Anime Matsuri announces guests for 2011

Jan 26th 2011

Anime Matsuri's fifth year anniversary paints Texas in Anime

Houston, TX, January 24th, 2011: On March 18th-20th, Anime Matsuri celebrates its fifth year anniversary with an exciting lineup of guests, panels and events. Anime Matsuri is proud to announce our first guests for 2011 which includes Stephanie Young, Luci Christian, Mike McFarland, Christopher Smith, Kyle Hebert, Hamatsun Serve, DJ Heavygrinder, DJ Tito, Reni Mimura, Matt Mercer, Rynn, Sumikins, Yukilefay and Vampy.

Stephanie Young is thrilled to be working with Funimation and OkraTron 5000 as a voice actress and singer. With a niche voice for dominating females, witches, and queens, she has some exciting new characters that she will be able to announce in Spring 2011! Her latest game project - Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smilely!

Stephanie is the female vocalist in the “Brad” theme song, as well as the voice of the Viking hottie, “Nordya”. Her voice acting credits include the lead role in Claymore portraying “Clare”, “Nico Robin” in One Piece (new dub with Funimation), “Arachne” in Soul Eater, “Juiz” in Eden of the East, “Oise” in Oh! Edo Rocket, “Tamayo Kataokon” in Rideback, “Yoshikawa” in Bamboo Blade, “Junko” in Desert Punk, “Elfriede” in Moonphase, “Mana” in Negima!, “Miranda Maverick” in Solty Rei, “Sophia” in Aquarion, “Kagero” in Basilisk, “Sasha Jobson” in Blassreiter, “Lecty Leque” in Heroic Age, “Flanca” in Gunslinger Girl, “Oruha” in Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, “Nora” in Witchblade, “Echidna Parass” in Black Cat, “Nanako” in Crayon Shin-chan, “B.B.” in Glass Fleet, “Yuuri Kitajima” in Dragonaut, “Jane” in Grappler Baki Maximum Tournament, “Yahagi” in Mushi-Shi, “Female Rogue” in Ragnarök, “Dr. Kozuki” in Rumbling Hearts, “Itoko Osakabe” in School Rumble, “Mireille” in Trinity Blood, “Aki Abe” in Hell Girl, “Reika Tachibana” in Balder Force Exe Resolution, “Xavier Tatum” in Shuffle!, “Mrs. Tomita” in Kodocha, Hanahana in xxxHOLiC, and “Shika” in Samurai 7. Her game credits include “Fiona” in Spike Out and “Selket” in Unreal Championship II, The Liandri Conflict. Stephanie can also be heard singing theme songs for Dragon Ball GT, Negima!, and Tsubasa. With Illumitoon, Stephanie recorded “Paf Shining” in AM Drive and “Karen” in B't X.

As a singer/songwriter, Stephanie enjoys lending her signature, soulful vocals, along with her guitarist husband David, to the Dallas-based pop/jazz band, The Brehms (www.thebrehmsband.com). They recently released their self titled, debut album “The Brehms”, and their single, “Red Dress”, was a finalist in the USA International Songwriting Competition! With a dash of ultra lounge and surfer rock chic, this album rocks with retro flare! Stephanie is also a graduate of Baylor University with a degree in Theatre Performance. Her love of performing lead her to work extensively on the stage, as well as on both sides of the camera with the production house, Blue Logic (www.bluelogicproductions.com). As an actress, Stephanie has appeared in numerous film, television, voice over, and national commercial/print projects. Stephanie is a two-time nominee for the Dallas Theatre League's Leon Rabin Award for her work in the Dallas Theatre Community. Stephanie is represented by The Horne Agency.

Luci Christian is a full-time professional actor living in Houston, Texas. Internationally known for her voice work, her career also spans stage, television, radio, industrial, and anything else she can book.

Voice credits for ADV Films include, among others, Deunan in Appleseed ExMachina, Kaname Chidori in Full Metal Panic!, FMP FUMOFFU!, and FMP The Second Raid, Sasshi in Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Ran Kotobuki in Super GALS, Miss Yukari in Azumanga Daioh, Duck/Princess Tutu in Princess Tutu, Mikura in Mezzo for TV, Margaret in Madlax, Tetsu in Peacemaker, Risa in D.N.Angel, Himeno in Pretear, Sarah/Kate in Kaleido Star, Luna in Gravion and Gravion Zwei, Ringo in Air Gear, Mako in Nerima Daikon Brothers, Mizuki in Guyver, Haruko in Air TV, Jinpei in Gatchaman, and a regular bump voice for The Anime Network.

