Dust Off the Cosplay, Cuz Crunchyroll Expo is Back!
For the first time in three years, Crunchyroll Expo made its in-person return August 5-7. Over the last two years, there was so much uncertainty circling around that no one knew when convention season would make its return.
Luckily, CRX came together and worked to create an event that was accessible to all by turning it into a virtual experience. Vendors and artists were still able to get their names out there to make event sales while attendees tuned into interviews, panels, contests, and so much more, all from the comfort of home. However this year, as CRX continues its virtual accessibility, they finally also welcomed anime fans back to San Jose, CA to reunite with fellow anime lovers.
When In New Crunchy City…
Utilizing their fan-favorite theme, New Crunchy City, CRX transform the San Jose Convention Center into a city-like atmosphere. Near the entrance of the main hall were photo-ops for some beloved anime, like Spy X Family and Rising of the Shield Hero. Smack dab in the middle of them all was the iconic Crunchyroll Store brought to life.
Half of the main hall consisted of the Central Shopping District which was full of vendors from one end of the hall to the other. It was so wonderful to see so many more vendors returning and the temptation to buy their entire stock was as high as always!
We visited Shumi, a South California based seller with all your favorite anime collectibles and Japanese-themed goodies. From plush dolls and figurines of your favorite anime characters to cute collectible blind boxes, there’s no way I could walk away empty-handed. One of the ultimate anime-themed loot boxes, Akibento itself had its own stall with stacks high of their boxes, waiting for event goers to try their luck. While I didn’t get to snag a box this time around, I can confirm there is always a diverse collection of items in each box.
But also taking up their well-deserved spaces in the main hall in Arts District were some of the best artists, some of whom I recognized but so many more whom I’ve never seen or noticed before! It’s events like these that really allow artists to shine and show off their amazing art. You’re bound to find prints to cover up your walls, keychains and charms to hang off your bag, and pins and stickers to add to your collection.
One of my favorite artists I discovered was SonyaLei, whose art style is unique and switches between softer tones and popping colors. Whether or not you’re familiar with Jujutsu Kaisen, the ending theme is a must-watch which its vibrant colors and dance sequence. All of it was drawn into a gorgeous print that I had to take home.
Entertainment and Announcements for the Fans!
Like any con, there were meet and greets but I feel as the highlight of the convention was the dance party held in a separate hall. Each day featured a few different well-known artists from the community, one of the most popular being MADKID, most known for the opening and ending themes for The Rising of the Shield Hero. Meanwhile Haikyu!! fans may also recognize Fly High!! artist Burnout Syndromes as they shared the stage with Rosalie Chiang, the voice of Mei Lin from Pixar’s Turning Red.
A big event like Crunchyroll is not without its announcements. News broke out over the 3rd season of The Rising of the Shield Hero, 2nd season of Tower of God, and 6th season of fan-favorite, My Hero Academia. Many more announcements were made and all kept fans hyped for more anime to come.
Until Next Time, CRX!
While the con took precautions seriously, it kept the energy alive for in-person attendees as well as though watching at home. Whether you’re there for the merch or if you’re waiting to meet your favorite voice actors and music artists, Crunchyroll Expo 2022 was the place to be over the weekend. All I have left to say is…bring it on, CRX 2023!