Press Releases

January 12, 2005

News for Anime Central 2005:

Anime Central announces its first round of guests

Anime Central is pleased to announce the first round of guest for our convention May 13-15 2005. We are very excited to welcome back some of our favorite people, and meet some new people who we hope will have a wonderful time. Below is the list of our Guest so far. Please keep an eye on our website for the latest information.

Michelle Ruff
Michelle Ruff is a very prolific and talented actor, whose voice can be found in numerous anime and video games. Some of her more recent and popular anime voice credits include: Fujiko Mine in Lupin III, Chi in Chobits, Yayoi in Stellvia, Miki in Marmalade Boy, and Aoi from Ai Yori Aoshi among many others. Some of her voice work in games includes titles such as .hack, Front Mission 4, Dynasty Warriors, and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. She can also be found as the voice of Hitomi in the English dub of the Japanese horror film Ju-on (remade in the US as 'The Grudge').
Originally from the Chicago area, Michelle is making her first Anime Central appearance and first con appearance of any kind outside of the west coast.

Beau Billingslea
Beau Billinglea's trademark voice can be heard across all forms of TV, movies, commercials, anime, & video games. His most widely known anime voice roles include that of Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop and the narrator in Outlaw Star, among many others. Beau's voice can be found prominently in promos on the Cartoon Network, and as a narrator on The History Channel's program Suicide Missions.
Beau started in show business acting on stage, and has spent most of his career as an on-screen actor in Hollywood. Some of his appearances on television in guest or recurring roles on series such as West Wing, JAG, The District, NYPD Blue, Murder She Wrote, Baywatch, Matlock, 7th Heaven, Walker Texas Ranger, among many many others. Some of his film work includes parts in Halloween H20, The American President, Out for Blood, and Real Genius just to mention a scant few. Beau was introduced to voice over work originally through dubbing of foreign live action films, which led to his later work in anime. We're glad to host Beau for his first appearance at Anime Central.

Richard Epcar
Richard Epcar has been a constant presence in the anime industry for nearly two decades and while many of you may have never seen him, you have undoubtedly heard his distinctive voice. His resume of work in anime ranges all the way back from voice roles in Robotech (Ben Dixon, Lunk), through to major roles in current releases (Jigen in Lupin III, Bateau in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex among countless others), as well as numerous stints in the voice directing role on titles such as Lupin III, Digimon, and Patlabor 3.
In addition to his anime voice over work, Richard's writing, directing, voice and acting work can be found in dozens of television shows, commercials, video games, and motion pictures. It's a pleasure to host Richard at his first AnimeCentral. More biographical information can be found at

Greg Ayres
Greg Ayres is not your average voice actor. The once "Fanboy" turned VA started working for ADV Films over two years ago, and in that time managed to snag two of his favorite roles in anime. He was thrilled to voice the role of his favorite character Son Goku in Saiyuki, then just one year later Kaworu Nagisa in the Director's Cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Other prominent recent roles include Chrno in Chrno Crusade, Toga in Gravion, Bomb in BASTOF Syndrome, Yuya Asou in SuperGals, Mannen in Pretear, and Shinji Kazama in Full Metal Panic. He can also be heard in other anime titles such as The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Steel Angel Kurumi, Those Who Hunt Elves II, Panyo Panyo DiGi Charat, Dragon Knight Wheels of Time, Oh Super Milk Chan, and Aura Battler Dunbine. To find out even more information visit Greg's web site at

Chris Patton
Chris Patton is beyond thrilled to be making his third appearance at ACEN! Chris is a voice actor for ADV Films and Funimation Productions. His credits include Sousuke Sagara in Full Metal Panic, Joshua Christopher in Chrono Crusade, Sasame in Pretear, Ayato in RahXephon, Susumu and Seiga in Peacemaker Kurogane, Shatta in Tree of Palme, Kai in E's Otherwise, Kyouta in Aquarian Age, Eiji in Gravion, Yu Ominae in Spriggan, Rei Otohata in Super Gals, Crisis in the new Lupin 3rd movie, a character he can't name just yet in Full Metal Alchemist, plus roles in Kiddy Grade, Case Closed, Saint Seiya, Excel Saga, Gasaraki, Bubblegum Crisis 2040, and others.

Monica Rial
Monica returns to Anime Central for a Third year. Shes best known for playing the roles of Hyatt in Excel Saga, Kirika in Noir and Izumi in Princess Nine. She has innumerable other roles in anime such as Rahxephon, Full Metal Panic, Steel Angel Kurumi, and is Nyamo in the Azumanga Daioh.

Studio Tavicat
Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons: Illustrator, Character & Costume designer, Story Creator.
Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons is an American born artist of German and Japanese descent (Yonsei (4th generation)), born May 28, 1966 in San Fernando Valley, California. Tavisha first started drawing in the anime and manga style when her grandmother sat her down in front of a television showing Kimba the White Lion and said, "This cartoon is Japanese, just like you." One-year-old Tavisha then began drawing in the only style she knew, first "anime," and later "manga." From the start she felt a deep cultural connection with anime and manga - a feeling that hasn't faded in the least, even after many years of struggling in a very un-Kimba, super-hero-centric American comic market; she has always striven to be an independent artist with an original vision.
Tavisha creates her art and stories under the studio name of Tavicat (and sometimes "WiredPsyche") along with husband, Rikki. After a decade of publishing manga-influenced comics in the American market, Tavisha has had the opportunity to work with a variety of properties, attaching her much loved spin to them. A fan favorite, Tavisha has designed manga versions of established western cartoon characters for Nickelodeon Magazine, she has designed characters and fashions from the ground up for companies such as Tokyopop and Digital Manga, and she has co-created original titles such as Rankle chick and his Three-Legged Cat, and Super Information Hijinks: Reality Check!, and ShutterBox. Now with the tremendous success of her ShutterBox manga series (published by Tokyopop), Tavisha is looking to an even brighter future.

