Category Archives: Los Angeles

 Teaser Trailer Premiere | Illumination and Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Film

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New York Comic Con has announced the premiere of the upcoming Super Marios Bros film produced by Illumination and Nintendo.

The film an ensemble voice cast including Chris Pratt (Mario), Anya Taylor-Joy (Peach), Charlie Day (Luigi), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek), Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike), and Charles Martinet (undisclosed role).

This is the third film adaptation of the game franchise following the 1986 Japanese animated adventure comedy film Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! and the terrible but cult classic film, 1993 live-action film Super Mario Bros. The new film began its concept development as early as 2015, after Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto met Illumination CEO, Chris Meledandri through Universal Japan’s venture in Super Mario Bro attractions.

By 2020, production was already underway with Chris Pratt as Mario and Directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who both worked on Teen Titans Go! To the Movies as director and writer, respectively. As of September 22, 2022, not much is known about the film’s plot, however there is an IMDB description that describes the film as follows,

” A plumber named Mario travels through an underground labyrinth with his brother, Luigi, trying to save a captured princess. Feature film adaptation of the popular video game.”

Via IMDB

The film is set to be released by Universal Pictures on April 7, 2023 in the United States, followed by a Japan release on April 28, It will be available to stream on Peacock 45 days afterwards. Universal pictures and New York Comic-Con have announced the world premiere teaser trailer of the film on October 6th at 4pm ET.

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EVANGELION:3.0+1.01 THRICE UPON A TIME – IN US THEATERS FOR THE FIRST TIME

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GKIDS is collaborating with Fathom for Exclusive Event Showings of the Finale of the Historic “EVANGELION” Property. GKIDS will bring the highly anticipated fourth and final installment of the new theatrical “Rebuild” editions of the EVANGELION franchise to theaters nationwide. In partnership with Fathom Events, screenings will only be on December 6th, 8th, and 11th.

Tickets will be available beginning November 2nd at FathomEvents.com, GKIDS.com/EVANGELION and participating theater box offices.

EVANGELION:3.0+1.01 THRICE UPON A TIME was released in Japanese theaters in 2021, where it was a critical and box office success becoming the highest-grossing film of the year with ¥10.28 billion (~$85 million) at the local box office. The release marks the first time the film will be available in theaters in North America since its domestic release in Japan. The film has won numerous awards, including, The 45th Japan Academy Film Prize, Tokyo Anime Awards, and Best Original Screenplay and Director (Hideaki Anno) categories at the Tokyo Anime Film Festival.

Created by Hideaki Anno, the NEON GENESIS EVANGELION franchise is considered one of the most influential animated sagas of all time. Since the 1995 premiere of the original television series, the story of teenager Shinji Ikari has remained one of the most iconic titles in animation history and a global pop culture phenomenon.

Last year, GKIDS released the original twenty-six-episode television series, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, as well as the films EVANGELION: DEATH (TRUE)2 and THE END OF EVANGELION on Blu-ray and digital download-to-own for the first time in North America. GKIDS also handles North American distribution for creator Hideaki Anno’s prior series, NADIA: The Secret of Blue Water.

Film Synopsis

From legendary director Hideaki Anno, EVANGELION:3.0+1.01 THRICE UPON A TIME is the fourth and final installment of the REBUILD OF EVANGELION films, bringing an epic conclusion to the story of Shinji and his fellow Eva pilots, with the stunning visuals and thought-provoking storytelling that has made EVANGELION a global pop culture phenomenon.

Misato and her anti-NERV group Wille arrive at Paris, a city now red from core-ization. Crew from the flagship Wunder land on a containment tower. They only have 720 seconds to restore the city. When a horde of NERV Evas appear, Mari’s improved Eva Unit 8 must intercept. Meanwhile, Shinji, Asuka, and Rei (Provisional Name) wander about Japan.

During an interview by Moshi Moshi Nippon in July 2021, Evangelion creator and director Hideaki Anno, gave a message for the film’s international release on Amazon Prime Video,

Photo: Moshi Moshi Nippon | https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/479515

“Not only Evangelion, but my work basically deal with themes unique to Japan, aimed at people who grew up in Japan. I am really grateful and honoured that such works are seen and loved by people all over the world. Thank you so much for supporting Evangelion, and I hope you enjoy the film”

– Hideaki Anno via Moshi Moshi Nippon | July 2021

Tickets will be available beginning November 2nd at FathomEvents.com, GKIDS.com/EVANGELION and participating theater box offices.

