Crunchyroll Expo 2019 was another weekend that brought leaders and icons from the anime world to the Bay Area. Once again, fans gathered in San Jose for a chance to meet new friends and learn about what is new in the world of anime.
If you enjoyed Anime Expo or FanimeCon, then you would also enjoy a weekend at Crunchyroll Expo 2019. After months of reporting its progress along with a week of prepping, this is the story of an awesome weekend.
New Crunchy City (Vendors and Artists)
Crunchyroll Expo organized over 100 merchants, artists and industry vendors into a community that was christened New Crunchy City. Tourists could find collectible merchandise or some food in a busy downtown. To escape the city life, one could enjoy the night sky as they stroll through the artist alley.
Even if you had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to wander around this city dedicated to anime. There were several vendors that stood out and they were:
Crunchyroll had a selection of collectable merchandise for sale that are exclusive to the convention. Fans could pick up exclusive shirts, hats and more at this booth. Most notable in this collection were the Junji Ito merchandise being sold.
DENPA is an independent company that publish English translations of manga and light novels. Based in Portland, Oregon and established in 2018, they’ve already have had an impact with the releases of several major titles.
Wild Bills was back to quench everyone’s thirst with the best craft soda. Fans of the soda could either bring their mug from a previous convention or pick up a special one crafted just for Crunchyroll Expo 2019.
Anyone who wanted to pick up some adult material could stop by the FAKKU booth. Besides hentai, they were selling merchandise from skateboards to shirts with lewd designs. Due to limited supplies, most of the hentai was sold out by Saturday.
Cons are not just about meeting celebrates and making new friends, it’s also a chance to gain some insight into the culture or industry. Crunchyroll Expo organized a series of panels that discussed a verity of topics given by major stars and industry insiders.
These are some of the panels I got to checkout during the weekend:
Crunchyroll Games Industry Panel was an inside look at the latest games that are in the works. Gamers got a first look at Mob Psycho 100: Psychic Battle and Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Voltage along with a new trailer for Attack on Titan: Tactics. The panel also looked at some of the upcoming crossovers in Grand Summoners.
Question: What happens when you have a panel about cats with Junji Ito? Answer: One of the best panels of Crunchyroll Expo! Anime’s Best Cats with Junji Ito is what happens when a master of horror is asked to rate cats. Besides being a horror icon, Junji Ito is also a proud cat dad so it only makes sense to have him in a panel about cats.
Anime LGBTQ+ Pride Panel! was both an opportunity to hear from industry leaders who are also part of the LGBTQ+ community and for the audience to share their story. The panelists wanted to highlight how welcoming the anime community has been to the LGBTQ+ community while still working to create more open festivities for all.
My Hero Academia Gatherings
My Hero Academia continues to be one of the most popular series as demonstrated by how the fandom dominated the convention. The official cosplay gathering was one of the largest during the weekend while numerous unofficial gatherings took place.
The Junji Ito Gallery
The Junji Ito Gallery was a collection of art work from the master of horror himself. The works featured included the many drawings of Tomie and Souichi Tsujii along with characters from other iconic stories such as The Enigma of Amigara Fault and Boy at the Crossroads. It was easy to walk in on Friday but a massive line could always be seen on Saturday and Sunday.
From arcade games to a manga collection and more, there was no shortage of activities during the weekend. Being bored during Crunchyroll Expo had to be a personal choice and a sign of one being a buzz kill. Here are some of the activities one could stumble upon:
Cinema 1 was the conventions theater that featured the premier of several highly anticipated films. Those wanting to checkout a film could also buy some snacks at a booth setup in front of the theater.
Konami and Bandai were hosting their own trading card games during the weekend. Bandai was promoting the Dragon Ball Super Trading Card Game with lessons on how to master the game. Konami had several Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game events going on while proving a space for a casual match among fans.
Crunchyroll organized many Cosplay Gatherings during the weekend based on the most popular franchises. Those wanting to participate could meet at one of three spots for a photo shoot while networking among other fans.
Gamers who wanted to kick it old school could spend the day in the Arcade. They had classic titles like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and numerous versions of Dance Dance Revolution.
While not organized by Crunchyroll Expo, there were random moments in which guests would gather for a game of Pokemon Go. With several gyms nearby, there were moments were convention guest would gather to participate in raids.
No anime convention is ever complete without its own Maid Cafe, but Crunchyroll Expo went all out with the Hime Cafe. Guests got to enjoy some playing fun games or watching a live performance by the Hi-maids. Given its popularity, fans were expected to get their ticket as soon as possible.
No Crunchyroll Expo story is ever complete without mentioning all the amazing cosplayers that were present. Some worked for authenticity while other added their own personal style. It was not just a photo op with your favorite character but also a chance to learn some tips for anyone who is trying to make their own costume.
Disclaimer: Crunchyroll provided me with press passes for the weekend.