Dave Chapple, August Ragone, me, and Ed Holland, about to order our meals at a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo.
Anime Jungle in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo hosted the one and only Daisuke Ban, the popular star of the 1970s-era superhero shows Kikaider and Inazuman, to participate in autograph signings and the Nisei Week Japanese Festival's Grand Parade. Mr. Ban also participated in a dinner Saturday night for which Anime Jungle was selling advance tickets (limited to 30 people).
August Ragone and I eagerly await the dinner with Daisuke Ban.
Before the dinner got under way, I spent all my time with August Ragone, Ed Holland of Monster Attack Team, and fellow Coachella Valley resident Dave Chapple. We shopped in Anime Jungle, went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch, and just hung out and shot the breeze about a slew of topics. There was never a dull moment!
Daisuke Ban and Joanne Ninomiya examine a copy of G-FAN #91, as August Ragone tells them about the magazine and G-FEST.
At 6:30 pm, the dinner with Daisuke Ban began. After making some introductory comments, Mr. Ban sat at each table with Joanne Ninomiya of Generation Kikaida for about 10 or 15 minutes to spend time with each attendee. Mr. Ban graciously answered questions, signed autographs, and posed for pictures.
Mr. Ban seemed impressed with the copy of G-FAN I gave him (August told him all about G-FAN and G-FEST). Mr. Ban noticed the interview with Yukiko Takayama, Terror of Mechagodzilla's screenwriter, and asked if I knew Tomoko Ai. I mentioned that totorom interviewed her in a previous issue, to which Mr. Ban replied that the two are friends. So remember that Katsura Mafune knows Kikaider!
"Say, Kikaider, need a sidekick?"
All in all, it was a great event, with fans coming all the way from Japan for the occasion! Anime Jungle might be hosting more such events, so be on the lookout for them in the future. Kudos to Anime Jungle for bringing this event to the West Coast!
Meeting the legendary Daisuke Ban for the first time.