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Hello and welcome to ToonamiSquad’s Anime Expo 2017 Summary Article. This has been our first year covering Anime Expo organized by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). For those of you who are not familiar with Anime Expo or the SPJA, let us help by briefly informing you. The SPJA is a nonprofit organization with one goal, to educate and popularize the American public about anime and manga. One way SPJA is meeting this goal is by hosting an event full of anime, manga, and other Japanese pop culture that we know as Anime Expo. With numerous artists, main events, concerts, special guests, industry appearances, performers, and vendors, Anime Expo has become North America’s biggest celebration! With that said, let us begin our review of this year’s AX 2017.
What sets Anime Expo 2017 aside from previous years is that the SPJA have added Pre-Show Night (Day 0). An extra night to greaten the AX experience for both first timers and regulars alike. This night had just a few industry appearances, panels, and screenings. The only event we were able to make was the Anime Expo Kick-Off Party. This was a 21+ event featuring live entertainment, contests, dancing, socializing, and of course, drinks. For those of you who missed Pre-Show Night or were not able to attend AX 2017, the magic act, DJ, and dancing Bunny Girls helped make a successful kick-off party!
With Pre-Show Night done for, the madness begins with Day 1 (Culture Day). This day revolves around learning about the traditional Japanese arts through special panels, workshops, and screenings of historical anime. The first industry appearance we attended was the Production I.G Industry Panel with I.G Japan President Mitshuhisa Ishikawa, Art Director Kazuto Nakazawa, Producer Rui Kuroki. Announcements and translations were done by none other than the lovely I.G US President Maki Terashima-Furuta. Production I.G previewed trailers from their latest projects; Welcome to the Ballroom (July 8th, 2017), Kuroko Basketball Last Game, Magical Circle Guru Guru (July 11th, 2017), Be the Beginning (Netfilx Exclusive 2018), and The Ancient Magus’ Bride. While discussing the trials and tribulations of co-producing Ghost in the Shell (Live Action 2017), Maki had mentioned us and interview we had together. Next was VIZ Media Industry Panel and their announcements for 2018 were Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition (May), Fire Punch (January), Sisyphean (January), Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector Haiku – Seasons of the Kitty & Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector Haiku – Where am I Meow? (February), and Kenka Bancho Otome: Girl Beats Boys (April). Afterward, we headed to The Right Stuf & Nozomi Entertainment Industry Panel. The Right Stuf celebrates its 30th birthday with all month long deals at their online store. Working with Sunrise, Right Stuf is excited to announce Blu-Ray releases for Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origins (Q3), Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (Q3), and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (Q3). After Right Stuf’s home releases was Nozomi Entertainment’s new acquired license for Junjo Romantica 3. Nozomi Entertainment will also be releasing Revolutionary Girl Utena and Irresponsible Captain Taylor on Blu-Ray later this year. Finally, we wrapped up Day 1 with Funimation Announcements Panel. For those of you that stream Funimation on your Playstation systems, you’re in for a newly revamped app. We also got a look at the second part of My Hero Academia. Funimation’s newly acquired simulcasts for this season are 18if, A Centaur’s Life, Classroom of the Elite, Restaurant to Another World, Knight’s & Magic, and Lupin the 3rd Part 4. Funimationfilms will be releasing Genocidal Organ, Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, and a Eureka Seven Movie. For home releases, we are expected to see Dragon Ball Super Part 2, Space Dandy Seasons 1 & 2 Box Set, Testament of Sister New Devil, Orange, D-Grayman Season 3, Speedracer Collector’s Edition (Featuring Original and Japanese Series), Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans Season 1 & 2 Special Edition, Rosario + Vampire, and Your Name (Regular and Special Edition Blu-Ray).
