What do you get when you mix 1,000,000 parts bright lights, 1 part big city, and a double dose of Anime and manga? You get every self-respecting nerd’s wildest dreams! The Javits Center in NY was the host of this year’s Anime Expo. I had the pleasure of doing press for the event this year, and boy did I have a blast. Needless to say, all 3 days (Nov 19-21) were FILLED with amazing panels and showcases. So much that I and my Fandom family had to strategically plan our course of attack on what to cover. We did manage to attend panels of some big-name properties, most of which have upcoming seasons. But fret not. This will be a SPOILER-FREE review.
Day 1- Friday was the shortest of the 3 days but definitely the most packed. I was lucky enough to find a hotel that was within walking distance of the Javits Center (about an 8-minute walk). My first image of the expo was just a sea of cosplayers galore! You had My Hero, Bleach, One Piece, Attack on Titan, DBZ, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Demon Slayer, oh my! Thankfully we got to “Press” our way past the line. And it’s a good thing too, I knew someone in line and it took her almost 2 hours to get in! Once inside we headed to our first panel which featured the guys of RDCworld. I go in-depth on my experience at their panel here.
I had about an hour to kill before the next panel so I used that time to walk the display floor and take pictures with all my fellow anime enthusiasts. It’s here that you could shop, explore, and have one-on-ones with the panelists that offered that option after their group panels. Like IE actors Bryce Papenbrook and Jason Liebrecht who voice Eren and Zeke Jaeger in “Attack on Titan”. This one was a lot of fun. With the 2 actors playing an actual game of brotherly catch right on stage while answering AoT trivia and questions. They didn’t give up too much info on the upcoming final season, but they did leave us with an emphatic “It’s about to go down!”
Day 2- Day 2 started bright and early with the first panel up being “Black Trail Blazers in Anime”. We were actually able to record footage for this one. I mentioned it in my RDCworld write-up, but the recent inclusion of black creatives in this medium has been nothing if not awe-inspiring. Next up was the Demon Slayer special event in the main hall. Bryce Papenbrook once again graced the stage along with Zach Aguilar and Aleks Le. Giving us the holy trinity of Inoiske, Tanjiro, and Zenitsu. You can tell that these 3 really enjoy working together. Their chemistry was on full display. They even treated us to a live reading of a scene from the anime.
The next panel was very near and dear to my heart. Being a lifelong Dragon Ball fan, seeing the legends Chris Sabat and Sean Schemmel live and in living color was a bucket list moment I didn’t know I needed. It’s not just how long they have been in the game that is so amazing but the fact they are still so passionate about the craft. You can tell by the way they talk that they love what they do. They have provided the voices to the soundtracks to most of our childhoods. This panel was centered around Dragon Ball Super and can be seen here. The Fantastic Frankey led panel had a lot of fan engagement. Still no word on when or “if” the anime will resume but Chris and Sean are ready and willing to work when it’s showtime.
Due to very strict hotel check-out times I was only able to attend 1 additional panel on day 3. It was a special screening of “Pompo the Cinephile”. No film or photography was allowed, but I can say if you are a fan of the series, you are in for a treat. Overall I would rate my experience a 10 out of 10. If given the chance I highly recommend being in attendance when the expo comes to a city near you.