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‘A SILENT VOICE’ Celebrates 5th Anniv – AX Cinema Nights

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A SILENT VOICE is celebrating its 5th anniversary with limited engagement screenings beginning on Wednesday, October 12th, at nearly 300 theatres, as part of AX Cinema Nights. Brought to you by Anime Expo, Iconic events & distributed by Eleven Arts, this partnership marks the second installment of AX Cinema Nights.

Based on the best-selling manga series by Yoshitoki Ōima, A SILENT VOICE is the poignant and moving story of Shōya Ishida, a school bully, and Shōko Nishimiya, a young girl with a hearing disability. Their story begins in sixth grade when Shōko transfers to Shōya’s elementary school and quickly finds herself bullied and isolated. Years later, the tables turn, and Shōya finds himself isolated and alone. A SILENT VOICE depicts the struggles and challenges of adolescence alongside coming of age outside the norm.

The film was produced by acclaimed studio, Kyoto Animation, directed by Naoko Yamada (K-On!, Tamako Market, ) and written by Reiko Yoshida, featuring music by Kensuke Ushio. the film grossed over $31.6 million worldwide and received a Best Animated Film nomination from the Japanese Film Academy upon its initial release in 2017.

The English dub cast includes renowned voice actors including Robbie Daymond (as Shoya Ishida), Lexi Marman Cowden (as Shoko Nishimiya), Kristen Sullivan (as Yuzuru Nishimiya), Graham Halstead (as Tomohiro Nagatsuka), Kira Buckland (as Naoka Ueno), Melissa Hope (as Miyoko Sahara), Amber Lee Connors (as Miki Kawai), Max Mittelman (as Satoshi Mashiba), Michael Sinterniklaas (as Kazuki Shimada), and Sara Cravens (as Miyoko Ishida).

AX Cinema Nights is an in-person movie event series celebrating the best new and classic anime films by bringing them to theaters across North America. Leveraging the brand power of Anime Expo, the largest Japanese culture event in North America, AX Cinema Nights brings passionate fans together for immersive and unforgettable community experiences.

Relive the experience by purchasing your tickets here.

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POKEMON is Back at McDonald’s | Match Battle

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It’s been a little over a year since McDonald’s collaborated with Pokémon for its 25th anniversary, and they’re back again!


Beginning today, August 16th, 2022, McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys will have Pokémon toys, which will include four game Pokémon game cards, a spinner, and a coin. Based on the promotional videos on McDonald’s website, the cards featured are brand new cards and not reprinted or redistributed versions from its 25th-anniversary run.

Photos from Twitter user @Drakers_12, sent to Pokebeach.com, appear to show the full, complete card set with different coins and spinners.

As previously mentioned, the toy will include a spinner and a coin that can be used in conjunction with the cards. Details on the game and how to play watch the video below:

© 2022 Pokémon / Nintendo / Creatures / GAME FREAK. © 2022 McDonald’s. All Rights Reserved.

It’s safe to assume that many, if not all, McDonald’s will implement a “Must buy a Happy Meal to get toy” policy due to their high demand; this was seen in many McDonald’s throughout the nation during the 25th anniversary run, to deter any scalpers who were looking into getting their hands on just the cards themselves.

We wish all Pokémon masters luck on their journey to collect these cards…also enjoy the month long McDonald’s diet, we know we will.

Anime Expo – SPINOFF CONVENTION COMING THIS NOVEMBER

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During the closing ceremonies, the SJPA thanked all attendees for coming to Anime Expo 2022 and introduced the very first ‘anime expo ontario’ in California.

Introduced as “anime expo” (all lower case letters), a smaller-scale spinoff convention that will allow fans an additional opportunity to celebrate Japanese pop culture this November in Ontario, California.

Smaller-Scale “anime expo” Focused on Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley to
be Hosted at Ontario Convention Center November 12-13, 2022

The event, which will be focused primarily on the exhibit hall and artist alley experience, will take place November 12-13, 2022 at the Ontario Convention Center; ticket sales will be announced in the upcoming months.

“Seeing our Anime Expo family once per year simply isn’t enough, which is why we’re incredibly excited to bring the brand-new ‘anime expo’ event to Ontario, California,[. . .]Anime Expo 2022 was a success, and we look forward to carrying that positive momentum into this smaller-scale show that provides a unique, more intimate opportunity for fans of Japanese pop culture to come together a second time this year.”

– Ray Chiang, CEO of SPJA

The first in-person Anime Expo since 2019 welcomed fans back to the Los Angeles Convention Center with over 1,000 hours of programming, including Japanese musical guests SG5 and Travis Japan, renowned DJs Steve Aoki and TeddyLoid, and Guests of Honor including Studio MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka and JUJUTSU KAISEN Script Writer Hiroshi Seko, as well as Ranking of Kings Director Yosuke Hatta and Animation Producer Maiko Okada of WIT Studio; Mika Akitaka, the creator of Anime Expo’s iconic mascot, MAX, also joined in the festivities in honor of the event’s 31st year.

