Anime Expo 2010
by Carlo Santos,
Anime Expo 2010's Opening Ceremony was, if nothing else, a parade of endless multitudes. Everytime the guest list seemed finished, someone else would come forward, proving this year's AX would be unparalleled in size and scope.
The ceremony began with world-famous otaku Danny Choo, performing his "Dancing Stormtrooper" routine to excited cheers. This was followed by opening remarks from MC Paul Wilson, along with representatives of the local Japanese community.
The first guests to come onstage were a reminder of Anime Expo's ever-broadening focus on Japanese pop culture. Japanese DJs M-Project, GUHROOVY, NO+CHIN, DJ CHUCKY, DJ Schwarzenegger and m1dy stepped forward to the cheers of music fans in the arena.
On a completely different side of the musical spectrum was J-pop idol group AKB48, whose contingent of 16 members introduced themselves individually before leaving the stage to prepare for their afternoon concert.
The name of the convention is still Anime Expo, though, and it was at this point that the best and brightest of Japanese animation began to take their places on the stage. Legendary comedy director Nabeshin came forward with his trademark "Afro Lupin" look, followed by voice actor Kyle Hebert, who was practically ready to deliver a comedic monologue. Another legendary director, Toshihiro Kawamoto of Studio BONES, also took his place as a Guest of Honor.
Not every guest had arrived in time for the ceremonies, however, and there were a few no-shows on the list. Voice actresses Yui Horie and Eri Kitamura were unable to attend the event, and neither could singer Megumi Nakajima, but the audience was treated to video clips showcasing the extensive work that these performers had done. Meanwhile, singer May'n was on hand to represent the Macross Frontier contingent; many fans would be looking forward to her Friday afternoon concert.
Next came a trio of animators who would each be a worthy Guest of Honor in their own right: Kenji Kamiyama, Satoru Nakamura, and Tomohiko Ishii, the creative minds behind the highly acclaimed Eden of the East, along with other renowned Production I.G works.
Plenty of other famous names from the world of anime followed after that: trance/techno-pop singer MELL, Black Lagoon manga-ka Rei Hiroe, an enthusiastic video message from Gurren Lagann's Katsuyuki Konishi (who was unable to attend the event), veteran seiyuu Yuu Asakawa, and Masakazu Morita, whose fired-up self-introduction was clearly the high-energy point of the event.
The last few guests on the list showcased the wide cultural impact of anime, with musicians such as J-pop duo RSP and vocalist BENI taking the stage, followed by the ensemble cast of the stage play Kisaragi, a unique production that touches upon otaku culture. Finally, J-rock band SOPHIA introduced themselves in grand, showy fashion, and—believe it or not—Anime Expo's Opening Ceremonies had finally exhausted its massive guest list.
With a final comment from SPJA CEO Michael Lattanzio, and the traditional filling-in of a daruma doll's eye, Anime Expo 2010 had officially begun.
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