On March 17, 2011, Los Angelinos involved in the domestic anime industry and fans of the medium gathered at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, CA for We Heart Japan. Stephanie Sheh, voice actress for Orihime ("Bleach"), organized the charity art event. Proceeds would go to aid and recovery for the victims of the March 11, 2011 series of disasters that plagued Japan. Plenty of local artists donated their works of art to be auctioned off for charity. In addition, voice actors involved in English language dubbing of anime signed autographs. The event took place on St. Patrick's Day and drinks were on the house. To keep the crowd's stomachs satisfied, We Heart Japan had three lunch trucks: Papas Tapas, The Boba Truck, and Jogasaki Burrito.
Though the event took place on a weekday evening, the Scarlet Rhapsody crew (Deb, Stan, Justin, and Vic) decided to come out to this event to support a worthy cause. It took a while to navigate the area to find for parking as we were unaware that finding a space would be limited. We reached Meltdown Comics just around the time the event started. Deb and I were feeling hungry, so we decided to grab dinner at the Papas Tapas truck. The food style was a Spanish twist to the baked potato. It was very delicious that we had to down it with drinks from The Boba Truck. I tried the Jasmine Rose Black Tea and it was very soothing. We ate our meals in the art gallery as people were placing bids on artwork and as Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" was playing on screen.
Local conventions such as Pacific Media Expo, Anime Expo, and AM2 also came out to support the event. Pacific Media Expo was looking for cosplayers to volunteer by wearing anime costumes while asking guests for donations. No donation was too small or too big for this event. Anime Expo's AX Live crew were doing on the spot coverage by interviewing voice actors and the organizers.
Scarlet Rhapsody's crew interviewed several voice actors to share their feelings and their heart felt thoughts to the people of Japan. (Note: these videos were filmed with Flip Video Ultra HD and this was our first time ultilizing this piece of equipment as we purchased it on the way up to the event, so please bear with us.
Travis Willingham (Roy Mustang in "Full Metal Alchemist," Mori in "Ouran High School Host Club," Portgas Ace in "One Piece")
Crispin Freeman (Touga in "Revolutionary Girl Utena," Alucard in "Hellsing," Kyon in "Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya")
Patrick Seitz (Germany in "Hetalia Axis Powers," Grimer in "Monster," Franky in "One Piece")
Richard Epcar (Jigen Daisuke in "Lupin III," Guld Goa Boaman in "Macross Plus," Batou in "Ghost in a Shell")
Wendee Lee (Faye Valentine in "Cowboy Bebop," Haruhi in "Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," Alpha 6 in "Power Rangers")
Yuri Lowenthal (Sasuke in "Naruto," Atobe in "Prince of Tennis," Protagonist in "Persona 3")
This was a very fun event in which fans and industry shared one common goal: to raise money and support a charitable cause to help out a country in a great time of need. This was not a typical cosplay / anime convention event. People were very mature and polite. In fact, this was also a great way to interact with people involved in the industry. It was a pleasure to talk to several voice actors and convention personalities in this relaxed atmosphere.
Overall, the event was very well run. The space was large enough to handle the Los Angeles otaku patrons. By the end of the night, We Heart Japan raised about $7,500 in charity aid for Japan. It goes to show you that fans and industry can work as one to do something good for the world. Many thanks to Stephanie Sheh for running this wonderful event. Many thanks to the voice actors and industry personalities who we interviewed and spent time with. This report's namesake is inspired by Pink's "Raise Your Glass."
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