Anime over took San Jose this month with Crunchyroll Expo 2022! Crunchyroll Expo or CRX, returned to the San Jose Convention Center after its two year physical hiatus from the pandemic, Drawing thousands from California and out of state. Crunchyroll Expo 2022’s turnstile attendance count was an estimated 45,000!
Special guests featured included Megan Shipman, Roseline Chiang, and Dominique “King Vader” Barrett with musical guests, Burnout Syndromes, SiM and MADKID. Although we did not have time to cover CRX’s special musical guests, we did manage to get some interviews with special guests Megan Shipman, Roseline Chiang and content creator King Vader.
Spy X Family has been trending ever since its anime adaptation release back in April of this year. Anya, the 6 year old telepath and became the center of attention among Spy X Family memes. We had the chance to sit down with Anya’s English voice actor, Megan Shipman to speak about her role and the impact it has made in her career.
In a surprising announcement, CRX announced Roseline Chiang as guest of honor. Roseline Chiang is best known for voicing Meilin “Mei” Lee in Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red. Not many may know that Roseline is a huge anime fan and Crunchy Roll Expo 2022 was her very first anime convention ever! Here’s our brief interview with Roseline during CRX’22.
To wrap-up, we spoke with content creator King Vader regarding his newest film, Hood Jujutsu Kaizen, which premiered during the convention, and his reasoning behind why people love his content and his future, listen to the full audio interview below.
As a bonus, we managed to briefly speak with Crunchy Roll mascot Crunchyroll-Hime!
Con-goers got to enjoy a great musical lineup, industry panels, and free bike rides from and to the convention center!
Slightly lite on activities, most of CRX’s content relied on V-Tubers, which, if you were not a fan of, the convention would have seemed like it had less to offer. However, let’s not forget that CRX, like many other conventions, are recovering and emerging from a two-year-long hiatus after the pandemic.
One would argue that cons had enough to prep up to come back, but with COVID-19 mandates still active in some states, it is no wonder conventions are taking it slow and experimenting with its content. We look forward to visiting New Crunchy City next year and seeing its various content Crunchyroll will have in store!
Miraculous Ladybug currently has 3 seasons and going strong, and with a huge demand for Miraculous Ladybug merchandise, Zag entertainment decided to open a physical store in Santa Monca, California in April of 2019.
Merchandise varies, from action figures and stationery to apparel and accessories. Recently, Zag entertainment added a highly anticipated product!
Miraculous ladybug fans have been pushing for Zag entertainment to produce collectible figures, rather than the basic figurine toy. on March 13th, Zag entertainment released the VERY, first collectible figure; Ladybug & Catnoir Art Figure!
The figure is 100% resin and stands about 16.5” inches tall, and comes with a limited-edition storage box made from real leather.
How much will this limited edition figure set you back? An estimated $260 (before taxes and shipping). If you have $260+ to spare, the figure can be pre-ordered online here, but hurry only 2000 pieces were made.
We’d love to hear from you, What are your opinions on the Miraculous Ladybug figure? Comment below!
Since making her first U.S. debut, Miku has landed in the mainstream media spotlight, even being featured in other U.S. media, such as ‘The late-night show with David Letterman‘ and was also the opening act for Lady Gaga’s 2014 worldwide tour, The Artpop Ball.
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.
Seies Manos premiered at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles on September 26th. The event was developed by VIZ Media and LatinX in Animation and moderated by Executive Producer, Rob Pereyda. In attendance were the cast members of the series including, Angélica Vale, Jonny Cruz & Vic Chao.
Among those that attended the premiere were the series’ Co-Executive Producer, Daniel Dominguez; Music Producer, Carl Thiel; CEO of Powerhouse Animation, Brad Graeber; Executive Producer at VIZ Media, Rob Pereyda and special surprise guest & film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez.
During its premiere, only the first two episodes were screened, however, that was enough for film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez to state the following to the series producers,
“So this now The Citizen Kane of Mexican anime, I love it, I think its incredible, I think what you guys did is so great and funny and diverse and its just packed with heart. That was the thing that I was- usually don’t get in Kung fu movies, but this had a lot of heart and it was just beautiful, so I guess my question to you guys is, how did this happen? [. . .]”
Brad Graeber – Executive Producer & CEO of Powerhouse Animation:
” That’s a great question! So Powerhouse as a studio, we love doing fight choreography, I’m a martial arts enthusiast and student and like, I’ve always wanted to do something legit kung fu [. . .] there was not anything specific but I was like, you know, when you think about the old kung fu TV shows with David Carradine in it, there was also a mass migration of Chinese immigrants in mexico too and so it really came from that. [. . .] ” Brad replied.
