Editorials

Anime Expo 2018: Aniplex of America Panel


As our staff inbox can attest, many of you know that we had a few strong words for Aniplex of America at Anime Boston. A combination of odd idiosyncrasies and genuinely troubling rhetoric led to a sharp rebuke.

With three months behind us, though, I wanted to take some time to revisit Aniplex’s offerings, and see how their presentation has evolved since March. The event was hosted by Anthony Feralda, who hosted the Anime Boston event, as well as Rebecca Bowman. Walking in, the two were seated at the front of the room, as Persona 5 the Animation theme song Break In To Break Out played over the loudspeaker.

Anime Expo 2018 - Aniplex Panel Photo 001
Image Credit: Samantha Ferreira

Shortly before the panel began, Feralda piped up, quipping that “next, I’ll be singing songs by Taking Back Sunday!” The room let out a small laugh, as the panel opened with a quick sizzle trailer.

Now, for your sanity and mine, I won’t be going into the nuts and bolts of the event. Your typical industry panel can be broken down into five to six segments, which are often fired off in the same order every single time:

  1. Introduction
  2. Our Other Panels (Optional)
  3. “Now Streaming”
  4. “Now In Stores”
  5. “Coming Soon”
  6. “News and Announcements”
  7. Audience Q&A

The introduction is a basic welcome to the panel, where the hosts introduce themselves and their company. Depending on the marketing style of the organization, this segment also includes a short sizzle reel of the organization’s marquee properties. Basically, this is a a way to get attendees amped for the 50-70 minutes of straight-up marketing to follow.

In a lot of ways, your typical industry can be compared to a timeshare presentation. In order to get to the good stuff, in this case it’s the big license reveals and Q&A opportunities, you have to sit through the rest of the pitch.

Slide of the Devilman Crybaby statue. This is as tall as four Corgis.
Image Credit: Samantha Ferreira

A good marketer can turn these events into something fun and engaging, where you want to be there for that whole one to two hours. There’s no real set way to do this, mind you, as every rep is different. Some introduce elements of whimsy. Others bring the snark. In some cases, a host might even turn their panel into a game, offering prizes and contests throughout.

There’s no real, set form of delivery, but the end goal is the same: turn that giant room full of people into eager advocates.

This time around, it was immediately apparent that Anthony and Rebecca were bringing a different energy from our last check-in. The two played well off one another, trading jokes, and keeping the conversations moving from topic to topic. Likewise, the big reveals of the event, from Garden of Sinners‘ Blu-Ray re-release to the surprise promotion of The Promised Neverland, seemed to bring something for fans of new and old content alike.

The hosts didn’t dwell on one specific point for too long, which let those gags that fell flat fade away quickly. (To be frank, I probably wouldn’t have remembered the fact that they made Shaft Head Tilt gags if I weren’t taking notes). At the same time, the bits that worked – creating the “Corgi” measurement system to describe a Devilman Crybaby statue, for example, really stood out.

Aniplex of America - Anime Expo 2018 slide for Garden of Sinners on Blu-Ray

Granted, there were still a few problematic elements. The two still called for Waifu Wars on the Owarimonogatari reveal, and they still hid behind excuses for Eromanga Sensei and Oreimo. These elements came and went within the span of a minute each, though, and didn’t have that same visceral impact that they did during the Anime Boston presentation.

The Aniplex of America panel at Anime Expo was a massive turnaround from the last outing we covered. Their content was tight, the jokes were fun, and the pace was brisk. I’m hoping that they can maintain this atmosphere going forward, as the presentation was a huge step in the right direction.

Kudos, Aniplex – no notes for you.

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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