The hectic convention season is hastily winding down, as the summer comes to an end and school starting up for both high-school and college students, however there was one event that had been awaited with bated breath: Japan Expo, First Impact.
The ever-popular Japan Expo event, celebrating all things Japanese such as culture, anime, tradition, and more, has quite the track history. Japan Expo has held 14 successful Japan Expo events in Paris, France with over 200,000 unique attendees at their latest show. After spreading their wings in Europe and holding three events in other locations, Japan Expo Centre in Orleans, Japan Expo Sud in Marseille, and Japan Expo Belgium in Brussels, SEFA Entertainment and JTS-Group, the companies behind it all, had decided it was time to host their convention in the United States.
The USA version of the convention hosted many famous Japanese guests-of-honor at their Santa Clara expo:
- You Kikkawa (Idol, singer, actress)
- Yusuke Kozaki (Artist, Illustrator, Character Designer)
- Tatsuro Iwamoto (Artist, Illustrator, Character Designer)
- Masahiko Minami (President of BONES Inc.)
- Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Artist, Illustrator, Character Designer of Evangelion fame)
- Ian Sinclair (US Voice Actor)
- Mike Sinterniklaas (US Voice Actor)
- Felipe Smith (US Artist)
- Noriyuki Iwadare (Composer)
- J☆Dee’Z (Dance Group)
- Dempagumi.inc (Idol Group)
- 1000say (Band)
- Gamushara Oendan (Japanese Cheerleading Group)
As with any Japanese convention, cosplay was out in full force throughout the convention floor. Guests-of-honor were also noted to have attended many official cosplay meetups such as the Fire Emblem and Ace Attorney gatherings, and many popular series such as Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, Evangelion, Sword Art Online, and Vocaloid were represented as well.
The convention was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California from August 23rd through the 25th. The official attendee count is yet to be released, however several thousand were noted to be in attendance over the three-day convention weekend.