All posts by Krystal Kitsune

Anime Expo 2019

In its 28th year, Anime Expo once again welcomed 115,000* attendees from across the world.

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Japanese pop culture fans, both locally and internationally, traveled to the Los Angeles Convention Center for annual Anime Expo (Commonly known as, AX) held from July 4th thru 7th, including a pre-night show on the July 3rd. 

 

Reports that Anime Expo’s contract with the Los Angeles Convention Center had expired, created rumors of Anime Expo moving to another venue by 2020. We can officially confirm that Anime Expo will definitely return to the Los Angeles Convention Center for 29th Anime Expo in 2020, as stated in their website and the back of the Anime Expo 2019 program books.

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The Great Anime Expo Earthquake

In an unforeseen turn of events, two earthquakes occurred during Anime Expo 2019, one during Day 2, July 4th at 10:02AM PTD (4.0 magnitude) and the second during Day 3, July 5th at 8:19PM PTD (7.1 magnitude)During the first earthquake on the morning of July 4th, ABC 7 Action News had mistakenly stated that the Los Angeles Convention Center was being evacuated as a precaution. In reality, it was Anime Expo attendees waiting to get inside the convention, not out. Their statement was later retracted. The earthquake’s epicenter location was Ridgecrest, California.

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The following day, July 5th at 8:19PM a second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.1, struck Ridgecrest, California once more. The earthquake was felt by AX attendees, which some taking to social media to post videos of their terrifying experience while inside the convention center.


Guests of Honor, Faye Mata

This year, Anime Expo featured 22 Guests of Honor, among them, voice actress Faye Mata.

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Photo Credit: Ax2D Photography

Mata has voiced numerous characters including, Aqua; Konosuba, Fukaziroh; SAO: Gun Gale Online, Katie Killjoy; Hazbin Hotel, Astolfo; Fate/Apocrypha and most recently Petra in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. We had the pleasure of having an exclusive interview with Faye Mata, Join us we speak about her career, character roles, and other upcoming projects.

This year Anime Expo featured over 400+ vendors among them animator, Vivienne Medrano better known by her pseudonym, Vivziepop.

_DSC0070-(2)Vivziepop is famously known for creating the hit series, HAZBIN HOTEL. Following her huge viral success with her YouTube video, which features JayJay, a character from another of Vivzie’s creations titled, Zoophobia, lipsyncing to Ke$ha’s Die Young. This video helped her gain a large audience early in her career as an animator.

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Hazbin Hotel official poster

She began her working on Hazbin Hotel during her High school years, designing characters such Alastor, one of many main characters of the series. It wasn’t until 2016, that she initially announced Hazbin Hotel, which was originally titled, People Like Us. We caught up with Vivziepop during the last day of Anime Expo and she gave us an insight into the series’ production and its future.

The series is set to be released sometime during October 2019, although the exact date is yet to be announced. Follow Vivziepop’s Twitter account for more updates and details.


RGP Games, anyone?

We decided to cover a few things from this year’s Entertainment Hall booth, beginning with Fate/Grand Order 2019 Tour. As you may remember, the Fate/Grand Order 2019 Tour began back in February of this year…

…and continued throughout Anime Expo 2019. Their booth featured an interactive photo-op station and the opportunity to play the tabletop game, Fate/Grand Order duel. Type-Moon representatives also handed out Fate/Grand Order 2019 player guides.

The Fate/Grand Order tour continues with its next stop being at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2019 in October, for more information visit their official here.


Staying inside the Entertainment Hall, we stopped by Auragon Games’ booth as they promoted their newest game, Hiraethia!

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Hiraethia is a new RPG puzzle game developed by Auragon Games, a new independent game developing company based off Texas. Auragon Games founder, Sunny Chai and Hiraethia character designer, Tin Liu spoke to us gave us an overview on Hiraethia.

“A story of adventure, mystery, and tragedy. Follow a brave group of heroes as they try to save the world.” as the game’s Kickstarter states.

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We got to play the game during its promotion demo at Anime Expo and although we did not explore much of the storyline, we can see it becoming quite popular among mobile RPG fans. As Chai stated in our interview, what sets the game apart is the fully animated character scenes. It’s one of the few games out there, that features hand-drawn, fully animated attack sequences. As you may know, most games go with the traditional visual novel animation. In addition, the game also features a puzzle mini-game within the main game itself, in which, the player must strategically match ‘tiles‘ accordingly to create stronger and more powerful attack combos. It is when these attacks are performed that the fully animated sequences appear.

