June 27, 2008
News for Otakon 2008:
Otakon 2008 announces additional guests
New York native Peter Fernandez started his professional career over fifty years ago; he's been a model, he's written pulp westerns, he's performed on Broadway and with touring theatrical productions with the likes of Ethel Barrymore, and he's been on more radio dramas and early soap operas than he can count. He counts radio as his favorite medium. He's given voice to several anime heroes over the years (Star Blazers' "Mark Venture," Lupin III's "Arsene Lupin"), and he was voice director for a number of shows including Courage the Cowardly Dog (which remains a personal favorite), and Ultraman.
But the thing he's most known for, 40 years later, is Speed Racer.
Based on his work dubbing and writing dialog for early Japanese imports such as the original black-and-white Astro Boy and Gigantor shows, he was asked to "Americanize" a new color cartoon about an earnest young race car driver. Peter adapted the scripts based on rough translations, wrote the lyrics for the infamous theme song, and directed the dubs. Of course, he took the juiciest parts (Speed and Racer X) for himself, though that wasn't too surprising given the tiny cast of four who voiced every episode.
Peter has been involved in nearly every version of the show since, including a cameo in the recent live-action movie, and remains just a bit surprised at the depth of the fan base. He's looking forward to meeting many of his fans at Otakon.
Willow Johnson first began performing as a child, appearing in numerous professional musical theatre productions in her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. As a singer, Willow was naturally attracted to voice work and was thrilled to land her first animation role at the tender age of 12 in the Saturday morning cartoon Camp Candy, starring veteran Canadian comic John Candy.
Since those early days, Willow has continued her career in voice-overs, working primarily in the world of anime. She is currently best known for playing the roles of "Kasumi Tendo" in Ranma 1/2, as well as "Kikyo" in Inuyasha. Additional roles include "Lalah Sune" in Mobile Suit Gundam, "Ruby Moon" in Cardcaptors, "Yugo Gilbert" in Project Arms, "Yukari Uchida" in Escaflowne, "Lily McGuire" in Fatal Fury, "Tamako" in Megaman, and "Tomihime" in Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales.
This will be Willow's first appearance at an anime convention since her panel appearance at Aka Kon in Vancouver, BC, back in 2001. She is very much looking forward to traveling to Baltimore and meeting anime fans at this year's Otakon.
Chances are you know Michael Sinterniklaas as much for his anime-inspired roles ("Dean Venture" in Venture Bros, "Leonardo" in the updated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, "Mikey" in Kappa Mikey) as for his actual anime voice roles ("Leo" in Fullmetal Alchemist, "Ataru" in Urutsei Yatsura, "Mackie Stingray" in Bubblegum Crisis). But you're certainly familiar with his work directing dubs; he's the founder of NYAV Post, which has worked on the English dubs of Magic Users Club, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Midori Days, Ah! My Goddess, Ninja Nonsense, and GaoGaiGar. Most recently, he was involved in Speed Racer: The Next Generation. And there's some exciting new stuff just waiting to be announced.
Mike was born in the Netherlands, but moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. After graduating from the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City, he attended university in North Carolina and fell in with a bad crowd. Soon he found himself dubbing and working at both Southwynde and Coastal Carolina Studios. Since founding NYAV Post, Michael has kept extremely busy with work for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, but has never strayed too far from his anime roots.
ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its fifteenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 22,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 60,000 "turnstile" attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans.