We’ve been to a few virtual conventions this year big, small, new, and old. We’ve been grateful to get some form of conventions at all. Yet, we’ve seen some things we didn’t like and some things we did like at each one. Each one is different in some form. Crunchyroll Expo wasn’t any different in having a virtual version of themselves(V-CRX). What we did notice is they took only the best features of virtual cons this far and had a wonderful con wrap this past weekend.
This year’s virtual event engaged the global anime community with more than 85 panels and events, 24 hours of anime marathons, panel discussions and series available across six languages, 180 artists in the Anime Arts District, and more than 100 exhibitors in the Shopping District. Over the course of the three-day event, there were more than 200 guests, panelists and hosts across four different virtual stages, with panels available in the V-CRX On Demand area for fans eager to catch up or rewatch the action. Highlights from this year’s event include:
- Incredible engagement from the global anime community with fans from around the world tuning in for all the action, including attendees from Canada, across Latin America, the U.K, Australia, Germany, France, and Japan.
- Huge programming announcements including “Shenmue,” a Crunchyroll and Adult Swim Production based on the beloved SEGA video game franchise, alongside the announcement of “To Your Eternity” and new seasons of “Dr. STONE,” “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” “How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord: Omega” and the first season of “Dr. Ramune -Mysterious Disease Specialist-” all coming soon to Crunchyroll.
- More than 85 panels including the creative staff and voice actors behind a mix of series including Crunchyroll Originals “Onyx Equinox,” “Noblesse,” “The God of High School,” “EX-ARM,” “So I’m a Spider, So What?” and “TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You,” alongside “Rent-a-Girlfriend,” “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” and “Dr. STONE.”
- Nearly 210 guests and panelists including legendary horror manga artist Junji Ito for a discussion about his beloved cats Yon & Mu, voice actor Soma Saito for a preview of his upcoming series “EX-ARM”, Arthell Isom, CEO of D’ART Shtajio, the first Black-owned animation studio in Japan, a history of anime in Latin America featuring Crunchyroll’s Mexico community leads and a celebration of the art of Japanese vegetable carving.
- Special shout-outs from K-Pop stars including CIX, Stray Kids, J-JUN, and OH MY GIRL and Japanese EDM artist KSUKE, alongside musical performances by Myth & Roid, a Hatsune Miku Symphony with the Tokyo Philharmonic, and the exclusive world premiere of “The Rising of the Shield Hero” concert with composer Kevin Penkin.
- Premiere date announcements for the Crunchyroll Original series “Noblesse,” a Crunchyroll and WEBTOON Production, coming to Crunchyroll on October 6 and “Onyx Equinox,” premiering November 21.
- Immersive experiences including the “Onyx Equinox” scavenger hunt, live sketches from the character designer of the Crunchyroll Original “Tower of God,” a MAPPA gallery tour with behind-the-scenes commentary from creative staff including Sunghoo Park (director “The God of High School,” “JUJUTSU KAISEN”), the Yuzu’s Cat Cafe featuring a 24/7 livestream of adorable and adoptable kittens, and a celebrity fan exhibit of anime-inspired art.
- An international cosplay competition featuring more than 30 participants. The best in show winner was awarded to Jaqueline Fernandes, a cosplayer located in Brazil. The show was hosted by Vampy Bit Me and Mario Bueno, with Rock M. Sakura, Creature Of Habit, GSTQ Fashions, and Kamui Cosplay as judges.
- World and domestic U.S. premieres of “GIBIATE” episode 9, “One Piece: Episode of Chopper – The Miracle Winter Cherry Blossom,” and a sneak peek of five minutes of the Crunchyroll Originals series “Noblesse.”
- Major merchandise news including a special limited edition book for “The Rising of the Shield Hero” featuring more than 100 pages of original art available now for pre-order, a home video partnership with Sentai Filmworks including “Food Wars! The Fourth Plate,” “Ascendance of a Bookworm,” “Granbelm,” and “World Trigger” and the announcement of the Crunchyroll Crate and the Limited Edition Mobile Suit Gundam Life Crate, available for pre-order now from Crunchyroll and Loot Crate.
Crunchyroll Expo is the yearly celebration of the best and brightest in Japanese anime. Next year’s CRX will take place August 6-8, 2021 in San Jose, marking the fifth year of the event.
Our experience of the con was great and far exceeded our expectations. How the website was set up is exactly what being at a con is like. The four-panel rooms you could all have up in different tabs is like running from one panel to another. Most of them not overlapping each other. Then getting virtual tours of what Crunchy City would have looked like, as well as galleries, and other showrooms. The artist alley/dealer room was easy to use and you didn’t have to run from booth to booth. The chillout rooms/ lounges were a great touch along with the 24/7 cat cafe. We had raves each night, a special DJ set, and three concerts of anime music.
Everything was very enjoyable. Just an FYI we did have to pick up that limited edition Artbook for Shield Hero. We can not wait to get that in our hands. Crunchyroll Expo always has a scavenger hunt game too that makes you hit check points across the convention. This virtual was no different with you hitting certain pages of the con for the checkpoints for a code scan. Such an innovative team that Crunchyroll put together to work on this con. We just had to give a shoutout to Mary Franklin the Head of Events at Crunchyroll.
Our only knock on the con is that everything was in Pacific Time and having to translate the timezone change was a little bit of a headache. Here’s the catch though you didn’t need to because each panel let you know what was coming up next and it sort of just made you sit there and wait for the next one during intermission. Then they include a continuous chat room for fans and great commercials and time passes quickly. It made us completely sucked into the experience.
Check out the wrap-up video below of V-CRX and don’t miss my tweet appearing in the video.