Yes, a very warm welcome to a new star seed, Chieko Ochi's daughter! Chieko Ochi (nee Kawabe) was both the fifth Sailor Mercury in the musicals and Osaka Naru in PGSM!
Her name hasn't been shared quite yet, but we do know that she was born at 10:02AM on May 21st and she weighed 2842 grams (6lb 4oz). This is the first baby for both of the happy couple.
According to her husband Masato, the labor was very short and he was full of praise for the doctor for ensuring a safe delivery! He says that his wife is always quick witted and was so even during birth. They were full of love and warmth when she finally arrived. Chieko says that she had no words, only tears of joy for her new daughter's arrival. Both mother and daughter are doing quite well.
About a month ago, Chieko found an afghan with a chihuahua motif, an animal she has a fondness for, and was looking forward to putting it to good use (as she notes you can see in the picture). Her goal is to create a happy home environment and we wish her the best of luck!
We managed to find the particular afghan for sale here, and the company also makes several other similar items. (Just search for 'チワワ' here.)
We've been so busy behind the scenes, but out wonderful fan Kari tipped us off! Thanks Kari!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Breaking yesterday on AnimeAnime.jp was a press release from Meiji University. Beginning on May 31st at China's Peking University, a new course called "Advanced Course in Japanese Manga Culture" will be offered. This course will teach students about many aspects of Japanese pop culture, and will feature lectures from people involved in the study of Japanese pop culture. To kick things off will be a lecture about the history of anime, presented by none other than Kunihiko "Ikuni" Ikuhara (Series Director). Throughout the years, Ikuni has participated in panels and lectures on the subject. Other lecturers who will be teaching the course will include two Professors from Meiji University, Kaichirou Morikawa (Associate Professor specializing in Otaku Culture) and Yukari Fujimoto (Associate Professor specializing in Manga Culture). Both of these professors have published many scholarly articles about anime and manga cultures! Don't we all wish we could go to this classroom? If any of our Chinese readers are planning to attend this course, we'd love to hear about this course!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Luna and Artemis Costume Hats: Cute faces? Check. Nice design? That's a go. Official license? Yeah, not so much. As neat as they look, they're, unfortunately, not real Sailor Moon products. As such, they aren't worth your time or money. Do not buy.
Unofficial Sailor Moon Episode Guide Book: At least this product is honest about the whole "unofficial" thing. This episode guide is "made by fans for fans". Problem is that the product description for this book shows how knowledgeable the "fans" who made this really are. "This guide has over 100 pages of Sailor Moon information and includes episode summaries for all 193 english episodes (there are no summaries for the 7 episodes that were cut from season one and two.) spanning five wonderful seasons." If you're one of the 1,500+ who took part in the latest phase of Operation Moonrise, you already know what's wrong with that quote.
I know that it's hard not to buy everything Sailor Moon-branded that comes down the road(speaking from personal experience here), but save your money and do not buy any of these knock-offs.
I will be one of the panelists on this year's Sailor Moon panel at Anime North. I encourage fans in the Toronto area to come out if they can make it.
I will be sharing a couple survey results during the discussion that haven't been released on the blog yet. We have a few topics we'll probably discuss that will be led by the panel moderator, but after that it will open up to audience questions. Don't be afraid to ask any Sailor Moon questions you have. There are quite a few panelists and we can probably give you an answer :)
For fans attending Anime North 2010, the Sailor Moon panel will be on Friday evening at 10:00 pm. It's set to occur in room Toronto B, but please check your schedule to make sure!
See you there!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Followers of the Sailor Moon voice actors will definitely want to take interest in a new release by Section 23 films called Tytania. Tytania is a space adventure/science fiction story that has been adapted into anime from a series of novels written by Yoshiki Tanaka. The story centers around a dominant empire in space called Valdana, which experiences a decline in power and defections within its ranks after a failed battle with a rebel force. For more information on the licensing of this series, please check: http://www.mania.com/tytania-shigofumi-sola-anime-licensed_article_122733.html
There are a couple of noteworthy appearances in Tytania by former Sailor Moon cast members. Keiko Han, who was involved with the voicing of Luna in both the Sailor Moon anime series and PGSM, is the main narrator in Tytania. There are also a couple of other minor voice roles in Sailor Moon that show up in Tytania. Hideyoki Umezu, who voiced the priest that turns into the boxer youma in episode 26, has a role in the series as Salaam Amzekahl. Tetsu Inada, who has a very minor role in episode 106, also has a role in Tytania as Doorman.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Position: News Contributor
I Have Been a Sailor Moon Fan Since: 1995 or 1996
Favorite Episode or Movie: Episode 30 of the first season's English dub--"A Crystal Clear Destiny". I taped the Dragon Ball Z movie, "The World's Strongest", off of Toonami back in '99 or 2000. When I watched the tape later, there was a Sailor Moon episode that got taped along with it because I didn't know how to program the VCR's stop-time. That episode would be the only regular access to the Sailor Moon Anime I'd have for the better part of a decade.
Favorite Sailor Moon Character: Sailor Mercury. She's cute, smart, and the origins of my attraction to the "bookwormy-type".
Other Anime or Manga I like: Anime: Trigun, Fooly Cooly, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Dragon Ball Z, School Rumble, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time movie. Manga: Bleach, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Naruto from the U.S. Shonen Jump magazine, Rosario + Vampire, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Death Note.
Other tidbits: I was late for school on a regular basis because of watching Sailor Moon. I don't regret it. The English theme for Sailor Moon usually gets daily playback from me because of its guitar solo. I don't subscribe to the "change-everything-from-the-original-dub-back-to-the-way-the-Japanese-version-had-it" mentality for a Sailor Moon re-dubbing. I want any re-dubbing of the show to be a hybrid of both the English and Japanese versions.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern (Sailor Venus #1) can be seen in a new segment from CTV and TD Canada Trust called Up Close & Comfortable. During the short interview, the co-creators talk about what it's like to write for Flashpoint and how they approach season premieres and season finales differently from other episodes.
To watch the video, just visit the Up Close & Comfortable website and select Up Close with Flashpoint.
Friday, May 21, 2010
EDIT: Fans now have until June 14th!
We're still very busy scrambling to finish this report under a tight deadline, but we can share with you some exciting news - we have not one, but TWO interviews coming up! Moonie1995 attended Anime Blitz with me last Sunday and we broke this news there first!
