Anime Expo, the largest anime fan convention, held an online version of the convention this year due to the COVID epidemic. It also celebrated its 30th anniversary, drawing over 375,000 views and raising $77,000 for charity. Anime Expo Lite garnered over 375,000 views from fans in more than 100 countries such as the UK, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Malaysia. The producer announced the convention will go back to a live venue in Los Angeles in 2022.
Fans tuned in to watch the livestream event on July 3 & 4 as well as during the VOD period from July 5 through 16. Program highlights included the Star Wars: Visions sneak preview, the Shikizakura world premiere, and the LisAni!LIVE L.A. concert featuring performances by ASCA, BURNOUT SYNDROMES, JO☆STARS, Liella! (Love Live! Superstar!!), and Morfonica (BanGDream!), as well as special guests such as Hololive English, NIJISANJI's Lazulight, and many more.
Proceeds from the 2021 Anime Expo Lite online event went to the Hate Is A Virus commUNITY Action Fund. The SPJA donated $77,000 to support local and national community organizations related to AAPI representation, mental health, and more.
"For the 2nd year in a row, Anime Expo was held online due to the Covid pandemic, but we were gratified and amazed at the continued strong support we received from so many fans from around the world," says Ray Chiang, CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. "We presented a comprehensive array of panel events, exclusive premieres, and sneak peeks, and music performances and made a sizeable donation to Hate Is A Virus, which will help them continue their work to battle anti-Asian discrimination and defamation, which continues to AAPI communities across the nation. As we look ahead to next year, we are excited to announce the return of Anime Expo to the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 1-4, 2022, and to welcoming back all of our fans, exhibitors, and participants."
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