Anime Expo Day 1 | Announcements galore!

Here's our recap of Day 1 festivities! Hit the jump for more.

Viz's wall of congrats from various manga authors
Viz's wall of congrats from various manga authors

First up, of course, was the exhibit hall. Anime Expo boasts an impressive and staggeringly large area for all sorts of companies big and small to shovel their wares. Some of the larger exhibitors (Crunchyroll, DAISUKI, etc) have large stages at the entrance to host guests and run giveaways. Farther back are the smaller, maybe more local exhibitors; and all the way in the back is the artist alley, a pretty dope place to go buy fan art from some of the more talented attendees.

Of special note this year is Viz's booth celebrating 30 years of publishing manga in English. To go with such an impressive feat they've put together an equally as impressive wall of congratulations from artists they've published.

Speaking of Viz, our next stop was the Viz Media Industry panel! Industry panels at Anime Expo mostly go the same way: a little bit about the company, a little bit of fun with numbers, and the reason we all show up to them, the announcements. Due to the large line to get in we missed most of the bit about their impressive catalog numbers... but we were able to catch their announcements!

The line to get into Viz Media's panel
The line to get into Viz Media's panel

Viz's big announcements for this year's AX are The Water Dragon's Bride, Gundam Thunderbolt, Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V, a Rurouni Kenshin 3-in-1 omnibus, and the big surprise: Dragonball Super for free online. They also might have mentioned something about simulpublishing Boruto!

About half of Viz's panel was spent on what is unarguably their biggest new license: One Punch Man. It's hard to even begin recounting everything they told and showed us, but know that they announced the English cast for it and it looks solid as hell.

Following the Viz Media panel our merry crew headed back to the exhibition hall for a spell in hopes that the lines had died down a bit. Thankfully, they had. I was able to buy an import edition of Anthem of the Heart from Aniplex's booth as well as some important items from Daisuki in preparation for Day 2's Super Live.

Aforementioned Super Live preperations
Aforementioned Super Live preperations

Next up on our list of cool-things-to-do was Aniplex of America's industry panel. AoA opted to cut the bullshit and just dumped a loooad of announcements on our lap. A load of really good announcements! They began by recapping some recently announced Blu-ray release dates for Plastic Memories, Persona 3, Charlotte, Madoka, Doukyusei, and Asterisk War, with pretty much all of them landing in fall of this year.

For new announcements they layed out that they're bringing Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to Crunchyroll as well as announcing fall dates for Owarimonogatari, Erased, and God Eater. Their biggest announcement was an event in LA's own Little Tokyo named AkibaFest. Set for October 15 and 16th, AkibaFest promises to bring the otaku subculture of Akihabara to LA for a weekend of festivities. To be honest, reception was lukewarm at best... probably because a good portion of the audience isn't from the area. On the plus side, every dub they previewed sounded fantastic!

From there we were able to stay in the hall for our next industry panel: Crunchyroll. I have to say Crunchyroll had by far the most energetic panel of the day. While their 'what is Crunchyroll' and stats portions lasted much longer than the other panels they more than made up for it by their announcements.

The view at the beginning of the Crunchyroll industry panel
The view at the beginning of the Crunchyroll industry panel

After recounting their early streaming acquisitions (Alderamin, Mob Pyscho 100, and Food Wars!) they announced a few new pickups. B-project, New Game!, Hitorinoshita ~the outcast~, Bananya, and Hybrid x Heart have all joined Crunchyroll's summer simulcast library. On top of that they announced two manga from Square Enix are joining their simulpub library: Grim Reaper and Argent Cavalier, and Sukedochi 09.

Crunchyroll's biggest announcement, and I think the biggest announcement of Anime Expo so far, is that Crunchyroll is finally getting into the dubbing and disc release game! To be pretty biased here, I think this is absolutely great. It's no secret that Crunchyroll is better at giving fans what they want than other competitors right now, and this is going to make Funimation have to put a bit more effort into all of their releases, to say nothing of Sentai and the other big players. At the end of the day, more competition in this field is always a positive for us, the consumers. To start their disc releases, Crunchyroll has announced plans to dub and release Berserk, Twin Star Exorcists, Free, Gintama, Big Order, Yamada and the Seven Witches, Myriad Colors Phantom World, and surprising everyone, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress!

After Crunchyroll Marc and myself split apart for a bit. Marc headed to the Toonami Panel where they announced a whole heap of cool stuff. Chiefly, One Punch Man is headed to Adult Swim in the very near future (later this month!) and a new project for Toonami is in the works by favorite Mamoru Oshii. Please watch the video for more information on the Toonami panel.

The panelists at the Goodsmile panel
The panelists at the Goodsmile panel

Meanwhile, I snuck out for a snack then got in line for the Goodsmile Company panel! If you're a regular watcher/listener you probably know both of us are pretty avid collectors of figurines. I can't speak for Marc, but my favorite figurine maker is GSC and all of the companies under their umbrella. It was awesome to see so many people from one of my favorite companies interact so earnestly with their fans. At the panel they had Kaho-tan (blogger for the Japanese site), Aki Tanori (president of GSC and overall loveable goofball), the US team lead for planning (and translator for the rest of the panel), Mami-tan (US community liaison), and the manager of the U.S. branch.

They lead the panel off with a sickeningly sweet video of every Nendoroid release to-date to celebrate both the 10th anniversary of the Nendoroid series and the announcement of the 600th Nendoroid (Saber, of course). From there Mami-tan took over as host and asked each panel member what their favorite Nendoroid was. Of note was Aki (president's answer): all of the Miku Nendoroids.

Aki-san explained further that Miku and Nendoroids helped to boost each other to exploding levels of popularity. With each new Miku nendo came new features: more points of articulation, interchangeable features, etc. But, of course, he added, none of it is possible without the support of us, the fans (and our wallets).

seriously she's so pretty colored I damn near cried when I saw her no lie
seriously she's so pretty colored I damn near cried when I saw her no lie

The rest of the GSC panel was the panelists telling stories about how the company started and how Good Smile Racing became what it is today. Following this they had an awesome bit on their 15th anniversary figurine of Kinomoto Sakura. Kaho-tan is in charge of that project so she read a letter from the sculptor detailing the process of making the figure itself, as well as announcing ballpark pre-order date (mid-late July) and pricing (under $300). After the Sakura love was an announcement of Naruto Nendoroids. Peculiarly enough, these will only be available outside of Japan due to what we are safe to assume are licensing restrictions.

After some new announcements (including "American-sized" jumbo Miku Nendoroid!) they went into a lengthy-as-hell Q&A session. While most of the questions were pretty much "any plans to do a nendoroid/figma/figure of this?" they let leak some pretty interesting information in response. They're thinking of doing some classic anime Nendoroids just for the U.S. market (mentioning Tenchi Muyo begat this answer); they love doing transforming figures like the Racing Miku car and Luluco figure despite their complexity; reprints are rare due to original molds breaking and/or being lost; more Fire Emblem figures and Nendoroids are on the way; and more Ninja Slayer things are on the way. Of personal note to me it seems everyone at GSC is waaaay into Overwatch! They stated plenty of times that they'd like to do some figurines and Nendoroids. Tracer and D.VA (of course D.VA...) were mentioned the most, but one of them even said Winston! I'm so down.

Finally, we headed back to eat. At Big Wang. We went to a bar named Big Wang and were as mature about the name as you can imagine. And now here I am, drink in hand, writing about the day! Hope you enjoyed the recap, look forward to tomorrow's post! It should be a bit less information dense but a bit more HYPE! since we've got some crazy ass concerts we're going to.