Anime Expo 2021's Physical Event Canceled; Organizers to Hold Virtual Event in July

posted on by Alex Mateo
30th anniversary in-person event was scheduled for July 2-5

Ray Chiang, CEO of The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), announced on Wednesday that this year's in-person Anime Expo convention has been canceled due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation. The 30th anniversary Anime Expo event was slated to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 2-5, 2021.

The organizers will host the "Anime Expo Lite" virtual event during the July 4 weekend.

Badge holders who have rolled their registration over to this year's event will get priority access to registration for next year's event.

The Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Development Board of Commissioners had previously posted the information packet from a planned (but since canceled) special board meeting for March 3. The packet listed Anime Expo 2021 as "doing a virtual event over 4th of July." The information packet also stated that Anime Expo was "signing their license agreement through 2030." The document did not specifically state that the in-person Anime Expo 2021 event was canceled, nor did it state if a hybrid event was planned.

ANN reached out to The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) — the California-based non-profit organization behind Anime Expo — for a comment regarding the most recent listing. The SPJA responded with the announcement of Anime Expo's cancellation.

Anime Expo 2020 was planned for last July but was canceled due to COVID-19. The organization instead hosted the "Anime Expo Lite" virtual event on July 3 and July 4. The event garnered more than 500,000 views from over 70 countries. The event featured over 50 hours of content such as panels, interviews, and announcements by Square Enix, Warner Bros. Japan, Bushiroad, Crunchyroll, Pony Canyon, and Viz Media.

The SPJA announced last August that it had transitioned to become a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization effective January 1, 2020. The organization stated that it was formerly a 501(c)(6) trade association.

Sources: Email correspondence, Anime Expo

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