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Furthermore, the game also features a collaboration with YouTube gamer, LilyPichu as a playable character in the game. Auragon games have not released much about their character’s background, therefore not much is known about lily nor the role she’ll play in the game, storywise.

On June 21st, Auragon games launched a Kickstarter funding campaign with the goal of 10K, and after 45 days, the project was successfully funded.

UntitledThere is currently no date set for the game’s release, other than ‘it’ll be out on the market before the end of 2019.‘ Want to know more,? head over to their official website to learn more about the game and merchandise.


Anime Expo 2020

Anime Expo ended with an unusually finish. It’s a well-known fact that Anime Expo sale badges for the coming year, hours before the current year convention is over. Things were a bit different this year, with Anime Expo announcing that badges for Anime Expo 2020 would not be sold on-site and instead, sold online.

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A limited number of early bird 4-day badges will go on sale beginning on August 16th 2019. Early bird price is $75 (not including fees) for a 4-day badge. Once all the early bird badges sell out, 4-day badges will be available for $85 (not including fees) and continue rising monthly as Anime Expo 2020 gets closer. In another surprising move, Anime Expo has also stated they will no longer hold a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales.

_DSC0788For more information regarding Anime Expo 2020 badge please go to their official website here. Now that Anime Expo 2019 has long been over, its time to prepare for Anime Expo 2020. Will you be there?

*115,000 unique, 350,000 turnstile 


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*UPDATE* Kyoto Animation Studio Fire| 34 Confirmed Dead

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Aerial shot of Kyoto Animation

Famed anime studio, Kyoto Animation was destroyed during an arson attacked on Thursday morning. Local authorities stated that there are 34 dead and 35 injured during the attack. Local Kyoto news media have quoted police stating that a 41-year-old man broke into the studio and began pouring gasoline inside the office and reportedly, on some employees as well, although this has not been confirmed.

The 41-year-old man has now been identified as, Shinji Aoba. Aoba reportedly shouted “Drop dead” or “Die” before igniting the gasoline. Neighboring residents witnessed hearing an explosion sound before watching the three-story building be engulfed in flames. The fire was reported at 10:30AM (JST).

Kyoto Animation has produced many popular anime titles such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon, Lucky Star, Clannad, and K-On! More recent titles include Violet EvergardenSound! Euphonium, A Silent Voice and Free!. 

By Mike Hattsu, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80489687
The animation studio in 2015

Current Reports

At the time of this updated publication, local authorities have stated that there are 34 dead and 35 are currently in hospitals in critical conditions. Of those 34 dead, NHK reported that 12 were men, 20 were women, and one still remains unidentified. The building had approximately 73 people inside when the incident occurred. The Kyoto Fire Department has concluded with the rescue operation and can confirm that no one else is in the building. About 30 fire engines reported to the scene and extinguished the blaze at 3:19 PM (JST) about 5 hours after the fire was ignited.

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“They are the people who carry Japan’s animation industry on their shoulders, I can’t bear to accept the fact they are being hurt or losing their lives.”  – Hideaki Hatta (Kyoto Animation, CEO) via CNN Japan

Kyoto Animation’s CEO, Hideaki Hatta, told local reporters that for the past few years, he had to contact the authorities due to death threats being sent to the company. There is no direct link between the death threats and Aoba.

According to Hatta, the studio usually has strong security requiring special ‘key cards’ to gain access to the building. However, on this particular day, the studio had visitors and the security system was turned off for the convenience of the visitors.

Suspect

30 minutes prior to the attack, Aoba had purchased 40 liters (10.6 Gal.) of gasoline from a gas station located less than a mile away from the studio. Aoba placed the gasoline inside carrying cans and put them onto a hand pushed trolley, then made his way towards Kyoto Animation. Witnesses stated that Aoba entered the studio and shouted “DIE” before igniting the fire and attempting to flee on foot. According to local police, a male Kyoto Animation employee managed to chase Aoba down and detain him in the streets.

