Kawaii Kon gets 2 Asukas in 1 place
Ok, enough with the suspense. Those of you who read last week's column know that I promised to reveal the newest addition to the Kawaii Kon guest roster for 2008 in this column.
I will admit that it's been fun watching the guesses roll in on the local anime convention's online forum for the past week or so. Someone even guessed the correct answer as far back as Wednesday, although no one was about to tell him he was right.
So belated congratulations are in order to that person, who probably didn't realize until now that Japanese voice actress Yuko Miyamura is, indeed, the mystery guest making her U.S. anime convention debut at Kawaii Kon next year.
Miyamura is best known as the original voice of Asuka Langley Soryu, the spunky spitfire enlisted as the pilot of Evangelion Unit 02 in the classic anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and its spinoff movies and video games.
Those grunts, screams and exclamations of "HAHAHAHAHA ... YATTA!" heard from Chinese martial artist Chun Li in several installments of the "Street Fighter" video game franchise? That's Miyamura as well.
Avid viewers of the Japanese game show "Challengers of Fire" might also remember Miyamura from the "Identify 100 Anime Characters" segment. In that segment, posted online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjieIHmEcJM, Miyamura correctly identified 52 characters before being eliminated. (Ironically, it was a character voiced by her father that did her in.)
For Kawaii Kon founder and co-director Stan Dahlin, getting Miyamura was a dream more than three years in the making.
"She was a top candidate ever since 'Evangelion' came out and being that she had never been invited to a U.S. convention, especially on the West Coast," Dahlin told me via e-mail. "Her resume not only included anime, but video game credits as well. Her appearance in 'Battle Royale' (as a girl who appears in a training video) also helped in our eyes considering that we have had in the past a few cosplayers dress up as characters for that movie."
As a bonus, the actress who voiced Asuka in ADV Films' English dub, Tiffany Grant, also will be attending Kawaii Kon. Grant is a veteran of the U.S. convention circuit, but this will be her first time in Honolulu.
"I look forward to having both Asukas present," Dahlin wrote. "I don't think any convention has done that before -- having both the Japanese and U.S. counterparts together in one place."
For more information on Kawaii Kon, taking place April 18-20 at the Hawaii Convention Center, visit www.kawaii-kon.org ...
Coming up Sunday
Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc., 14, of Long Beach, Calif., an anime licensor/distributor, largely ceased to exist Nov. 6. Survivors include "Law of Ueki," "Shonen Onmiyouji" and "When They Cry." Services: Sunday in "Drawn & Quartered" in the Today section ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao