Inside a packed conference room, Naruto fans came out in droves to see Junko Takeuchi, Japanese voice actress for Naruto. Wearing their complementary Leaf Village bandanas, the crowd welcomed Takeuchi to New York. With random shouts of “welcome to NY” and lines from the show, Takeuchi was welcomed to her first ever visit to America.
But first, there were some announcements made. The new Naruto Shippuden movie, “Bonds,” will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray October 25th. Hulu.com will stream all Naruto movies until October 23, and Naruto Boxset Nine will be available in January.
Most of the panel was made of up of Takeuchi doing her Naruto voice, saying random phrases from the show. There were some questions answered in Naruto’s voice too, such as, “what was your saddest part in Naruto?” It was mostly just fan service though.
The Q & A session had some very bad bumps, but went along better than expected. One hiccup was this question: “when Sasuke and Naruto fought how did you feel?” Her answer, because she recorded it four years ago,was: “I don’t remember how I felt.”
One thing Takeuchi admitted was liking hamburgers a lot. This got a huge reaction from the crowd.
One of the highlights was when Maile Flanagan, the American voice actress for Naruto, had some prerecorded questions and answers that were asked to Takeuchi. One major question Flanagan asked Takeuchi was what she thought of her Naruto voice. The crowd oo-ed at this question, expecting Takeuchi to say something negative about Flanagan’s voice.
“Flanagan has her interpretation of Naruto, which is good,” Takeuchi said. “And I have mine.”
The panel ended with all the Naruto cosplayers coming to the stage and Takeuchi chose which two cosplayers she liked the most. She told everyone who was dressed as a member of Akatsuki that she would not pick them. Each cosplayer had a chance to say why they should win.
The best answers:
“I’m your mom,” a cosplayer dressed as Naruto’s mom said.
“I don’t have the wig, but I’m your dad”, a cosplayer dressed as Naruto’s dad said.
In the end, the cosplayers dressed as Kabuto and Tsunade were the ones chosen. Each got an animated cell from the show.
After all the fan service, Naruto fans left the panel happy to meet one of their heroes. With the new Naruto movie and DVD set to be released, the Naruto fandom is sure to stay strong.