Anime Expo® 2008 Announces First Japanese Guest Of Honor

Nation's Largest Convention Welcomes Famed Pokemon Director

Anaheim, California (March 12, 2008) ‹ Famed director Masamitsu Hidaka is the first addition to the hottest line up of Anime Expo® 2008 Guests of Honor for the highly anticipated 2008 convention July 3-6, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. More information can be found on the website

Mr. Hidaka was led to the world of animation during his job search efforts after unfortunately loosing his job at an architecture design office in Fukuoka. Upon discovering his new career path, Mr. Hidaka moved to Tokyo and began his career as a production runner for an animation studio. Soon after, Mr. Hidaka made his debut as assistant director in DIRTY PAIR then later as the action director and storyboard artist in the OVA KIKO SENKI DRAGONAR. Mr. Hidaka was also in charge of action choreography and storyboards for the notable title MASHIN EIYUUDEN WATARU 2. Mr. Hidaka made his directorial debut with the animated television series JUU SENSHI GARUKIBA. Since then Mr. Hidaka has worked on other highly acclaimed titles including the POKEMON television and theatrical franchise, MOBILE SUIT GAUNDAM WING (TV), AFTER WAR GUNDAM X (TV) and BRAVE KING GAOGAIGAR (TV). Currently, Mr. Hidaka is working as the Director for the highly anticipated GONZO television series LINEBARRELS OF IRON.

"I feel very lucky that GONZO offered me (the opportunity) to direct LINEBARRELS OF IRON(,) because when they came to me with this title, I was just looking for a mecha-anime to work on" states Mr. Hidaka. Upon reflection of his career in animation, Mr. Hidaka states "I was one of those lucky souls who (was) involved in the production of mecha-anime in the 80's and 90's when (the) genre was at its prime. Although the trend in today's anime is character-oriented, I had been asking myself how I would be able to reassert mecha-anime without compromising marketability. I agreed to work on LINEBARRELS OF IRON because I saw it as the perfect chance to try doing just that. I hope to make a cool mecha-anime but add somewhat cute elements too."

Attendees, Press and Industry Members are also encouraged to view the video coverage site of the 2007 convention at

About Anime Expo®
Located in Los Angeles, California - Anime Expo®, the nation's largest anime/manga convention, serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests of the general public and animation/ comics industry. This event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2008 will be held July 3 ­ July 6, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California. More information can be found at its website (

About Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more popularly known by its entertainment property Anime Expo®. More information can be found at its website (