Rikki Simons: Writer, story creator, Digital Painter/Illustrator, Voice Actor.
Rikki Simons, also known as Rosearik Rikki Simons, was born September 8, 1970 in Fontana, California, the son of an English immigrant. He was oddly fascinated by concepts of robotics, monsters, and ghosts, theology, and English literature at a very, very early age. At the age of five, Rikki swore that he would someday make robots, monsters, and ghosts of his own, no matter the earthly cost. It is lucky that he married Tavisha many years later and poured all his energy into making manga-influenced comic books and stories, for he suspected that the actual cost of making real robots, monsters, and ghosts was bit steep.
Rikki formed Studio Tavicat with Tavisha as a means for the two of them to focus their artistic creativity. A self-proclaimed absurdist-deist, Rikki is a writer and artist and creator of metascience fiction stories that are melancholically comedic and character-focused. Rankle chick and his Three-Legged Cat, Super Information Hijinks: Reality Check!, and now his very successful ShutterBox manga graphic novel are a few of his works.
Rikki also took two years off from his beloved book creation to be a part of the cast and crew of the Nickelodeon animated series, Invader ZIM by Jhonen Vasquez. On Invader Zim, Rikki filled a double role, serving as both a color designer for nearly 700 backgrounds, and as a voice actor, performing the voice of one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time: GIR, Invader ZIM's robot sidekick.

Doug Smith
Douglas Smith is a Voice Actor/Artist personality in the Anime industry. He's voiced in several of ADV's shows like BubbleGum 2040, Those Who Hunt Elves, & Sorcerer Hunters to name a few. Doug is most recognized for his role as Kintaro Oe in GoldenBoy. You can see his latest voice over roles in Steam Detectives, Moyo Ken and Funimation's "Case Closed". Be sure to swing by his table and check out his art or jump online at:

Fred "Piro" Gallagher
Impresario, artist, and primary creative force behind the amazingly popular web comic, Megatokyo, which the first several volumes have been published already. A great Iron Guest alumni competitor, Fred makes a triumphant return to Anime Central 2005 for more merriment talking MT and web comics in general. Fred's back and eager to discuss all things Megatokyo. Be sure to check the comic out for yourself at

Robert & Emily DeJesus
Robert DeJesus is an Indiana born, self-taught artist. He started out working on Antarctic Press titles such as Ninja High School and Mangazine. Robert's biggest claim to fame has to be designing Banzai Chibi Chan, the mascot of PlayStation Magazine: 100% Independent, and two children's books based on Spiderman.
Robert and his wife, Emily, have started their own company, Studio Capsule. Find out everything that's new, including the new web comic How To Loathe Drawing Manga Style, with Studio Capsule or Robert DeJesus at

Bruce Lewis
Bruce Lewis is a professional cartoonist, illustrator, writer, and pop culture enthusiast. Among the first comic artists to bring manga influences to American comics, Lewis wrote and drew the Robotech: Invid War Aftermath (1993-1994) series for Marvel's Malibu/Eternity Comics line. Later, Lewis created the Robotech: Hohsq's Story (1995), and Robotech Aftermath: Megaroad (1996) series for Academy Comics; he also wrote and illustrated the four-issue Gall Force: Eternal Story (1994-1995) miniseries for CPM Manga, and colored, lettered, and produced many more CPM comics titles.. Bruce has many new projects in the works including the upcoming book 'Draw Manga', to be published in 2005.

Jan Scott Frazier
Jan moved to Japan in 1987 to attend animation school and later went on to work in the anime industry. After working at a number of animation studios in including Artland, Production IG and Atelier BWCA, she become an expert in many different aspects of animation production, such as cel painting, animating, backgrounds, camera and directing. Jan worked on shows like RikiOh 2, Locke the Superman (OVA), Shurato (OVA), Bubblegum Crash (OVA) and Tottoi (feature). She founded a new animation studio - TAO Corp. Ltd. in Bangkok, Thailand. TAO did work on Moldiver, Diary of Mikan, Genocyber and SWAT Kats amongst others. In 1994, Jan moved into consulting work, freelancing for Cambridge Animation Systems, the developers of Animo (a computer assisted (2D) animation production system). Also in 1994, Jan co-founded GENESIS Digital Publishing Company with Izumi Matsumoto (Kimagure Orange Road) where they created the best-selling Comic ON, a CD-ROM manga compendium in which Jan debuted as a manga artist. In 1999 Jan directed episodes of Susie-chan & Marvy (TV) and spent most of the year working on the development of original TV series projects. In 2000, she moved back to the USA to work at Celsys USA on the development of the next generation of the RETAS digital production system. Jan currently continues to develop original projects for television, OVA, music video and feature film release, music videos and commercials as well as translating manga.
Jan has traveled extensively throughout Asia and the US teaching animation techniques, speaking at conventions, evangelizing, griping, abusing substances (caffeine and chocolate) and eating far too much. She has also written and co-written magazine articles and textbooks about anime and computer animation.