Press Releases

February 22, 2005

News for Anime Expo 2005:

Anime Expo announces first three Japanese guests

Anaheim, California (February 23, 2005) — "Anime fans are anxiously anticipating the largest and most electrifying Anime Expo ever," said Jennifer Pon, chief executive officer of The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. "And we're thrilled to announce the addition of Japanese animation favorites such as Artist Kazue Yamamoto, Character Designer/Animation Director Hiroshi Osaka and Voice Actress/Songstress Maaya Sakamoto as Guests of Honor at Anime Expo 2005 (AX2005), set for July 1-4 at the Anaheim Convention Center." More information is available at

Known as a popular game artist in Japan, Ms. Yamamoto is President/artist for Studio E.Go. Ms. Yamamoto's credits include character design/artwork for "Farland Saga", "Castle Fantasia", "Izumo" and "Angel Feather".

ANIME EXPO is proud to announce the attendance of Mr. Ousaka. Famed Character Designer and Animation Director, Mr. Osaka's achievements have included such high profile projects such as "Full Metal Alchemist the Movie", "Cowboy Bebop" and "Wolf's Rain". Mr. Osaka has also served as character designer on "G Gundam" and "Mobile Suit Vicotry Gundam".

ANIME EXPO is also excited to announce the attendance of the widely popular and famous Ms. Maaya Sakamoto, courtesy of Geneon Entertainment, Inc. Maaya Sakamoto is a highly accomplished voice actress and singer. She is probably best known for her role as the voice of "Hitomi Kanzaki" in the ultra-popular anime TV series, "The Vision of Escaflowne." It was her first lead role in an anime, and at 15 years old, she was the same age as the character she played. Ms. Sakamoto also debuted as a professional singer in Escaflowne, performing the opening theme song for the series in addition to some of the show's insert songs, bringing to the anime music world an enchanting and lyrical new voice. Since then, Ms. Sakamoto has gone on to perform voice roles in several other well-known anime series, they include: "El Hazard: The Alternative World," "Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight," "Omishi Magical Theater Risky Safety," ".hack//SIGN," and, more recently, "Rahxephon" and "Wolf's Rain." Several of these series have also featured her vocal talents in either the opening or ending themes. Ms. Sakamoto's current projects include "Gunbuster 2," "Gundam Seed Destiny," "Fantastic Children," and a role in the highly anticipated new Square Enix movie, "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children." Ms. Sakamoto also continues to enjoy a successful singing career and has released 5 albums and 2 popular singles collections to date; all of which include collaborations with the equally gifted composer of the music from Escaflowne and numerous other anime, Yoko Kanno. Ms. Sakamoto has also displayed further musical talent by writing the lyrics for several of the songs on her most recent album, Shounen Alice.

Located in Anaheim, California - Anime Expo, the world's largest anime/manga convention, serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests of the general public and animation/ comics industry. This event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of anime/ manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2005 will be held July 1 – 4, 2005 at the Anaheim Convention Center. More information can be found at its website (

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more popularly known by its entertainment property – Anime Expo.