Anime Takes Over San Diego Comic Con 2023

With the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, SDCC 2023 looked emptier this year. No long Hall H lines, less promotional freebies, and complete lack of promotion for most major upcoming films left the iconic San Diego Waterfront high and dry. Studios and their agencies had to get creative this year as actors, writers, and fans in solidarity largely stayed home. Some had come with their picket signs at the convention, but since the studios weren’t participating this year, they continued to march in front of studio offices in Los Angeles.

However, like Wondercon, anime has come back with a vengeance. No longer having to fight for the attention of the masses, manga publishers and anime licensors have gone all out to promote their upcoming slate. Bandai, Viz Media, and Crunchyroll captured the attention of long time anime fans as well as new fans with movie premieres, art galleries, and a spectacular show of inflatable Dragon Ball statues. In its bid for Junji Ito’s nomination for this year’s Eisner Awards, Viz Media held a free, open to the public look at Ito’s history of work. This gallery included original panels from his famed works, including Black Paradox, Uzumaki, and Tomie. Unfortunately, he did not add another Eisner to his collection this year.

Despite its transition within Warner Bros. Discovery, Adult Swim held a surprise panel with famed Cowboy Bebop creator, Shinichiro Watanabe. Watanabe came to promote and deliver a special preview of his newest work in partnership with Adult Swim, Metallic Rouge. Although more details would be revealed at a future time, fans were eager to see what the mind behind Space Dandy would bring next. Everyone who attended were certainly excited to see the continued partnership between Adult Swim executives and various anime studios.

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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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