Thousands of people arrived by many means of transportation to attend the 24th annual Anime Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For the next four days, LACC would host an approximate of over 80,000 attendees, both local and visiting, for exciting activities that included concerts, panels, fashion shows, maid and butler cafes, live programming, autograph sessions and a large exhibit hall full of Japanese and fan made merchandise that would fulfill any Japanese animation and comic fans dream.
So what exactly happens at AX?
Anime Expo provides four fun filled days of activities related to the promotion of Japanese animation. Upon nearing the LACC, one can see hundred of attendees walking in their often homemade cosplays of their favorite character. These cosplays often take days or even months to complete, and cosplayers work hard throughout the year in order to perfect their cosplays and props in time for the event. Seeing all the wonderful cosplays at Anime Expo is definitely one of the best things while attending. Throughout the day, one will pass by people dressed as some of their favorite anime, game, or comic characters. These cosplayers also feel incredibly flattered to be recognized and be taken a picture of in the cosplay they’ve been working on for so long, so please don’t be afraid to snap a picture! (Please do remember to ask first though!)
Anime Expo is always bringing new events and guests that happen to make the convention even better every year. This year, Anime Expo welcomed Japanese music group Wagakki band and Vocaloid IA to perform their first ever North American concert at the Club Nokia L.A Live as part of their Cool Japan Festival Event. Tickets sold out as attendees spent their 4th of July rocking out to the three way fuse between Vocaloid songs, Wagakki (traditional Japanese musical instruments), and Western Rock.
We Gotta Run – IA
Senbon Zakura – Wagakki Band
One of Anime Expo’s main events include its yearly Masquerade, where single or groups of attendees (often cosplayers) will gather to perform skits, dance, sing, or present their cosplaying skills in front of the masquerade judges in an attempt to win Anime Expo’s honorable title of a masquerade winner as well as a hefty prize. This year’s masquerade was extra exciting with the addition of special group guest “The Try Guys” from BuzzFeed studios opening the masquerade event in their first ever attempt at cosplay. Needless to say, tickets also sold out.
Anime Expo also holds a number of free events in case your pocket money is being reserved to be spent at the exhibit hall. This year anime expo held a free fashion show which included a runway walk of popular Japanese fashion including harajuku street style, lolita, and overall kawaii (cute) fashion. Many followers of Asian fashion enjoyed the run walk while singing along to Japanese fashion icon and singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu songs being played in the background.
If you aren’t one for concerts or late-night anime screenings, you may consider putting on your dancing shoes as you head over to Concourse Hall to attend the AX Dance or having fun with late-night open-mic karaoke. Anime Expo also provides a large entertainment hall that is open until midnight for anyone looking to play a friendly card duel or do some serious dancing on the DDR machine. Photo shoot sets are also located here in case you’d like to take a picture in front of a serene Japanese cherry blossom forest, in a Japanese classroom, in a graveyard, or even in a small ball pit!
As Anime Expo winds down, on the last day most attendees take the time to do some last-minute shopping at the exhibit hall. Rare collectibles are available the first hours the exhibit hall is open, but special sales begin on the last day as exhibitors begin to pack up their merchandise for their next con appearance. The exhibit hall features many products such as collectible figures, books, posters, plushies, and a whole section dedicated to up incoming independent artists called the “Artist Alley”. Special booths that provide live special shows are also located in the exhibit hall like, Sentai Filmworks, Good Smile, FUNimation, Crunchy Roll, Rilakkuma, and many others.
Anime Expo not only provides a mean of entertainment for fans of Japanese animation, but it also greatly helps in bringing in revenue to Los Angeles yearly. This year, LACC officially declared July 3 as Anime Expo Day in honor of AX and its Los Angeles friendly relationship. If you missed Anime Expo this year, worry not! LACC recently announced that Anime Expo will continue to be held there for at least another five years.
Still considering attending Anime Expo next year? How about some words of encouragement from some of AX’s fellow attendees?