It’s hard to believe, but Anime Expo, the anime equivalent of E3, is less than two weeks away. Not only will this be my first time going to AX, but this will also be my very first convention, and my anticipation couldn’t be higher. Being one of the video game freaks at Toonami Faithful, I’ve elected to cover the gaming side of Anime Expo. Even though Toonami Faithful hasn’t been too focused on games, I think expanding into that uncharted territory would fit right along with the movies and music we also review. As the resident button masher of the group, I’ll be on the prowl, taking a look at all things gaming! For now, here’s a taste of what’s to come.

Many renowned developers are running their own panels at AX throughout the weekend. Bandai Namco Games, the developers and publishers behind some of the most popular anime games on the market, are running their own panel. With the official reveal of the upcoming Action RPG Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot at E3, it’s safe to assume there will be a demo or a new trailer shown at the panel. Arc System Works, the minds behind popular fighting games such as BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, are also hosting their own panel centered around Kill la Kill IF. It’s the latest in Arc System licensed fighting games in the same vein of Dragon Ball FighterZ. You can expect a full review of the game when the game drops in July! In addition to those two, Aksys Games, Inti Creates, visual novel specialists Sekai Project, and many more will be showcasing their latest projects at the convention. Demo stations, panels, and many goodies await for  gamers who look to get their hands on some of the newest stuff. Even Crunchyroll is hosting their own gaming panel, rife with previews and premiers that should be interesting to see.

As a total surprise, there seems to be a lot of mobile gaming representation coming to Anime Expo. Two of my current obsessions, the inanimate object anthropomorphization phenomena Girls’ Frontline and Azur Lane, are bringing their teams to the big convention (much to mine and our senior staff writer’s joy). For those unfamiliar, Girls’ Frontline is a turn-based strategy RPG featuring personified gun girls known as “T-Dolls” who wield a wide variety of firearms. Azur Lane is a bullet hell shoot-em-up that, much like Kantai Collection, turns famous warships from World War II into anime girls. Both games are bringing lots of merch and fun little rewards to Anime Expo, and Azur Lane is even hosting their own panel, bringing the Japanese voices of two of their most popular ship girls along for the ride.Despite the negative connotations that come with mobile games, I think having both represented at Anime Expo will do the genre for mobile games justice (and I hope to see many fans at their booths).  

Japanese mobile developers Cygames (Dragalia Lost, Shadowverse, The Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls) also sent Toonami Faithful a press release regarding their presence at AX. They are running a special panel on the worldwide gacha game hit, Granblue Fantasy, and also hosting demo opportunities for Granblue Fantasy Versus, the fighting game spinoff developed by Arc System Works. Much like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Granblue Fantasy Versus breaks the mold of most anime-licensed fighting games, shying away from the 3D arena fighter formula (a la Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm) to create a tournament-viable traditional 2.5D fighting game. An approach that appeals to many people in the fighting game community like myself, the game drew thousands of players with a recent online beta and received almost universal acclaim for its simple controls wrapped around a surprisingly deep fighter. Having missed the online beta, I’m really excited to get my hands on the playable demo of this brand new fighter.

Perhaps the most interesting tip came from a representative from the mobile game company DeNA. Attack on Titan TACTICS, an upcoming mobile RPG born from the collaboration of Crunchyroll Games and DeNA, will host the very first playable demo of the game to the public. I’ll be able to talk to the producer of the game about it so look forward to a special article about that after the show! Not much else is known on what to expect, but it will certainly be a highlight for us here at Toonami Faithful.

There’s going to be a lot to expect and unpack at Anime Expo, so what would like to see covered? Let us know in the comments or on social media!



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