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.
You may recognize him as Zuko from the hit animated series Avatar The Last Air Bender or maybe even recognize him from Steven Spielberg’s Hook featuring the late, Robbin Williams.
Dante Basco is an actor, voice actor, poet and now an author, releasing his first book, From Rufio to Zuko, a journey into Basco’s personal acting career from an American-Filipino perspective living in the small, industrial town of Pittsburg, California. The book not only covers his career but also, some of his poetry skills as well.
During a book tour event at Barnes and Nobel at The Grove, Basco spoke about his experience being part of the Avatar cast,
“When I originally auditioned for Zuko, I asked them, ‘is this like Danny Zuko or something?‘ I have no clue where the name [Zuko] comes from. The funny thing about Avatar is, [. . .] I go there [Nickelodeon Studios] they give you this script that’s like an anime inspired, epic tail of like martial arts, four-elements — and you’re like, ‘this ain’t Nickelodeon‘, you’re like reading the script and you’re like, ‘is this some Disney XD movie, what is this?’
He goes on,
[. . .] Who’s is this dude? He has a ponytail, he got a scar on his face, chasing this Avatar dude, always yellin’. The whole first season, he’s like ‘honor, honor, honor‘ I’m like, what am I doing? and then all of a sudden, it changed. When I read the script and find out how he got the scared, it was like ‘Who IS this dude?‘.
Crazy things started happening; I remember we were at Sundance [Film Feastival], and I ran into Jason Issac, who plays Genernal Zhao in the show and the older Malfoy in the Hary Potter movies [Refering to Lucius Malfoy] and he was like “Dante! That cartoon we did, WT-f??” you know? because it started to become this phenomenal thing, a CARTOON we did, you know? And this was before comic cons started popping up.”
Basco also went back in time to relive his experience with Robbin Williams on the set of Hook,
“He was like everyone’s favorite uncle, you know, I have a lot of great memories with Robin. Like poetry actually, the Poetry lounge I always, to me in my heart, I’m always connecting it to Robin Williams. [. . .] I grew up a fan like everyone else, [. . .] When I watch Dead Poet Society it was like; It blew my mind. [. . .] We would be able to sit in the make up room, I’m getting my hair done, he’s getting his hair done and we would talk about poetry because he knew how much I love poetry. He’d tell me about his favorite poets and I’d tell about my favorite poets; He was big supporter of me being a poet.”
Remembering Williams, Basco explains,
“When I got to work with him, He’s great! Like, Everything you think Robin is gonna be, the fastest, wittiest, craziest dude in the world, he is! Running 10,00000 miles an hour, so amazing, he’s a god. He IS the Genie from Aladdin, THAT’S who he is. He comes in the room and magic is going to happen just because he’s there and it always does.”
Basco also holds the title of voicing the very first Asian-American (Chinese-American) hero, Jake Long in Disney’s animated series, American Dragon: Jake Long.
Pick a copy of Dante Basco’s newest book, From Ruifo to Zuko now available at your local bookstore, or…
Basco fans now have the opportunity to win this SIGNED copy of Dante Basco’s book, From Rufio to Zuko! All you have to do is share this post on ANY social media platform using #FromRufioToZukoTKN. The winner will be announced on Dec 1st on our FACEBOOK page.
Police and firefighters responded to an apparent suicide by hazmat chemicals at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose at 10A.M on Saturday, August 31st. The Fairmount Hotel is located one block away from the San Jose Convention Center, which the annual Crunchyroll Expo was being held. The Fairmont Hotel is one of many hotels in the area that was filled with Crunchyroll Expo attendees.
A female body was found dead in room 1912 by a hotel employee and reported that the room smelled of ‘an odor’, which spread around 3 floors and sent 9 hotel and guests to hospitals. The incident caused the hotel to clear 3 of their floors levels, 18, 19 and 20. Although investigators have identified the chemical substance involved, they have yet to name the substance or release the woman’s name.
Among the body, police dispatchers can be heard mentioning a suicide note that read, “I committed suicide by poisonous gas. One smell and you’ll die.” it is unknown if the last sentence was meant as a threat or a warning, for anyone who discovered the body. The recording can be heard here, by The Mercury News:
Those affected by the substance suffered from faint and lightheadedness, or were experiencing shortness of breath and were transported to local hospitals. The odor was reported to have smelled of rotten eggs which hinted to the involvement of hydrogen sulfide gas although this has not been confirmed as of yet.
Initial reports also mentioned that the woman found dead inside room 1912, was someone else, other than the person who’s registered to the room. Investigators spoke to the registered guest and it is unknown if the registered guest and woman found dead inside knew each other. It is also unclear if this incident is in any way, shape or form related to Crunchyroll Expo.
The hotel was never fully evacuated but its ventilation system was shut down in order to contain the chemical smell and prevent it from spreading round further. They later reopened floors 18 and 20.
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.
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!
PROMARE marks the very first feature film from Studio TRIGGER, founded by former studio Gainax animator and director Hiroyuki Imaishi. Imaishi credits include the award-winning TV series GURREN LAGANN and critically acclaimed KILL la KILL.
GKIDS and Fathom Events bring PROMARE to U.S. theaters nationwide for special event screenings on September 17th and 19th, followed by a theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles on September 20, 2019. For more information and to purchase movie tickets, visit their PROMARE’s ticket website here.
GKIDS has announced the English voice cast for PROMARE. The film will feature the voices of Billy Kametz (NEON GENESIS Series), Johnny Yong Bosch (BLEACH, AKIRA, MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS), Crispin Freeman (MIRAI), and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld (POKEMON, YU-GI-OH!), among others.
English Voice Cast
Billy Kametz – Galo Thymos Johnny Yong Bosch – Lio Fotia Crispin Freeman – Kray Foresight Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld — Aina Ardebit Neil Kaplan — Vulcan Haestus Erica Lindbeck — Heris Ardebit Kari Wahlgren — Lucia Fex Steve Blum — Ignis Ex Mike Pollock — Deus Prometh John Bentley — Varys Truss Billy Bob Thompson — Remi Puguna Matt Mercer — Gueira Yuri Lowenthal –Meis Melissa Fahn — Biar Colossus
PROMARE Synopsis is as follows:
Thirty years has passed since the appearance of Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves “Mad Burnish” appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team “Burning Rescue,” and Lio Fotia, the leader of “Mad Burnish” begins. PROMARE uses a bold cel-shaded visual style to tell a blistering action-adventure story and is the spiritual successor to many of director Hiroyuki Imaishi’s former works.
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?
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.
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.