'Appleseed' director joins Kawaii Kon


POSTED: Monday, March 02, 2009

Digging deep into the film and television credits of Shinji Aramaki unearths a variety of animation treasures from the 1980s through now.

Today's anime fan knows Aramaki best as the director of the computer-animated “;Appleseed”; and its sequel “;Appleseed Ex Machina.”; He's also contributed design work for “;Fullmetal Alchemist,”; “;Witch Hunter Robin,”; “;Wolf's Rain”; and “;Soul Eater.”;

For old-school anime fans, Aramaki may be better known as the man who did the screenplay and mecha designs for “;Bubblegum Crisis,”; the story for the three-part “;Megazone 23”; and the mechanical designs in “;Robotech”; component “;Genesis Climber Mospeada.”;

And then there's “;MASK,”; a cartoon that children of the '80s like myself remember fondly. Matt Trakker, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, their weekday afternoon battles against the forces of the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem, or VENOM ... their look came with the help of Aramaki, who did character and mechanical designs for that show.

This trip down memory lane comes courtesy of local anime convention Kawaii Kon, which announced today that Aramaki will be a guest at this year's event, happening April 10-12 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Aramaki is the third Japanese guest to make his U.S. convention debut at Kawaii Kon, after “;School Rumble”; manga artist Jin Kobayashi in 2006 and Yuuko Miyamura, the voice of Asuka in “;Neon Genesis Evangelion,”; last year.

And with that, the guest roster for Kawaii Kon 2009 is complete. To recap, the list also includes voice actors Laura Bailey, Caitlin Glass, Illich Guardiola, Vic Mignogna, Brina Palencia, Monica Rial and Travis Willingham; producer/director David Williams; artists Stan Sakai and Robert and Emily DeJesus; and musical guests Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re and the Emeralds.

The Ala Moana Hotel is once again the official convention hotel, with rates starting at $115 a night for a single/double occupancy room. Mention the convention when making reservations at 955-4811 on Oahu or (800) 446-8990 elsewhere.

And if you haven't preregistered yet, enter the discount code “;celshaded”; at the registration page online (tinyurl.com/67t4od) and get a 12 percent discount on all three-day passes.

For more information, visit www.kawaii-kon.org. And check back with me next week when I talk about how you can get a taste of Kawaii Kon at the Honolulu Festival.



This year marks the fifth annual Kawaii Kon, a milestone that got me pondering why we, as anime and manga fans, attend conventions like this every year.

So I'd like to throw these questions to you, dear reader: Why do you enjoy going to anime conventions? Is it for the guests? The cosplay? The fellowship among other anime and manga fans just like you? Or is it something else? And what is your most vivid convention memory?

E-mail me at the address below or leave a comment on our starbulletin.com online forums with your answers, and I'll print the best ones in the time leading up to Kawaii Kon.