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Anime Expo 2023 Coverage

19 min read

Hello if you’re reading this. Another Anime Expo has come and gone with tens of thousands of Japanese cartoon fans coming to celebrate their favorite hobby. I managed to hit a good number of panels that weekend (and thankfully avoid the fire marshals when they stopped letting folks enter a couple of times). There really was a lot to take in so let’s get to it.

Season two of Hidive’s popular series was previewed here. To celebrate they had e-gaming personality Jacki Jing interview Seiichirou Yamashita, the seiyuu who voices lead character Cid.

-How do you feel about Eminence In Shadows being one of Hidive’s biggest shows?
Glad the comedy is getting across. I don’t have a reference for it.

-Here’s a good guy who knows what he want and goes to get it

-Did so many versions of iconic line ‘I am atomic.’ while recording. The fact people liked that line means a lot. (Performs variations of it for the crowd.)

-Favorite is comedic scene where he’s tricking friends and he has to take dump

-Why does Cid have somany lady friends?
It’s because he knows when to withdraw himself from a given situation.

-Who should Cid have a stronger relationshp with?
Alpha. Since he spent so much time with her. They’re buddies.

-At the end of the day it’s about how much you love the art of acting. You’re not always get to do role you want.
-He started in theater. Didn’t think he’d be popular overseas. He’s grateful that Eminence In Shadow has been so popular.

Studio Trigger

Panel hosted by Tatsuru Tatemoto who introduced Delicious In Dungeon episode 1

Fantasy show where the group comes together whose leader Laios wants to hunt and kill monsters of many sorts and cook them for dinner while trying to find his sister.

Looks more standard style and not as exaggerated as Gurren Lagann or Promare.

Asked guests how they felt about the show. Kentao Munagi – voice of Laios. Liked the good animation. A lot of impact from the red dragon fight scene.

Sayaka Sembongi – voice of Marcille. Agreed the fight scene good with good graphics.. Food doesn’t look tasty but might not taste bad

Asked to describe their respective characters. Munagi – Laios has a little problem with people and space. But when the time come, he goes night to that monsters, that’s how I approached his personality.

Sembongi – She’s friendly but will tell what she doesn’t like. Made her strong character.

Tatemoto introduces the trailer for Gurren Lagann movies Childhood’s End and The Lights in the Sky Are Stars.

15th Anniversary. The movie will tour North America, Japan and Taiwan. NA will receive 4D version.

Director – Imaishi Hiroyuki

Animation Director – Sushio

Sushio drew brand new key visual, 1st one for ever for Trigger


New Panty Stocking Garterbelt project. Lots of visuals are shown.

Tatemoto comes out with a new t-shirt. Text on front, characters on back.

The director thought 7 years since P&S aired but it’s more like 13

Designer – Shigeto Koyama

P&S w/G was initially at Studio Gainax, then the rights transitioned to Trigger

New P&S w/G is not title. Just an internal working name

Sushio wants to get to key animations and work. Look forward to it

Climate charged but want to purify everything with white liquids. Crew had meetings where they said they wanted to do more Panty & Stocking but didn’t have rights for a long time.

They’ve been telling the studio president how popular but he was like ‘eh.’ Glad to be able to show him crowd’s reaction today.

There are things that might be difficult to do in the new show but they’re but gonna do it anyway. We can do this Next season. Have a shit ton of ideas. Have so many ideas could go into 10th season and the movie may be Battle of Hoover Dam. Season 6 might be picture books while 8 might be figurines. It’s that kind of show. We can do whatever we we want.

Mappa L.A. Stage 2023

CEO Manabu Otsuka
Makoto Kimura – producer
Translator – Joanna Metoki

2nd season Jujutsu Kaisen features hidden treasure and premature death

-What areas will be focus for this season?
A lot of time and heart went into show. We’re going back in time to develop the various characters and all their relationships

-What were the challenges of business side of Jujutsu Kaisen? JJK Zero was very successful in US. Know there are many fans all of the world. In Japan, we have simultaneous marketing. Hoping the do this all over the world.

