Scores of conventions have been cancelled this year in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, but Anime Expo hopes to find a way to meet fans despite everything. Earlier this year, Anime Expo confirmed it would be cancelling its event for July 2020 to ensure the safety of attendees and guests. But over on Twitter, Anime Expo reached out to fans with a teaser about Anime Expo Lite.
At this time, there is no word on what the lite event is about, but fans expect this to be the convention's response to its closure. Unfortunately, there is no way an event gathering tens or hundreds of thousands of people can happen alongside the virus outbreak. However, a slew of conventions have done virtual events with talent, and that could be a possibility for Anime Expo Lite.
The event is slated to take place July 3-4 and will feature a slew of brands. Companies like Crunchyroll, Viz Media, Pony Canyon, and Bushiroad are slated to appear in some form. Others are also expected but have yet to be named.
Fans are hopeful Anime Expo Lite will give fans a chance to catch up on breaking anime news or be given any announcements which were set for the full convention. In the past, the event has also held a series of high-profile premieres, but it seems unlikely any such plans would be converted to this lite program.
As for fans who are still mourning the convention's cancellation, Anime Expo has promised to honor ticket holders this year for 2021. Ray Chiang, the CEO of The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, said refunds are available for anyone who wishes to get their money back for this year's ticket. But if they would like to roll over their ticket for 2021, they are more than welcome to. This announcement came after several weeks of waiting as convention staff and guests looked into whether the event could still take place. But after careful consideration, it was decided the Los Angeles event would have to skip this year for everyone's wellbeing.
Have you had to cancel any convention plans this year because of the pandemic? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!