Press Releases

July 8, 2010

News for Otakon 2010:

Otakon announces creators of Welcome to the Space Show and other guests

Baltimore, MD (July 7, 2010) Otakon is pleased to welcome director Koji Masunari, character designer Masashi Ishihama, and producer Tomonori Ochikoshi. They are the creative team behind the award-winning new film Welcome to the Space Show, which will make its U.S. premier at Otakon 2010.

Director Koji Masunari is best known to American audiences as the director for the popular R.O.D -Read or Die and R.O.D.: The TV Series. He also created and directed Kamichu! and was series director for shows including Honey and Clover, Kokoro Library!, Tenchi Universe, Omishi Magical Theater Risky Safety, Saber Marionette R, and Photon: The Idiot Adventures. He also directed the ending animation for El Hazard, and storyboarded Naruto the Movie: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom. More recent work includes the award-winning Welcome to the Space Show, and he serves as director and series composition for Android Ana Maico 2010.

Masashi Ishihama is a prolific animator, director, and character and mecha designer. He has worked as an animator and/or animation director on Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the Digimon Adventure movie, Welcome to the NHK, The Hakkenden: Legend of the Dog Warriors, Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade, and the classic Giant Robo. He also directed for Speed Grapher J and one of the Bleach openings, and he storyboarded, animated, and/or designed for Read or Die in both its incarnations.

Producer Tomonori Ochikoshi has been responsible for several hit shows over the past several years, drawing frequently on a core of talented creators. He has been responsible for Blood+, Kamichu!, Fairy Tale, and the Read or Die TV series. He also produced Kannagi Crazy Shrine Maidens.

Baltimore, MD (July 7, 2010) In a welcome addition, Otakon will once more host triple threat Michael Sinterniklaas. A 16-year veteran of the anime industry, Sinterniklaas founded the recording studio NYAV Post LLC in 2000, which now has facilities in both New York and Los Angeles.

Sinterniklaas has been busy at work this year voice acting in and directing two new "top secret" original animated series, one for Cartoon Network and one for Nickelodeon, that will premiere later this year, as well as the second season of Speed Racer for Nicktoons. In the world of anime, Sinterniklaas has been directing Sunrise's new hit Gundam Unicorn OVA, and producing and acting in Funimation's two new Slayers series in the role of Xellos. His other acting projects this year include Funimation's Eden of the East and Basara, as well as Viz Media's Naruto, Monster and Bleach.

His game credits include the Basara video game for Capcom, and the final boss Orphan in Final Fantasy XIII. Last but not least, Sinterniklaas finished up season four of Adult Swim's The Venture Brothers, in which he plays Dean Venture.

In the realm of live action, Sinterniklaas lent his voice to the Russian blockbuster The Black Lightning as the lead Dima, and getting out of the booth for a stint, Michael got in front of the camera to shoot the feature film Trivial Pursuits, which is just about to wrap up post production.

Other work fans might recognize include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Kappa Mikey, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Shaman King, Freedom, Full Metal Alchemist, The Sky Crawlers, Gao Gai Gar, Kurokami, Pokemon, Samurai 7, D Grey-Man, Berserk, Mushi Shi, Burst Angel, Magic Users Club, Jungle Emperor Leo and Glass Fleet, to name but a few.

Baltimore, MD (July 8, 2010) Manga artist/creator Felipe Smith will appear at Otakon 2010. Smith is one of the few successful non-Japanese mangaka working in Japan today.

Born in 1978 in Akron, Ohio, and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Smith graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000. After winning second place in Tokyopop's 2004 Rising Stars of Manga, he published his first three-volume series, MBQ, through the same publisher.

In 2008 he earned the opportunity to publish his next series, PEEPO CHOO, in Morning 2 monthly magazine, published by Kodansha, Japan's largest publisher. PEEPO CHOO Vol. 1 is now available in the U.S., in English, through Vertical, Inc.

Baltimore, MD (July 8, 2010) Award-winning fantasy author Peter S. Beagle will make his third appearance as a guest at Otakon 2010.

Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, is America's greatest living fantasist and has millions of fans around the world. He was born in New York City in 1939 and raised in the Bronx, where he grew up surrounded by the arts and education. Both his parents were teachers; three of his uncles were gallery painters; and his immigrant grandfather was a respected writer, in Hebrew, of Jewish fiction and folktales. As a child Peter used to sit by himself in the stairwell of his apartment building, making up stories. As a young teenager he appeared on a regular weekend radio show, reviewing and discussing books. By the time he was 15 one of his story submissions caught the eye of Bryna Ivins, fiction editor of Seventeen magazine, who took him under her wing. Together she and her husband, the poet, critic, and anthologist Louis Untermeyer, introduced the talented young man to many of the famous writers and editors of the day. They also connected him with his first literary agent, Elizabeth Otis, who at the time represented Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men).

Beagle was 16 when he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1955, a feat he says he managed only with the help of friends ("I loved history and English, and got good grades in those. At everything else I was dismal to the point of embarrassment.") Fortunately for him, a poem he'd written the year before won "best in America" from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The prize: a full scholarship to the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

At 19 Beagle wrote and sold his first novel, the remarkable graveyard fantasy A Fine and Private Place. In 1968 he published his second and best-known novel, The Last Unicorn. This was followed years later by The Folk of the Air, The Innkeeper's Song, and Tamsin; the short story collections Giant Bones, The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche, The Line Between, and We Never Talk About My Brother; and a number of nonfiction articles and books.

In addition, Beagle has also written many teleplays and screenplays, including the animated versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Last Unicorn, plus the fan-favorite "Sarek" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. His nonfiction book I See By My Outfit is considered a classic of American travel writing, and he is also a gifted poet, lyricist, and singer/songwriter. He currently makes his home in Oakland, California.

Beagle appears courtesy of Conlan Press.

Otakon 2010 will be held July 30 August 1 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its seventeenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 25,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 70,000 "turnstile" attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff we are run by fans, for fans.

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