A N I M E
E X P O 2 0 0 1
on pics for a larger view.
Expo 2001, the largest convention in the West dedicated to
the Arts of Japanese animation and comics, celebrated its 10th
Anniversary with its 2001 Exposition. The annual event, presented
by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
(SPJA), suffered some organizational setbacks at its 2001
Long Beach convention. While the BLACK MOON greatly respects
the SPJA and all of the good work they continue to do, we feel
obligated to publically critique the way the 2001 event was
handled... you can read that critique here.
Aside from our constructive criticisms, the content and programming
of the convention was excellent.
interested had the opportunity to see and hear a bevy of special
guests from Japan like Abe
(animation director for Vampire Hunter D), Asaka
(director of the Card Captor Sakura TV series and
both movies), Uno
(character designer for Love Hina), and many other
talented guests too numerous to mention. The BLACK MOON was
honored to attend the panels presenting Watase Yu (creator
of the much beloved Fushigi Yuugi manga),
and voice actress Inoue
(the voice of Belldandy from Ah! Megami-sama),
who appeared in the United States for the very first time.
were also fabulous displays of art to be seen, reminding attendees
that at its core, the world of anime and manga is all about
art. The incredible print work of Asamiya Kia (creator
of Silent Mobius) was on display courtesy of the GOFA
Gallery of Japan. Art Vivant Gallery (also from Japan),
brought us the astounding Prints of Tezuka Osamu (Japan's
"Father" of anime and manga) and Mikimoto Haruhiko
(Character Designer for Macross). You can read more about
these special guest artists by clicking the photos directly
of the greatest parts of any anime convention are the fans who
engage in cosplay (costume play). Out of the many thousands
who attended Anime Expo 2001, quite a few came dressed
as their favorite anime character, some even brought extra outfits
for costume changes! Those engaged in cosplay ranged from first
time convention goers with minimalist hand made costumes to
seasoned veterans who travel the convention circuit in elaborate
outfits that take months to create.
array of costumes is always amazing and the imagination required
to put together even the most rudimentary successful outfit
is impressive. More people than ever before came out in costume,
and the quality of those costumes was excellent. For me the
highpoint of the convention was simply photographing all of
the wonderful otaku (crazed fans).
were able to see some of the best animation being produced
in Japan today. Works like Ah! My Goddess - The Movie,
Blood: The Last Vampire, and Jin-roh. Of course
there were dozens of other anime screened each day, from old
classics to the very latest.
also had the option of attending the many "focus panels"
presenting information on everything from doujinshi (fan produced
manga) and voice acting, to the hobby of collecting original
animation cels. The panels are set up and run by fans who possess
a certain expertise, so they are always fun and informative
of Anime Expo 2001 were in for a special treat when fans
of the Japanese Visual Kei movement showed up in full
costume (like the eight pictured directly above). Visual
Kei (pronounced "Kaye"), has become a driving
force in the music and fashion scenes of Japan. The signature
style of these male rock bands is a penchant for cross dressing,
heavy makeup, and outrageous costumes. Its adherents mix Japanese
Pop with Punk, Glam, Kabuki, and Gothic sensibilities. I was
in heaven photographing the Visual Kei fans, and hopefully their
presence will help create the desire to have Japanese Rock bands
visit the United States... something which is long overdue!
the irritating organizational problems at Anime Expo 2001,
the Exposition was successful. I'd encourage everyone to come
for the next convention no matter where it's held in Los Angeles.
Such expositions allow the anime community to come together
and look at itself, and judging by the size and sophistication
of this year's crowd... anime and manga have become a force
to be reckoned with in the U.S.
and text on this page by Mark Vallen © Copyright. All rights
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