NIJISANJI and AleXa Stay Radiant In a Winter Storm at Anime Impulse 2023

Anime Impulse held its 2023 winter event at the Pomona Fairplex during a pouring storm. Together with Asian American Expo, K-Play Fest and Sneaker Expo, Anime Impulse is part of a larger event that gives attendees an experience of all things Asian. Some of the biggest ticketed draws were K-pop star AleXa’s concert, panels featuring talent from Vtuber agency NIJISANJI, and Hopconcert featuring NIJISANJI groups LazuLight & Ethyria. Despite the cold and rainy weather, fans showed up early and endured sopping wet carpets to get a front row spot. The unusual winter cold made it hard to enjoy the food and shopping when there was little to keep attendees dry as water poured in from the ceiling.

Fitted with a stage inside the entertainment hall, AleXa hyped up the crowd despite the wet ground. She and her dancers rocked the choreography, while dodging dripping water. Her energetic hour-long performance thrilled listeners and had fans anticipating her future projects. Though, for anyone not directly in front of the stage, her performance was hard to see.

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On the other hand, NIJISANJI fans had much to keep their day filled as they waited for their oshis. They could grab a themed drink, pose in front of the standees, and talk amongst other fans after their one-on-one time with NIJISANJI members. Hilariously, Sonny Brisko mentioned on his stream that originally Alban’s standee for Anime Impulse had been erroneously shorter than his official height. However, the Anime Impulse team corrected the cutouts before the weekend started.

Noctyx kicked off the NIJISANJI events with a rousing Q&A. Although fans and Noctryx alike were aware of the elephant in the room—Yugo’s departure—the four members were grateful to those who showed their support both online and in person. For those lucky enough to have scored a ticket and ask questions, they could hear members offer answers about their goals for the year and most embarrassing moments. To close out the panel, Noctyx performed an incredible rendition of their song “Stuck in the Abyss,” while sprinkling in some  ‘pew pew pew’ adlibs. On the second night, both Lazulight and Ethyria gave attendees an Anime Impulse to a night to remember with a setlist of upbeat cover songs and original releases. The sold-out Hopconcert was nothing but a powder keg for chaotic fun to ensue.

ANYCOLOR, parent company of NIJISANJI, continued its partnership with Anime Impulse for a third event at Anime Impulse San Diego 2023. At the event, Obsydia made their debut appearance alongside Luxiem, who made an exciting return since their first appearance at Anime Impulse’s 2022 summer event. Fans were excited to see NIJISANJI members once again following the cancellation of NIJISANJI EN AR Live Colors Concert in February 2023.

Tristan Regnault, a representative from ANYCOLOR, spoke with Asia Pacific Arts on ANYCOLOR and NIJISANJI’s U.S.-based events. ANYCOLOR’s first partnership with Anime Impulse and AnimeFest began in 2022 as they were looking to develop their NIJI EN branch. “Anime Impulse and AnimeFest reached out to us during this time and offered a mutually beneficial partnership that helped us expand our talent’s influence outside of Japan to fans in North America,” said Regnault.

Aside from the two events, ANYCOLOR has previously partnered with bigger industry conventions such as Crunchyroll Expo. “We have worked with Crunchyroll extensively, with our talents appearing at their Expo event in 2022, and we look forward to all future opportunities to work with organizations such as Anime Expo that we have yet to have the chance to collaborate with,” shared Regnault. Although Crunchyroll Expo will not be returning in 2023, last year’s convention featured a musical collaboration between Ethyria’s Enna and Millie and Crunchyroll-Hime. As a partnership between NIJISANJI and Crunchyroll Games, the three characters released the dance track, “Pull for Your Heart.”

Given the number of North American events, I was curious as to what ANYCOLOR thought of the various opportunities fans had to interact with NIJI talent, such as Anime Impulse’s 1 minute stackable meet and greets. In comparison to Super Chats, which can cost up to $500, the ‘in-person’ meet and greets are quite a steal. Regnault responded, “Our talents have greatly appreciated the opportunity, often citing their excitement and enjoyment for the ability to hear touching comments from their fans directly.” Closing the physical and digital gap allows for fans to directly speak to the NIJISANJI Vtubers, and the events have allowed for the streamers to get to meet their fans as if they were attending in-person.

In response to the fan turnout for Luxiem’s first Anime Impulse panel in 2022, ANYCOLOR expressed surprise at the “extent of how much fans are willing to support” the talent. Considering the popularity of NIJISANJI EN, there have been times when the support was so staggering that the Vtubers weren’t able to tweet out an announcement before the tickets sold out. Both NIJISANJI talent and ANYCOLOR are “genuinely overjoyed to see such positive responses to these new ventures” and hope fans will continue to support their endeavors.

Exploding globally in 2020, the industry of Vtubers and Livers has continually found more fans all over the world since then. Currently, Hololive and NIJISANJI are the two biggest agencies managing Vtubers across the world. ANYCOLOR encourages the diverse talent in NIJISANJI to “explore new ways to entertain their audiences” and to lean into their global talent roster to develop opportunities through collaborations in settings such as promotional events, competitions, etc. In other words, the mixing and matching of NIJISANJI’s talent personalities and skillsets provide an experimental environment that fosters new content to entertain a wide audience.

A publicly traded company since June 2022, ANYCOLOR reported it’s nearly doubling its revenue year over year in its December 2022 earnings update. Although it’s unclear what ANYCOLOR has in store for NIJISANJI EN in 2023, fans will keep their eyes peeled for more events and promotions.

Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.

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