Aoba was injured during the attack, sustaining serious burns to his feet, chest, and face and was taken to the hospital. During transport, he admitted to setting the fire. Unused knives and a hammer were found near the arson site. Authorities have delayed any further interviews with Aoba as he is currently in the hospital for treatment. Local Kyoto media have reported, that the suspect is not a former employee of Kyoto Animation and has no other direct connection with the studio.

Motive

His motive has not been specifically established, however one possible motive was during Aoba’s arrest, as he was shouting that Kyoto Animation had stolen his ideas and accused them of plagiarising.

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“The amount of damage is huge. I don’t know in detail”

CEO Hideaki Hatta stated during a press confess on July 19th. Valuable human resources have been lost. Animation materials such as drawings, animations cells, and computers have all been destroyed during the fire,

KyoAni recently released, Free! Road to the World and Sound! Euphonium the movie. In July of 2018, Kyoto Animation announced a “completely new” project titled “Violet Evergarden Gaiden” a film set to be released on January 10th, 2020.

Kyoto Animation Studio 1 (Arson fire location) produced the majority of the animation for its anime series. With such heavy loss, cancellations or major delays in upcoming series and films are to be expected.

Response

Fans began expressing their love for Kyoto Animation as reports of the incident spread, with many going on social media to share their favorite Kyoto Animation anime titles. Many fans have attributed this tragic loss as losing a museum with high cultural value.

 

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KyoAni character smashup | Artist: ピロ水 Source: 平成同人物語

#PrayForKyoani and #StayStrongKyotoAni are being used to share these posts.

Anime licensing company, Sentai Filmworks has also stepped in and created a fundraiser, to help support Kyoto Animation in their time of need. In just 24 hours fans have raised over $1M, but its not over yet.

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HELP KYOANI HEAL 


Kyoto Animation has given us, the Anime community, characters we treasure and storylines we will remember for a long time to come. Its time for us to give them something in return. Please consider a donating, Thank you. This is a developing story that we will continue to keep updated with all of the latest information. If you have any information pertaining to this particular story and like to contribute, please contact The Kitsune Network at Contact@TheKitsunetwork.net Thank You!

Sources: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7, Link 8.



UPDATES: This article has been edited to reflect current details and information regarding the Kyoto Animation arson attack. Dead toll, suspect name, aftermath, and additional information about the incident have been updated as of 7/19/19 at 4:56AM This is a developing story that we will continue to keep updated with all of the latest information.

UPDATES: NHK reported that a male Kyoto animation employee passed away on the night of July 19th, making the death count at 34. Updated as of 7/19/19 at 1:23PM

Anime Expo 2019: The calm before the Storm

Ever wondered how the Los Angeles Convention Center looks like without thousands of Anime Expo attendees? We went to the convention center early during the week of Anime Expo 2019 and captured some of the empty rooms and corridors.

Outside the convention center during Day -1, No lines. Day -1 was dedicated to setting up AX and badge pick up for exhibitors and guests.

As seen in the photos, AX staff were still setting up in preparation for Day 0. Empty, the convention center’s size and beauty really stand out.

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Stay tuned for our upcoming article on Anime Expo 2019 and our Anime Expo 2019 interview with voice actress, Faye Mataand Hotel Hazbin creator, Vivienne Medrano! This and more coming soon!

Ronin Expo 2019 Interviews | Hiroshi Nagahama & Reuben Langdon

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We had the honor of interviewing actor Reuben Langdon and famed anime director, Hiroshi Nagahama during Ronin Expo 2019 in Little Tokyo, California. Ronin Expo is an annual anime festival located in the heart of the Los Angeles Japanese community, Little Tokyo!

Hiroshi Nagahama, began his career at Madhouse Studio as a mechanical designer for ‘The Cockpit’, after leaving Madhouse, he became a freelancer. He later went on to direct the highly acclaimed anime series, Mushishi. In recent news, Nagahama was working alongside writer Stan Lee to co-create, The Reflection an anime series surrounding individuals who have superpowers after coming in contact with a mysterious light. More on this in our interview with Hiroshi Nagahama below:

Reuben Langdon is known for voicing Dante (Devil May Cry series), Ken Masters beginning with Street Fighter IV various others. Aside from voicing characters, he’s also a well-known motion capture actor, doing motion capture for Chris Redfield in Resident Evil Code Veronica, 5 & 6. In addition, Langdon is also a stuntman, filmmaker and on-camera actor, working on well-known film titles such as,  The Medallion, Spider-Man 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Night at the Museum 2, Ant-Man, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Avatar. In recent news, Langdon was involved in a life-threating armed assault, earlier this year, while filming a documentary in Guatemala, Mexico. This and more in our interview:

We would like to thank Ronin Expo staff for providing the services we needed to execute these interviews. Special thanks to Lisle Wilkerson for interpreting our interview with Nagahama.

