It was only two years later after the covid episode that Japan Expo finally returned to Paris. After a special Japan Expo Sud, the mythical convention is reopening its doors at the exhibition center in Villepinte. And let it be said, this event which welcomed a host of visitors, is making a strong comeback with its size and undeniable variety.
A video games area with some playable titles to come
Japan Expo 2022 is obviously a fairly extensive video game aspect. And after two years of Covid scarcity, some cool exclusives were playable, including first of all a certain One Piece Odyssey. This is indeed the first time that the title has been shown in a living room, the opportunity for us to play it for a little over 20 minutes, and to give our first impressions of this new One Piece game made in Bandai Namco. . Its release is planned by the end of 2022 if all goes well on PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
One Piece Odyssey was also not the only big game to come to be playable, because street fighter 6 was also part of the Capcom stand. What obviously delight the players who could therefore try this relatively accessible and pleasant new opus, and which will be released as a reminder in 2023 on PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
Among the other nice stands, the mobile game Honkai Star Rail was present, just like the famous Genshin Impact, featuring some pretty cool animations at the booth. In addition to a few other animation stands for VR, Nintendo was also making an appearance, unfortunately offering titles already released with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Splatoon 2, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, Demon Slayer or the excellent Nintendo Switch Sports.
In other words, the video game side concretely seemed to us quite starved this year, with quite a few really exclusive titles from the show. What to come out a little frustrated on the video game side, although we had the good surprise to try us at the Time Machine. For those who don’t know her, this small console focused on retrogaming offers no less than 10,000 playable games inside.
From the Dreamcast to the PS One or even the NES, the PSP or even the Nintendo DS, this little gem offers a very complete catalog of titles from practically all consoles except the PS2, the first Xbox of the name, or the Gamecube. A bit disappointing to be sure, but the well-crafted interface, the responsiveness of the controls on the many retro titles, or the exceptional smoothness of DS and PSP games make coffee well. The console is priced at 199 € on the official website, but given that this was the first time the console had actually shown itself at an official convention, it was available directly for purchase from the stand for just €159. Either a reasonable price, but you had to be at this Japan Expo to take advantage of this attractive price.
A very extensive program
Apart from this somewhat disappointing video game section, the program proposed for this 2022 edition of this Japan Expo Parisienne was clearly something to delight. First of all, there were casually some interesting guests with Yusuke Kozakihaving notably officiated on the licenses No More Heroes and Fire Emblemeven on Pokemon Gobut also Mamoru Yokotawho worked on Death Note, DNA² and Naruto Shippûden as artistic director.
Note also the presence from Hiroshi Matsuyama, the president of CyberConnect2 who came mainly to present his self-produced title, Fuga: Melody of Steeland whom we interviewed with Yoann Guéritot, the director of the game. Of course, the list of guests was extremely long, especially in terms of musical artists – Blank Paper, Femm, Miwa, Mika Kobayashi… -, like youtubers – Benzaie, Bob Lennon, Sheshounet, Conkerax, Le Pandaman, Louis San… -. Nevertheless, we will emphasize the lack of higher profile guests, but maybe that’s because the convention is still recovering, especially after two years away due to covid.
For the rest, the various animations had something to be varied. With just over a dozen scenes offering cosplay, conferences, blind tests, quizzes, live drawing with Yusuke Kozaki, even Junichi Hayama and Mamoru Yokota, as well as showcases or demonstrations, including one friendly Street Fighter 6 on stage, there was undeniably plenty to do. Free cosplay slots were also part of the game, and the ECG final was also present at the cosplay level.
Basically, there was really nothing to get bored of even over these four days, the programming itself was not all equal or interesting, and could certainly make visitors bored. However, the presence of the many stands mixing manga publishers, Anime streaming – Crunchyroll among others -, reseller of goodies, mouse pads, posters and other whatnot probably made it possible to do some good bargains. Also note that a Japanese sport part was present, with Budô, Kendo and Sumo fights, just that.
In short, the whole thing was quite well fleshed out, although we regret the absence of Comic-Con in Paris, which made a pretty good pair with Japan Expo in past years. What’s more, and this could be expected, the organization was sometimes a bit confusing, the queues sometimes endless and the price of food on site still exorbitant. It was also the same for the price of certain goodies, which had enough to hurt the skull. Beyond that, we will of course appreciate the size of the halls, whose space has been well exploited for a relatively optimal layout.
Finally, what about this Japan Expo 2022 post-covid edition? Well, already, we have to admit that it’s already a pleasure to see a huge convention full of variety and entertainment, which will undoubtedly appeal to all visitors who are fans of the video game culture, manga, and traditions. typically Japanese. The programming had enough to be provided to please everyone, even if we regret an edition that was still very shy and recovering on the video game and guest parts, which did not really have enough to make us jump to the ceiling. In addition, the absence of Comic-Con in Paris, which formed a great complementarity with Japan Expo in previous years, is felt. Nevertheless, after two years of absence, the pleasure of finding a huge Japan Expo that is still rich in conferences and numerous activities is palpable, and we look forward to seeing it again next year, with, we hope, many more things to see again.