-Special giveway. Debuted a t-shirt in the US for the first time. One glowed in the dark. Given to Mappa cosplayers


-Why choose Mari Okada to direct Maboroshi? Loves film and movies. We thought about what sort of films we want to produce. Originality is important in making films. Mari Okada wanted to do this when we met after Maquia was released. It was important to show what this generation went through during COVID-19.

-Teamwork is important. Pulling together. Quality is really high but it’s tough. We’re almost there though.

-Question about theme singer. Not sure how many know of Yuki Najima. She’s incredibly popular in Japan. It was almost a miracle to get her. She had never done work for anime before. We thought of other artists. Okada likes Yuki though so we decided to get her. We showed her the script and she was floored.

-Took different approaches in this film… How winter is depicted… Falling in love. Really hope you enjoy it. Really represents the world we are living in right now.


-Starts January 2024 streaming worldwide except Japan on Crunchyroll.

-Working with Hiroko Utsumi director who did Banana Fish

-When we talked about what we wanted our next project and the answer was delinquents. After we saw different titles they weren’t quite what they wanted so they went their own direction. If you like Utzumi titles you’ll like this. Very much her.

-Showed images of the main characters.

-Which character is most interesting? Marito for sure. Can’t give too many spoilers. One thing though this guy knows how to fight.

Bleach 1000 Year Blood War panel

Opening credits played

Godswill Ugwa Jr and Urian Brown hosting

The promote various merch and events for Viz. Trailer playedr

Crowd chants for “Mori!”

Masakazu Morita, Japanese voice of Ichigo comes to greet crowd

-What’s your favorite thing about American cons? Walking around events and seeing people enjoy things.

-What’s your favorite thing about Ichigo? Something about 1000 blood war is that people used to watch Bleach as kids and now as adults and their feelings are stronger.

-There’s a live voice acting segment for the crowd.

-Do you feel like Ichigo? He was a child of few word who thinks ahead. So when he acts others might not follow. When incident happens others see what hes thinking. Not me. I’m someone who forgets what he was thinking 3 minutes ago

-If not Ichigo then who to play? Fave is old male character. He wants to be live actor playing roles like I him.

-Funniest stories in recording booth? Precautions. Us each record in japan cast records together. To prevent spread 2-3 people in booths. So there aren’t as many fun stories. The manga creator came by sometimes so he could ask about the original work.

-Why do people like Ichigo? People came to like him different reasons no 1 though strength. Not just physical but character. He slowly grows, you can watch that and relate.

-Glad to see everyone love for Bleach. Anime started for me in 2004 This year I turn 51. Been honored by your support. Did auto graphs yesterday, met people who grew up with Bleach AX 2023 made me realize Bleach was your dream. Thank you for making me feel this way.

-Bankai quote contest with cosplayers. New key visual is shown.

Sneak peek at part 2.Morita: “Scary scene. Seeing the visuals looks hot”.

2nd sneak peek is shown. Everyone surpised to see Ichigo training scene. “This wasn’t in original manga. But was happening in has head. What was he doing all this time. Decided to put into shwowo. Ichigo has fat muscles.

One more sneak peek.

Scene is amazing. This is anime original scene. Graveyard scene is an original. Who he fought fought together with is now an enemy This is going to be a part 2 you cant look away from. Hope look forward to it.

Production IG / Wit Studio Panel

-Maki Terashima-Furuta introduces panel. “People keep asking about Uzumaki. Still making it it’s not canceled despite social media rumors.”

-George Wada introduced. “I became president of Production IG. I actually started working for US company Cisco. Boring job. One day talked with Ishikawa, the president of IG and asked to work the and, he said yes. If you want to work in anime, don’t give up your dreams. Just come to us. First show was Psycho Pass. As much as I love IG wanted to have own company. Then made Attack on Titan.”

