SacAnime Welcomes the Voice of Tomb Raider

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SacAnime welcomes Camilla Luddington (Tomb Raider, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood) to our Summer 2014 show. This will be her first appearance at a convention. Other recent additions include Neil Napier and Tiio Horn (Assassin’s Creed III), Dave Fennoy and Melissa Hutchison (Telltale Games’ Walking Dead) and Josh Grelle (Attack on Titan).

Previously announced guests include Mark Sheppard, Rodger Bumpass,  J. Michael Tatum, Yuri Lowenthal, Johnny Yong Bosch, Roger Craig Smith, and more!

About CAMILLA LUDDINGTON:

Currently starring on ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy, CAMILLA LUDDINGTON has the gift of portraying characters with both strength and vulnerability, and her Dr. Jo Wilson displays plenty of both as she finds her way through complicated storylines of love – opposite the troublesome Dr. Alex Karev — and career. Audiences relate, and love her.

The sci fi/fantasy world has come to love her too for her embodiment of Lara Croft, a different kind of heroine, in the video game Tomb Raider. When the game was released in 2013, critics praised Luddington for giving the classic icon a much-needed reboot. Gamers agreed, buying over a million copies in the first 48 hours of release.

But even before Grey’s and Raider, Luddington had made her mark. In her first starring role in America, she brought to life the real English girl who was destined to become a queen, starring as Kate Middleton in the much-loved Lifetime movie William and Kate. The project launched her career in this country, and was one of the two highest-rated programs ever aired on the network.

From princess to au pair, Luddington has brought life to all kinds of appealing young women. In a major recurring role opposite David Duchovny and Evan Handler on the critically acclaimed Showtime series Californication, she portrayed Lizzie, the seemingly sweet English nanny who would do whatever it took to make it in L.A.

And somewhere between the princess and the nanny came Claudette the Fairy, her recurring role on the award-winning True Blood, where she again was the heroine, protecting series star Anna Paquin from all those True Blood villains.

Luddington was born and raised near London in Berkshire, England. She started acting at age 5, entertaining the family and directing her little brother in their two-character performances. By the time she was 11, she had her first agent and was appearing in local theatre productions. After finishing her studies in Theatre Arts at London’s prestigious Italia Conti Academy in 2007, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives and works.

About NEIL NAPIER:
Neil Napier stars in SyFy’s new apocalyptic thriller, Helix as Dr. Peter Farragut, Alan’s flawed and deeply conflicted brother. Season One was a wild ride, and he is excited to get to work on Season Two later in 2014.

Prior to embodying Peter, Neil had the joyous privilege of playing Lt. Karl Hagerman in IFC’s dark and dangerous comedy series, Bullet In The Face. With other TV turns in The Listener (CTV), Blue Mountain State (Spike), Zero Hour (ABC), The Business (IFC) and Naked Josh (Showcase), it’s clear he likes to keep one foot in the dramatic and one foot in the absurd…

After spending much of his youth and early adulthood immersed in the worlds of rugby, football and hockey, Neil has found that his background in athletics has served him well in the world of performance.

In addition to dozens of forays onto the stage (his first love), and roles in cult horror films such as End of the Line and $la$her$, Neil’s physical approach to his craft has been called upon in several recent productions, such as Erased (Weinstein Company), Infected (SyFy), Immortals (Relativity), Riddick (Universal), as well as the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox Studios).

Videogames also figure large in Neil’s body of work: As well as playing the villainous role of Charles Lee in Assassin’s Creed 3, and the burned out old skater/guide, Bob, in Shaun White Skateboarding, he has voiced and motion-captured characters in several videogames, including Deus Ex; Human Revolution, Watchdogs, Outlast, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Thief IV. Neil is also currently working on several new videogame titles.

Born and raised in Montreal, Neil now resides in Toronto where, when not at work on a set or in a studio, he can be found playing hockey, practicing yoga and trying to get better at guitar.

About TIIO HORN:
Kaniehtiio (Tiio) Horn voiced and provided facial capture for Kaniehtí:io in Assassin’s Creed III.

Tiio was born and raised in Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve just outside of Montreal.

