Yoshiki + X Japan Return to NYC!

Yoshiki Panel3-ACW-1Oct 11, 2014- Sara Barton

Yoshiki and his band, X Japan, have returned to NYC making an appearance at New York Comic Con(NYCC) 2014 and later performing at Madison Square Garden. Fans have eagerly waited for the return of X Japan and the surprises that are in store at their NYCC panel.

We remember that iconic moment at New York Comic Con 2010 when a surprise guest appeared at Yoshiki’s panel. It was the legend himself, Stan Lee.  However, the reason this moment is cemented in NYCC history is due to an unexpected twist, as Stan Lee had joined Yoshiki to announce their creation of the comic book, Blood Red Dragon.

The big questions are: “What will Yoshiki and X Japan do next?” and “Will Stan Lee make an appearance?”

Yoshiki is a very talented musician whose career is the embodiment of surprise. Originally trained as a classical pianist, at age 10, Yoshiki’s life changed when he listened to a KISS album. He and his childhood friend, Toshi, decided to form a rock band and the rest is history. Yoshiki has often been referred to as, “The Bono of Japan”.  He’s the drummer, pianist and songwriter, and is the face of X Japan.

X Japan fame and worldwide success has been equated to that of Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles. Yoshiki’s many credits include composing songs for major events, such as: the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012, Japanese Emperor Akihito’s 10th-year anniversary celebration, and the 2005 World Expo in Japan. He’s also the first person to have a Hello Kitty doll named after him; it’s called Yoshikitty[i], (and my personal favorite, the album, Yoshiki Classical, collaboration with famed Grammy-winning producer, Sir George Martin.)

Stan Lee Msg-1

Today, electricity was in the air as Yoshki  and X Japan walked into the NYCC panel room. Sadly, Stan Lee didn’t  make an appearance, but he left a video message sending his best wishes to fans, and closing with his trademark phrase, “Excelsior!”

BRD-1

The audience was shown a sneak-peak of the comic, Blood Red Dragon; a comic version of Yoshiki, who has a superhero alter-ego that fights the forces of evil. Todd MacFarlane, creator of Spawn, beautifully brings the characters to life. It’s often been questioned as to why Yoshiki didn’t create a manga instead, but he loved the style of American comics and their spectacular colors, rather than manga which is generally in black & white[i].  A few lucky fans were given a paper copy of Blood Red Dragon.

YP_SMILE@1

Yoshiki gracefully moderated the panel, as X-Japan reminisced about old times, and the loss of their original guitarist, Hide. When X Japan began to take Q & A from the audience, a fan asked if Yoshiki spoke other languages besides English and Japanese. He then playfully demonstrated his ability to say hello in multiple languages.

Yosihi Panel-CU ACW-1

The most touching moment is when Toshi, X Japan’s vocalist, mentioned it was his birthday. Yoshiki  then turned wished him a Happy Birthday. Toshi then said “I love you”, Yoshiki  replied, “I love you, always.”  Yoshiki  and Toshi have been friends for over 40 years. It was a heartwarming moment.

YPC-M1

After the panel, Anita and I attended the press conference. I asked Yoshiki what he thought the best moment in his career was. He replied performing at Madison Square Garden. I noticed that he had a splint on his wrist and I asked if he was ok. He reassured me and said that he was in good spirits.

We wish Yoshiki  a speedy recovery & Good Luck to X Japan at Madison Square Garden!

Photographer: Anita C. Wang

Guest Editor: Leigh Howard

Sources:

[i] ABC NEWS. “Amplified, X-Japan(extended) October. 11, 2010” YouTube, Oct. 11, 2014. Web.

[i] Keegan, Rebecca. “Yoshiki as ‘Blood Red Dragon': Todd McFarlane Makes Japanese Star a Hero.” Hero Complex. LA Times, 11 July 2011. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <http://herocomplex.latimes.com/comics/yoshiki-as-blood-red-dragon-todd-mcfarlane-makes-japanese-star-a-hero/&gt;.

Hello Kitty celebrates 40th Anniversary in Space!

August 16, 2014- S. Barton

Hello Kitty has gone where very few toys have gone before:To Outer Space! In celebration of the beloved character’s 40th Anniversary, her creators from Sanrio Co.,LTD, have sent her out of the world.

On June 19 2014 ,a 1.6-inch (4 centimeters) Hello Kitty figure rode aboard the nano-satellite, Hodoyoshi 3, launched from Russia. She’s riding in a compartment 28 inches tall (70 cm), and 20 inches wide and deep, which is also equipped with a digital display to show messages from Earth.

As part of the celebration, Hello Kitty will be taking your messages and reading them from space. From August 12 to  August 25, fans can send messages to Hello Kitty, in Japanese or English. However, only 10 messages will be chosen. Does your message have “the right stuff?” There’s still time to enter at Sanrio’s Official Website.

[The winning messages will be announced daily from 8/26/2014- 9/8/2014.]

via NBCNews.

Fun Facts:

Hello Kitty isn’t the first toy to have graced the starry skies, her predecessor’s include: Disney’s Buzz Lightyear, and LEGO’s. Want to learn more? Then check out Space.com’s photo gallery, Cosmic Playtime:Toys in Space. 

For our cat-lovers: The first “Astro-Cat”, was Félicette from France, she was launched on October 18, 1963, aboard Veronique AGI rocket, No. 47.