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Anime Expo 2003
Overview - Industry

by Christopher Macdonald,
Not only is Anime Expo the biggest North American anime fan convention, but it is also the defacto North American anime trade show. What's the difference between a fan convention and a trade show? Strictly speaking, one is for the fans, and the other is for business. Companies go to conventions to show the fans what they have, and that's about it. But they go to trade shows for myriad reasons: to show the press what they have (so we can show the fans), to show the attending merchants what they have, to exchange business cards with other members of the industry, and to make deals.

Other than Anime Expo, how many other Anime conventions can boast the presence of distributors in the dealer room? Probably none, but at AX at least one distributor had set up shop to introduce the company not to the fans, but to the merchants present.

But still, AX remains first and foremost a fan convention, and the industry comes to fan conventions to show the fans what they have, and that's exactly what they did.

As usual, the bigwigs were all there; ADV Films, Bandai Entertainment, Pioneer Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, and Viz booths were the first things people would see when they entered the dealer's room. Nestled farther in the back they'd also find AN Entertainment, AnimEigo, Central Park Media(actually right beside the entrance), ComicsOne, FUNimation, Manga Entertainment, Media Blasters, Super Techno Arts, and Urban Vision.

Noticeably missing from the dealer's room were The Right Stuf International, Nutech Digital, and Gutsoon Entertainment. For reasons unknown, TRSI never sets up a display. But what a difference a year can make for Gutsoon; last year they were the biggest sponsor of Anime Expo, making it their “launch event.” This year Gutsoon was nowhere to be seen at AX. While still fighting on and not quite bankrupt, Gutsoon has perhaps seen the benefit of frugality. Nutech Digital isn't quite bankrupt either, but with nary an Anime release from them in months, and nothing scheduled for the rest of the year, what would the point be?

Outside of the dealer's room, the primary interaction between the industry and the fans are the industry panels, where the companies make their announcements and/or hype their titles. The “or” in the previous sentence is important at AX, because several companies had panels dedicated entirely to one show. Pioneer Entertainment ran a panel for Heat Guy J, and Bandai Ran panels for s-CRY-ed, Infinite Ryvius, Gundam, and .hack. ADV had one panel for new acquisitions and another for upcoming releases. While absent from the dealers room, TRSI did hold a panel. Oddly, despite their big party Friday night and large presence in the dealer's room, Viz chose not to hold a panel of any sort at AX.

ADV Films
Kino's Journey
Slayers Premium
Mahou Yuugi
Bast of Lemon (Korean)
Mani Mani (Neo-Tokyo)
Azumanga Daioh movie
RahXephon movie
Nurse Witch Komugi-chan

AN Entertainment
Miami Guns

Bandai Entertainment
.hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet
Dragon Drive
Galaxy Angel
Gundam F91
Taruto (Magical Meow Meow)
Stratos 4
Tenshi no Shippo
Zeta Gundam
Wolf's Rain

Brocolli Books (Synch Point)
Galaxy Angel (manga)
Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion (manga)
Leave it to Piyoko (manga)

Central Park Media
Narue no Sekai

Media Blasters
Boku no Sexual Harassment

Pioneer Entertainment
Samurai Champloo
R.o.D The TV (Read or Die TV)

The Right Stuf International
Little Monica's Story (Hentai)
Gakuen (Hentai)
Ingoku Byoutou (Hentai)
Meido No Yakata (Hentai)
Siroki Tensitati No Londo (Hentai)

Mahoromatic (manga)
B'tX (manga)
Get Backers (manga)
PitaTen (manga)
Psychic Academy (manga)
A.I. Love You (manga)
Fruits Basket (manga)
Cyborg 009 manga (manga)

Although Urban Vision, FUNimation, and AnimEigo held panels, they did not announce any new titles at Anime Expo. FUNimation has stated that they have three titles to announce at the summer cons, so it might be considered odd that none were announced at AX, but this is apparently because the licensing has not been finalized.

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