We have a BIG announcement to make about a project that's been a long time in the making. Blogger has served us well, but it's time for us to bid Google goodbye and move to our new home at moon-chase.com!
At moon-chase.com, we'll be able to provide you with a better experience, better content, and better security. All of our current and future posts will be available at our new domain, meanwhile all of our old posts will still be available here at Blogger. In the future we also hope to provide you with flash videos directly on our site rather than through other video hosting services, and we hope to be able to move our forums to our new domain as well!
If you are currently reading the site from a feed reader, please make sure you're subscribed to http://feeds.feedburner.com/MoonChase so you don't miss any of our updates at the new site!
The transition has not been without a few bumps. There are a ton of duplicate comments, too many to try and weed out, and if you should find any unreadable text, broken links or images we missed, or any links that still send you to our Blogger site, please email us at moonchasers@NOSPAMPLZKTHXgmail.com with the permalink of the post with the error. However, please note that many of our oldest posts contain broken links to sites, pictures and videos that no longer exist and we cannot fix those unfortunately.
Additionally, in regards to the ongoing situation with certain undesirable drama fanatics:
Due to much behind the scenes cyber harassment from a certain person, we will continue to have measures in place to prevent access to our blog from certain parts of the internet. We are doing this because of several false DMCA complaints made by said cyberstalker which we have had to fight hard with Google to have overturned as well as a lot of comments we received full of racial slurs and threats. We want to keep our hard work available to our readers, and we want our readers to feel safe and secure when they visit our site. Thanks to this move, our cyberstalker "friends" will now need a good lawyer and just cause to destroy our hard work.
Some of you may encounter these anti-stalking measures at first. However, with the flexibility our own domain affords us, we will be able to provide you with an account to bypass this restriction. Also, because of previous problems with comments on this blog, only registered users will be allowed to comment at our new domain. We are sorry to have to keep doing this, but our stalker is relentless. When they give up and end the drama, our bans will lift, until then we're sure you can find out where to direct the hate mail.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
From Toei Animation Europe's Headquarters this morning, we learned that Sailor Moon is part of a special festival celebrating animation at London's Barbican Art Gallery! Watch Me Move: The Animation Show traces the history of animation over the last 150 years. Over 100 films are being featured this year from a broad range of animatin styles including cutout, collage, puppet, clay, stop-motion, and anime, among several others. The reviews we have read from others around the web have been positive! Likewise, if any of our readers are going to go to this exhibit and would like to tell us more about it, we would love to hear from you! The exhibit runs until September 11th of this year. Fans can also check out a schedule of film screenings and special events. Excerpts from the Sailor Moon anime are featured in the exhibition itself, there are no set screenings for specific episodes listed. It is likely that these are subtitled in English. This is the second time that fans in London are able to watch an official version of the show in English, even though there are no complete episodes this time.
The release also mentions that the show will be presented in two history museums in Germany, however as of this writing we are unaware of which museums those are.
Monday, July 04, 2011
Hey Moonies! Our good friends at SailorMoonCenter have uploaded something special to YouTube! Included as an extra on the Sailor Moon Volume 6 laser disc was an extra called "Cute Character Gathering". This video features several figures made by garage kit hobbyists in Japan, and was shot at JAF-CON '93 (a special convention in Japan just for hobbyists). This is definitely a must watch for all fans - these figures are absolutely beautiful and detailed!
And since everyone here likes cosplay, American cosplayer Sara Qael's work was featured recently on People.com.cn (China). We think you'll be impressed with the quality of her Sailor Moon costumes!
Saturday, July 02, 2011
The future isn't there to see just yet, Moonies. For those of you who have not heard via other fans on Twitter, Facebook, and other forums, FUNImation's panel at Anime Expo 2011 on Friday night began with a "Cosmic Moon Power" (possibly from an AX staff member), and then there was no mention of a license for Sailor Moon. We can't say we at the blog are surprised by this (because as usual, we saw it coming). For those of you still wondering why it is taking so long, a deal at a much higher parental level than FUNImation or any other company acquiring the license has to take place first. And so far, that deal hasn't quite come to fruition yet. It's a waiting game as always, so please be patient. The Sailor Moon anime will come when the time is right. Rest assured, everyone knows how much the fans all want the series, and given how (almost) smoothly the revival has gone in other parts of the world, it will be well worth the wait for everyone involved to plan the best possible strategy for Sailor Moon in North America. Hang tight, Moonies!
A very special thank you to Sailor Astera for creating this comic and giving us permission to use it to accompany this article!
And FUNImation? Do us all a favor and actually tease fans about a title you have rights to. How about starting a panel with Kamehameha next time?
Friday, July 01, 2011
Hi Moonies! We all feel the draught of nothing exciting to report in the Sailor Moon world this week (and we wish it were different). Some cosplayers have been in the news for dressing up like characters from Sailor Moon, so we're going to share them with you!
First, a cosplayer from England named Katie Beckett who was mentioned in both English and German presses for her Super Sailor Moon costume at Nemacon in Middlesbrough, England!
|Image Credit: Yahoo!||Image Credit: Zeit|
Second, we have more Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor Chibi Moon at Los Angeles' Anime Expo!
Image Credit: Los Angeles Times Hero Complex
Thirdly... who remembers Michelle Phan? She is famous for her makeup tutorials on Youtube, and received a fair amount of press about her Sailor Moon tutorial in the Japanese press. She was part of a special launch event for "YouTube NextUp", an initiative by the popular video sharing site to help young animators get their work noticed in Japan. YouTube NextUp has a global reach for the next generation of content creators. If an animator's submission wins, they will be able to work with the leading animators in the anime industry in Japan (but, you have to hurry as submissions are due by July 18th). At the launch, she gave some encouraging words to anyone interested in entering, that they have effort and show passion for their craft in their video. It's nice to see her talking about something other than makeup!
A rumor which had been floating around for a few weeks now was finally confirmed yesterday! Not long ago, we shared the news with you of the publishing of two new volumes, and we can now confirm that Hunter X Hunter will return from another long hiatus this August! New chapters from Yoshihiro Togashi will once again be published in Shueisha's Jump Magazine in Japan. Though the length of the run has not been announced, we would not be surprised if it lasted for around 10 weeks, just like the others.
In other Togashi news, June's Hetappi Manga Kenkyujo R includes a special feature from him about how storyboards are created. A teaser can be seen at Shonen Jump's website.
Was that so bad Moonies? Sorry it's been a dry week. I too want this Sailor Moon draught to end!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Fans may recall that John Stocker directed episodes in the Sailor Moon television series (during seasons R, S, and SuperS) as well as the movies (Sailor Moon R Movie: Promise of the Rose, Sailor Moon S Movie: Hearts in Ice, and Sailor Moon SuperS Movie: Black Dream Hole).
A selection of some of the other titles John has been involved with are listed on his guest page on the FanExpo website. If you check out the list of anime guest stars at the convention this year, John is named under "American Voice Stars." His website has more details about his voice acting and other talents.
