Ardith Carlton

There was no such thing as an online search when anime first captivated Ardith Carlton. So she set out on the search herself…and wound up living the dream for almost 20 years in Japan! Her perspective was shaped by experiences very few U.S. fans have been lucky enough to have–and she’s here to share it at this year’s Momocon!”

Kimba the White Lion” and “Speed Racer” were some of Ardith’s favorite TV shows in the 1960s. When “Battle of the Planets” and “Star Blazers” came along in the late ’70s, the Michigan high-schooler was hooked for life! She realized those shows had all come from Japan, and, driven to see and learn more, she traveled to Osaka as an exchange student in 1980. There she realized how diverse the anime scene was, attended the premiere of “Be Forever Yamato,” and began collecting manga, anime cels, soundtracks, doujinshi, mecha toys, and doujinshi.

When she returned home she was thrilled to find North America’s fledgling anime fandom and put her writing and translation chops to work, contributing to various club newsletters. In 1983 she joined Steve Harrison and Jerry Fellows in producing “Space Fanzine Yamato,” the first information guide ever published by U.S. fans for a single anime title.In 1984 “Comics Collector” magazine commissioned her to write a wide-ranging overview of anime and manga. The result has been cited as a seminal work, and was many Western fans’ introduction to the world beyond what had aired in America.

Next came history’s first English-language book devoted to an anime topic, “Robotech Art I,” which she co-wrote with Kay Reynolds in 1986.After revisiting Japan several times in the ’90s, Ardith grabbed the chance to live and work there starting in 2000.

From 2002 to 2019 she served in a variety of roles with HobbyLink Japan. When she wasn’t working, she spent her weekends going to anime and tokusatsu song concerts, hunting for collectibles from favorite series, and participating in doujinshi events.

For 12 years she was also a vocal student of anime song diva MIQ, famed for the themes of “Dunbine,” “L-Gaim,” “Area 88” and more. Under the stage name Nasa K. Muyo, Ardith sang anime and tokusatsu song covers at a slew of venues, and had the thrill of performing a character song at a Tokyo concert for the prospective fourth J9 series, “Galaxy Divine Wind Jinraigar.”

During her years in Japan, Ardith took every opportunity to dive further into the heart of Japanese pop culture. She got to meet industry personalities, quest for the rarest of collectible finds, and even appear on various Japanese TV shows.

The life she lived in Japan would be a dream come true for most Western fans. The two decades she spent there created lifelong friendships and amazing memories. Now that Ardith is back in the U.S., she’s looking forward to experiencing Western fandom in a convention atmosphere and sharing her experiences in Japan with the attendees at this year’s MomoCon.

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