Otakon is right around the corner. This year the con management began its guest announcement back in April, but the guest list didn't begin to fill until June and it only finished last week. Thankfully, this year's guest list is longer than usual, and is worth the wait.
From Japan, we have most notably Aya Hirano (Haruhi in Haruhi, Konata in Lucky Star), making her solo vocalist debut in the US with a concert on Sunday. Alongside we have voice acting guests Tetsuya Kakihara (Simon in Gurren Lagann, Natsu in Fairy Tail) to promote Gundam Unicorn, Ai Nonaka (Fuuko in Clannad, Konoka in Negima) for Madoka, and seiyuu-vocalist Yuuka Nanri (Henrietta in Gunslinger Girl, Nao in My-Hime) who just finished Kids on the Slope.
More from Japan, there is the ever-present Masao Maruyama, ready to talk show about his new operation at MAPPA. Shin Sasaki as a producer for the Gundam franchise, illustrator and mecha designer Hidetaka Tenjin, and Gen Urobuchi, the writer for Madoka Magica and the original Fate/Zero books.
And that's just the half of it. Click on for more guests and interesting tidbits for Otakon this year!
What may be a game changer for Otakon is its Friday night concert for the Kpop boy band VIXX. This upstart group formed from a viewer-voted reality TV program called Mydol, who just released its first album a couple months ago. The group has a mecha head for a logo, which seems only fitting as, an anime con guest.
Performing with VIXX on Friday, Tokyo-based vocalist and jazz musician Mikako Joho will open with some anime song covers and perhaps her to-be first single. It's not unusual actually for Otakon to stage brand new acts, so it could be a treat for con goers to see something most people haven't even in Japan.
Gashicon will return to Otakon this year and throws a fashion show. It takes place early on Friday and it could be a neat way to open up the con.
The list of American voice actors at Otakon is always robust and it should make their Voice Actor After Dark panel as fun as it always has been. Here is the list and a couple things they've been doing (among many others):
Best known as Power Ranger Green, or Jason David Frank, he will be at Otakon as well. The man is not only an actor in the long running franchise (and he was also a bunch of other rangers), but the owners of a martial arts school chain, and a 7th degree black belt.
Last but certainly not least, author Peter S. Beagle will be at Otakon. He will be glad to talk to you about many of his works for print, TV or film. Of course, there's also that Last Unicorn thing.
That is it for guests of honor. For Otakon's Thursday festivity, the Matsuri, Otakon is hosting some interesting bands for a short live, in case you got through their pre-registration line too quickly (and I'm not entirely facetious). Starting off at noon, a taiko drum act and a taiko drum class hosted by a local cultural center group will give attendees something to watch and actually do.
DJ Cutman will be at the Matsuri spinning the usual con rave fare in between acts. Hopefully there'll be cool VGM mixed in there among various bass dropping.
US-based visual kei band Shinsei will be performing. This 3-piece rock band should at least look the part, having a VK fashion model on bass.
Personally I'm sort of interested about the last act, Hsu-nami. It's not Kpop, but this Chinese-flavored, erhu-powered instrumental rock is definitely intriguing. The Hsu-nami has been touring the US, headlined a bunch of festivals and they drew a huge crowd in China. Perhaps their biggest claim to fame was having their music played during the 2008 Beijin Olympics. The Mahwah, NJ-based band will play last at the Otakon Matsuri.
And that's just the guests playing and performing. What are you looking forward to the most at Otakon?
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