And these interviews are with:
|Emilie-Claire Barlow||Lyon Smith|
|(the second voice of both Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus)||(Sapphire)|
Since we are really busy with putting this report together, fans will have until at least June 10th to submit their questions. Either comment on this post, send us an email (with the subject Emilie-Claire Barlow and Lyon Smith Interview in the subject) at Moonchasers@NOSPAMPLZTHXWITHACHERRYONTOPgmail.com, or post in this thread on our forum. Once we are done the report, we'll give you a week's warning for when the last day will be to submit questions. Do not feel you have to be limited to only asking about Sailor Moon! They have worked on a lot of other productions, and you can click on Emilie-Claire Barlow's and Lyon Smith's tags for more information, or hit their pages on IMDB here or here for more. They also have official sites too (here and here). Emilie-Claire Barlow is also an accomplished jazz singer and the second VA to go to Japan, and she is also the first VA to make it big there, aside from voicing several cartoon characters . Lyon Smith also has a career in music aside from voicing several roles in cartoons, and he posts his songs (which range from rock, alternative, experimental, to even ambient) on his official websites - Gas Mask is one of our favorites!
We're excited to bring you this interview, as well as a few more this summer!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Taiwanese Pop Group S.H.E is on a mission to help girls and women find the heroines within themselves! In March, the trio released their 12th album called Shero, and the title track is even being used as the official theme song of the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo. Fans can check out the music video for Shero here and a translation of the lyrics. On May 12th, an event was held in Shanghai, China, to celebrate the release of Shero there, and the trio was presented with special tickets to attend the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. They are looking forward to attending the Expo and also meeting their fans after a long time! Leading up to this event was a campaign in China to encourage everyone to "Find their Heroine" and the girls were asked who their heroines were. Selina Jen chose the sweet, sexy, and charming Catwoman, because she matched her straightforward and lively personality. Ella Chen chose the "superwoman" Mrs. Incredible/Elastigirl, and Hebe Tien chose every reader of this site's favorite, Sailor Moon! Hebe chose her because Sailor Moon is recognized as a most useful character, and Hebe even did Sailor Moon's infamous poses on stage! Oh, and did we mention this is on YouTube? We've got it posted below, and this happens right at the beginning! Fans can check out more photos from the event here.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Locations in Sailor Moon Featured in New Book of Anime Locales!
On April 26th, a few stores in Japan's famed Akihabara shopping area began selling a new book ahead of its official release. Pilgrimage NAVI is a book about varied sites in Japan that are featured in anime. Some of these are historic, while others are of varying importance. This complete guide features sites all over Japan, photos of the sites and how they were used, and even includes traffic tips. This book is the result of a recent boom in fan pilgrimages to these areas in the wake of such popular series such as Sailor Moon, Maison Ikkoku, Lucky*Star, Evangelion, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and many more. This book was edited by Drill Project, and one of the writers said that this book is like finding different pieces you may not know about a destination or looking for places used in anime and manga that might be near your home. This is also a new way for Japanese people to enjoy Japan if they want to, he added. The book was released in May and sells for 1260 Yen or $13.63 USD. Sounds like this is a fun guide for any anime fan visiting Japan in the future and looking towards seeing some of the sites seen in their favorite anime! Fans can taste parts of the book here. The
Osaka has Anison Fever!
Not too long ago, we told you about Kotono Mitsuishi, Mitsuko Horie, Akira Kamiya, and Himeka being involved in Anison Grand Prix preliminaries in Osaka. On her blog, Kotono was excited to be going to Osaka to judge this contest and hoped that she could judge confidently. She reminisced too about listening to anime theme songs songs like the fans do now when she was younger and how much she loved them! One lucky cosplayer flattered Kotono when he told her that he liked her voice! On April 30th, an Anison Night concert was held in Osaka featuring four bands playing lots of favorite anime hits and lots of cosplayers attending. Hits from Sailor Moon, Slayers, and many more had the audience singing at the top of their lungs, and cosplayers were cosplaying from series old and new, from Gatchaman to Ar Tonelico! This was held at Beronica Entertainment Dining in Osaka, and one of the fans at the event was quoted as saying that having these newer bands bring in a new twist on older anime songs was unique. There was also a magic show and some open Anison auditions. The producer Masato Koga said that the recession has led them to really improve their performances and try to figure out how to entertain everyone across all generations of anime fans. He wants to try to continue these events to cater to everyone’s tastes! The General Manager of Beronica doesn’t want people to point at this “one dumb event” and hopes that by word of mouth, more people will attend. We hope so too, this sounds like a LOT of fun! The next Anison Night is scheduled for May 27th.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
We are pleased to finally bring you our best interview this year - a REAL interview with the REAL Sailor Moon! Linda Ballantyne has so many great stories to share, and we can't wait for you to read them! A special thanks to Linda and her agent for arranging for this interview and this exclusive photo under these special circumstances! Unfortunately, it appears that some mysteries are going to be unsolved. Without further ado, read on, Moonies!
LB: I am fantastic! I'm so happy I've been given the opportunity to answer all your questions. I have to admit, when I was alerted to the "fake" interview my initial reaction was "Wow! What a great interview… I wish someone had asked me those questions". Then as I read through the fake answers I started to get a little frustrated. Not only was this impersonator taking credit for my work, but he/she was giving the wrong answers to fantastic questions. The more I thought about it the more enraged I became. I know how passionate Sailor Moon fans are. This was as much an attack on them as it was on me. But in true Sailor Moon style, the villain has been stopped and now I get the chance to answer all your great questions. Incidentally, this is the first Sailor Moon interview I have ever been asked to do.
MC: So we have a bit of a Moonie Mystery to solve – the imposter had said that you played Snow Princess Kaguya in the Sailor Moon S movie, however the voice for this character has never officially credited. Did you play this character at all or any other characters in Sailor Moon?
LB: You're going to find this really hard to believe, but I can't remember if I played Snow Princess Kaguya. I know, I know. It has been about 10 years since I voiced the series and I honestly can't recall… and heaven knows I wouldn't want to take credit for another actor's work! I did play the odd additional character but we tried to stay away from using my voice as much as possible since I was already voicing so many lines. 4 hours of screaming can really take its toll on your vocal cords.
MC: Were you aware of how big a cultural phenomenon Sailor Moon was before you were cast? Were you shocked with the extent of the popularity of the show once you were involved?
LB: I was definitely aware of Sailor Moon's popularity but I had no idea it was the cultural phenomenon that it was. I knew that kids really loved it but when I discovered the adult following as well I was blown away.
MC (and Sparkling Blue): How did you get the role of Sailor Moon?
LB: I auditioned for the roll of Sailor Moon, like every other roll. I remember I was really, really sick that day with bronchitis. I almost didn't go in because I could barely talk. I was so frustrated because my nieces were huge Sailor Moon fans and I so wanted to impress them (for once!). I knew I could do a good impersonation of Serena and I really wanted a fair shot at the part. I didn't talk the whole time I was in the audition room until it was my time to go in. If you walk into an audition and start giving excuses as to why you're not "on" that day you give a really bad impression right off the top, so I decided to just do my best… and tell them after I had finished. They had me listen to a sample of Terri's Sailor Moon and then I had to copy exactly the way she did it. I find mimicking people very easy. They were really happy with the match. They had me come back a couple of times but I think I probably had the part after that first audition. The really tough part was after I was given the part and I had to do lines that Terry had never done before. It's one thing to copy someone, it's another to take new material and try to do it they way you think the last person would have done it. It can really mess with your intuitions… and that's something you have to always rely on.
