AX 09 – Musings

We had a whirlwind trip to Ax this year – in on Wednesday afternoon, out Sunday morning.  Between the walking, shopping, eating, and meeting, I saw some things that kind of alarm me.  One was the lack of industry support for this year’s AX.  In the dealer room, the manga publisher presence was minimal.  Netcomics was there, as well as Aurora and DMP.  DMP was actually my one stop shopping source, and my travel companions soon grew tired of daily visits to the booth.  How could I resist, though, with older books priced to move at $3? 

In the panel rooms, things were just as sparse.  CMX had a panel, and Viz commandeered a room, packed to the gills, as well.  Yaoi Press had a booth and a panel, where Yamila Abraham discussed the launch of their new imprint, Yaoi Prose.  That was about it as far as manga news went.  I was very disappointed by the lack of turn out at the biggest anime convention in the US.  Deb Aoki pointed out that most people who watch anime don’t necessarily read manga, so perhaps I was expecting too much in this crappy economy.  I remember with fondness running from panel to panel for most of previous Anime Expos, and being bombarded with licensing announcements.  No such giddy memories will follow me from AX09.

So, publishers, what’s the deal?  Are you saving your marketing muscle for the king of cons, San Diego?  Unfortunately, I have scheduling conflicts with SDCC, and haven’t been able to attend for the past four years.  I also feel that the convention has outgrown San Diego – getting a reasonably priced hotel room near the convention center is like winning the lottery.  Capacity has been outstripped – the con is now at their attendance limit of 135,000, and tickets sold out this year in the blink of an eye.   It isn’t a good thing that SDCC can’t accommodate all of the eager pop culture fans who want to attend.

Even if they didn’t have a booth on the dealer floor, I was hoping to at least hear from Yen Press, Vertical, go! comi, Del Rey, and Tokyopop.  What are their plans for the future?  Are they confident that they can deliver fun and exciting books in this challenging sales environment?  Even if they didn’t have any new licenses to announce, it’s always fun to attach a name and face to the companies I shell out so much money to.  You guys give me a much needed break from reality, you let me escape from the stresses of work and real life.  You have even conspired to make Thursday my favorite day of the week. How?  It’s the day that Right Stuf announces their studio sales.  If all of those discounts don’t get your heart racing, you aren’t a true manga maniac.

Now I’m at a crossroad. For years, Dean and I trundled across the country to SDCC.  But all during those visits, the con that I really wanted to go to was AX.  There wasn’t much of a manga/anime presence then at San Diego back then.  Then I finally did get to go to AX, but the pendulum has swung again.  Now it’s SDCC that’s the place to be, but like the kid standing outside, looking in the candy store window, I just can’t get inside to indulge in my taste for sweets.  

Is AX still a fun con?  Yes.  You can travel the halls, admiring wonderful cosplay, visit the manga cafe, or work up a sweat in the arcade playing DDR or ITG.  It’s very much a fan’s convention now, where people who are passionate about anime and manga can get together and hang out.  I think the focus of this year’s convention was more on celebrating being a fan, and less on celebrating the trappings of fandom.  I still long for the excitement of hearing about new titles, but I think the economy has worn away the glow that once encircled the convention.  Only time will tell if the spotlight will once again burn brightly over LA during that first tantalizing weekend in July.

AX 09 – Cosplay Pix


I always enjoy checking out the cosplay at conventions, so I parked myself on a bench outside and allowed photographer Jen to finally pitch in and do some work.  All of shopping, eating, and socializing was keeping her busy, but she agreed to run around and snap some photos.  There are so many people who cosplay now that it’s hard to see even a fraction of the awesomeness.  Naruto, Bleach, Vampire Knight, and Visual Kei hotness were all the rage.  What were your favorites this year?

AX 09 – CMX Panel

We finally stopped shopping long enough to hit a panel this morning.  There’s a quick and no-frills rundown of the CMX manga panel hosted by Jim Chadwick, Asako Suzuki, and Larry Berry.

First up- new sampler for 2009.  I love manga samplers, because I get to see what the art looks like and learn a little about new series before making a purchasing decision.  I do all of my manga shopping online, and sometimes it’s nice to get a little glimpse of what I’m buying before I make the dollar commitment.  This year’s sampler covers 12 series, some of which are already in stores, like Venus Capriccio, Broken Blade, and Ballad of a Shinigami.

