Former Power Ranger tops Kawaii Kon roster


POSTED: Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back when your friendly neighborhood anime columnist was attending high school (Punahou class of '94, represent!), there was a year when all the kids were clamoring for Mighty Morphin Power Ranger toys for Christmas.

I admit, I probably was outside the target demographic for those toys and the corresponding series. Yet I still watched episodes here and there, mostly because “;Animaniacs”; ran near it on the Fox Kids afternoon schedule. Even then I wasn't focusing on the plot so much as that the two actresses who played the pink and yellow Rangers were pretty cute.

So when the actors playing the red, yellow and black Rangers were replaced in the middle of the second season—a move made, as I know now, because those actors wanted more money and the studio didn't want to pay up—I didn't think much of it.

Fast-forward to last Friday, when, as a Christmas gift of sorts, local anime convention Kawaii Kon revealed the first guests for next year's event. And to bring my introductory tale full circle, one of the first-time guests will be the actor who came in as the replacement black Ranger, Johnny Yong Bosch.

Bosch has an impressive post-Power Ranger resume when it comes to anime. His first voice-acting role was as Vash the Stampede, the gun-slinging crusader for love and peace in “;Trigun.”; He's also starred as Ichigo in “;Bleach,”; Kaneda in “;Akira,”; Lelouch Lamperouge in “;Code Geass,”; Claus in “;Last Exile”; and Renton in “;Eureka Seven.”; When not acting, Bosch can be found either hosting the AnimeTV podcast (found at goanimetv.com) or fronting his rock band, Eyeshine.

Two other guests also will be attending for the first time:

» Wendy Powell, Funimation voice actress most known as the voice of Envy in “;Fullmetal Alchemist.”; She's also the voice of Misora Kasuga, one of the many, many, many, many girls in the “;Negima”; franchise.

» Samantha Inoue Harte, the founder of Austin, Texas-based animation studio Saiko Studios who also has a few voice-acting credits with ADV Films on her resume. (Personal trivia side note: Harte was one of the guests at the first anime convention I ever attended, Ani-Magic 2004 in Valencia, Calif.)

Joining the convention will be several veteran guests. Anime dub producer David Williams, formerly of ADV Films, will be making his sixth appearance in six years. Artists Robert and Emily DeJesus, who were a last-minute scratch from Kawaii Kon 2009 due to a death in the family, will be making their fifth appearance, as will the fan-favorite voice of Edward Elric in “;Fullmetal Alchemist”; and Tamaki in “;Ouran High School Host Club,”; Vic Mignogna.

Kawaii Kon will be held April 16-18 at the Hawai'i Convention Center. Just as with last year, the Kawaii Kon folks have given me a discount code to share with you, dear “;Cel Shaded”; reader: Enter “;celshaded2010”; when you register online and you can now get three-day adult memberships for $34 and child memberships (for ages 6 to 12) for $24—an $8 discount off the normal prices.

For more information, visit www.kawaii-kon.org.

A quick note for Utada fans

Did the Hikaru Utada concert Jan. 15 at Pipeline Cafe sell out before you got tickets? Petals and Beans at 1288 Ala Moana Blvd. is giving away five pairs of tickets. You'll get an entry form for every regularly priced grande beverage you buy.