Anime Expo was just one of many conventions last year, anime or otherwise, that was forced to transition from an in-person event to a virtual one, and it seems as if the long-running convention might be disappointing fans as they confirm that they will be following suit this year with their 2021 Con taking place virtually. In an official statement, the convention noted that the event which was slated for this summer, in the month of July specifically, would need to take place digitally thanks to the coronavirus pandemic still in the world today.
In the official statement delivered by Ray Chiang, the Chief Executive Officer for the Society of the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the convention is confirmed to be going completely virtual for its 30th-anniversary event that will be landing this summer:
"With the continued uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is apparent that we will not be able to safely hold a physical show this July for Anime Expo 2021. We will miss gearing up for a full weekend of parading around the LACC and reuniting with friends just as much as you will, but we take comfort in knowing this separation is only temporary and that it’s the right thing to do. While we’re not able to meet in-person, we still want to celebrate 2021 in honor of our 30th anniversary, and we will continue to share stories, photos, and memories with #AnimeExpo30th!"
Last year saw anime conventions such as Funimation Con and Crunchyroll Expo deciding to take their events online in order to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19, still delivering a bevy of news stories and events for anime fans to participate in, and with Anime Expo having done the same last year, they certainly have practice when it comes to offering digital exclusives.
The world of anime isn't the only medium affected by the coronavirus this year when it comes to conventions, as San Diego Comic-Con has already announced that they will be following suit and bringing their event online as well. Though 2021 might still cause several conventions to go digital, we're crossing our fingers that 2022 will bring things back to a sense of "normalcy" when it comes to the entertainment industry.
Will you be virtually attending Anime Expo this summer? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics and anime.