Next up, discussion of upcoming titles.  An entire year’s worth! I’ll cover the manga in the sampler in a later post.

Rampage – Yunosuke Yoshinaga – Flex action title.  This is four volume,  ongoing fantasy series with historical characters that is like the House of Flying Daggers.  It’s rated mature because of the violence.

My Darling Miss Bancho by Mayu Fujikata, release date March 2010– This is also an ongoing title, and it is a romance.  Can never have enough of those!  It’s about a girl who transfers to an all boys school.  She knocks out the school tough guy with her bag, so she becomes the new school leader.  Sounds cute.

Diamond Girl – Takanori Yamazaki is due in April 2010.  It’s about a girl who excels at baseball, but she doesn’t like it.  Her school team sucks, and they keep trying to get her to join.  It’s not really a sports manga, though.

Polyphonic Cardinal Crimson by Ichiro Sasaki is based on a visual novel and is due in May 2010.  It takes place at a music school, and is a fantasy with music spirits.

Nadeshiko Club by Miku Sakamoto is seven volumes long and is due in June of next year.  The heroine gets dumped because she’s not girly enough, so she joins the home ec club, which only has male members.  They are dead serious about their cooking and cleaning skills, and they run the club like it’s boot camp.  I hate cooking and cleaning, so I sympathize with the heroine already.

Next, it was mentioned that delays in getting volumes of Swan and Eroica into stores is due to difficulty acquiring materials needed from the Japanese publisher, and also to keep a steady stream of newer titles on the schedule.

Don’t forget to sign up for the CMX newsletter at CMX.


Nation’s Largest Anime and Manga Convention Announces Official 2009 Theme
Song With Up Front Agency and

Anaheim, California and Tokyo, Japan (April 20, 2009) — “3,2,1 Breakin’
Out!” by Anime Expo® 2009 Guests of Honor MORNING MUSUME?, is announced as
the official convention theme song for this year’s event held July 2-5, 2009
at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  More information can be found on the
website <> .

Written and produced by prolific music producer TSUNKU?, this “3-2-1
Breakin’ Out!” will appear on all Anime Expo® 2009 media campaigns. “Hello,
How do you do? I am TSUNKU??”, states  the legendary producer, writer and
musician, “I am a producer of MORNING MUSUME?I am happy to hear that there
are many anime fans in America. I think Anime culture is universal and I’m
glad to hear American people are so into it. I believe good anime remains a
masterpiece forever.  At the same time, there is a very important element:
music. I think music is a universal language, and music should be enjoyable
from generation to generation.  I am proud that MORNING MUSUME?has made the
theme song for Anime Expo® 2009. The concept of this song is positive power
even during hard times. I wrote this song just for Anime Expo® 2009. I
imagined everybody’s smile when I wrote it, and I’m looking forward to
seeing you guys at the MORNING MUSUME?concert. I hope new great energy will
be born at the convention from this collaboration between Japanese and US
culture, and that it will last into the future.”

A :30 second preview sample of this song will be available on the Anime
Expo® 2009 website and on’s MySpace page
( <
<> > ).

In connection with the MORNING MUSUME? performance at Anime Expo® 2009, will produce physical and digital USA CD releases of both
PLATINUM 9 DISC and "Shouganai Yumeoibito" (which includes "3,2,1 – Breakin’
Out!"). Both CDs will be identical to the regular Japanese releases, and
PLATINUM 9 DISC will also include random member photo cards.

Attendees, Press and Industry Members are also encouraged to view the video
coverage site of the 2008 convention at
<>  and to register for the 2009 convention at <> .

About Anime Expo®
Located in Los Angeles, California – Anime Expo®, the nation’s largest
anime/manga convention, serves to foster trade, commerce and the interests
of the general public and animation/ comics industry.  This event serves as
a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and
explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the
industry to conduct business. AX 2009 will be held July 2 – July 5, 2009 at
the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California. More information
can be found at its website (

About Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit
organization with a mission to popularize and educate the American public
about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate
communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more
popularly known by its entertainment property – Anime Expo®.  More
information can be found at its website ( <>

Supporting Japanese artists since 2004, specializes in
digital music sales and media promotion for Japanese music, with over 300
indie and major artists reaching their USA fans – rock, pop, hip-hop, punk,
and techno! All downloads are DRM-free and only 99 cents each!

The statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are
"forward-looking statements." These forward-looking statements are based on
current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and
uncertainties. The Company cautions readers of this press release that a
number of important factors could cause Anime Expo®/SPJA’s actual future
results to differ materially from those expressed in any such
forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation,
product delays, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and
industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of
relationships with key personnel, vendors and third-party developers,
international economic and political conditions. The Company may change its
intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon
any changes in such factors, in the Company’s assumptions or otherwise. The
Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any
forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date
hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.





Nation’s Largest Anime and Manga Convention Announces Power Ranger Reunion
and Panel

Anaheim, California (April 17, 2009) ‹ Blast off with Anime Expo® and
members of the Mighty Morphin¹ Power Ranger dynasty as they storm into the
Los Angeles Convention Center for one of the biggest Ranger Reunions to date
at the nation¹s largest anime and manga convention held July 2-5, 2009. More
information can be found on the website
Rangers in attendance include:
·     Karan Ashley-Aisha, the Mighty Morphin¹ Yellow Power Ranger
·     Steve Cardenas-Rocky, the Mighty Morphin¹ Red Power Ranger
·     Walter Jones-Zack, the Mighty Morphin¹ Black Power Ranger
·     Catherine Sutherland-Kat, the Mighty Morphin¹ Pink Power Ranger
·     Johnny Yong Bosch-Adam, the Mighty Morphin¹ Black Power Ranger
·     Robert Axelrod-Lord Zedd

Read more


Nation’s Largest Anime and Manga Convention Welcomes Japan’s Top Female
Group from Hello! Project

Anaheim, California and Tokyo, Japan (February 12, 2009) — With excitement
beyond belief, Anime Expo® proudly announces the attendance and performance
of Japan’s most celebrated and top all-girl music group MORNING MUSUME (also
referred to as “Momusu”) to the nation’s largest anime and manga convention
held July 2-5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. More information
can be found on the website <> .

The MORNING MUSUME (??????.  Morning Daughter) is a one of a kind
all-girl group whose story began in 1997 when Japanese producer TSUNKU? held
auditions for a female rock vocalist for his band SHARAN Q held on the
Japanese TV show ASAYAN.  With the five runner-ups from the contest, Tsunku
decided to create an all-girl group that sold 50,000 copies of their indies
CD single “Ai no Tane” and debuted as  MORNING MUSUME. They are the lead
group of Hello! Project <!_Project> .

MORNING MUSUME’s first single “Morning Coffee” made a huge splash by hitting
the #6 position in the Japanese pop charts within its first week of release.
In August of 1998, MORNING MUSUME reached the #1 spot in the Japanese pop
charts with their 3rd single “HOLD ON ME”.  In 1999, the group had their
first nationwide tour with 19 performances in 7 cities for 40,000 fans.

Read more


Over 150 Minutes of New Video Coverage Mounted on
Nation¹s Largest Convention¹s Online Video Coverage Site
Anaheim, California (August 18, 2008) ? Want to re-experience all the
excitement that was Anime Expo® 2008? Want a preview of all the anime
goodness for the highly anticipated 2009 convention, July 2-5, 2009 at the
Los Angeles Convention Center?  Official video coverage from the final days
of the nation¹s largest convention of its kind is available for viewing on
the convention¹s official video coverage site AXBackstage
( <> ).
All new coverage videos involve an official Anime Expo® 2008 Official Guest
of Honor, new videos include:
·  AX 2008 Guest of Honor Artist Panels-Akemi Takada and Hiromi Kato
·  AX 2008 Guest of Honor Director Panels-Masahiro Ando and Masamitsu Hidaka
·  AX 2008Guest of Honor Voice Actor Panel-David Hayter
AXBackstage covers all that is associated with the nation¹s most celebrated
anime and manga convention including official AX Commercials, convention
cosplay photos, industry videos, trailers, articles and much more.
Read more