We Heart Japan Brings Together Anime Industry and Fans for Earthquake Relief at Meltdown Comics
See more photos in Dianne Garcia's gallery "Voice Actors, Artists and Anime Fans Say 'We Heart Japan' at Meltdown Comics."
"I always wanted to be an actor and anime was the first job, career thing, that let me be an actor," said Stephanie Sheh at Thursday night's We Heart Japan fundraiser at Meltdown Comics. "I'm very grateful for that. I wouldn't have a career if it weren't for that genre and that culture."
Sheh is a popular voice actor, writer and director for video games U.S. anime dubs. She has appeared in such fan-favorite series as FLCL, Eureka Seven, Bleach, Naruto and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya. Most recently, she starred as Yui Hirasawa in K-On!
Dianne Garcia Stephanie Sheh
When a 9.0 earthquake struck northeastern Japan last week, Sheh began planning a fundraiser in Los Angeles, despite the fact that she was at South by Southwest in Austin for, she said, about half that time.
"Through my working in that industry, I've made so many friends who live in Japan, who have friends and family in Japan, who are Japanese-- I'm not of Japanese descent-- and when it happened, I thought, I owe so much to that culture, to that country," she said.
Sheh enlisted her friend, photographer and illustrator Pinguino Kolb, to help organize the event and Hollywood's Meltdown Comics lent them space. She also brought in many of her fellow voice actors to help.
"I got contacted by Stephanie Sheh, who is a good friend of mine in the voice acting community," recalled Crispin Freeman, recently of the hit series Durarara!! Freeman has acted alongside Sheh in numerous works, including Eureka Seven and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and directed one of her early jobs, I My Me! Strawberry Eggs.
Dianne Garcia Crispin Freeman
"She said, 'Are you up for a charity event on Thursday night to help Japan,' and I said, 'Absolutely, I'm in. Tell me what to do.'"
By Thursday night, they had pulled off a jam-packed event that brought together the anime industry and the art world.