AnimeNEXT 2014: a con in review

AnimeNEXT returned to the Garden State Exhibit Center from June 6-8 for a weekend of anime, cosplay, video games, fashion and music. Heavy on the fashion and music. The organizers really outdone themselves this year, inviting Studio Trigger designer Wakabayashi Hiromi and animator Koyama Shigeto to promote their latest series of action awesomeness, Kill la Kill. For the fashion line, we have h.Naoto’s Acryl agitt with designer Ishikawa Daisuke for the latest in Japanese punk and galaxxxy’s Arai Jun for their spin on Harajuku fashion. This year, they have their own celebrity models with Kawaii Ambassador (yes, that is an officiated position) Kimura Yu and MATENROU OPERA bassist, yo. The range of punk and lolita extends to music as well with Friday’s concert with ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D and Sunday closing with Luna Haruna of Sword Art Online and Fate/Zero fame. Stateside guests does not lose in caliber as they include AnimeNEXT favs Bill Rogers, Michelle Knotz as well as new guests Matthew Mercer, Alexis Tipton, producer/director Jonathon Klein and husband/wife VAs Ellen Steryn and the epic Richard Epcar amongst others. The highlight of the weekend besides the concerts, the fashion show and the panels would have to be the North Eastern World Cosplay Summit preliminaries, the winner which would move ahead to the finals at Acen and obtain the chance to represent as Team USA in Japan. For a con in the middle of New Jersey, it is definitely a weekend that would put it on the cosplay map! Let’s get started!
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AnimeNEXT 2014 – Kill la Kill Studio Trigger Panel

Currently working as part of studio TRIGGER’s staff, Hiromi Wakabayashi has been involved in several works with Hiroyuki Imaishi. He began setting production for Gurren Lagann and has also worked on Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt from its beginnings as an original idea to assisting in plot development, and participated in directing. For KILL la KILL Hiromi contributed the plot development for episode 4 and directed the 2nd ending sequence. Most importantly, he assists and oversees the design team of KILL la KILL as creative officer.

Shigeto Koyama is an active designer in Japan’s media industry. He has participated in various popular anime titles such as Aim for the Top! 2 Diebuster, HEROMAN, Eureka Seven, Gurren Lagann, Rebuild of Evangelion, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and Star Driver. Koyama plays a vital role in KILL la KILL as a creative director and also created the storyboard and illustration for the 2nd ending sequence. He is also responsible for conceptual design on Inferno Cop, which is available legally on YouTube. Currently, he is working on production for the anime series Captain Earth, which is available on ~AnimeNEXT info
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AnimeNEXT 2014 – Luna Haruna Panel

Luna Haruna was born on October 11th, 1991. Luna’s original voice and special talent soon attracted great deal of attention after releasing her original song “Binetsu no Tsuki” on the magazine “Lis Ani!”. On May 2012, she made her major debut with the song “Soraha Takaku Kazeha Utau” (Ending theme song for the second season of animation “Fate/Zero”), written and composed by Yuki Kajiura. On the same year in November, she released her second single “Overfly” (Ending theme song for animation “Sword Art Online”). Her latest single, “snowdrop” was featured as the ending theme song for “Koimonogatari”, second season of series). ~AnimeNEXT info
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AnimeNEXT 2014 – ROOKIEZ is PUNK’D concert

ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D is a 4-piece rock band with Mixture style, incorporating various music styles with emphasis on rock, punk, and emo. Since formation, the band has been actively producing heart-touching Japanese lyrics, one & only melody lines with expressive band sound to spread messages to fans to live straight forwardly in this day and age at performances all over Japan from their home ground of Shibuya. ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D does not stay within just music but branches out in other areas as well. In fashion, for example, SHiNNOSUKE models for Japanese street fashion brand, “Subciety” while the band gets endorsement from West Coast apparel brand, “srh” and crossing over with other subcultures such as extreme sports and anime (“Durarara!!”, “BLEACH”, “Blue Exorcist”). Their new single, “Reclimb” released in November 2013 was chosen for the opening theme of a hit bicycle anime, “Yowapeda”. ~AnimeNEXT info
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AnimeNEXT 2014 – Kimura Yu Panel

Creator of the most pink in the world. A multi-talented magazine fashion model turned creator, kimura U has been appointed Japan’s official “Kawaii Ambassador” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote pop culture and represent Harajuku Fashion to the world. Having visited countries all over the world such as France, America, Italy and China, kimura U has been a guest at Japanese pop culture events such as Japan Expo and fashion events like Paris Collection. She is the leading emissary of the Shinjuku “kawaii” aesthetic. In 2013, she worked on the cover illustration for a photo collection by LiSA. Then, in 2014, her talents flowered when her original fashion brand, “KOKOkim,” opened at Shibuya 109, establishing her as a creator unbound by genre. This star of Shinjuku is recognized all over Japan! As the world’s #1 creator of pink, kimura U is unstoppable! ~AnimeNEXT info
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