We’ll see you at Ronin Expo 2020!

For our 2018 Ronin Expo coverage click here. For updates on Ronin Expo please visit, https://www.ronin-expo.org/

 

Sonic Revolution 2019

Sonic Revolution is SoCal’s only Sonic The Hedgehog annual convention, although not officially endorsed by SEGA, it provides the best service to ensure Sonic fans get a great sonic experience!

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Sonic Revolution was held on June 9th at The Sage Resturant and lounge in Whitter, California with Sonic Team Racing as this year’s theme.

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Although the convention was small, it had so much to offer! From an artist ally to a small bar area!

Special guests included Evan Stanley, Ryan Drummond, Sasso Studios, Alan Denton, Greg Hahn, and Bill & Sam Freiberger among others.

During the convention, we got the chance to sit down and speak with voice actor Ryan Drummond, the first actor to voice Sonic in a video game! Watch as we speak about his career origins and more!

Sonic Revolution had various guest panels, raffles and a cosplay contest, where fans got the chance to win sonic figures and more.

With word getting around, it goes without saying Sonic Revolution will continue to grow! We’ll return for more of that Sonic experience and bring you more content with the return of Sonic Revolution come 2020! If you’re a Sonic The Hedgehog, this is the place to be at!

Photo gallery from Sonic Revolution 2019 held at The Sage Resturant and lounge in Whitter, California.

 

Resident Evil II REmake Interview with Nick Apostolides and Jolene Anderson

Anime Pasadena returned for its 2nd run, Anime Pasadena 2019, held on April 20th at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA!

 

During the convention, we had the pleasure of interviewing voice actors, Nick Apostolides & Jolene Anderson the voices of Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong in the Resident Evil II Remake.

 

Watch as Nick and Jolene tell their stories from their time filming and recording their lines for the game!

The Kitsune Network would like to thank YouTube user, Story Mode for providing the in-game footage and game cut scenes for this interview.


GIVEAWAY

We are giving away an (1) AUTOGRAPHED Resident Evil II Remake print signed by Nick Apostolides (Leon S. Kennedy) & Jolene Anderson (Ada Wong)!

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ACTUAL PRIZE PRINT (Print size Approx.: 11×8.5’in)

HOW TO WIN?

Good luck to everyone who enters, you have till May 19TH to enter. Winners will be announced on MAY 20TH!


Photo gallery from Anime Pasadena 2019 held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California.

 

 

CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Re;surrection U.S. Premiere

On April 17, 2019, Funimation hosted the Hollywood red carpet premiere of the much-anticipated anime film, CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Re;surrection at The Montalbán Theater in Hollywood, California.

 

In attendance was Sunrise producer Kojiro Taniguchi and the talented Code Geass cast Johnny Yong Boch (Lelouch Vi Britania), Rebecca Forstadt (Nunnally), Christopher Bevins (Tamaki) & Karen Strassman (Kallen) .

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Lelouch’s Death scene as seen in S2 Ep 25 “Re;

It’s been 10 years since U.S. audiences last saw Lelouch, leaving behind questions about his supposed death at hands of Suzaku Kururugi (masquerading as Zero). Unlike the previous films, which were compilations of the series, Lelouch of the Re;surrection is a direct sequel series’ second season.

 

During the premiere, we spoke with producer Kojiro Taniguchi and the voice cast about their return to the Code Geass series:

The long-awaited film is set to release in theatres on May 5th (Subbed) and May 7th – 8th (Dubbed) tickets now on sale, click here for more information.

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Get to the theater early to receive an exclusive Lelouch postcard!*

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*While supplies last.

About Film:

He gave up his life to save the world and protect the ones he loved. The day Lelouch vi Britannia fell was the day this war-torn world found peace. Now, as his friends work to keep the peace, a terrorist attack could risk everything. Can the brilliant tactician outwit death and save them all? Or will Lelouch’s legacy fall here?


