Hey everyone if you didn’t get a chance yet head over to my youtube page Express Team Wave for some of my Crunchyroll Expo 2017 videos. We had a great time here at Anime Pad at the con. All of the fans and attendees had a great time too. It was a big huge con with a small con feel. They were sooo impressed with the level of the con for the first year. I talked with many fans and many of the staff at Crunchyroll; they really have everyone in mind.
I love the mobile game Fate/Grand Order and I was having an incredible time getting the hang of it. But Aniplex of America let me hangout with them and personally taught me how to play the game lol. I’m talking tips and everything, and guess what I’m dope at the game now. I couldn’t believe how bad I was at the game, and I even gave them some tips on how others felt about the game. I’m now seeing some of those discussions being implemented in the product and promotion of the game. Awesome.
At the end of the con Crunchyroll’s Director of Entertainment held a Q & A for how attendees felt. I attended this meeting too, just to see what concerns there might be. The only concern was to get an updated badge system with names or barcodes on them. That was the only concern for the massively successful convention they put on. I was very thrilled for the time I spent at the con and I’m ready for next year already.
Pushing ahead with an aggressive move into new markets while retaining many of its most popular venues, Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) today announced the first iteration of its 2018 calendar, securing a total of 11 events, including 11 holdovers from successful 2017 shows. The company also announced that five events in Biloxi , Miss., Montgomery, Ala., Peoria, Ill., Springfield, Mo., and Winston-Salem, N.C. have been postponed from their originally scheduled fourth-quarter dates in 2017 to similar dates in 2018.
Most noticeably here at Anime Pad is the Saint Louis date that is moved up to February hopefully it’s a blast as usual. Fans were worried at the end of last year’s con if Saint Louis would be on the chopping block. The PR team quickly came out a couple weeks after the con stating that Saint Louis was a very successful stop for another year.
The 2018 schedule, which will likely add some additional cities to be announced, is comprised as follows (*denotes new for 2018):
January 5-7, New Orleans, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
February 2-4, St. Louis, America’s Center
March 2-4, Cleveland, Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland
April 13-15, Portland, Ore., Oregon Convention Center
May 17-20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Convention Center
June 1-3, Des Moines, Iowa, Iowa Events Center
June 8-10, Columbus, Ohio, Greater Columbus Convention Center
*July 13-15, Boise, Idaho, Boise Centre
August 23-26, Chicago, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
September 21-23, Madison, Wis., Alliant Energy Center
October 26-28, Oklahoma City, Cox Convention Center
Fall TBD, Austin, Texas, Austin Convention Center
*October/November TBD, Biloxi, Miss., Mississippi Coliseum & Convention Center
*October/November TBD, Montgomery, Ala., Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center
*October/November TBD, Peoria, Ill., Peoria Civic Center
*October/November TBD, Springfield, Mo., University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center
*October/November TBD, Winston-Salem, N.C., Benton Convention Center
The rosters of celebrities and artists at each city are still being formed; to date, a few have already committed to several events, including New Orleans: Stan Lee (Marvel CEO Emeritus), Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Justice League); St. Louis: Bonnie Wright ( Harry Potter franchise), Michael Rosenbaum (“Smallville,” Guardians of the Galaxy 2); Cleveland: Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, Blades of Glory), Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed,” “Pretty Little Liars”); Portland: Rosenbaum, Wright. Additional celebrities and creators, as well as entertainment and programming schedules, will be announced closer to each respective date.
“The confirmed portion of Wizard World’s 2018 schedule combines many of the cities which have proven most attractive to fans with some new markets that we believe will embrace us similarly,” said John D. Maatta, Wizard World President and C.E.O. “In moving five of our more recently announced shows to 2018, we are better equipped to put on the kind of successful pop culture celebration that our fans have come to expect.”
Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult.
Wizard World Comic Con is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor and participate in the famed Wizard World Costume Contest on Saturday evening at each show.
Spikey blond hair, with a nice voice, and well dressed, Kato Kaelin is mic’d up on the PA system talking to attendees. He is the radio and entertainment personality guy that became famous after the O.J. Simpson Trial as a witness. He yells, “Hey, are you guys ready to enter Wizard World??” Wizard World the pop-culture event which is held in various cities across America. This edition is Wizard World Saint Louis 2017, at the America’s Center Convention Complex April 7th-9th.
This year there are some big changes from last year or previous years altogether. The Con short for convention is smaller. The big ball rooms aren’t being used this year for panels, the gaming area is half the section it was last year. Panels are being held in smaller adjacent rooms and artist alley while still impressive is missing a third of the floor area. Comments from attendees and artist lead you to believe this is both a plus and a negative.
