Press Releases

August 17, 2006

News for Metrocon: Amano's World 2006:

Metrocon looks into Amano's World

TAMPA BAY, FL, August 17, 2006 - METROCON has the honor and privilege to announce that Yoshitaka Amano, best known for his illustrations for Vampire Hunter D and for his character designs for the video game series Final Fantasy, will be attending the second METROCON this year. METROCON: Amano's World will showcase the works of Yoshitaka Amano and give a glimpse into the mind of the famous illustrator. Voice actors and artists Doug Smith, Steve Bennett, and Lauren Goodnight will also attend as guests. METROCON: Amano's World takes place October 14-15 at the Tampa Convention Center located in Tampa, Florida.

YOSHITAKA AMANObr> Yoshitaka Amano was born July 28, 1952 and is a Japanese artist, best known for his illustrations for Vampire Hunter D and for his character designs for the video game series Final Fantasy. Biography:
1952 - Born in Shizuoka City, Japan
1967 - Started working for Tatsunoko Productions, worked on character development for such popular animated television series as Gatchaman (G-Force), The Adventures of Hutch, the Honeybee and The Time Bokan series
1982 ­ Left Tatsunoko Production and started working as a freelance illustrator
1983 - Won 14th annual Seiun Award in the category of "art" and continued to win for four consecutive years
1987 - Created visual concept design for the game software Final Fantasy (Square) and continues to be concept designer for the series
1997 - Exhibition THINK LIKE AMANO in New York City
1998 - Concept design for the first philharmonic production of 3D/2D animated short film 1001 Nights which debuted at the Los Angeles Philharmonic April Concert
- Solo exhibition at Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival
- Exhibition THINK LIKE AMANO at Uenonomori Museum of Art in Tokyo
1999 - Solo exhibition HERO at Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York City
2000 - THE SANDMAN: The Dream Hunters was nominated for Hugo Award and won Eisner Award
2001 - Started developing multi-genre presentations of HERO His works both in illustration and computer game design, such as "Vampire Hunter D", "Guin Saga", "Final Fantasy", "Front Mission" etc., became legendary in the industry. His Fine Art oriented works were shown in galleries all over the world in recent years. "Hero", the first of his own project, will be published in July 2006 in the US.

Doug Smith is a Texas-based actor and artist who has been voicing titles at ADV Films for several years, most recently at their Austin-based Monster Island studios. In addition to his well-known portrayal of Kintaro Oe in Golden Boy, Smith can be heard as Doria and Pasta in Steam Detectives, the title character in Dragon Knight, Roger in Plastic Little, Kijima in Blue Seed, and as various characters in series such as Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, Sorcerer Hunters, Those Who Hunt Elves and more.

Stephen Robert Bennett IV was born *&#@?! years ago at Tachikawa Air Force Base in Tokyo Japan. Being an Army brat, Steve moved all over the place in his younger days with his parents and four brothers, He spent his early years in Alaska and Colorado, and lived for almost eight years in Germany during elementary and junior high. The family moved back to Japan when Steve was in his teens, and while he was there he was lucky enough to land a job with Studio Aoehyma, and work under the great Japanese animator, Noboru Furusei (New Dominion Tank Police, Lupin III, etc.) During his time at Studio Aoehyma, Steve learned quite a bit about anime, and worked on such titles as Cat's Eye, the Urusei Yatsura TV Series and Only You, as well as many others for televison and Movies.
But finally, the family moved back to the States and settled in Virginia. Steve finished up high school, took some college courses, and ended up working at a bunch of different jobs. He worked at King's Dominion amusement park (where he met his future wife Nikki), and he also worked in a Japanese restaurant, a video store, and ended up working in construction.
Steve's Interest in Military history lead him to take part in such movies as "Gettysburg" and various History Channel shows. Just look for him in the feathered gray slouch hat next to the soldiers in grey kepis!
About the time Steve and Nikki tied the knot (1994), Steve attended his first anime convention as a guest --Katsucon 1-- and finally remembered his true calling. He started up Studio Ironcat, a Japanese manga publisher, in 1997 and quit his construction job. Ironcat ran until 2004. Although Steve enjoyed his time with Ironcat, the job kept him too busy to focus on his own art. With the close of Ironcat, Steve was finally free to create his own comics, and get back into the artistic side of the industry. Today, Steve is busier than ever at conventions, has two new webcomics on-line at ("Shakespeare Rodeo" and "Life With Steve") and is finally letting his creative juices flow!
(And Koala's are running rampant at Koala Klub too!) Steve has been to numerous anime conventions over the years (too many to mention here!) and has also lent his talents to other venues, such as the American Movie Association, Loyola University in Louisiana, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Iowa Gallery of Art.Steve also won the 1996 Osamu Tezuka Award for outstanding American Anime/Manga artist, and has taught animation/cel painting instructional classes at Comic Anime and Anime Pavillion. Steve's many appearances and personal approach to teaching and talking with anime fans about anime/manga over the years and his involvement with charities American Cancer Society, The Lupus Foundation, and Make A Wish Foundation have earned him the sobriquets of "Anime's Goodwill Ambassador"
Steve's friendly nature will entertain and inform all folks big and small so wherever he appears next, just pull up a chair, sit back, shoot the breeze with him and enjoy the ride!

Lauren Goodnight, a voice actress for ADV Films, has appeared in Aquarian Age: Sign for Evolution (Sarashina, Arayashiki West), Pretear (Natsue Awayuki), Angelic Layer (Narrator), SuperGALS! (Sanae), Sorcerer Hunters: Chocolate, Springs, and Other Hot Things (Shiorina), Evangelion: Director's Cut, Noir, DNAngel, and RahXephon.
Anime has always been a part of her life, from watching Voltron and Speed Racer as a child through her Bachelor's Degree thesis on fandom (especially anime fandom)...showing how the love of something central can bind people together. In between all of the anime, she dances, sings for the bands "mit Reißzahnen" and "Hourglass System", draws the webcomic Status Report: FaerieTale, and writes a regular column for as their Staff Music Reviewer.

METROCON: Amano's World, a 2 day look into the mind of Yoshitaka Amano, is a spin-off convention of METROCON, known as the largest anime convention in Florida. METROCON celebrates the numerous facets of Japanese popular entertainment ­ from anime (Japanese animation), manga (Japanese comics), J-pop and J-rock (Japanese pop and rock music, performed by "idols") to cosplay (costume design and performance) and video games.

Events at METROCON: Amano's World this year include: Panels and autograph signings with Yoshitaka Amano, a formal ballroom dance, Artists' Alley; costume contest, dealers'/exhibition room, official convention screenings of new North American releases, oanels with North American anime industry guests, Live Celebrity Commentaries with the industry guests, Dances and karaoke, the METROCADE video game room and finally, continuous hours of Japanese anime and related programming.

METROCON takes place at the Tampa Convention Center located in downtown Tampa, Florida.

METROCON is presented by

Visit for more information.