Anime Expo announced that Lucasfilm will bring a galaxy far, far away to Anime Expo Lite this July with Star Wars: Visions – Sneak Preview panel!
Join host Chastity Vicencio and Lucasfilm executive producers, Jacqui Lopez, James Waugh Josh Rimes and Qubic Pictures’ Co-Executive Producer, Justin Leach and Kanako Shirasaki for an inside look at Star Wars: Visions before the series debuts on Disney+ later this year.
Star Wars: Visions is an upcoming anthology of animated shorts celebrating Star Wars through the lens of the world’s best anime creators and storytellers.
According to Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm Ltd, Star Wars: Visions “[is an] anthology collection [that] will bring ten fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.”
The upcoming novel Ronin written by Emma Mieko Candon, will tie into one of the shorts. Ronin is set to release on October 12, 2021. There is no current release date for Star Wars: Visions.
Full Panel Details:
Star Wars: Visions – Sneak Preview Date: July 3, 2021 / 3:00PM PST Duration: 30 minutes
Tickets to access this year’s Anime Expo Lite programming are $5 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Hate Is A Virus commUNITY Action Fund. After the stream concludes on July 4th, ticketholders can re-watch the content, as well as access additional programming, on a VOD basis from July 5th -16th, 2021.
Crypton Future Media has just announced the official CANCELLATION of Hatsune Miku’s North American Tour, MIKU EXPO 2020 USA & Canada. Earlier this year, CFM announced its postponement due to the COVID19 pandemic, however they reconsidered and have decided to cancel the tour all together.
They posted the following message on their official Facebook page
According to their Facebook post, CFM is currently redirecting their efforts towards new ways of engaging with Hatsune Miku fans across the world, and hope to be able to announce their upcoming plans with fans soon.
As stated above, contact your ticket vendor for refund details. CFM are still working on refunds, therefore, refund option may not be readily available, we suggest you continue to check your ticket vendor account, as this status may change.
Japan’s biggest anime convention of the year, AnimeJapan was canceled four days before the event was set to take place. Prior to that, the city of Osaka canceled its annual anime festival, Nipppombashi Street Festar which draws over 200K+ people to city’s Denden Town neighborhood. All this in fear of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
Notice on cancellation of Anime Japan 2020
Notice on cancellation of the 16th Nihonbashi Street Festa
Taking the seriousness of the situation into consideration, Olympic 2020 travelers have been wondering if the 2020 Olyimics will suffer the same fate. On March 3rd, an International Olympic Committee spokesperson stated, that there are no plans to postpone or move the Olympics, adding “We made a decision and the decision is the Games go ahead”. The 2020 Olympics is set to take place from July 24th to August 9th 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
In the U.S., the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease was announced on January 21st, Since then there have been over 230 cases reported and growing. Due to fear of infection, popular industry expo, Game Developers Conference was postponed to the Summer of 2020. GDC was supposed to take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
California’s biggest anime convention Anime Expo is scheduled to still take place in July of this year. The SPJA (Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation) released the following statement regarding Anime Expo status:
With the community taking its precautions, are guest cancellations are unavoidable? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
We encourage our viewers/readers to take precautions and help reduce the spreading of the COVID-19 virus by washing your hands and keeping general germ reduction in mind when going out in public. The following are prevention guidelines by the CDC:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
Voice actor Mike Pollock has been in Radio, eBooks, and commercials, but you might recognize him in animation. He’s the Narrator of Pokemon and the notorious Doctor Eggman in the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise. He’s also done numerous other characters in anime such, Meat from Ultimate Muscle, Deus Prometh in GKid’s Promare, and most recently, Yasui in Weathering with You.
Interview with voice actress, Dorothy Fhan voice of Naru Narusegawa in Love Hina, Meryl Stryfe in Trigun, Chihiro Fujisaki in Danganronpa and much more!
Furthermore, we’ll be interview a VERY special guest at the end of this month, her voice was featured in only two games, Jak II and Jak 3 as Tess!
We’re pleased to announce, former voice actress, Britton Arey will be on our upcoming interview list, if you have any questions for her, please submit them by commenting below or by contacting us using any of these platforms!
Anime Los Angeles 2020 kicked off with the first-ever, U.S. performance of Japanese rock band, BRATS with an opening act by female rap duo, FEMM.
LuLa (FEMM) performing at Anime Los Angeles 2020
BRATS performing at Anime Los Angeles 2020, their first performance in the U.S.
BRATS is a Japanese all-female rock band formed in 2011 by sisters Rei and Aya Kuromiya. In 2018, they released their studio album, BRATS which included the theme songs from the anime series To Be Hero and the Japanese film Slavemen.
BRATS performed to an enthusiastic crowd, performing hit singles such as ‘Misery’, ‘Juuyon Sai Byou’, ‘Come to See You’ and their newest single ‘Excuser’, which was digitally released on day one of Anime Los Angeles 2020.
Rei Kuromiya performing at Anime Los Angeles 2020
Rei Kuromiya during LADYBABY concert in Los Angeles in 2015
Vocalist Rei Kuromiya, is also a former member of Kawaii Metal band, LADYBABY which was formed by Austrian Wearstler, Ladybeard and gravure idol Rie Kaneko.
Special musical guest performances also included an opening act from Japanese electronic, rap duo, FEMM. The band consists of RiRi and LuLa and they described themselves as ‘live mannequins’, in fact, FEMM stands for, Far East Mention Mannequins.
In 2014, FEMM released their critically acclaimed, hit single “Fxxk Boyz Get Money”.
Later that year they released their debut studio album, Femm-Isation. Since then, FEMM has released several EPs and singles.
Their newest studio album, 80’s/90’s J-Pop Revival was released in 2017 in both audio CD and cassette. FEMM spends their time touring in Japan and overseas.
We anxiously anticipate Anime Los Angeles’ musical guests for 2021.
In its 28th year, Anime Expo once again welcomed 115,000* attendees from across the world.
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.
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 insidethe convention, not out. Their statement was later retracted. The earthquake’s epicenter location was Ridgecrest, California.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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.
For 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?
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!
Nagahama sketching for fans
Reuben Langdon signs a slice of pizza for a fan
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Special thank to:
Beari King, Drew and the rest of the AniFest team for making this festival extraordinary!