If you're also interested in other guests at the convention this year, the line-up of sci-fi featured guests is here. And the comic book guests are listed here. There are also Horror and Gaming guests and events.
Readers interested in attending FanExpo this year can find ticket information here. The convention has been extended to four days this year (August 25th - 28th) and will be held in the entire south building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We hope that the expanded location will help alleviate the crowding issues experienced in recent years. The FanExpo website also indicates that there will be a limited number of deluxe passes available. Although no total number is listed for the deluxe passes, the convention organizers note that the deluxe passes will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis until sold out.
(photo from John Stocker's website)
Monday, June 20, 2011
PGSM fans, mark your calendars! On September 22nd, a boxset of the entire PGSM series is set to be released in Japan. For those fans who are unaware, PGSM stands for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and is the live action version of Sailor Moon which aired on Japanese television from 2003-2004. An article at Animate.tv has a couple reasons for why they think this boxset is being released. The first is that many of the stars (most notably Keiko Kitagawa who played Sailor Mars) have gone on to bigger and better things in their acting careers. The second, is that some of the new generation of fans have never seen a live action version of Sailor Moon on TV. The timing of this release is perfect given the anime's revival which is happening around the world. The boxset will include all 49 episodes, the two specials (Special Act and Act Zero), and Kirari Super Live - a live event in almost the same vein as the Sera Myu musicals, starring the cast of PGSM. All other extras included on the initial release will also be included. No word as of this writing if Super Dance Lesson will also be included. This dance lesson was part of a special offer, and fans had to fill out an application included with only certain magazines many years ago to get a copy. The boxset is currently on preorder at Amazon.jp and will cost ￥23,210 before shipping (roughly $290 USD).
Thursday, June 16, 2011
By now readers have likely read through my previously posted convention coverage. I reported on a variety of events to give a well-rounded view of the convention and I hope our readers have enjoyed it!
In this final post of convention coverage, I'll talk about a few of the other events I attended more briefly than the previous posts (which is why I'm putting a few together in this one). For any readers who did get to check out Sakura Con first-hand, we hope you had a great time!
On Friday afternoon, I met with a group of Sailor Moon cosplayers for a "Sailor Moon Picnic." It was a lot of fun to participate in a Sailor Moon photo shoot! I got quite a few photos of me cosplaying Princess Jupiter taken with a Sailor Jupiter and some other cosplayers. It was this photoshoot that was one of the major reasons I decided to wear my costume all day on Friday. My costume also met the masquerade guidelines and was something I wanted to wear for the Sailor Moon panel.
In the evening, just before heading to the Sailor Moon panel I was leading, my boyfriend and I went to the masquerade ball for a short time. It was nice, but the song choices gave it a high school dance kind of feel, since there were a bunch of popular dance songs played while we were there. The selection did not include many slow songs, nor did we hear many j-pop or anime related songs. Last year it was mostly slow songs, so it was really nice for couples and gave those who checked out the waltz lessons a chance to try out what they learned. I would have liked to hear more anime, j-pop, and video game songs this year as well, since it was an anime convention. Those don't tend to be played in public very much, but the latest pop songs are heard everywhere. It seemed like there were a lot more people dancing this year though, so the change appears to have been a good thing overall!
On Sunday morning, the first thing I attended was the Kotono Mistsuishi and Dreamcatchers event. Although the title of the event as written in the pocket programming guide listed Kotono's name first, she was actually only on-stage for the last twenty minutes of the event. Some audience members obviously grew tired of waiting and left early, before she was called up on stage. The majority of this event was comprised of skits by the "Dreamcatchers" that coincided with some anime clips from properties I didn't recognize (the titles of the anime that these clips were from were not revealed at the event). This portion of the event was plagued with technical difficulties, and one of the skits was re-done in its entirety, although the only problem they had for that skit was during a live song performance. The skits did not seem very well rehearsed overall, and the fight scenes seemed a bit lacking in choreography as well. Some performers visibly showed hesitation during sword fights, which wasn't particularly entertaining to watch. Although I understand the importance of safety during sequences like this, perhaps additional practice and choreography could have made for a more interesting performance. The anime and skit sequences didn't seem to have any correlation to Kotono Mitsuishi that myself and at least some other audience members could discern. If anyone knows what anime the different clips were from, please share the details in the comments!
When Kotono was finally on stage, she was asked to do some live dubbing of scenes from a variety of her past anime roles. This seemed a little awkward, since the scene would be played in original, usually without English subtitles, and then the scene would be played again while Kotono voiced her role but all other audio was muted. Kotono did a good job, even approximating the "echo" of one of Boa Hancock's lines at the end of one of these scenes. Unfortunately, it was a little hard to understand for those of us in the audience who don't speak Japanese. English subtitles would have been helpful on all the clips so that more fans could understand the demonstration more clearly.
To close the show, Kotono sang "Moonlight Densetsu," accompanied by a live band and the Dreamcatchers who also sang along. With so many voices singing, and the band being a bit loud in comparison to the vocals, it was difficult to hear Kotono's voice among the rest (we were seated near the front, so the sound may have been more intense that close). The event ended with a disappointing apology from one of the Dreamcatchers, claiming that they had planned a two hour show, but didn't realize they were going to have a one hour time-slot. This meant that a competition that Kotono was going to judge had to be cut.
Later, people complained about this event (perhaps you've already seen some comments on other websites?); regarding the timing and how short Kotono's appearance was.
My boyfriend e-mailed convention staff to say that we were disappointed with some of the technical difficulties this year, while also mentioning that we were highly impressed last year with how smoothly everything went. He also asked about the Dreamcatchers event. The convention representative who responded indicated that there was some faulty equipment that will be replaced before next year's convention. Also, the representative stated that the Dreamcatchers were told on multiple occasions how much time was actually allotted to them. Convention staff tried to give them extra time, but they were not willing to set back other events in the same room because of an oversight by the Dreamcatchers.
I think it's worth noting that the pocket guide schedule was released on April 7th, a full 15 days prior to the convention. As a panelist, I made a point of looking out for the schedule to verify when the panel would be and how much time I was allotted. It's strange to me that the Dreamcatchers made it seem as if convention staff was responsible for there not being enough time, when the timing details were released in advance and they should have modified their event if there were unexpected discrepancies; instead of unprofessionally blaming convention staff. I must admit, I was disappointed in the event to the extent that I felt it would have been much better for me to attend something else instead. It may seem harsh, but if I see Dreamcatchers listed in the programming guide of a future convention, I'll choose to miss their performance.
Unfortunately, the Dark Horse Industry panel was scheduled at the same time, so I was unable to catch it. Sorry about that one readers, but I'm sure they have a list of newly released and upcoming titles on their website!
Sailor Moon Trading Cards. A few of the card fronts, a card back, and the package.
A view of all the card front is available in an alternate photo.
