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AniFest 2019

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.

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Ramen Maid Astolfo

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.

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AniFest ticket winner!

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!


Photo Gallery

Special thank to:

Beari King, Drew and the rest of the AniFest team for making this festival extraordinary!

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Let’s go to AniFest 2019!

What is AniFest?

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AniFest is a yearly anime convention and festival dedicated to celebrating the arts and culture of Japanese animation. Cosplayers, vendors, partners, sponsors, performers, and event producers all come together in one day to bring you the best that an anime convention has to offer, but without the high price!

Why Should I attend?

Aside from special guests appearances by VampyBitMe, D-Piddy, キーング X KING!, and yours truly, AniFest will also feature musical performances by Stephanie Yanez, Tune in Tokyo, Phoebe Chan & Arcane Maid Cafe Idols. There’ll be many anime and fashion vendors, entertainment and photo ops during the event! As an added bonus, AniFest will be in partnership with Avex Pictures of Japan to host the very first U.S. screening of Trinity Seven 2*!

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There’ll plenty of activities to part take during this 8-hour event such as Anisong Dance Festival Event, AniFest Cosplay Showcase, Itasha Anime Car Showcase, Pine Wind Japanese Garden Experience & more. (See their official schedule here for more information). All this and more at AniFest! Held at the Torrence Cultural Arts Center in Torrence, CA on March 23rd 2019, in just 16 days!

More information on their official website!

‘I Want to go now!’

Tickets are now on sale so grab them before they’re gone!

OR you can try your luck here! We are proud to announce that we are working alongside AniFest to bring you this special giveaway**, so enter for your chance to win a (1) ticket to AniFest 2019!

DEADLINE: MARCH 20TH at 11:59PM [PST]

*Sperate ticket required for this event
**Only one winner will be selected

Anime Los Angeles 2019

A new year has begun and the Con season rolls out, beginning with Anime Los Angeles 2019 held at Ontario’s Convention Center.

Anime Los Angeles or ALA is known for their enthusiastic atmosphere and since their relocation from the LAX Marriott, ALA has no trouble keeping up with traditions.

During the con, we had the honor of interviewing Miraculous Ladybug voice director and voice actor himself, EZRA WEISZ!

After some extensive con shopping, we caught up with a special friend of ours, KAHO SHIBUYA, who grants us with an exclusive interview!

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As you may remember, we unexpectedly got the chance to interview Kaho Shibuya in November of last year during HentaiCon 2018.

Click here for our First interview with JAV actress Kaho Shibuya at Hentai Con 2018

[Interview with Kaho Shibuya at Anime Los Angeles 2019 RELEASE DATE: 3/1/19]

Even though ALA had exciting parties and exhibits to attend, the most eventful part of the weekend, occurred throughout the early morning hours of Day 3; Sunday. A man, now dubbed the Anime Los Angeles stalker, targeted a con attendee’s car and set it ablaze.

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The blaze not only destroyed the victim’s car but burnt 6 other cars parked next to it.

For more information, CLICK HERE for the FULL report.

Overall, Anime Los Angeles 2019 was a huge hit! Great parties, an amazing artist alley, and great cosplays which can see on our Anime Los Angeles 2019 Gallery below! ’til next year!

See you at AniFest 2019!

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Be on the lookout for our ANIFEST 2019 GIVEAWAY! Details coming soon!

I would like to thank the following people who helped me during the convention:

Vincent Reyes 

Josh Cruz (Photaku Network)

Kaho Shibuya 

& ALA Press staff

Anime Los Angeles 2019: CAR ARSON |*UPDATE* VIDEO CCTV FOOTAGE RELEASED

We usually see pretty crazy things that happen at anime conventions in general, but on early Sunday morning at around 1:30AM, Anime Los Angeles attendees, alongside other non-con hotel residents, woke up to what was initially thought of as an active shooter situation at the Folk Inn Hotel in Ontario, CA.

It was later discovered that it was not an active shooter situation but rather, an arson fire that destroyed a total of SEVEN cars.

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Both the Folk Inn Hotel and its neighboring hotel, The Azure Hotel & Suites were evacuated, however, According to eyewitness Nora Moto, who staying at the Azure Hotel, employees, as well as hotel residents, were knocking on doors advising people to leave and evacuate their rooms immediately. Nora Moto told The Kitsune Network, “People were panicking because they thought it was an active shooter[…]the fire burst the tires and people thought someone was shooting up the place.”

