The Guests of Honor’s photo album
Gô NAGAI, Manga Guest of Honor
Grendizer’s acclaimed creator, Gô NAGAI, honored the festival with his presence. This major author in the history of manga is a landmark in the passion of French people for anime and manga. In the late 70s, the anime Grendizer was a hit on French TV and unveiled Japanese animation. The beginning of a longlasting love story once more illustrated at Japan Expo with this 20th Anniversary!
If Grendizer remains Gô NAGAI’s most famous work in France, he was also a pioneer in the genres of gore (Devilman, Violence Jack) and female heroine (Cutie Honey). He is also the author of other works featuring giant robots such as Mazinger Z or Getter Robot, realized in collaboration with the illustrator Ken ISHIKAWA, a new edition of which was available exclusively at Japan Expo with isan manga (to be released in France on Sept. 12, 2019).
For three days, Gô NAGAI came to meet the attendees at signings, allowing them to leave with a precious souvenir and experience a memorable moment by his side. He also held a big conference during which he answered their questions and performed a breathtaking live drawing showed on the large screen of the Yuzu Stage, featuring some his most iconic characters. 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 manga: Gô NAGAI, Animation Chronicles. Many drawing reproductions and sketches, dioramas realized by Star Hill Team, and figures unveiled the limitless universe born from his manga.
Yoshiyuki TOMINO, Anime Guest of Honor
Anime also had pride of honor with the presence of the creator of a cult saga with a never-ending success: Yoshiyuki TOMINO joined the attendees to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Gundam, as well as Japan Expo’s 20th! Created in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam is a landmark of Japanese pop culture, a long-lived social phenomenon 40 years after it was created.
From Thursday to Sunday, Yoshiyuki TOMINO made several apparitions and many Gundam fans came to meet him, to have their DVDs or Gunpla model boxes signed. The director held two meet & greet’s with small groups of fans who seized the opportunity to ask him questions and get a signing.
Yoshiyuki TOMINO went back over the saga, its history and current news during a conference dedicated to the 40th Anniversary of Gundam on the Yuzu Stage, and answered the audience’s questions. It was also the opportunity for the festival to honor him with a Daruma rewarding the whole of his career, presented by Jean-François DUFOUR. 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 of hall 5A. Booths were dedicated to Gunpla, including association AEUG’s, a regular who proposes Gunpla model workshops and held two conferences about the saga, the first one an introduction and the other about the artists inspired by Gundam.
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.
Ai OTSUKA, J-music Guest of Honor
Our J-music Guest of Honor had chosen Japan Expo to take her first steps on a European stage: Ai OTSUKA celebrated the 15th Anniversary of her career and of success with her European fans at the festival! Since making her debut, the artist released singles and albums selling hundreds of thousands of copies, sometimes even reaching a million. She has also showed talent in various fields, acting in the drama Tokyo Friends or publishing illustrated books. As she was pursuing her J-pop career, she has also started a series of solo piano concerts.
Ai OTSUKA showed her singer and pianist performing live on Saturday, on the Karasu Stage which is traditionally dedicated to J-music, and on the brand new Tsubamé Stage. She also joined the Esprit Japon event alongside miwa, Mika KOBAYASHI, and KAMUI.
Attending three days of the festival, Ai OTSUKA also met the audience at signings and many of her fans came to spent some time with her, leaving with a signing from the artist and a wonderful memory of this moment!
All three artists contributed to celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Japan Expo and Japanese culture, alongside the thousands of attendees who came to meet them!