Anime Expo 2011: Day 1 Summary & Photos

Summer is the time to go swimming or have a bonfire at the beach.  For fans of anime and manga it’s time for the largest anime conventions in Southern California, Anime Expo!  This year it’s a 4-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 1-4.  Here’s how our Day 1 went.

Opening Ceremonies

To kick off the convention, Anime Expo presented all the guests of honor (GoH).  Most guests were in attendance and introduced themselves.  The audience was surprised when even virtual guest Hatsune Miku introduced herself through projection screen.  At the end of the ceremony Mr. Izumi Matsumoto, creator of the Kimagure Orange Manga, was presented the AX Daruma head to fill in one eye marking the beginning of this year’s Anime Expo festivities.

GoH: Kalafina Panel

Female trio singing group Kalafina answered various questions at their panel.  Hikaru Masai expressed her interest to sightsee in Los Angeles and visit Santa Monica and Disneyland.  Keiko Kubota stated that asides from Yuki Kajiura’s music, her personal preference is rock music.  Wakana Otaki explained a goal in her life is for Kalafina to travel the world and perform for all sorts of audiences.

GoH: Miyuki Sawashiro Panel

Fellow guest of honor Danny Choo translated and lead the panel for voice actress Miyuki Sawashiro.  Ms. Miyuki wore a beautiful kimono (no photos were allowed).  She started by addressing the audience in clear English stating it was her dream to visit the U.S.A. and meet her American fans.  Afterwards she answered various questions in Japanese.  During voice recording she focuses on her role by imagining she is by the calm sea.  A voice actress that she works with and respects greatly is Maaya Sakamoto.  (Photo from opening ceremony)

Miku Keynote

Guests Hiroyuki Itoh from Crypton Future Media is credited as the creator of the Vocaloid character series and brand.  Mr. Hiroyuki gave a slideshow presentation explaining the history of Vocaloid and the various characters like Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka, and twins Len & Rin.  The big announcement at this panel was the collaboration of Hatsune Miku with Hello Kitty and also the opening of an online community MIKUBOOK.COM for sharing Vocaloid works and discussion.

MikuMikuDance Workshop

This workshop explained how to use the MikuMikuDance (MMD) software to create your own music video dance creations.  The presenters had the software on a projector screen.  They demonstrated creating MMD videos was as easy as importing three features: model character, motion, and music.  Motion capture can be inputted from mouse/pad control or a Microsoft Kinect sensor.  Currently software is only for Windows PCs but a MAC version is being considered.  They finished the workshop premiering a new MMD video called “Heart Shooter” produced by Brother P.

GoH: Danny Choo Panel

Danny Choo hosts his own TV/Web series Culture Japan where he travels Japan showing different aspects of Japanese culture emphasizing anime and manga.  At his panel he gave the audience a brief biography and then announced new works.  Among them is the expansion of his mascot character Mirai Suenaga and friends.  Also the inclusion of Mirai Suenaga in an upcoming anime called Twin Angel.


Anime Music Video (AMV) Contest

The AMV contest this year consisted of five categories: Drama, Action, Comedy, AMTV-Pro, and Fun/OVA.  I personally felt the comedy category was weak this year.  The AMTV-Pro category ended up showcasing some of the best and polished AMVs I’ve seen in a while including “Extra Ball” by Shin and “Nerv’s Glee Club” by LC Productions.  We will be posting a complete list of videos presented in a separate post for our readers’ convenience.

Maon Kurosaki Mini Concert

Singer Maon Kurosaki surprised guests with an impressive mini concert immediately following the showing of three episodes of anime High School of the Dead.  Calling it “mini” was an understatement.  Guests thought she would sing maybe 3 songs but Ms. Maon ended up performing roughly 10 songs from series High School of the Dead and Toaru Majutsu no Index 2.  The crowd was standing and dancing along with Maon.

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