The following MAY contains spoilers from the Jak and Daxter video games series
We’ve all been there before, we’ve all at some point had a crush on a video game character, whether it was Lara Croft or Chung Li. Maybe some of us still have virtual waifus and/or husbandos. The Jak and Daxter series is one such game of the early 2000s, in which some of us discovered our very first video game crush. Many fans of the series were automatically hooked on the game’s expansive fantasy world, its plot and the game’s impressionable femme fatale characters.
One such character was Tess. Tess is a character that was featured in Jak II and Jak 3, Initially introduced as a supporting character, she would gradually play an essential role in the storyline, helping Jak and Daxter through their journey. Tess also served as a love interest for Daxter.
During the events in Jak II, Tess was a rebellion spy (or Underground agent in the game) working at a local bar, gathering intel from the enemy. By Jak 3 she becomes a weapons expert, developing high-grade weapons. Although many who have played the game, know of Tess’s background story, not many are aware of the person behind the voice of the hyper-active, cheery character.
Tess is Portrayed by Dr.Britton A. Arey MD, now working as a psychiatrist in Orange County in California, Britton once pursued a career in acting and in the years prior to Jak II, Britton had auditioned for a role in the hit movie Hook which features the late Robbin Williams and veteran voice actor, Dante Basco.
Join us in this exclusive voice actor interview! For the very first time, Dr.Britton Arey speaks out about her involvement in Jak II/Jak 3 revealing behind the scenes stories during the production of the game and much more!
Stick to the end of the interview for details on how to win an autographed print signed by Britton Arey (voice of Tess) and her husband Daniel Arey, Former creative director and writer of the Jak and Daxter series!
We had the honor of interviewing voice actress, Dorothy Fahn during Ronin Expo‘s Otaku Market Gathering in Orange County! This mark Dorothy’s first on-camera interview, all other interviews she’s previously done have been in audio format only. Dorothy is known for voicing Lilymon in Digimon, Meryl Stryfe in Trigun and Chihiro Fujisaki in Danganronpa
She’s married to voice actor Tom Fahn (Voice of Agumon) and is one of four family members to become voice actors, family members include, Jonathan Fahn (Brother-in-law) and Melissa Fahn (Sister-in-law). We’re honored to share Dorothy’s on-camera, interview debut and we hope to interview the rest of the Fahn family.
Anime Los Angeles 2020 kicked off with the first-ever, U.S. performance of Japanese rock band, BRATS with an opening act by female rap duo, FEMM.
LuLa (FEMM) performing at Anime Los Angeles 2020
BRATS performing at Anime Los Angeles 2020, their first performance in the U.S.
BRATS is a Japanese all-female rock band formed in 2011 by sisters Rei and Aya Kuromiya. In 2018, they released their studio album, BRATS which included the theme songs from the anime series To Be Hero and the Japanese film Slavemen.
BRATS performed to an enthusiastic crowd, performing hit singles such as ‘Misery’, ‘Juuyon Sai Byou’, ‘Come to See You’ and their newest single ‘Excuser’, which was digitally released on day one of Anime Los Angeles 2020.
Rei Kuromiya performing at Anime Los Angeles 2020
Rei Kuromiya during LADYBABY concert in Los Angeles in 2015
Vocalist Rei Kuromiya, is also a former member of Kawaii Metal band, LADYBABY which was formed by Austrian Wearstler, Ladybeard and gravure idol Rie Kaneko.
Special musical guest performances also included an opening act from Japanese electronic, rap duo, FEMM. The band consists of RiRi and LuLa and they described themselves as ‘live mannequins’, in fact, FEMM stands for, Far East Mention Mannequins.
In 2014, FEMM released their critically acclaimed, hit single “Fxxk Boyz Get Money”.
Later that year they released their debut studio album, Femm-Isation. Since then, FEMM has released several EPs and singles.
Their newest studio album, 80’s/90’s J-Pop Revival was released in 2017 in both audio CD and cassette. FEMM spends their time touring in Japan and overseas.
We anxiously anticipate Anime Los Angeles’ musical guests for 2021.
