Otakon Hosts Hetalia Director Shirohata, Actor Sasanuma

posted on by Daryl Bunao
Funimation voice cast to appear for Hetalia World Series' U.S. premiere

The organizers of Otakon announced on Monday that the convention will host director Bob Shirohata and Japanese voice actor Akira Sasanuma as guests of honor during the July 29-31 event in Baltimore.

The two guests worked on the comedy anime Hetalia - Axis Powers and will appear with its North American anime distributor, Funimation, at a premiere event and Q&A panel for the sequel series Hetalia World Series.

Shirohata (bottom left) served as the director for both the Hetalia television series and the Ginmaku Hetalia - Axis Powers Paint it, White [Shiroku Nure!] movie. Prior to those, he directed other titles such as the comedy series Let's Dance With Papa, the boys-love drama Gravitation, and the slice-of-life anime Diamond Daydreams. Shirohata attended Anime Central in Chicago earlier this year.

Susanuma (bottom right) is a voice actor who has done notable roles in both anime and video games, including Austria in the Hetalia series, Dearka Elsman in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed and Link from both the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Super Smash Bros. Brawl video games.

Funimation's ADR engineer Scott Sager for Hetalia: World Series and American voice actors Scott Freeman (Britain in Hetalia, Yuuji Sakamoto in Baka and Test), Patrick Seitz (Germany in Hetalia, Simon in Durarara!!) and Michael Tatum (France in Hetalia, Sebastian Michaelis in Black Butler) will all appear at the Hetalia World Series premiere and Q&A panel.

First illustrated by Hidekaz Himaruya, the Hetalia series originated as a collection of webcomics involving the anthropomorphic representation of various world nations such as the Axis-aligned Italy, Germany and Japan. Together they interact with America, Britain, Russia and other nations in a satirical, yet historically-based, storyline.

Thus far, four volumes of the webcomic have been published in Japan by Gentosha Comics. Tokyopop announced plans to release the manga stateside; however, only two volumes reached store shelves before closing down earlier in the year.

The webcomic went on to be adapted into an animated series amassing four seasons of 90 total episodes between Jan. 2009 to Dec. 2010, despite only being available through mobile and web streaming services. Funimation went on to license the first two seasons for North American before eventually announcing acquisition of the third and forth season during Otakon 2010.

Update: Added background information

Update 2: Added pictures of Shirohata and Susanuma

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