Just within 24 hours, two of the most highly anticipated fan and hobby conventions San Diego Comic-Con and Anime Expo (AX) announced on Friday that they would be canceling their events this year and wished attendees to look forward to their 2021 conventions instead. The reason for the cancellations is due to the ongoing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in which the government has urged its citizens to stay at home and not engage in massive social gatherings until further notice.

This is the first time in its 50-year run that San Diego Comic-Con had to cancel its event that is dedicated to comicbooks and western pop culture franchises. This is also the first time that Anime Expo had to cancel its anime and Japanese franchise-centered hobby convention in its 29-year run. SDCC 2021 is scheduled from July 22-25, 2021, while Anime Expo 2021 is scheduled for July 2 to 5, 2021.

Rey Chiang, CEO of The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, posted a statement on Anime Expo official website which states:

Dear Anime Expo Community,

This is a day my team and I hoped wouldn’t come, but it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing the cancellation of Anime Expo 2020. Our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our amazing Anime Expo community. We understand your disappointment as we are anime fans first and foremost too. As you can imagine, this was one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make in the 29 years of Anime Expo.

With the COVID-19 situation continually changing, as well as more restrictions in place worldwide and in our host city Los Angeles, we can’t in good faith move forward with this year’s event. We know it will affect all of you differently and we did not come to this decision lightly.

For exhibitors, artists, contractors, performers, and more, this impacts you on many levels. Anime Expo is an important source of income as well as inspiration for all of you. We know you have been working tirelessly in preparation for July and we appreciate your dedication to your craft.

For our staff and volunteers, who have been working hard, planning every detail of this year’s event since before AX 2019 ended, we share your sadness – please know we support you every step of the way as we turn our attention to next year, Anime Expo’s 30th anniversary!

For our attendees, AX is a place to see old friends, make new ones, and experience the immersive nature of the larger anime community. We will miss seeing you!

We thank each and every one of you for being a part of a community that makes Anime Expo such a special experience every single year.

Badge holders will have the option to receive a full refund or to have their badges rolled over to AX 2021. As this is a big undertaking, please give us time to get the process solidified and stay tuned for more information in the coming days. Exhibitors and artists can expect to receive information via email sometime next week.

Hotel room reservations booked through ConferenceDirect in the AX official hotel block will be automatically cancelled. If you booked a room outside the AX hotel block, please contact your hotel directly.

It remains our goal to provide fans and industry partners from around the world with a safe space to come together to celebrate and share our love of anime. We are committed to bringing you the best of the best next year as we return to Los Angeles for our 30th anniversary on July 2-5, 2021!

As I have said before, we are in this together. We love and support our community and know Anime Expo is an event like no other. Each summer, Anime Expo allows all of us to connect and share our love of anime and Japanese pop culture.

Be safe, continue to do your part, support your community, and most of all stay well!

We look forward to seeing you at AX 2021!

San Diego Comic-Con also released a statement on their website regarding the cancellation. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”

Aside from SDCC, its other convention WonderCon Anaheim was canceled and will return on March 26-28, 2021. The mentioned event was supposed to happen on April 10-12, 2020.

We are all in this together during these difficult times. #StayAtHome and lets #FlattenTheCurve together.

Source: Anime Expo (official website) and SDCC (official website)

By Serena