Within 24 Hours, San Diego Comic-Con and Anime Expo Announce Cancellations of their Events

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)

Event Report – Otakufest 2020 CEBU Day 1

Otakufest 2020 Stage featuring The Lily Cat logo on the LED

Otakufest is one of Cebu City’s popular anime, cosplay, and hobby conventions. It is also the first highlight event to kickstart the various upcoming cosplay and anime events in the city.

The popularity of Otakufest has grown over the years. Now on its 13th year, cosplayers and attendees coming from different parts of the country travel to the Queen City of the South just to attend the weekend. I am one of those people and I have to say, day one of Otakufest was awesome!

The venue for this year’s Otakufest is still the same as last year, which is at SM Seaside Cebu. The final venue was announced just a few days before the convention weekend due to some factors as mentioned in their FAQ here. Regardless, the organizers have Otakufest still put a great show offering some cool mini-events and contest that everyone can enjoy.

After realizing it, this is the first cosplay convention that I have attended this year and indeed it was a good kickoff.

While going through the entrance area of the official event venue (which is the Maze garden), me and my fellow media partner Gary Montejo first went to another side of the mall to cover the meet and greet of International guest cosplayers DD Tenka and Hikarin. As per instruction by the Otakufest organizers, we were not allowed to take videos of the Q and A portion. However, we took pics of how it went. Prints and merch of the guests were also available on sale. Those who got the meet-and-greet package will be able to get their prints signed and half a photo-op. This is also the time when I have finally met with Jay Agonoy of keepsakes. Almost for the rest of the day, I tagged along with both Gary and Jay taking pictures of what is happening on the epic first day. Here are some of my favorite photos.

The rest of the day I have met up and passed by some known cosplayers like GICOF 2019 winner Sergio Sta. Ana, saw the WCS PH 2019 Reps Team Class S, WCS PH 2017 Rep Pirate Ellie, Sean Price, and King Rusydi (who had cosplay crafting workshop). I had a roundtable podcast discussion with Jay and Max of UNITY Productions on the discussion of an Esports Curriculum in the Philippines. And yes, I will not forget meeting again idol group PASTEL MIX. I bought their awesome lightstick!

I ended my day with the team eating at Chowking. Coincidently, we sat on the same area in which we had our first hangout together in Otakufest 2019.

There is still more stuff to share but I would like to let people know that it was all positive. Otakufest 2020 Day 1 was awesome and I am looking forward to what’s going to happen on Day 2 as the Central Visayas Qualifiers of the World Cosplay Summit Philippines will be held.

Congratulations to Otakufest and let’s keep the fun going on Day 2!

The Lily Cat is one of the official Media Partners of Otakufest 2020.


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Anime Convention to Ban Attendees Wearing ‘Ahegao’ Hoodies and Shirts

A storm of mixed opinions was raised on Monday when the official Twitter account of SunnyCon Anime Expo announced that they will not allow attendees who wear ahegao clothing in their upcoming convention next year.

Ahegao is an exaggerated facial expression during sex, mostly common in Japanese hentai manga and related media. The said expression recently became popular in otaku and weeab fashion, and it has reached to the point that it has been a trending kind of clothing you’ll see in anime and cosplay conventions. Some even have the nerve to even wear them in public during non-convention days like in school or even going to the mall.

The reason for this is due to they are “an all-age convention.” Official rules of SunnyCon Anime Expo is expected to be posted this week as the organizers are still updating the website.

SunnyCon Anime Expo is an anime, cosplay, and hobby convention established in 2010. The next one will be happening on June 26 to 28 at St James Park, United Kingdom.

Source: SunnyAnimeExpo (Twitter), SunnyCon Anime Expo Website