Those who watched Saturday morning cartoons (aka SatAM) in the ’90s may remember Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground. Garry Chalk was one of many voice actors from these shows, voicing Grounder in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr.Robotnik in Sonic Underground, a dystopian version of the Sonic the Hedgehog TV universe.
Garry can be seen among the government officials sitting down during a meeting discussing the ‘anomaly‘ detected. It is unclear if Garry Chalk’s character in the film is more than just a minor cameo, or if there’s more than meets the eye.
Hill Top Zone
A road sign with ‘Hill Top Zone‘ can be seen seconds into the trailer. Hill Top Zone is the fifth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The level is most notable for its geographical location, amidst the high peaks of West Side Island, which makes one wonder of its location within the film.
Green Hill Zone
This one’s pretty in your face. Right at the beginning of the trailer, Green Hill Zone can be seen right before Sonic travels into our world. It is unclear if the film will explore more of this zone (or any other) as a setting.
Sonic The Hedgehog Title Screen Emblem
The title screen emblem from Sonic The Hedgehog can be seen on Sonic’s headband. The game was originally released in 1991 for the Sega Mega Drive (Japan) and quickly became one of the most recognizable logos among hardcore Sonic fans.
Many who played Sonic The Hedgehog may remember the giant ring that would appear at the end of a level and teleport the player to special stages. The film drew inspiration from this, having sonic apparently teleport from one part of the world to another. Variations of this ability have been shown throughout the games and TV series.
Misa Amane (Death Note) and Fabiola Iglesias (Black Lagoon)
Among voice actor cameos is Shannon Chan-Kent, a Canadian based voice actress, who has voiced numerous notable characters such as Misa Amane from the hit anime series, Death Note and Fabiola Iglesias from Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.
She is also the singing voice of Pinkie pie, Sonata Dusk and speaking voice of Silver Spoon in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Jeff Fowler’s Gopher Broke cameo
This film will feature the theatrical, directorial debut of Jeff Fowler, who previously worked on Gopher Broke, a 2004 short, animated film written and directed by Jeff Fowler.
The short film follows a hungry gopher who hatches a clever plan to get a quick snack but discovers that even the best-laid plans can go udderly awry. The opening title can be seen during Sonic’s exploration of the motel room.
A more modern and more ‘realistic‘ version of the Egg-O-Matic can be seen through half of the trailer. Although it has not been confirmed that this is, in fact, a representation of the Egg-O-Matic, it does share some similarities.
Blur Studio, although its name is not a direct reference to Sonic’s nickname “The Blue Blur“, the studio has had ties to the Sonic The Hedgehog games before the film. Blur Studios produced several CGI animated cutscenes for Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic The Hedgehog 2006.
According to an interview, by Di-O-Matic, Inc, with then Animation supervisor Leo Santos, “One particular challenge we had on the Sonic opening cinematic (and the Shadow the Hedgehog cinematics) is the fact that Sonic’s mouth is sometimes on the side, sometimes on the middle.” With Blur Studio’s experience with animating Sonic in the past, why was there a need to redesign?
Doctor Ovi Kintobor or Dr. Ivo Kintobor
This one is probably a long stretch but, Jim Carrey’s portrayal of a ‘thin‘ Robotnik is similar in appearance (somewhat) to that of Doctor Ovi Kintobor, a character that appears in the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions in the UK. The character served as a background origin story to the present day Eggman. In other comic series published by Archie Comics, Carrey’s portrayal is similar to that of, alternate universe Robotnik, Dr. Ivo Kintobor, who is kind, generous and friendly.
Needless to say, there will probably be more hidden gems within the movie. Be on the lookout and mark your calendars for February 14th, 2020! Watch the newly released trailer here:
The long wait is finally over! HAZBIN HOTEL made its premiere on Oct 28th!
The pilot episode “That’s Entertainment” was released on YouTube by its creator, Vivienne Medrano (Vivziepop). The episode was an instant hit, getting over 7M views in nearly two weeks. During an interview we had with Vivienne Medrano, she spoke about having the series air on a major studio network, depending on how well the pilot episode is received and what type of deal they are offered.