The madness continues with Day 2 (Family Day). This day is for younger children and their families to enjoy the number of programming together. The first coverage of the day is Aniplex of America Industry Panel. Aniplex of America is gathering the old cast to dub the Blue Exorcist Kyoto Saga Hulu Exclusive Season 2. Anohana is had an offsite dub premier later that evening. Other dubs coming soon are March Comes in like a Lion, Charlotte, Erased, and Gurren Lagan 10th Year Anniversary Box Set (Series and both Films). The Crunchyroll Industry Panel was next with a number of new and repeated announcements from the Funimation Industry Panel. A Centaur’s Life (July 9th, 2017), Restaurant to Another World (July 3rd, 2017), Saiyuki Reload BLAST (July 5th, 2017), Classroom of the Elite (July 12th, 2017), The Reflection by Stan Lee (Summer 2017), RWYB getting a Japanese dub, and Knight’s & Magic (July 2nd, 2017). Final Fantasy Lost Stranger as well as both Seven Seas’ A Centaur’s Life and The Ancient Magus’ Bride mangas join Crunchyroll’s gallery. The next panel was a very important and key to this whole trip, the FLCL 2 & 3 Panel! Joining us was I.G Japan President Mitshuhisa Ishikawa, I.G US President Maki Terashima-Furuta, as well as Toonami’s Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin. After a long period of waiting, we were given a brief but satisfying taste of FLCL 2. The Pillows, who were behind the music of FLCL 1 are scoring the seasons to come. The new seasons will both be six episodes of completely different stories but keeping the slice of life meaning behind them. Like other projects, this one is still highly classified, giving our panelist very little to say. FLCL 2 will air 2018 on [adult swim], break, and resume FLCL 3.
Day 3 (Career Day). Today’s selective programming is geared towards the many professionals working in Japan’s anime and manga industries. We start this day unfortunately with a capped Official RWBY Screening & Panel. Rather than waiting in the standby line, I take this time to bind at the Exhibit and Entertainment Halls until the Seven Seas Entertainment Panel. We made it to the Seven Seas Entertainment Panel just a few minutes late but thankfully before any announcements were made. Seven Seas started with a brief introduction and run through newly remodel website and feedback survey. If you’re into deck building, we can expect to see My Little Pony, Space Dandy, and Tokyo Ghoul card games in the near future. Recently announced additions like Perfect Blue novels (Q1 2018), MaMaMa, Magical Director Mako-chan’s Magical Guidance (Q1 2018), Sorry for My Familiar (Q1 2018), and Mononoke Sharing (Q1 2018). Afterward, Seven Seas announced their AX 2017 exclusive additions! Nameless Asterism (Q1 2018), Soul Liquid Chambers (Q1 2018), Getter Robo Devolution (Q1 2018), Made in Abyss (Q1 2018), Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Kanna’s Everyday Life (Q1 2018), Clockwork Planet light novels (Q1 2018), Toradora light novels (2018), orange vol.6 (Q1 2018), and New Game! (Q1 2018). Next was disappointment at a capped Dragon Ball Super Panel, presented by Funimation & Toei Animation Inc. Without skipping a beat, we then headed to the final panel of the night, JoJo’s Bizarre Fan Panel. In hindsight, that was not the best idea. One word; Spoilers! We will take some blame since we decided to stay and see what the longtime fan and followers of JoJo had in store for them. Arc summaries, a trailer for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4 live action movie, insanely hard trivia, and a flashy pose contest had this panel is overdrive!
Day 4 (Academic Program). Scholars lead panels and presentations emphasizing on anime academics and other Japanese culture. With the fun and excitement coming to a slow simmer, the only panel we covered was Funimation Presents: One Piece Panel. During this panel we had special guest Christopher Sabat (Zoro), Brina Palencia (Tony Tony Chopper), and Keith Silverstein (Tesoro) talk about their experiences one the set of Film: Gold. After an in-depth view of the life of a One Piece voice actor, we saw trailers of One Piece: Heart of Gold TV Special, Film: Gold, and Season 9 Voyage 1. The final announcement was One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition coming to new generation consoles later this year.
As the chaos subsides and the post Anime Expo blues take over, the overall experience has been one for the books and has us hooked. We would like to thank the entire staff of SPJA, artists, cosplayers, special guests, industry appearances, performers, vendors, and volunteers who helped make this a very enjoyable Anime Expo for us and all other attendees. We will definitely try our hardest to bring you coverage and see you all next year at AX 2018! This has been ToonamiSquad, thank you for reading and Stay Gold!