MC: The actress that played the role before you (Terri Hawkes) was quoted in an interview saying she saw Serena "as a girl as well as an emerging young woman", still having a "girlish voice" but also going on a kind of emotional roller coaster. How did you come up with your take on the voice of Sailor Moon?
LB: I found Serena to be a girl who loved being a goofy teenager but deep down inside was so much more than that. A teenager who realizes she has responsibilities. I wanted her to be constantly pulled in different directions.
MC: When developing the voice for Serena/Sailor Moon did you try to make it similar to other interpretations of the role, or did you try to take the voice in a different direction? Was it difficult to take on the role of a character played by two other actresses? Did it make you nervous or change your approach to the role?
Chase: Compared to Tracy Moore and Terri Hawkes, how would you say you portrayed Sailor Moon compared to the other two voice actresses?
LB: I started by just trying to imitate Terri as best I could. They wanted an exact match of her voice so I tried to give them that. But as I said earlier, it's easy to imitate someone but it's a whole other ballgame to take new material and try to figure out how someone else would do it. I really struggled with the first few episodes. I remember coming home so frustrated saying to my husband that I just felt like I had no say in how this character should be played. It was my husband who said, "You have to make it your own. You're not Terri Hawkes. Trust your intuition". That's when the character made a definite change in a different direction. She was much more playful and there was a lot less screaming. I guess the difference between my Serena/Sailor Moon and the others is that the goofy teenager came out more.
MC: During the recording of the S and SuperS series, Cloverway was under a strict timetable in regards to completing dubbed episodes. As an actor, did you find it challenging knowing that you might have only a couple of opportunities to capture the mood of a particular scene? What was the production schedule like? We know for the first two seasons that the actors worked into the wee hours of the morning to meet the 5 episodes per week deadline. Was it ever like this for you? How long did it take to get through both seasons?
LB: I wouldn't do more that 4 hours at a time of Sailor Moon. Quite frankly, I couldn't do more than 4 hours at a time! The part was very hard on my vocal cords. I would wake up each day and clear my throat to see if any sound came out. On my drive to the studio each morning I would warm up my voice, trying to get it higher than it wanted to go. I was doing a lot of voice work aside from Sailor Moon at the time. My days were very full. And to top it all off I had a four year old, a two year old and an 8 month old baby! I was exhausted! But as far as the actual dubbing went, we usually only had to do two takes of most lines. They always do a second take as a safety in case there is something technically wrong with the first. We would save all the screaming and fight scenes for the end of the record day to save my voice for the lines. I really can't remember how many months it took to record both seasons but it was quite a few. My youngest child couldn't talk but I remember her imitating the way Serena's voice would roll up and down. I called her Mini Moon… of course!
MC: If you could have a role in a possible re-dub of Sailor Moon again would you like to reprise any of your roles?
Florentino Ramirez: If the studios do redo the dub over again, will you PLEASE repriseyour role as Sailor Moon?
LB: I would love to reprise the role of Sailor Moon again… and I'm quite sure it would be a whole new take on it. It would be fun to see how she would emerge now that I have a lot more years under my belt as a voice actor. I wonder what would come out of my mouth now…
Florentino Ramirez: If they only bring back Sailor Stars to dub, could you at LEAST dub yourself in that so that there's continuity, ending the series with your voice? I hate animes that change voices for characters between seasons (ie; good old Ranma in Ranma 1/2 =p).
L S: If some studio (FUNimation ^^) were to make a dubbed version of the
fifth season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Stars, would you be interested in
doing Serena/ Sailor Moon again?
LB: You guys are great! I would be honored to play the part again… and I'll bet Terri would be too! Maybe we could arm wrestle for it…. no wait… Terri has twins. She's probably a lot stronger than me.
MC: What was your favourite aspect of playing each role? Was there something you found particularly interesting about either or both character(s)?
LB: I loved playing the goofy teenager that had all her priorities mixed up. Hanging out with her friends, boys and (of course) food were Serena's main focus… but then she'd be pulled towards the path of responsibility through Sailor Moon. I especially loved falling in love as a teenager.
MC (and Tpirandsailormoon and Salvatore Maronne): Do you have any memorable experiences from dubbing and/or favorite scenes? What was your favourite episode of the series to work on?
LB: I loved the final few episodes of each series but especially the Super S series. I couldn't wait to find out how it ended. Recording it was really like watching the show. I was hooked!
Fans can watch this one on YouTube! Part 1, Part 2, Part 3!
Chase: Did your talents to the dub benefit your career? Did the job make you more popular?
LB: I definitely learned a valuable voice skill dubbing all those episodes and I think doing any role people have heard of helps give you an identity as an actor. Sailor Moon is a great thing to have on a resume. Even today I will audition for dubbing shows and the director will say, "Dubbing is not easy. Have you done any dubbing before?" and I'll say a little. There's usually someone in the room who will laugh and say, "Linda was the voice of Sailor Moon. She's done more than "a little" dubbing before".
MusicallyObsessedBoi: Have you ever dressed up as Sailor Moon?
LB: No, I have never dressed up as Sailor Moon… but my daughter did for Halloween once… her choice. I also had a baby-sitter who screamed when she found out I was Sailor Moon. She was in tears telling me she was Sailor Moon's biggest fan. She said, "I even ruined my grade three class picture because I dressed up in my Sailor Moon costume for picture day". Personally I feel she probably enhanced the picture. My kids were too young back when I was dubbing the show to understand that it was only my voice that was used for the part of Sailor Moon. My eldest told me I didn't look like Sailor Moon because I have brown hair. I would joke with them every now and then by calling out to my husband, "Honey, have you seen my Sailor Moon outfit?" while I was getting ready to leave for a record. Once my daughter asked me if I got dizzy spinning around when I changed from Serena into Sailor Moon. Way too cute!
Musically Obsessed Boi: Was there ever any discussion about dubbing Sailor Stars? If so, where you looking forward to it?
LB: I never heard any discussions about dubbing Sailor Stars.
KaitoMizuno: In the Past, there were some rumors about sailor moon for live action movie. Do you think Sailor Moon would make a great live action film?
LB: I think Sailor Moon is perfect the way it is. I can't even imagine a live action version. I guess I'm just too old school.
Shinraitenchi - There were quite a few inconsistencies throughout the dubbing of Sailor Moon S and SuperS (mainly with attack names and such) so were you aware of these alterations/inconsistencies done to the English scripts of Sailor Moon S and SuperS when you were recording?
Salvatore Marrone: Were you aware of story changes from the Japanese version - such as Uranus and Neptune's relationship?