Tiio burst onto the feature film scene with roles in the The Trotsky opposite Jay Baruchel, New Reel Film’s Leslie, My Name is Evil, as well as the lead role in the critically acclaimed and award winning The Wild Hunt. All three films premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Other credits include supporting roles in Jacob Tierney’s Good Neighbours, Immortals opposite Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto and Henry Cavill, On the Road starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Tom Sturridge

In 2009 Tiio earned a Gemini Award nomination for her portrayal of Angel in the APTN MOW Moccasin Flats: Redemption, as well in 2010 and 2011 as part of the ensemble cast of CBC’s 18 to Life. Other television credits include a rercurring role on Syfy’s Defiance, as well as guest star appearances on Being Human, Alphas and The CW hit show Supernatural. Tiio currently stars in the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove opposite Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård and Landon Liboiron.

Tiio wrote, directed and acted in the semi autobiographical short film ‘The Smoke Shack’, which took home the ‘Golden Sheaf’ award for Best Comedy at the 2013 the Yorkton Film Festival.

In her spare time Tiio plays roller derby, and spends time with friends, family and her cat Boodz. She divides her time between Kahnawake, Toronto and Los Angeles.

About JOSH GRELLE:
A native Texan and avid anime fan, Josh Grelle has been working in voice work for over 10 years. After starting with ADV Films in January 2004, Josh was quickly bombarded with tons of in-booth experience on a wide range of shows, including Wedding Peach, Steam Detectives, 009-1, and the legendary Gatchaman. He began working for FUNimation Entertainment in 2006. Since then, he has starred in numerous titles; his most famous being Kenichi in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Other roles include Armin in Attack on Titan, Kyohei in the Wallflower, Kouichi in Linebarrles of Iron, Yuki in Future Diary, Itsuki in Initial D, and Kuranosuke in Princess Jellyfish. More recent roles include Chow from Starship Troopers: Invasion, Nicky in Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, Kazuya Aoi in Freezing, Yuji Sakai in Shakugan no Shana, Akihisa Yoshii in Baka and Test, and Komatsu in Toriko. Aside from anime, Josh has lent his voice to a number of video games, including Sima Shi in Dynasty Warriors 7, Xbalanque in Smite, Dave in Borderlands 2, and the voice of the “energetic” custom character in Dragonball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi. Josh is represented by The Mary Collins Agency.

About DAVE FENNOY:
Dave Fennoy has been a preeminent voice working in Los Angeles since 1990 and one of the most versatile voices in the industry providing voices for Commercials, Narrations, TV Promos, Award Shows, Animation and Games. He portrayed Lee Everett in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Lately he is known by 30+ million Hulu viewers as “The Hulu Guy”, the omnipresent voice of HULU.COM. His promo clients over the years include ABC, The WB, Fox, CBS, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, The Disney Channel and TV One. His campaign spokesvoice credits include Lexus, McDonalds, Corona Beer, KFC, Toyota, Chrysler, and ATT, Time Life Music R&B/Gospel and Southern Company. Gamers enjoy his work on STARCRAFT II, Metal Gear, That’s So Raven, Ultimate Spiderman, Delta Force, Star Wars, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and many others. Narration credits include programs for National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Science Channel’s popular series, “When Earth Erupts”. His various film voices include “Ghost Rider”, “Happy Feet”,and “King’s Ransom”, and he has proved a cartoon favorite in such series as The LeBrons, Kim Possible, Ben 10, Darkwing Duck, New Kids on the Block, Pro Stars, Johnny Quest and Sonic the Hedgehog. Dave has been the show voice for several TV and Award shows, among them Late Night with Gregg Kinnear, The Billboard Music Awards, The Teen Choice Awards, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, and for the past 15 years The NAACP Image Awards.

Mr. Fennoy is a sought-after VO instructor, and the subject of a chapter in the book “Secrets of Voice Over Success” by Joan Baker.

About MELISSA HUTCHISON:
Melissa Hutchison has been earning her keep as a Voice Over actress for almost a decade. A Bay Area Local since 1989, Melissa divides her work between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Her resume includes a wide variety of work, ranging from TV and Radio commercials, to children’s interactive toys, animation, and video games.

Melissa’s most current claim to fame is being the voice of Clementine, From Telltale games, The Walking Dead. This role just earned her a Spike TV VGA for best performance by a female, and the game itself has pulled in over 55 Game of The Year awards for 2012.

