Day 0 of Anime Expo 2017, also known as the unofficial start of the 4 day anime themed extravaganza. It was a relatively calm day as guests arrived to pick up their badges and “swag bags”. Cosplayers gathered outside in their intricate costumes for photo-ops with photographers and Anime Expo-goers. The excitement was beginning to build around the Los Angeles Convention Center as more guests arrived.

Shortly after arriving to LACC to pick up our badges, our team made their way to a local venue in the area to attend the press conferences. In an intimate hall, press outlets gathered for a chance to directly ask questions to some of Anime Expo’s most honored guests. From the cute mascots of Lemona Design’s, sweet but sometimes sour, Lemon and Sugar to Final Fantasy VII producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, the press conference hall was full of excitement.

Around 9AM, the press conference proceeded and the anticipated guests made their way in. The conference began with Neptunia creator and director, Mizuno Naoko, and illustrator Tsunako who is known for her work in Date A Live as well as Neptunia. The press was curious to know more about their newest game hitting the US market soon, Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online. It is estimated that the action RPG will be released in the winter of 2017 on the PS4 and Steam for Microsoft Windows. Naoko spoke about her humble beginnings in the industry and admitted “after 10 years of asking my boss to let me create a game” he finally gave in and presented her with the honor of being the creator of one of Idea Factory’s  best selling game, Neptunia. To research how to translate the game to an online setting the team at Idea Factory would spend time playing online games to which Tsunako admitted the staff became addicted. Both Tsunako and Naoko are honored to be participating in Anime Expo for the first time and are excited to meet fans! Make sure to check out the demo for 4 Goddesses Online at Anime Expo 2017 in the South Hall, Booth #4401.

Shortly after the Mizuno Naoko and Tsunako’s press conference followed a short, but sweet, appearance from Lemon and Sugar themselves! They were excited to meet the press and take some cute photo-ops. Lemon and Sugar by Lemona Designs are mascots for the sweet, but sometimes sour, lemonade flavored candy. To get some free samples, all you need to do is stop by their booth in Entertainment Hall 9A and follow their social media! Lemon and Sugar are excited to meet fans and want you to stop by and visit! Take your time to experience this sweet and sour experience during Anime Expo 2017.

Following the appearance by Lemon and Sugar were mobile game Terra Battle 2 character designer, Kimihiko Fujisaka and producer, Hironobu Sakaguchi. The room was throughly engaged and amused by the guests as they provided the newest details regarding the game. Fujisaka expressed that he continually gains inspiration for the game and developing characters from everything in his surrounding environment; he even pointed out a gentleman wearing a hat as an example, causing the room to erupt in laughter. Fujisaka and Sakaguchi are elated to know of the success of Terra Battle in the US and hope it continues to grow. Make sure to stop by Mistwalker’s booth in the South Hall, Booth #4806 & #4807 to be one of the first to check out the demo for Terra Battle 2. Stay tuned for updates and an announcement of its release date in the near future! Overall the experience covering the press conference was enjoyable for both the guests and press outlets. We hope to see you at Anime Expo 2017!

Article & Photos by Maya Elbaz

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