While there is less booths and attractions, the ability to see and experience all the con is a possibility. Foot traffic has doubled and panels aren’t so overbearingly overlapping each other. Attendees can do the entire con in one day, versus needing all three days to experience everything. Instead of attendees literally having to run to another panel across the hall or debating over two panels which is better to go to. They can enjoy the con more and possibly hit every panel or Q &A Session.
The gaming section was huge last year with games unreleased in the US being playable. Wizard World doesn’t have any of those games or displays this year. The stage was much smaller and not plastered on a huge jumbo-tron screen. Attendees could still enjoy the smaller arcade station area with more older and some 8-bit games. The gaming tournament was still available, but on a much smaller scale; although it still had some of the top gamers from around the world.
Artist Alley was another world, Wizard World brought in some artist that connected with the fans. Artist that worked on projects that adults and young adults love still to this day. Steve Lavigne is the first employee of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and childhood friends with the creators. Kurt Lehner does a ton of art, but most recognized for his character design work on Disney’s TV show Gargoyles. Mat Nastos while an artist in his own right, is most known for is novel-writing and writing for Disney’s Phineas & Ferb. There is many more artist with fabulous art work in attendance.
Attendees were worried when many of the celebrity guest canceled from the con. The last couple weeks before the con Wizard World added some great celebrity guest. It was a saving grace for the fans and attendees. celebs such as Michael Rooker (Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy), Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek TV), Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), Randy Orton (WWE Champion), and so many more.
Gene Simmons leader singer of KISS was a guest along with his own band. The addition brought in a niche audience and plenty of memorabilia. Simmons and his band would also perform at the Pageant for an extra fee. Attendees were a little perturbed, that the usual after-party was canceled. The large dance-off where cosplayers unwind from the biggest day of the con on Saturday.
The photo ops and autographs for the celebs was very different this year. Fans could enjoy a more intimate signing with celebs being more visible. Many reactions from passerby fans was all that was needed. Many squeals are being heard and “Oh, gosh!” Celebs like Michael Rooker are walking into the crowd just talking to attendees. The thought of being able to see and possibly touch the celebs was great. McLaughlin met many young adults, some even without a fee. Wizard World Saint Louis was another successful year, and they will be returning next year.
Two nouns you usually don’t place together in the same convention building is happening. Those two nouns are otakus and wrestlers at this year’s NatsuCon on July 22th-24th. NatsuCon is a Japanese culture convention held in Collinsville, IL at the Gateway Convention Center. The con has many guest appearances and actual wrestling matches. It is a very unique con with plenty to offer attendees
The biggest name of the guest appearances is Vic Mignogna, a multi-talented person for 15 plus years. He’s an actor, voice actor, musician, director, film graduate, and much more. He has voice acted in well over 300 anime and video games. Roles such as: Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, Broly in Dragonballz, Obito/Nagato in Naruto, Ikkaku in Bleach. Video games such as: Soul Calibur, Disgaea, Dynasty Warriors, Persona III and so much more. He also produces, stars, and directs a web-based, approved by CBS non-profit 1950’s Star Trek show. It is called Star Trek Continues, and at the con he has a screening of one of the episodes. As fans wait in line for his autograph those meeting him are welcomed with a giant smile and hug. Many of the fans are crying tears of joy or hyperventilating after meeting him. Mignogna even grants a fan’s wish and does a one act from said fan’s script. These are just some of the things that make him a great person and role- model.
As Mignogna does interviews he preaches against bullying, commends people to be different and unique.
He commends fans to work hard, because, “10% of talent and 90% of hard work is better than the reverse.”
These are just some of the reasons why he is respected in the business by fans and also his peers. Chuck Huber and Christopher Sabat also voice actors whom have worked with Mignogna rave about him and his genuine niceness personal and in business.
Dynamo Pro Wrestling a wrestling organization that centers around the Midwest, is a high flying, very entertaining show for all attendees. They have many matches going on daily at the con, ear ringing explosions and the smell of gunpowder from small pyrotechnics is in the air. The wrestlers can be seen walking the halls and their outfits blend well with the cosplayers here. Rick Story one of the organizers of NatsuCon even participated in a big match. Check out the video here NatsuCon Matches.
As you walk the halls at NatsuCon at every door there is an usher in different cosplay outfits. Domo is ushering in fans to catch the Jason Charles Miller live concert. Miller is a great musician, songwriter, and newly voice actor. As a voice actor he’s noted on titles as: Super Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter X Tekken, Ultra Street Fighter 4, and Code Geass. He has worked with all kinds of top artist such as Godhead, Marilyn Manson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ben Moody and many more other people and projects. Here you can find some of his YouTube videos.