-Second guest introduced. “My name is Yoko Ueda. I worked at printing company. I was a huge otaku, who went to comiket. I decide If I have to work for life, rather be industry I love. And applied for IG job. One of my first shows was Stand Alone Complex, then GITS 2045, then Great Pretender.”

-Maki produced commercial for Gucci w Miley Cyrus and had graphic for it. She also discussed her extensive filmmography.”

-They switched to slides of current shows from IG. Recent Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Ultraman Final season, The Concierge feature film, directed by character designer for Miss Hookusai, Yoshimi Itazu. Haikyuu series final season. Been working on it 6 years. Game called New Genesis x Ghost in the Shell SAC 2045, is a collab between Sega and IG. GITS 2045 movie 2, will be released in japan some time this year. Go talk to Netflix if you want to see it in US.

New film trailer for Psycho Pass Providence. Weda says this is the last Psycho Pass. Because you supported us for 10 years, we were able to make it. He also notes this was the last franchise he worked on for IG. Maki asked if Psycho Pass title made sense.

-Tengoku Daimakyo is a new show on Hulu. Fans vote they’d rather have it on Crunchyroll.

-Kaiju no 8. They’re putting all energy into Kaiju 8. Weda really wanted to produce since working at IG. August 5 will have big real about shows.

Wit Studio shows

-Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage. There was also a new movie announced but they have no info on it currently.

-Spy x Family: Code White on 12,22. Mission Starting. Weda very excited for the US popularity.

-Animate IG port store open internationally now. In order to support a studio, by stuff from store spend money.

Q and A

-Do you have any plans to remaster GITS game from 90s? No plans but glad to hear fans want it. Will bring that up.

-Will we hear more pillows in the new FLCL shows? Yes. Also there is a new live action move with The Pillows coming soon.

-Which production of IG are you the most proud?

Weda – Psycho Pass
Ueda – Stand Alone Complex
Maki – Uzumaki

-Guy asks for job. Needs candidate who speaks, reads and writes Japanese.

-Favorite music?
Maki – The Pillows
Weda – Spy x Family closing theme

-Guy came from Denmark for AX. Wants more branding in European countries with recent titles. Maki works with Euro distribution and will try to get more shows over there.

-Guy ask how Weda started with IG, then Wit, now president of both. Weda says “surprise to me. Had people I trusted at IG.”

-More Great Pretender story after where it ended? We were talking about it and seriously thinking about it.

-Most challenging anime to do? Weda says Attack on Titan because it was back when he first started.

-Production ig and using AI? Ueda says they may be able to collaborate with AI . People are overworked and tired. Collaborating with AI may change work for the better.

Warner Brothers Japan / Wit Studios Panel

Joanna Metoki introduces Hiroyuki Omori from Warner Bros Japan and George Wada from Wit Studios.

-WB Japan sizzle vid was shown

-Omori announced anime based on DC comics. Studios collaborating to bring Suicide Squad: Isekai. Crowd goes nuts.

-Made in Japan to an original story set in an Isekai world.

-DC comics only can be done by WB who holds the IP. Weda notes the success of Batman Ninja. Wit Studio expressed interest in working on DC stuff.

-How did Wada become interested in DC titles? Wada shows off his Batman T shirt.

-How did they decide on Suicide Squad? Omori said there were discussions on various characters. They decided to go all out over top and chose Suicide Squad to be dropped into an isekai world and go nuts. Wada mentions James Gunn and how he can’t talk to him. Tells audience to call him. He’d like to surprise Gunn with the Isekai genre. Please support this work and surprise James Gunn.

-Show crew it displayed. Director Eri Osada of Jujutsu Kaisen, character designer Akira Amano of Psycho Pass.

-Osada appears wearing mask and is introduced to crowd. This is first time in US event. Happy to be at AX

-Producer Sho Ohtani and Assistant Producer Keisuke Ariga join panel. Ohtani appears in make up? Director did it for me. Ariga happy to come and talk abut Suicide Squad.

-Tapper Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara are expert isekai screenwriters for this project

-Ohtani worked with screenwriter who also worked Weda and he loved DC. Said he’d love to work with them.

