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20th Anniversary: manga & anime

Manga and anime are musts at Japan Expo and they were under the spotlight once more for the 20th Anniversary of the festival. Let’s go back over 4 days of conferences, panels, meetings, discoveries, premieres, games, and surprises!

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The manga & anime photo album

Back to the roots of science fiction manga and anime

Japan Expo took the opportunity of its 20th Anniversary to welcome three huge names of science fiction manga and anime: Leiji MATSUMOTO, Gô NAGAI, and Yoshiyuki TOMINO, three artists taking us back to the starting point of the French passion for manga and Japanese animation.  

 
 

For over 60 years, Leiji MATSUMOTO has been captivating his readership: the creator of Captain Harlock is the author of a mythical work which appealed to the public all over the world. If he is undoubtedly a master of science fiction as showed by Galaxy Express 999 or obviously Captain Harlock, he also successfully tackled other genres such as western (Gun Frontier) or war (The Cockpit).

Japan Expo offered an opportunity to his European fans to meet him thanks to a conference during which he answered their questions and showed his talent with a live performance, drawing his most famous characters. During the event, the festival rewarded the artist for his amazing career and work with a Daruma. He also held signings.

An major figure in the history of manga, Leiji MATSUMOTO has inspired many artists. Among them, the French Jérôme ALQUIÉ attended the festival for the release of his new manga, a tribute to Captain HarlockCapitaine Albator - Tome 1 : Mémoires de l'Arcadia (Kana). He held several signings, at the Sumiré area and in the Capitaine Albator exhibit dedicated to his manga. Illustrations, figurines et sets immersed the attendees into this universe.

The members of the Webring Leiji MATSUMOTO community also attended, presenting models of props from the saga, such as the Arcadia, Harlock’s spaceship.

 
 

The legendary creator of GrendizerGô NAGAI, was the Manga Guest of Honor of the 20th Anniversary. In the late 70s, the anime Grendizer, adapted from the manga, introduced Japanese animation in France.

Gô NAGAI held signings to meet the attendees, leaving them with a precious souvenir and a great memory of this moment. He also got together with his fans on the Yuzu Stage, holding a conference which allowed him to answer their questions and to offer them a live drawing performance. This conference was also an opportunity for him to receive the French medallion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres (Order of Arts and Letters), an award presented by Denis MASSÉGLIA, in the presence of the festival founders, Jean-François DUFOUR and Thomas SIRDEY.

Last but not least, an exhibit immersed the audience into Gô NAGAI’s work, focusing on the animated adaptation of his mangaGô NAGAI, Animation Chronicles. Many drawing reproductions and sketches, dioramas realized by Star Hill Team, and figures unveiled the limitless universe born from his manga

 
 

Anime also had pride of honor with the presence of the creator of a cult saga with a never-ending success: Yoshiyuki TOMINO, Anime Guest of Honor, joined the attendees to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Gundam.

All four days, Yoshiyuki TOMINO made several apparitions and many Gundam fans came to meet him, to have their DVDs or Gunpla model boxes signed.

Yoshiyuki TOMINO went back over the saga, its history and current news during a conference. It was also the opportunity for the festival to honor him with a Daruma rewarding the whole of his career. This conference ended with music, the singer miwa performing the third ending of the Gundam The Origin series. Yoshiyuki TOMINO also introduced the screening of Gundam Reconguista in G in the Mikan Room. Another Gundam screening was scheduled with two episodes of Gundam Wing in partnership with @Anime.

Yoshiyuki TOMINO’s work was in the spotlight for the moment attendees entered the festival with a giant robot welcoming them at the entrance. The association AEUG’s booth proposed Gunpla model workshops and held two conferences about the saga.

An Anniversary exhibit went back over the history of Gundam and unveiled the extent of its world,  presenting a selection of anime and films with panels and settei (model sheets), dioramas realized by Star Hill Team, by-products (figures, models…), and screenings inside the exhibit.

Manga news

Japan Expo is the ideal place to find out about manga latest releases and recent successes, and meet their authors. The latter were holding signings at the Sumiré area and their publishers’ booths, inviting you to attend their conferences and live drawing too. 

 
 
 

With Tsuyoshi TAKAKI, you got immersed in the world of modern ninjas from his manga Black Torch (Ki-oon), a five-volume fast-paced manga nominated for the 2019 Daruma.