Though the pilot episode became an instant hit among fans, the future of the series is still up in the air. Medrano and her team want to develop an entire season of Hazbin Hotel but for this, as Medrano puts it in our interview, they would need a bigger budget, suggesting a Kickstart campaign to help create an entire season.
Many may know about the characters inside the amazing world of Hazbin Hotel, but very few know who is their voices are. It goes without saying that Hazbin Hotel has a unique and original concept to the story, the same could be said about the cast.
Jill Harris As Charlie the Princess of Hell
Born on 1994 in Clarksville, Tennessee, Jill began her voice acting career with her first game, Loren The Amazon Princess as Myrth. She went on to become a regular voice actor for Funimation projects such as SSSS.Gridman, Overlord III, Black Clover & KanColle: Kantai Collection.
Charlie’s singing voice is Britsh singer and actress, Elsie Lovelock.
Monica Franco As Vaggie, Charlie’s love interest.
According to her IMDB profile, she’s worked on various web series such as JonTron, Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, Vampire Pixel in the Neon City alongside, HotDiggedyDemon’s Luigi’s Day Out and Pony.Mov
Michael Kovach As Angel Dust, a resident of Hell and former gay porn star.
According to his IMDB profile, Kovach began his professional career in 2014 with his first project being, Danganwrestling as Monokuma, Goldust & Paul Heyman. He later went on to voice numerous characters in video games such as Lucid9: Inciting Incident, Highway Blossoms, and an upcoming 3D platformer/puzzle game, Billie Bust Up.
Edward Bosco As Alastor, also know as ‘The Radio Demon’
Born on 1986 in Chicago, Illinois, Edward began his career with MMORPG video game, Vindictus. He went on to voice Aharah in Dust: An Elysian Tail and in later years worked on Bang! Zoom Entertainment projects such as Sword Art Online, Hunter x Hunter, Gods Eater Burst and B: The Beginning.
Alastor’s singing voice is voice actor, Odell Atkinson.
Other voice actors include Joshua Tomar (Tom Trench), Krystal LaPorte (Cherry Bomb), and Vivienne Medrano (additional voices).
During Anime Expo 2019, we interviewed voice actress Faye Mata voice of Katie Killjoy, who spoke with us about her career and her role in Hazbin Hotel.
Now that pilot episode is completed and released, its only matter of time before it gets picked up by a major network or if, Vivienne and her team will continue to Self-produce the series with the help of loyal fans. For more updates, exclusive Hazbin Hotel content and other exciting news, follow Vivienne on Twitter. Watch the pilot episode below, make to read till the end of this article for a special giveaway:
In the meantime, fans can rejoice in Hazbin Hotel merchandise that is now available. Pins, sketchbooks, and shirts are all available on VivziePop’s official SharkRobot account.
Share our post on social media and Win!
Just share this post on ANY social media platform using #HazbinHotelTKN, and you’ll be automatically entered to win this, Portrait of Angel Dust Pin designed by artist, CalMoray. The winner will be announced on Dec 1st on our FACEBOOK page.
Don’t wanna wait? You can purchase the very limited stock, portrait of Angel pin, on Vivziepop’s shop here.
Seies Manos premiered at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles on September 26th. The event was developed by VIZ Media and LatinX in Animation and moderated by Executive Producer, Rob Pereyda. In attendance were the cast members of the series including, Angélica Vale, Jonny Cruz & Vic Chao.
Among those that attended the premiere were the series’ Co-Executive Producer, Daniel Dominguez; Music Producer, Carl Thiel; CEO of Powerhouse Animation, Brad Graeber; Executive Producer at VIZ Media, Rob Pereyda and special surprise guest & film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez.
During its premiere, only the first two episodes were screened, however, that was enough for film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez to state the following to the series producers,
“So this now The Citizen Kane of Mexican anime, I love it, I think its incredible, I think what you guys did is so great and funny and diverse and its just packed with heart. That was the thing that I was- usually don’t get in Kung fu movies, but this had a lot of heart and it was just beautiful, so I guess my question to you guys is, how did this happen? [. . .]”