LB: I wasn't aware of any inconsistencies at the time but it makes sense that there would be. There are bound to be differences simply because literal translations from Japanese to English may or may not make sense. The show was also (supposedly) playing to younger demographic in North America. I think they had to alter story lines to make them more "acceptable". I would have loved the Uranus and Neptune relationship to be in its original form. I guess at the time the powers that be felt North American audiences weren't ready for it. Too bad.
ChibiGinger: Have you ever read the manga (comics)?
LB: I have read some of the manga comics. My eldest daughter loves them!
L S: Did you ever feel that there were silly or strange lines on the script?
LB: Are you kidding me? Every episode we would find silly or strange lines in the script. Some we would change on the spot because they were just so grammatically incorrect. Others we couldn't change for timing issues. And some made us laugh so hard we didn't want to change them.
ChibiGinger: Have you ever watched the Japanese dub?
LB: Every single line I ever recorded I watched the Japanese version first. That's the way you do dubbing. You watch the original to get the timing and then you dub over it by fallowing along with "the bouncing ball". But I have never watched a whole episode from start to finish just for the sake of watching it. The internet wasn't around back then like it is today. Maybe I would have at the time if YouTube existed.
MC: How long have you been acting for and what got you started in it?
LB: I started acting on stage and film in my early twenties. I went back to theatre school in my late twenties to find more direction in my career. One of the courses they offered was a voice-over course. I fell in love with voice right there and then. When I graduated I found an agent who did both on-camera and voice. I was really lucky because I got a part in my very first voice audition (a butter commercial). After that, my voice agent really believed in me and he sent me out for everything. Having someone believe in you is one of the most important things you can ever hope to have. My family believing in me has been my most important strength throughout my career. To answer your question, I've been voice acting for about 15 years.
MC: Do you prefer acting for live-action productions or animation? Why?
LB: I much prefer acting in animation over live action. I can't stand seeing myself on TV. I am way too hard on myself that way. I notice every fault I have. I also love the variety of roles I get to play in animation. I have been everything from a baby to a teenage boy to an insane witch to a common housefly. Come on! Who would love to play a common housefly? You name it I'll play it.
MC: The Rhythmoband technique is not used very much in cartoon dubbing anymore, and now there is a "beep method" that is more commonly used. Which method did you prefer and why?
LB: The initial preparation for the Rhythmoband was very time consuming. Every line had to be hand written and matched up to sync with the character's mouth movements. I think the person who did it must have just about gone blind trying to do it. Not only did they have to sync up the mouth movements but they also had to make the English words match up with the original Japanese. You can't even begin to understand how hard that would be. Today they use computers to do it and if a line is too long or isn't worded properly they can just type in the new words and it's fixed on the screen right there and then. It's a lot like karaoke. You see the picture and the words are under it. Just follow along with the bouncing ball. With the "beep method" the lines are on a page in front of you and you just listen for the beep and start reading. It's a bit harder than the computer method because you can't really read and watch the mouth movements at the same time. You just have to hope you're reading in sync and then you go back and fix the lines that don't match. After doing this method for a while, I find I almost memorize the lines as I do them so I can watch the screen to make the words fit. It's definitely a learned skill.
MC: You voiced several humorous enemies in the Disney Cartoon, Yin Yang Yo! Many fans don't know that some Disney cartoons are actually dubbed in Toronto. What was it like when you found out you had gotten a role in cartoon from such a legend in animation? We also loved the voices you came up with for the enemies (especially Saranoia!) in Yin Yang Yo! How did you come up with the right voice for them?
LB: Getting a part on Yin Yang Yo was definitely a high point of my career. To be able to say "I work for Disney" is pretty cool. And they really trust their actors which made it all the better. There is a very big difference between dubbing and regular animation. Disney cartoons are all original animation. No dubbing is done with them. What that means is that you do the voice first and then animate it after… which is the complete opposite of dubbing. It's a lot more fun to do because the actor is able to create a character and give it a lot of subtle or not so subtle characteristics. Working on Yin Yang Yo was like a dream come true. I was thrown a lot of different characters and told to go for it. I usually start by looking at the concept drawings for the character. I get a feel for what the character looks like and then I read the script with that in mind. I try to figure out what I think this character will sound like but I keep a very open mind because sometimes the director will want to go in a completely different direction. If you get too set in your ways it's hard to break away from them. With Yin Yang Yo they pretty much let us do anything we wanted. They really trusted us and that made it a lot more fun. We could change lines if we thought of something better or just add quirky characteristics to our characters and they would stick. The writers really got on board with that and they'd incorporate our choices in their writing. Playing villains like Saranoia is always fun because they have so many faults and they take themselves so seriously. They are always so full of themselves and that makes it even more rewarding when they finally fail at whatever it is they are trying to get… because, let's face it, bad guys usually don't win. The crash and burn is just so much fun to play. When I was asked to do Smoke I realized right away that it could easily be played like a bad version of Sailor Moon. I really wanted to stay away from making her sound like Sailor Moon. It just didn't seem right. I actually thought they had asked me to do that part because they knew I had done Sailor Moon… and I was surprised when they went with the character I chose. It wasn't until after we had finished the series that I found out the director, producers and writers had no idea I had been Sailor Moon. One of them was a bit freaked out because he was a huge Sailor Moon fan. He said that's what inspired the character in the first place. Then they were kicking themselves for not getting me to do it like that. For the record, I wouldn't have!
(Interested fans can watch an episode of Yin Yang Yo here.)
MC: How did you get involved with the Rubber Chicken Farmers? Some fans have seen the hilarious Oh Baby! How did that project come to be?
LB: I have a friend I went to theatre school with who lived in Vancouver and was part of the Rubber Chicken Farmers. We were really missing each other and sad we weren't working together. We wrote the script for Oh Baby! together by email as a simple writing exercise… but when I flew out to visit her she insisted we film it. It was purely for fun and not meant for anything other than that… And then YouTube came along…
MC: When coming up with the voice of Percy in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, how much did the old series on PBS influence how you portrayed the voice? Or did you come up with something completely different?
LB: I think the original Thomas and the Magic Railroad series was narrated by Ringo Starr and there were no actual voices for the trains at that point. Percy was the first 'boy' voice I had ever done. I got to meet Britt Allcroft after I was cast and I was so nervous because I had never done a boy voice or an accent on a show before. I asked if my English accent was OK and she said "Oh ya. It's such an easy accent to do. There's no right or wrong. You're fine." And that was that.
MC: You were also the voice of Janet van Dyne/The Wasp in the Avengers: United They Stand cartoon. Having played a female superhero in an American cartoon and in a Japanese anime cartoon, what do you think makes these two interpretations of female superheroes different?
LB: The Avengers and Sailor Moon are two totally different cartoon styles. There is no comparing the two. I suppose Wasp was a lot more serious than Sailor Moon but again it was a completely different cartoon. I'm not sure that the difference was between American and Japanese, just different styles. I always enjoy finding the fun in characters and it was harder to do that with Wasp. But in the end, they were both on the side of virtue.
