Anime Central is rolling out our 2017 Guest and Perfromer List for our amazing 20th Anniversary event! Stay tuned for more news!
2017 Guests of Honor
Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe
A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY
Toru FuruyaToru Furuya is a veteran voice actor from Japan affiliated with Aoni Production, celebrating his 50th anniversary in the industry this year. With early success as Hyūma Hoshi in Star of the Giants and Hiroshi Shiba in Steel Jeeg, Mr. Furuya has become well-known for many major roles throughout his long career, including Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam, Pegasus Seiya in Saint Seiya, Kyōsuke Kasuga in Kimagure Orange Road, Toru Amuro/Bourbon in Case Closed, Yamcha in the Dragonball series, and Tuxedo Mask in the original Sailor Moon television series and movies. Mr. Furuya has also been featured as Taupy Toplan in Sands of Destruction, Shuren in Bleach, Bonnie Fraser in The Big O, UFOman in Ultimate Girls, the narrator in Akagi, as the voice of the Sacred Jewel in InuYasha, and as the voice of Akared in the Super Sentai series. More recently he has voiced Casshern in Casshern Sins, Dr. Kōsaku Tokita in Paprika, Alonzo Percy in Expelled from Paradise, and Sabo in One Piece.
Shinichi “Nabeshin” WatanabeShinichi Watanabe (aka “Nabeshin”) is known to anime fans as a larger-than-life, iconic figure with an outrageous sense of humor. He directed the comedy anime series Excel Saga, Nerima Daikon Brothers, and Puni Puni Poemy, which feature frenetic pacing and appearances by his animated alter ego, a mysterious, recurring character with an afro and distinctive outfit who is tangential to the story. Nabeshin has also served as series director for The Wallflower and Tenchi Muyo! GXP, and he can be found in these series as well, in cameo or supporting roles. Nabeshin has been quoted as saying that he places great importance in making viewers laugh. Stating that he values laughter as much as tears, his preference is to motivate viewers to have fun and enjoy a show. He reasons that his success stems from provoking the same, strong emotional investment?in a humorous way?as a traditional, sentimental story does. Nabeshin has also written lyrics for the opening songs of Excel Saga and Tenchi Muyo! GXP, and has served as storyboarder and episode director for a variety of other anime series. In 2016, Nabesin supervised “TO BE HERO” made by an animation production company in China.As a result, it gained great popularity outside Japan and China, and “Nabesin – taste” is healthy.
GOUKTakeshi Kunitomo was born in Fukuoka in 1970 and graduated from The Tokyo Bunka Fashion School in 1991. After graduating he performed as a fashion model in Tokyo and Paris. He joined S-inc. in 1993 and started “T.KUNITOMO” brand. Early T.KUNITOMO announced a collection that was remade American and French clothes. Then in the wake of a meeting with Indian and Southeast Asian materials and traditional handicrafts and announced the unique collection that was conscious of the roots of Japan. In 2003 he started his new brand “gouk” with the concept of Japan and the ethnic brand “kugo”. In 2011 he spin off fashion division from S-inc. and became the president of KINCS. He works actively on developing young designers and total fashion management. gouk made a presentation in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo in October, 2015 and March, 2016. Recently gouk made a collaboration with Hello Kitty, a very famous character and Bakumatsu Rock, a very popular Japanese animation. And gouk created new costume of Ryoma Quartet. They will release their debut album from Pony Canyon on July 27, 2016.
Helen McCarthyHelen McCarthy has been going to conventions for over 42 years. For most of that time she successfully hid her secret identity as a unicorn through the anonymity of cosplay. When that failed, she vanished into a forest of books from which she still emerges for conventions, somewhat haphazardly disguised as a normal human being. Part of her still lives in the Middle Ages and another part is in revolt against a future with no jet cars. This year she’s finally finished two novels. Now she just has to edit and sell them. She’s writing an update of her book on Hayao Miyazaki. She also wrote over a thousand poems in 2016 and hopes to create at least that many in 2017, possibly including a few good ones. Helen first encountered Japanese popular culture in Europe in 1981. There was no book on anime in English, so she set out to write one. She’s had twelve non-fiction books published in seven languages – English, French, Italian, Brazilian AND standard Portuguese, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. These include a biography of Osamu Tezuka acclaimed in Japan, two drawing manuals, a cross stitch book, and co-authorship of The Anime Encyclopedia. Encouraged to be creative and radical by her mother, grandmother, aunts, and the nuns who educated her, Helen is an independent scholar and proud founding member of the Fandom And Neomedia Studies organisation (FANS.) She was honoured to be the keynote speaker at their first conference. Her lectures and workshops about anime, manga, haiku, costuming, needlework and creative business have taken her around the world and are scheduled to take her to Japan for a symposium on cosplay this year. So if you spot someone small, loud and British around the convention, stop her and say hello. You will survive the experience, and you will have met a unicorn. That’s weird, but also rather cool. PS: bring haiku PPS: bring haiku, chocolate and kittens. PPPS: bring haiku ABOUT chocolate and kittens. And really big shiny edged weapons. But only if they’re properly secured according to convention rules. PPPPS: only dreaming about the weapons. Nobody should ever give me edged weapons.