One of the other events I managed to catch a portion of on Sunday, after lunch, was the "State of the Industry" panel, which had representatives of Funimation, Bandai, Dark Horse, and MGS. One of the major topics of discussion during this panel was the problem of piracy and how it hurts the anime industry. Companies are currently making efforts to lessen piracy and illegal downloads, but there is no expectation that piracy will disappear any time soon. The panelists even indicated that they expect piracy to always be a problem in some form.
Panelists encouraged the audience to use legal methods of viewing anime such as authorized streaming and simulcasts (many of these are free, but ad-supported). There are also companies who sell combo releases of Blu-Ray and DVD together. Costs are able to go down for these items as they take up less shelf space while offering multiple viewing options for buyers. It seems to be just one of various efforts being made to keep anime affordable, in order to encourage ownership and reduce piracy.
Regarding e-manga, there is currently no simulcasting type efforts in place for manga series. However, Dark Horse is interested in having releases online sooner and making efforts to find a way for faster online publishing to become a reality.
My boyfriend and I had to leave the convention early (it was Easter weekend and we had plans with family) so we did not catch the closing ceremonies this time around. All in all it was a great convention experience. Although there were some technical difficulties, staff was great about dealing with issues as fast as possible. I have seen things get much worse at other events when there were unexpected (or sometimes even plausibly expected) issues that had to be addressed for a safe and pleasant convention experience. I'm quite glad that Sakura Con staff shows that they care about having events run as smoothly as possible by dealing with any unforeseen issues quickly and professionally.
It's also encouraging to know that faulty equipment will be replaced before next year, to ensure things run even more smoothly. I've only been to Sakura Con twice now, but I have to admit it's one of my favourite conventions to attend. There's an awesome variety of events, a large dealers' room with a plethora of items to entice fans, and you get to see some of the most interesting costumes - from anime to video games to Disney princesses. It was also exciting to lead the Sailor Moon panel, despite my initial nervousness in front of a large crowd. I plan to be on more Sailor Moon (and other!) panels in the future. It's a fun way to interact with fans.
Here's hoping I see more readers at future conventions. And maybe I'll make it to Sakura Con next year too!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
There isn't a lot happening in the Sailor Moon world right now, but for those of you who are craving the revival through a fan's perspective in Japan, I recommend you check out the blog "Moon Light". I've been following this blog for a while now, as this blogger was one of the few that blogged about her experience at the DVD Collection Launch Event in December of 2009. She was also there at Anza Ooyama's recent concert, and just visited the Toei Animation Gallery and has lots of photos of the cels there (Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure included) as well as figures. Kind of a neat blog to check out for anyone who wants to know what the fans in Japan are experiencing!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
We read about this a long time ago, but we wanted to wait till there was official word before we posted it. Yoshihiro Togashi's Hunter X Hunter is set to return with two new published tankobon/volumes in July and August. #28 is scheduled for release on July 4th, and #29 on August the 4th. While the series seems like it has been going on forever (since March of 1998), fans aren't going to get anything new in these two volumes. There are 20 chapters which appeared in Jump over a year ago, and these will appear in the volumes. As of this writing, there is no word on whether the manga will finally have an ending or new chapters published in Jump. Togashi's most recent work were a drawing and message in support of victims of the Earthquake last March.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Konichiwa fellow Moonies!
So, as many of you heard on Moon Chase’s Facebook, Tohru Furuya, the voice of Tuxedo Kamen, was at FanimeCon out here in semi-sunny California over Memorial Day. Being a fan of the site, and noticing the lack of West Coast news, I made a point of going to both of his panels in an attempt to get the community the latest news straight from ToFu’s mouth. (This was actually harder than is sounds because I’m Fanime staff, not just an attendee.)
I will ask your forgiveness right now for the horrible pictures my phone shot. It’s all I have.
To kick off the convention at opening ceremonies on Friday, the Fanime Chair Team presented the Consul General of Japan a symbolic gift of 1000 paper cranes as a representation of our good wishes for Japan after their earthquake and tsunami back in March. After this was a steady flow of our Guests of Honor, which included the band FLOW, singer Halko Momo-i, artist and character designer Mamoru Yokota, and of course, our favorite Tohru Furuya.
Furuya-san is first of all a great showman. He knows exactly what his fans are here for, and immediately started throwing out lines from the various characters he has played in his lengthy career. For those that don’t know, Furuya-san is also the voice of Yamucha from Dragonball, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya, and Amuro Ray from the original MS Gundam. It’s safe to say that the fans went wild as he did this.
I next saw Furuya-san the next day, not at his first panel, but at the invitation-only GoH meet-and-greet called the Yamaga Party. (Called so because it is usually hosted by one of our regular guests, Hiroyuki Yamaga of the animation studio Gainax, although due to an emergency Yamaga-san could not make the convention this year.) How this worked was that each GoH in attendance had their own table, and the invited fans sat with them for about ten minutes each to ask questions and actually talk with the guest. Furuya-san was the only guest that asked for the names of each fan at his table, and when that happens, you get him asking my friend Mike where he got that Italian Saint Seiya shirt he’s wearing. Which I am sure he wore just for that purpose.
Furuya-san’s panel Saturday afternoon was the standard Q&A panel. There were a lot of questions and voice requests from his well known series (mostly Gundam), but I got a few surprises out of him. His favorite role is that of Kyosuke Kasuga from Kimagure Orange Road, which I haven’t seen but happens to be a favorite of some of my older Otaku friends. He also mentioned that his most difficult role was from the Satoshi Kon movie Paprika, where he played the 400+lb Dr. Kosaku Tokita. He said he wasn’t sure he could match his voice to such a large person, but the director said to try and channel his inner child. Apparently his inner child is Amuro Ray, haha.
Of interest to us Moonies, Furuya-san was asked how he got the role of Tuxedo Kamen. The biggest reason was that the studio wanted an experienced seiyu on the cast, of which many of the Sailor Scouts were first-timers. He said that at first he thought that Tuxedo Kamen was a magician:
"Then I asked his name. And it was exactly like it said it was."
He was also asked about an apparent reunion of the Sailor Moon cast in Japan recently, and if that meant there would be more work on Sailor Moon. He said there may be another reunion in the future, but that he didn’t think there would be much else.
The next panel Sunday morning was a bit different. This was also supposed to be a standard Q&A, but boy was it more entertaining. I should have guessed it would be, since a 10 am panel generally means that the die-hard fans are in attendance. Friends, if there is a Sailor Moon cosplayer in the room, and Furuya-san gets a request to reenact a scene from our favorite series, what you get is a live show in the front of the panel room, complete with bad guy, rose, and "Moon Healing Escalation". I’ve never had so much fun at a panel.
Later on that afternoon, Furuya-san had a special autograph session before he left the convention. He had been selling a Fanime exclusive (at the time) clear file with his photograph, and part of the sales were to go to relief efforts in Japan. If you bought one (or in my case two) you were invited to this special autograph session where he would personalize his autograph specifically for you on the clear file. That didn’t stop people from bringing other things for him to sign.
From what I heard from our Guest Relations person, Furuya-san really enjoyed the convention and meeting all his fans here. This makes me hope to see him again in the future.
