AX and SDCC Have Been Officially Cancelled
It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing the cancellation of AX 2020. Our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our community. This was one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make in the 29 years of Anime Expo.
Read more → https://t.co/27DdcMzhUh
— Anime Expo (@AnimeExpo) April 17, 2020
The announcement anime and comic fans have been waiting for for months finally dropped: both San Diego Comic-Con and Anime Expo have been officially cancelled for 2020. We all knew it was coming — with the Los Angeles Convention Center currently being used as a field hospital for people infected with COVID-19 and restrictions on travel and gathering in large groups to be in place for some time, the chance that our beloved July conventions would take place without disruption was practically zero. Now that both AX and SDCC have been officially cancelled, fans can be sad together (at a safe distance) and take stock of what these developments mean.
The last few weeks have been an unprecedented time. Since it is becoming apparent that COVID-19 restrictions will not be a short-term matter, we have made the sad decision to cancel Comic-Con for the first time in its 50-year history.
— San Diego Comic-Con (@Comic_Con) April 17, 2020
While the current crisis has reminded us that there more important things in the world than cosplaying at our favorite anime and comic cons — starting with the health of ourselves and our loved ones — I think it’s natural that we’re all disappointed as fans. Whether we attended the events every year or just enjoyed the news announcements and fan panels that have become part of our wider pop culture, it’s a shock to all of us. As both a San Diego native who started attending Comic-Con back in 1985 and a fan who was part of Anime Expo from its beginnings, I’m blown away by the news. How can these two great pop culture events not take place as they always have, year after year?
But shigata ga nai, as the Japanese say when faced with an obstruction that can’t be gotten around, a phrase meaning “It can’t be helped.”
Many Business Will Be Affected by AX and SDCC Cancellation
As the owner of J-List and longtime dealer at both shows, I naturally think a lot about the thousands of businesses the cancellation of San Diego Comic-Con and Anime Expo will affect, from the large and small dealers to the bars, restaurants and hotels that only stay in the black because of a few large events like these every year. I think of the anime studios who will have difficulty promoting their new shows, and the smaller dealers getting by on selling figures and plush toys to fans. I think of the small mom-and-pop toy dealers in the 300-400 aisle at SDCC, who always manage to surprise me with some Star Wars figure or vehicle I don’t have in my collection yet. I hope they’ll all be okay.
I also think about all the revenue San Diego will lose from all those Star Wars figures and plush toys fans won’t be buying. San Diego has basically three local industries: general tourism, the San Diego Comic-con, and hosting the U.S. military. Two of these have been disrupted, which will create a lot of challenges for the city.
One of the greatest things about running J-List has been the fact that I get to live in Japan most of the year, yet return home to San Diego in the summer to relax in my home city and rebuild my internal stores of Mexican food while I prepare for the summer conventions. With things still up in the air during the current crisis, the staff of J-List and JAST USA will be refocusing our efforts on the projects that can be enjoyed by fans even if they can’t attend an event directly, like English-translated doujinshi and artbooks and visual novels which will be available online. Look for new announcements from us in the coming months!
We’ll Get Through the Crisis
Though losing these two great conventions for 2020 sucks, I know that fans will be super supportive of the industry as a whole when things get back to (more) normal in 2021. J-List will certainly be doing our part to support both AX and SDCC and all our fans going forward!
I’ve been running J-List since 1996, so I’ve been through a lot of crises, from the dot-com and housing bubble crashes to terrorist attacks to a horrific earthquake and tidal wave that brought Japan to her knees for months. Though they were all hard at the time, we always got through them and came out the other side safely. So let’s do our best and gambarimasu together, and we’ll see each other at both shows next year!
Thanks for reading, and please stay safe wherever you are in the world!
J-List wants to support you as we all work through the current challenges. So through next week, we’re offering an awesome DHL shipping sale, with 20% of the cost of shipping of orders shipping from Japan picked up by us. See this post for details on which countries have stopped accepting outside mail during the crisis. Start browsing our awesome new and restocked products here.