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As one of the most popular industry panels at Anime Expo every year, hundreds of fans lined up for the chance to attend A-1 Pictures panel for long-awaited announcements and giveaways! In attendance this year were Operating Officer Akira Shimizu and Producers Mamoru Igarashi and Atsushi Kaneko.

After a trailer of some of their most popular recent works (Sword Art Online, Seven Deadly Sins, Darling in the Franxx, Anohana, Your Lie in April, Eromanga Sensei, Blend-S, Slow Start, Wotakoi, etc), they reflected on some of these past works. The time period from 2005-2013 was the decade where A-1 really matured (Black Butler, Blue Exorcist, Magi, Oreimo, Sword Art Online, etc), and A-1 has achieved much success since then.

Currently in 2018, their three major works are fan favorites: Record of Grancrest War, Seven Deadly Sins, and Wotakoi. 2018 is also the year the new studio CloverWorks was formed. As the panel stated, CloverWorks started as a new brand within A-1 because there were so many different works that they needed to branch out into different identities. Right now, three other major works (Slow Start, Darling in the Franxx, and Persona 5 the Animation) are under this subsidiary.

Leading in, special guest Masashi Ishihama, the director of Persona5 the Animation, was also in attendance as a surprise! Ishihama is a very established director who has seen success with other various well-known series (From the New World, ERASED, Garakowa – Restore the World, GranBlue Fantasy the Animation).

Ishihama answered some questions about his role as a director for Persona5 during the panel. (Please note that this is not a word-for-word transcription.)

Q: In regards to Persona5, how did you become director for the new series and how did you feel when you got the job?

Ishihama: When A-1 pictures got the job to animate the project, I just happened to be available.

Akira (interjects): Please don’t be so humble, it was also a choice between another producer by the name of Tsuji and I, and we both wanted him to take the job.

Q: What are some of the challenges you had when directing Persona5?

Ishihama: Persona 5 is based on a video game, and the game itself has a lot of details. There was a hard choice of knowing which details to reduce while still remaining faithful to the game, so the staff worked hard on this and it was very rewarding.

Lastly, announcements! Coming up next:

  • Season 2 of Ace Attorney, with a US simulcast available – Starting Oct 6
  • Fairy Tail: Final – Starting Oct 2018
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Prisoners of the Sky in theatres in Japan – Aug 18
  • SAO: Alicization on air in Japan – Oct 2018