For those of you who couldn’t make it to Fanime, I hope this article made up for it. It’s not the best way to enjoy a convention, but I at least hope I transferred some of the awesome I experienced on to you that read this.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Moon Chase is glad to report another Sailor Moon sighting, this one coming from a brand new light-hearted lawyer/comedy primetime show on TNT called “Franklin and Bash”. In the show’s second episode, titled “She Came Upstairs To Kill Me”, there was a reference to Setsuna Meioh/Sailor Pluto, courtesy of Pindar Singh (played by Kumail Nanjiani). The reference occurs about 5 minutes into the episode, with the conversation in the scene quickly turning to the topic of hottest female animated characters:
Jared Franklin: If you met Isabella, you would feel differently. Isabelle is just like Jessica Rabbit – she’s not bad, she’s just drawn that way.
Peter Bash: Jessica Rabbit – hottest cartoon character ever?
Jared Franklin: I prefer Betty Rubble.
Peter Bash: Really?
Jared Franklin: Yeah.
Pindar Singh: Neither of those hold a candle to Setsuna Meioh.
*awkward silence by Jared Franklin and Peter Bash *
Pindar Singh: The guardian of the space and the time door in the Sailor Moon manga?
While Jessica Rabbit and Betty Rubble are household names in the world of comics and animation, special applause must be handed out to the writing staff at “Franklin and Bash” for referencing a character that is likely only known by diehard fans of Sailor Moon. When you consider the level of inactivity associated with Sailor Moon in North America, it is sightings like this one that encourages and reminds Sailor Moon fans just how much of an imprint that the show has had on pop culture in North America (a special thank you to K-Chan for e-mailing this to us).
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Hey Moonies! Breaking on Toei Animation Europe’s website on Monday was the news that the complete Sailor Moon series is on its way to Kazakhstan! The Kazakhstani company Kino Company via the Eastern European Country (EEC) Territory Plus Licens will soon approach free television channels in Kazakhstan to propose the entire series. Though this release was short, it left us with some questions, and we will keep you posted if we learn any more. We did a little digging though to find answers around our answers…
1. What channel might they approach with Sailor Moon?
From what we have been able to learn, free Kazakhstani TV consists of channels owned by the Khabar Agency. These channels have some kind of ruling influence from President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva. We poked around at the program listings and it seems that all animation on this channel is Kazakhstani (or based on their culture). There is no sign of any other cartoons from anywhere else on these channels. These channels are largely devoted to news, sports, and Kazakhstani drama, lifestyle and reality shows. Something tells us these might not be good candidates for the show. We did find another channel digital service provider, and this is Alma TV. Alma TV carries Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, and others on their “Kids” channel. We could only spot one anime on the schedule, and that is Bakugan. We wonder if this channel will be the one that is approached with the series. At this time we are unable to confirm if this channel is free or part of a paid specialty service. We would love to hear from our Kazakhstani readers or anyone else who knows anything about TV there.
2. Will this be a new dub?
We do not know for sure, but all signs are pointing towards “possibly”. Some shows in this country air in Russian, so there may be a chance that the existing Russian dub will air. Russian is the second most common language spoken in Kazakhstan, so this does not present a problem to the majority of the population. However, we also read that there is now some anime being dubbed into Kazakh, so just like Israel saw Sailor Moon for the first time in Hebrew recently, it could well be possible that a Kazakh dub could happen. Kino Company, is Kazakhstan’s largest film production company. Though they have only produced a handful of films since 1989, many have been critically acclaimed. In 1994, Kino Company produced their first (and only) full-length animation film called “Dragon’s Island” which was based on classical Japanese literature. The movie won an award at the Ankara International Film Festival in 1994! If this company is successful in their pitch and dubs the series, we think that it is in good hands. That being said…
3. Will there be censorship?
Maybe. While there isn't a whole lot of information about what exactly the Kazakh film censors actually censor, we do know that there does exist some censorship in the country. The government frequently censors news stories. Fans may remember the controversy surrounding the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan from a few years ago. The controversies in the movie caused the government to issue many statements about the inaccuracies portrayed in the film. While the movie was not banned, the government did make a request to 20th Century Fox’s central European distributor Gemini Films, not to distribute the film there. They complied. Many have in turn sought their own copies from other European countries. When looking at the cartoon landscape, it seems mostly male oriented. The only cartoon for girls on Cartoon Network’s schedule is The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. On Nickelodeon, the following shows air: iCarly, Victorious, Dora the Explorer, and Ni Hao Kai-Lan. Now Sailor Moon is a pretty harmless cartoon, all things considered. But the government attitudes surrounding issues of nudity, gender identities, and other perceived controversial issues in the series remains up to debate. We also dug up an old interview from 2008 with Kazakhstan’s Director of the National Art Academy Arystanbek Muhamediuly, where he condemns cartoons like Sailor Moon and Spongebob Squarepants (as well as others by name) and demands there be more cartoons for children based on Kazakhstan’s rich cultural history. It’s a bit of a shaky situation. We invite any fans who know of how productions are censored in Kazakhstan to contact us with what they know!
At the very least, we do know that those in Kazakhstan who have wanted to watch Sailor Moon probably have. We found several Kazakhstani fan-run anime sites that featured episodes and movies streaming for free of the Russian dub, or Japanese version with Russian subtitles. If it comes to their country, it gives them the chance to watch and possibly purchase a legitimate release.
We congratulate Toei Animation Europe, Kino Company, and Plus Licens on this new venture into Kazakhstan with Sailor Moon, and wish them the best of luck on continuing to spread Sailor Moon’s message around the world!
Friday, June 03, 2011
Hey Moonies! I apologize first off for not keeping up with the site. There's been a couple things I've wanted to write about but I was hit with an unexpected tragedy last week that has been rough to deal with. I will return soon, I promise! Anyway, Moonie1995 and I will be presenting a Sailor Moon Panel at Saskatchewan's first ever anime and comics convention, Anime Blitz and Comic Spectacle. This is going to happen tomorrow at 12:45. We will also have a special prize for some lucky fans as well as a chance for you to try Sailor Moon: La Luna Splende for the Nintendo DS. We would love to meet you tomorrow - so feel free to stop by if you are attending!
We ask that fans respect our wishes for no photographs or videos at our panel tomorrow.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Since there has been a lot of gloom around the Sailor Moon fandom lately, I decided to have a little fun and see if any of the fans had noticed that there is a connection to Sailor Moon amongst the fallout of the recent scandal involving the "Terminated" Arnold Schwarzennegger. Yes, we all know now he kept his love child a secret for 13 years, but our connection has nothing to do with any of his legitimate or illegitimate family. I gave the fans a few hints via our Facebook page:
1. Staff on English dub of Sailor Moon
2+3. Has something to do with Arnold's other announcement made during the fallout of this week's scandal. Nothing to do with the kid or the maid.
4. (Because I am feeling nice). This staff member has a tag on Moon Chase. Said staff member was written about within the last year (as of this date).
Lots of you tried to search for Arnold's name on our blog and turned up nothing! I was actually a little surprised that no one got this. Without further delay, here is your answer.
Who is Andy Heyward? Before his current venture of A Squared Entertainment, he was the former CEO and founder of DiC Entertainment. DiC Entertainment was the production company responsible for the first two seasons. Andy Heyward also served as Executive Producer for Sailor Moon. How does this all connect, you ask? Easy.
This is how I came to know about it. I just happened to have CNN on when the news broke that Arnold was putting a halt to his acting career, but then I got distracted by a phone call from a friend. I had missed the news, so I went to CNN's site to read the rest of the story. To my surprise, I read the name "A Squared", and a lightbulb went off in my head. Oh yeah, thats' Andy Heyward's new production company devoted to making cheezy and tacky cartoons based on prominent celebrities. For those of you that haven't seen trailer for The Governator, here's your link. Aren't you glad this is being shelved? We sure are. And here's hoping it never gets taken off that shelf again because if we were kids, we wouldn't have watched this crap. And is it us or does Arnie look a little too square/boxy? Would you have watched this toon as a kid?
Hope this brought a smile to your faces - and if you want me to share more random obscure connections to Sailor Moon as I encounter them, let me know and I shall post!
Friday, May 20, 2011
I missed the very beginning of this panel, since I had to retrieve the camera I was using just beforehand (it was accidentally packed too early!). I'm including details about the bulk of the panel here, but if there's anything someone else recalls that I missed, feel free to add that in the comments.
Regarding her role as Excel, Kotono was asked how she was able to maintain her voice and what her methods were for playing that role, as the character mostly screams and screeches. Kotono began her answer by saying that maybe she was lucky, but her voice stayed with her the whole time. For that role, she developed a screaming voice that was uniquely her own. When she received the script, she was excited to see what dialogue she would have. In that series, Kotono said that there were many lines and lots of things to say while a character's mouth was open. She said the technique to get through the lines appropriately was to speak fast and not breathe!
Next, Kotono was asked how it felt to have voiced the role model of Sailor Moon, who inspires confidence. Kotono said that this was her first role as a main character in a television series. Because of that, she focused on doing her best and working her hardest. She also received lots of help from more experienced cast members, such as Tohru Furuya (Tuxedo Mask). Once the show started airing and she heard good things from viewers, she became more confident. Before she'd heard the opinions of the viewers, she didn't realize that Sailor Moon would be a role model.
When asked if the characters she's voiced have become a part of her, Kotono confirmed that she has been influenced by the characters she's played. She also said that she didn't realize that she had certain qualities until voicing certain characters, that they brought out new parts of herself. She said it was like she had seeds inside her that grew once she experienced those roles.
At this point, a fan requested that Kotono give the audience a sampling of some of her voice roles. These included Misato, Ebichu, and Boa Hancock, among others. Since Kotono has voiced a wide range of characters, the fan who asked for the sample also asked about voicing the part of an old lady. Kotono said she hasn't done that yet, but thinks she'll eventually have to!
In Gundam SEED, Kotono played two very different characters: Murrue Ramius (the captain of the Archangel) and Haro. A fan was curious how it would work for scenes where two characters she was playing would be in the same scene. Kotono said that in Japan, when they record anime, everyone in the cast is in the studio at the same time. Each person steps up to the microphone when it's time for their lines. If one person voices multiple characters in the same scene, they step up first as one character and then step up again as the next character.
Recording with an entire cast does allow for ad-libbing and unplanned lines to happen more naturally. Sometimes these lines may even make it to the final anime production. As actors, they try to fill holes in a role, which is what leads to unplanned lines.
Regarding the affect of technology on the job of a voice actor, Kotono said that there are both positives and negatives about advancements in technology. Microphones are better now and can even pick up a quiet voice. There are some drawbacks to this, as a quiet voice could potentially be used for a loud character. Kotono also thinks that actors used to be more careful about delivering their lines, but with computers things can be fixed more easily. This can mean less pressure on the actor. Kotono also said that voice actors are now expected to voice their roles more quickly.
As a side note, Kotono mentioned that there was a time when anime voice acting was done live, so if there were any embarrassing errors those would still be broadcast. Now the atmosphere is more relaxed. A story Kotono heard about a live recording was that one of the actors was absentmindedly playing with a microphone stand while he waited for his turn to speak. He got his finger stuck, so he couldn't step up to the microphone when it was time for him to say his lines. Thus, his character said nothing for the entire episode!
When it came to revisiting the character of Misato, for the Evangelion relaunch, Kotono said that it does feel like there's a bit of a difference in her approach to the character because there has been years between the the last time she had the role and the more recent voice acting. She was surprised and a little angry at first when she was asked to come back because she thought she was finished with the character because [spoiler alert!] Misato had died at the end of the series [/spoiler]. After calming down, she decided to take the role on again and keep the new performance as close to her old approach as possible. She did want to do well with the new performance, but she said she has made some unconscious changes in the way she delivered some lines – which the director pointed out. For example, he would say things like "Misato said this line more cute before. Why is she so dark/rude now?" Kotono joked that this seemed a little mean, but she was laughing about it so it's pretty clear she didn't think it was that bad!
As a student, Kotono recalled that even then she wanted to be in the spotlight and perform. She thinks this was part of her motivation to become an actor. She was in the Broadcast Club in elementary school, which was a group of students who made the announcements at school and acted out folk tales at lunch (the latter she found a lot of fun and it influenced her to become a seiyuu).
Visiting Sakura Con was Kotono's first time in Seattle and she said it felt like she made lots of new friends! She said she will take that positive feeling back with her to Japan. At the end of the panel, Kotono asked the audience to squeeze together for a couple of photos which she has since shared on her blog. I've shared those in this post too, and you might be able to spot me in the pink shirt near the front, on the left side of the photo above this paragraph.
That's all I have in my notes for Kotono's panel, I hope you have enjoyed these recaps! If there was something else at the panel that I missed that you would like to add, please leave a comment.
If you want to read Kotono's blog posts about Sakura Con they are here (arrival in Seattle), here (about autograph signing and the first panel), here (about the performance with the Dreamcatchers, where Kotono sang "Moonlight Densetsu"), here (the one with the photos), here (includes an English message about the charity auction), and here (includes the quiz questions).
Thursday, May 12, 2011
This interview was recorded on video by Nico Nico, who have recently launched their U.S. site. If anyone has found the video, please let us know and we will add the link!
To start things off, Nico Nico asked Tiffany to record a message to anime fans in Japan. Tiffany said that she send warm wishes and prayers. She also wants to send love to all anime fans, as it allows her to continue doing the work she loves.
The last time Tiffany was at Sakura Con was in 2000. She said it seemed like the 2011 convention was twenty times larger, so it's a huge difference from before. She also said she was very impressed with how well run and well organized Sakura Con is.
When it comes to cosplay, Tiffany is always excited to see fans cosplaying the characters she's played, especially Asuka from Evangelion. Fans can also see pictures of Tiffany cosplaying some of her own characters in the photos on her website.