The mangaka Rie ARUGA invited you to meet her on the occasion of the release of a new volume of Perfect World (Akata), a manga about handicap which has conquered a wide readership in France. It was also nominated for the 2019 Daruma.

Daiki KOBAYASHI attended the festival as the volume 3 of his dark fantasy manga Ragna Crimson (Kana) was out.

Happy, the adorable cat from Fairy Tail, had pride of honor with Kenshirô SAKAMOTO who made him the hero of his new mangaFairy Tail – La grande aventure de Happy. This former assistant of Hiro MASHIMA celebrated the first volume released in France (nobi nobi !). 

 
 
 

Di NIANMIAO invited you in a whole other atmosphere, in the far-away lands of Ultramarine Magmell (Ototo), his manga released on the occasion of the festival.

In a poetic style, Makoto AIZAWA unveiled the world of Quand la Neige m’appelle (chattochatto), a manga inspired from Japanese folklore and the character of Yuki-onna.

As for Shuji SOGABE, he came to show his first manga series, Persona 3 (Mana Books) after working on arcade fighting game characters and mechas. 

 
 

Japan Expo also welcomed an actor from the golden age of Shônen Jump, the famous prepublication magazine: Hiroki GOTO, former editor in chief. In the mid-80s, he took part in the publishing of many titles which became classics, a period he writes about in the book Jump – L’âge d’or du manga (Kurokawa). He held several signings and a conference.

Other conferences were held about various subjects related to manga, such as Le manga : passé, présent, future (Manga: Past, Present, Future), with several French publishers including DelcourtGlénatKanaKi-oon, and Pika Édition, or else La Fabrication des manga : du livre japonais au livre français (The Making of a Manga: from the Japanese Book to the French Book) with Gilles MURE-RAVAUD (CPI France) and Karim TALBI (isan manga). EIMA, manga and animation international school, held several conferences to introduce the school and the job of a mangaka, for those who want to give it a try! Last but not least, the prize-giving event for the Prix Asie de la Critique ACBD 2019 was held like every year at Japan Expo and the winner was Les Montagnes hallucinées (At the Mountains of Madness) by Gou TANABE (Ki-oon), after the work of H. P. LOVECRAFT. It had also been rewarded twice by the the 2019 Daruma for best drawing and best edition.

Anime: premières, news, and nostalgia

One of the highlights of the festival, the Yoko TAKAHASHI x EVANGELION event brought together many fans at the Yuzu Stage. They couldn’t wait to know more about the upcoming EVANGELION: 3.0+1.0, third film of the sagaYoko TAKAHASHI first illuminated the stage, singing several songs from the saga, including the theme from NEON GENESIS EVANGELION! The audience also discovered a surprise guest: Megumi OGATA, the voice of Shinji Hikari, the series main character, who had come for the event which was aired simultaneously in Japan. There was one more surprise: a video from the director, Hideaki ANNO, who had recorded a message to be showed before the screening of the first 10 minutes of the film which is to be released in 2020! A booth dedicated to EVANGELION: 3.0+1.0 also offered more information about the movie. As for Yoko TAKAHASHI, she was holding signings.

 
 

In 2018, Japan Expo launched evening screenings and they were back for the festival 20th Anniversary, to let you enjoy a bit more of your day at the festival! In partnership with TMS Entertainment, Thursday’s screening was a tribute to Monkey Punch, the creator of Lupin the 3rd, who passed away in April 2019. One of the most famous series of Japanese animation, Lupin the 3rd has entertained whole generations of fans since its first episode back in 1971. The event started with the first episode of the series, then came an OVA realized for the 50th anniversary of Lupin the 3rd, Is Lupin Still Burning?, and the film Lupin the 3rd: Fujiko’s Lie.

The next day, the Yuzu Stage giant screen invited you the premiere of the animation feature film Saga of Tanya the Evil – the Movie –, in partnership with Crunchyroll. This film is the sequel to a series adapted from a un light novel by Carlo ZEN illustrated by Shinobu SHINOTSUKI.

