The Nisei Week Parade was held in Los Angeles on August 10th, 2019. Originally a 7-day festival celebrating first American born Japanese in Los Angeles.
Although the festival is no longer confined within a week nor is it exclusively targeted to ‘niseis‘, (the first American born Japanese) it is a celebration of Japanese American culture and history in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
Nisei week has over the years diversified giving the surrounding community “[…]the opportunity for people of all backgrounds to celebrate Japanese heritage and culture.“. as stated by Michelle Suzuki, Nisei Week Foundation president in 2006. To learn more about Nisei week and its cultural significance, visit their official website here.
Here some of our highlights from the parade
J-pop band, Bishonen
Band members; Ryuga Sato, Yuto Nasu & Hidaka Ukisho. Represented by Japan’s male idol talent agency, Johnny & Associates (also known as, Johnny’s).
Montebello-Ashiya Sister city program
Over fifty years after an international agreement between the two distant cities, one in the United States, and one in far-off Japan, the international sister city agreement between Montebello and Ashiya, Japan, continues to be vital and strong. Created to help people understand and implement tolerance of cultural differences and an awareness of people’s qualities and attributes.
Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen and Princesses
Princess Nami Katie Saito, Princess Elena Harumi Nielsen, Princess Stephanie Reiko Gee, First Princess Naomi Leilani Furukawa, Queen Yuki Nishimura.
2019 Nisei Week Queen & Court
Princess Ariel Mei Imamoto, Princess Emily Yuiko Ishida, First Princess Mia Masae Lopez, 2019 Nisei Week Queen Juli Yoshinaga, Miss Tomodachi Kara Chizuru Ito, Princess Marika Kate Gotschall, and Princess Kayla Sachiko Igawa.
Entertainment Hobby Shop Jungle
Osaka based, anime retail store, Anime Jungle! Jungle has everything from Anime and Tokusatsu merchandise include toys, figures, DVDs, Apparels to rare anime figures!
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.
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) .
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:
Get to the theater early to receive an exclusive Lelouch postcard!*
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?
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!
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!
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.
In attendance was none other than the CEO and founder of ZAG Entertainment, Jeremy Zag signing Miraculous Ladybug posters.
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.
Special thanks to Jeremy Zag for dedicating this amazing poster to the website and the rest of the ZAG staff.
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.
For the first time ever, American fans of Fate/Grand Order got a chance to experience the fantastic world of the mobile game thanks to the Fate/Grand Order U.S.A. Tour 2019, hosted by Aniplex of America.
The tour made its first stop in Los Angeles, California with a special two-day event held at the California Market Center. The celebration began on February 23rd and continued the next day, February 24th.
Fate/Grand Order U.S.A. Tour featured a plethora of attractions including many immersive photo-op areas, a Challenge Quest Battle Zone, and a “Learning with Manga” Kigurumi Greeting Stage where fans can catch a glimpse of the Female Protagonist.
Upon entering the event, fans glimpse of the large-scale Fate/Grand Order Monument, which captures an iconic scene from the game’s story that is sure to pull at any fan’s heartstrings.
The Fate/Grand Order U.S.A. Tour 2019 also had a mesmerizing Noble Phantasm Exhibit featuring life-size weapons from the game including both Jeanne d’Arc and Jeanne d’Arc (Alter)’s flags, Nero Claudius’s Aestus Estus, Gilgamesh’s sword, Ea, Leonardo da Vinci’s staff, and the unveiling of the never-before-seen Sakata Kintoki (Rider)’s Golden Bear and Altria Pendragon (Alter)’s Excalibur Morgan.
The event also featured summon special guests Noriko Shitaya (voice of Sakura Matou), Satoshi Tsuruoka (voice of Arash, Gilles de Rais, Caligula, and Spartacus), and FGO PROJECT’s Creative Producer, Yosuke Shiokawa, for special panels on the Main Stage.
Fans attending the Los Angeles event were also the first ones to get their hands on exclusive tour merchandise, as well as products from other vendors selling Fate merchandise.
For fans who were unable to make it to the Los Angeles event, don’t worry the Fate/Grand Order U.S.A. Tour 2019 plans to head to Anime Central (Rosemont, IL), Anime Expo (Los Angeles, CA), and Anime Weekend Atlanta (Atlanta, GA) throughout 2019, before making its final stop at Anime NYC (New York, NY) in November.
Fate/Grand Order U.S.A. Tour 2019 Schedule:
Fate/Grand Order U.S.A. Tour 2019 in Los Angeles (February 23- 24, 2019) California Market Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Anime Central (May 17-19, 2019) Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Rosemont, IL)
Anime Expo (July 4- 7, 2019) Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Anime Weekend Atlanta (October 31 – November 3, 2019) Renaissance Waverly & Cobb Galleria Center (Atlanta, GA)
Anime NYC (November 15-17, 2019) Javits Center (New York, NY)
For information about the schedule and updates, please visit the official Fate/Grand Order Tour website here.