MC: Did you know about the Avengers comic before you got the role as the Wasp? Did this have any influence on how you came up with the right voice for the character? If not, how did you come up with the right voice?
LB: Wasp was the very first cartoon character I had ever auditioned for. I was excited just to get the audition let alone the part. But what made it all the more sweet was my older brother was a huge comic book fan and loved the Avengers. I had read a few Avengers comics growing up but I didn't know a lot about Wasp. I listened to what the director wanted and just went for it. He was a great guy and really worked with me to bring the character out. There were also a bunch of other actors on the show who really helped show me the ropes. It was a great learning experience. In truth, Wasp sounds pretty much like me. It's what my real voice sounds like… only more dramatic.
(Interested fans can watch an episode of The Avengers here.)
MC: This year marks the 15th anniversary of Sailor Moon in North America. Did you ever think that the fandom would continue to stick by this show through the good and the bad for so long?
LB: It really is amazing. Sailor Moon has become a cult classic. The fans are so strong in their beliefs and their love of the show. I am in awe of their commitment.
MC: Some industry sites are reporting that you are going to play the reindeer Vixen in an upcoming Christmas movie called Rudolph and His New Friend Frosty. This is also slated to feature Sailor Jupiter (Susan Roman) as Cupid, the original voice of Rudolph Billie Mae Richards, and a Beatle himself, Ringo Starr! What can you tell us about this project? Are you excited to work on it and are you going to get the chance meet any of the other stars involved at all?
LB: I would be very excited to work on this project but unfortunately I'm not… at least, not to my knowledge. I haven't heard anything about it. But to meet Billie Mae Richards would be really cool. She was a voice I grew up with—a real inspiration. And Ringo Starr! Come on!
MC: Do you think you or your character would want to eat Sailor Moon Character-Themed Bento for Lunch? What do you think of this very different event in Japan to promote the return of Sailor Moon?
LB: Are you kidding me?!!!!? Serena would eat anything… and love it! And so would I! I love Japanese food. Sailor Moon Japanese food would definitely taste even better! I think the event is a great-- very fresh and different. I'm not so sure I'd have the patience or the skill to make it but I sure would love to eat it.
MC: You've played a lot of different kinds of voices for early childrens' cartoons (I've caught Gerald McBoingBoing a few times myself!) When coming up with the right voice for these characters, how does it differ from action shows or other cartoons you do for older age groups? Do you think about the kinds of shows you used to watch when you were that age too?
LB: You definitely have to change your read according to the age group you are playing to. A younger audience needs love and innocence, caring and compassion. An older audience needs more a more clever kind of humor and read. I don't think the sound of the voice is what makes the difference but the way in which the lines are delivered. I could use the same voice for a character in a preschool show as I did in a teen show but because the attitude is different they will sound like completely different characters. I was a Flintstones and Jetsons fan when I was younger. I loved those shows. Also Bugs Bunny. Anything Mel Blank did was pure gold. Carol Burnett was also my idol. She has been a great source of inspiration throughout my career. I still watch cartoons all the time. There are a lot of really great shows out there.
MC: Thanks again so much for your time Linda and we wish you the best of luck in the future! And we promise, in the name of the Moon we won't ever let impostors bother the fans again – they will be moondusted! Are there any other upcoming productions that we can hear your voice in?
LB: Currently I'm working on a few new shows. I'm Lily's Mom in My Big Big Friend, Queen Mayla in Yoko, Mo and Me and Kazarena in Bakugan. I've been "the voice of" the Comedy Network for the past 13 years as well as being in a bunch of radio and TV commercials. I also have a Lucky Charms on-line game that should be coming out soon. I'm the cute little Magical Creature. I'm also putting together a talk radio show with two other women. We are just in the beginning stages of it but I think it's going to be great-- really fun!
Thank you so much for letting me answer all your fantastic questions. You are all so inspirational to me. If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to throw them my way. It's been a blast!
PS - Thanks for all your kind words and support. This is a great site. It is for the true fans.
Once again, thank you to Linda Ballantyne and her agent for this opportunity!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Moonies, as of this moment the survey is closed. We have a grand total of 1533 surveys - much more than the 1100 we had hoped for! We want to thank each and every fan who responded to our survey over the last two months, from around the world. Moonies will always be there for Sailor Moon! We want to thank every site for their support and promotion of this campaign, and once we have more figured out we will contact you with a follow up.
As we feverishly sit down to work on this report now, we are under a time crunch. We cannot be specific, but Artemis came to our
clubhouse office window and said with his flailing arms as he took over our computers, that something could be in the works for Sailor Moon in a matter of weeks, on this side of the pond. We were shocked at what he showed us, nonetheless! We can't tell you what this something is just yet, but it's put us under a time crunch we didn't expect at all. Also given this information, right now is a VERY GOOD time for those of you who have not sent in a letter in support of the anime to any of the companies involved to write one and send it off within the next 3-4 weeks. We're hoping to get this report done for one of the companies (the other one can wait for a while) in 2 weeks.
EDIT (May 29th): The Impostor has finally come forward, and has notified the woman in the false images. We have removed the images now that this mystery is solved, and we will have more to share with you later.
I promised you a bombshell last week, and here it comes. Last year, when I was trying to put things together for the Operation Moonrise campaign and asking Roland Parliament about specific companies involved, he told me that I’d make a great Detective or Investigative Journalist. I kind of agreed with the journalist part, but not so much the detective part as I couldn’t see myself solving any real mysteries. Little did I know less than a year later, I’d be filling that Detective role.
You all probably know most of the story by now. Tuesday, March 30th – I get home after a long day at school, only to find that there’s an e-mail waiting for me from the representatives of Sarah Lafleur asking me to take down a reference to an upcoming interview from an impostor. I write up something quick for the website and leave it to my staff to clear up anything related to this impostor, as I head off to an event feeling a little paralyzed. After years of earning the trust of the other actors I do know, I wondered how I fell for this. But, I am only human, and I will do my best to help fix this situation. I sent every email I had from the impostor to the reps in an effort to help their investigation. I felt for her, Sarah had worked really hard to come up in entertainment, and she has had a string of appearances on big productions in the last few years. It can be difficult for Canadian stars to make it big in Hollywood, but she managed to do it. When I heard that she was going to be on multiple episodes of Ugly Betty last year, I was so glad that an actor who worked on Sailor Moon had come so far! Never mind our reputation with the fans, companies, and other important people involved, but her reputation was also becoming just as damaged (if not more) with these false stories going around.
A week later, a comment on the site frustrates me. A fan says that the blonde we had featured on the site was not Linda Ballantyne at all. At this point, after all of the stuff we had to deal with, I was ready to just chalk this up to a fan just being mean and questioning our accuracy. Though, I did have a hunch go through my mind that maybe I should go back and check the emails I got from Linda. Comparing these headers to the ones on the Sarah Lafleur emails, one very crucial piece of information was common between the two. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, that I would call up Linda’s agent in the morning and get a few things on the site verified oficially. I didn’t want to remove it just yet because I wanted her representatives to see it first.
