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Anime Expo 2019

In its 28th year, Anime Expo once again welcomed 115,000* attendees from across the world.

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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.

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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 inside the convention, not out. Their statement was later retracted. The earthquake’s epicenter location was Ridgecrest, California.

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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.

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Photo Credit: Ax2D Photography

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.

_DSC0070-(2)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.

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Hazbin Hotel official poster

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!

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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.

“A story of adventure, mystery, and tragedy. Follow a brave group of heroes as they try to save the world.” as the game’s Kickstarter states.

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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.

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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.

On June 21st, Auragon games launched a Kickstarter funding campaign with the goal of 10K, and after 45 days, the project was successfully funded.

UntitledThere 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.

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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.

_DSC0788For 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?

*115,000 unique, 350,000 turnstile 


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Anime Expo 2019: The calm before the Storm

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.

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Stay tuned for our upcoming article on Anime Expo 2019 and our Anime Expo 2019 interview with voice actress, Faye Mataand Hotel Hazbin creator, Vivienne Medrano! This and more coming soon!

Interview with: Ezra Weisz

Fans may recognize him for his work as the voice director on B: The Beginning, The Sky Crawlers, and recently, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir. He’s also provided the voices of Kaname Kuran (Vampire Knight), Junketsu (Kill La Kill) & Yylfordt Granz (Bleach).

Ladies & gentlemen, its Ezra Weisz!

We had the honor of interviewing Ezra Weisz during Anime Los Angeles 2019! Intrigued by his involvement in the Miraculous Ladybug series, we asked Ezra on some insight on what goes on behind the scenes of Miraculous Ladybug! All this and more on our interview:

Official Miraculous Ladybug Store | Santa Monica, California *UPDATE*

ZAG studios open its door in 2015 in Glendale, California and since then, the studio kept on expanding. Much like their beloved hit TV series, Miraculous Ladybug, they’ve branched out to various forms of media, such as comics, magazines, TV series, Youtube shorts, and even an upcoming motion picture.

Now they’re opening their very own store in Santa Monica, California

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Located at 3002 Main St Santa Monica, CA 90405, USA

STOP! Don’t run out the door yet, the store has yet to release their grand opening date, although ZAG did make an announcement stating that their store would be open by winter 2018, it never came to fruition. The Zag Store team has recently updated their site, stated that the store is “Opening April 7th 2019“!

We stopped by to learn that building is, in fact, closed to the public and under construction.

Although the store is not yet opened, there’s no doubt Miraculers (Miraculous Ladybug fans) are already saving up in order to prepare for what awaits for them inside ‘The Miraculous Ladybug store’.

But if you don’t want to wait, their online store is open and accepting orders!

Keep your eye for more exciting and exclusive Miraculous Ladybug updates here on The Kitsune Network, we already have another Miraculous Ladybug guest interview in the work, stay tuned!

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 Kitsunenetworkproductions@gmail.com.

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:

 

Japanese Animation & Manga College at Little Tokyo

Ever wanted to see Japanese manga students at work? Are you a fan of anime art? Are you an artist anime yourself or just enjoy artist alley? Come and join the students from J.A.M. (or the Japanese Animation & Manga College) On Saturday December 1st at Little Tokyo’s Miyako Hotel.

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JAM are bringing several of their students from their art college in Japan over to Los Angeles for a ONE DAY fundraiser event. If this is anything as their first fundraiser, last year’s, there’ll be freebies from JAM (Art samples books, DVD Animation demos, ETC) in addition, you’ll be able to purchase art, hangout with manga students, watch live drawings, get your a portrait drawing, photo ops and more!

 

Last year, we stumbled on their first fundraiser by chance and had so much fun, we figured we’d share this event for more anime fans to join the fun!

 

See you there! & as always, we’ll be bring coverage from the event.

Interview with: Kayli Mills – Hentai Con 2018 Interviews

Watch our final interview we had during Hentai Con 2018 with special guest of honour, voice actress, Kayli Mills! Watch as she sits down with Krystal and speaks about her roles as Emilia in RE:Zero, Fiore in Fate/Apocrypha, & her newest role in The Testament of Sister New Devil BURST as Yuki Nonaka. Stay til the end of the video for a special announcement!


~Catch up on our other interview filmed during Hentai Con 2018 ~

KAHO SHIBUYA

Newly retired JAV actress, speaks about her future life outside AV and current projects in this エッチ and fun interview!

JACKIE LASTRA

Watch as voice actress, Jackie Lastra speaks about her roles in: The Testament Of Sister New Devil, GranBlue Fantasy, YS VII & more in our first interview from Hentai Con 2018             

Missed Hentai Con? Take a look at our Hentai Con video showcasing the con’s exhibit hall (Video has been Age-restricted, youtube account required):