When not fighting zombies, Melissa has also voiced for League of Legends (Ashe), Deadly Premonition (Anna Graham and Sallie Graham), Sonic and the Black Knight (Merlina), Bakugan: Defenders of the Core (Marucho), Telltales Back to the Future (Trixie Trotter) Telltales Sam and Max (Stinky), Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil (Pandora), and the list goes on! Melissa also got to dip her acting chops into the world of Anime, by doing the voice of Chise, in Saikano: She the Ultimate Weapon, back in 2002. Currently Melissa is working on an animated series, set to be released in 2014, called the Space Racers.

SACANIME is being held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday August – 29th – 31st, 2014 at the Sacramento Convention Center and Sheraton Grand Hotel. For more information, check out our website at: www.sacanime.com

Attack on Titan Storms Anime Boston 2014

ab14-AOTBoston is a good city in which to be a geek. Annually it hosts several well established conventions including Vericon, Arisia, PAX East, and Boston Comic Con. Last weekend Anime Boston hit town bringing with it thousands of attendees, most of whom wore cosplay. Founded by the New England Anime Society in 2003 with a focus on Japanese animation and comics, the convention still welcomes fans of many genres and media who are interested.

This year’s big feature was the highly anticipated US debut of the English dub of Attack on Titan. A popular manga which was adapted last year into an animated series, Attack on Titan imagines a world where the entire human race hides away in a giant walled city to protect themselves from monstrous Titans that have devoured anyone caught outside. After one hundred years of peace, lead character Eren Yeager, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert find themselves pulled into the Survey Corps to battle the new breed of Titans that have breached the walls and avenge their fallen families.

In the weeks leading up to Anime Boston the production company FUNimation gradually announced the English language cast for the dubbed version. Included were 2014 guests Patrick Seitz as Keith, Kyle Hebert at Mitabi, Mike McFarland as Jean (in addition to being the voice over director), Josh Grelle as Armin, Matthew Mercer as Levi, and Trina Nishimura as Mikasa. The only role unannounced leading up to the convention was that of Eren, the main character, which led to a great deal of speculation that it would be given to actor Greg Ayres, who was another guest of the show. However, at the premiere Sr. Manager of Social Strategy and Development for FUNimation Justin Rojas began with a specially recorded video message. Actor Bryce Papenbrook appeared on screen to announce that he would perform the role of Eren and expressed his regrets that he could not appear in person.

The crowd was raucous and excited as they were given the first public screening of the first three episodes of Attack on Titan. The fans sang along to the theme song and cheered loudly for the first appearance of literally every major character. One thing anime fans have in spades is enthusiasm. An encore presentation with two more episodes was screened on Sunday. The full series will release on June 3rd 2014.

Following the screening was a Q&A with cast members Mike McFarland, Josh Grelle, Matthew Mercer, and Trina Nishimura. They all expressed a keen interest in the project, though Mercer seemed intimidated by one fan saying he is now a sex symbol. His signing line earlier that day would certainly reinforce his popularity as hundreds of fans queued up though only one hundred were guaranteed to get their posters and DVDs signed. Grelle said it was exciting to see an anime taking a chance and deviating from the old trope of “harem shows with magic” which have dominated the industry. He also said the music drew him in as well.

McFarland and Mercer were both unacquainted with Attack on Titan prior to being cast but each said they binged on the entire series in one viewing because they were so drawn into the story and characters. McFarland warned that it’s a gritty show but SO dark that some characters won’t make it. When asked about casting, McFarland said that many key roles went to Los Angeles talent, as opposed to FUNimation stalwarts, because of amount of work that went into each session and that he actively wanted to bring in new people as much as possible. The actors were pushed hard to make sure the performances were the very best.

Nishimura had an admiration for her role as Mikasa, a character who is as strong or even stronger those around her. “The stereotype of the anime chick is changing,” she said to applause, “It’s not pantie shots and flying and sparkles.”

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Four Guests of Honor Added for Anime Boston 2014

A-chanVoice actors Trina Nishimura, Matthew Mercer, Josh Grelle, and Greg Ayres have been added as Guests of Honor for Anime Boston 2014!