A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASYA New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY performs at Anime Central in the Chicago area. We’re back at ACen with new repertoire and a new experience. Under the direction of conductor Eric Roth, and featuring the amazing skills of piano soloist Benyamin Nuss, the New World Players perform favorites and surprises by all of the FINAL FANTASY composers including Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, and Hitoshi Sakimoto from throughout the thirty year history of FINAL FANTASY. Eric Roth Eric Roth is known for an original and expressive musical personality, recognized internationally as an orchestrator/arranger, conductor, composer, and producer. Eric is a primary orchestrator and arranger for Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY, the internationally acclaimed live orchestra concert production and recording artist, and A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY, the chamber ensemble concert production. His orchestrations and arrangements have been performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, and others. In 2016 the Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo orchestra production launched with the Pittsburg Symphony. Eric is the primary arranger and orchestrator for this project. In 2011 he was the orchestrator and Associate Producer for Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Symphony and also for 2013’s follow-up recording. In 2014 Eric was co-producer and the main orchestrator/arranger for A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY – Live in London release. Eric is also the co-music director of A New World, directing the production as conductor in numerous North American and Australian cities. He was the conductor for the “Surprise, Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” at the United Center, Chicago 2011 for a list of performers that includes Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Usher, Kristin Chenoweth, Jamie Foxx and Josh Groban. Eric’s worked regularly as conductor and orchestrator for live performances by chart-topping singer/songwriter John Ondrasik/Five For Fighting and as conductor for performances by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, the KMH Symphony Orchestra (Stockholm, Oslo), and for orchestras/ensembles with artists such as Seal, Jewel and Stevie Nicks. Recent original music includes music for the documentary film Baseball's Been Very, Very Good to Me: The Minnie Minoso Story, music for Curious George’s Dictionary application for mobile devices and other applications by Scrollmotion, ER’s own recording of minimal percussion music Battery, Lyceum for Percussion Ensemble and solo recitation, Marquette, Michigan, The Clark Street Bridge Project for 80-plus percussionists—for the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and Secret Cheese—for the Tate Modern, London. etc. Eric’s taught at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music (New York), Boston University (Distance Ed.) and other institutions. ABD for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music composition at The Graduate Center (City University of New York), Eric holds a MA from Mills College and a BA from the University of Michigan. His composition teachers include Tania Leon and Alvin Curran.
Tony OliverTONY OLIVER, who was named to IMDB’s top 20 all time Anime Voice Actors list, began his career as an actor on stage and camera performing in several feature films and dozens of plays. He found success as a voice over artist, lending his voice to one of the first foreign made animated features to receive wide US release (“The Sea Prince and the Fire Child”). His first foray into television was as the voice of Rick Hunter in the groundbreaking anime series “Robotech”. Following that he turned his attention to writing but continued his voice acting career. In 1988 he joined Saban Entertainment as a story editor where he wrote and produced an award winning adaptation of “The Jungle Book” and story edited the long running Nickelodeon anime series “The Noozles”. In 1992, Tony was tapped to help create a new kind of children’s television show. The result was the mega hit, “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”. Tony not only served as the development producer and head writer but also wrote the pilot, Co-Produced the series, directed the voice actors, played the voice of Saba, and produced the Power Rangers live appearance at Universal Studios, which drew an estimated 50,000 people on a single day. Later in the year he co-developed and wrote the script for the international sensation “Mighty Morphin Power Ranger – Live Tour” Since leaving Saban Entertainment in 1999, Tony has continued to develop, produce, voice and direct numerous projects for TV, Video Games, and New Media including “.hack//GU” a multi-player online video game; “Daigunder”, for ABC Family/Disney; “Gurren Lagann” a breakthrough anime series airing on the Sci Fi Channel, “Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers” which premiered on screens nationwide, and “Martha & Friends”, from Martha Stewart and 4Kids Entertainment as well as voice directing numerous video games like “League of Legends.” Tony’s many voice acting credits include, “Hoodwinked Too”, “ The Muppet’s Wizard of Oz”, Lupin in “Lupin the 3rd”, Hibiki in “Vandread”, Gojyo