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Anime Expo Opening Ceremonies

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We start of our coverage of Anime Expo 2001 with the opening Ceremonies, including a Major Announcement regarding the future of Anime Expo

During the Opening Ceremonies of Anime Expo, along with the usual introductions of the many Guest of Honor and various words from the organizers, came a major announcement regarding the future of AX.

As of next year, 2002, there will be two Anime Expos! The regular AX on the west coast, and a new Anime Expo convention the east coast. The west coast AX will continue to take place in California on Independence Day weekend, and the new East Coast Anime Expo will take place on Labor Day weekend in New York city right in Time Square!

Of course, one of the biggest reasons to attend an Anime convention is to see the people that create Anime in Japan. After the crowds filtered in, a cute, ditzy 20-foot tall 3D CG otaku girl introduced the guests of honor.

Among the guests of Honor, Noburo Ishiguro (Director: Space Cruiser Yamato, Megazone 23, Macross) was unable to attend the opening ceremonies because he is busy at work on a new project entitled "Tokyo Ten Generals." Ishiguro's studio burnt down earlier this year and this obviously has caused the considerable setbacks that they need to catch up, Ishiguro will however be at AX sometime today and for the rest of the Convention.

Also absent from the opening ceremonies was Toshihiro Kawamoto (Character Designer, Animation Director: Cowboy Bebop, MS Gundam 0083), however he too will be attending the rest of the convention.

Other Guests of Honor announced were announced, including Mr Scott Frazier who was accompanied onto the stage by three very beautiful women, who posed with him on the steps to the stage before he continued to his seat on stage accompanied only by one of his beautiful escorts.

While all the guests received very enthusiastic applause; voices Actress Kikuko Inoue (Ah! Megami Sama (Belldandy), Ranma ½ (Kasumi)) and Manga artist Yu Watase (Fushigi Yugi, Ayashi no Ceres) seemed to be the fan favorites, along with Yoshiaki Iwasaki (Dir: Love Hina, Dai-Guard), the audience erupted with applause when “Slayers” was listed amongst his directorial credits.

Along with the absent Noburo Ishiguro, character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto was one of the most experienced and respected guests of honor, for his work on titles such as Macross, Megazone 23 and Gundam 0080 Mikimoto is perhaps the most popular character designer alive today. Another guest of honor, Tsukasa Kotobuki (Character Designer: Saber Marinonette J, Tōshinden) mentioned that it was the work of Mikimoto that inspired him to get into Anime and he was exceptionally honored to share the stage with his hero.

Other guests of honor announced by the very cute, although somewhat vapid, hostess were Hisashi Abe (Director: Devil Hunter Yohko 2,3; Animation Director: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust), Morio Asaka (Director: Mermaid's Scar, Card Captor Sakura), Kia Asamiya (Manga Artist: Silent Möbius, Steam Detectives), Masayuki Kojima (Director: Master Keaton, Azuki-chan), Hidenori Matsubara (Character Designer: Patlabor Movie, Ah! Megami Sama) and Makoto Uno (Character Designer: Love Hina, Animation Director: Turn A Gundam).

After introducing the guests of honor, the mic was given over to a representative of City of Hope. City of Hope is a charity dedicated to fighting childrens' diseases, the Anime Expo charity auction has been in the benefit of City of Hope since 1994, and last year the auction raised over $55 000, which was supplemented by further merchandise donations from Banzai Entertainment and Pioneer. Additionally, a moment of silence was held for Aaron McPeak, a former staff member who succumbed to cancer during the past year.

Following the introduction of the guests of honor and the City of Hope presentation, voice actor Akira Kamiya led a special Live Dub demonstration that also included Ms. Inoue, and several other voice actors, both professional and students from Japan. They voiced a 3-minute segment of Galaxy Angel for AX Attendees live.

Mr. Kamiya also mentioned that the two Manga sequels that recently began in “Comic Bunch” (Sequels to City Hunter and Fist of the North Star) could very possibly be turned into Animes within a year. Mr. Kamiya played the parts of Ryu Saeba and Ken.

Thus ended the Opening Ceremonies of the 2001 edition of the Largest North American Anime Convention, Anime Expo 2001.

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