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Nora added that the initial reports of an active shooter caused mass panic inside the Azure Hotel lobby causing people to run out into the streets, some going towards the Gateway Hotel, adjacent to the Ontario Convention Center, to stay away from the “active shooter”.

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We were able to speak to a police officer after the fire was out, the officer at the scene told us that, a person of interest was detained by police. An eyewitness saw individual pouring gasoline on ONE car and then setting it on fire, the fire then spread to the adjacent cars. The individual then sped off in an unidentified car, but not before the eyewitness was able to record their license plates number.

Authorities are yet to find a motive behind this terrible crime. It is unknown if the arson had any relation to Anime Los Angeles or any of its attendees. No official statement has been released by the Ontario police or fire department.

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According to ABC 7 news:

“surveillance video[…]showed a man walk up to the main vehicle, pour two cans of gasoline all over it and then he flicked a match on it. The manager said the match didn’t start the fire, so the man in the video then pulled out his lighter to set the vehicle ablaze.”

*UPDATE*

27 year old, Matt Masumi Toyotome, an Anime Los Angeles attendee, is currently in custody and in the West Valley Detention center on suspicion of arson. His bail is set to $250,000.

Sources have told us that, Matt Toyotome targeted a 2015 Subaru Outback belonging to fellow con attendee, Julia Moreno Jenkins, whom Matt had an obsession with for years. Authorities were able to arrest Matt at his Riverside home shortly after the fire without incident.

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Jenkins’ Facebook profile photo

According to a friend of the victim who has chosen to remain anonymous, Matt had been harassing Jenkins for about 3+ years prior to this incident. The feud began when Matt, Julia, and a group Power Ranger fans created a fan-made YouTube series titled, Armored Rangers.

It was during the production of this series that Matt developed an obsession with Jenkins, even though Jenkins had been in a relationship since 2013. When the series ended, the group went their separate ways, however, Julia stayed on the YouTube scene with another series and became well known in the Power Ranger community.

Our source added, that Matt was not only obsessed with Julia but also, jealous of her new found fame with the new YouTube series. Over time Matt began to express his feelings for Julia and began harassing her by going to her house uninvited, dropping off gifts and following her around conventions.

It is unclear on what specifically made Matt commit this act, however, is it speculated that Matt’s advances toward Jenkins were rejected during convention prompting the attack.

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What’s left of Jenkins’ 2015 Subaru Outback; Although an eyewitness did see Matt pour gasoline to the car, Matt possibly bought gasoline from the adjacent, Quick Gasoline gas station.

Other affected cars owners, we are aware of another con attendee, father, and son, whose car caught fire as well. Most of the burnt cars were rentals from the hotel as well.     

Julia was not the only one affected by Matt’s actions, several of the other vehicles belonged fellow ALA attendees, such as Sabrina Snowdon whose, 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport [seen below] was completely destroyed.

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Photo provided to us by Sabrina

VIDEO FOOTAGE:

“I only had liability insurance, so my insurance will not cover me and I got it for $27,000. It was a really good working 2015 Subaru Outback. [. . .]I appreciate everyone who has helped be here for me during this ordeal, and thank you all for encouraging me to go through with starting a go fund me. I can’t say thank you enough for the cosplay community being so supportive and helpful to me in just every way.” – Julia Jenkins via Go-FundMe

Jenkins, as well as those whose car was affected, have since created donation accounts reaching out to the cosplay community for help.

For those who wish to be donors and help out the victims of this horrible crime, you can do so by clicking any of the following donation links below:

Julia’s Go-FundMe
Sabrina Snowdon’s PayPal

Vane’s ko-fi Account

Leon’s Paypal

[We’ll be updating links as more information is released.]

 

[PHOTOS] Aftermath of the car fire:

 

Sword Art Online: Alicization EARLY season premiere

Sword Art Online: Alicization had its EARLY season premiere on Saturday Sept. 15th 2018 at Hollywood’s The Montalbán theatre!

Set to be released on October 6 2018, Fans got the opportunity to watch the first, one-hour season premiere of SAO’s newest season, Sword Art Online Alicization. Along this one-day primere, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Russia and South Korea also had their own special screening.

Aniplex had exclusive SAO items for those attending this special screening and set up shop, selling SAO exclusives and Alicization merchandise.

