For three days, once a year, the denizens of New Crunchy City open the gates to their Anime utopia bringing with them some of the biggest names in Anime. From Miho Okasaki to Ryo Horikawa, George Wada to Junji Ito, you can be certain that if they’ve impacted the culture, they were somewhere roaming the streets of New Crunchy City. This year was no different in that regard, and if you didn’t get a chance to explore New Crunchy City in person, you’re in luck because the Geekset crew was able to hop on a plane and take in all the sights and sounds of what is essentially an Anime lover’s paradise on earth.
Stepping into the San Jose Convention Center, you can almost immediately see why the theme for Crunchyroll Expo 2019 (CRX) was New Crunchy City. The main lobby was transformed into an Airport terminal complete with sounds, one of the many easter eggs throughout the venue, and each part of convention center detailed a different area leading you to the main attraction, New Crunchy City. The name given for the main hall; New Crunchy City really embodied the feeling of busy downtown city streets. From the artist alley emblematic of the mom & pop shops, to the bustling city center where you can go to the official Crunchyroll merch booth or see some great upcoming games such as Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Tribes or MobPsycho 100 Psychic Battles at the Crunchyroll games booth; it was really easy to get lost in the illusion that Crunchyroll provided. Of course, no city is complete without places to eat, and New Crunchy City did not disappoint. The food options ranged from the relatively tame street tacos or sushirito, to the move adventurous Takoyaki or Octopus balls.
An anime convention wouldn’t be an anime convention without cosplay and Crunchyroll Expo was no different. Walking the streets of New Crunchy City, you were bound to run into the cosplayers dressed as characters such as Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado from Demon Slayer, to Pain, Konan and Kisame of the Akatsuki in Naruto. What was really dope was the time speaking with some of these cosplayers and being able to meet such big names like Layla Lockhart and the most amazing Kiera Please who was awesome enough to jump on the podcast with us. The great thing about cosplay is you really get to see +so much creativity and ingenuity at work, and to try and put it in words is almost a disservice. For a full rundown of some of our favorite looks from cosplayers, please hop on over to our gallery page, as well as our Instagram (@GeeksetPodcast).
As we stated before, some of the biggest names in Anime culture naturally could be seen roaming the streets of New Crunchy City and while I won’t touch on every single moment here, (You gotta check out the Crunchyroll Expo wrap up episode for that!) I did want to speak on a three of my favorite moments.
To kick off our CRX experience, your favorite geeks got the chance to get up close and personal with Miho Okasaki, the voice of Rimuru Tempest on ‘That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime’. The interview was such a delight, Miho, who spoke through translator, was personable and you could tell that she genuinely enjoys the work that she does and the enjoyment that the work brings to her fans. Interestingly enough she said that she does still get pretty nervous at conventions, so she asks her fans to please note that she is definitely more outgoing than she may initially come off.
My second favorite moment actually came during press time as well. WE GOT TO MEET RYO HORIKAWA!! Of course, if you are a fan of DBZ/DB Super, especially the subbed version, the man needs no introduction. However, for those who may not (side eye…) Ryo Horikawa is a Japanese voice actor voicing characters such as Saint Seiya’s Andromeda Shun, Detective Conan’s Heiji Hattori, Super Smash Bros’ Captain Falcon and most importantly for my geeky fandom, Dragonball’s Vegeta! It would’ve been so easy to fanboy out there but we mostly held it together to get some great gems, that you must listen to the episode to get. But, if you saw our Instagram over the weekend (and if you didn’t you missed some great content,) you saw that we were able to give him a No Dubs Vegeta inspired shirt. That now makes two Dragonball voice actors to get shirts inspired by their characters, and two very cool stories.
Looking at my last favorite moment, it easily had to be the reveal of King Vader’s Hood Naruto: The Movie. The Hood Naruto movies easily have to be some of the funniest things online, but even beyond that it spoke to so much of what Geekset is, and so much of what we like to see in the current entertainment climate. As the Only Podcast that Blends Hip-Hop Culture and Geek Culture together, we’d be remiss in not mentioning these videos with their hip-hop backing track and obviously geeky nature, this was right in our wheelhouse. Also, as men of color, anytime we can highlight people who look like us that are doing dope things we definitely try to. There have been so many great properties to come out recently, and for one to be able to premier his latest work on the grand stage of a major convention, it was easily a very cool moment to see.
Now naturally, with this being a 3 day it was so hard to boil this down to three favorite moments. There were just so many things to choose from, whether it was meeting prominent cosplayers, getting to see firsthand at Sega’s upcoming Fist of the North Star mobile game, or just the experience of being in that atmosphere. That is why it’s imperative for you to look at our coverage from all ends, whether it is this article, the accompanying podcast episode, or the gallery’s on both the website and Instagram. Crunchyroll Expo and New Crunchy City was such an experience, both as an anime fan, and just a general geek. I certainly can’t wait for next year and the opportunity to take that flight to New Crunchy City again.