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Summer is high season for live celebrations of Japan’s pop culture exports. The two largest events in the West, Japan Expo in Paris and Anime Expo in LA, drew hundreds of thousands earlier this month. August will see the U.S. East Coast’s biggest anime convention, Otakon, move from Baltimore, Maryland, into more spacious environs in Washington, D.C., and later, the California debut of Crunchyroll Expo, a convention hosted by the most popular dedicated anime streaming service outside of Japan.

Since it began licensing anime directly from Japanese producers over eight years ago, Crunchyroll has been building a ubiquitous brand presence at anime conventions worldwide, its bright orange logo emblazoned on stand-alone booths, posters, backpacks, bandanas and heaps of promotional swag. But the company’s decision to host its own live event underlines both the tribal power of a niche user base, and the fierce battle among streaming platforms over anime content and its devotees.

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