-Osada asked about working with experts of isekai? In talking to screenwriters, they showed they are experts of isekai. She feels very confident working with them. They read a statement from writers.

-Talk about when Ohtani offered the director chair to Eri Osada. They wanted to work with creators and fans of DC. Heard Osada was a fan so he gave her a call she said yes.

-Akira Amano character designer of Psycho Pass. Harley Quinn designs debuted. Wada says when he thinks of Harley, thinks psycho. They showed The Joker character sheets as well.

-Oeda stories about character design? She says The Joker is difficult character to tackle. There have been so many different iterations. This one was created different. Not a copy. She gave remarks to Amano-san and he pulled it off. Omori notes handsome men like this ‘ikkemen’. They wanted to be sure Harley Quinn is leading the story. Clues on her costume indicate other heroes may appear.

-Teaser is shown featuring monsters, Harley Quinn, Joker and Amanda Waller

-Animation quality some of monsters are in 3D CG. Almost all characters drawn 2D. Lot of actions. Osada consulted for approval. Something Osada wanted to do is in the show.

-Osada biggest challenge? Showing contrast between Gotham and Iseki worlds. They did different shooting and coloring techniques to create different worlds.

-Wada notes if Suicide Squad is successful, other DC projects will come.

Trailer –

25 Anniversary of Studio Bones

-Host Kyle Cardine introduced the panel, mentioned Studio Bones changed his life.

-Plus Ultra hosting with Crunchyroll.

-Studio Bones co-founders President Masahiko Minami and Director / Character Designer Toshihiro Kawamoto came to talk to attendees

-Minami’s shirt shows eyes hidden, lets us know the Japanese word Ai means ‘love”. Shirt is symbolic for “I love you so much.” Says he stole this from manufacturer. Not on sale yet.

-25th anniversary sizzle reel shown

-Asked what series do they think got most crowd reaction. Minami expected new ones to get reaction but surprised older ones got one too. Kawamoto is surprised Ouran got reaction Likes to appreciate those who cheered Cowboy Bebop.

-Cardine takes a moment. Started with collecting anime with Fullmetal Alchemist and acquired a special collector’s book. Watching sizzle video, he felt life flashing by. Can’t thank Bones enough

-How are you feeling now with an established studio after all these years? Minami – 70 titles in that video. You cant create that daily. It really was a process. The fact we’ve worked so hard to make titles makes me feel kinda overwhelmed. Kawamoto thanks Cardine you for reference as reputable anime studio. Thinks it’s a really cool thing.

-What advice would you have given 25 years to past self? Cardine quotes Minalmi interview to Crunchyroll for his answer – “So when I went independent from SUNRISE, it was so difficult. [BONES] was such a small company in the first five years. It was full of struggles. But, to my past self, I would want to say, “Oh, you’re going to get to work on a lot of different kinds of titles and series, so do your best.” Kawamoto answers the same question – In joining Bones, he saw what hard work and suffering Minami went though. He was just animator. To do that for 25 year that’s been really important. To be at a studio with the same president. It’s his hope to produce with president Minami and Studio Bones for next 10 years.

-Cardine asked Minami if his feelings changed since he was asked this question? He did some thinking and now has a different answer. To work on anime 25 years, that’s 25 years of his life, and he needs to take care of his body. Since Kawamoto said he wants to work at Studio Bones another 10 years he’d better take care of himself.

-What has been the biggest surprise at Studio Bones? Minami said Fullmetal Alchemist being a hit was flabbergasting to him personally since 22 years ago in Long Beach. At that time there were about 2000 fans that he knew of but in Japan he got news that Cowboy Bebop was popular overseas. He thought the studio president had to be exaggerating, blowing things out of proportion. So at the time wanted to screen Doors of Heaven. (NOTE: fairly certain he meant Cowboy Beop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door). The theater only held 2000 but so many showed he had to do extra showings. That opened the doors to what we could achieve.