GIVEAWAY!

We are giving away the COMPLETE Code Geass Bluray collection! That’s right, A lucky winner will have the chance to own the entire CODE GEASS collection!

 

HOW TO WIN?

Good luck to everyone who enters,  you have till May 10TH to enter. Winners will be announced on MAY 11TH!


Photo gallery from Funimation’s Hollywood Red Carpet premiere of CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Re;surrection at The Montalbán Theater in Hollywood, California.

 

The Kitsune Network would like to thank Funimation, Dylan DeMott and the talented individuals who were involved in with the production of the film. Thank You.

AniFest 2019

The annual anime festival kicked off at the Cultural Arts Center in Torrance, California on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

With the success of last year’s event, it’s no surprise that AniFest returned with a bang! With not only more attendees but also with more guests and performing acts!

Cosplay guests included D-Piddy, Ruiriupanda, VampyBitMe, Rinmieru, Paprika Mari and yours truly, to name a few.

Anifest had over 10+ performers including the Taiko Collegiate, Stephanie Yanez x Plasmic, Voia, Manatsu Project & Candy Bomber.

One of many performances were the Röli Angels, an idol group from Japan. They performed during Anifest’s very own, Arcane Maid Cafe.

The Roli Angeles performing the hit-song, A Cruel Angel’s Thesis:

During the festival, we stopped by Sanyo Foods’ Sapporo Ichiban booth, where representatives gave FREE ramen samples by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto to all attendees.

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Ramen Maid Astolfo

Sapporo Ichiban will be uploading all the photos they took with cosplayers during AniFest, keep your eye out for their album here.  Sapporo Ichiban has now uploaded their AniFest photos, you can view them here. For deilcous ramen, visit their online store here.

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AniFest ticket winner!

Before I leave you with our wonderful AniFest photo gallery below, I’d like to mention the winner of our AniFest ticket giveaway, Romy! Hope you enjoyed your time at AniFest! Missed out? There’s always next year, that’s right, AniFest returns for another fantastic year in 2020, See you there!


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Special thank to:

Beari King, Drew and the rest of the AniFest team for making this festival extraordinary!

ZAG Store OPENS* its doors in Santa Monica, CA

THAT’S RIGHT! The ZAG store, or The Miraculous Ladybug store, is now open!

Located at 3002 Main st in Santa Monica, CA, the store had its grand opening this pasted Sunday. Tons of Miraculous Ladybug fans and cosplayers of different ages attended this memorable event.

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In attendance was none other than the CEO and founder of ZAG Entertainment, Jeremy Zag signing Miraculous Ladybug posters.

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Store Overview

The store is located right on the corner of Main St and Pier Ave in Santa Monica, California. The store differs slightly from its initial design as seen here:

The actual size of the store inside is quite petite but carries different types of merchandise. The rest of the space is corporate offices, which is where the online store is managed. Due to the limited space during the grand opening, we were unable to film inside the store, however, we are planning on going back to do so.

Let me conclude by explaining the asterisk (*) next to the word “Opens“, Yes the store IS currently opened but it’s NOT permanently. The ZAG store will open once a month, however, since its grand opening, there haven’t been any updates of the next opening date. Keep your eye out for updates on the official Zag Store website.

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Special thanks to Jeremy Zag for dedicating this amazing poster to the website and the rest of the ZAG staff.


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This is a developing story that we will continue to keep updated with all of the latest information. If you have any information pertaining to this particular story, you can contact The Kitsune Network at Contact@TheKitsunetwork.net.

Okamoto Kitchen Interview

Okamoto Kitchen has been around since 2015, since then, they’ve been catering to hungry anime fans across southern California.

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Recently they’ve announced and funded their newest project; their anime series based on their real-life experiences in the food truck business as portrayed by their mascot, Haru-chan!b3de41bef653527d31a2d360447b24eb_original

Okamoto Kitchen founder, Gerald Abraham, spoke to us exclusively about their newest project, their food, and future plans. Watch our exclusive interview:

Hungry For more? Okamoto Kitchen took us behind the scene in this overview video of their delicious J.F.C. (Japanese Fried Chicken) Plate.

To learn more about Okamoto Kitchen, their food & their anime project visit their official website here.


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