in “Sayuki Reload”, Harry in “Gun Grave”, Ranmaru in “Tokko”, Shinbo in “Cho-bits”, Ulquiorra in “Bleach”, Minato the 4th Hokage in “Naruto”, as well as voices in video games such as “Delta Force: Black Hawk Down”, “Lord of the Rings: The War of the Ring”, “Dynasty Warriors”, “World of Warcraft”, “Everquest”, “Neverwinter Knights”, “Xenosaga”, “Magna Carta II”, “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight”, ”Basara 3” “BlazBlue” and “Bravely Default”. More recently he co-adapted and directed the English releases of “Fate/Zero” and “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Bladeworks” in which he also voices the character of Lancer, “Love Live” (both the series and the movie), “Charlotte” and “God Eater”, and can be heard the animated musical series “Iesodo” in the title role. Later this year look for him in new episodes of Lupin III as he returns to the title role. He is currently directing the English version of “Hunter X Hunter”, airing on Toonami. Facebook: http://facebook.com/tonyolivervoiceactor
Micah SolusodDespite his general inability to fly, Micah Solusod is a real voice actor and illustrator. The rapscallion made his anime debut as Malek Werner in Blassreiter and is best known for his role as Soul Evans in Soul Eater. He has shown up in a number of other Funimation titles as Toma Kamijo in A Certain Magical Index, Yuichiro Hyakuya in Seraph of the End, Yukine in Noragami, Midnight in Fairy Tail, teen Coby in One Piece, Wisely in D.Gray-Man Hallow, Tagoma in Dragonball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, Mizuki in Kamisama Kiss, older Ame in Wolf Children, Gakushu Asano in Assassination Classroom, Black/King of Despair in Blood Blockade Battlefront, Su-Won in Yona of the Dawn, Bea in Space Dandy, Seido Takizawa in Tokyo Ghoul, and most recently, Nikolai Krasotkin in the Project Itoh film, The Empire of Corpses! It's likely he's done more but who's counting? Currently, he can be heard in Funimation's SimulDubs as Kakeru Naruse in Orange, Yuri Plisetsky in Yuri!!! On ICE, Arata Kaizaki in ReLIFE, and Shun Kaidou in The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. When he's not busy posting unhelpful voice acting tips on Twitter, Micah works as the lead artist for Painapple Studio. Stalk him on the internet: Facebook: facebook.com/msolusod Twitter: @maioceaneyes deviantART: maioceaneyes.deviantart.com
John SwaseyJohn started down the road of anime in 1997, when he landed his first role in Golden Boy from ADV Films. Since then, John has gone on to voice hundreds shows and characters with FUNimation, ADV Films, Switchblade Films, Sentai Films, Okratron 5000, Gearbox, Seraphim Digital and Illumitoons just to name a few. John’s wife once quipped that there are certain actors who might be the “Brad Pitts” of anime but John is the “Kevin Bacon” of anime. Being more of the character actor type has given John the freedom to voice bazillions of characters such as Undertaker in Black Butler, Salvador in Borderlands II (VG), Gendo in Evangelion, Sgt. Hauser in Halo (VG), Lord Death in Soul Eater, Hoenheim in Fullmetal Alchemist, Sir Crocodile in One Piece, Dodoria in DBZ Kai, Kogoro in Sgt. Frog, Huang in Darker than Black, Hades in Fairy Tale, Zachary in Attack on Titan, Aramaki in Ghost in the Shell, and Jinnouchi in Summer Wars, as well as roles in the live action films 2009 Lost Memories, Conduct Zero, Yesterday, Jungle Juice, and the Gamera trilogy. Most recently you can catch John in the broadcast series of GANGSTA as Chad, and Akame Ga Kill as Bols as seen on Toonami. John is also very excited to be playing one of the title roles in Funimation’s theatrical release (March 2016) of Mamoru Hosoda’s film, The Boy and the Beast. John plays the Beast, Kametesu. In 2004, John jumped to the other side of the “mic” to direct. Some of the shows he has directed include Welcome to the N.H.K., AirGear, Wandaba Style, St. Seiya, Shadow Skill, E’s Otherwise, Michel, Jinki Extend and Shinobi (live action co-directed with longtime pal, Kyle Jones). John loves working in the world of anime as a director and voice actor! Currently John is working with pals Kyle Jones and Jay Hickman on an original animation full length movie called The Perfect Khan. In addition to anime, John has voiced thousands of radio and tv commercials – even acted in a few films. One of the coolest acting jobs was being the Beer Delivery Guy in Dazed and Confused.
Samurai Dan and Jillian
Samurai Dan and JillianDan Coglan, a.k.a. “Samurai Dan” and his wife, Jillian are the acknowledged masters of marital… er, MARTIAL mayhem. This dynamic duo travels the civilized portions of the U.S., bringing their unique show to curious and horrified audiences alike. In addition to their high-energy, mostly safe stage shows (where razor sharp blades and barbs fly) the couple teaches historical and hysterical panels on the way of the warrior. Offering a wide range of lectures and interactive workshops, Dan and his lethal love Jillian are guaranteed to provide con attendees fun and fulfillment. Due to a supreme lack of filter, Dan also performs standup comedy, and lives to embarrass his wife onstage, in censored and uncensored settings. A storyteller at heart, Dan is finishing his third horror novel, and offers insights into the creative process with panels for the aspiring writer as well. Check them out at www.Facebook.com/SamuraiDanAndJillian