Anime Expo will once again return in-person to the Los Angeles Convention Center next year from July 1-4. Ticket sales for Anime Expo 2023 will be announced in fall 2022. Ray added,

“After three long years away from the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was incredibly important to all of us at SPJA that our community be welcomed home with a truly unforgettable convention experience and, thanks to all the participants–including exhibitors (small and big alike), artists, industry and sponsors–and the incredibly hard work and dedication shown by each and every volunteer and staff member, we’re proud to say that this year’s show not only met, but exceeded our expectations. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for next year!”

– Ray Chiang, CEO of SPJA
Los Angeles Convention Center two days before day zero

Anime Expo celebrated its 31st annual convention by returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center live and in-person, bringing together fans and industry professionals for the largest celebration of Japanese pop culture in North America. Hosted by The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the sold-out four-day convention saw attendees from over 70 countries descend upon the city of Los Angeles to generate an estimated positive economic impact of over $100 Million for local hotels and businesses. Anime Expo fans that were unable to attend Anime Expo 2022 also had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of AX virtually through Anime Expo Lite through Twitch and YouTube.

For more updates on anime expo Ontario, visit the official Anime Expo website.

Ronin-Expo 2022 REturns & REscheduled!

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For those following the anime convention scene in Los Angeles, CA; Ronin Expo announced earlier this year that had to postpone its June event until further notice due to changes in the venue’s service policies. Recently they announced that Ronin Expo has found a new venue within the Little Tokyo district.

Artist Ally at Ronin Expo 2018

Since 2017 Ronin-Expo is an Anime and Asian culture convention targeting both new and veteran convention-goers. The convention is designed to feel like an festival featuring artists, exhibitors, live performances, and guests of honors and special in-door panels. Past featured guests include voice actors, Sarah William, Reuben Langdon and Japanese anime director, Hiroshi Nagahama.

The event is now scheduled for August 13th, 2022 at its new home at The Terasaki Budokan Center in the Little Tokyo District, tickets are still available for purchase here. Special guests include voice actors, Mela Lee & Richard Epcar with performances by Origami Flagship, Ryujin Taiko & Burai.

Follow RONIN EXPO for more updates and announcements on updating panels, events and guests!

Review | Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis – Decide

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Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis <Decide> will premiere in the U.S. tomorrow, May 12th, in theatres as part of the first-ever AX Cinema Nights, a collaboration between Anime Expo, Eleven Arts, and Iconic events.

It’s important to note that there are two versions of the film, Decide and Glory; this review will cover Decide; there is no release date set for “Glory” as of the release of this review.

Debuting as the first CG film in the series, it serves as a bridge between the original manga series’ timeline and its sequel, which saw Ryoma leaving Japan for America for the US Open and then appearing at the All-Japan Junior Training Camp in Japan.

The film follows Ryoma Echizen, inspired by his tennis champion father Nanjirō Echizen, is determined to take his game to the next level and train in the US. But in the middle of an intense tennis battle to save his classmate Sakuno from “dangerous” villains, they somehow find themselves transported to the past, just as Ryoma’s father is about to face his final championship match at the US Open – when he was mysteriously forced to retire. Takeshi Konomi, The Prince of Tennis creator, oversaw the film’s production and wrote some of the music and lyrics for the featured songs.

Yes, this film has a few sporadic musical numbers (perhaps inspired from Musical: The Prince of Tennis) combined with its CG animation style making it feel like a Disney film or an episode of Miraculous Ladybug. Still, as sporadic musical numbers go, they are entertaining to watch. This film also makes for a great kid-friendly film and is perfect for introducing your kids to anime and The Prince of Tennis series. Although the film pays homage to the series’ comedic genre, it exaggerates, making the featured slap-stick comedy dull to older audiences. Like the original series, there is still tennis action on the court, mainly focusing on using tennis as a form of distraction; the real tennis action comes towards the end of the film with Nanjirō Echizen facing off an American character.

Throughout the film, there are major plot holes; for example, there is no explanation for the time travel nor an explanation as to why a particular character is seen in a wheelchair at the beginning but is completely fine throughout the film. These are only a few questions that seem to be unanswered; however, as mentioned above, this is only one version of the film; therefore, it’s safe to assume that any plot holes or questions may be answered in “Glory.” 