Brad Graeber – Executive Producer & CEO of Powerhouse Animation:
” That’s a great question! So Powerhouse as a studio, we love doing fight choreography, I’m a martial arts enthusiast and student and like, I’ve always wanted to do something legit kung fu [. . .] there was not anything specific but I was like, you know, when you think about the old kung fu TV shows with David Carradine in it, there was also a mass migration of Chinese immigrants in mexico too and so it really came from that. [. . .] ” Brad replied.
” [. . .] So I got on the phone with Álvaro [Rodríguez] and uh, I sounded like a crazy person, ‘so its the 70’s and its’s kung fu, but you know, there’s monsters…’ and then Álvaro goes, he goes ‘MEXICAN ANIME!‘ [. . .] “
Thus, Seis Manos was born!
Seis Manos or its literal English translation Six Hands, is set in Mexico in the 1970s, centering on three orphaned martial arts students Jesus, Isabella, and Silencio, who join forces with a DEA agent, Brister and a Mexican Federale, Garcia to battle for justice after their beloved mentor, Master Chiu is murdered in their tiny border town. The story captives the viewer with the number of intriguing twists and turns, such as zombies, monsters, mysterious characters, magic…and the Mexican cartel?
Seis Manos features a notable voice cast highlighted by Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) as Isabela, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as Brister, Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) as Jesus, Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) as Garcia, Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) as Chiu, and Danny Trejo (Machete) as El Balde. All eight episodes will have English and Spanish audio and multiple subtitled language options. Most of the Spanish track is dubbed over by the same English cast members.
Danny Trejo speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. | Photo by Gage Skidmore
“SEIS MANOS offers the very best in storytelling and action, with an incredible voice cast and a unique Latin American story line rarely seen in animation,” says Brad Woods, Chief Marketing Officer, VIZ Media. “We’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Powerhouse to share this incredible new series with fans.”
She is an award-winning film director, producer and web series creator. She is known for her work as a voice actress and her work in Portal. She’s none other than, Alésia Glidewell.
Pictured above during an interview we had in 2013, Alésia was born in Hawaii, to a Brazilian-American father and Japanese mother. She speaks English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, in addition, she spends her free time traveling the world.
Alésia began her work in video games, after graduating from Emory Univerity. Wanting a breakthrough in the voice over and film industry, she moved to Seattle and spent most of her time sending out demos and attending classes. After much hard work and sacrifice, she got signed on by an agent and her career took off.
After a very successful commercial career, she booked her very first game role in 2004 as Carmalita fox and Nayla in the game, Sly 2: Band of Thieves. She later went on to voice Krystal the Fox in Star Fox Assult, released in 2005. Fast-forward to 2007, Alésia obtained recognition for her work in Portal as the facial and body model for the game’s protagonist, Chell, making her forever immortalized in a video game.
Sly 2: Camelita Fox
Sly 2: Nayla
Star Fox: Assault
SSB: Zero Suit Samus
SSB: Kunckle Joe
In addition, she voiced Zero Suit Samus, Knuckle Joe and reprised her role as Krystal the Fox in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008. A decade later, she reprised all three roles for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it is unclear if she had to re-record her lines or if her recordings were taken from archived recordings.
In 2013 we had the honor of interviewing Alésia Glidewell, at the time, she had just wrapped up a film she had directed and produced, Small fish. According to IMDB, its a story about two underachieving brothers who compete in a rematch against their rivals, the big shot Prussian Brothers, in the small town of Rancho Cucamonga, California. The film won best short at Hollywood Reel International Film Festival in 2014.
In 2015 Alésia and former Microsoft employee, Keri Andrews both appeared on Shark Tank, pitching the creation of You Kick-Ass. Using 3D printing technology, You kick Ass is meant to create customized superhero figures for the masses, making great personal gifts or even promotional items. The idea came to Alésia and Kari after the release of Valve’s Chell action figure which featured, Alésia’s likeness. The duo became Shark Tank success stories after walking away with an offer of $100K investment with 10% of the company from investor, Mark Cuban.
