I woke up early on the morning of June 1, excited for the start of a yearly event: Anime Expo. This year is a very special occasion for those involved as the expo is celebrating its 25th event. Arriving at the convention center, what greeted me was a huge Vajra from God Eater. The exhibition hall seemed bigger this year, probably because the supposedly ever-present artist alley has moved to another location with the exhibits filling in the spots.
Along with a lot of outlets to purchase various merchandise, many big name companies showcase their latest products. At the Bandai booth, attendees can play the latest Dragonball, JoJo, and God Eater games. FUNimation advertises with huge banners their licensed series such as High School DxD, Blood Blockade Battlefront, and My Hero Academia.
My most favorite attraction in the exhibition hall is the Phantom of the Kill booth where if attendees are willing to wait for a very long time in a line, they can play the game’s latest virtual reality project. In the game, players are placed in an apocalyptic world in Neo Tokyo with the towering tree of Yggdrasil in the background. As a giant demon attempts to kill you, you summon a man named Zero that protects you from the demons. Zero then comes to you face-to-face and explains your situation, thus ending the virtual reality simulation with a cliffhanger.
In any case, the most enjoyable event was the opening ceremony that commenced in the late afternoon. Many guests attended such as participants of the upcoming Anisong World Matsuri: Haruna Luna, Eir Aoi, TM Revolution, and JAM Project. Along with previewing what is to come in this year’s Anime Expo and introducing guests, the audience was treated with musical performances. Dancing Dolls and Maiddreamin’ were the opening acts with Lia performing halfway through the ceremony by singing prominent theme songs from Key. Afterwards, she explained how Los Angeles where Anime Expo is located is meaningful to her personally due to her living there for some time. And finally, MICHI ends the ceremony with her great performance.
Overall, I pretty much spent the first day exploring the convention center to see what this year’s Anime Expo has to offer. I’ll be looking forward to the next few days where events will be ramping up.