologies once again to everyone implicated in this scandal. We really didn't see this coming at all and we are not going to let this happen again.

Operation Moonrise Phase 4 Update!

Hey Moonies!

You are all amazing, you know that? In a little over a month we have amassed a total of 652 surveys! This means we are VERY close to our goal and we don't want to see any fans get left out. One of the common complaints we still get from fans in our inbox is that they never knew about this site or the surveys and they wish they could have gotten involved. Well, this might be your last chance since we are under 50 surveys away. We have heard from fans all over the world that just want to see the show in English, and we have gotten a lot of really great comments. We think, that the comments alone are going to make up the bulk of the report, possibly even more pages than the rest of the results themselves. If you have not completed the survey for Sailor Stars, please click here for more information!

Sailor Moon European Licensing Tidbits

Sailor Moon has been popping up in quite a few industry magazines lately, and we're going to catch you up to some of them building up to Kazachok Licensing Forum!

In the show preview for Kazachok, there is a short profile piece written about Toei Animation Europe. It makes mention of the global relaunch of Sailor Moon, and reveals that Bandai has the master toy license. As of this moment there are no new toys listed on Bandai's Japanese or European site, but (fingers crossed) maybe in the Fall or around Christmas that will all change. We still can't quite figure out why ANIMAX in Japan continues to play the first season over and over and over again. We thought that by now they'd at least have been on SuperS or Stars!

Total Licensing Magazine has a few Sailor Moon mentions in its Spring 2010 issue. There is a great quote from an interview with Pietro Peia (CEO of Backstage Licensing):

2010 will be the year of Sailor Moon: after long negotiations with Toei Animation
we convinced the creator of the animated series to relaunch it into the Italian market in terms of TV, home video, publishing, merchandising, music and theatrical. Mediaset has already purchased TV rights and will start airing the series in Autumn.

The image we have here is from an ad for Backstage - it's a small square but we haven't seen a promotional image with her in that pose yet (and we have a feeling that the full version might be very appealing to older fans).

There is also a bit about the revival in a piece about Toei. It reads:


Toei Animation in France report the global relaunch of Sailor Moon.
The first agent to be appointed is Backstage in Italy and Mediaset have signed
to air the series later this year. After the series is re-introduced into Japan and
Italy, Toei will take it further afield to a worldwide audience.
In Japan, Sailor Moon, which was created by Naoko Takeuchi has been a cultural
phenomenon and one of the biggest success stories, around the world,
in the 1990s.
The show enjoyed five seasons with a total of 200 x 26 minute episodes and,
in addition, was the subect of six feature films. It was also the subject of a
major licensing program in different countries.
Aimed at girls aged four to eight, the relaunch has Bandai as the property’s
toy partner.

And it uses the first image we saw of the revival's logo from Italy. We're getting a little frustrated with them referring to the 3 specials as "movies". Just to clarify - there are only 3 full length feature films. Not 6.

Toei Animation is also going to be appearing at MIPCOM's MIPTV Market and Conference in Cannes, just a few days after Kazachok ends. Only a matter of time now before Moonies en France ont célèbrent!