AnimeNEXT 2014 – Opening Ceremonies

Alternating between Euphoria and Uncle Yo introducing the guests, it was very entertaining.

Con Chair Eric Torgersen gave the opening speech encouraging everyone to have fun with safety. Some wise words indeed. Euphoria went through some of the highlights of the weekend including karaoke, the hallcosplay contest contest, masquerade as well as the newly added, World Cosplay Summit North East preliminaries. Uncle Yo went through a slew of events including the all ages Anime Dating game, table top gaming and concerts.

The first guest they brought out was ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D who just had tons of fun on the stage. In English, Shinnosuke greeted the crowd. “What’s up everyone! We love anime, you know! Thank you for having us. Yesterday, we went to Ruby Tuesday! American food is so good and American people are so kind. And American girls…so hot! We have a concert here tonight at 8 o’clock. Please come and play together. We have autograph session tomorrow, please come!” *audience applauds*

Euphoria introduced Studio Trigger, Wakabayashi Hiromi.

    Wakabayashi: Hello, everyone! I’m very happy to be here in New Jersey. Does anyone know Kill la Kill? *audience cheers* I have a panel today at 4:50pm, and tomorrow also at 5pm. Please come!

Another staff from Studio Trigger was introduced next, animator Koyama Shigeto.

    Koyama: Hello! Nice to meet you! My name is Koyama Shigeto. It is my first time here. I’m very happy to meet you all. I’m here with Hiromi for Kill la Kill. We have a panel here tomorrow. Please come by! Thank you for having me!

Uncle Yo introduced h.Naoto designer, Ichikawa Daisuke who will be introducing his Acryl agitt line.

    Ichikawa: Hello, everyone! My name is Ichikawa Daisuke. I’m a fashion designer for h.Naoto. It is my first time here. Tomorrow we have a fashion show at 2pm. I hope everyone can come. Thank you for having me!

Arai Jun, one of the designers for galaxxxy was shown on stage.

    Arai: *in English* Hello, I am Jun Arai. Thank you for having me! I am here to for the fashion show tomorrow. Thank you!

Uncle Yo introduced singer and designer, the Kawaii Ambassador of Japan who has the most pink in the world, kimura U. She will be featured as a guest model for the fashion show. Truly, her exuberance filled the stage with her presence.

    Kimura: *in English* Hi, everyone! *audience responds in kind* Excuse me, my name is kimuraaaaaa…U! *audience cheers* Thank you! I have the most pink stuff in the world! Thank you very much! I have a panel today at at 5pm. I will be in the fashion show tomorrow at 2pm. Also, please come to the tea party tomorrow at 6pm. Hope to see you there! Thank you very much!

Yo, MATENROU OPERA bassist will be a guest model in the fashion show.

    Yo: *in English* Hello! I’m happy to be here. Please have fun! Thank you!

Luna Haruna was not at the con yet. Instead, a video was shown after a bit of technical delay. Several clips from her PVs were shown including ‘Overfly’ from Sword Art Online. Then Luna gave a special message in English to the fans. Her concert and autograph session is at 2pm on sunday.

The stage turns to the English guests starting with Director and Producer Jonathon Klein. The highlight of the weekend will be the Charity Auction that he will be hosting on saturday at 4pm. As one that has worked with many different people in the anime and video game industry, he has a plethora of limited and signed memorabilia including a large framed poster that is signed by the main cast of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Greg Houser was next and he will hosting the the voice acting panel along with Bill Rogers. New to the Anime Next scene, Alexis Tipton greeted the crowd followed by ANext veteran Bill Rogers.

(I must note, his goatee makes him look very different…didn’t recognize him right away. XD) Rogers will be hosting his usual voice acting workshop that will span all 3 days granting fans an opportunity to experience the audition process, cold reads and learn key points for vocal expression.

Josh Grelle will also be joining Bill at his workshop (seems like many of the VAs will be hosting this workshop this weekend.) Anime Next favorite, Michelle Knotz was next, sneaking up behind Euphoria until Uncle Yo announced her properly. Knotz will be hosting her mayham of a fun panel which she detailed was going to be a talent show of sorts by the fans.

Husband and wife voice actors, Richard Epcar and Ellyn Stern came on stage. I can’t get enough of their voices, rich with depth, feeling…and also a wealth of witty classic humor seen with long time VAs when speaking even casually. (30 some years in the business?!?) Ellyn pointed out that she voiced many mothers in anime, including Naruto’s mother. Guess she has that kind of voice. On the other hand, Epcar would be the voice you would want a hot guy to have: deep and reverberating. The panel to look forward to would be his Out Take Panel held that evening.

Matthew Mercer rounded off the VAs guests with a promise of chaos during his 18+ panel ‘After Dark with Matthew Mercer’.

Another Anime Next veteran and fan favorite, lecturer Charles Dunbar is prepared to give intellectual insight on the media that we love, granting depth, understanding that the casual viewer may miss. The highlight of the weekend would be his famed Ninja panel…and his tour de force, Kill la Kill and the transformation of Japan.

Panelist/lecturer Daryl Surat will be hosting a Kill la Kill panel as well though from a different viewpoint than Charles’. (The series definitely has alot they can focus on. ^_^.) He will also be hosting a ‘Great Anime Openings’ panel that will take place on sunday.