-Kawamoto – For me 10 year mark of my career there was a 10 minute vid to commemorate what we had done so far. Of course, people cheered FMA and Bebop in vid, but then I realized people cheered other titles as well how and they were important for you. That was a surprise.

-Kawamoto, most memorable scene or work? – Every time I’m asked, always at a loss… the title I worked on after Bebop called Wolf’s Rain. (cheers from crowd) Glad you actually know about it.
Bones was known for mecha anime… Glad to be known for beast / animal anime. Glad we could be more known for other things. What was really lucky – had Yoko Kanno and others and only had 3 studios at time, now 7. Back then tight team now is scattered. Beast anime difficult to animate. If Kawamoto could make Ein move, he could make a wolf move. Staffer wanted to work on welsh corgi and it grew from there. When we did filming in Morocco, Someone asked if I could draw a wolf and I said yes.

-Kyle talks about Metallic Rouge, new show in January 2024

-Got idea from Yutaka Izubuchi. who’s the supervising editor. He’d worked on Gundam 0080. They worked on that together. Really started a new world scifi action romance. Desire to start something really fresh. It’s a story when artificial humans exist with natural humans. However this was an original and unknown property. We approached Fuji TV, and Crunchyroll. and that worked.

-Kawamoto what was your focus when making characters for Metallic Rouge? – Had idea the way body is portrayed with the way dialogue flowed and matched. Unique character. When not on battlefield, she’s not aggressive. She’s lazy. When needed, she becomes aggressive. We’re filling gap between two personality. At the time. There were adult male protagonists. Fun to do adult female protagonist. Really want to make something that stands on it’s own.

-Brought maquette for animators from Japan. Kawmoto asked to explain it – created by takia san, highly regarded modeler. Yutaka Izubuchi works with him on Tokusatsu shows. Supervising editor here. Did 3d and 2d desing in parallel to make it. Bones is uniqe. Everything in 2d. We draw everything by hand in 2d. Very lucky to have people could draw. Maquette has curves. To communicate and that to animators that character has curves best to have 3d.

-Manami – In 2024. Fuji TV and Crunchyroll roll. Soon celebrate 10 years of Space Dandy. Crunchyroll producing a 25-year documentary about their company.

-Kawamoto – Thank you so much. Extremely happy to come here. Looking forward to completing Metallic Lounge. Cowboy Bebop 2 album music compilation coming. Other events also but no details yet. Thank you.

Aniplex of America / A1 Pictures panel

-Hosted by Anthony Foronda and Rose Iwai

-Tribute reel for to respected industry representative Hiroe Tsukamoto, who passed earlier this year, is shown

Titles coming soon
– rascal does dream of a girl venturing out
– Gurren Lagann movie 15th anniversary movie in North America

A-1 Pictures Industry panel

-Sizzle reel to start

-Panelists are introduced. Animators Yuhichiro Kikuchi, Tetsuya Kawakami and Ishio-san

-They present life behind the scenes of anime production, giving step by step on the process. It’s their first time showing this material focusing on the anime series 86. Move to what is keyframe in animations. Storyboards are backbone and skeleton of a scene. Showed original layout vs modified art

-Anthony ask in recent years, more work by animators out side of Japan. Kickuchi says there have been miraculous serendipitous collaboration. One such artist he was heavily invovlved with named Vercreek. Who couldn’t attend but sent recorded message about his career.

-Kikichi-san, more international animators work in Japan than before? He wanted to know how did Vercreek learn skill and work. Animation used to beo done on paper. Now on digital which artists can share and compare notes.

-Ishio-san – When I talk with them they have their own tradition in their work. Good thing to have new ideas come into Japanese industry as a whole.

-Kawakami – I try to bring overseas artists when I can. My vision is overseas artists not only see anime but collaborate and create as well.

-Kawakami – 3 of us working on peoject and would like to recruit new animators for it when it’s time.

Asked about more 86 anime. Kikuchi says he can’t talk about but will let others know overseas fans are asking for it.

