Ever since Anime Expo 2013, when myself and 10 of my close friends shoved in to a room to watch the premier of some show called “Sword Art Online”, I have always made it my policy to get to the A-1 Pictures Panel. This is usually no small feat, as it takes place in a small room, on the top level of the convention center, but no matter the risk, the reward has always been good. From the year we saw the First Episode of Fate Grand/Order to the year we saw the first episode of the GGO ark of SAO. It’s always a packed panel full of good content and great energy. The panel was absolutely packed so much so that bathroom passes were in effect, you need to get one to leave, if you don’t you won’t be allowed back in.

We are greeted by the ever prolific Anthony from Aniplex, he’s here to take us through the world of A-1 pictures. Which is also sometimes known as Clover works now I guess? We will be joined by three special guests.

Akira Shimuzu – Producer and Vice president at A-1 Pictures

Mamoru Igarashi – Also a producer and Vice president at A-1 Pictures

Atsushi Kaneko – A producer at A-1 Pictures most famous for his work on SAO

A few words from each panelists follows

Akira Shimuzu: Hello I am vice president at A-1 pictures and clover works, how do you do.

Mamoru Igarashi: I am producer and Vice president at A-1 Pictures,

Hello everyone I am Atsushi Kaneko  producer at A-1 Pictures, dos anyone like SAO, I came here as a survivor of SAO as proof I bought this Tshirt (it says SAO survivor)

It seems we are to be confined to the hellish QandA format, I apoligze in advance, for this, but I will do my best to deliver what I can from the panel.

Anthony fist asks Mr. Shimizu: “you were here at AX last year, any new developments since last years Anime Expo?”

Akira Shimuzu: “I think the biggest difference between last year and this year is I don’t remember LA being this hot. Last year I was actually here on a very rushed schedule, this year I took my time so I actually have time to enjoy LA”

Anthony next asks Kaneko-san: “is this your first time at ax”

His response is as expected: This is my first time in LA and its really been HOT, everyone here at Anime Expo is so enthusiastic and hot, and I see a lot of fan enthusiasm thats so inspired, and I’m glad to take this back to japan

Next we get an answer to the same question from Mamoru Igarashi:

For me the is actually my 4th time to get invited to cons outside of japan before all in Australia, seeing the enthusiasm here at Anime Expo its likewise the same as my colleagues have talked about, everyones energy I want to take back to Japan and use as inspiration.

Now fo a  video: for this panel, it is of course a Sizzle reel, the same one we have always gotten in previous years. IT shows SAO, Seven Deadly Sins, Fate/Apoctypha, Record of Grancrest war, and Darling in the Franxx. It also shows kawaii and comedy, and drama series. Its quite a catalog that A-1 has managed to amasss in just a few years since its founding.

Next is a portion on the History of A-1 showcasing the history of the company form 2005- 2013, including SAO, and Space Brothers

Mr. Igarashi is next asked a question about what has been memorable in his time at A-1 since there have been so many sucesses.

His answer is that since he has been with the studio since following, starting with baseball anime, and welcome to the space show, that was memorable, and of course welcome to wagnaria.

A-1 is so freaking prolific they have made an insane number of anime. I cant help but think the studio must be huge at this point.

Mr. Shimuzu gets the same question, and responds that he’s fond of all of the shows on the list, (it shows SAO, GATE, Working and half a dozen others) but that he thinks that 2015 was the year that A-1 gained its maturity that he loved wwwworking and your lie in April, those were the shows that he liked best.

2016-2017 is the next slide, and its full of SAO and EroManga Sensi and half a dozen others, this was my year of loving A-1, the year they cemented themselves in to a studio that would always have my heart.

EroManga Sensi News is next it’s getting a sequel! Mr. Igarashi tell us that despite our screaming its not that a big piece of news, just a simple OVA, and that it doesn’t even have a release date yet but its coming and I for one am excited.

Now we are on to the new brandingMr. Igarashi tells us that A-1 pictures brand started as a sub-brand in side of A-1 becuase they grew too much and needed to branch out to form two diffrent identities.

Clover works has worked on Slow Start, Darling in the Franxxx and P5 the Animation.

Now we have another guest, Anthony tells us that P5 The Animations Director Masashi Ishihama is here to join the panel.

Masashi Ishihama says to the audience: Hello everyone, Here at anime expo I am revitalized through everyones energy, I find it so encouraging!

Next we see some of Ishimama’s work in video form, from the new world, (2012) Erased (2016) and Garokawa Restore the world (2016) are featured as his main credits, and of course P5 the animation.

Mr. Ishihama, are there any shows you have a fond memory of?

A: Anthony I wish I could say my favorite was cutting 9 but it turns out that I was the episode director for EP5 of Your Lie in April and this was the first time in my career when I was  both technical director and I had done the story board, so that is my most fond memory.

Q: How did you become the director for the new Persona Series, and how did you feel when you got the job,

Mr. Ishihama : When  A-1 pictures  got the job to animate P5 I just happened to be available. So thats how I go the job.

At this point several of our panelists interject to say that they disagreed with Mr. Ishihama, that he was the best man for the job and that he had indeed been chose for that reason not for just being open.

q: Mr. Ishihama can you tell us some challenges you faced while directing P5 the anime?

Mr. Ishihama: Persona 5 is based on a Video game, if you look at its production value it has such detailed art and graphics, we had to make a hard choice to reduce the details and still keep the show faithful to the details. All the staff worked hard, but it was very strenuous.

Mr. Ishihama can you give us any hints about the upcoming second half of P5 the anime?

Mr. Ishihama answers: well now going in to the second half, kaitodan is all assembled, so everything will from now on be a roller coaster ride.

Anthony finishes by saying can’t wait to see the second half.

Next we are treated to a really long trailer for Ace Attorney 2,  Its lovely looking but the whole teaser is in Japanese with out an subtitiles, so I can’t understand any of it, which makes it kinda brutal to watch. Season 2 of Ace Attorney starting October 6th

Fairy Tail is coming back in October 2018 for its final season, A-1 will be doing production

Next we get another sizzle reel this one for Princes of the Sky, which is coming August 18th we see a trailer it looks good

Final trailer is for SAO Series new chapter Alcization – its good Eugeo and Kirito and Underwrodl, and the magical AI;s the strange rules, and of course Alice.

The audience is very excited fro this trailer, we already saw it yesterday, but I guess this room hasnt seen it yet. In case you somehow missed all the tweets, etc the is coming in October 2018.

Finally we close with a question to Atsushi Kaneko. Mr.Kaneko,  what did you think of the fan reaction?

A: I have to repeat myself, but ill say it gain, im really glad im here today.

there are so many exciting things coming from Clover and A-1 this year, and I wish they could tell us more, but the panel started abotu 20 minutes late, and now we are being told we have to warp up.