Anime Expo 2009 hit the ground running yesterday with plenty for attendees to do after opening ceremonies commenced the event. Music lovers got to enjoy selections by Moi dix Mois, led by Mana of Malice Mizer. Also, people were able to enjoy the Battle of the Bands competition followed by special performer Auncia, here in the U.S for their debut appearance later in the evening.
Meanwhile guest panels included presentations by Yun Kouga, character designer for Gundam 00 who currently works on the manga series Loveless. Also on hand was Toshiyuki Morikawa, veteran seiyuu with an impressive resume of anime series and video games to his credit including Final Fantasy (Sephiroth), D. Gray Man, Star Wars: Clone Wars and many others.
Following this was the start of several hours worth of GAINAX panels intended to give fans a look behind the scenes of their popular mech series Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Throughout the day, attendees got to hear from character designer Atsushi Nishigori, director Hiroyuki Imaishi, and several others. They noted how several older franchises such as Zambot 3, Gaiking, Gundam and Getter Robo heavily influenced them as they strove to create something different from their successful Evangelion franchise.