I had a window of about an hour of free time to make the call, and I was nervous. Thankfully, it wasn't as nerve wracking as some of the first phone calls I had made before sending out the reports for Operation Moonrise. Her agent was super friendly, and did verify that we were dealing with an impostor. We exchanged emails, and I sent everything I had and started to take the Linda posts off the site. I felt for Linda too, because the images we got from the impostor weren’t very professional looking at all. She was shown with a beer at a party, and bowling, and actors rarely ever share personal images like this. And the story about her yelling at a grocery store cashier was probably fake. It was while I was sorting through these emails, that I had a sudden rush of adrenaline come through me and in my mind I thought “NO ONE @#$%! WITH SAILOR MOON ON MY WATCH!” I halted everything, and thought I’d try to solve this mystery of who this impostor might be with all the evidence I had - the one common thread between the two emails, and another tiny piece on what the document properties of the fake Linda Ballantyne interview told me. A couple hours later, I had nailed it. I figured out who it was (with the assistance of some others to verify my hunch was correct - thank you for your help). As soon as I shot off the emails, I called up Linda’s agent again to tell her I had figured out who it was, and it was then that I got the best surprise – Linda was willing to do the interview! I was relieved, that finally I could bring some good news to the fans after a rough couple of weeks. An hour later, I went and I called up Sarah Lafleur’s agent to share that I had figured this out. Sometimes, it takes a lot of convincing to these people that you aren’t a deranged fan but someone who has a legitimate concern, and I really hope that they don’t look down on us or the rest of their actress’ fans because of this. The vast majority of fans aren't crazy like this person was at all.
I have since told every VA that I know to contact Twitter and get a couple names reserved to prevent this from happening, and I sincerely apologized that this happened at all. I have since decided that for every new interview that we are offered, I am going to take extra measures to make sure I am dealing with the real person. For any one else involved with the show that reads this site (I do know of a few of you!) that has not contacted us, please have you, your agents, or other representatives reserve your names on Twitter, you can do this without having to sign up for an account. I don’t want to see this person do it again (and I do think this person would try to do this again some time from now).
Now, as for the impostor, I am sure word of this post will get to you somehow. And don't try to deny that it wasn't you (or come up with some other crazy excuse), we have a lot of solid proof that it was you that did this, so don't try to hide. No, I’m not going to name you on this site. But, I will say this to you. This act of yours was pretty low. And, we thought that you couldn’t stoop any lower especially given how you continued to label us as liars all over the internet after we had officially debunked a rumor you had started years ago. You fought hell and high water to convince all the fans that you were the one that was telling the truth, in spite of our many phone calls and other investigations to prove that your little rumor was not true at all. No, I’m not going to link users to those posts on this subject or they will instantly know who you are. I believe that you should be the one that reveals yourself to the fans, and everyone else involved in this scandal for what you have done. Don't dismiss what we are about to tell you as rubbish.
And, here’s what you need to do (and you have to do this because you've caused too much damage):
1. Apologize to me, and the rest of the staff of Moon Chase for what you did. We’ll probably never know the reason why you picked these stars to impersonate, but given our reputation with a lot of movers and shakers involved with Sailor Moon, we had to work very hard to fix the damage you caused us. We were lucky enough that with a lot of hard work everyone was sympathetic this time, but the next time we have to clean up your mess, you could ruin it not just for us but for every other fan of Sailor Moon.
2. Apologize to the two stars you victimized. Do this publicly, or contact us and we will forward your apologies to the relevant parties. And be sincere about it, no simple sorries. You hurt the reputation of two stars, and maybe you don’t understand what this means in the entertainment industry. And you stole their identities. How would you feel if someone pretended to be you for a few months and started to write fake stories about you all over? A lot of important people use our site as a measure of fan buzz around certain projects or an actor, so try putting yourself in this position. How would you feel if a potential employer based their professional image of you on phony stories posted on the internet?
You also owe an apology to the other stars of Sailor Moon that you interacted with and pretended to be these people to. You took the camaraderie between the cast for granted. Not even I try to pretend to be "part of the cast" when I communicate with any of them. It is very likely that you are making them think twice about the kinds of fans that they communicate and interact with. Again, when you are ready with your words, forward them to us and we will send them to their representatives.
3. Apologize to the blonde woman whose photo you used mercilessly to portray Linda Ballantyne. We don't know who she is, but we're betting she's someone close that you know based on the photos we have seen of her at a birthday party and bowling. Perhaps, you are alright with having your own photo plastered around as a celebrity to give you more attention, but others are most definitely not, in an industry where image is VERY important. You have hurt her identity as well, because now it is possible that she will be recognized as Linda Ballantyne, and not for her real identity. There are still some images of this blonde woman being passed around the internet as the real Linda Ballantyne, and it will be very difficult to remove all of them given the nature of the internet. This damage that you have caused is a lot more severe than you will ever understand. Tell her that the photos you posted of her are going to be displayed as official images on several sites for Linda Ballantyne, so that when you or her see it, you can get them removed. Because, this person could also be charged with identity theft even though it was you that posted the image (still want to hide and let people that don't even know you did this suffer?). We're not going to clean up this mess for you. It's about time you took some responsibility for your actions. In case you have forgotten whose image you used, we've amalgamated all of them into one for you below. Likewise, if any of our readers know the identity (and also contact information) of this woman please let us know so that we can tell her what this impostor has done. We will remove these images once this woman has been identified and notified of what has happened (As of May 29th, we have been notified that she has been notified).
4. This, you must do too. Apologize to all of the fans you have led for a ride with the various rumors about Sailor Moon you have started, and maintained were true even in the face of legitimate evidence that you were the one who was lying. Of course though, you’ve been doing this for years, and we don’t know if you will ever stop. Know now, that we are watching everything that you are saying and we will always be there to get official statements from relevant parties debunking your rumors. The next time we hear of a sensational rumor, you will be at the top of our list of people who we think started it.
5. Never do anything like this EVER again. All parties from all sides are watching what is going on. The situation is very serious, and if you pull anything like this, you will not be the only one that has to pay, but the fans as well. You will ruin the reputation of this site and others, and actors will think twice about interacting with fans because of the damage you have caused. If you want respect from Sailor Moon fans, try being nice for once and not craving attention constantly by posting fake rumors or being "the first" to notice an actor's presence on the internet. You may get more than you ever expected by just being a nice fan.