On Saturday, Eurozoom proposed Hiroyuki IMAISHI’s new film (after Dead LeavesGurren LaganKill la Kill…): Promare. Produced by studio Trigger, the film follows the adventures of the Burning Rescue, a new generation firemen team who has to fight the Mad Burnish, arsonists of a new type.

 
 

More premieres were programmed, like the first episode of the much-expected Vinland Saga anime, with TWIN ENGINE, Inc. and Fuji Creative Corporation. The world exclusivity of Thorfinn’s adventures brought together hundreds of fans. The Mikan Stage, the new screening room, featured the premiere of the exclusive first episode of My Hero Academia Season 4, with ADNKazé, and Viz Media.

This was part of the program which launched the Mikan Stage, created for the festival 20th Anniversary, with its giant screen and 300 seats, and more than 24 hours of screenings in 4 days. Many partners associated with its program proposing for example episodes from Mob Psycho 100 II (Crunchyroll), Isekai Cheat Magician (ADN / Kadokawa), The Price of Smiles (Nippon TV), Fire Force (ADN / Kana / Wakanim), or Pandora & Akubi (XFLAG et Tatsunoko Production). 

 
 

Several conferences added up to that program, such the one with the seiyû Aya HIRANO, Haruhi Suzumiya’s voice in the eponymous anime or Lucy’s in Fairy Tail. Another brought together three French voice actors who marked the childhoods of many anime fans from the early days: Jean-Pierre DENYS (the voice of several bad guys in Cat’s Eye or Blue Three in Bioman), Brigitte LECORDIER (Son Goku’s voice and also Son Gohan’s and Son Goten’s from Dragon Ball, or Luka Macken’s in Black Butler), and Annabelle ROUX (Ai Kisugi in Cat’s Eye, Kanna Alperona in Fairy Tail, or Pink Five in Bioman. They also met the public at signings.

@AnimeCrunchyroll, and Wakanim held a conference about the upcoming films and anime for the next season. Wakanim also celebrated its 10th anniversary with Japan Expo’s attendees. As for ADN, Crunchyroll, and Wakanim, they evoked the subject of the future of streaming.

The creative team of the film Child of Kamiari Month and its creator Toshinari SHINOHE also gave a conference about the movie to be released in the fall of 2020. It tells the story of a young girl who feels mysteriously attracted by the region of Izumo where one of the main shintô sanctuaries in Japan is located, and of her trip across Japan. The dancer BANG and the Bang Family created a show based on the movie and performed it at Japan Expo.

Anisong in the spotlight

 
 
 

We mentioned Aya HIRANO above. The voice of Haruhi Suzumiya, this seiyû also sings the themes and music of the anime, and held a showcase at Japan Expo.

Friday night, beside the festival, the Anisong Festa! concert on the Karasu Stage welcomed major artists of this musical genre which has conquered many fans. Those artists also performed on the brand new Tsubamé Stage, dedicated to music: Mika KOBAYASHI, famous for the theme of Attack on Titan or Seven Deadly Sins among others; miwa, who sings a recent opening of Bleach; and angela, the duo performing the theme of FAFNER in the Azure THE BEYOND. As the first part of the concert – and also several times on the festival various stages –, the otaku breakdancers Real Akiba Boyz warmed up the audience!  

 
 

Nostalgics of anime from the 80s and their French themes were delighted with Claude LOMBARD and Michel BAROUILLE. The singer of many themes such as the ones for Max et Compagnie (Kimagure Orange Road) and Embrasse-moi Lucile (Ai Shite Knight), Claude LOMBARD performed her most famous titles live. She also held signings and a conference, receiving a Daruma as a reward for her whole career. Michel BAROUILLE, famous for the French themes of Albator 78Goldorak et les deux Mazinger, and Bioman, also stepped on stage to sing his titles and held several signings.

And for those who can’t help singing aloud their favorite themes, the associations BulleJapon, Forum Thalie, and Kaerizaki organized karaoke and blind tests on the Sora Stages and on their booths, as well as the Giant Karaoke on the Ichigo Stage on Sunday.

Focus on European mangaka

 
 
 
 

There are more and more French and European mangaka: fans of manga and Japanese culture, they find inspiration in them and their imagination seems limitless. Over 30 of them attended the festival, holding signings at the Sumiré area or on their publishers’ booths.