Overall, the film lives up to The Prince of Tennis legacy; it’s a unique take on The Prince of Tennis series and its characters and a concrete bridge between the US Open and U-17 Training camp gap. It’s a fun-packed, family-friendly film that will capture both old and new fans.

Experience the newest addition to The Prince of Tennis series and purchase your tickets HERE.

Anime Expo Announced the First ever ‘AX Cinema Nights’ with the screening of ‘RYOMA! THE PRINCE OF TENNIS’

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Anime Expo & Iconic events have partnered up to bring anime fans the first ever AX cinema Nights featuring a new full-length anime film adventure, RYOMA! THE PRINCE OF TENNIS!

What is AX Cinema Nights?

AX Anime Expo Cinema Nights is an in-person movie event series celebrating the best new and classic anime films by bringing them to theaters across North America. Leveraging the brand power of Anime Expo, the largest Japanese culture event in North America, AX Cinema Nights will bring passionate fans together for immersive and unforgettable community experiences. Beginning with the newest addition to The Prince of Tennis franchise.

“Over the course of Anime Expo’s 31-year history, one of the greatest lessons we’ve learned is that anime has an incredible gift for bringing people together. [. . .] That’s why we’re so thrilled to team up with Iconic Events and Eleven Arts to kick off AX Anime Expo Cinema Nights with Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis and create even more opportunities for anime fans nationwide to grow their communities and share their love of the artform with friends both new and old.”

– Ray Chiang, CEO of Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA).

RYOMA! THE PRINCE OF TENNIS is a new feature film about tennis prodigy Ryoma Echizen and is based on the acclaimed manga series, The Prince of Tennis, and its sequel, The New Prince of Tennis, written and illustrated by renowned manga author, Takeshi Konomi.  This will be the franchise’s first ever CG film and features an all-new story that takes place between the original manga series’ timeline and its sequel. Creator Takeshi Konomi personally supervised the film’s production and wrote the music and lyrics for all the featured songs.

Eleven Arts is very excited to be a part of this partnership with Iconic Events Releasing and Anime Expo’s AX Cinema Nights to bring forth a new theatrical experience for anime fans to enjoy [. .. ] We are honored to kickstart this experience with Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis , a title from such an iconic franchise.

-Ko Mori, CEO and President of Eleven Arts

Inspired by his tennis champion father, Ryoma is determined to take his game to the next level and train in the US. But in the middle of an intense tennis battle to save his classmate Sakuno from dangerous villains, they somehow find themselves transported to the past, just as Ryoma’s father is about to face his final championship match at the US Open – when he was mysteriously forced to retire. The innovative 3D digital animation brings the magnificent and colorful world of The Prince of Tennis to life on the big screen in this captivating film.

Cover of Prince of Tennis manga Volume 1 as released by Shueisha on January 7, 2000 in Japan. Cover by Takeshi Konomi

Over 60 million copies of The Prince of Tennis manga have been sold since the series debuted in 1999 in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. The sequel rekindled the series in 2009 in Shueisha’s Jump Square magazine. Over the past 20+ years, the blockbuster franchise has spawned a hit anime series, animated feature films, live action films, stage plays, radio shows, music collaborations, and video games.

Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis is a quintessential and beloved property among anime and manga fans. We are excited to join with Anime Expo and Eleven Arts to present this exciting film to American audiences as part of AX Cinema Nights, and to expand our anime theatrical programming and continue the collaboration with Anime Expo.

-steve Bunnell, CEO of Iconic Events Releasing.

Screenings will take place beginning May 12 at theaters nationwide. On-sale dates and theaters will be announced shortly.

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KAZHA | Hard Rock Band Making Headlines at Anime Cons

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Anime Los Angeles has been bringing top hit musical guests such Stephanie Yanez, Raj Ramayya, and Lolita Dark in 2019 followed by, Japanese electronic dance music duo FEMM in 2020. This year’s musical guest was KAZAH!

​Kazha is a rock band founded by Japanese singer-songwriter Kazuha Oda and guitarist Hideki Matsushige in 2009. Since the release of their first album, Overture (2010) they’ve been touring around the U.S. making headlines in U.S. Anime Conventions such as Nan Desu Kan and Anime Los Angeles.

Guitarist Hideki Matsushige & singer-songwriter Kazuha Oda

Kazha has also shared the stage with national artists such as George Lynch, Tracii Guns, LA Guns, Y&T, Tantric, and Trapt. Moving their base of operations to Memphis, TN in 2015, they’ve been featured on local broadcasts such as WREG News Channel 3, Channel 24, and WMC Action News 5.

We had the honor of interviewing lead vocalist, Kazuha Oda, and hearing her story behind the formation of KAZHA!