” [. . .] So I got on the phone with Álvaro [Rodríguez] and uh, I sounded like a crazy person, ‘so its the 70’s and its’s kung fu, but you know, there’s monsters…’ and then Álvaro goes, he goes ‘MEXICAN ANIME!‘ [. . .] “
Thus, Seis Manos was born!
Seis Manos or its literal English translation Six Hands, is set in Mexico in the 1970s, centering on three orphaned martial arts students Jesus, Isabella, and Silencio, who join forces with a DEA agent, Brister and a Mexican Federale, Garcia to battle for justice after their beloved mentor, Master Chiu is murdered in their tiny border town. The story captives the viewer with the number of intriguing twists and turns, such as zombies, monsters, mysterious characters, magic…and the Mexican cartel?
Seis Manos features a notable voice cast highlighted by Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) as Isabela, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as Brister, Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) as Jesus, Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) as Garcia, Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) as Chiu, and Danny Trejo (Machete) as El Balde. All eight episodes will have English and Spanish audio and multiple subtitled language options. Most of the Spanish track is dubbed over by the same English cast members.
Danny Trejo speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. | Photo by Gage Skidmore
“SEIS MANOS offers the very best in storytelling and action, with an incredible voice cast and a unique Latin American story line rarely seen in animation,” says Brad Woods, Chief Marketing Officer, VIZ Media. “We’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Powerhouse to share this incredible new series with fans.”
She is an award-winning film director, producer and web series creator. She is known for her work as a voice actress and her work in Portal. She’s none other than, Alésia Glidewell.
Pictured above during an interview we had in 2013, Alésia was born in Hawaii, to a Brazilian-American father and Japanese mother. She speaks English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, in addition, she spends her free time traveling the world.
Alésia began her work in video games, after graduating from Emory Univerity. Wanting a breakthrough in the voice over and film industry, she moved to Seattle and spent most of her time sending out demos and attending classes. After much hard work and sacrifice, she got signed on by an agent and her career took off.
After a very successful commercial career, she booked her very first game role in 2004 as Carmalita fox and Nayla in the game, Sly 2: Band of Thieves. She later went on to voice Krystal the Fox in Star Fox Assult, released in 2005. Fast-forward to 2007, Alésia obtained recognition for her work in Portal as the facial and body model for the game’s protagonist, Chell, making her forever immortalized in a video game.
Sly 2: Camelita Fox
Sly 2: Nayla
Star Fox: Assault
SSB: Zero Suit Samus
SSB: Kunckle Joe
In addition, she voiced Zero Suit Samus, Knuckle Joe and reprised her role as Krystal the Fox in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008. A decade later, she reprised all three roles for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it is unclear if she had to re-record her lines or if her recordings were taken from archived recordings.
In 2013 we had the honor of interviewing Alésia Glidewell, at the time, she had just wrapped up a film she had directed and produced, Small fish. According to IMDB, its a story about two underachieving brothers who compete in a rematch against their rivals, the big shot Prussian Brothers, in the small town of Rancho Cucamonga, California. The film won best short at Hollywood Reel International Film Festival in 2014.
In 2015 Alésia and former Microsoft employee, Keri Andrews both appeared on Shark Tank, pitching the creation of You Kick-Ass. Using 3D printing technology, You kick Ass is meant to create customized superhero figures for the masses, making great personal gifts or even promotional items. The idea came to Alésia and Kari after the release of Valve’s Chell action figure which featured, Alésia’s likeness. The duo became Shark Tank success stories after walking away with an offer of $100K investment with 10% of the company from investor, Mark Cuban.
Since then, Alésia has a had huge variety of work under her belt. She became an executive producer for Wear it, To Win it, We Got issues, and The Tube’s Hautest. She also helped to create and develop a series on beauty products for Bobbi Brown cosmetics and Estée Lauder. In more recent news, Alésia has produced and directed various content for YouTubers such as, Netflix’s A Trip to Unicorn Island featuring Lily Singh and Ateyo’s Women of games: Thank u, games music video, which featured Ovilee May, Sue “Smix” Lee, Tori Pareno, and The women of Gaming & Esports. Earlier this year, she was also elected into the Producer’s Guild of America, New Media Council Board.
Alésia has proven she’s as determined as the characters she voices. With so much accomplished in the film industry, it leaves one to wonder, will she come back into video game or the voice-over industry? With a new Metroid game in the works, the timing would be perfect! However, It goes without saying, through hard work and sacrifice, Alésia Glidewell has managed to become a self-made woman, with a future that looks brighter with every project she takes on.
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?
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.
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.