Crunchyroll Expo is a new anime fan convention that organized by Crunchyroll that aims to bring industry and media icons together for one weekend. After months of reporting its progress along with a week of prepping, the Crunchyroll Expo 2017 weekend was finally here and this was its story.
Anyone who enjoyed FanamieCon or Sillicon Valley Comic Con would enjoy a weekend at Crunchyroll Expo. The event had vendors from all over Northern California along with artist to sell copies of their work and a diverse group of special guests who were eager to meet their fans. Best of all, a pass to Crunchyroll Expo means you could also check out some of the concerts at MAGWest.
Crunchyroll Expo had over 100 merchants, artists and industry vendors along with several local Con’s promoting their upcoming event. Here anyone could find old video games and collectable merchandise or one could pick up some amazing designs from respected artists. Even if you had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists.
There were several vendors that stood out and they were:
Adam Savage’s Tested: Those seeking to improve their prop making skills should have checked out Adam Savage booth. Here fans could check out some cool propr, learn a few lessons or get their picture taken with Totoro.
EA Playtesting: EA wants to learn how to improve their games from fans, hence they were asking for volunteers. Those who signed up could spin a prize well and win a EA game like Battlefield 1 or Madden NFL.
Bandi Namco: Gamers could check out some of their new titles or learn more about upcoming ones like Code Vein. Several consoles were also set up that allowed players to checkout titles like Gundam Versus.
Mega 64: The team from Mega 64 had a booth tha allowed fans to meet their favorite star while also pick up some cool stuff.
The Santa Clara Convention Center may be easily accessible but its located next to Levi Stadium and several office complex. Hence if one wants to eat they are at the mercy of the hotel restaurant or the convention dinning service. Thankfully, several food trucks had set up outside to provide a better eating alternative.
Guests had a diverse option from trucks that serve poke-bowls and sushi to ones that serve curry burritos. Several of them can be seen at most Movable Feast events while some have been at other Bay Area events. Despite the heat, the food trucks were the best meal options available.
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:
Intro to Code Vein has director Hiroshi Yoshimura and producer Keita Iizuka share the details of the upcoming game. Fans could learn the details of the world they will be exploring and get to learn more about the characters.
So You Want To Be An Influencer! was an opportunity to gain some insight on how to be an online influencer from several major You Tube stars.
Johnny Weir: A Conversation with an Olympic Figure Skater and Yuri!!! On Ice Fan looked into the career of the Olympian figure skater along with how he got introduced to the series and how it mirrors his own life.
Funimation Industry Panel gave fans a preview of upcoming DVD releases of their favorite shows and movies. It also gave an insight into what to expect in the coming months along with the chance to win cool prizes.
Castlevania: An Insider’s Look features Director Sam Deats and Powerhouse Animation CEO Brad Graeber discussing the hit Netflix show. Fans got a chance to learn about how the team beat the odds to create one of the best screen adaptions of a video game.
Just like Ted Talks, CRX Chat were 15min panels that feature an industry insider discussing a verity of topics such as current trends in anime, the struggle of animators or the history of certain genres.
No Con 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.
Kudos need to be given to how well planned and organized everything was for a first time event. Most first time Cons will have major problems during their first weekend, none of that happened at Crunchyroll Expo. The team worked hard and planned well to bring one of the best anime conventions.
This was the first Crunchyroll Expo and (like many) I was expecting something like either FanimeCon or Kraken Con. Instead this was an event that many would compare to Anime Expo while being structured like a Comic Con.
This meant the panels were less fan based and more professionally narrated while many event that have become associated with anime Cons in the Bay Area were absent. This is actual a good thing because it offered fans something new while not being another anime con. As someone who covers all the major Bay Area Cons, Crunchyroll Expo is good alternative to FanimeCon that fans will enjoy.
If you had a chance to check out Crunchyroll Expo 2017, share your story in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Crunchyroll provided us with passes for the weekend.