For FUNimation Entertainment, she's voiced Psiren and Wrath in Fullmetal Alchemist, Nami in One Piece, Rico in Gunslinger Girl, Komachi in Samurai 7, Louis Ft. Drake in Galaxy Railways, Kosuna in Desert Punk, Micchi in Shin-chan, Asuna in Negima!, Kasha in Solty Rei, Washu in Sasami, Tenma in School Rumble, Cassandra in Black Blood Brothers, Honey in Ouran Host Club, Lenalee in D.Gray-man, Koyuki in Sgt. Frog, Havoc in Darker than Black, Ophelia in Claymore, Kirino in Bamboo Blade, Makina in Shikabane Hime, and Birdy in Birdy the Mighty: Decode. For DDR fans, her voice is all over Dance Dance Revolution Universe for the X-BOX 360.

Ms. Christian holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Louisiana State University, and she and her husband recently welcomed their first baby

Mike McFarland got his start in anime as one of the first voice actors in Texas to be hired by FUNimation Productions in 1997, and has since moved on to become a Voice Director, Script Writer, and Line Producer for numerous anime series. Notable roles include Master Roshi, Yajirobe, Android #8 and Pui-Pui in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, Baby and Baby-Vegeta in Dragon Ball GT, Goemon in Lupin the Third (Movie Specials), Ritsu Sohma in Fruits Basket, Lt. Jean Havoc in Fullmetal Alchemist, Cain in Trinity Blood, as well as various roles in Burst Angel, The Galaxy Railways, Yū Yū Hakusho, Blue Gender, Case Closed, Spiral, Kodocha, Baki the Grappler, Desert Punk, Black Cat, Kiddy Grade, and many more. His latest roles include Tybalt in Romeo X Juliet, Ranka in Ouran High School Host Club, and Buggy the Clown in the new FUNimation dub of One Piece. He has also worked with ADV Films on Parasite Dolls, Gantz, Shadow Skill, Papuwa, Nerima Daikon Brothers, and Diamond Daydreams, and with Geneon on Ghost Talker's Daydream, Koi Kaze, and Rumiko Takahashi Anthology.

As an ADR/Voice Director, Mike has worked on Dragon Ball Z, Yū Yū Hakusho, Case Closed, Dragon Ball, Galaxy Railways, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror Of Shamballa, Trinity Blood, Vexille, Mushi-Shi, Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino, and One Piece. ADR Scriptwriting credits include Fullmetal Alchemist, Kodocha, Trinity Blood, and the uncut versions of Dragon Ball Z.

Mike is also an accomplished improv comedian, musician, and has appeared in numerous commercials and independent films, including The Rage Within, House Of The Generals, Placebo, and the award-winning Schtickmen. For more information, check out his web site at www.mikemcfarland.com.

Christopher Smith has been a major voice component in anime and games for quite some time, beginning with incidental characters in Robotech and Captain Harlock (third guy from the left who screams when he blows up). Years later he now plays such prominent characters as Headmaster Kaien Cross in Vampire Knight, Kittan in Gurren Lagann, Ishidate in Naruto, and Matoko Kibune, Rose, and Wonderweiss in Bleach.

He's at least 15 characters apiece in Monster and Code: Geass, as well as multiple roles in the Russian/Japanese anime movie First Squad. He's Hanamoto-sensei in Honey and Clover, The Puppeteer in Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, and he plays multiple characters in Gatchaman, the upcoming big-screen remake of the 70s series G-Force. He's a high-profile presence in games as well, having voiced Agent Smith in Matrix: Path of Neo, Superman in Mortal Kombat vs DC, Rufus in (Super) Street Fighter 4, and Tenebrae in Tales of Symphonia 2.

He was also Commander Cadigan in Dead Space, Commander Gaghan in Star Ocean, and he voice matched Hugh Jackman, Hugo Weaving, and Anthony Lapaglia in Happy Feet. He is several main characters in World of Warcraft (Mal'Ganis, Selin Fireheart, Salraam, Dalronn, etc), and can be heard in the latest WoW expansion pack, Cataclysm. He's the lead role of Sergeant Hunter in Operation Flashpoint 2, and The Emperor in Final Fantasy: Dissidia, along with four characters in the latest Vandal Hearts installment, and multiple characters in Star Wars: Empire at War. He's Pagus in The Last Remnant, Scalpel and Firehawk for Command & Conquer 4, Nobunaga Oda in the Samurai Warriors franchise, Sun Wukong The Monkey King in Warriors Orochi, and Yuan Shao in Dynasty Warriors.

