that record crowds were seen at AnimeExpo in Long Beach, California. 44,000 people attended the fan convention which celebrates anime, manga and cosplay (costume play or dressing up as one's favorite fictional character).
Hordes of cosplayers showed off their costumes; anime was screened from morning till night; and the convention center stayed open until the wee hours to let fans dance and party. There were multiple screenings of the live action Death Note movies (based on the manga series), allowing attendees to view them at their convenience. Likewise, the animated feature film, Tekkonkinkreet, Sony's adaptation of Taiyo Matsumoto's manga about an underworld of tough kids who take on the yakuza (Japanese gangsters), also premiered. Viz Media is releasing a giant omnibus collection of Tekkonkinkreet: Black and White this September. Another movie to premier was Mushishi, a live action feature film starring Japanese heartthrob Joe Odagiri, based on the mystical Del Rey manga of the same name. And not to be outdone, Transformers, Hollywood's much hyped sci-fi blockbuster film, was screened for viewers on Expo's last night.
DC Comics' manga imprint, CMX, made it official that Shirley, a one-shot by Mori Kaoru, about an English maid character from her maid series Emma, will be published by CMX in 2008. But more importantly, CMX revisited the controversial Tenjho Tenge series, which had been subject to a fan boycott in 2005 after CMX heavily edited parts of the original series to remove nudity in order to give it a teen rating. CMX plans to give Tenjho Tenge a mature rating beginning with volume 15. But CMX manga editor Jim Chadwick warned fans that the series will still be edited for content, although future edits will be lighter. "We'll be showing much more that we've shown before," said Chadwick. CMX has plans for other mature-rated books including Orfina, Presents and Variante-which will feature a larger trim size and a higher price, at $12.99. Tenjho Tenge will retain its current trim size and pricing. "We don't want people to think CMX equals editing," said Asako Suzuki, CMX's director of manga, who said CMX is changing the way it handles mature manga titles.
This year, AnimeExpo returned to the Long Beach Convention Center, its old stomping grounds, after three years at the Anaheim Convention Center. But according to AX publicist Chase Wang, AnimeExpo has outgrown both venues and will move to the Los Angeles Convention Center in 2008. "We've grown to be the largest manga and anime convention in the U.S.," said Wang, who noted that Baltimore's Otakon, the other major manga and anime convention, is about half the size of AX. "We're not just fan-based anymore. The industry is coming here. Hollywood is coming here [to promote] Transformers before it's released. We're expanding in influence."
Anime and magna are super-hot. Bestselling romance author Christine Feehan has embraced the trend. Her Carpathathian story Dark Hunger will be published in a manga format by Berkley in October, 2007. You can read more about Dark Hunger -- and see the really cool manga cover Berkley did for Christine here. You can pre-order the book at Amazon.com.