Crunchyroll Expo Returns as a Live Event
It has been a turbulent few years but Crunchyroll has been able to keep the community together through Virtual Crunchyroll Expo. But as everything opens up and people wanting to go congregate, it only makes sense for Crunchyroll Expo to return as a live event. For many, it was another fun con weekend while for others it was the first time so many have seen each other since 2019.
Crunchyroll Expo 2022 was a weekend that brought leaders and icons from the anime world to the Bay Area. Fans gathered in San Jose for a chance to meet new friends and learn about what is new in the world of anime. After months of reporting its progress along with a week of prepping, this is the story of an unforgettable weekend.
For the most devoted of guests, Day Zero is unofficially the first day of Crunchyroll Expo. This is that day that so many come to pick up their badge, check in their hotel and (hopefully) meet up with friends. This year was no exception despite there not being a kick-off party. Those who did come, they were able to get their badge and vaccine confirmation with ease.
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:
Blaze Manga is an independent art, manga, and graphic novel publisher. They produce artwork based on iconic works along with original publications. Guests at Crunchyroll Expo could purchase prints from their collection and check out their original work.
Games Heaven is a new vendor that wants to be a one-stop shop for all your game and nerd culture needs. They currently have locations two locations with three more coming soon. They were present at Crunchyroll Expo to sell merch and promote their brand to a greater audience.
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 2022. Overall, this was the perfect spot if you were craving a uniquely flavored soda.
Located to the left end of Crunchy City was the Itasha Display. This was a chance for motorists to showcase their work. Several itasha’s were on display, allowing guests the chance to check out the cars and get a photo ops. Two more were also displayed by Sempai Squad and Games Heaven booth at the far right of Crunchy City.
Things to Do at Crunchyroll Expo
The weekend was not just about panels and shopping. From arcade games to a manga collection and more, there was no shortage of activities during the weekend. Here are some of the activities one could stumble upon:
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. There were also a few unofficial gatherings, these were meetups organized by fans.
The Arcade was the place to be for gamers who wanted to kick it old school. Guests could enjoy the numerous versions of Dance Dance Revolution or get a thrill from playing Initial D Arcade Stage. The only rule is have fun and be sure to share with others.
While not organized by Crunchyroll Expo, there were random moments in which guests would gather for a game of Pokemon Go. With several gyms at the convention center, there were moments when guests would gather to participate in raids. Others would take a break and catch any Pokemon within their area.
Manga Reading Room was the place to be for those wanting some peace and quiet. Guests could grab a manga and just kick back on a bean bag. While it could get packed at times, the sense of peace was never lost.
Attendees had the opportunity to sample the numerous titles published by Crunchyroll Games. These demos provided an opportunity for guests to try out the games. At the same time, they could enter a raffle and win cool prizes. These were some of the games available to try:
Mitrasphere is a co-op JRPG set in a world where a massive sea blankets the skies and golden crystals rain down from a cryptic tree in the ocean sky. The story follows a group who are cursed by fate and the decision to rise against it. Players can traverse the world with up to five others to defeat powerful bosses and uncover legendary weapons throughout their journey.
Based on the manhua, Bloodline: The Last Royal Vampire follows Lilo (the Last Royal Vampire of the series) and Ren (a human who gets turned into a vampire). They must work together to save the world and loved ones from the Holy Land, a militaristic religious force. Players will set up their squad with different characters who will bring a unique skill to the battle. Next, they will clear out a level by fighting waves of enemies and the final boss.
Princess Connect! Re: Dive follows the player who has awakened in the land of Astraia. They have no memory of who they are or their past. Thankful they are greeted by Kokkoro who acts as a guide to the world. Along the way, you meet with Pecorine along with Kyaru and other characters to form an adventuring party.
The Final Day
The last day of Crunchyroll Expo 2022 was all about seeing the Chainsaw Man panel and doing some last-minute activities. It was also about seeing some con friends for the last time before the next event. After a weekend of fun and creating new memories, it’s time to part ways. It’s also a day when guests will try to do their last-minute shopping or showcase one last cosplay.
Did you get a chance to check out Crunchyroll Expo 2022? If so then share your story in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Crunchyroll provided me with a pass for the weekend.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.