Although we will not spoil the episode for you guys, the episode continues from where it left off in Ordinal Scale; This new season shines light on old characters from season one & two as well as, a new series director, Manabu Ono known for HellsingSaki, The Asterisk WarHorizon in the Middle of Nowhere.

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Manabu Ono during Japan Expo 2017. Photo Credit: Coyote Mag via Twitter

For those who do not know, Alicization takes place during volumes 9 (Alicization Beginning) through volume 18 (Alicization Lasting) of Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online Alicization arc.

After the screening, we meet up with some special surprise guests, Bryce PapenBrook (Kirito) and Michelle Ruff (Sinon)

Check out our photoset for this event:


Aside from newest SAO seasonthere are loads in store for Kawahara’s series, beginning with its new video game app,

Sword Art Online Integral Factor

mainVisual-charIntegral Factor is the newest addition to SAO’s video game apps, taking place during the Aincrad arc. The player takes control of ‘a former beta tester’ who becomes trapped inside Aincrad.

During the game, you meet a young inexperienced female player named, Koharu and much like Kirito and Asuna, they both take on the dangerous world of Aincrad, ‘this is a story that might of happened in Aincrad’ 

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The game is now available for download on Google Play and the Apple Store, make sure to read the official prologue manga, illustrated by Yu Uonuma, here! Learn more about the game on its official website, SAO: Internal Factor.

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Click here to read the prologue

Since its initial release, Sword Art Online has been Kawahara’s most popular series with Accel World as a runner up and much like many popular mainstream anime series, they get a live action adaptation;

Sword Art Online: The Television Series.

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Back in 2016, Television production company SkyDance Media, announced that they’ve acquired the rights to Sword Art Online and are currently working with producer & writer, Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; The Blacklist; Friday Night Lights) & Laeta Kalogridis (Alita: Battle Angel; Terminator Genisys) whom are currently writing the pilot episode. Since the announcement, not much as been released regarding the progress of the series, however SkyDance Media release a small summary via the series’s official IMDB page stating:

“The series will follow a brilliant young beta tester Kirito and his group of friends when they are trapped – alongside 10,000 other people – in a next-generation virtual reality online role-playing game. The game is a world unto itself: filled with sword fighting, monsters and mystery, where the stakes are life and death. Kirito and an ensemble of diverse characters must fight their way through this hostile environment while making lives for themselves in the fantastical world that is known as Sword Art Online.”

The cast is yet to be revealed.

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Sinon Cosplayer, SketchBook; Kirito Cosplayer, Mystic Taku

Who do you think will prefect for Kirito and Asuna? Comment below, we’d love to hear your opinions!

AniManga 2018

AniManga (Not to be confused with AniManga held in Melbourne, Australia) is a summer oriented, 3 day anime convention held at Fairplex in Pomona, California. AniManga, Founded in 2017, is combines Anime & Manga AND gaming into a fun weekend and was first held on August 3rd – 5th 2018.

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AniManga’s Entrance

A relatively low-key convention, AniManga began with a slow start however it rapidly picked up on Saturday with many cosplayers and guests joining the fun.

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AniManga’s interactive Inflatable Wrecking Ball & Maze Game

For those whom never been to Fairplex, Fairplex is compose of different ‘halls’ and sections. AniManga was held in Hall 4 which is a fairly big hall:

AniManga’s voice actor Guests included: Max Mittelman, Kyle McCarley, Zach Aguilar & Josh Grelle.

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Me, Zach Aguilar & Cosplayer: Mystic Taku

While at there, we had the honor of interviewing voice actor Josh Grelle:

Overall, our experience at AniManga was good. It began slow and picked up Saturday. Only time will tell if they’ll become bigger and better. We will most definitely return next year. Take a look at their website for upcoming detail for AniManga 2019.

ANIME EXPO 2018

Anime Expo 2018 was a complete success!

AX18Day1.jpg For the 27th time, Anime Expo came back with full force from July 4th – July 8th drawing fans from 70 different countries. This year over 110,000 people attended Anime Expo, thats 2,342 more attendees than in Anime Expo 2017, making a local economic impact of $100 million to the city of Los Angeles.

Although Anime Expo went off without a hitch, there were a few slight inconveniences.

