Every year during the Fourth of July weekend, no less than 100,000 anime fans would regularly converge onto downtown Los Angeles at Anime Expo, where the biggest anime convention in North America is held. Unfortunately, fans will not get to celebrate their fandom in the L.A. Convention Center in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has unceremoniously canceled this year’s festivities.

Fortunately, Anime Expo officials and the anime industry at large have found a way to bring the festivities and announcements to the comfort of your own homes during these uncertain times. The convention will be hosting virtual panels online branded as “Anime Expo Lite” on YouTube and Twitch. Funimation and Aniplex will also host separate events concurrently titled “FunimationCon 2020” and “Aniplex Online Fest.”.

Hand-picked from the official schedules are some of the upcoming online panels during these three events that will be of interest to Toonami viewers. Besides the regular industry panels, we will be seeing panels for several Toonami-aired shows, to commemorate what has been showcased so far, and to look ahead for the future.

FunimationCon will be premiering the first two episodes of Fire Force’s second season at their livestream, combined with voice actor panels for Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia, and an interview with Goku’s Japanese voice actress Masako Nozawa. Aniplex Online Fest will have a trio of panels for Toonami fans to watch. One will commemorate the upcoming fourth and final cour of Sword Art Online’s Project Alicization arc beginning July 11. Another will cover The Promised Neverland’s upcoming second season, despite that it has been delayed to early 2021. And Demon Slayer will also be represented at the online convention, since a movie covering the Mugen Train arc is scheduled to premiere this October. Maki Terashima-Furuta and Jason DeMarco will also be headlining a panel for Production I.G., which could give fans some new info on the upcoming original productions Blade Runner and Uzumaki.

Do note that there is a possibility that there can be Toonami related news in panels that aren’t listed below, but fans should be on the lookout for any possible announcements. For potential breaking news announcements and live-tweets, be sure to follow @ToonamiNews on Twitter. Our staff writers will also be reporting the events during the weekend on their personal accounts, including @AnimeSavior, @SeaJayMaffris, @PaulPescrillo, @Sketch1984, @planetstwinkle @HappyKuroKitty, @VLordGTZ, @blu_temptation, and @kiirobon, so make sure to follow this Twitter list (and if you wish, everyone that is listed in it) for live-tweets and reactions to some of the panels.

This schedule list will be updated if more information becomes available and is subject to change. All listed times are in Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).


Friday

Funimation Industry Panel

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PDT
  • Channel: FunimationCon Room 1
  • Official Description: A whole new summer anime season has begun, and with so much good content to stream, we’ll give you an idea where to start. We’ll also stop by The Funimation Shop to see what’s coming soon, peek at some stunning new home video collections, and more.
  • Notes: Funimation will also be hosting a panel at AX Lite on Saturday from 9:15 am – 10:15 am.

Shonen Jump Virtual Panel

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 11:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: FunimationCon Room 2
  • Official Description: Host Urian Brown and SJ Editor Alexis Kirsch will be taking deep dives into Shonen Jump monster hits like Black Clover, One Piece and more. Plus, interviews and games with My Hero Academia voice actors Justin Briner (Deku) and Christopher Sabat (All Might).

VIZ Media Panel

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: AX Lite Channel 1
  • Official Description: Join us online as we make some major announcements and chat with voice actors from your favorite anime! Coming all the way from Konoha, Maile Flanagan (Naruto), Amanda Miller (Boruto) and Kate Higgins (Sakura) reveal voice actor ninja secrets! Then from Italy, Phillip Reich (Giorno Giovanna) and Ray Chase (Bruno Bucciarati) join us for a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind discussion!

My Hero Academia Voice Actor Q&A

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: FunimationCon Room 1
  • Official Description: Join Funimation and the cast of My Hero Academia for an exciting Q&A panel! Hosted by Jacki Jing, hear from your favorites including David Matranga (Todoroki), Luci Christian (Ochaco), Justin Cook (Kirishima), Patrick Seitz (Endeavor), Zeno Robinson (Hawks), Emily Neves (Eri), Christopher Wehkamp (Aizawa) and Anairis Quinones (Mirko).
  • Notes: The season finale aired on Toonami this past Saturday, June 27. The fifth season is already confirmed to be in production, with a premiere date still to be determined.

Screening: Fire Force Season 2 SimulDub Premiere and Voice Actor Q&A

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: FunimationCon Room 1
  • Official Description: Don’t miss the world premiere of the first two dubbed episodes of Fire Force Season 2! Plus, join Funimation for a hot discussion about Season 1 and what’s to come in the new season—with host Matt Acevedo and the English voice actors.
  • Notes: As the title suggests, Funimation will be simuldubbing the new season, as they have for the first. As voice actors are still working from home due to COVID-19, how far this could last is still to be determined. Last year, Fire Force was announced to be joining Toonami during San Diego Comic-Con week. If the announcement is not made at this event, fans will likely see Fire Force’s Toonami season premiere date at the upcoming “Adult Swim Con” on July 23-25.