Tiffany said that her most "famous" line would have to be "what are you – stupid?" from Evangelion. Fans can hear voice samples on Tiffany's website here. She really liked that Asuka is a multi-faceted character and commented that the studio atmosphere is different for more serious scenes.
When preparing for a new role, Tiffany said she clears her mind and tries to start fresh for each role. She also listens to the Japanese performance to see how things were done, before recording in English. Her performance is informed by the original video as well as the director's input. She also noted that she often goes with her gut instinct of what feels right for the scene.
Tiffany has a background in theatre, even from the time she was a little girl. She has now been voice acting for over seventeen years. One of the reasons she got her first voice acting job is that she was an actor, so she got called to the audition. She was new to anime at the time.
She always had an interest in voicing, particularly mimicking voices and accents. Even as a child she made the connection that actors played the voices of cartoon characters. She wasn't originally sure how to get involved in voice acting, but when that first audition for a voice role came up; she went for it. Tiffany said she has been able to do a huge variety of characters because she does voice acting for anime. She loves her job and especially likes playing critters who make silly sounds.
Tiffany said that she finds voice acting is a very broad style of acting that is dramatic and requires projecting, which is similar to theatre acting. However, if being physical in a voice acting role, an actor needs to be conscious of the microphone placement.
Does Tiffany watch anime for fun? Sometimes she does. She said that she enjoys Miyazaki films and also really liked watching Fullmetal Alchemist. When watching anime, she doesn't tend to think that she'd rather play a character that has already been done, she just tries to enjoy watching it.
As a big Hello Kitty fan, Tiffany is always wearing something with Hello Kitty on it. At the interview, she was wearing a ring, watch, and had a bracelet charm that were all Hello Kitty related. Aside from Hello Kitty accessories, she was also wearing little Asuka earrings!
The manga series Gunsmith Cats: Burst! – which was the sequel to Gunsmith Cats – ended its run in North America last year, with the final volume being published in April 2010. Tiffany said that she hasn't read any of the manga volumes (of either Gunsmith Cats series, but she heard about how popular they were and that the series was a longer one. Tiffany played Becky Farrah in the OAV series of Gunsmith Cats and said she would love to play the role of Becky again if there were more episodes were made. She also said she found that character was the most like herself. On her website she even says that the voice of Becky is very close to her natural voice and she includes a clip of the "no pizza, no Chinese" line in her vocal samples.
Here's a fun fact for Moon Chase readers: Tiffany played the same character as Kotono Mitsuishi in Blue Seed. The character was Kome Sawaguchi. Tiffany said she was excited to be able to meet Kotono at Sakura Con too!
In closing, here's a little information about a charity effort that Tiffany participates in: Voices For is a group of pros, mainly in the voice acting industry, that makes albums for charity. Tiffany has contributed to both albums which are currently available. More details about the charity effort are on the Voices For site.
Image credits: photo from Sakuracon.org, image of Becky from sandarsdimension.com
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Bandai representatives reminded attendees that their online store is available at store.bandai-ent.com – this store includes exclusives before they go to other vendors.
This panel also experienced some unfortunate technical difficulties, but this time there was video and partial sound. I had to leave part way through to go to an interview (to be posted tomorrow!), but I heard that convention staff was able to fix the issue before the end of the panel. The details at the end of this post I found via the Bandai online store.
Released April 26th, but also available at the convention.
Girl Who Leapt Through Space
This 26 episode series from Sunrise was released April 26th and was also available ahead of schedule at the convention.
Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Two disc set includes the movie on Blu-ray and extras on DVD. Released April 26th, but also available at the convention.
Tales of the Abyss
This 26 episode series from Sunrise is based on the Namco Bandai game. The first volume includes episodes 1-7. Limited edition release includes a copy of Asch the Bloody manga volume one, regular edition (without manga) also available. Release date: June 7th.
Gundam 00 Movie: Awakening of the Trailblazer
This hybrid release is coming July 5th to DVD and Blu-ray. The movie is the final chapter of the Gundam 00 saga.
DVD volume one will be released June 7th, is currently available for pre-order, and will contain two episodes. The packaging features a reversible cover. This title is already available on Blu-ray, with volume three currently available in Bandai's online store and in the Amazon Marketplace.
Mobile Suit Gundam
The original 42 episode series, to be available in a two part Anime Legends hybrid release. Coming this summer.
Turn A Gundam
50 episode series, new to North America. To be released in late summer as a subtitle only release.
Also in the Bandai Online Store:
- Baccano! Blu-ray limited edition boxset, available May 17th. Currently available for pre-order.
- Durarara DVD part 3 available spring 2011, available for pre-order online.
- K-ON! volume 2 on Blu-ray and DVD June 14th, currently available for pre-order.
- Girl Who Leapt Through Space volume 2 available June 7th, currently available for pre-order.
Monday, May 09, 2011
Streaming of Aniplex titles is available online on their YouTube channel, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Anime News Network. Streaming content includes the latest trailers and special content such as interviews and bloopers. Aniplex tries to bring as many shows as possible that they produce to the U.S., in association with other companies.
Gurren Lagann Movies - Childhood's End and Lights in the Sky are Stars. Two disc DVD edition now available.
Durarara parts one and two are currently available, with part three scheduled to release on May 31st. Part three is currently available for pre-order.
Baccano will be released on May 17th in a limited edition, Blu-ray boxset.
Blue Exorcist started to be simulcast online beginning on April 20th. The online broadcasts are three days after the Japanese television airing. This 25 episode series is based on the manga by Kazue Kato, which is available through Viz (volume one is now available).
Regarding limited release items, Aniplex representatives indicated that they will keep an eye on fan opinion to see if there is a demand for increased availability. As for distribution, they are also looking to expand to the Amazon Marketplace to reach more customers.
Photo credits: images belong to Aniplex
Sunday, May 08, 2011
This was Kotono's first panel of the convention, and her most popular. She was aided by a translator, but seemed to understand parts of the questions fans asked in English. At the beginning of the panel, Kotono mentioned that Sailor Moon was her first role in a series and she focused on doing her best.
Regarding Ebichu: The Housekeeping Hamster, Kotono said that she had been a big fan of the manga series and found it really funny. The anime series had the same director as Neon Genesis Evangelion. When Kotono heard about the anime being made, she told the director that she really wanted the role and promised to even do the embarrassing lines with a straight face.
Regarding the more "mature" role of Misato, Kotono acknowledged that most of her previous roles had been pretty and cute girls. This encouraged her to want to do a more mature role. She also found that voicing a more mature role helped her grow. Compared to other strong females in Evangelion, Kotono found that her role was different from the others. When she first voiced Misato, the age of the character was very close to her own age, so she based some of her performance on her own feelings and how she thought she would feel in the situations Misato was presented with – which meant approaching the role differently. At first she had focused on technicalities, but Kotono affirms that feelings are key to a good performance.
Before acting in One Piece, she was unfamiliar with the series. However, when Kotono found out she got the role, she read over 40 volumes of the manga and became a fan of the series herself. The scenes she liked most in One Piece were the ones where her character was involved, especially when Boa Hancock would be looking down on others.