I can’t report on what action is being taken, but that all of the evidence I have has been passed on to representatives of both actresses. The happy ending that I can share with you, is that two weeks ago I received a couple signed photos from Sarah Lafleur in the mail, and a note that simply said “Thanks for all your help!” I have scanned one of the photos for you all to see below. Also through every step of the investigation, Linda as well as her agent have thanked and told me how they appreciated all my sleuthing. This all means a lot to me and my staff, and once again we promise that the next time an opportunity like this rolls around again with an actor we have not previously encountered, we will take measures to ensure we have the real one and not an impostor. I have always felt that I have had a lot to prove when it comes to writing, and I am thankful for everyone who has not lost faith in me, our staff, and our site in the face of what has happened. And Roland, a special thanks to you for encouraging me that I’d make a great detective and investigative journalist. This experience has made me believe it, too.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Hey Moonies! Just a friendly reminder that today is your last day to participate in Operation Moonrise Phase 4. We have some exciting news about the campaign but we can't share what that is until tomorrow. We encourage everyone reading this to do the survey. Options will be limited for getting your voices to the companies involved once this survey is done! We have gotten so many more responses than we ever expected to get (we are in the mid 1400s as we speak), and if we haven't heard from you yet, you don't have a lot of time left. We've gotten responses from all over the world, and we are surprised at all the countries we are seeing in the "other" category!
The post is located here, and to go directly to the survey click here!
On this Mother's Day, our readers are probably honoring their own mothers, but we're going to take a few moments to honor Usagi's "Mom" - Naoko Takeuchi! She has had a very happy year indeed! Naoko's life has had so many good things in the last year - from the birth of her second child (who is almost a year and a half now), to the revival of Sailor Moon, and all of the celebrations that are going on in Japan to celebrate Sailor Moon's return.> Naoko is the happiest that we have seen her in a very long time, and her happiness means the world to Sailor Moon fans all over the planet. We don't have any new news to report about the whereabouts of Naoko Takeuchi, save for a few cool updates to Sailor Moon Channel. It seems fans have been waiting forever to see any mention of the Sailor Starlights on the official website, and that day has finally come. The intro features the three of them, and the first of what is to be many flashimated manga chapters from that pivotal last arc of the manga is on the site! And, there's a new game too. You have to find where the Senshi are hiding in this game!
Although this posting is short, every fan's heart is filled with love for Sailor Moon. Happy Mother's Day Naoko, and here is hoping Yoshihiro Togashi gave you a bouquet filled with lots of Orange Sailor Moon Carnations!
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Akira Ishida Likes to Watch a Travel Show, and Starring in New Animes!
Akira Ishida (Fisheye) in a recent radio interview spent 20 minutes professing his love for Roque Roque Roque Roque Mitsu, a Travel show in Japan. Most specifically, he loves when they show different parts of Kansai. The show is hosted by cosplay idol Saki Inagaki, and has a very interesting concept behind it. Fans can check out the interview in Japanese here! Akira is in 2 different anime on the air as we speak in Japan. The first is an anime adaptation of Sengoku Basara (which we will tell you more about in a future PGSM article), and he will be playing the major role of Hanbee Takenaka. He will also be playing the leading role of upperclassman Komugi Musashi in the anime adaptation of Hen-Zemi, a manga about an abnormal physiology class.
Sakura Tange Continues RPG Streak!
We told you in the last big update that Sakura Tange (Miharu Akiyama) is a voice in two RPGs. Well, we can add a third to that list! KoiKen is a dating RPG played thorugh Mobage Town, one of Japan's largest Mobile-only social networks. KoiKen 2 will be released this summer, and the new heroine will be a character named Hotaru Yamabuki, and she will be played by Sakura! Also joining her will be Akira Ishida (Fisheye), who will play Mr. Sekiguchi, a 26 year old physics teacher at Hotaru's school who has a photography hobby. We couldn't find too much else about this RPG, but we hope that Sakura will return to anime too. A few screenshots have also just been released for Love Plus, another RPG that Sakura is voicing a character in. She also joins Yuko Minaguchi (Sailor Saturn) as Nene Anegasaki. The game features new enhancements in the stay and evolution systems, and character design. For fans who want to hear what she sounds like in the upcoming Fate Extra RPG for PSP, the official site now has a trailer up where she narrates as her character, Saber! Sakura is also joining Megumi Ogata (Sailor Uranus) in hosting NHK's Anisong program on the radio. Megumi will host the first half, and Sakura will host the second half.
Megumi Hayashibara Narrating New Emotional Anime
Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko) is serving as the narrator in an anime that is hailed to be just as popular as Death Note is in Japan, in time. Rainbow - Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin (The Seven Boys of Dorm 2, Room 6) is set in the 1950s, and is centered around the recovery of 7 juvenile delinquents and their relationship with their mentor at a reform school. This series was a challenge for everyone to record, including Megumi who seems to have the simplest role of all. The series is based on the manga of the same name by George Abe and Masasumi Kakizaki which was a prize winner at the 51st Shogakukan Manga Awards. The show has been in development since 2006 and finally premiered on April 6th of this year.
In a Distant Time 3 Features Many Sailor Moon Seiyuu (But the New Anime Only Has One)!
The female-friendly RPG In a Distant Time 3 (Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3) features four Seiyuu well-known to Sailor Moon fans. This RPG is about three friends who meet a strange boy who transports them to a different world. They learn, that they have special powers to seal off an evil force tearing this world apart, and return back to their own. Akira Ishida (Fisheye) plays Ridvan, a sword instructor for two of the kids, and the role of Hakuryu is split among Ryotaro Okiayu (Tiger's Eye, Yuuji, Achiral, and George) and Ikue Otani (U-Chouten and Sailor Tin Nyanko/Nyanko Suzu) . Ikue plays the child form and Ryotaro plays the adult form. Hakuryu is a being that summoned the children from the other world, and grows into his own during the game. And finally, Maria Kawamura (Eudial) plays Masako Hojo, the wife of a clan member who has alterior motives. The games were released a long time ago, but a new anime adaptation only retains Maria in the new cast (pictured third from left in front row). The anime began in January, and Maria was very vocal about the cast changes, saying that she wished that everyone could be back together again. Back then, they all got along really well and would laugh a lot, and this recording cast doesn't feel the same to her.
Ys: The Oath in Felghana Fans Get Interviews Included on New Drama CD!
Ys: The Oath in Felghana is a PC RPG where two heroes have to save their hometown from evil. Bin Shimada (Yuichiro Kumada) plays the Bishop Nicholas Garland, the governor of Felghana. He reprised his role in the accompanying drama CD released alongside the latest release for the PSP, which also came with a bonus - cast interviews! Of the drama CD, he says that listening to the CD will make the player really feel like they are in the 3D world of Felghana, and can't wait for the fans to play the game and hear the drama CD. The game was released for PSP on April 22nd.
Akira Kamiya May Be Out of Latest Detective Conan Film, but Wakana Yamazaki is in it for the Long Haul!