Aniplex of America Industry Panel

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: AX Lite Channel 1
  • Official Description: Do titles like Sword Art Online, The Promised Neverland, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba or the Fate series make your otaku heart skip a beat? Then you don’t want to miss the Aniplex of America Industry Panel! Join us as we bring you the latest news on all your favorite Aniplex shows from the comfort of your home – and ours!
  • Notes: Aniplex will also host a panel at the Aniplex Online Fest on Saturday, July 4, from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

BONUS: Toei Animation Presents Dragon Ball Super Interview Featuring Voice Actress Masako Nozawa

  • Time: Friday, July 3, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: FunimationCon Room 2
  • Official Description: Toei Animation presents an exclusive English-language interview with Nozawa-san, the Japanese voice actress for Dragon Ball’s protagonist Goku. Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear from her as she answers questions about her career and what it’s like to voice many of the most iconic roles in the world. The discussion is recorded from Japan with English subtitles

 Saturday

Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld THE LAST SEASON Online Panel

  • Time: Saturday, July 4 10:00 a.m. – 11:00a.m. PDT
  • Channel: Aniplex Online Fest, FunimationCon Room 2
  • Official Description: Online panel on the last chapter of “Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld” TV anime airing from July. Director Manabu Ono and Ai Kayano (voice of Alice) will talk and present about the Alicization series!
  • Notes: The fourth and final cour of the Project Alicization story arc was originally scheduled for April 2020, but was delayed to July 11, 2020, thanks to COVID-19. As with the previous cours, Sword Art Online: Alicization will be simulcasting on Hulu, Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, and HiDive. The Toonami dub premiere date is still to be announced.

Sword Art Online 10th Anniversary Special Program Composer Yuki Kajiura and Music for SAO

  • Time:  Saturday, July 4, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: Aniplex Online Fest, FunimationCon Room 2
  • Official Description: Yuki Kajiura, one of the leading anime music composers in present Japan, will share her experiences with creating music for “Sword Art Online”. Tune in to hear more about the philosophy of Yuki Kajiura and the charms of the music from the “Sword Art Online” universe.

Production I.G. USA Industry Panel

  • Time: Saturday, July 4, 11:10am – 12:10 p.m.
  • Channel: AX Lite Channel 2
  • Official Description: Join Production I.G. USA President/Producer, Maki Terashima-Furuta as she hosts her annual Production I.G panel, introducing their current and upcoming shows, including Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, B: The Beginning Season 2, along with many other titles. The panel will feature the new trailers, as well as video letters from her virtual guests Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (the founder of Production I.G), Hiroshi Nagahama (director of Uzumaki Anime), Haruyasu Makino (producer of Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045), Rui Kuroki (producer of B: The Beginning), George Wada (producer of Attack on Titan, Great Pretender, etc.), and Junichi Fujisaku (writer of Ghost in the Shell: SAC, Blood C, Blood +), Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (English voice of Major Motoko Kusanagi) and Jason DeMarco (senior VP Adult Swim). Followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.
  • Notes: With both Blade Runner and Uzumaki on the horizon, this panel will be one for Toonami fans to watch. Many expect information regarding both shows and possibly other Production IG titles that could be on the way to the better cartoon show.

Crunchyroll Industry Panel

  • Time: Saturday, July 4, 2:00 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: AX Lite Channel 1
  • Official Description: Hear about all the latest and greatest anime and manga coming out of Crunchyroll straight from the source!

Attack on Titan Voice Actor Q&A

  • Time: Saturday, July 4, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: FunimationCon Room 2
  • Official Description: Get ready for The Final Season of Attack on Titan with Funimation! We’ll be sitting down with the voices behind some of your favorite characters and reliving the biggest moments from the first three seasons. Join Funimation’s own host Josellie Rios for an unforgettable Q&A!
  • Notes: The fourth and final season of Attack on Titan is scheduled premiere on Fall 2020 on NHK and simulcasting on FunimationNow and Crunchyroll. Going by previous seasons, a simuldub on Toonami and FunimationNow is to be expected several weeks after.

Sunday

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND Online Panel

  • Time: Sunday, July 5, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: Aniplex Online Fest
  • Official Description: In preparation for the 2nd season of the anime, the main cast including Sumire Morohoshi, Maaya Uchida and Mariya Ise will look back on the 1st season’s most famous scenes.
  • Notes: The second season was originally announced to premiere in October 2020, but was postponed to January 2021 due to COVID-19.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Overseas Trip

  • Time: Sunday, July 5, 10:00 p.m. – 10:45 p.m. PDT
  • Channel: Aniplex Online Fest
  • Official Description: We will hold a special talk show by the main cast of the TV anime “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba“. Don’t miss this chance to hear them!

What news and events are you looking forward to seeing this weekend? Let us know by commenting below or directly on our social media. And be sure to follow us on @ToonamiNews and subscribe to our podcast on Soundcloud for future content and breaking news updates.

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