Regardless of the character she's playing, when deciding how to approach a new role, she doesn't focus on how she thinks the character would react. She tries to start with a blank slate for every character.
Regarding working on Revolutionary Girl Utena, which shared some of the same production staff as Sailor Moon, including writer and director Kunihiko Ikuhara. Kotono thinks that one of the reasons she was cast as Juri was that the director wanted her to play a different kind of character.
When Kotono's daughter was little, they watched the Sailor Moon series together multiple times. Kotono said that she thought the series was really amazing and likened watching each episode with opening a treasure box.
There were many scenes that Kotono liked in Sailor Moon. She said she especially liked the Sailor Moon R Movie. Another of her favourite scenes was in the TV series when (spoiler alert!) Saturn dies and Sailor Moon jumps in the whirlpool to try to save Saturn.
When asked what it was like to say goodbye to Sailor Moon, Kotono said that since the show ran for five seasons, she worked on it for five years. At the end of each season, they would wait and wonder if it would be renewed. Kotono said that she always wanted to do her best with her performance, so she had no regrets. Kotono also said that voicing Usagi changed her and affected her life, particularly by giving her more self-confidence.
What about other manga series that Kotono likes? She said there are many manga series she'd like to see developed into anime series as well. One series that sticks out as something she would like to be in if there were an anime made is 20th Century Boys (although there is already a live-action movie).
What kind of advice does Kotono have for aspiring voice actors? She said that there are lots of people trying to get into voice acting in Japan. But, Kotono said that she believes everyone should chase after their dreams and not give up. If you want to become a voice actor in Japan, Kotono said it is best to study acting first, but knowing how to speak English as well as Japanese can be an advantage.
At this point of the panel, Kotono hosted a short quiz show, to see how well the audience knew her roles. Each person who correctly answered a quiz question first received a gift bag from Kotono. Here are the questions and answers for fans interested in what was included:
- What is the name of Misato's penguin? (Pen Pen)
- What is the name of the ship she captains in Gundam SEED? (The Archangel)
- Which Pokemon did she play? (Metamon, a.k.a. Ditto in English)
- What is the name of the devil's fruit that Boa Hancock ate? (The Mero Mero fruit, a.k.a. the Love Love fruit) Kotono liked the English name for this fruit a lot! She said she'd like to try a fruit with that name!
- What is the pendant Misato always wears? (A cross that she received from her father)
- The dog in Excel Saga, Menchi, is what to Excel? (the emergency food supply)
- What was Doraemon's original colour? (yellow)
- What kind of flower appears when Sailor Moon is in a pinch? (a rose)
- What does Misato say at the end of the episode previews? (Service, service!)
- When Kotono does Japanese dubs, which of the following actresses has she dubbed? Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, or Natalie Portman. (trick question: all of the above)
A fan asked if Kotono had ever seen a Sailor Moon musical, and Kotono said that she had. She also confessed that she got caught up in the excitement of it just like the rest of the audience. She has also seen PGSM and enjoyed watching it. She noted that Luna's voice is the same in PGSM as well as the anime. She thought the actors in the show put in great effort to do a good job. She also felt that the actress who played Usagi was very good at physically showing the clumsiness of the character.
If she couldn't play the role of Sailor Moon, Kotono said that she would have also liked to play Sailor Neptune because she's older and more experienced. This was a hard question for her to answer! She also said that although she doesn't have a favourite character in the series, Sailor Moon was very close to her heart.
After re-watching Sailor Moon, Kotono said that she doesn't feel that Sailor Moon should have done anything differently. When she played the character, she voiced straight from the heart.
As for Kotono's desire to become a voice actor, she recalled that being in an elementary school broadcast club was part of her original motivation.
Photo credit: source is Sakuracon.org
Today is Mother’s Day, and to our readers who are mothers, and the mothers of our readers, the staff wishes you a very Happy Mother’s Day! We also can’t forget about Sailor Moon’s “mother” (and mother of two herself), Naoko Takeuchi. Naoko, we also wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day, and will wait as long as it takes for a complete release of the Sailor Moon anime. For those of you in Japan, once again the orange Sailor Moon Carnations are in high demand for Mother's Day despite a decrease in their supply! You can spot them in this photo from the Chunichi Shimbun in the back, being packed by a florist.
On this Mother’s Day, we have a couple short Naoko updates to share. One is that last week, Sailor Moon Channel was updated to feature character profiles of all the Senshi (except for the Starlights), as well as a story page. The art on these pages is all from the manga. If there is enough demand from the fans, we may translate these pages beginning later this week (though we will always translate anything she posts on her front page, news, and photo sections).
The second update is that there was a small mention of Naoko Takeuchi in the Shenzhen Daily about a month ago. The article is a reaction to the Earthquake and how at the time it was unknown if many mangaka had survived (as well as rumors of their perish). It then took a happier tone and spoke of how anime in China is as popular as Chinese, South Korean, American, and Taiwanese dramas. The author also writes that anime is second-to-none compared to animation from the rest of the world. There is some mention of Naoko’s husband, Yoshihiro Togashi and the new animated adaptation of Level E, and his ongoing manga series Hunter x Hunter. His work will continue and never be forgotten. We’ll spare you of the descriptions of the other two paragraphs which are gossipy in tone, and lash out at him for taking the fans for granted. Naoko Takeuchi is named by this author as the greatest contributor to girls’ manga (which began in 1963), and was the mangaka who opened the door for Chinese girls to love anime featuring girl superheroes and romance (despite her limited repertoire of work). At first, girls 8-16 years old would be the only ones reading these comics, but slowly men and women now appreciate them. The author even goes on to say that the girls’ anime industry in Japan is the most widely used class!
Fans can check out our most recent translations of Naoko’s updates here, here, and here.
Via Sailor Moon World Italy (and some fans’ messages, thanks!), some new companies involved in merchandising have acquired licenses for Sailor Moon. These include two companies with US branches and one for France; Topps (Germany, Italy and America), Namco Bandai Games America, and Giochi Preziozi France. It is probably safe to infer that Topps will be releasing sticker books (and possibly cards), Giochi Preziozi France will release some (if not all) of the toys made in Italy, and NBGA is likely going to bring La Luna Splende to North America eventually. But, nothing is confirmed, and everyone should have waited for a press release. We have been advised from the companies to play it safe and wait for official word before posting anything like this, but given the criticism and heat we have had to face from some fans, we’re addressing it now as safely as we possibly can. We’ve featured a large photo below filled with cropped screenshots from Kazachok’s Web Guide.
What remains to be known (especially in France and North America), is if this is a sign that the release of the anime is imminent in either of these regions. There are a few other regions in the world that don’t have Sailor Moon either (Russia and Ukraine, to start). In a Japanese press release announcing the return of Sailor Moon to North America, Kodansha made note of how especially in North America, that without the release of the anime and other merchandise, that the manga may not experience the same “big boom” of the past*. We can’t speculate on the progress being made on the anime, due to certain statements made in the last 2 months from companies and representatives all around. We have to wonder if these new merchandising deals are some kind of a placeholder in between that will ultimately aid the anime when the time is right for it to return, while also tiding the release of the manga. Usually, the pattern in Sailor Moon licensing news has been anime first, merchandise and manga second. What do you think, Moonies?
