TR hosted Michele Knotz at anime program

Michele Knotz, anime voice artist from the series Pokémon holds up a copy of her demo that earned her voice work on the popular Japanese animation series. Knotz was a guest at Anime Nation an annual gathering for anime enthusiasts held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library on Dec. 13. The event was sponsored by the Ocean County Library and several anime clubs based in Ocean County and drew more than 200 people.

Michele Knotz, anime voice artist from the series Pokémon holds up a copy of her demo that earned her voice work on the popular Japanese animation series. Knotz was a guest at Anime Nation an annual gathering for anime enthusiasts held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library on Dec. 13. The event was sponsored by the Ocean County Library and several anime clubs based in Ocean County and drew more than 200 people.

TOMS RIVER More than 200 anime fans crowded Mancini Hall on Dec. 13 to share their love of Japanese animation, manga (Japanese comic books) and to meet a noted voice artist associated with the popular anime series Pokémon.

Anime Nation was held at Mancini Hall at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library. The event ran from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and was a project of the branch’s teen-services department and several county based anime clubs.

The special guest of the evening was Michele Knotz of Holmdel, works for New York-based studios such as TAJ Productions, Headline Sound, and Central Park Media.[

Knotz does recording work at DuArt Film and Video, where she provides the voices for various characters in the Pokémon anime.

A New Jersey native, Knotz studied acting at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania before transferring to study television and radio production at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa.

She won the Anime Idol voice acting contestant 2003 held at the Big Apple Anime Fest convention in New York City and debuted in the role of Hajime Yagi in The World of Narue.

Since 2006, she has been the voices of May, Nurse Joy and Team Rocket’s Jessie in Pokémon.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I was actually working for MSNBC doing writing and audio work when I attended the Big Apple Anime Fest and they had a contest to win a role on a Japanese Anime show. I did a monologue and a scene and read from a script. That is how I got started,’’ Knotz said.

“I loved shows like Voltron, Speed Racer and others and I went to Anime conventions in college. First I was an attendee, then I became a staff member of the convention committee and now I attend conventions as a guest,’’ Knotz said.

Her appearance at Anime Nation 2013 is her second library event. “My first was at the public library in Middletown near my home and it was a lot of fun.’’

Knotz also does a lot of telephone prompt work and provides voices for video games. “I work free-lance so getting video game work is more difficult as the industry is mostly in California. I may move out west to get closer to that industry.’’

When asked what she liked most about the anime genre she said “I love the music and unlike American animation where there tends to be a lot of action, Japanese animation focuses a lot on relationships and the feelings of the characters which is why I think teens can relate to them more as they are going through some of the same things that the characters are going through,’’ Knotz said.

Knotz said she has also provided her voice for several audio books such as “Blood of the Pride” by Sheryl Nantus and “Revolution World” by Katy Stauber.

 “For those they send you the book via e-mail and you are also provided a guide to find out how to pronounce certain words and names. It is fun but hard work,’’ Knotz said.

When she’s not doing voice work Knotz said she enjoys writing scripts. “Many of us in this business have side jobs and since I have to pay the bills I do some script writing.’’  She said she also enjoys using her voice for singing work at birthdays and special events.

Knotz enjoys meeting fans and had many of them come up on stage with her to demonstrate their talent. She brought along various free items such as Pokémon water guns and posters to those who took part in her panel contest.

She said she is looking forward to attending two anime conventions in June, one based in Somerset NJ and another in Tennessee.

The event included a cosplay runway that featured fans dressed in costumes from various anime favorites.

Amanda O’Lear, 16, of Brick came to the event dressed in pink as a character from the 2002 anime film “Spirited Away.” She joined her 15-year-old brother Daniel who dressed as another character from Spirited Away.

Mary Rose Eckert of Lacey was dressed as “Derpy Hooves a character from “My Little Pony.”

“I started watching it when I was young and loved it. It got me into enjoying anime,’’ Eckert said.

Toms River Teen Services Librarian Mary Jean Collacott, Mary Jean Collacott said she knew Knotz would be a very popular guest among fans.

“This is always a well-attended event. We had 200 people already signed up earlier in the week and we had more on the night of the event,’’ Collacott said.

More photos can be seen on our Flickr pages http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceancountylibrary/

Amanda O’Lear, 16, of Brick, left, is dressed in pink as a character from the 2002 anime film “Spirited Away.” She is joined by her 15-year-old brother Daniel who dressed as another character from the film. Mary Rose Eckert, 16, of Lacey sports wings as “Derpy Hooves a character from "My Little Pony” during the Dec. 13 Anime Nation program held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library.

Amanda O’Lear, 16, of Brick, left, is dressed in pink as a character from the 2002 anime film “Spirited Away.” She is joined by her 15-year-old brother Daniel who dressed as another character from the film. Mary Rose Eckert, 16, of Lacey sports wings as “Derpy Hooves a character from “My Little Pony” during the Dec. 13 Anime Nation program held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library.

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