Trina Nishimura has become more and more involved in the anime scene over the past few years, primarily working with FUNimation Entertainment. Trina was first cast in Desert Punk as the little hungry girl Namiko and has refused to leave the FUNimation property ever since. Her most notably awesome credits include: Black Cat (Tanya), Claymore (Flora and Sophia), Jyu Oh Se (Tiz), Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple (Shigure Kosaka), Speed Grapher (Yui), season one and two ofNegima!? (Lingshen Chao and Motsu),Sasami: Magical Girl Club (Ayane), Baldr Force Exe (Tsukina Sasagiri), School Rumble and Yurippe School Rumble: 2nd Semester (Akira Takano), Baccano! (Rachel), Sgt Frog (Ghost Girl), Case Closed: The Last Magician of the Century the Movie (Natasha Kosaka), Nabari no O (Juji Minami), and the ever popular Witchblade (Shiore Tsuzuki).

Matthew Mercer is a Los Angeles-based actor/voice actor known primarily for his roles in animation and video games. His extensive training in theater, improv, and life-long hardcore gaming helped prepare him for such projects and characters as Leon Kennedy in Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil: Damnation, Kiritsugu Emiya in Fate/Zero, Gundahar in KNACK, Anarky in Batman: Arkham Origins, Alvin in Tales of Xillia, Sinbad in Magi, Kuroh Yatogami in K, Rexxar in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Iron Man/Tony Stark in Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, Walter in Shin Megami Tensei IV, Rihan Nura in Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Tygra in Cartoon Network’s Thundercats, Chrom in Fire Emblem: Awakening, Reapmon/Beelzemon in Digimon Fusion, and many other projects you are welcome to look-up online.

A native Texan and avid anime fan, Josh Grelle has been working in voice work for almost 10 years now. After starting with ADV Films in January 2004, Josh was quickly bombarded with tons of in-booth experience on a wide range of shows, including: Wedding Peach, Steam Detectives, 009-1, and the legendary Gatchaman. He began working for FUNimation entertainment in 2006. Since then, he has starred in numerous titles; his most famous being Kenichi in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Other roles include Kyohei in the Wallflower, Kouichi in Linebarrles of Iron, Yuki in Future Diary, Itsuki in Initial D, and Kuranosuke in Princess Jellyfish. More recent roles include Chow from Starship Troopers: Invasion, Nicky in Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, Kazuya Aoi in Freezing, Yuji Sakai in Shakugan no Shana, Akihisa Yoshii in Baka and Test, and Komatsu in Toriko.

Greg Ayres has spent the last eleven years working in an industry he had admired for years as a fan. With over 200 credits to his name, this fan-boy has managed to get to play a variety of characters that are almost as colorful as his hair. He was thrilled to be a part of the Toonami re-launch last summer, in the roles of Ganta Igarashi in Deadman Wonderland, and Heihachi Hayashida in Samurai 7, and even more thrill to follow that up the following summer’s thriller Another as Kouichi Sakakibara. His most recent roles include Satoru Asahina in From the New World, Kenji Nakanishi in Say I Love You, Sion in No. 6, Heisuke Toudou in Hakuoki, Tommyrod in Toriko, Arikawa in This Boy Can Fight Aliens, Tomoki Sakurai, in Heaven’s Lost Property, and Volken, in the Book of Bantorra. Some of his all-time favorite roles include Son Goku in Saiyuki, Chrono in Chrono Crusade, Kaoru Hitachiin in Ouran High School Host Club, Youhei Sunohara in Clannad, Yuki in The Wallflower, Leo in Ghost Stories, Satoshi Hiwatari in DNAngel, Kaworu Nagisa in the Director’s Cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Negi Springfield in Negima. He can also be heard as Uesugi Kenshin in Sengoku Basara, Seikechi Tayama in Oh Edo Rocket, Hiro Hirono in ef: A Tale of Memories, Abe in Big Windup, Jr. in Xenosaga: The Animation, Tsujido in Speed Grapher, Roan in Ragnorok The Animation, Yamazaki in Welcome to the NHK, Gau Ban in Shadow Skill, Pope Alessandro XVIII in Trinity Blood, and a bunch of other titles he’ll probably forget to mention.

About Anime Boston:
Anime Boston is an annual three-day Japanese animation convention held in Boston, Mass. Anime Boston 2014 is scheduled for Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 23 at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel. More information about Anime Boston can be found at www.animeboston.com.

About New England Anime Society:
The New England Anime Society was founded in 2001. Based in Massachusetts, The New England Anime Society, Inc. is an organization dedicated to furthering public education and understanding of the Japanese language and culture through visual and written media. More information about The New England Anime Society is available at www.neanime.org.