Anime Expo, the biggest anime con in the U.S., starts tomorrow, with a stellar lineup of talent and the potential for some interesting news. If you're new to the anime world, check out AX MC Danny Choo's video intro. Or just read on.
Don't let the name mislead you -- Anime Expo covers a wide range of Japanese culture, including anime, manga, music, games, and cosplay. The three concerts will feature Porno Graffiti, an assortment of Visual Kei bands, and Aya Ikeda, who sings the theme songs for the "PreCure" anime, backed by the five-member band Carat. Here are the anime and manga highlights; check out the guest list and full schedule for more.
Viz will be at booth 1501 on the main floor with discounts, sneak peeks, etc., and their panel will be Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Viz's "Shonen Jump" team always bring their best game to anime cons, and AX looks like no exception. Their AX panel this year will be a visual history of "Shonen Jump" with a peek into the future as well; it's at 1:15 p.m. on Thursday. They will also be taking part in the Namco Bandai "Dragon Ball Z" and "Naruto Shippuden" panels and offering subscription discounts at the booth. Can't make it to the con? Keep an eye on their website for the discount code.
Vertical will have advance copies of vol. 1 of "Wolfsmund," Osamu Tezuka's "The Twin Knights," vol. 6 (the final volume) of "Limit," vol. 6 of "The Flowers of Evil," vol. 4 of "Knights of Sidonia," and the much-awaited vol. 10 of "Chi's Sweet Home."
Digital Manga will be at booth 438 with coupons, discounts, and free gifts for attendees who sign up for their digital site eManga and their newsletter; they promise to have some licensing news at their panel, scheduled for 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, as well as a question-and-answer session and plenty of giveaways.
Top of the guest list is director Makoto Shinkai, the director of "Voices of a Distant Star," "5 Centimeters Per Second," and "Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below." Shinkai makes beautiful, wistful anime full of nostalgia and cherry blossom petals, and he is a sensation in Japan; I was fortunate enough to interview him at New York Comic Con in 2011.
Viz is premiering the English-language version of "K" at the show, and they are turning Friday into "K Day," with a showing of the anime followed by a Q&A with the voice cast, autographs, and a photo op with the cosplayer KANAME?, who will be dressed as the "K" character Saruhiko Fushimi. There's a scavenger hunt as well; full details are here.
RightStuf, Nozomi Entertainment, and Lucky Penny will be revealing some new anime acquisitions at their panel on Friday at 2:45.