He's Yoshiaki Mogami in Samurai Heroes, major bad guy Juda in the game roboot of the 80's fave Fist of the North Star, and numerous monsters and nazi zombies in Rob Zombie's: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.

Kyle Hebert is a Los Angeles-based anime and video game voice actor whose credits include Street Fighter IV (Ryu), Naruto (Kiba), Bleach (Aizen, Ganju), X Men Arcade (all male voices) andGurren Lagann (Kamina). He is best known as the Narrator and Teen Gohan from Dragon Ball Z. Other notable roles include Soul Eater (Masamune), Ouran High School Host Club (Kazukiyo Soga), Fullmetal Alchemist (Vato Falman), Tales of Symphonia (Richter Abend) and Star Ocean (Dias, Arumat, Crow). Kyle also provides voices in numerous video games including Final Fantasy XIII, World of Warcraft, Devil May Cry 4, Dynasty Warriors, and James Cameron's Avatar. He also provides private online voice acting critique sessions for beginners.

For more info, visit www.kylehebert.com.

DJ HeavyGrinder is a native of Seattle and currently resides in Los Angeles where she is a part time student, and full time DJ. At age thirteen, she began to actively pursue her love of music and being on center stage by taking up vocal training and modeling. After years of traveling, she made her way to LA in 1998. It was in the City of Angels that she realized her new love, cozying up to the sounds of underground dance music, captivated by the power of the DJ and the reaction of the crowd.

HeavyGrinder is capturing the attention of audiences worldwide. Spain ( Ibiza ), Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Mexico have been key international stops for this talent so far. In the Los Angeles club scene alone, she has played at most notable venues including Key Club, Highlands, Century Club, Avalon, Sunset Room and White Lotus. When she's not playing in her hometown, HG is regularly headlining events across the United States at some of the biggest clubs and has performed in cities from Anchorage to Washington D.C., and Atlanta back to Honolulu as well as dozens of cities in between.

Hamatsun Serve … A very unique animation dance unit born in Japan.
RIKICCHO is reinventing animation dance with his partner, DA-YOSHI. They have created their own dance style and music, drawing world-wide praise. Both are also members of the band, Big Baby. (In Big Baby, RIKICCHO is a vocalist / dancer and DA-YOSHI is a drummer / dancer.) Not only is their style revolutionary; their technique is distinctive and highly inventive. They have won many prizes in major animation dance contests and BOPPIN ANDRE, the well-known originator of animation dance style in the US, said, “They have created the first new animation style in 30 years. They are simply sensational.”

When they appeared on television, HAMUTSUN SERVE attracted a wide audience and set off a boom in the popularity of animation dance. Currently, they are dancing on stages throughout the world and receiving many requests to share the stage with famous performers. They are truly influencing the dance world. Never satisfied with their work, HAMUTSUN SERVE continues to evolve. They tour with Madonna and featured in her '4 Minutes' video

Reni Mimura specializes in Moe style performances, a genre that emphasizes the cute look of Japanese pop-culture with the hip appeal of Japanese animation. She released her first Japanese CD in 2006, relocated to NY in 2008. In 2009, Reni has been invited as a guest performer to Japan Society, Otakon, NY Anime Festival and Anime Boston, and is quickly winning over the hearts of many new local fans, thanks to her pretty stage costumes, upbeat personality, and her outstanding singing talent

Matt Mercer is an actor/writer out of Los Angeles who spends most of his free time being a geek. This, combined with his theatrical background, has brought him to dabble in the realm of costuming for 8 years, as well as traveling to and judging/MCing at conventions across the nation. Under the stage name "Matthew Mercer", he has also lent his voice talents to such anime series as "Trigun", "Cowboy Bebop", "AKIRA", and "Code Geass", as well as videogames like "Ace Combat 5" as Albert Genette, the upcoming "Rise of the Argonauts" as Phaedon, and "Final Fantasy Fables" for the Wii as Treasure Hunter Cid. Matt is extremely honored to be returning to Anime Matsuri this year, and hopes to bring a little of his own brand of chaos to the convention.