Since then, Alésia has a had huge variety of work under her belt. She became an executive producer for Wear it, To Win it, We Got issues, and The Tube’s Hautest. She also helped to create and develop a series on beauty products for Bobbi Brown cosmetics and Estée Lauder. In more recent news, Alésia has produced and directed various content for YouTubers such as, Netflix’s A Trip to Unicorn Island featuring Lily Singh and Ateyo’s Women of games: Thank u, games music video, which featured Ovilee May, Sue “Smix” Lee, Tori Pareno, and The women of Gaming & Esports. Earlier this year, she was also elected into the Producer’s Guild of America, New Media Council Board.
Alésia has proven she’s as determined as the characters she voices. With so much accomplished in the film industry, it leaves one to wonder, will she come back into video game or the voice-over industry? With a new Metroid game in the works, the timing would be perfect! However, It goes without saying, through hard work and sacrifice, Alésia Glidewell has managed to become a self-made woman, with a future that looks brighter with every project she takes on.
The Nisei Week Parade was held in Los Angeles on August 10th, 2019. Originally a 7-day festival celebrating first American born Japanese in Los Angeles.
Although the festival is no longer confined within a week nor is it exclusively targeted to ‘niseis‘, (the first American born Japanese) it is a celebration of Japanese American culture and history in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
Nisei week has over the years diversified giving the surrounding community “[…]the opportunity for people of all backgrounds to celebrate Japanese heritage and culture.“. as stated by Michelle Suzuki, Nisei Week Foundation president in 2006. To learn more about Nisei week and its cultural significance, visit their official website here.
Here some of our highlights from the parade
J-pop band, Bishonen
Band members; Ryuga Sato, Yuto Nasu & Hidaka Ukisho. Represented by Japan’s male idol talent agency, Johnny & Associates (also known as, Johnny’s).
Montebello-Ashiya Sister city program
Over fifty years after an international agreement between the two distant cities, one in the United States, and one in far-off Japan, the international sister city agreement between Montebello and Ashiya, Japan, continues to be vital and strong. Created to help people understand and implement tolerance of cultural differences and an awareness of people’s qualities and attributes.
Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen and Princesses
Princess Nami Katie Saito, Princess Elena Harumi Nielsen, Princess Stephanie Reiko Gee, First Princess Naomi Leilani Furukawa, Queen Yuki Nishimura.
2019 Nisei Week Queen & Court
Princess Ariel Mei Imamoto, Princess Emily Yuiko Ishida, First Princess Mia Masae Lopez, 2019 Nisei Week Queen Juli Yoshinaga, Miss Tomodachi Kara Chizuru Ito, Princess Marika Kate Gotschall, and Princess Kayla Sachiko Igawa.
Entertainment Hobby Shop Jungle
Osaka based, anime retail store, Anime Jungle! Jungle has everything from Anime and Tokusatsu merchandise include toys, figures, DVDs, Apparels to rare anime figures!
In its 28th year, Anime Expo once again welcomed 115,000* attendees from across the world.
Japanese pop culture fans, both locally and internationally, traveled to the Los Angeles Convention Center for annual Anime Expo (Commonly known as, AX) held from July 4th thru 7th, including a pre-night show on the July 3rd.
Reports that Anime Expo’s contract with the Los Angeles Convention Center had expired, created rumors of Anime Expo moving to another venue by 2020. We can officially confirm that Anime Expo will definitely return to the Los Angeles Convention Center for 29th Anime Expo in 2020, as stated in their website and the back of the Anime Expo 2019 program books.
The Great Anime Expo Earthquake
In an unforeseen turn of events, two earthquakes occurred during Anime Expo 2019, one during Day 2, July 4th at 10:02AM PTD (4.0 magnitude) and the second during Day 3, July 5th at 8:19PM PTD (7.1 magnitude). During the first earthquake on the morning of July 4th, ABC 7 Action News had mistakenly stated that the Los Angeles Convention Center was being evacuated as a precaution. In reality, it was Anime Expo attendees waiting to get insidethe convention, not out. Their statement was later retracted. The earthquake’s epicenter location was Ridgecrest, California.