With the craze of Pokémon Go still in full force the convention was littered with Go fans running around outside the convention center. There were even a few Team Rocket members out there stealing Pokémon. The convention center served attendees from an on-hand café serving snacks, pizza, hotdogs, soda etc. The panels were abundant, from topics on how to be a YouTube sensation to Japanese folktales and myths. They even had a panel covering Tokusatsu, which isn’t touched much at anime conventions. Tokusatsu is basically live-action drama with a ton of special effects. In Japan the two biggest series are Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. They each have a different variation of the show every year, with different plots and characters. The American equivalent of those series is Power Rangers and the Masked Rider.
Most of the time at conventions Saturday is the busiest day and the biggest day. Therefore, for attendees that were 18+ after all the festivities, there is a huge rave party, glow in the dark, edm style. A spectacle to see, where attendees let out everything and just go for broke. It’s great fun and attendees are surrounded by like-minded people. The vendors room and artist alley are like those you see at all the anime conventions. More cosplay outfits you can buy, posters, t-shirts, props, swords. If you’re into K-pop there is a booth for that too, all the biggest names from Korea. Different about the artist alley is more and more homemade toys, plushies, dolls, and glassware that is anime themed. The organizers are already working on NatsuCon 2017 and for more info click here.
Goofy, fun, the thumbs up is his trademark, tons of enthusiasm are all words that describe Sam Coleman, a 25-year-old FV student, and KCFV radio DJ. Currently a communications major at Saint Louis Community College Florissant Valley campus, he’s pursing a career in voice acting. His on-air name is JazzHandss. It’s his call-sign right before he does an interview here at Anime Saint Louis. Coleman is dashing behind the booths set up for comic artists with all of the guest stars of Anime Saint Louis (ASL). “This is awesome,” Coleman said excitedly. Anime Saint Louis (ASL) is an everything anime/Japanese influenced cultural convention held every year in the Saint Louis region.
Coleman was one of hundreds of attendees at the 2016 ASL expo that took place recently at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Embassy Suites Convention Center in Saint Charles, Mo. It barely contains all the fandom, cosplayers’ faces are lighting up bright when seeing some of their favorite characters others wore. Many of them jumped around, squeal as they enjoy each other’s company. Contact information was exchanged between many cosplayers. Groups of friends are showing up dressed as the entire cast of anime shows. Sports animes have a big showing such as Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket. Other genres make appearances such as Marvel Comics characters, video game characters, movie characters, etc.…
Even the hotel restaurants and cafes convert to the anime-themed festivities. The convention center has a small café offered a special meal deal for attendees of the event. Sweet and sour chicken and a vegetable rice bowl. Hot paninis, sandwiches, salads, chips and healthy sides are also available. Lunch time for all the attendees is a mass of anime characters eating and chatting. Some are resting in the Cosplatality Lounge, which is a media free, picture free, relax zone for attendees. Attendees also use the room to fix their gear and cosplay outfits.
The dealer room holds rows and rows of collectibles, t-shirts, anime DVDs, manga, Zoids model kits, cosplay outfits, and for some reason a Build-A-Bear booth. There were a couple of booths for one-on-one interactions with the guest stars Chuck Huber, Jake Paque, Elizabeth Maxwell, and Kara Eberle, all of whom voice act for different anime cartoons throughout the year. Most well known among them is Chuck Huber, one of the pioneers of American voice acting for animes. Huber’s work dates back to the 80’s with Dragonball, Dragonball Z, and Yu Yu Hakusho, when Funimation barely had money. Any panel the voice actors attend has the crowd roaring, especially when they can hear and talk to the character the voice actor portrays.
In the hotel itself the buffet area was turned into the Honey Tea Maid Café. This is the place where customers become masters and servers are maids. It’s an entirely different world taken from Japanese culture and animes. Teas of different varieties named after very popular anime characters and served on beautiful white china. With tea, guests receive beautifully arranged fresh fruits and desserts. Maids play board games with patrons between sips of tea. Then they have a segment every 30 minutes where the maids do a small concert and dance. Patrons cheer on their personal maid, howl and clap for their performance.
Finally, ASL has two giant rooms for games. The biggest room is for the attendees that want to face each other in board games and card games like Pokémon, Yugi-oh, Magic and Star Wars X-Wing. They even had a couple of booths set up to purchase more cards and the actual board games. The second room was for video gaming, where attendees enjoyed games such as DDR Stage, Street Fighter Five, Left 4 Dead 1-2, Rock Band 4, the new Pokémon fighting game, and tons of other old and new classics.
For more info, go to http://www.animestl.net.