Rynn is a Chicago-based cosplayer who has been an active member of the convention scene for over 7 years and has been featured in a variety of global publications, including Cosmode and Newtype. Specializing in skits, Rynn travels the country with her cosplay group Ninja of the Night, performing award-winning skits along the way. This year, Rynn was chosen to represent the United States in the World Cosplay Summit, alongside her partner Sumikins.

In regards to the WCS, Rynn states, “Being a part of the WCS has truly been a gift and has given me extraordinary insight into the world of International cosplay. I am honored to attend Anime Matsuri and look forward to sharing my experiences with you!” Website: www.rynncosplay.com

Sumikins, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I've always been a performer and lover of make-believe. I took dance lessons from the time I was 3 until I was 16, and participated in lots of small community-center acting courses and school talent shows. I've been on a stage for as long as I can remember, and my favorite holiday was always Halloween. For anyone who's in the cosplay scene, you've probably realized that this is the typical recipe for your average cosplayer! My NANA taught me how to sew when I was about 14, when we made my Utena costume. From there, I was largely self taught, occasionally seeking the guidance of her and my mom, who taught me everything I know about styling hair. In 2007 I hooked up with the cosplay group Ninja of the Night and we've been performing together ever since!

When I'm not working on cosplay, I spend most of my free time doing other similarly creative, busy-hands work. I like to knit (though the best I can do is scarfs) as well as participate in online text-based RPGs, and have been a moderator more than once. I occasionally sit down and read a book or play a video game, and when I do it tends to consume me for a few days to a few weeks. When the bug bites, I also like to do video editing, and actually have little pipe-dreams of creating some Cosplay Music Videos. I also have a bit of a muse for web design, which I channel into the graphics and design of my own website, as well as maintainig NOTN's website. Check out her website at www.sumikinscosplay.com

Yukilefay Thais Jussim, better known as Yuki, has been making costumes since 2000, having won several competitions in Brazil and becoming the best-known cosplayer in her country. Yuki made more than 60 characters of games, animes, movies, and comics.

In 2007, she was part of the couple who was the Brazilian champions, and represented Brazil at the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya, Japan. Yuki was also at the finals of the two editions of the Yamato Cosplay Cup International. She participated as a special guest of the four editions of the Brazilian tour of the international show Video Games Live, performing at the stage.

She also participated as a guest on the Carnival Parade of a samba school in Rio de Janeiro, in honor of japanese culture, and also participated in the production of a documentary about japanese pop culture in Brazil. In addition, she participated in several TV shows using cosplays and she is often requested as a special guest at anime and games conventions throughout Brazil and also in other countries such as Mexico and Argentina.

Vampy In the beginning... I was one of three children and, as luck would have it, I was the only girl who also happened to be the middle child. (hehe) I was born and raised in a small town called Okmulgee, Oklahoma. My brothers and I oftentimes found ourselves using our imagination at home alot since there really wasn't anywhere to go and not many people to hang out with that got us. However, I grew up in the 80's so there definitely wasn't a lack of things that inspired me. Watching JEM!, Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-man, ALF, Count Duckula, Rainbow brite(the list goes on and on), playing my NES and watching WWF with my dad ruled my whole world as a kid.

My family then decided to move to California-- leaving the snow for some sunshine. I grew up getting involved in anything that interested me-- book clubs, bands, dance groups and took up odd jobs doing makeup at local malls while going to school for business. I took up jobs in various spas in Napa teaching and doing makeup as well. In my search for creative freedom, I took a chance and started taking classes at Paul Mitchell, Toni and Guy in London and Tokyo, Japan for schooling in advanced styling and such. I have had the honor and chance to work along side many amazing artists who inspired me to find my own sort of art. After spending a lot of time contemplating and figuring out what makes me happy, it occurred to me that I wanted to be inspired like I was when I was younger. To be creative and to get my hands dirty and create things at all costs. It is this thinking that has led me here to where I am today. You may ask, with such a strange set of influences, what kind of person am I? Well, if I had to describe myself in a few short words, it wouldn't be "stylist, model, nerd, gamer junkie, etc" but more so the girl who refuses to never stop dreaming.~

About Anime Matsuri: Anime Matsuri is an annual Anime and Japanese Pop Culture convention held in Houston, Texas. The 2011 convention will be held on Spring Break, March 18th – 20th, 2011 at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. Please visit the website at www.animematsuri.com for more info.


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