Otakon 2009: Kikuko Inoue

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It was a pleasant surprise to see that the Otakon 2009 guest list included rather big names from Japan, particularly MELL, Kanon Wakeshima, and Kikuko Inoue. In particular, the eternally seventeen year old voice actress Inoue garnered a fair amount of attention, being the sound and soul behind popular characters such as Belldandy of Ah! My Goddess!, Mizuho inoueKazami of Onegai Teacher, and even I-NO of Guilty Gear. There were two opportunities for fans to communicate with Inoue, as well as several openings for autographs. These events became crowded quickly, with her autograph sessions in very high demand.

The Q & A session progressed as expected, with the voice actress cheerfully and at times shyly answering the many questions brought by her adoring fans. One particular fan flew in from South America just for the opportunity to meet with Inoue, an act in which the voice actress felt particularly touched. Fans learned interesting facts about Inoue, such as her initial plans to be a nurse rather than acting and the reason behind her favored number 17 (for aesthetic reasons). She was even more surprised, however, by her American fans’ knowledge of her past roles, even obscure ones like the hentai anime OVA Ogenki Clinic. When confronted with her role as I-NO, Inoue became particularly shy and reluctant to speak. This was reasonable behavior considering the role’s abrupt departure from her usual roles of mature, kind, and regal characters. Regardless, Inoue answered the questions as best she could, leaving both the audience and Inoue herself better informed of their respective positions.

Towards the end of the session, fans began requesting that Inoue act out certain lines and scenes from her past work, to which she did so gracefully. From the commanding Miria of Claymore to the tearful Sanae of Clannad, Inoue demonstrated her range and her ability to entertain.

~Kevin Zhang