Anime Expo® 2007, Bandai Entertainment Inc., and Kadokawa Pictures USA Announce “SOS Brigade Invasion Tour”

May 25th 2007
May 25, 2007 (Cypress, Ca) – Anime Expo® 2007, Bandai Entertainment, INC., and Kadokawa Pictures USA announced today that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya will be celebrated at this year's Anime Expo® convention, held at the Long Beach Convention Center June 29-July 2, 2007, with the “SOS Brigade Invasion Tour.”

The SOS Brigade is a reference to the school club formed by Haruhi Suzumiya, the eccentric lead character of this series, which has been nothing short of a phenomenon in Japan and is making its North American debut on DVD on May 29th 2007.

Aya Hirano (Haruhi), Yuko Goto (Mikuru), and Minori Chihara (Yuki), renowned worldwide for their performances in both the Haruhi television series and the character soundtracks will be attending as Official Guests of Honor at this year's Anime Expo®.

In addition to appearing on panels and having autograph sessions, the three voice leads, will also be performing in a live concert on Saturday June 30th 2007 at 4:30 pm at the Long Beach Arena, next to the convention center. They will be performing such hit songs as “Bouken Desho Desho?” and “Hare Hare Yukai.” Winner of Bandai Entertainment, INC. Haruhi Dance contest will be allowed to come up on stage and perform the infamous dance with the voice actresses, live on stage. The concert will be free for Anime Expo® attendees.

“We are excited to be working with Anime Expo® and Kadokawa Pictures USA to bring the voice talents who have made Haruhi so successful in Japan for their first appearance in North America,” said Ken Iyadomi, President of Bandai Entertainment. “Please join us as the SOS Brigade Invasion continues.”

Aya Hirano, Yuko Goto and Minori Chihara join Tetsuro Araki, Eisaku Inoue, Masaru Kitao, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and ORESKABAND as Anime Expo® 2007 Official Guests of Honor.

All registrants who register before the end of May are automatically placed into the drawing. Those who have already pre-registered are also automatically entered into this drawing. Secure pre-registration can be done via online at:

HYPERLINK "https://secure.rhq.com/anime/anime2007/attreg/index.cgi" https://secure.rhq.com/anime/anime2007/attreg/index.cgi.


Attendees interested in booking flights, car rentals and/or other hotels for Anime Expo® 2007 can do so via the AX Travel Store located at HYPERLINK "http://www.AXTravelStore.com" www.AXTravelStore.com.


For more information, please visit www.anime-expo.org or www.asosbrigade.com

AYA HIRANO
Born October 8, 1987 in the Aichi Prefecture. Aya Hirano has risen from relative obscurity to become the hottest young voice actress in Japan.  Highly regarded and extremely well known for her role as the title character, Haruhi Suzumiya, in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.  Derived from the popular series of light novels, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan. 
Aya Hirano's career was further cemented with the release of the Bouken Desho Desho CD Single, featuring her vocals which subsequently sold out of Japanese stores upon its first day for release.  She has since gone on to win the first annual seiyu awards for “Best Newcomer” for her role as the character – Haruhi Suzumiya. 
YUKO GOTO
A seasoned voice actress, Yuko Goto has had roles in several hit anime and game series including the popular Shuffle!  As of recent, Yuko Goto has grabbed the attention of the anime community for her performance as the sexy but timid Mikuru Asahina in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.  The character has since gone on to consistently fall into the top 50 favorite anime characters (source: Animage), with Yuko's Character CD for Mikuru Asahina reaching 14 on the Oricon charts (note: Oricon is the Japanese Equivalent of the American Billboards). 
MINORI CHIHARA
Born November 18; Minori Chihara has managed to segue a career as a voice actress with her debuting as Aya Natsume in the series Tenjho Tenge.  However, Minori's true claim to fame arrived when she provided her vocal talents to the hit series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya where she played the quiet and bookish Yuki Nagato. She gained further attention as a voice actress as well as a singer with the release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Character CD – Yuki Nagato which found itself being a massive hit among anime fans, reaching a peak of 13 on the Japanese Oricon Charts.  Continuing her success from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Minori has since lent her voice talents as a lead character in Kyoto Animation's new series Lucky Star.





About Bandai Entertainment, INC.
Bandai Entertainment, INC. is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) Inc. and the premier distributor of Japanese animation on DVD and programming for television broadcast in North America. Titles include Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell, Gundam Seed Destiny, My Hime, and many more. Additional company and product information is available through our website at www.bandai-ent.com.

About Kadokawa Pictures USA
Kadokawa Pictures USA (KPUSA) the Los Angeles-based arm of the Japanese Kadokawa Group Holdings, Inc. (KGH, Inc) expands its brand of content in the growing international world of multimedia. KPUSA, remakes films and distributes its film libraries of live-action and anime from over 1700 film titles. KGH, Inc. includes Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, one of the largest publishers in Japan with over 60 year history, Japan's major production and distribution division, Kadokawa Pictures and a physical film studio, Kadokawa Daiei Film Studio.

About Anime Expo®
Located in Long Beach, California - Anime Expo®, the nation's largest anime/manga convention, serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests of the general public and animation/ comics industry. This event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2007 will be held June 29 – July 2, 2007 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Southern California. SPONSORS: ADV Films, Bandai Entertainment, Copic Markers, Digital Manga, Gaia Online, Go! Media, Infinity Studios, ImaginAsian TV (iaTV) and the Los Angeles Times. More information can be found at its website (www.anime-expo.org).

About Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more popularly known by its entertainment property – Anime Expo®. More information can be found at its website ( HYPERLINK "http://www.spja.org" www.spja.org).

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