Anime Expo 2006
Anime News Network

by Scott Riley,
Hosting this year's Anime News Network panel at Anime Expo 2006 were Christopher Macdonald, editor in chief of Anime News Network, along with Zac Bertschy (executive editor), Bamboo Dong (associate editor), and Carlo Santo (reviewer & columnist).

ANN started off talking about its recent columns. In March, premiered is a new column called "The Click" written by Brian Hanson (who was also present at the panel) which now runs every Friday. “RIGHT TURN ONLY!!” written by Carlo Santo has recently came back also. New columns that are being planned include a cosplay and fanart column. Eventually, what ANN plans to do is to have a column for everyday of the week.

Coming up soon on ANN is an interview with Hyde. ANN is the only anime press in North America to get a one on one interview with Hyde. During his stay in the US, Hyde was only interviewed by three press outlets (MTV, a Japanese television station, and Anime News Network).

ANN soon plans to redesign its site. Functions will be the same but the layout will be different in hopes of making ANN easier to navigate and use. A preview version is expected to be available within seven days or so and ANN hopes to have its “new look” up in about a month.

In February and March, ANN held a contest called “Naruto Build-a-Ninja Sweepstakes” which was one of ANN's biggest contests ever and had around 7,500 entries. In September, ANN plans to have a similar contest called “Naruto Director's Chair” in which contestants will construct a poster for a hypothetical Naruto movie. Prizes will include the second Naruto Gamecube game as well as other swag.

Later this year, ANN will be running a contest where the grand prize will include a trip to Japan. Total prize value will be about $10,000. The winner of the contest will get the title of “North America's biggest otaku”, meaning the person who knows and understands the most about anime. The winner will be decided by an extremely difficult exam that will cover all aspects of anime and manga fandom. The exam will not cover unlicensed anime too new to have been featured in North American anime magazines..

As many people already know Answerman (aka. Zac Bertschy) has been getting a lot of questions asking how to get their anime idea made into an actual anime. Well, although still in its planning stages, in the summer of 2007, ANN plans to run a contest with a major anime company to give people a feeling of what it is like to get your own anime idea made. Possibilities may even include getting some actual animation made, but it is still too early to be sure of this.

ANN also plans to start doing some merchandising. At the panel were prototypes of Answercat Jr. plushies. One attendee stole one of the plushies.

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