Before Anime Expo even began, they were altered to a possible threat made against AX and its attendees. According to Anime New Network, the threat was made by a man who allegedly stated via text, “These cons are due for a high school shooting, by a high school kidd [sic]. I’m working on a case at the moment. Shit u [sic] not.” although he did not specifically stated Anime Expo as a target, Anime Expo responded by promptly by ‘alerting local law enforcement to take appropriate actions in accordance with their procedures.‘ in a statement the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) said:

“Just as in 2017, we are working with security teams and local law enforcement, including K9 teams and traffic control officers, to maintain the safety of our event. Additionally, as previously announced, we are utilizing RFID badges for AX this year and will have security checks at each entrance. We encourage attendees to check our mobile app and maps to get familiarized with the various designated entrances.”

Thankfully, AX came and went without incident. Although the seriousness of this threat wasn’t felt among con goers; With public shootings happening all over the country on a daily basis, ‘indirect’ threats such as these, should NOT be taken with grain of salt. Though it may be a slight inconvenience, security checks at AX do their job by preventing such incidents to ever happen. If you would like to read more details on this situation please read Anime News Network’s article here.

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Moving on to more lighter but heated topics:

Los Angeles suffered a huge heat wave during day 2 & day 3 of Anime Expo with temperatures reaching up to 108°. Although the convention center had functioning air conditioning, outside the heat was unbearable. Mailing AX badges eliminated “LineCon” or the long tedious, on-site registration line. Attendees were still not happy about waiting in line to get inside the convention center due to bag checks. Attendees also took to social to suggest that Anime Expo should cap their tickets due to overcrowding.

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Do agree that Anime Expo should cap their badges? leave a comment below, we’d love to hear your opinions.

Be as it may, the heatwave was no match for hard working, determined cosplayers, whom in the middle of the scorching sun, went all out in their cosplays. Check these awesome cosplays:

We interviewed some of these wonderful cosplayers and this is what they had to say, about why they attended Anime Expo 2018 and how we dealt with the heat weave:

Before I jump on to a different topic, a HUGE  shoutout to these guys at Alove yogurt, who, in the middle of the scorching sun, passed out these delicious yogurts to con goers

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Thanks guys! (Peach Flavor was the best!)

In addition to the 110K attendees,  over 150 guests and industry made appearances including, Go Nagai, Hiromi Wakabayashi, Mari Okada, Sean Danconia, Santa Inoue, and SUSHIO. Booths also held guest appearances as with, Project Sekai who had Nekopara’s creator, Sayori in attendance for fan autographs.

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Since taking photos of Sayori was prohibited, here’s her signature dedicated to me, Krystal.

The Exhibit & Entertainment Halls also featured more than 524 Exhibitors (74 Exhibitors more than AX 2017) Among them was AnimePls, a new Anime brand that is dedicated to bringing you exclusive merchandise from various anime series including: Hatsune Miku, Attack On Titan, Yugioh, My Hero Academia & Aggretsuko! Check their booth from AX 2018.

Near the end of Anime Expo; Funimation and LootCrate collaborated on an AX Afterparty held at the Globe Theater in Downtown Los Angeles during the night of Day 3.

Attendees able to receive a free goodie bag which contained Loot Crate exclusives

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There were so many things that went down at this year’s anime. From newly produced anime series to exclusive Anime Expo events and merchandise. If you missed out this year, don’t worry, Anime Expo will be back in 2019! Tickets are now on sale! For now enjoy our entire Anime Expo 2018 photoset:

Special Thanks to:

  • Anime Expo & Anime Expo Press Staff
  • The Anime Pls Team
  • Cosplayer, Mystic Taku
  • Luis Alexander &
  • My wonderful assistant, Vincent Reyes

Interview with: Jason Paige – Vocal artist of the famous, Pokémon Theme song!

You may not recognize his face but you’ll definitely recognize his voice! Join us in our quick interview with Pokemon Theme song singer, JASON PAIGE:

We interviewed Jason Paige at AniFest 2018 in Torrance, California. Although we were there primarily for Jason, here are some photos from Anifest & a quick video.

Check this short video of some of the booth at AniFest:

 

AniFest 2018

Join us at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center this May 5th 2018 for the first ever Anifest!

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AniFest is a brand new one-day Anime Festival where you can find all the great things of a convention but with a matsuri twist, right in Torrance California! Take a look around to see all the great things you can do, and for only $15! Get your ticket here: AniFest.org/tickets. See you there!