The following day, July 5th at 8:19PM a second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.1, struck Ridgecrest, California once more. The earthquake was felt by AX attendees, which some taking to social media to post videos of their terrifying experience while inside the convention center.
Guests of Honor, Faye Mata
This year, Anime Expo featured 22 Guests of Honor, among them, voice actress Faye Mata.
Mata has voiced numerous characters including, Aqua; Konosuba, Fukaziroh; SAO: Gun Gale Online, Katie Killjoy; Hazbin Hotel, Astolfo; Fate/Apocrypha and most recently Petra in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. We had the pleasure of having an exclusive interview with Faye Mata, Join us we speak about her career, character roles, and other upcoming projects.
This year Anime Expo featured over 400+ vendors among them animator, Vivienne Medrano better known by her pseudonym, Vivziepop.
Vivziepop is famously known for creating the hit series, HAZBIN HOTEL. Following her huge viral success with her YouTube video, which features JayJay, a character from another of Vivzie’s creations titled, Zoophobia, lipsyncing to Ke$ha’s Die Young. This video helped her gain a large audience early in her career as an animator.
She began her working on Hazbin Hotel during her High school years, designing characters such Alastor, one of many main characters of the series. It wasn’t until 2016, that she initially announced Hazbin Hotel, which was originally titled, People Like Us. We caught up with Vivziepop during the last day of Anime Expo and she gave us an insight into the series’ production and its future.
The series is set to be released sometime during October 2019, although the exact date is yet to be announced. Follow Vivziepop’s Twitter account for more updates and details.
RGP Games, anyone?
We decided to cover a few things from this year’s Entertainment Hall booth, beginning with Fate/Grand Order 2019 Tour. As you may remember, the Fate/Grand Order 2019 Tour began back in February of this year…
…and continued throughout Anime Expo 2019. Their booth featured an interactive photo-op station and the opportunity to play the tabletop game, Fate/Grand Order duel. Type-Moon representatives also handed out Fate/Grand Order 2019 player guides.
The Fate/Grand Order tour continues with its next stop being at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2019 in October, for more information visit their official here.
Staying inside the Entertainment Hall, we stopped by Auragon Games’ booth as they promoted their newest game, Hiraethia!
Hiraethia is a new RPG puzzle game developed by Auragon Games, a new independent game developing company based off Texas. Auragon Games founder, Sunny Chai and Hiraethia character designer, Tin Liu spoke to us gave us an overview on Hiraethia.
We got to play the game during its promotion demo at Anime Expo and although we did not explore much of the storyline, we can see it becoming quite popular among mobile RPG fans. As Chai stated in our interview, what sets the game apart is the fully animated character scenes. It’s one of the few games out there, that features hand-drawn, fully animated attack sequences. As you may know, most games go with the traditional visual novel animation. In addition, the game also features a puzzle mini-game within the main game itself, in which, the player must strategically match ‘tiles‘ accordingly to create stronger and more powerful attack combos. It is when these attacks are performed that the fully animated sequences appear.
Furthermore, the game also features a collaboration with YouTube gamer, LilyPichu as a playable character in the game. Auragon games have not released much about their character’s background, therefore not much is known about lily nor the role she’ll play in the game, storywise.
There is currently no date set for the game’s release, other than ‘it’ll be out on the market before the end of 2019.‘ Want to know more,? head over to their official website to learn more about the game and merchandise.
Anime Expo 2020
Anime Expo ended with an unusually finish. It’s a well-known fact that Anime Expo sale badges for the coming year, hours before the current year convention is over. Things were a bit different this year, with Anime Expo announcing that badges for Anime Expo 2020 would not be sold on-site and instead, sold online.
A limited number of early bird 4-day badges will go on sale beginning on August 16th 2019. Early bird price is $75 (not including fees) for a 4-day badge. Once all the early bird badges sell out, 4-day badges will be available for $85 (not including fees) and continue rising monthly as Anime Expo 2020 gets closer. In another surprising move, Anime Expo has also stated they will no longer hold a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales.
For more information regarding Anime Expo 2020 badge please go to their official website here. Now that Anime Expo 2019 has long been over, its time to prepare for Anime Expo 2020. Will you be there?