For the festival 20th Anniversary, Aurore, the artist of the festival posters, joined the party. She is also a comics author, with Elinor JonesHarfang, or Pixie, and she took part in the conference held for the 20th Anniversary, as well as held signings.

Currently working on the anime adaptation of Radiant Season 2 with the Japanese channel NHK and at the same time on the mangaTony VALENTE took a few days off to come and meet you at Japan Expo. He held signings at Ankama’s booth in a set from Radiant.

Manga and comics publishers DelcourtSoleil, and Tonkam had invited many of their authors on their booth where they met the attendees, chat with them, and made signings:

 
 
 
 

Several authors and artists had also come to Glénat’s booth:

As for publisher H2T, 7 mangaka and comics artists held signings and for some also at the Sumiré area:

  • Art-Of-K, the author of Euterpe
  • Caly, the mangaka of Hana no Breath
  • Keiden, the creator of the graphic novel CLARITY, le souffle de la vie
  • Salvatore NIVES, the author of FLARE Zero
  • Redjet, the mangaka of Space Duck RG and more recent Innermost
  • Rossella SERGI, the mangaka of Deep Scar
  • Kira YUKISHIRO, the author of Scarlet Soul 

4 of them, Rossella SERGI and Kira YUKISHIRO on the shôjo team, and Salvatore NIVES and Redjet on the shônen team, fought at a draw battle, drawing illustrations on given themes, each in their own styles.

On Ki-oon’s booth, Yami SHIN and SHONEN had come to meet you, presenting their manga Green Mechanic and Outlaw Players.

The mangaka Reno Lemaire and Romain Lemaire invited you to discover their series Dreamland and Everdark, each with the release of a new volume. On top of signings at Pika Édition’s booth, they held a live drawing together on the Kuri Stage.

Many Games & Activities

Publishers also organized many games and activities on their booths to highlight their most successful manga and new releases! 

 
 

Glénat highlighted one of its new titles and one of the most famous manga series: Ariadne, l’empire céleste and Dragon Ball. On the one side was organized a moving light game, and on the other, several animations dedicated to the world created by Akira TORIYAMA. Kamé hamé ha holograms, souvenir photos in the sets of the series beside its characters, and a ball pool where you had to find the 7 Crystal Balls were expecting you.

The Moriarty escape game on Kana’s booth was back: for a full hour, in Sherlock Holmes’s shoes, the participants had to thwart Moriarty’s tricks and solve his enigmas.

The Ki-oon World featured five attractions with City Hunter RebirthMy Hero Academia, Magus of the Library, Tsugumi Project, and Gigant! You plunged to the heart of the Tokyo of the 80s following Ryo Saeba’s adventures in the iconic sets of the series; embodied Ochaco and used your levitation alter to make heroes and villains float; entered the famous library of Afshak; visited the world of Tsugumi Project in virtual reality; or tested Papico’s power from the manga Gigant

 
 

Publisher Ototo had set a special baby-foot on its booth: one of the first baby-foot featuring female figurines created for the Women’s Football Cup, decorated in the colors of the manga Mai Ball!.

The worlds created by Hiro MASHIMA were highlighted by Pika Édition with the Space Quiz dedicated to his new title Edens Zero, a zero-g simulator in which the participants had 45 seconds to answer a few questions. A few meters away, Happy, the cute kitty from Fairy Tail, welcomed kids and grown-ups alike for make-up sessions.

 
 
 

Last but not least, the associations joined the party to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Japan Expo and their passion for manga and anime with you! AEUG, Association pour l’essor de l’univers Gundam, presented models and dioramas. Of course they were celebrating the 40th anniversary of Gundam, organizing many Gunpla workshopsAnigetter exhibited a beautiful collection of models and papercrafts, and organized workshops so you could make your own creations. The Star Hill Team also showed dioramas of anime on its booths, on top of those in the exhibits. As for FreeLUG, they had amazing LEGO creations.

 
 

Because Japan Expo is also a huge playground, several associations – Animaniak, BulleJapon, Forum Thalie, Kaerizaki, and Ze Network Tsundere – organized quizzes, contests, blind tests, karaoke, tests, and games of all kinds! AMV fans – Anime Music Video, videos made from anime excerpts edited with music – met on AMV France’s booth, the associations also organizing several screenings.

Tags :

  • Manga
  • Anime

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