N. Carolina's Animazement to Host Madhouse Co-Founder Masao Murayama

posted on by Karen Ressler
Also: Producer Toshio Nakatani, animators Yôichi Kotabe, Haruhiko Mikimoto, 3 Japanese voice actresses

The organizers of the Animazement convention announced seven new Japanese guests on Sunday. Producers Masao Murayama and Toshio Nakatani, animation director Yôichi Kotabe, character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto, and voice actresses Keiko Han, Megumi Han, and Yuko Minaguchi will appear at the May 24-26 event in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Maruyama (pictured at right) was involved in the establishment of MADHOUSE in 1972. Since then, he has nurtured talents such as Tetsuro Araki, Atsuko Ishizuka and the late Satoshi Kon. Among the anime he has produced are Unico, Ninja Scroll, Card Captor Sakura, Monster, Death Note, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Paprika, Redline, and Supernatural the Animation. In 2011, Maruyama left MADHOUSE and formed MAPPA, whose first major project was last year's Kids on the Slope television anime series.

Nakatani is the deputy head of NTV's film business department. He has served as producer for many anime series including Chihayafuru, Claymore, Ouran High School Host Club, Kimi ni Todoke, Berserk, NANA, and 2011's Hunter x Hunter.

Kotabe is a veteran of the anime industry who joined Toei Animation Studio in 1959, and has since gone on to work for various studios. Kotabe was the animation director for Panda! Go, Panda! in 1972 and worked with Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata as a character designer and animation director on Heidi and From the Apennines to the Andes. Kotobe worked on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Grave of the Fireflies, and joined Nintendo in 1985 to help with the "Super Mario Brothers" project. Kotabe has since left Nintendo but continues to supervise the various Pokémon movies and television series. ANIDO Film has published his book The Art Book of Yoichi Kotabe. Kotabe received an Award of Merit at the Tokyo International Anime Fair in 2009.

Mikimoto is perhaps best known as the character designer for the Macross series. Coming onto the anime and manga scene in the 1980s, Mikimoto has been a manga creator, a character designer, and an illustrator over the course of his career. Mikimoto has worked on The Super Dimension Fortress Macross the First and Mobile Suit Gundam: École du Ciel manga, and has also served as the character designer for Gunbuster, Gundam 0080, and Megazone 23.

Keiko Han is a voice actress whose roles include Sasha in Be Forever Yamato, Lalah Sune in Mobile Suit Gundam, Prof. Uchikido in Pokémon, Athena in Saint Seiya, Annerose von Grünewaldand in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and as Luna in Sailor Moon. She is also an author who has published several books about the Western horoscope.

Megumi Han debuted in the live-action movie adaptation of the manga Sakura no Sono, and began her career as a voice actress in 2011's Hunter x Hunter as Gon Freecss. She has since gone on to voice various anime roles, including Sumire Hanano in Chihayafuru, Rio Kamishiro in Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal II and Airu Suzaki in Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters who Leapt Through Time. She is currently voicing Mushibugyō's title character.

Minaguchi (pictured at left) has been a voice actress for more than 30 years. She has voiced roles in more than 100 anime series, including Sailor Moon S's Sailor Saturn, Kanon's Akiko Minase, Dragon Ball Z/GT's Videl and Pan, and Yawara's titular character.

The new guests will be joining previously-announced guests Hiroshi Nagahama (director, Mushishi), Ryusei Nakao (voice actor, Dragon Ball Z's Freeza), Toshio Furukawa (voice actor, Dragon Ball Z's Piccolo), and Masako Nozawa (voice actress, Dragon Ball Z's Goku). This year's Animazement convention is also hosting American voice actors Sean Schemmel (Dragon Ball Z's Goku) Kyle Hebert (Bleach's Sosuke Aizen, Fate/Zero's Berserker), Cristina Vee (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Madoka Magica's Homura), and Christine Marie Cabanos (K-ON!'s Azusa, Madoka Magica's Madoka). Japanese visual kei rock band Uchu Sentai Noiz and shamisen player Sho Asano will join as musical and cultural guests. Cosplayer Jezeroth was also announced with this round of guests.

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