Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest anime and manga event, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its most successful event ever – four days at the Los Angeles Convention Center that drew over 125,000 fans of Japanese animation, manga (comic books) and pop culture.
The program was highlighted by the first-ever U.S. performance of Japan’s latest pop sensation, the digital diva Hatsune Miku, which debuted to a sold-out Nokia Theater audience and garnered publicity worldwide. Anime Expo, sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), also hosted over 200 exhibitors showcasing tens of thousands of products and a sold-out Artist Alley, a venue for amateur and semi-professional artists to celebrate Japanese pop culture through fantastic works of art.
In addition to musical concerts and a packed dealer’s hall, the event enabled fans to meet and hear from the creative forces behind the art form as Anime Expo’s Guests of Honor hosted informative artist panels and autograph sessions. Themed the “Year of the Fan,” attendees were truly able to fully-immerse themselves in the AX experience with costume play, non-stop karaoke and dance, exclusive and World Premiere screenings, gaming and much more.
“This really was an incredibly special year for us,” said Marc Perez, the non-profit SPJA’s Chairman and CEO. “Our fans are the most amazing group of people and their enthusiasm for one of the world’s great entertainment art forms is unparalleled.” According to Perez, those fans were responsible for also raising nearly $30,000 dollars at the SPJA Charity Auction which was dedicated this year to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid in disaster relief.