On September 1st to 3rd, Crunchyroll Expo evolved from its inaugural form to its second year, this time at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in Downtown San Jose, CA. This time, they moved to a much bigger venue and don’t have to share the space with MagWest. This also marks the first time, they held their event over Labor Day weekend which is a big step up from the previous year.
I was actually pretty impressed that they were able to use up the entire venue. Initially, I thought they would only use up a portion of it like maybe both halls at best. I was really glad that there were bag checks and metal detectors for everyone’s safety due to recent events with gun violence and threats of it.
Although this is an anime convention, the two most dominant series were Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) and Hataraku Saibo (Cells at Work) as they are the most popular current animes up to date.
One of the best pastimes at anime conventions is playing video games. The weakness for last year’s CRX was the lack of gaming which caused many to go to MagWest. This year, they fixed it. They did retain the same free arcade used for Fanime Con this year which was great. Console gaming was finally introduced with setups for Nintendo Switches, X-Box Ones, PlayStation 4s, NES Classic, SNES classics, GameCubes, and PCs. There were all kinds of games from classic 8-bit games to the most modern fighting games. Unfortunately, there were no tournaments to be found to test one’s skills against many others.
In that same area, there was a reasonable amount of space for TCG games like Magic the Gathering with many outlets to charge phones while engaging in card combat.
There were many panels, however, none of them really caught my eye as it mostly involved voice actors I’m not too familiar with or an anime series I have yet to watch. The panels really stuck to the genre of anime and didn’t provide any content for those that are lightweight anime fans or for those that don’t even watch it.
It did feel like a light version of Fanime Con. The chaos was toned down by a lot, and there weren’t as many people. A lot of attendees are adults so for things to close down by 11pm felt a bit way too early for a con that takes place at the same place where Fanime holds their annual event. It also felt like there weren’t too many people due to the outrageous prices. Many people just ghost the event or just opt to not attend waiting for another event that’s more bang for your buck.
It also didn’t help that the anime fandom was split into two for Northern California. Many people did attend Crunchyroll Expo, but a lot of people also attended Sac Anime in Sacramento, CA. It caused numbers to be less since many had to choose one or the other, especially on Labor Day weekend. Some opted for Sac Anime due to being closer to the Sacramento area and/or because they offer more diverse programming. It also helps that they’ve been in the convention game for a lot longer. Some people opted for CRX because they wanted an event that was more specified for anime and because San Jose is a more ideal city to be in. Some people may not like Sac Anime for holding the same repetitive convention biannually. Either way, it split the community in half.
From year one to year two, there was a ton of improvement. I expect from year two to three, that they’ll be even more improvements to better the experience of the attendees. Sure, I’ll attend again, not only because it’s in my own city but because I want to support an organization that is very vital to the anime community not just for the city, but to all anime fans that use Crunchyroll as a platform to watch anime and get anime content.
Written by: Timtastic