*We had read this the day it was posted but didn’t post anything about it on Moon Chase because you fans were in such a happy mood and we didn’t want to damper the situation! Instead, we all discussed it amongst ourselves for a while and once again, wondered why Sailor Moon was having such a turbulent resurgence.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
This interview was conducted with representatives from a couple of other sources, so some of the answers go beyond Moon Chase staff's prepared questions. We hope readers find this interview interesting, particularly since Christopher Bevins gave insight about the job of directing versus acting; which resulted in an interview with a different focus.
I opened the questions by mentioning he had been ADR director for Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad which previously aired on Much Music in Canada. He also played Beck the dog in that series (which readers may recall from my previous coverage of the Pet Sounds panel). He noted that Canadian fans often mention that Beck aired on Much, and I let him know that Much Music is unfortunately no longer airing anime. He was a little sorry to hear that.
Since music and singing were a significant part of the Beck series, I asked Bevins if that posed any unique challenges for him as a director. He confirmed that it was very difficult and he needed both an assistant director (Taliesin Jaffe) and a music director (Mike McFarland) to make things work. Mike McFarland also adapted the song lyrics for the show. Bevins only directed a couple of the songs himself, which were meant to be more raw sounding performances.
For some background on Christopher Bevins; he was born in L.A., but moved away when he was about six or seven. He lived in Orange County when he was young. Coming to Sakura Con meant a trip back to Seattle after twenty years of being away. He mentioned that he was happy to find that some of his favourite places were still around.
Christopher Bevins first discovered a knack for voice acting by experimenting with accents. He said he's always been told that he has a great voice. In fact, when he used to work for Bank of America, in a smaller branch, he would do the live announcements in the deli next door and people would be surprised that it was his voice and not a recorded performance!
Bevins also noted that he loves cartoons and is a big comic book fan. He had known about anime before working at Funimation, but he wasn't a huge fan. While working at a comic shop, he would air random anime, partly to interest customers in checking out new titles. He watched Star Blazers and Robotech as a child, but he was primarily a fan of American cartoons. although he watched pretty much whatever was on, he did say he liked G.I. Joe a lot and collected items from that franchise. Regarding his comic book collection, he said he has 20 long and 20 short boxes full of comics. This is over 5000 issues! Aside from working on anime, he would really love to be able to make superhero cartoons, particularly Marvel or DC properties. He also loves the current Avengers cartoon. He also noted that in comics, he has a love/hate relationship with Fantastic 4. When he likes the stories, he reads them but when he doesn't he stops buying for a while.
In high school, Bevins wanted to become a movie director, and his fall back was supposed to be teaching at the high school level. Eventually he realized that teaching wasn't right for him because he doesn't generally like starting work that early every day and he thought he wouldn't enjoy being around teenagers all the time. At this point, he took a break before studying more about recording. After this, he became involved with Funimation.
Bevins admit that he has been very lucky in his career and is very appreciative of the good things that have happened to him. Two of the series he previously wanted most to work on were Burst Angel and Samurai 7. He was fortunate enough to work on both.
Beck and Speed Grapher were among his favourite titles to work on, but also the most challenging. Beck was challenging because of the music, as outlined above; Speed Grapher was challenging because it was so different for Funimation at the time. It was the first title that included swearing, for starters.
For fans a little unfamiliar with some of the behind the scenes roles in creating anime, here are some descriptions Christopher Bevins provided of some of the jobs he's had behind the scenes:
- Line Producer: this person hires the director and is responsible for turning in the dub. This includes making sure everything is included and completed on time. (this is not a job that Christopher Bevins does anymore, but he has in the past)
- ADR Director: does the casting with the producer and otherwise is similar to a film director in guiding actors' performances.
- Script Adapter: This is not a translating job. The Script Adapter will receive translations and video content to write the script. The script needs to match mouth movements and timing, convey character personalities, and account for things such as accents as needed (accents may add sounds, so this has to be written in the script).
Bevins voiced a few random characters in Case Closed (as Akiyoshi in ep 3; Concierge in ep 25; Henry Nelbit in ep 56; Moreese Cortezini in ep 66) prior to directing the Case Closed: The Last Wizard of the Century movie in addition to voicing the character Ray Segue in that film. The series had a trial run on YTV in Canada, in addition to airing on Cartoon Network and Funimation Channel in the US. He noted that pretty much everyone at Funimation was involved with Case Closed at some point, and it was a series he really enjoyed. The movies were something that Funimation acquired a couple years after the series. Bevins did ask if he could do one of the movies, as it had been a while since working on the TV series and he wanted to work on it again. Since the movie didn't need to be generalized for a mass market audience, Bevins made the decision to change specific locations back to Japan. He noted that during the series, sometimes changing locations to be very general would have a ripple effect where the puzzles had to be modified too.
The kind of series that Christopher Bevins finds the most creatively satisfying to work on are something he hasn't done before, something that presents a challenge. He recently completed his first comedy, Heaven's Lost Property. Although he was used to working on titles that had comedic portions, this was different for him as it was comedic all the time. He also just got a show that he requested to direct, but it has lots of unique challenges so it will be hard.
When preparing actors for auditions, Bevins said that he gives them a basic description of the show, an idea of how the character speaks, and a basic description that gives them an idea of how to perform the character. Sometimes he will try to encourage the actors to challenge themselves and may point out a few roles that he'd like them to either consider or avoid during the audition process.
Bevins admit he has pretty much cast himself as something, even if just a short role, in everything he has directed. Often this is simply done to keep the schedule moving, but it is also so that he can continue to keep up his acting skills while he is primarily directing. He also noted that he enjoys being casted by other directors as well, but this doesn't tend to happen very often because of scheduling conflicts.
Christopher Bevins has directed quite a few series targeted at a female audience, including RIN – Daughters of Mnemosyne, Burst Angel, Romeo x Juliet, Corpse Princess (Shikabane Hime), and El Cazador de la Bruja. Although he did say that there are some differences in how to approach directing a series for girls, and it was a little different for him at first; he primarily focuses on the believability of the characters within the story, and less on "would a girl actually say that?" He also said that he somewhat has a preference for directing series that feature more female characters. One of the series he previously directed was very much a "dude series" as he described it, so the studio would sometimes smell like sweaty guys. But it was refreshing when a female actress would come in and the place would smell pretty again!
We hope readers enjoyed this interview with Christopher Bevins. If you'd like to see more interviews of behind the scenes personalities in future convention coverage, please let us know!
Photo credits: photo of Christopher Bevins taken by Emily at Sakura Con 2011; Heaven's Lost Property promo image from Funimation.com; Street Fighter 4 image is a screen shot from the game, original source unconfirmed