[Review & Recommended Watch] A Belated Look At MAL Expo Lite 2022 + MAL Academy Production I.G / Q&A with WIT STUDIO

Source: Screenshot from MAL Expo Stream, Hosted Feb 25, 2022

By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting

MAL Expo Lite 2022 Review

MyAnimeList’s first-ever Expo was a fun experience, consisting of a small selection of online events that aired from February 17 to February 25, 2022. While the online anime convention boom in 2021 was a hit, 2022 saw a return to in-person events, leaving a void for those who preferred the digital space. However, online events such as Aniplex’s Online Fest and MAL’s first-ever convention remained a highlight for anime fans like myself. I appreciated being able to enjoy the panels, music, and anime from the comfort of my own home and without spending a lot of money. However, I was disappointed to see that, like many other online conventions, MAL quickly removed the streams, making it impossible for viewers to watch at a more convenient time.

The MAL Expo offered a variety of art-related events, musical performances, and yearbook activities. Still, what really stood out to me were the MAL Anime Academy talks with Production I.G. and WIT Studio. The event featured Chief Animation Director Takayuki Goto and Executive Producer Gunji Mikio from Production I.G. discussing the animation process at their company using the Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These and President George Wada from WIT Studio hosting a Q&A session. I found both additions to be informative and educational, which meant that I spent a few hours in the YouTube rabbit hole seekingout a captured live-stream of those two back-to-back events that you can view below.

The performances were what I would consider standard for this kind of small-scale convention. Though, perhaps because of MAL’s name recognition and present contracts with streaming services like Crunchyroll, the performances were of a higher standard than most small-scale events like this one. Overall, I found the Expo very entertaining and a welcomed addition to MAL’s history.

One negative aspect of the event was that it lacked the same polished feel that many others in the digital convention space tend to have. The hosts frequently read from print-out scripts when a prompter could have been used. I mean, my sister purchased an inexpensive one on Amazon a while ago that basically was an app on her phone and a projector for the phone screen, so I imagine that a studio with enough backing to bring in prominent studios like Production I.G. and WIT Studio could have afforded at least that. Additionally, I was disappointed with the amount of shopping and advertisements present during the streams as it made it feel like MAL was struggling for content, which should not be the case.

Overall, 3/5. I think that MAL Expo, should it happen again this year, should look to Aniplex Online Fest for guidance on formatting. Rather than stretch things out for days, they could have gathered their events and press them into a single, long stream over the course of a day or two, and fill any holes in the stream with a few anime episodes or short marathons with permissions from licence holders. The event also does not have to be live, but rather pre-recorded with a set release schedule. Moreover, anime marathons could be used to advertise MAL’s feature of streaming Crunchyroll and other licensed content through their website.

Content Share: MAL Academy Production I.G / WIT STUDIO

Title: Q & A with Industry Professionals Takayuki Goto and George Wada at MAL Expo 2022 | Source: https://youtu.be/Io1XGJYiJ1g

The streamer who recorded the particular section of the MAL Expo Live-Stream that I’m referring to is AniHive. While I haven’t watched a lot of their content yet, they seem to have a diverse range of anime-focused videos, including reviews, amv snippets, and top 10 listicles. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s worth checking them out and keeping an eye on their future content, especially since their editing and recording skills appear to be consistently improving over time.

It’s important to remember that for stream captures like this to remain on the internet, they need to include commentary that is transformative to the initial media. This helps avoid issues like copyright strikes and take-downs. Essentailly, by adding commentary and insights to these streams, one can help ensure their longevity online.

As such, there are a lot of additions to this stream in the commentary and breaks. I want to point out that the MAL Academy with Production I.G starts at around the 30-minute mark, while the WIT STUDIO Q&A begins at approximately the 1 hour and 55-minute mark.

I hope you all enjoy!

Written by Peggy Sue Wood and Edited using ChatGPT.

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