The latest (and 14th) Detective Conan movie, Detective Conan: The Lost Ship in the Sky premiered in Japan on April 7th. This movie marks the first in which Akira Kamiya will not be playing the character Kogoro Mouri (he left the role last Fall), however Wakana Yamazaki (Koan, Child Queen Nehellenia) continues to play the role of his daughter Ran. She jokingly said that she wondered if this was the last movie at the premiere, but there are more on the way as the 15th movie was previewed at the end! Once again, she thought that the movie had the perfect balance of action, suspense, and of course love! She also thanked the fans for braving the cold weather to come to the premiere. In this movie, Conan faces his rival Kid the Phantom Thief, aboard the Bell 3, the largest airship in the world. There's a little problem though, before Kid can even get on the ship it is hijacked by terrorists, and Conan and his comrades are also on the ship! There were plenty of jokes made connecting this to 24, as the new voice of Kogoro Rikiya Koyama, is also the Japanese dubbing voice of 24's Jack Bauer! The movie has been met with resounding success in Japan, but as of this writing it is unknown if the movie will ever make it to the English market.
New Anime Adaptation of Manga Features Sailor Moon Animator!
Lily Hoshino's manga Otame Yokai Zakuro (Demon Maiden Zakuro), is getting an anime adaptation. This manga is about a different universe where Japanese society includes both humans and demons. There is a special Ministry that deals with conflicts between the two, and it is comprised of human and demon representatives, and one very special representative. Zakuro, is a half-human, half-demon girl, who faces challenges every day when her demonic tendencies collide with her human sensibilities. She is a fox-maiden paired up with a human who has been traumatized by demons! Days ago, the staff for the anime adaptation was announced, and Shinya Hasegawa will be in charge of character design. Shinya was a key animator and an animation director through the R movie, S, SuperS, and the S movie.
Mamoru Hosoda Wins Award!
Mamoru Hosoda has sure come a long way since his days as a key animator on Sailor Stars and the SuperS movie! Summer Wars was a big hit last summer in Japan, and has won a few awards worldwide. One more can be added to that list - and that is a Best Director Award at the 19th Japanese Film Professional Awards! The movie was also #2 on the top ten list of best work. The awards will be handed out on May 15th at a special ceremony at Ikekuburo's Shin-Bungeiza, and will also feature some screenings and appearances by the award winners. As of this writing, only an English-language license has been announced by Manga Entertainment UK.
Tales of Festival Adds More Seiyuu!
More seiyuu have been announced to appear at the upcoming Tales of Festival! In February we told you that two seiyuu that were involved with Sailor Moon were going to appear, and we can now add a third to that list! Joining Masaya Onosaka (Jadeite) and Hikaru Midorikawa (Fiore, Ail/Alan, pictured right) is Nobuyuki Hiyama who had two small roles as Yosaku Eda and Tsunawataro. Nobuyuki Hiyama plays Veigue Lungberg in two Tales of titles, Rebirth and Graces. This is the third year in a row that the festival is being held. Since February, fans have had the option to help decide what will be performed at this 5-day festival and are currently voting on their favorite skits. Tickets are selling fast, so fans that are in Japan (or will be) had better hurry up and get them quickly as there are only 12,000 available!
And there are even more connections between Sailor Moon and the Tales of Franchise - the brand new PSP game Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, features Mika Kanai (Mimete) as Arche Klaine, a playful half-elf. She feels doomed that because she is a half-elf she lives forever, and loses many of those who are close to her in her life. No release date has been announced yet, but the game has been teased around the Japanese media since March.
Daisuke Sakaguchi On New Daisuke CD and in New Gin Tama movie!
In Japan, a bunch of seiyuu with the first name "Daisuke" all got together and recorded a drama about the lives of 5 different young men, united by their first name: Daisuke. Among the real Daisukes is Daisuke Sakaguchi, better known to Sailor Moon fans for his very small roles in the show including a Cat, a Boy, a Young Man, and Kyuusuke Sarashina. In Daisuke, he plays the cute, younger Daisuke of the bunch, Daisuke Toma. His character is very close to that of Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka from Ouran! A new drama cd was released on April 24th, and revolves around the birthday of Daisuke Toma. Buzz among fans is pretty good for this comedy! Daisuke also reprised his role as Shimura Shinpachi in the new Gin Tama movie Gintama: A New Retelling Benizakura Arc and attended the premiere. The theaters have been packed since the movie's release, and over 2000 fans attended a special event weeks before the premiere. He is pictured here in the green-striped shirt! Kazuya Nakai (Oranja and Ittou Asanuma) and Akira Ishida (Fisheye) also appeared at the premiere, and reprised their roles as Hijikata Toushirou and Kotaro Katsura for the movie.
Kazuya Nakai sings with Nobuo Tobita and is So Not A Hero!
Just released in Japan is a brand new character single devoted to the villains Shade and Torch of Kiddy Girl-and, the sequel to the popular anime Kiddy Grade. Kazuya Nakai (Oranja and Ittou Asanuma) plays Torch (left) and Nobuo Tobita (Pupuran, Jinta Araki,Honjou and Yamagishi) plays Shade (right). The two are partners in crime 'till the end, and the songs of Kiddy Girl-and Vol. 6 Phantom of Rainbow are supposed to reflect that.As of this writing we were unable to find any samples of the songs online. And for those of you who are big fans of the Wii Game No More Heroes, did you know that the role of the Video Game Otaku Travis Touchdown is played by none other than Kazuya? He is set to reprise his role in the upcoming port of No More Heroes to the PS3 and XBOX No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, and will probably play Travis again in the Japanese sequel No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle when a Japanese release is announced.
Machiko Toyoshima Can Finally Play an RPG That She Is In!
For ten years now, Machiko Toyoshima (PallaPalla) has been the voice of Misha (the love interest of the main character Carmaine) in the Growlanser RPG franchise for Playstation. A year ago, an adaptation of the RPG was finally released to PSP, and Machiko was excited at the chance to finally play this RPG since she couldn't before. In honor of the franchise's tenth anniversary, a special series of drama CDs are being released and Machiko reprised her character in them. She was happy that ten years later this franchise is still going strong. The CD will be released on May 26th.
JunJun Invades Space!
Kumiko Watanabe (JunJun) is the voice of the lead character in Keroro Gunso (Sgt. Frog), Sergeant Keroro. The fourth movie Keroro Gunso the Super Movie: Creation! Ultimate Keroro, Wonder Space-Time Island just premiered in Japan, and Kumiko attended the premiere event held at Ikebukuro Sunshine Cinema. On stage, she was joking around with her other castmates and told the critics to give the movie a good review so that the fans can be as excited to see the movie as they were making it!She also made special mention that it took a lot of teamwork to make this movie special and acknowledged her fellow castmates. This movie also has a second connection to Sailor Moon, in that it was directed by the same animation director, Junichi Sato! As of this writing we do not know if any of these movies will be released by FUNImation, as officially we understand that they have only dubbed the first 51 episodes (first season).