AnimeFest 2020 Sheraton Dallas Hotel August 14th – 17th 2020 Dallas, TX
Q&A and more with AnimeFest 2019 Japanese Guests of Honor
Moderated Panel INDUSTRY
AnimeFest 2019
Monday 11:00AM for 1h in P1
Join us for this last opportunity to see our 2019 Japanese Guests of Honor and ask any of those unanswered questions you may have!
AnimeFest Assistant Director of Guest Services
Norifumi Kugai
Norifumi Kugai was born in 1983 in the city of Urasoe in Okinawa.

At 21, he watched the TV series Noein: To Your Other Self (2005). He was influenced by its drawing styles and became interested in working in the anime industry. He joined the anime production company XEBEC and later became a freelance animator. He worked as a key animator on Space Dandy (2014) and One Punch Man (2015). He was the character designer for ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. (2017). He teamed up with Director Natsume for Boogiepop and Others (2019), being in charge of storyboards.

Other titles he was involved in include the TV series Chihayafuru (2011) and Dragon Crisis! (2012) as well as theatrical films such as The Princess and the Pilot (2011) and Doraemon the Movie: Nobita's Treasure Island (2018).

Shingo Natsume
Shingo Natsume was born in 1980 in the town of Hachinohe in Aomori prefecture.

After gathering years of experience as an animator, Mr. Natsume served as an episode director in The Tatami Galaxy (2010) and as a key animator in the 2011 full length movie, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos. He assisted with storyboards for Director Masaaki Yuasa’s Night Is Short, Walk On Girl (2017).

His main representative works as a director are the popular 2014 TV series, Space Dandy, the 2015 TV series One Punch Man, more recently ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. (2017) and Boogiepop and Others (2019).

ABe, an illustrator, manga artist, and anime character designer, was born in Tokyo on August 3, 1971.

He has worked on a variety of popular anime, published several manga series and many dojinshi, and his illustrations have been featured in a multitude of art books, novels, and media covers.

In Anime, he was the character designer for serial experiments lain (1998) and NieA_7 (2000), conceptual character designer for TEXHNOLYZE (2003), and more recently the character designer and a script writer for RErideD (2018). His dojinshi, Haibane Renmei, became an hit anime of the same title on which he contributed as original creator and to the series composition.

His manga related work includes story and art for NieA Under 7 (2001), character design for All You Need Is Kill (2004), and story and art for Ryushika Ryushika (2009). Most recently, ABe is creating manga for Kodomo no Gourmet (2017), which is based on a short story by well-known artist and essayist Masayuki Kusumi.

Yuichiro Saito
Producer Yuichiro Saito helped found Studio Chizu.
Yuichiro Saito, producer at Studio Chizu, was born in 1976 in Ibaraki prefecture.
He joined Madhouse in 1999 following his study in the US. He was mentored by producer Masao Maruyama and has been involved in various animation, co-productions with overseas studios and anime collaborated with live action. He left Madhouse in 2011 to form Studio Chizu with Director Mamoru Hosoda.

He served as a producer on Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) and Summer Wars (2009). At Studio Chizu, his focus has been planning and producing films for the director including Wolf Children (2012), The Boy and the Beast (2015) and the Oscar-nominated Mirai (2018) .

Yohei Takamatsu
Art Director and Background Artist Yohei Takamatsu has contributed to many Studio Chizu works.

After joining Studio Ghibli, he worked on background on The Cat Returns (2002), Ghiblies episode 2 (2002), Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Tales from Earthsea (2006), Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008), The Secret World of Arrietty (2010), and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013). He served as art director on the short animation The Day I Harvested a Star (2006) exclusively shown at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. He was co-art director on From Up On Poppy Hill (2011) and worked on art for When Marnie Was There (2014). For Director Hosoda, he was in charge of background art on Wolf Children (2012) and art director on The Boy and The Beast (2015) and Mirai (2018).

Tatsuzo Nishita
Animation Director and Key Animator Tatsuzo Nishita has contributed to many Studio Chizu works.

Mr. Nishita Born in 1979. He used to work for Toei Animation and is currently a freelance animator. He was a key animator on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) and Wolf Children (2012). He was animation director on action sequences for Summer Wars (2009) and animation director on The Boy and The Beast (2015). He was also involved in many other theatrical animations including Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013).

Takaaki Yamashita
Animation Director, Animator, and Character Designer Takaaki Yamashita has contributed to many Studio Chizu works.

Mr. Yamashita was born in 1967. He joined Toei Animation (then Toei Doga) and worked as an animator on many projects. He had worked on many of Director Hosoda’s works before Studio Chizu was founded. He left Toei Animation in 2014 and currently works for Studio Chizu. He was a key animator on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) and worked on layout setting for Summer Wars (2009). He served as animation director on Wolf Children (2012), The Boy and The Beast (2015) and as screen designer on Mirai (2018).

Hiroyuki Aoyama
Animation Director, Animator, and Character Designer Hiroyuki Aoyama has contributed to many Studio Chizu works.

He’s been involved in anime production as an employee at Telecom Animation Film and as a freelance animator before joining Studio Chizu. He was a key animator on From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) and animation director on Space Dandy (2014). Among Hosoda’s work, Aoyama was a key animator on Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (2005), Wolf Children (2012), and The Boy and The Beast (2015). He served as animation director for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Summer Wars (2009) and the Oscar-nominated Mirai (2018).

KO-JU was born in 1971 in Nagano prefecture. She took up shodo, Japanese calligraphy, at the age of 7.

While working various jobs, she continued learning traditional styles of calligraphy while at the same time she also began to explore her own styles of expression. KO-JU focuses on having a tenderness with strong brushstrokes, giving her work a special presence.

Her diverse calligraphy works include everything from haiku poetry to logos and advertising materials for companies and organizations to ink painting illustrations. Her other activities involve live performances and hands-on workshops. In 2018 she conducted a workshop and an exhibition in Thailand for her first overseas event. AnimeFest will be her second overseas appearance and her first appearance in the U.S.

Just like so many others in her generation, KO-JU grew up watching anime and reading manga. She’s excited to attend AnimeFest to see firsthand how Japanese arts such as anime, manga and calligraphy are received and appreciated in America. She is also looking forward to sharing her work with and teaching her craft to AnimeFest attendees.

Hiderow was born in February, 1972 in Saga prefecture. While attending Waseda University, he started out as a professional musician.

He plays trumpet and percussion. He has been performing domestically (in Japan) and internationally with four bands, Conguero Tres Hoofers, Venue Vincent, CENTRAL, and Selim Slive Elementz. He’s also performed with many underground labels and major artists alike, such as Magokoro Brothers, JUJU, Saori Yuki, Shinrizumu, KYOTO JAZZ MASSIVE, DJ KAWASAKI, ROOT SOUL, Mano Arriba, and more.

He and his wife, KO-JU, a Japanese shodo-ka calligrapher, have teamed up as a duo called “Paka-sho” (percussion + shodo), a fascinating combination of the two arts.

10 members have this on their schedule.