Horimiya The Missing Pieces

Lauren Moore hosts for Crunchyroll and thanks Aniplex

Masashi Ishihama director

Koki Uchiyama voice of Izumi Miyamura

-What are you most excited for in the new season?
Ishihama – get to explore more characters from the manga that we couldn’t do before.
Uchiyama – compared to figt season so different side of personality

-Glasses, piercings or haircut Miramuya? One said haircut, other said long haired glasses.

-Next season will look at all character not just main one. All will get to shine.

-How does Ishihama feel to return as director? That they brought me back is humbling.

-Would Koki be friends with Miyamura? Yes She’s attractive and such. They need each other. It’s a beautiful relationship.

-Describe Miyamura – Gap moe? School and private angles. Gaps make him attractive.

-Rom com fan? Both say yes

-Miyamura having rizz? Both just learned what rizz means. Odd to me. Show doesn’t place present but US take to it.

-Opening is played

-Ishihama well-known for directing opening sequences. Talks about the process and focus. When I first listened to the song many times, I focused on the men singing. Lots of passion there. Could imagine high school buys running. When directing a show, focus is on the drama. In an opening, focus the feelings, and find art that makes series attractive

Fan questions
-Where can I find Miyamura? might be closer than you think
-Do opposites attract? Yes yes

-Live reading of 2 scenes from season one

-Sneak peek episode 2 played

-Ishihama – hard to get SP but for you guys I’ll do anything

2nd clip shown

Final remarks
-Ishihama – It’s started streaming on Crunchyroll. I hope you can join for entire season
-Uchiyama – Will tell cast of love for show in Los Angeles. Regardless of the genre, I saw the passion so I’m gonna work on more anime to get invited again.

Robotech Panel

New Robotech licenses with Good smile

Kids logic wrist watches released world wide except in Japan

Tabletop game Robotech Reconstruction on switch

Titan lost license to reprint Comico comics trades during covid and Crunchuroll ; Funimation meger. Since all that cleared, Titan got license back will continue reprints.

New Veritech and Armored Cyclone toys shown. Development of SDF-1 with LED lighting shown.

They re-iterated their official stance that the domestic release of Macross: Do You Remember Love is prohibited. (probably not by choice)


Demon Slayer Special Event

Voice of Tanjiro – Natsuki Hanae
Producer of Demon Slayer – Yuma Takahashi
Voice of Muichiro – Kengo Kawanishi

Takahashi visiting AX for the 2nd time. How do you like studying English? Likes to practice.

Takahash – A few years ago Demon Slayer debuted. Picture is shown of Times Square where DS was displayed on LED billboards. Takahashi grateful to Crunchyroll \Your support is source. Thank you so much.

Swordsman Arc is great turning point

Hanae – Tanjuro’s has growth facing 4th levet demon. Each one tstronger than last. Tanjuro stronger too.
This demon split in four

Hane – What was like recording the big fight scene? Cant recall how many times I’ve watched it You see the detain in each frame. Takahashi – I honestly thought it could not get better. Battle only 26 seconds drawn by hand. So great.

Kawanishi – how did you approach voicing Muichiro? I didn’t have many scenes initially so that arc it was fun to discover the character. At 14 he was the youngest. He gets developed on Swordsman arc.

Kawanishi on key water scene – The quality speaks for itself. Tanjuro is normally alone, gets help this time. Also had to voice twins. Discovered what it was when children care for each other . This really comes through.

Takahiashi thoughts on finale of swords man arc – Very emotional. Wanted to talke about it more. Climax of entire arc. Re-read manga of entire arc. Everything was in synch. Cried when performing in booth,

Takahashi brought live behind the scenes video of animation drawing Felt like a live performance in every sense of the word.

Takashi gave print board of drawing from video to all panel attendees. QR code on bacl

Voice actors live voice re-enacment

Characters shown from Hashira training arc. Based on covers of the manga. Himejwa looks so strange. Can’t wait to see the pillars do their thing.

For expanded coverage of Anime Expo 2023, please check out our podcast on Fandom Post Radio found here: